How to kickstart a freelance software testing project

Starting a freelance software testing project is similar in many ways to any other project. It requires rigorous planning, well thought out tests, and excellent communication. As a freelancer however, you may feel more responsible in making sure that your client is happy with your work. This way, you have a better chance of getting more work from them.

Think first then ask

Before you start anything, you want to clarify with your client as much as possible. This means you can provide them the biggest return for their money.

Clarify:

  • Why did they hire you?
    What do they expect to get out of this piece of work? A report to take to customers?, confidence their application? Information about their application?
  • Your test approach
    Provide guidance here. Give a basic approach on how you intend to test the application. Then get some feedback on it.
  • Application
    Get as much information on the application they want you to test.
  • test environment
    Ask who will be responsible for the test environment (They may be expecting you to own it). If the client is to maintain the environment, what access will be provided to you?
  • the test scope
    Never assume the type of testing your client wants. Spell out what you intend to test. A spreadsheet is good for this. Briefly list the areas you think require testing and send this to your client.
  • Test Tools
    Ask your client if they use any test tools? If not suggest the ones you are most comfortable with.
  • reporting
    Give the client some idea of how and what you will be reporting. Is a weekly email sufficient or do they want daily communication. This will have an impact on the cost of the work involved.
  • schedule
    Do they have a schedule or time frame in mind when this testing has to be completed? If the time frame is fixed, this may be the deciding factor in how much testing you can do
  • budget
    Talk to the customer about money. Be upfront about payment conditions, when you expect to be paid and how.

I like to base my quote following most of this information exchange. Its an upfront cost I wear as I like to provide accurate quotes to my client that are tailored to meet their needs and provide greatest benefit to them.

Your quote can be fixed price or time and materials. Fixed price is great when the effort is quantifiable. Otherwise you can go for time and materials. This can be an hourly or daily rate. Deciding on your rate is tricky and will require you to do some investigating. If you have a friendly recruitment agent, they may be able to provide you with some pointers.

If you really have no idea how much be upfront with your client and ask them what their budget is and then work out what you can provide for that.

Once you have agreed on the scope of work, the schedule, the cost put it in writing. Include risks and assumptions such as;

Assumptions

  • You will receive the application on time
  • You will be paid thirty days after completion
  • Completion of the project is delivery of a final report
  • No retesting is involved in the cost

Risks

  • What happens if the project is abandoned, will you be paid for the work you do?
  • If the testing takes longer than you expected, how will this be managed?
  • What happens if requirements change halfway through testing?

Be prepared….

Make sure you have everything you need to test. If you are testing remotely, do you have suitable bandwidth, hardware, software to support the testing required. Do this as early as possible, as it may take time to setup the test environment.

Have a process for backing up your testing nightly. Be meticulous about this.

I think its unfair to ask a customer to pay for you to ‘learn as you go’. So, know the basics of software testing. Have templates ready for all stages of your testing, this will also help with your branding.

Now all thats required is to start your test approach.

Above all;

  • keep communicating with your client,
  • be upfront on any issues that arise
  • Be knowledgeable and provide guidance
  • Don’t forget to ask the customer their opinion.

Good luck on your project

This blog is the result of an email requesting advice on starting a freelance software test job.

50 Comments

  1. Hi Anne-Marie,
    It’s a great in-depth analysis of freelance testing projects. Your every approach to freelance project seems to be with experience. So I would expect exact figures to charge to clients in both fixed price and daily, hourly charges..

  2. Hi,

    I would like to know how is the market of software QA and the future of it in Australia especially in Melbourne. Alot people think the nature job is easy and so the renumeration is much lesser and demotivated.

    Please advise.

    -Jason

  3. Hi Anne,

    I would like to know if you can help me with the Process Flow Diagrams for Test Execution and if so could you please send me some templates.

    Thanks

  4. Hi Anne Marie
    I would like to start a career in this area, but have no clue as to how to get started. I see you studied electronic engineering, is this something i should be looking in to? I really know nothing about this field, so appreciate any pointers you could give me.
    Many thanks for your time so far,
    Claire

  5. Hi Anne
    I am a software tester by profession and planning to start my own firm for Software Testing.
    I would like to know how and from where I can grab the software testing projects on Internet.
    Please guide me.

    Regards,
    Nikhil Aggarwal

  6. Hi Anne
    I am a software tester by profession and planning to start my own firm for Software Testing.
    I would like to know how to start testing as individual tester please guide me……

    Regards
    sreenuothuri

  7. Hai, around 8 Y experienced Software Tester. i am looking for software freelance testing projects.
    Can any body guide me in this regard.
    Regards,
    Ravi

  8. Hi,
    I have around 4 years of experience in testing in both the fields i,e manual as well as automated. Kindly tell me how to get projects for testing online .
    sanjeev

  9. I am well experience in Software Manual Testing. Experience in writing Test Plan and also writing/executing Test Cases. Well versed with various Testing approaches in different types of System Testing. Client interaction and analyzing business/functional requirements. Well experienced in Testing web applications and retail domains. Experience as Test Lead. Client shall except 100 % Test Reports…

  10. Hi,
    I am a software test engineer,2+ year experience in manual testing. experience in test plan writing master test case and test case. Can anyone tell me how to get a testing project for online

  11. I have 3+ yrs of experience in Software Development using Java/J2EE and ASP.NET and Software Manual Testing. Experience in writing Test Plan and also writing/executing Test Cases. Well versed with various Testing approaches in different types of System Testing. Client interaction and analyzing business/functional requirements. Well experienced in Testing web applications and retail domains. Experience as Test Lead. Client shall except 100 % Test Reports…

  12. Freelance testing is much more challenging.Some of the challenges I can for see are:
    a. Time zone.
    b. U are on your own to isolate a bug or issue.
    c. U are one man army.
    d. If u are also having regular job then u are working in the evening and u may not be as fresh.
    e. etc

  13. Hi,
    I am a software test engineer,2+ year experience in manual testing and Automation. Experience in test plan writing master test case and test case. I am looking for software freelance testing projects.Can any body guide me in this regard.

  14. Hello,

    I would like to know the website from which I can get freelance testing projects.I am in UK

    Regards,
    Archana

  15. I am a developer( asp.net using c#) having 2.5 years experience in developwmnt now I wants to start testing as a bussiness option.How can I start freelance testing for web based project. I am located at pune, India.

  16. hello,
    I have 5+ year Excellent experience in Software testing.

    Experience to test web based and destop application.
    Good knowledge to SQL.
    Excellent in finding Bugs.

  17. we are growing software development company. we have also our testing department. we are now exploring our work to software testing. hope u support.

  18. hi
    Really the article is beneficial for me.I have 1.5 years experience in manual testing.Now I want to join automation testing.Can u suggest from which tool I have to start.Tell me also how I can search testing projects online.
    Thanx

  19. Very nice article,

    most of the points are really practical expreince for us.

    We are specialist offshore outsourcing Independent QA/Testing consultancy company propelled by a team of bright, efficient & committed individuals, having acquired their professional acumen from the India’s premier technological institutes and based out in National Capital Region of India. We have built strong practices and cover industry verticals like financial services, telecom, healthcare, SCM, Mobile, network security, travel, E-commerce, manufacturing and retail.

    Thanks any ways for sharing your thoughts with us.

    -Aman Khan
    Vice President of Services and Delivery
    360logica software testing services
    http://www.360logica.com

  20. I’m interested to bid or outsource the testing project, who had over 6+ years of experience in this field.Very good knowledge and experience in QA methodologies.Expertise in testing the web application and client/server application.Good knowledge in gather and manage the requirements from client and test requirements and very good coverage in testing.

  21. I’m interested to bid or outsource the testing project, who had over 6+ years of experience in this field.Very good knowledge and experience in QA methodologies.Expertise in testing the web application and client/server application.Good knowledge in gather and manage the requirements from client.Very good coverage in software testing.

  22. Its a Great article,

    All the points are really practical expreince for which i am Seeing.

    We are specialist offshore outsourcing Independent QA/Testing consultancy company propelled by a team of bright, efficient & committed individuals, having acquired their professional acumen from the India’s premier technological institutes and based out in National Capital Region of India. We have built strong practices and cover industry verticals like financial services, telecom, healthcare, SCM, Mobile, network security, travel, E-commerce, manufacturing and retail.

    I would like to know who much we can charge for the client per hour/day.

    Thanks for your valiable article.

    -Venkat D
    Business Development Manager
    Heyday Software Solutions
    http://www.Heydaysoft.com

  23. Hi Anne ,

    Nice Article and Good Guidance from you , Moreover Kindlt let us know in detail about how to kick off , as a Sucessfull Freelance Tester . Thanks in advance

  24. hi
    Really the article is beneficial for me.I have 1.2 years experience in manual testing.Now I want to join automation testing.I know how to handale QTP,Test Director tool .Tell me also how I can search testing projects online.
    Thanx

  25. Hi Anne,
    The article is really informative and inspiring.I am 1 year experinced manual tester.Currently i am on leave.I would like to do something really useful in this area.
    It would be greatly appreciated if you could guide me on this.I would like to get started under guidance of a mentor.Do you have any openings?
    Expecting your reply
    Simi

  26. Hi,

    I have 4+ years of experience in Software Testing. I have team also. Can anybody help me out to get freelance testing projects.

  27. Hi Anne,

    Your Article is simply amazing. That was an in depth knowledge you provided for us. We appreciate you.

    I have 4 + Years of Exp as a Software Engineer (Testing), Manual Testing. I have knowledge on Automated tools as well and I am trying for Freelancers work on Q.A from a long time but couldn’t Find any. If you can guide us that would be great.

    Thanks and regards

  28. Hi,

    I am Deepa, ISTQB FL certified 4+ yrs of Experience in software testing.I am interested in Freelance testing. can anyone suggest me where do I find freelance testing openings,

  29. Hi
    i m 3.5 yrs exp in S/W Testing.
    I am interested in Freelance testing. can anyone suggest me where do I find freelance testing openings,

  30. Hi
    im 2 yrs exp in testing
    Iam interested in Freelance testing . can any one suggest me where do I find freelance testing opennings

  31. H e l l o ,

    I have done B.Tech. (IT). And i am having 3+ year of experience in Software Testing,Coding,and IT Managment Services. i having knowladge of QTP,load runner,Quality Center and some open source tools. i am interested in freelance software testing Project.Please let me know if you offer freelancing services for projects in line. If so, do contact me through e-mail for further details. verma.rohitkr@gmail.com

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Thanks,
    With Regards,
    Rohit Kumar

  32. Hi,
    I am a part of Software firm. We have software testing professionals with more than 10 yrs of experience from all the domains of industry. We do undertake software testing projects at best market rate with 100% efficiency and highly professional service standards. Feel free to get a free quotation for your testing requirements. You can mail me at vikalp.nirmal@gmail.com or call on +91-9923204540

    Thank you,
    Vikalp Nirmal

  33. Hello Anne
    Its a very interesting article. I haven’t vast knowledge about ST but 2 years back I start my own ST firm with big risk and I got bit success. our staff members have 7+ year software testing experience and we did few soft.testing project which was based from US and UK. Presently we have one more project which is also from UK, I have my own IT firm with three people who work for my firm. Now I wish to expand my business and for that I need your kind help. I really don’t understand that how to do marketing? How to plan my marketing strategy? so could you pls write me about that? I really need your guideline.I’ll be very grateful about your kind help.
    (pls write me at my email)
    Thank you for your great article.
    With Regards

  34. @ER Krishna
    Hi Krishna,

    I have 2.5+ years of experience in software testing. M working as a manual tester for Mobile based applications. I am working on Palm, WinCE, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry platform.

    If u have any project then please inform me…My personal Id is sachinparit@gmail.com

    Waiting for ur reply

  35. Hi,

    I am ahving 6.5+ years of Automation functional and performence testing and developement experience which includes SAP testing using eCATT, Testpartner, QTP, QC, load runner. I am looking for some good freelancing projects where I can prove myself. I am currently leading a team of 9 people in global location and expert in Quality project reporting as well.
    Please let me know if some good testing projects are there, I can arrange 7-8 testers anytime.
    Best regards,
    Preeti

  36. Hi Ann,

    I have project need. Required a LoadRunner expert to work at my client’s place. Estimation of project is 100 hours.
    Location is Fort Worth, Texas.

    Please e mail your details.

    My Contact info ; upendar.ramini@gmail.com

  37. can u plz sen me projects samples for 1 year experience to my mail id….am looking job in feild of manual and autoamtion testing…am a cerified tester in both means and a graduate in B.E

  38. I’m searching a lot for this kind of information. I want to start a small consultency kind of thing where we a group of 10 well qualified real time people will be testing the freelance projects.

    Can you give some basic info on how to get projects and where to get.

  39. I am certified in Software Testing , have .2+ year of experience in Software Testing,Coding,and IT Managment Services. i having knowladge of QTP,load runner,Quality Center and some open source tools. i am interested in freelance software testing Project.Please let me know if you offer freelancing services for projects online. If so, do contact me through e-mail for further details.

    hena_a55@rediffmail.com

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Thanks,
    With Regards,
    Hena

  40. Hai, around 8 Y experienced Software Tester. i am looking for software freelance testing projects.
    Can any body guide me in this regard.

    Please give correct websites which are intended for the same
    U can reach me out at dnraja@rediffmail.com

  41. Hi Anne
    I am a software tester by profession and planning to start my own firm for Software Testing.
    I would like to know how to start testing as individual tester please guide me……

    i would like to know and from where i can grab the software testing project
    Thanks ,
    pradeep

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