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2. I need some more info on ISO 9001 - costs, time, resources.

How much will ISO 9001 certification cost?

Costs can vary greatly depending on how much input you can provide to develop the quality system documentation.

Costs may include:

  • Cost of external consultant to develop documentation and provide support during implementation
  • Cost of internal resources to develop documentation, conduct internal audits & system review meetings
  • Cost of Certification (External Audit Fees)
  • Ongoing system maintenance costs

External Audit Fees are based on a three year compliance cycle. ie. the cost to maintain certification for a three year period.

This fee includes:

  • a pre-certification audit
  • the actual certification audit, and
  • a number of surveillance audits.

You will need to be re-certified after three years and new audit fees paid. The price charged by most certification companies is based on the number of employees in your company. There is a sliding fee scale set by each national certifying body. Certification fees can range upwards from a low of around $5000 for first year in the three year compliance cycle.

How long will ISO 9001 take?

Small businesses can generally manage to achieve accreditation in about 10 to 16 weeks. Larger organisations may need up to 9 months, or more. The time taken to achieve certification can vary from organisation to organisation and depends on:

  • How much time it takes to prepare system procedures, forms, checklists
  • How much training can be provided to develop an awareness of the system requirements across the organisation
  • How quickly you can generate sufficient systems records to provide the evidence that your quality system is working effectively
  • How quickly you can resolve internal audit findings
  • Availability of auditors from your chosen Certification Body

Do I need external help to get ISO 9001 accredited, or can I do it myself?

If you do not have sufficient internal resources to develop your own quality system documentation then you may need to hire an external consultant / mentor to assist. This will certainly add cost but may well be the only way to drive change internally and get the job done.

Remember, well qualified / experienced consultants understand the ISO 9001 standard thoroughly and are capable of pointing out the “must-do” requirements – in many cases they can save you writing non-essential documentation.

Consultants may choose to work on an hourly rate or a single project fee.

Consultants should provide a warranty in regard to nonconformances detected at the Certification Audit confirming that they will offer their services free of charge to rectify problems attributable to deficiencies in documentation that they generated.

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