IT Team Management Tips

How Much Does It Cost to Develop Custom Software?

Not sure what your project will cost? Estimate your approximate budget with our quick guide.

There’s a variety of factors contributing to the complexity, and accordingly, the cost of the project, and since there are no two projects that are completely the same, it is only possible to tell the exact cost only after studying all of your specs. Defining the cost of developing custom software takes a fair amount of research, and today, we are going to help you define all the variables to estimate your budget.

With all the variables and all the unknowns here, it is still possible to make a rough estimation, and we will discuss different factors contributing to the cost of your project one by one. This article is meant to help you figure out an approximate price and explain why the price of development might vary so drastically. 

Remember, each of the following factors will be relevant to your case in one way or another, so you have to keep your project’s needs in mind to figure out the exact figure. Alternatively, you can contact our consulting experts and get your project cost estimated for you by the professionals.

The Short Answer

So, how much does custom software development cost?

If you are looking for a short answer, our experience suggests that most projects fall between the $50,000 to $250,000 price range. If you are looking to develop a middle-size and complex application that involves a medium size team of developers, just shoot for the $100,000 plus mark. There are much smaller projects that can be finished in a matter of weeks, and those might cost you just a couple of thousand dollars. 

It is a broad range, and we are going to help you put a more precise figure in your budget. Your application could be anything, from a calculator to a large enterprise application, so we should take a deeper dive from here on. 

Project Complexity

The complexity of your project is the first and the most important factor that will determine the bulk of your budget. Basically, complexity means the number of unique and complicated features like routing, face recognition, big data analysis, integrations with other software, complex designs, and more. If you want to develop a complex yet user-friendly application, you might be looking at quite a costly project. 

Complex business logic requires more planning, analysis, preparation, coding, and testing which will translate into a longer development timeline and more work for dedicated developers

Software Size

The size of your custom software is another important factor here, but what does size mean exactly? The size is determined by the number of screens and/or pages you want. The more pages and screens you want, the more work will be done by the developers, which will make it more complicated. 

The average definitions of the software size are following

  • Small-size software – 10-15 screens;
  • Medium-size software 25-40 screens;
  • Large-size software – 40 screens and more.

Each particular screen might range in terms of complexity, which means that the size of software might fluctuate even within those margins. 

Small apps would usually start at around $50,000 to $75,000; medium apps would go at around $75,000 to $200,000; and if you are looking to build a large app with more than 40 screens, you’ll be looking at $250,000 and more. The more screens you have, the more time it will take to create them.

Creative Design Complexity

Think of creative design as house decorations – you can go with cheaper options or you can go exquisite and fill it with the most expensive and extravagant items. Creative design makes your product fun to use, it makes it easier for the user to navigate it, makes the experience more entertaining, and generally improves user experience. 

Of course, there’s a range of prices and a range of quality in creative design too. It all depends on how much time the developers would spend working on that design. If you want animations, custom artwork, illustrations, and all that jazz, the price would go up because they all take hours, days, and weeks of time.

System Integrations

Integrating your new software with the existing solutions brings tons of variables to the table. Depending on what kind of system you are dealing with, you might be looking at the different price ranges. 

Some integrations, such as payment and banking systems like PayPal are quite easy to integrate with. The other lesser-known and older systems might be quite challenging to integrate with. Legacy system integrations can be quite painful and that is where you will need a team of real experts, which will surely increase the cost of your project.

Team Size, Expertise, and Location

The size of the team would depend on the project complexity – the more developers you hire, the faster it goes, and the better your developers are, the more likely you are to end up with a high-quality product. Hiring more people is not always the right solution, you know what they say – if one woman can deliver a child in 9 months, it does not mean 9 women can do the same thing in one month. There has to be an equilibrium between the number of developers and the number of tasks and the amount of work they must perform.

The location of your team is also a critical factor. Developers from North America and Western Europe are the most expensive on the market and they offer outstanding expertise and product quality. According to the study by Accelerance, they would charge anywhere from $60 to $200 per hour each. If you want a decent price to quality ratio, you may opt for developers from Central Europe who’d charge less and deliver superb quality. 

Hiring developers in Asia might be much more complicated due to the sheer number of companies on the market and the wide range of price tags. You can see anything from $10 to $160 per hour, so it might get quite confusing picking the right partner for the job. 

When choosing a vendor who offers adequate quality for a reasonable price, it is a good idea not to go with the cheapest options on the market as they would often translate into the worst quality. Some of the cheapest developers in the industry charge around $10-20 per hour, and you cannot expect a high-quality service for such a measly price. Shoot at or above the industry’s average starting with $50 per hour, that’s your safest bet.

The proficiency of the team would make a huge difference in the hourly rates. A senior developer might charge twice as much as a junior developer would, and if we are talking about top-shelf and rare tech stacks, the price would go even higher. 

Delivery Timeline

Knowing the delivery timeline is essential if you want to find the average cost of custom software development. Unfortunately, you might have a hard time making such estimations without fully understanding the scope of the project, the number of developers required to deliver results, the complexity of the software, and all the other factors. Our experts can help you estimate the project delivery timeline.

Let’s say you want to deliver your project faster; will hiring more developers help? Well, software development is a bit more complicated than just hiring more people to get the job done faster. One developer will be working on a single solution much longer than 3 developers would, but it does not mean that hiring, say, 10 developers will get your product done 10-times faster. Too many people working on a single project can slow the delivery down because of inefficient cooperation and planning.

So, what is the average timeline for project delivery?

  • Requirement Assessment and Roadmapping – two to four weeks;
  • Architecture and Design – two weeks;
  • Development – three to nine months;
  • Implementation – four weeks;
  • QA Testing – four to six weeks;
  • Market Launch – three weeks and more.

Naturally, all of those can change depending on your unique requirements; some large-scale projects might take more than a year to finish because of their complexity. More people mean complex cooperation and organizational structure, and complex does not always equal better. 

How to Estimate Software Development Cost?

The best way to estimate the project cost is to know all the variables we’ve discussed above. If you understand the size of your project, its complexity, the number, and proficiency level of the developers, and know the timeline, you can actually make some solid predictions on the cost of your project. With that knowledge in mind, you can already see what you can and what you cannot afford, what suits your business objectives, and what makes for a reasonable decision in your particular case.

Use Expert’s Help

If you have little to no experience in developing software or dealing with a custom software development company, you might have a hard time estimating the cost of the whole deal. It is more than just adding the price of a development team to the size of the software and then multiplying it by the number of weeks in production – there are tons of factors in play here, and you might most likely need external help to figure it out. 

Here at Intersog, our consulting experts can help you analyze the specs of your project, determine the size and complexity of your software, outline the most likely delivery timeline, offer the right number of developers, and do all the calculations for you to tell you precisely how much your project would cost. As said at the beginning of this article, there’s no way of knowing how much your project will cost without analyzing and knowing all of its specs. That is exactly why it is a good idea to contact professional consultants who can help you do all the calculations. 

Anyway, whenever you partner with any vendor, you start your cooperation by estimating the project scope and budget so both of you would know what you are dealing with. So, using the information in this article, you can make a rough estimation and then contact your vendor to find out exactly how much money they would need to finish the project.

Wrap Up

So, how much does it cost to develop custom software? Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to that question, and as we said several times already, there’s a whole bunch of factors that would change the cost dramatically. This could be anything starting with tens of thousands of dollars and ending with millions, which is quite a range if you have little idea of what your project is going to be like.

The price of software depends on its destination resulting in a set of required features. For instance, developing a CRM system, depending on its complexity, might take around 1500 working hours with the price climbing up to $150.000 or more. An e-commerce solution would cost around $110.000 at around 1100 working hours. The total cost also depends on a platform you choose: cloud, desktop, or mobile app. For example, an average iOS or Android app would cost around $60.000 at around 850 working hours while a booking app would cost around $70.000 at around 950 working hours.

Hopefully, with the rough figures, we gave you in this article, you can get at least an approximate idea of the budget you’ll need to get your project done. With the help of a professional development team, you can count on reasonable prices and superb quality, which is exactly what we offer. Intersog experts can help you estimate the cost of the project and then help you get it done without redundant spending and with minimum waste.

IT and talent solutions
Intersog is a leading IT solutions provider in the United States and beyond. The company has provided agile software engineering and staffing services for Fortune 500 corporations, tech startups, and SaaS businesses for over fifteen years. Why Intersog.