Should companies charge the clients on the basis of number of bugs?

I came across an interesting software testing outsourcing technique here based on pay per bug approach. This testing consultancy is offering testing services and clients will be charged on the basis of a number of bugs found in the application.Why outsourcing?

Many companies are outsourcing software testing work to concentrate on their core business competencies. The company will save time and money on testing processes that are tedious to perform in-house.

Current offshore teams are working on per project deal means the cost of software testing is decided according to the:

  • Project size
  • Time for testing
  • Number of resources
  • or Deliverables.

What if offshore teams start charging the clients on the basis of a number of bugs?

Many companies don’t want to pay for documentation, as they might not require it in future. So such clients are more interested in getting the testing work done in less cost and within their budget. Pay per bug approach can work great for small projects where requirements are straightforward and clear. In this approach, a client has the freedom to select the testing area as only UI or only Functional or only Security testing as per their requirements.

Will Pay per bug outsourcing technique work?

But I see many complexities in this model. It might not work for all kinds of projects. What if the tester is working to find only smaller and easy to find bugs to increase the bug count and not concentrating on the complex modules? One solution for this could be – Charge the client depending on the fixed price per bug or can you can vary this amount according to the bug complexity and the type of testing.

Another problem with this module is – How to decide the severity of the bug? The tester will log bugs with high severity if they are earning high rate on the basis of bug complexity. The client will try to reduce the bug severity as to reduce the testing cost. It’s also difficult to decide whether it is a bug or not Or it is a feature itself? And what about the rejected or ‘won’t fix’ type bugs?

Worst case is if you are getting paid on the basis of a number of bugs and you spent enough time to find the bugs, but if an application is robust enough that you end up with very few or no bugs then how would you cover the testing recourses cost in this case?

There are lots many such areas of controversies but the concept is good and can be a good outsourcing solution if handled effectively.

I am interested to know what our readers think about this pay per bug approach. Is it a good model or service to outsource the testing services on a pay per bug basis?

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#1 surendra

i think it is not a good may works when requirements are very clear but most of the cases it is not possible …
consider this case…
tester found a bug and as for the requirements it is not a bug.will it be reported or not

#2 satyajeet

thats good !!
ALSO…can anybody help me in finding a good class for automation mumbai?

#3 Prashant

Great Topic….
As the outsoursing testing is done every where so somewhat this concept will work fine. It will increase the productivity of a tester and will help to make the project more robust.

#4 Sameer

Definitely Its not a good Idea as sometime we have to spend lot of time to create Test environment and all these necessary things and even after sometimes we couldn’t sure about bug… And sometimes Its totally opposite of… So There should not be any relation between bug count and money……..

#5 Arprit

As you stated earlier it will be a worst case if testing team does not find any bug or found very few bugs. It will be difficult to maintain the balance in this case. Some times testing team will get benefit or some times clients. But there should be some fixed approach like current pay system according to project size or team size.
This approach is only possible if the testing consultancy is having good experience of this charging system. Somewhere you need to mixup both the charging systems to get some third good corner.
That’s what I think.

#6 bindu

can any one tell me about qtp faqs website

#7 jagannathan

I do not think this is a good idea, it may be beneficial for the client but on the other end for the outsourcing company, it may affect them financially if the project they took has less bugs. Their investment will be at stake and their staffs may also get affected.

#8 mike

I definitely would not agree with this model. Coming from a background where it is possible that you pickup the testing from a blackbox perspective it could happen that there are a large number of defects. In this case it would be fine.

On the whole you do run the risk of good unit testing resulting a very minimal amount of defects and should you have a large team / project then you will ultimately end up working at a loss…

#9 srinivasan

I will not agree to this because Imagine a Scenario (if its a Product based) where there is change in requirement Specification,then the build version keeps changing then there will be lot of new bugs introduced i dont think any company is wise enough to spend money for this kind of bugs.

Also For outsourcing company got to give a clear SRS and i doubt if there exist a clear one.

#10 Josh Kooper

Check out: – they say they are going to offer testing services based on bugs found.

#11 Manoranjan

Yes, Price for bugs should be depend on the Quality of the Bugs. Rate for Functional bugs should be greater than GUI and spell mistake.
Sure its increase the productivity

#12 Pravin

I have been toying with this idea for a long time now, yet I have not been able to reach a conclusion. Most of the websites in India are awful to navigate. They are not at all user friendly and they hardly ever fulfill an end user’s requirements. Yet, due to various constraints, most of the owners of these websites would seldom entertain the idea of test/re-testing them properly before release.
So I thought of a strategy to first find a bug in their websites and then approach them with estimated and potential losses that they are liable to face, if the bug is not fixed. In my career as a consultant, I have realised that you can get a person buy your idea only if there is some tangible benefit for him in the deal.
Once the client is convinced, it gets easier to sell the idea of testing the entire site on “charge the clients on the basis of number of bugs”. The approach at this stage should be exactly like any other marketing effort (complete proposal).

But there are some risks involved in such a proposal and I have not been able to get a solution for the following:

1. How to establish control over the dev activities of the client?
2. How do I monitor honest conformance of the client to the established understanding of the proposal
3. What would be the baseline for rate fixation?
4. How could the quality of a bug be translated to a rating scale or a common factor (like $’s or Rs), which could be easier to comprehend for the client.

I am still working on it and hopefully have the issues resolved in future.
Meanwhile, I find the concept very interesting and worth developing.

#13 Revanth

Hi the topic is very interesting ,for this i have a question ? 1.When there is no bugs then we will not get the amount or else 2.minimum testing charges should be done apart from that charge based on the no. of bugs can be included , I think the second one can work effectively…


#14 Pravin

Re:latest comment from Revanth, take a look at my earlier comments. The idea of first finding a flaw in an application and then approaching the client is two-fold. It helps to ascertain the revenue generating potential of taking on an application and testing it on a “Pay as you find ” basis. Moreover it helps to approach and convince the potential client with more confidence and credibility

#15 sree


This is a nice idea, and more over the product owner will get benefit definetly, coz no of testers with different midn set will test the application. And it is good for testers also, coz they can test the product with open minded.
But if a tester needs to put more amount of time to find a bug and if it not much importanat then it is wasting of time also.
Finally i can conclude that there are pros and cons in this

#16 rajesh

Yes i think its good idea but in this matter there should be more clarifications need like whether requirement will be provided before testing, how much payment will get by the tester etc…..

#17 Tareni Charan Pujari

This is a nice idea, both the product owner and Testing Team will get benefit. For this minium charge should be done apart from that charge based on the no.of Bugs can be included.But Testing should be in time frame.It is good for testers,because they can test the product with open minded. That’s what i think.

#18 SteStuff-Everything That A Test Engineer Needs..!

Pay per bug is good for clients, but not for test enginers (US). I don’t encourage it as a test engineer.

But is one good source to earn some extra money on this pay per bug concept.

#19 Joby Joseph

Thanks for the good Topic!

But I am not really satisfied with this idea, as the tester only will concentrate to increase the number of bugs rather than thinking on the quality of the product.

But if there is a balanced system for billing per bug by considering both tester and the client, then it make sense.

#20 priya

It’s simply a Worst Idea…

#21 mahantesh

This is very good idea, both the client and Testing Team will get benefit. For this minimum charge should be done apart from that charge based on the no.of Bugs can be included bec testers efforts.But Testing should be in time frame.It is good for testers,because they can test the product with open minded.and the clients can get more bugs bec testing team always try to find more bugs bec thy want earn more money. in this concept ,the product quality ll be increased and also testing team can earn more.

#22 prasanna

its a good idea if testers r good. otherwise good for client

#23 me

So, with all these people in India taking our jobs who can barely speak or write English maybe we should have a Pay-Per-Edit feature.

#24 Prithvi

I think this approach has 2 ways of looking at it.
1st being the client – if this is the kind of approach the client is going to follow then they might make sure to develop a very robust application in the 1st stage of development which will be very effective and be low cost for the client and can come out with a very good quality of application.
2nd -looking at a resourcing perspective – bussiness perspective especially – it may not work out well as there are many grey areas for example a cosmetic bug lets say a spelling mistake is a very minor one but it will remain as a bug.
I think final conclusion , it will not work out well in terms of bussiness perspective. however, has advantages in terms of looking at it from client’s perspective.

#25 best-quality-testing

Thanks so much for proividng nice information

#26 Chakravarthi BS

This Idea will work out when both the client and tester work with honesty. If one loose their honesty all the process will go wrong. The clear measures are need to be declare before starting the test process in case of severity of bug etc. or else tester may need to be loose his valuable efforts spent on testing.

Thanks & Regards

#27 sharath

This content is very help . thank u for sharing

#28 sharath

This content is very help ful. thank u for sharing

#29 Suma

Ok I accept it but who will pay for spending the time to FIND the bugs? To find bugs Testers will spend a lot of time and who will consider that time? Bugs are not sitting there to simply go and enter them!!! we spend our time and use stratgies to find good bugs. Some times we spend a whole day but we couldn’t find any bugs then what will happened?

I donot think it’s a good approach for testers LIFE and people will move away from TESTING then the developers has to test teir own cod. The circle starts again….!

U-test is for beginners who couldn’t find the job so they can get some realtime experince and move on in their testing life. And paying for bugs is not at all a good idea.

#30 reshma

how to register?

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