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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Thornhill

How Much Does it Cost to get ISO Certified?

In this video we’re going to look at the costs involved for your organisation if you want to become certified.

There will be some variables that will affect the cost of certification, such as:

  • The size of your organisation

  • How many sites you want to have certified

  • How many standards you want to be certified against

Certification bodies will classify your organisation from a risk perspective. If you're in a high-risk industry, they tend to quote a little bit more, because they need more time on site.

Once they have identified the level of risk, the certification bodies will then put the costs into two main categories, which are:

  1. Audit Costs

  2. Other Fees

The Audit Costs are the costs they’ll apply for the audit days, the time they spend on site as well as any associated travel fees that go along with that.

The Other Fees category tends to include a range of different fees and charges. Certification bodies tend to give these fees and charges different names, such as

  • Admin fees

  • Application fees

  • Annual fees

Ask for a quote that is Inclusive of all costs

Our customers often find that it can be hard to decide which is the best quote if they have received a couple of different quotes to compare. This is mainly because of the various terminology the audit bodies use around the fees, as well as variations in the price as well.

Our key tip to get a quote that you can understand, is to ask for a quote over a three-year audit cycle, (right from stage one audit through to your recertification audit in 3 years) that is inclusive of all costs.

Example of variation in cost of quotes:

A very small construction company with only about 8 people in the office and 2-3 project sites at any one time got 3 quotes over that three-year audit cycle from a number of audit bodie. The thing that varied most was the audit duration. They were getting quotes from anywhere from AU$24.000-AU$25,000 right up to AU$35,000.

That demonstrates the value of getting several different quotes. It was an interesting variation because all of the audit bodies work to guidelines around setting audit durations, that are set by the accreditation body above them.

Costs are not the only consideration:

We always emphasise to our customers that costs are not the only thing to consider when getting certified. You also need to go to your network and talk to other organisations that are certified, get feedback from them about the value the certification bodies are offering.

Yes, it is an independent objective process but try to find out how much they’ve helped those organisations improve over time as well as some feedback on the approach of the auditors. You’re looking for an auditor who will be business focused, works well with your people.

Certification Bodies can Apply Discounts

  1. Multi-site sampling discount

  2. Integrated Management System Discount

  3. Effective Employee Number Discount

  4. Remote Auditing Discounts

Multi-site Sampling Discount

If you've got 5 or 6 site that are performing largely the same activities, the audit body can apply a multi-site discount. This means that they do not need to, under the rules, visit every site, every time. That can lead to substantial audit savings.

Integrated Management System Discount

If you're seeking certification for quality, food safety and environment, all in an integrated system, then the duration quoted can be less than it would be for those systems to be audited individually.

Effective Employee Number Discount

If you've got a warehouse with 40 staff, operations are performing largely the same activities, then the auditors can apply a duration discount there. They don’t have to audit every single staff member in the distribution centre for example.

Remote Auditing Discounts

This type of discount is an emerging one, it’s reasonably new, but has come about from guidelines that certification bodies have been advised of around remote auditing.

The guidelines say that certification bodies need to evaluate the risks and opportunities in delivering your audit remotely, but if the risk can be managed then there is no reason it cant be done that way.

We do find that some certification bodies are resistant to that, and even some organisations. But, if you're an organisation in a large Country, such as Australia, and have a wide range of 20-30 sites spread across the country, then remote auditing could be a cost saving, and the most effective.


The Insiders Guide to ISO Management Systems & Compliance:

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