What is the cost for ISO 9001 Certification? That is the first question any successful business manager would ask before investing in their business. Like for any other investment, many people like to know how much does it cost to get ISO 9001 certification, before deciding to move forward.

First of all, it is important to keep in mind, that any investment you make in the processes of your business, won’t have an immediate tangible benefit, however, their return will be beneficial in the long term. Going to the gym once wouldn’t be useful, and yet if you train for 20 minutes a day, consistently, you are guaranteed to get fit.

The same goes for continual improvement, which is brought about through ISO 9001 certification. Click on this link if you are still not sure about the benefits of ISO 9001 certification.

ISO 9001 Certification Cost

Cost of not implementing ISO Certification

Benefits of ISO Certification

When doing something new, it is very normal to first think about the cost that it will cost you to implement the measure that you’d like to get in your business. Why would the company want to get iso 9001 certified? There are various reasons however from my experience I find that there are three main reasons of why a company would want to implement an iso 9001 certification, namely:

  • it might be a requirement from the client or from the supplier
  • because there might be some kind of regulation that requires the implementation of an international management system
  • a marketing perception or point of view where the company would want to boost the reputation of their brand through the implementation of this certification of this quality certification to further prove their level of meeting customer requirements.

Cost of not implementing ISO Certification

So the first thing I wanted to speak about was that the cost of not implementing an iso certification would be and might be much higher than the cost of actually implementing certification itself. Naturally if clients start leaving the company because they would need this type of certification and they are not getting it then that would be that would mean that the company is headed in the right direction. Of course, every company wants to increase the number of clients and every company wants to increase the revenue and turnover.

ISO 9001 Certification Costs

Buying the ISO 9001 Standard

To buy the ISO 9001, what you can do is you can go on google, and write buy iso 9001 standard.  Then you can go on to the store of iso.org, and there you will find various standards that are available for sale. One of them would be iso 9001 version 2015.

Now at this time the price is of 138 swiss francs which as that today that equals to 131 euros. So the first cost for iso certification would be to buy the actual standard.

Now many clients ask me whether you actually need to buy the standards to go for certification. For the past 12 years I have helped more than 150 companies get certified. I was their consultant, as I am not a certification body. I will be explaining the difference between the consultant and the certification body later on in this video but my point is that no certification body, and no external auditor has ever asked for an original copy of the standard itself.

If you do not have a copy of the standard the internet is filled with information about each and every clause of the standard. Of course is the information that you need to implement this standard of course this website, which has the information that you need to help you to comply with all the requirements of the iso 9001 standard.

So the first cost of iso 9001 certification is buying the standard itself.

Buying templates

Once you get hold of the requirements that you will need as a company to implement iso 9001, you can start implementing these requirements.

The first thing that you might want to consider would be to buy some kind of templates which will help you to structure the information that you need implement the requirements of the standard. An example would be a template for an internal audit checklist, or a template for the quality manual. And even though having a quality manual is not a requirement in the latest version of the standard however, as a consultant of iso 9001 I still like to implement a quality manual. I use it as a central location where I can store all the information relating to the management system.

There are various places from which you can buy templates for ISO 9001 some templates cost maybe a couple of hundred euros other templates cost around one thousand dollars.

Our company has created wISO, which is the wiser way of implementing an iso certification. It is an artificial intelligence-based system that will help you and guide you through iso certification in the form of templates. You will not be dealing with a consultant but you will be dealing with this software that has the information of years of experience of various consultants stored in its artificial brain.

When thinking about purchasing templates, I greatly encourage you to consider the cost in terms of time that it will cost you for your employees to have to learn the basics that are needed to implement a management system.

I think that the worst thing that you can do when implementing a management system is to implement a bad management system. In the sense that you would be implementing a bureaucratic management system that would then be time consuming to actually run.

I know that I am slightly biased but from my experience I see that companies who implement a management system with a consultant, who has experience in implementing management systems, is much more likely to have a management system that helps the company to actually improve on their systems rather than to create bureaucratic and overly complicated systems that add little to no value to the company.

So the time that is required for the for the implementation of the management system is extremely important

Time for implementation

Your quality manager, operations manager, or someone else within the company must be dedicated towards the implementing of the standard. Their job would be to create the procedures, create the risk register,  to prioritize the risks etc.

Naturally this has to be done in conjunction with the top management so there is that element of time that is required from top management of the company. However here we are considering the time of the employee that has to learn the basics of what is required by the iso 9001 standard in a way that best suits the requirements of the company.

Once again I know that I am biased, but I am all in and in favour of hiring a consultant. A consultant will definitely help you get the most out of the standard which will be certainly beneficial in the long term in terms of:

  • cost savings and in terms of efficiency of the business
  • the actual time that is required to implement the standard
  • time saved of the person who would be responsible to implement the standard

Naturally, you would also need to consider the current workload of such person who will be responsible for the implementation of ISO 9001, especially for smaller organizations. If the person, who has already a hundred things on their plate, of tasks that they have to do every day, you can’t just add another project to that person and expecting them to excel on that project.

That is, unless they have been properly trained and that is another cost that is required for any company choosing to go for iso certification which is to train people in the capacity of lead auditors to implement the management system

Training all employees on ISO 9001

There is a small element of time that is required for any company implementing iso certification irrespective of the process they choose to get certified. And this is the time that where all the employees needs to be trained about the basic requirements of iso 9001.

You can go into simple videos that you might find online, either paid or free or you can hire someone professional to do a quick training session for example an hour or two worth of content.

The requirements of iso 9001 would be communicated to the employees and as stated in clause 7.3 of iso 9001 which speaks about awareness all employees must know:

  • the quality policy
  • their inputs within the quality management system
  • the consequences of not following the requirements set by the quality management system

So this type of training a half an hour an hour maximum two hours of all the employees of the company is another cost that you would incur as a company to implement iso certification.

Lead Auditor Training

There are various certification bodies and entities offering lead auditory training. Most of them are accredited. I would certainly advise you to go for a for example a Bureau Veritas training course. These types of courses cost in the range from between 1000 to 1500 euros per person.

They take around five days so one week full time. So the opportunity cost, of the person of not being available at work for five days is another cost.

Depending on the size of the company, you cannot have one person trained as lead auditor. This is  because the person cannot audit their own work. So you would need to train multiple people and that is another benefit of hiring a consultant.

Because a consultant like myself would have all the training that is required. And given that I am not involved in the operation of the business then I can audit all the areas of the business without any type of conflict of interest.

If for example you get the operations manager to attend to this lead auditor training, then the operations manager cannot be auditing the operational processes, because there is a huge element of bias. So in that case you would need to for example train someone within the accounting department on ISO 9001 so that that person would be able to audit the operational processes.

So any costs relating to iso 9001 lead auditor training has to be incurred by a minimum of two people within the organization naturally larger organizations might consider training much more people because of the work that is required to audit all the processes every year.

There would also be the need for an element of redundancy just in case one person resigns you can carry on with the activities required for the management system

Companies employing hundreds of people tend to hire someone on a full-time position so that would be another cost that would be dependent on the company.

Cost for hiring an ISO 9001 consultant

The cost of iso 9001 certification depends on many things including the size of the company and the choice that you make as management of the company on the route that you would like to take.

We have discussed that you might want to consider buying the standard to get the actual requirements set on a single document. You might either hire a consultant or do the work in-house.

Hiring a consultant will of course involve paying the consultant for the implementation and for the ISO 9001 internal audit. On the other hand, if you choose to implement it yourself you would need to

  • buy some kind of templates which will help you to have a foundation on which you can start the implementation.
  • invest in lead auditor training for more than one person
  • invest in the opportunity cost of having people dedicating time and effort on implementing the management system and learning the basics of the management system rather than doing the work that they were actually assigned to do when they were hired to work with the company

If you choose to work with a consultant you would need to pay the cost relating to the consultant. This would vary depending on the size of the organization and depending on the country in which you are working. From my experience and for companies within the European union the price would vary from around 3 000 to 15 000 euros depending on the size of the company.

Naturally the smaller the size of the company the cheaper the price would be and the larger, the more activities the company will have and therefore the consultant will need to dedicate more time and effort to help the company to be compliant with the standard.

When it comes to determining how much does it cost to get ISO 9001 certification, you will first need to decide on whether you’d like to do it yourself, or whether to hire an ISO 9001 consultant.

There are several pros and cons to choosing to hire a consultant.

Pros to hiring a consultant:

Cons to hiring a consultant

  • In the short term, they might increase the cost to get ISO 9001 certification
  • An outdated ISO 9001 consultant might be more interested in rigidly meeting each requirement to the dot. As opposed to actually helping you improve your business.

Cost of the certification body

The certification body is the entity that would actually grant you iso 9001 certification. When choosing a certification body for ISO Certification, you will notice that are many certifications around the world – Bureau Veritas, SGS and other certification bodies are available worldwide.

It is your choice to decide which certification body you would like to work with. Ultimately all certification bodies are offering the same service, which is certification of iso 9001. However as with any other product or service that is the element of a branding.

Some certification bodies are much more expensive than others because of their brand and reputation.

Application for quote by certification body

Here is an overview of the type of information that will be required by the certification body, apart from basic information company, contact details

Clause 8.3 applicable?

Details about what the company actually does and the first question is whether your company responsible for design and development procedure as per Clause 8.3 of the ISO 9001 standard.

Clause 8.3 within the standard can be excluded from the scope of certification depending of course on the nature of activities done by the company and whether that activity is being included within the scope of certification. This has an impact on the price quoted by the certification body.

Naturally because that would mean that more processes would need to be audited  

Key Processes to Audit

The second type of information that the certification body will need to grant the cost for iso 9001 certification is to list down the processes. The key processes that are required in general are:

Here the certification body are asking us for more detailed information about what do we mean by sales for example to have private and public clients. Do we bid for tenders, or do we have walk-ins? Or do we have sales people going around in shops of potential clients? What type of sales processes do we have?

Number of employees working for the company

One of the most elements that has an impact on the cost of certification, is the number of employees working for the company. The number of employees working for the company indicates the size of the operation that will need to be audited. It is obvious that the company employing five people has much less work being done than a company employing 5 000 people.

Therefore the certification body will invariably will ask the number of people working for the company before providing us the cost of iso 9001 certification. They can also ask us to state the number of people working in each section of the company HR, Operations, Sales etc.

And an extremely important question is that we have to also state the number of employees undertaking repetitive tasks. This is because, if you have multiple people doing the same type of work, then you can state that to the certification body. The certification body will not need to audit different types of activities but it is one activity being done by many different people.

In terms of span of control from management theories, this relates to when one manager is able to control many people doing the same type of work.

The number of shifts available in the company might also affect the cost for ISO certification. If the company works on a three-shift basis then certification body might want to visit the company during the different shifts. This is because different people and different activities might be done in different shifts throughout the day.

The number of sites

The number of sites that the company operates from. When we are referring to a site we mean the number of offices that the company works from.

If the company has one office or one main headquarters then in that case we would say that the company has one site. But if the company operates from different locations throughout the same country or different countries then it is wise to note that the certification body. Certification bodies will charge different prices, depending on the number of sites.

So it is good to keep in mind that if we have an office in a particular location and a store for example a few doors down we wouldn’t include that as two sites. Or if we do, we would communicate with the certification body accordingly to let them know the extreme proximity of the two sites.

Then there is the concept of temporary sites. Which is the case for example for construction companies who would have temporary sites at all the construction sites they are working on. This will have an impact on the cost of the certification body because they would want to visit some of these temporary sites. In a similar way we also have to consider if any work is being done at customers premises which is also considered as a temporary site.

Risk in activity

Some certification bodies might want to increase their price depending on the activity on the risk based on the activity of the company. For example if you are working on offshore oil rigs, there is a higher risk than if you are working in a food manufacturing company on land. So that extra for example 10% for the higher risk activity might be included.

Extra auditor-days needed

In case of any non-conformities that are found out during the audit, the certification body might charge a fixed daily rate for an external auditor to visit the company again to close these non-conformities.  

The cost of certification body for ISO 9001 is incurred by all

Above, I have discussed all the factors that affect the cost for the certification body. I went into ample detail relating to the costs of the certification body because if you are choosing to go for an iso certification, the cost of the certification body has to be paid irrespective of the implementation system and type that you use when you are going for this type of certification.

The role of a consultant is not to actually give you the certificate for ISO 9001, but to guide you through the Process to get ISO 9001 Certified. The final step in this process is that of Choosing a certification body.

Costs for a certification body change depending on who you choose to work with. The only Maltese certification body is MCCAA. MCCAA offers auditors with generic experience in the standard, who understand the local context of Maltese companies. Their cost is relatively cheap when compared to other international certification bodies (such as Lloyd’s Register and Bureau Veritas). That said, international certification bodies would provide you with auditors who are specialists within (i) ISO 9001 and (ii) the industry you operate in.

Hiring a Maltese certification body is cheaper as there are less travelling costs involved. Working with an international certification body would increase the cost to get ISO 9001 certification. In this case you would also need to pay for the flights and accommodation to come to Malta to conduct your audit.

Prices for a certification should be somewhere around this cost range:

  • Less than 10 employees – Eur1200
  • 10 – 25 employees – Eur1800
  • 25 employees an above – Eur2200

The above costs are for indication purposes only, and each company would need to submit an official request for a quote from the certification body to get the actual price.

The cost of running an ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification

First of all, it is good to mention once-again that a bad implementation of iso 9001 would lead to an extremely bureaucratic system, which would create heaps of papers. Paperwork that is just required to follow the requirements – not for the benefit of the company.

So it is extremely wise to make sure that whoever is implementing your management system believes that life is already complicated enough and we are not implementing management systems to over complicate our business, rather it is the other way around. We are implementing quality management systems to help us work in a more organized and streamlined way. To simplify the operations of the business. So it is extremely important to keep in mind the cost of running the management system where if we are implementing too many forms and systems and papers and software that have to be filled in for the company to run to maintain their iso certification that is an exorbitant cost that your company.

On the other hand if you hire an experienced consultant who is obsessed with implementing lean systems then you will be compliant with the requirements of the standard while actually improving on your current business performance and reducing the overall costs that you currently have right now in running the business.

Yearly internal audit cost for ISO 9001

Another cost of running the management system is that you would need to do an internal audit every year so unless you have trained people you would also need to hire a consultant to do the internal audit once a year.

There is also the cost of the certification body who would need to do a surveillance audit at your premises once a year.

Investing in ISO 9001 – Is there an ROI?

If you are investing in your management system, and you are recruiting a consultant who will help you to streamline your business processes, you are bound to find ideas for improvement.

You are bound to find activities that will help you to save on time and effort to do the same work that you are doing right now but at a higher level.

So it is extremely important to consider the cost of iso certification as an investment that you are making to drastically improve your business. In my opinion the following activities are worthy of any investment needed:

  • creating a management system which will help you to manage your business based on data. Just like we do in our financials, we do not manage the financial activities of our company based on opinions or gut feelings, but we have numbers prepared by financial people who will advise us about the profit, turnover, revenue and other information relating to the financial performance of our business. By implementing iso 9001 your quality and operational aspects will be run in a similar way
  • Improved staff motivation – if your employees feel like they are working with a company that invests in them and in the quality of the products, and in the quality of products and services offered by the company, then you will invariably have improved staff motivation. Which will reduce employee turnover, which is extremely beneficial for the company in the long term.
  • Since your company would be certified against an international standard for quality then your brand your company is bound to achieve a better perception in the market of what your company stands for.

that is all I have to say today about the cost of iso 9001 certification if you have any questions please feel free to contact me I would love to answer any questions you might have and in the meantime I wish you that you keep on improving on your management system to get the best out of your company thank you