10 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Third-Party Testing Laboratory or CRO

Choosing the right laboratory or CRO to partner with requires careful analysis and good judgement.

by | Apr 26, 2024

So, maybe you’ve never worked with a third-party testing laboratory or Contract Research Organization (CRO) before, or maybe you are looking to switch your current provider, in either case, there are a lot of questions to consider when selecting the right lab partner.

Choosing the right third-party testing laboratory or CRO is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact the quality and efficiency of your product development and market compliance. The selection process involves evaluating a range of critical factors to ensure that the laboratory you partner with not only meets your specific needs but also adheres to the highest standards of accuracy, reliability, and industry compliance. With this article, we hope to guide you through some of the essential questions you should ask potential labs, helping you discern their capabilities, service quality, and suitability to your project goals. Understanding these aspects will empower you to make an informed decision, ensuring a successful collaboration and optimal outcomes for your testing needs. After all, everyone needs a great lab partner, and it’s usually better if they know more than you!

1. What is their expertise and experience?

The purpose of inquiring about expertise and experience is to assess the lab’s familiarity with industry-specific standards and their proficiency in handling your testing requirements; an ideal response would be a detailed account of their relevant project experiences and client testimonials. Any vague or non-specific answers should raise a red flag.

2. Are they accredited, and what certifications do they hold?

Asking about accreditations and certifications ensures the lab adheres to international quality standards, which is crucial for reliability and global acceptance of test results. You’d want to hear specific details about their ISO certifications or FDA compliance, depending on your industry. If the lab lacks recognized accreditations, consider looking further. 

3. What is the scope of their services?

Understanding the scope of their services confirms whether the lab can meet all your testing needs, potentially simplifying logistics and communication. A comprehensive list of services tailored to your requirements suggests a good fit, while a limited scope might necessitate multiple vendors.

4. What is their turnaround time?

Knowing the turnaround time for testing is crucial, as delays can impact product development cycles and time-to-market. Consistency in meeting promised timelines is what you’d want to hear, and inconsistent timelines can be a major hassle.

5. How do they handle sample logistics?

Questions about sample logistics revolve around the integrity and reliability of results. Proper protocols for sample handling and transportation are crucial, and the lab’s ability to articulate these processes reflects their operational efficacy. Ambiguity in handling procedures is a warning sign that this lab may not be ready for your business.

6. What quality control measures do they use?

Inquiring about quality control measures gives insight into the lab’s commitment to accuracy and reliability. You’d expect to hear about regular audits, equipment calibration, and error-checking procedures. A lack of structured quality control is a sign of sloppy testing.

7. How do they communicate results?

When discussing communication of results, timely and clear reporting is crucial. Effective communication channels and a willingness to discuss and interpret results indicate a customer-centric approach. Poor communication practices will result in miscommunication errors and general frustration on both sides. 

8. What is their pricing structure?

Nobody wants a surprise bill. Pricing structure clarity is essential to avoid unexpected costs. Transparent, itemized billing is what you should look for, and any hidden fees or ambiguous pricing should alert you to potential issues.

9. What customer support do they offer?

The availability of customer support indicates the lab’s reliability post-engagement. You would want to know that support is readily available and that the lab provides assistance with any questions or issues that arise post-testing.

10. Can they provide references or case studies?

Finally, asking for references or case studies helps verify credibility and quality of service through past performance. Positive feedback from similar projects is reassuring, whereas a lack of references or negative feedback is a definite reason for concern

How Contract Laboratory Helps  You Find Quality Testing Labs,

By leveraging a vast network of accredited laboratories, Contract Laboratory helps companies find the right lab with the required expertise and equipment to meet their specific testing needs efficiently. This service ensures that businesses can uphold the highest standards of quality and safety by partnering with labs that meet stringent regulatory requirements and industry standards.

If you require laboratory testing, Submit a Laboratory Request or Contact Us for more information.

Related Content


Editor's Choice