When you choose a software testing company, there are several things to take into account to make sure you are picking the company that’s right for you. Depending on your quality assurance needs, you will have different needs in a software testing company. Here are a few questions you should ask before you sign a contract.

Does the software testing company have a good reputation?

Reputation isn’t everything, but a bad reputation can be a good indicator that the software testing company in question is not worth your money or your time. Make sure you look up the company beforehand on Google Reviews, the Better Business Bureau, or even check the reviews on their Facebook page– if any past customers have had a less than satisfactory experience with the company, you’ll know what problems to look out for in advance.

Of course, it’s not just the reviews that show the quality of a company. Searching for recent news on the software testing company in question can reveal other clues into the quality of their service. Have they recently switched CEOs or facilities? Is there a PR statement about their recent award win? All of this can help to give you a better idea about the quality of their testing services.

Does their pricing match their expected quality?

Once you have an idea about the quality of work they do, it’s time to check their pricing. During the time you spent researching your testing company candidates’ reputation, you likely got an idea of what most companies charge for software testing services. Compare that price range with the pricing of your candidates. Are any of them charging more than you would expect for their supposed quality level, or more than you can reasonably budget? Cross those companies off your list.

Sometimes undercharging can also be a sign that a software testing company isn’t the right company for you. If any of the companies have suspiciously low prices, that may mean that they’re outsourcing their software testing or otherwise cutting corners. This is the point where you should dig into the technical capabilities of your candidate companies to ensure that the company will be able to thoroughly support your software during the testing process.

Are your testers generalists or specialists?

Look into the qualifications of the actual people who will be doing your testing. Do they specialize in software testing, or are they more of an IT generalist? Either can do depending on exactly what your software needs from a software testing company.

If you are looking specifically at addressing quality assurance, a specialized software tester is the smarter choice. Their experience and expertise will let them approach the project from angles your IT generalist may not be aware of. On the other hand, if you think your problems may have more than just a QA angle, the wider knowledge base of an IT generalist may be a better choice.

Not being able to get a clear answer when it comes to the abilities of the actual testers can be a dangerous sign. If your potential software testing company can’t tell you the qualifications of your testers, or better yet let you speak to those testers directly, that may mean that they are outsourcing their software testing to an offshore software testing operation or that they’re crowdsource testing your software.

While both can be an option depending on your needs and budget, both offshore testing and crowdsource testing can mean a variability in the skills of those doing the actual software testing. You won’t be able to tell if those testing your actual software have a standard testing ability, high ability, or no software testing experience at all.

Can the software testing company integrate with your existing tools and methodology?

It’s important to make sure that the software testing company you’re using is familiar with your already existing quality assurance tools and practices. While they don’t have to be well versed in your company’s exact processes (though it helps if they can be!), you want to make sure that they are familiar with the way your team is tracking software changes and that they are making sure to test your software on all platforms that you’re planning to release on.

While there’s no guarantee that a software testing company will be familiar with every platform, development tool and project management system, knowing what they already know and what you already have can at least give you an idea of what to expect when it comes to collaboration.

And finally…

How much pre-testing work will you need to do before they can start testing?

This might seem like a strange question, but not all software testing companies are equally prepared to start a project without a bit of preparation on the client’s part. Some companies will expect you to outline the conditions of the tests, manage the testing process, and interpret the test results yourselves. In other words, some companies are only prepared to do the grunt work and not the prep or analysis.

It can be hard choosing the right software testing company for your software. You’ll need to decide on your ideal level of quality, cost, expertise and how hands-off you want to be able to be when it comes to the management of your testing. Making sure you know all the information about a potential company beforehand will make picking your software testing company that much easier.