The Business of Freelance Testing

Freelance Testing is a funny one and it feels frustratingly behind the times.

You don’t have to look very far to find a freelance designer or developer or project manager, but tester? Where on earth do you go if you want a bit of testing done?

There are plenty of testing contractors about. Plenty of permie testers too. But freelance testers? Testers who work on several projects at a time? Testers who take on flexible bits of work?

It’s been a bit of a bug bear of mine for a few years.  It made my life much harder in finding freelance testing work. I did contracting for a while, but the daily commute proved too complicated and difficult with a young family.  Totally not worth it.

However, overtime I did start to build up a few companies that would continuously come back to me for short term work, which always suited me nicely.  After a while I created Test Ninjas as a frontage of this and started hiring in testers from Software Testing Club.  It was still small scale and very much focusing on to see whether the concept of outsourcing the work to testers would work.

And it was working. We serviced projects. Kept our clients happy, but deep within me I wasn’t.  I kept on thinking that the people I’m working with are perfectly capable of doing this themselves.

So that’s what I’m building up with Test Ninjas.  A community of freelance testers. If you’re interested in hiring a vetted freelance tester please speak to me, it’s free too.

3 comments on “The Business of Freelance Testing

  1. -

    I have been freelance for many years, working sometimes a day/week/month. And sometimes repeat work. This tends to happen as our reputations build of course. Agencies do tell me I am a niche, as most professional testing contractors do not like working in way that I do.

    I think it is easier for designers or developers to work in this way, and there is an easier perceived deliverable, which is not so easy for testing. I have managed to juggle several part-time testing contracts, but it is not an easy negotiation! Part-time is still a “dirty word” in UK, and open to abuse. i.e. part-time days can quickly become long part-time days.

    Anyway, good luck with your endeavour – the biggest barrier will be finding testers who are actually CAPABLE of working this way, rather than collecting testers, so to speak. Collecting testers is scarily easy 😉

  2. -

    I should add my current contract, which has been drifting along for almost two years (very unusual for me), was peppered with other short-haul testing work. Sometimes it necessitated formal arrangement with current company, and sometimes it wasn’t necessary as I could do the work out of hours. A lot of the success of freelance testing, will be down to flexibility of companies. And also flexibility of the tester. We all may say how flexible we are, but managing tasks and time as a “proper” freelancer has to be taken seriously. Will your service assist with that? UK companies still nervous of these kind of flexible, ah-hoc arrangements.

  3. - Post author

    A common thing that people keep doing is swapping the term freelancer and contractor around interchangeably. They are not the same thing.

    Not every company wants to hire a freelancer. Many won’t, and that’s cool. The world has changed. Designers, developers and even project managers have changed with it, but testers are yet to catch up. There are so many websites and apps being built every day, there is much room for a tester to contribute to creating great products.

    There are a tonne of single developers companies, 2,3,4 man bands that rightly so won’t hire a tester or contractor full time, but they could often do with the freelance testing support. Some already hire testers, not many, but most of them don’t know where to go to find the ‘proper’ testers. This is what I really want to change. For people to know where to go to find freelance testers and for us as a freelance testing community to raise awareness that we exist.

    It does take time, and a portfolio is built over time, and the testers are essentially being microbusinesses – it becomes more than just testing. We’re not guaranteeing anyone work, that would be daft. What we are doing is providing the support network and resources together to hopefully give people the best chance.

    It can be alot of fun working on various testing projects at a time, not easy though!

    I’ve collected many testers in the past, (just look at STC!) and this is very much not about getting as many paid members. I’m focused on getting the right ones on board.

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