AutoTrader saved $620K/yr trading in manual testing for automation

August 2023

Automated testing with cruise control 

  • Offset the need to hire six QA engineers, saving $600K+/year.
  • Returned more than 1,000 hours per year to the customer support team, saving $20,000/year. 
  • Increased release velocity 15–20%.
  • Reduced QA cycles from 3+ days to 15 minutes.

Meet AutoTrader has an umbrella of products including a CRM for car dealerships and service departments that handles the entire car buying lifecycle from research through test drives, final purchase, and ongoing service.

automated tests

Manual testing was stealing time from customer support and engineering

After capturing most of the dealership market in Quebec, Canada, AutoTrader set its sights on the rest of the country. To be successful, they needed a testing solution that would help them release new features fast, without introducing regressions. 

Before working with QA Wolf, their team was heavily reliant on unit testing to spot-check new components but relied on manual testers to validate end-to-end functionality. The testers were pulled from the customer support team, when they were available to help, which was creating bottlenecks on the engineering side and resource constraints on the support team.

Testing would frequently take two or three days, and for big projects could take as much as a week. With all the back-and-forth between developers and testers, it could take as much as three weeks before a feature was fully tested and ready to roll out to all their customers. 

Some projects were even called “eternal projects.” Developers would move on to other projects before the testers could go over everything. Sometimes features would lay around for four months before they were released. It was making developers really unhappy, and slowing down our business strategy.
—Jocelyn Deslauriers, VP of Engineering

AutoTrader knew that automated testing was the way forward, but leadership had doubts about how long it would take to build the E2E testing they’d need in-house. Experience had taught them that they’d need five or six full time QA engineers and a QA manager — and they’d be lucky to get to 20% coverage by the end of the year. With only enough budget for two or three people, they decided to try QA Wolf instead. 

“The idea was to hire a QA lead, who would add another one or two engineers. But when we started estimating how much a person could realistically achieve in a year we realized it was not a lot. Maybe 10–15% coverage. 20% would have been amazing.”
—Jocelyn Deslauriers, VP of Engineering


Offset $600K+/year in QA engineering costs

QA Wolf built, runs, and maintains a test suite that AutoTrader would need six full-time QA engineers and QA managers to support internally, freeing up resources that can be used for product engineering and deliver even more value to customers. 

Rapid testing supports rapid iteration

Automated testing reduced AutoTrader QA cycles from a few weeks to a few minutes, helping their developers ship 15–20% faster. We keep pace with their development team, adding coverage as they try out new features behind feature flags, and giving them the confidence to ship without introducing regressions.

Company-wide efficiency gains and savings

Having customer support do manual testing was taking those resources away from the job they were hired to do, and created shortages that impacted the customer experience. With QA Wolf providing E2E testing, we’ve returned more than 1,000 hours per year to that team — the equivalent of $20,000 in misallocated salary.

Ship faster with fewer bugs
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