Guide

Quality management standards

ISO 9001 certification costs

There are no typical ISO 9001 costs. If you're budgeting for an ISO 9001 project, you should take into account certification costs, as well as the actual costs of implementation of the standard in your business.

Different factors will affect the price of ISO implementation and certification. These include:

  • the size of your business
  • the number of employees you have
  • your industry or sector
  • your business' operational structure
  • the extent of existing quality management systems
  • the complexity of the audit required

If you are looking for a 'ballpark' figure, many consultancy businesses offer 'no obligation' quotes online. To find an accredited certification body, search UKAS accredited organisations.

How much does it cost to get ISO certified?

Certification bodies operate a three-year ISO certification cycle. This cycle involves:

  • initial audits and certification
  • surveillance audits (during first and second year)
  • re-certification audit (at the end of the third surveillance year)

The costs of ISO certification will be spread across these stages. Certification bodies may exercise discretion over how they break these down.

Example of ISO certification costs

Typical ISO certification costs may involve the following:

Implementation costs - these will depend on whether you are doing the implementation yourself in-house, or hiring a consultant. If you're doing it yourself, you should estimate the costs of staff, time and resources needed for the project, for staff training, developing documentation, and so on. If you are hiring consultants to help with implementation, expect to pay at least £300 per day for a consultant.

Certification fees - these will depend on the size of your business, the number of operational sites you have and the level of risk associated with the product or service you provide. As an example, if you have two or three employees, operate at one site and provide low risk product or service, you can anticipate initial assessment fees in the region of at least £1400.

Post-certification costs - ISO certificates are issued for a period of three years. You will have to undergo six-monthly or annual surveillance audits to determine ongoing conformance to the standard. In the example given above, you would need to allow for:

  • annual audit costs of approximately £1000
  • 're-certification' audit, which can cost around 60 per cent of the initial assessment fees

In addition, some certification bodies also charge an annual registration fee of £100-400. For the example above, this could bring the total anticipated costs to £3500-4500 for three years ISO certification, and an additional £1200 for re-certification.

This is an indication of the costs only. There is no such thing as a fixed ISO price list. You can request quotations for certification services to give you better idea of the costs. You may also want to speak to more than one certification body in order to determine the full costs for certification over three years, as well as the costs for re-certification.

Keep in mind that adding other standards, such as those relating to environmental or health and safety systems, can significantly increase the costs of ISO certification.

Costs and benefits of ISO certification

Although the costs of ISO certification may initially put you off, it's important that you weigh them carefully against the potential savings and improvements your business could make and the additional business you could win. See advantages of quality management systems.

You can try several things to reduce the costs of ISO 9001 certification:

  • Get quotes, including the cost of surveillance visits, from several certification bodies and compare them for best deals.
  • Ask your certification body if they offer special rates for smaller businesses.
  • Minimise the amount of paperwork in your system.
  • Get a copy of the relevant standard to make sure that any work you do towards the standard meets its requirements. Prices start from around £85.
  • Check if your business qualifies for financial assistance with system or quality management software implementation. Search Northern Ireland business support finder.

Remember, you can choose to implement a quality management system without seeking ISO certification. See how to implement a quality management system.