How Much Does it Cost to get ISO Certified? The IRM Systems ISO Compliance Series

Posted by Craig Thornton

In this blog you will learn about what are the costs involved in to getting ISO Certified. This leads on from the previous blog about the process of getting ISO Certification.  

Andrew Thornhill from IRM Systems discusses this topic in the video below.

 Video Transcription


1. Cost Criteria

There are some variables that Certification Bodies (CBs) will consider. It will depend on:

  1. Size of your organisation
  2. How many sites you want to have certified
  3. How many standards you want to be certified against
  4. What is the Risk 

If we’re in a high-risk industry, CBs tend to quote a little bit more. They may need a little bit more time on site.


2. Type of Quotes

Each CB will provide different quotes they provide. For this I’m going to put the kind of fees they charge into two main categories, Audit Costs and Other Fees.

Audit Costs

That is a cost for the number of audit days and the time auditors spend on site as well as any associated travel fees.

Other Fees

There tends to be a range of different fees and charges the CBs apply.  Unfortunately, CBs give these fees and charges different names, like admin fees, application fees or annual fees.

What my customers do find, if they receive a couple of quotes, that they can be quite hard to compare. This is because of the different terminology these CBs use around the fees. The fees can vary quite a lot as well.


3. Audit Cycle Quote

Make sure you get a quote that you can understand. In addition ask for a quote over a three-year audit cycle. This will be right from stage one audit through to your re-certification audit in 3 years, that’s inclusive of all costs.


4. Costs Are Not the Only Consideration

You need to go to your networks and discuss the value the CBs are offering. Discuss 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 and works well with your people.


5. Variation in Quotes

You will see variation in the quotes.

Here is an example: it's a small construction company, based in one city and is very small. There are only about 8 people in the office. They undertake 2-3 project sites at any one time. They got three quotes over that three-year audit cycle. What varied most was the audit duration. The quotes ranged from AUD24000-AU$25,000 right up to AUD35000.

This example 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.


6. Discounts

The number one tip for getting the best quote that we can is: CBs can apply a number of discounts.

1. Multi-site sampling discount

If we’ve got 5 or 6 sites, those sites are performing largely the same activities, the audit body does not need to, under the rules, visit every site, every time. That can lead to substantial audit savings.


2. Integrated Management System Discount 

If we’re seeking certification for quality and 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.


3. Effective Employee Number Discount 

If we’ve got a warehouse and 40 staff are performing largely the same activities, then they can apply a little bit of a duration discount there, they don’t have to audit every single staff member in the distribution centre for example.


4. Remote Auditing Discount 

There are some guidelines that CBs can undertake remote auditing. Those guidelines include the need to evaluate the risks and opportunities in delivering your audit that way. If the risk can be managed then there is no reason it cant be done that way. 

We do find some CBs are a little bit resistant to remote auditing. If you’re an organisation in Australia, where I’m based, if we’ve got a wide range of 20 or 30 sites spread right across the country, then remote auditing could be not only cost saving but a really good way of doing the audit as well.


Tags: ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 9001, ISO Certification