Blog Post

Software Testing Cost
Founder Advice

How Much Does Software Testing Cost? Proven Ways To Optimize It

Mihir Mistry,

Software development cost is composed of three main factors: Designing, Coding, and Testing. Designing is associated with the client-side. Coding is associated with the server-side, but do you know what testing is associated with? Well, software testing is associated with the quality of software.

Suppose you have designed highly interactive software with a robust backend, and you launch it without testing (with high hopes of attracting investors). Consequently, all you get is increased developer complications, stakeholder disapproval, and poor consumer experiences. Because testing is not an option but an integral part of SDLC—Software Development Life Cycle, for good. 

Given its importance, it’s reported that global organizations spent nearly a quarter (23%) of their annual IT budget on the software quality assurance cost in 2019.

Do you think they are splurging on testing? Spending almost a fourth portion of the budget on software testing is a big deal, right? Is software testing really worth it? What should be the average cost of software testing, though? Is there any way to control or optimize the software quality assurance prices?

So, note down all your questions and start ticking off one by one as you read this post. By the end of the post, you’ll know why and how much budget you need to reserve for software quality testing. 

Hence, without further ado, let’s get started!

software testing cost

How does software testing add value to your business? 

“Cost is more important than quality, but quality is the best way to reduce cost.” 

— Genichi Taguchi.

Not testing your software and consequently getting stuck with endless bug fixes is way too costly than the cost of software testing. Not to mention, with those bugs and frustrating user experience, no one will like to use or invest in your software. In the worst case, it might get red-flagged. 

Let us come to the other side when you implement the best software testing practices. 

  • Your development costs will reduce: As you have integrated quality assurance activities in the early stages of your SDLC, detecting and fixing defects become swift, more manageable, cheaper, without any financial or reputational loss. 
  • Streamline the development process: Employing professional QA engineers from the very beginning of the development brings order, speed and simplifies the process, achieving high productivity and efficiency. 
  • Increase possibilities of high customer satisfaction: Quality testing aims to make the product work seamlessly, elevating the user experience. Ultimately, your product gains trust and loyal customers. 

Hiring Professional Quality Analysts Reduces The Cost Of Software Testing 

Many people rely on their developers for quality assurance. However, the approach backfires most of the time, and here’s how.

When someone tests something created by themselves, chances are it might bring unconscious or unintentional bias into the process. Therefore, Software developers, while testing their own work, lack the objectivity to be able to test thoroughly.

Professional QA testers, on the other hand, test every single button, form field, and function of the software. Unlike developers working on one part of the source code, testers keep overall software requirements in mind.

Don’t go yet. The pending cost comparison says hiring a QA tester is more economical than having developers test your application. You heard it right! Because developers charge more or twice as high compared to quality testers, that costs you more down the line. More cost and poor performance assurance, doesn’t it sound like a loss-making deal?

Software testing hourly rate

Software testing hourly rate: how much do QA testers charge?

Like software developers, quality assurance testers’ hourly rates differ based on their skills, qualifications, experience, and location. Nevertheless, it also depends on your approach to onboarding the QA engineer. You can either hire a quality tester in-house or outsource from an agency. 

But when we dive deeper into each option, outsourcing testing from a mobile app development company is cost-efficient. Because the salary and maintenance of your in-house tester can make a hole in your pocket. Needless to say, finding the right talent is a real struggle.

On the contrary, you don’t have to worry about anything if you outsource your software quality testing from a reliable software company. Given such companies already possess an entire team of software development that would have significant experience in their field. This is how you get the optimum talent without interviewing hundreds of candidates.

Furthermore, the structure of software testing costs is flexible. You may find pricing models such as fixed cost or hourly cost. Now, remember when I said like developers, testers rates also differ from one location to another. So, let us see how it happens as it impacts your overall software testing budget. 

  • The QA tester rate in the US is about $36/hour,
  • The United Kingdom – $22/hour,
  • Ukraine $25/hour,
  • India $7 to $13.4/hour

Even though India seems the cheaper location to outsource your software testing, it doesn’t influence the caliber. In fact, India is a hub of potent software service providers. The rest is up to you!

software testing time

How Many Hours Does It Take To Perform Software Quality Testing?

The hourly rate will depend on the location, but what about the hours? Well, how many hours software testers will take are as vague as the number of bugs until you find them out. Nevertheless, the best technique to estimate the testing time is building a test plan. In this plan, you break down the testing process into several parts, dividing types of testing and categories. 

To carry out this procedure, you need an experienced tester that understands your requirements and proceeds quickly. Though, it will take around two to three days to plan and ensure not a single test case leaves out. 

On that note, you can follow the below steps to estimate a more realistic software testing time.

  • Conduct Requirement Analysis
  • Perform Test Planning
  • Create A Thorough Draft Test Cases 
  • Figure Out Average Time To Perform Test Cases
  • Do The Math Of Retesting Fixed Bugs And Performing Regression Testing
  • Create A Report 

Just for your better understanding, look into this bifurcation of test types associated with categories.

Testing CategoryTypes of Testing
Functional TestingUnit Testing
Integration Testing
UAT ( User Acceptance Testing)
Non-Functional TestingPerformance


In addition, the cost also relies on the four measurements of the cost of quality.

  1. Prevention Costs: It includes training developers and designers to create easy-to-maintain code, practices to prevent lousy quality, complying with performance & security standards, et cetera.
  2. Detection Or Appraisal Costs: It comprises the cost of creating test cases and test plans, covering different requirements, as well as generating relevant test data, defect logging, tracking, automation scripts, et cetera.
  3. Internal Failure Costs: It includes expenses to fix defects and bugs prior to the launch that can be defined as re-work, re-testing, re-design, bug fixing.
  4. External Failure Costs: It is the cost you bear when you launch a poor quality software product, including processing customer complaints, warranty claims, reputation damage, et cetera.
Cost Of Software Testing

5 Proven Strategies To Optimize The Cost Of Software Testing 

You are finally here! After all the software testing costs blah…blah…blah, the time has finally come to learn how to make software testing budget-friendly. So, take a deep breath and dive straight below.

#1 Set measurable testing goals

Sometimes, the software testing process can be resource-intensive, resulting in higher costs than usual. It happens because of unclear project requirements and goals. Undoubtedly, your testing goal is to eliminate all potential bugs and defects and achieve high performance. 

However, if your goals and objectives are not matched with your software tester, it will be of no worth. In other words, your team has to be on the same page to figure out the best testing techniques. Try to answer the following questions to be more precise and track your software testing goals.

  • What do you expect to be the outcome of software testing?
  • Are there any software testing priorities?
  • What type of report do you expect to receive from your team?
  • How have you planned to communicate with your team?

#2 Start early; Don’t wait for development to finish

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, incorporating quality analysts from the early development prevents expensive mistakes. The Systems Sciences Institute at IBM reported that,

The cost to fix bugs found during the testing phase could be 15X more than the cost of fixing those found during design.

Hence, it’s far better to integrate security and quality testing across the SDLC rather than only at the end. It’s a quicker and cheaper way to discover and mitigate software bugs and vulnerabilities.

#3 Test-driven development is software testing budget-friendly

What if you could instruct your code on what it should do, and when it doesn’t, you would know which code needs debugging? Finding and resolving bugs will become rapid, reducing testing hours and the cost. Lucky for you that it is possible with Test-Driven Development alias TDD. The approach is to write unit test cases of software requirements to specify and validate what code would do.

The TDD approach keeps the project from going off the trail and being delayed. In addition, it improves code readability with the product architecture, simplifying the task of adding new features or revising existing code. Overall, TDD provides the maximum test coverage with easy-to-maintain code that reduces the cost of testing and maintenance.

#4 Risk-based testing strategy can save you from your nightmare

In the Risk-based testing approach, QA recognizes and prioritizes potential risks that influence product quality and performance. With the planning and preparation, you can test the functionalities with significant influence over the product quality with chances of failure. 

Ultimately, this approach helps you prevent the most harmful issues, including information leakage, security gap, poor performance, and other external failures of software.

#5 Don’t let those hidden software testing costs suck your budget 

Hidden costs of software testing can be like the depth of an iceberg. Consequently, unexpected or hidden costs raised the budget than otherwise. Some examples: the testing tools you employ, advanced training that testers acquire, adopting new technologies, and maintenance.

However, you cannot prevent all these indirect tests expenses as they play a role in the process. Yet, you can compare different tools with features and your requirements before opting for any. Similarly, analyzing the possible hidden cost will lead you to reduce the overall cost.

Summing Up

Controlling the software testing cost is not that hard. All you need is efficient testing processes, experienced quality analysts, and adequate preparation. Therefore, we created this post so that you can save your money to spend on what’s more crucial. 

Mihir Mistry

Mihir Mistry is a highly experienced CTO at Kody Technolab, with over 16 years of expertise in software architecture and modern technologies such as Big Data, AI, and ML. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others to help them benefit.

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