How to start a user testing business

Monetise your ability to help companies with their products and services.

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With a wave of new devices and services coming onto the market every year, it's important to have them tested by real users. Companies will pay for this to be done effectively, and this is where a user testing business comes in.

If you are looking to start your own user testing business, read on to find out the dos, don'ts and legal requirements of how to begin. What's more, we'll point you in the right direction to find a host of free templates and resources.

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What skills, knowledge or requirements do I need to start a user testing business?

The format of a user testing business is where a client will approach your company and request a user test to be carried out, using one of their products or services. You will need a few different skill sets to do this effectively, including good planning, organisation and observation skills.

You will also need interpersonal skills as your business will be interacting with clients on a daily basis. Previous knowledge of using new devices and services can be beneficial but is not essential, but you will need experience with user testing. You will need a solid business plan, one that clearly has clear aims and achievable objectives.

What courses or qualifications do I need to complete?

user testing team at work

Strictly speaking, you don't need any formal qualifications to start a user testing business, as the required skills will vary from product to product. Qualifications and previous experience in data analysis, psychology, product design or business can be extremely useful in starting you off on the right foot, but these are not a legal requirement.

There are a number of short online courses on user testing skills that give yourself that extra advantage over other user testing startups. These courses cover subjects such as 'evaluating designs with users', 'how to carry out a usability expert review' and 'conducting usability testing'.

These short online courses may give your business credibility a boost and prove to clients that you have the know-how to provide them with a productive service.

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    Equipment and software needed to start a user testing business

    Having the right equipment and computer software in place is really important for your company. To recruit clients and representative users to start testing, you'll need a computer as a bare minimum.

    An array of software can be used to both record and analyse data collected during the testing process. These can include:

    • Loop11
    • Userbrain
    • Userlytics
    • Usabilityhub
    • Lookback
    • TryMyUI
    • Hotjar.

    Alongside this analytical software, it's also useful to use more traditional software such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These can make the daily running of the business all the easier in the long run.

    Setting up a website is always a crucial first step in the life of any business. The website will set out what you intend to provide to potential customers and often be the face of your company.

    What business structures do I need to consider before starting a user testing business?

    Structuring a business can be done in a few different ways, and it often depends on personal preference and what suits you and your business model. The following are the most common business structures you can use for your own user testing business:

    Sole Traders

    Using the sole trader business model is a good option if you are running your business all by yourself. While it has advantages, including that it's easy to set up and manage, it can have disadvantages as sole traders are alone responsible for all the company's losses, debts and any legal matters against your company.

    Partnership

    A partnership business model is where two people enter a contractual agreement and both are the head of the company. This makes both members responsible for all financial, legal and all other matters to do with the business. This is a good choice for those who wish to go into business with family members, partners or friends.

    Companies

    Structuring your business as a company means you are registering it as a separate entity to you, the owner, or any other employee. A company is owned by shareholders, which are either directors or investors. This can be a good approach for your user testing business, especially as it begins to grow.

    As with any business, it's important to have all the relevant legal documentation in place before you begin trading and offering your services. This will ensure you're both qualified under local law and provide legitimacy to your customer base.

    When starting a user testing business, these are some of the key legal documents to consider:

    • It's important for any user testing business to draw up a non-disclosure agreement. This allows clients to keep their product changes and revisions private from the wider public once testing is complete.
    • If your business begins to grow, you're likely to start to employ more people. If this is the case, you will legally need to write up an employment agreement. This will state what is expected from the employee and how the working relationship will develop between them and you as the employer.
    • Registering your business as a company will eventually lead to shareholders. If this is the case, a watertight shareholders agreement will be required.

    The good news? You don't need to stress about trying to write up these legal documents from scratch. There are numerous websites that offer free legal templates for you to download.

    Alongside templates, you can find an array of legal advice and services from websites such as Lawpath and LegalVision.

    Data indicated here is updated regularly
    Name Product What's offered? Starting price to become a member Annual Fee from Any free legal documents?
    Lawpath
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $79 per month (billed monthly)
    Essentials: $288
    You can view samples for free and you can create your first document for free.
    Choose an annual plan from just $288 and get unlimited revisions to your legal or business documents. Plus, unlock exclusive partner offers.
    LawDepot
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $7.99 per month (prepaid for one year)
    $59.88
    You can view samples for free and you can create your first document for free.
    Get free legal documents in five to ten minutes.
    Sprintlaw
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $699 (or choose a free template)
    $699
    Some documents are free to download. Get access to all documents with a membership.
    Pick between a fixed-fee package from $99 and a 12-month plan that unlocks a host of membership benefits for $699.
    Legal123
    Legal123
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    Varies per template
    N/A
    No
    Get legal templates for any business type in Australia.
    LegalVision
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $199 per month (bill monthly)
    N/A
    Some documents are free to download. Get access to all documents with a membership.
    Your business can take advantage of unlimited lawyer consultations, fast turnaround times and free legal templates with LegalVision.
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    How much should I charge my customers?

    Pricing for user testing can vary hugely depending on the size and how in-depth the testing is. Knowing how much to charge your customers will depend on a variety of factors, these can include:

    • Prices for your competitors
    • Cost of overheads and other business costs, including your own mark up
    • The type of service provided, which may include month-long testing or testing that requires processing vast amounts of data.
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    How can I build up my customer base?

    Building your customer base is important, yet building it up is not always that easy. Relying solely on traditional means such as word of mouth and general advertising is no longer full proof; modern businesses require modern approaches.

    One approach is to list your business on websites such as Airtakser. This online marketplace lets you post your business' particular skill, user testing in this case, and wait for customers to hire you.

    Listing your business on Australia's top business directories is also a failsafe way of boosting your customer base. Top of this list are sites such as White Pages and Womo.

    Frequently asked questions

    How do you perform a UX test?

    There are a variety of different ways to perform a user experience test, yet they all follow a similar pattern. First, you must recruit your participants, ensuring they fit a range of categories, including age, sex and ethnicity. Next, you should design tasks for the participants to carry out, while observing a recording data. Finally, the data needs to be analysed and made into actionable insights.

    How do I test a user remotely?

    There is a wide range of software that allows you as the tester to observe a user remotely, gaining valuable data without being in the same environment.

    How do I get paid for a user testing business?

    You can get paid by the client company employing you to test their service or product. Once you have provided the client with the finalised data, they will need to pay whatever fee was agreed upon.

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