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    Software Development Software Development

    How Much Does Software Testing Cost? A Comprehensive Guide

    Tuhin Bhatt's image.
    Co-founder of LAD

      Published on September 27, 2023

      11 min read

    Are you developing a software application, website, or mobile app?

    If so, you’re likely aware that software testing is an indispensable part of the development process.

    But have you ever wondered just how much software testing can cost?

    Understanding the costs of software testing and how to optimize them can make a significant difference in your project’s success.

    In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of software testing costs, exploring primary and secondary factors that influence them.

    We’ll also provide you with practical insights, real-world case studies, and strategies to manage and optimize testing expenses effectively.

    So, let’s dive in and illustrate the world of software testing expenses.

    Ready to understand the costs of software testing?

    Consult with our experts at LAD for a detailed guide and personalized cost assessment! Schedule your FREE software consulting now!

    How Much Does Software Testing Cost?

    The cost of software testing services can vary significantly depending on various factors, including the complexity of the software, the testing approach, the size of the testing team, the testing tools and technologies used, and the project timeline.

    Here’s what the average per hour rate of software testers look like:

    • Quality assurance engineer: £25/hr
    • Quality assurance (QA) analyst: £24/hr
    • Test engineer: £26/hr
    • Senior quality assurance engineer: £45/hr
    • Automation test engineer: £30/hr – £36/hr

    Factors Influencing Software Testing Costs

    Before we get into the nitty-gritty of cost estimation and optimization, let’s explore the primary factors that can significantly impact your software testing budget.

    Project Complexity

    The complexity of your software project plays a crucial role in determining testing costs.

    Simple projects may require less extensive testing, while complex, multi-faceted applications demand more time and resources.

    Complex software projects often involve intricate codebases, numerous integration points, and a wide range of functionalities.

    Consequently, testing such projects thoroughly requires a more significant investment in terms of time, effort, and resources.

    For instance, a small-scale web application project may have an estimated testing cost of around £73,500 per year, whereas a large enterprise software project could have testing expenses reaching several million dollars annually.

    Testing Scope

    The breadth and depth of testing required can significantly affect costs.

    Different types of testing, such as functional or non-functional testing, may have varying cost implications.

    Testing scope refers to the extent to which you plan to test your software.

    Comprehensive testing, covering a wide range of scenarios and edge cases, typically demands a higher budget due to increased testing effort and resources.

    For instance, conducting extensive security testing for a financial application can cost an additional £20,000 to £50,000, depending on the scope and complexity.

    Testing Methodology

    Choosing between manual and automated testing methods can impact your budget.

    While automated testing offers efficiency, manual testing may be necessary for certain scenarios.

    The choice between manual and automated testing depends on various factors, including the project’s requirements, timeline, and available expertise.

    Automated testing can save time and resources in the long run by executing repetitive test cases quickly and accurately.

    However, it requires an upfront investment in automation tools and scripting. Manual testing, on the other hand, can be more cost-effective for small projects with limited testing needs but may still incur costs of £8,000 to £40,000 annually.

    Testing Tools and Infrastructure

    Investing in testing tools and infrastructure is essential.

    Although, costs can vary based on the tools and technologies you choose, as well as ongoing maintenance expenses.

    Testing tools, such as test management software, test automation frameworks, and performance testing tools, come with their own set of costs.

    This includes software licenses, training, and ongoing maintenance and support fees.

    Additionally, the infrastructure needed to support testing activities, including hardware, virtual machines, and cloud services, contributes to the overall testing budget.

    For example, annual tooling costs can range from £3,000 for open-source tools to £50,000 for premium tool suites, while infrastructure costs can vary from £8,000 to £100,000 or more, depending on scalability requirements.

    Testing Team

    Deciding between an in-house or outsourced testing team impacts costs and expertise levels. Skilled testers may command higher salaries, affecting your budget.

    The composition of your testing team plays a vital role in cost considerations.

    If you choose to maintain an in-house testing team, you’ll need to budget for salaries, benefits, and training to ensure that your team possesses the required skills and expertise.

    Alternatively, outsourcing testing to third-party providers or utilizing freelance testers can reduce fixed labor costs but may come with other considerations, such as contract fees and potential language or time zone differences.

    On average, in-house testing teams may incur annual costs ranging from £30,000 to £200,000 per tester, depending on experience and location, while outsourcing can range from £15,000 to £100,000 or more per year per resource.

    Statistics of Software Testing

    Now, let’s take a closer look at some statistics related to software testing costs:

    • According to a 2019 survey of CIOs and senior tech professionals, software testing can cost anywhere from 15% to 25% of a project’s budget, with the average cost being approximately 23%.
    • According to the findings of a global study of IT professionals, the statistic shows the biggest problems faced by organizations looking to implement a test environment from 2013 to 2018.

      In 2018, the cost was cited as a challenge by more than half of respondents.

    How to Estimate the Costs of Software Testing

    Estimating software testing costs is a crucial step in project planning. Here’s how you can go about it:

    Cost Elements

    Breaking down your costs into personnel, infrastructure, and tooling expenses provides clarity into where your budget is allocated.

    When estimating software testing costs, it’s essential to identify and analyze the various cost elements that contribute to your overall testing budget.

    These cost elements typically include:

    • Personnel Costs: This encompasses the salaries, benefits, and training expenses for testing team members, including testers, test managers, and automation engineers.

      Annual personnel costs for a mid-sized testing team can range from £200,000 to £500,000 or more.
    • Infrastructure Costs: Infrastructure costs include the expenses associated with the hardware, software, and cloud services required for testing activities.

      This may involve server hardware, virtual machines, test environments, and third-party services.

      Depending on project size and requirements, annual infrastructure costs can vary from £20,000 to £500,000 or more.
    • Tooling Costs: Since it’s a small project, the startup utilizes open-source testing tools, incurring minimal tooling costs of £500 for training and support.

      For larger projects with premium tool suites, tooling costs can reach £50,000 or more annually.

    Cost Estimation Models

    Utilizing cost estimation models like Function Point Analysis or Use Case Points can provide accurate estimates for your testing budget.

    Cost estimation models are systematic approaches to predicting software testing costs based on specific metrics and parameters.

    Two commonly used cost estimation models in software testing are:

    1. Function Point Analysis (FPA): FPA is a widely recognized model that measures the functionality provided by a software application.

      Quantifying the functionality, FPA helps estimate the effort required for testing based on the complexity of the software.

      Depending on the complexity and scope of the project, FPA-based estimates can range from £50,000 to £500,000 or more annually.
    2. Use Case Points (UCP): UCP is another model that evaluates the size and complexity of a software project by considering the number and complexity of use cases.

      It provides a basis for estimating testing effort and costs. UCP-based estimates can vary widely, with costs typically ranging from £30,000 to £300,000 or more annually.

    These models help project managers and stakeholders make informed decisions about resource allocation and budget planning.

    Cost Estimation Software

    Specialized software can streamline the cost estimation process, allowing for more precise budget planning.

    To simplify the cost estimation process and enhance accuracy, many organizations use dedicated cost estimation software.

    These tools typically include features such as project profiling, scenario analysis, and historical data comparisons.

    Cost estimation software enables project managers to input project-specific details and receive detailed estimates based on historical data, industry benchmarks, and the chosen cost estimation model.

    The cost of using specialized cost estimation software can vary, with licensing fees typically ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 or more, depending on the features and scalability of the tool.

    Cost Optimization Strategies

    Now that we’ve explored cost estimation, it’s time to discuss strategies for optimizing your software testing pricing:

    Prioritizing Testing Efforts

    Prioritizing testing efforts based on risk and impact can help you allocate resources effectively, reducing unnecessary costs.

    Prioritizing testing efforts involves identifying critical functionalities, high-risk areas, and essential test cases that must be thoroughly tested.

    Focusing on these areas, you can ensure that your testing resources are used efficiently, minimizing the risk of overlooking critical defects.

    Prioritization also allows you to allocate resources based on business priorities, ensuring that time and budget constraints are managed effectively.

    Test Automation

    Investing in test automation can yield significant cost savings in the long run by increasing efficiency and reducing manual labor.

    Test automation involves using specialized software to automate the execution of test cases, reducing the need for manual testing efforts.

    Automation can significantly enhance testing efficiency, accelerate test cycles, and provide more extensive test coverage.

    While implementing test automation incurs upfront costs related to tool selection, script development, and training, it ultimately results in substantial time and cost savings, especially in projects with frequent updates or regression testing requirements.

    Outsourcing and Offshoring

    Exploring outsourcing options or offshore testing teams can provide cost-effective solutions while maintaining quality.

    Outsourcing testing activities to third-party providers or offshore testing teams can be a strategic approach to managing testing costs.

    Outsourcing allows you to access a broader pool of skilled testers, leverage specialized expertise, and benefit from cost efficiencies in regions with lower labor costs.

    However, it’s essential to carefully evaluate potential outsourcing partners, establish clear communication channels, and define service-level agreements (SLAs) to ensure the quality of testing services.

    Outsourcing costs can vary significantly depending on the location and expertise of the outsourcing partner, with annual expenses ranging from £10,000 to £150,000 or more per resource.

    Continuous Testing and DevOps

    Incorporating testing into the DevOps pipeline ensures continuous quality control, reducing the need for costly post-development testing phases.

    DevOps emphasizes the integration of development and operations, with testing integrated throughout the software development life cycle.

    Continuous testing, an integral part of DevOps, involves automating tests and executing them continuously as new code is developed and integrated.

    This approach reduces the need for dedicated testing phases at the end of the development cycle, ultimately saving time and resources.

    Implementing DevOps practices may require initial investments in tooling, training, and process adjustments, with costs typically ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 or more, depending on project size and complexity.

    Cost Management and Monitoring

    Effective cost management and monitoring are essential to keep your software testing budget on track:

    • Budgeting and Planning

    Thorough budgeting and resource allocation ensure that your testing expenses align with your project’s needs.

    Budgeting for software testing requires careful consideration of personnel costs, infrastructure investments, and tooling expenses.

    It’s essential to create a detailed budget that accounts for all testing-related expenditures and aligns with the project’s scope and timeline.

    A well-defined budget provides clarity and helps prevent cost overruns.

    • Tracking and Reporting

    Implementing metrics and regular reporting mechanisms helps you stay on top of your testing budget.

    Tracking testing costs and progress is vital to ensure that your project stays within budget and meets testing milestones.

    Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) related to testing efficiency, defect rates, and testing coverage.

    Regularly monitor these metrics and generate reports to provide visibility into testing progress and expenditures.

    This enables you to make data-driven decisions and take corrective actions if necessary.

    • Cost Overruns and Mitigation

    Identifying cost overruns early and implementing mitigation strategies can prevent budgetary crises and maintain project timelines.

    Despite meticulous planning, unforeseen circumstances can lead to cost overruns in software testing.

    To address cost overruns, it’s crucial to establish contingency plans and mitigation strategies.

    This may involve reallocating resources, adjusting project scope, or reevaluating testing priorities.

    Identifying cost exceeding early and taking proactive measures, you can minimize the impact on your project’s budget and timeline.

    Your Software – Your Budget!

    Understanding software testing costs is vital for effective project management and budget allocation.

    By considering project complexity, testing scope, methodology, team, and other factors, you can estimate and optimize your testing expenses more efficiently.

    Are you looking to get a clearer picture of your software testing costs or seeking expert advice on optimizing your testing process?

    Contact our software testing experts today for personalized guidance and cost-effective solutions.

    Don’t let testing expenses become a roadblock to the success of your software development project.

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    Co - Founder

    Tuhin Bhatt is a co-founder of London App Development (LAD), a leading Web and Mobile App Development Company. He helps passionate entrepreneurs build amazing tech products. Tuhin being a peoples man who has a passion to share his technical expertise with clients and other enthusiasts.

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