Project Pricing

Cost of a delivered test solution can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, as described below. The low end is typically in the $10k - $20k range, with most tests coming in under $100k. Below are more details about costing so you can get a better gauge of your project.

  1. 1

    Example Pricing

  2. 2

    Analyzing Test
    Needs & Costs

  3. 3

    Cost Drivers

    • DUT Technical Characteristics

    • Project Characteristics

  4. 4

    Typical Fixed Price
    Quote Breakdown

  5. 5

    Fixed Price vs.
    Time & Materials

    • Fixed Price Quote

    • Time & Materials Quote

Example Pricing

Below is an example cost breakdown for a typical medium-complexity DUT.

Line Item Cost
Test Planning $3k - $8k
Test Development $150/hr
Hardware per Fixture $8k - $20k/each
Support $5k/year

Analyzing Test Needs & Costs

First, evaluate what value you get from automating an ATP for your product.

  1. Tally up how much your current test strategy is costing you per year as compared to the cost if the test were automated.

    (Consider things like labor, test support, product throughput, scrapped parts / rework, test coverage & reliability, operator error, customer support costs, damaged brand image, etc.)

  2. Determine your projected product lifespan and production volumes.
  3. Evaluate the effective cost savings over the life of the product that you would achieve by having the test automated. This typically sets the upper bound of what makes business sense to spend on automating the test.

This cost analysis and product lifespan identifies the automated test goals (what does the test need to do to improve on the current test strategy?) and price target (how much effort can be put in to the test automation?).

Example of how automating a test can reduce cost:

Description Analysis
Cost Reduction by
Automating Test
per year
$5k Test Labor
$6k Customer Support
$8k Returns
$10k Brand Image Damage
Volume per year 800 units
Potential Cost Reduction
by Automating Test
$36.25 / unit
Product Lifespan 5 years
Total Potential Cost Reduction $145k

Cost Drivers

Many factors affect the price of automating a test. Below is a list that captures some of the major drivers.

DUT Technical Characteristics

  • Test Complexity
    • Test Procedure Length - Number of required test steps
    • Test Procedure Complexity - Complexity of test step actions
    • Operator Interface - TestCenter vs. a custom GUI
    • Reporting - Standard csv file output vs. customer database integration
  • DUT Interfaces, Signals, & Power
    • Inputs/Outputs - Number and type of I/O signals
    • Interfaces - Number and type of high-speed & communication interfaces
    • Power - Voltage/current of required power to be applied
    • Loading - Voltage/current of needed loading, number of outputs to load
  • DUT Software/Firmware
    • Programming - Programming of firmware/software during test
    • CPU's - Number of Processors/Microcontrollers that require interfacing
    • CPU Complexity - Complexity of interface to the processor(s)
    • Test Firmware - Development of non-production firmware used on the DUT during test
  • DUT Fixturing
    • DUT Mechanical Interface - DUT sits on benchtop, mounts to cradle, or requires other fixturing
    • Cables - Leverage existing product cables vs. test harness design required
    • Bed-of-nails - Whether or not bed-of-nails is required

Project Characteristics

  • Design Maturity - In production vs. Under development
  • Customer Documentation - Thorough vs. Sparse documentation of DUT
  • Testing Requirements - Well-defined vs. Testing needs emerging as we go
  • Project Management - Minimal vs. Frequent status meetings & reports
  • Process Rigor - Basic acceptance test vs. Multiple design reviews
  • Lead Time - Standard vs. Expedited
  • Required Documentation - Standard vs. Extensive documentation of test fixture
  • Acceptance & Quality - Basic test acceptance vs. Extensive self-test procedure

Typical Fixed Price Quote Breakdown

Costing for a fixed cost contract is broken down into a number of sections. Each section is dependent on project requirements. Typical sections are listed below.

  1. Requirements Definition - Reviewing documents, suggesting test steps and test coverage
  2. Test System Definition - Architecting of the test setup & equipment selection
  3. Test System Development - CAD, hardware bring-up, software development & debugging
  4. Project Management - Internal project planning, customer correspondence and interfacing
  5. Quality Assurance - Testing of the test setup, and associated report
  6. Documentation - Documentation covering the test fixture
  7. Deployment - Getting the fixture integrated & running at the desired location
  8. Support - Level and duration of required support

Fixed Price vs. Time & Materials

We prefer fixed price quotes, but we can also provide a Time & Materials quote if appropriate.

Fixed Price Quote

A fixed price quote can be provided after Requirements Definition & System Design. See the process page for details. Fixed price quotes are appropriate for DUTs that are in (or ready for) production, with thorough documentation, and have a known scope of test needs.

Time & Materials Quote

A Time & Materials quote can be provided at project outset, or after Requirements Definition & System Design. Working on a Time & Materials basis is appropriate if the DUT is still in design or immature in its lifecycle, has minimal documentation, or needs a flexible scope of test needs. If we are working on a Time & Materials basis, and the project gains enough definition, we can transition to a fixed price arrangement.