Software Development Costs: Which Platforms Can Cut Down Costs?
Last update: 25 January 2024 at 09:28 am
“How much will the software development cost?” and “how long will the process of software development take?” are two of the first few questions that pop up in every business owner’s mind considering developing an app or software.
These two questions then define the constraints that most people face in the software development projects’ work – “will I be able to afford it?” and “can the project get done within my expected deadline?”
In fact, the initial days of software development sales meetings deal with obtaining answers to these concerns.
However, what most customers don’t realize is that cost of software development can vary from project to project due to various factors. And this is one of the reasons why IT firms do not have a solid answer to your question in the first place.
Your chosen agency might ask you a few questions to determine what your requirements and expectations are. Perhaps you want custom software or a complex application that has few external systems integrated into it, and so on.
What factors influence software development costs?
Listed below are factors that play a key role in the software development cost breakdown.
Your target audience might be using a variety of different platforms, meaning you will be required to build different versions of your software project for Android, web, and iOS. When there are multiple platforms involved, the cost of software development is bound to skyrocket.
To save on the cost of software development, people consider opting for cross-platform applications. One that is deployable on both Android and iOS devices. However, unless you have an experienced team such as a software development agency, working on the project, you are bound to waste a lot of time.
That leaves us with the native app for each platform. The problem with native-app is that they are expensive and cannot be reused for another platform if built for one.
However, you can consider focusing on a single platform first and then work on other platforms if you achieve some degree of success.
Applications that manage to deliver massive value to the users incorporate heavy backend processing.
The heavier the data-crunching at the server part, the more expensive building respective modules for it would be. Furthermore, the server-side application might need to interact with the external system.
Even though employing off-the-shelf API can prove lighter on the wallet, you will require paying more if a custom data-exchange API is required to be built.
UI/UX design’s complexity
Typically, bad UI or navigation is the leading cause of application and software being ignored after first use. To maintain user satisfaction and retention rate, focusing on user experience is imperative.
No wonder why more and more business owners are focusing on custom UI/UX design for their software projects.
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UI/UX deals with graphic elements, including fonts, icons, colors, and buttons, on every interface. It also deals with the ease of performing a certain task on the software/app.
A software developer requires adding a lot of effort to ensure the app is both visually appealing and adds to the user experience.
When you decide to hire a software developer, you will often be presented with three different pricing models – fixed-rate, hourly rate, or dedicated team.
As per the fixed rate hiring model, you have an idea of how much the cost would be. You pay a determined sum for clearly-detailed requirements. With this hiring model, there isn’t a lot of room to make changes during the software development phase.
In contrast, the hourly-rate model offers added flexibility, thereby making it possible to implement your evolving requirements mid-project. You pay based on how many hours were spent and what resources were used. Hence, the total software development cost can be vague, and you may lack control over the software development team.
The agency will assign you a team of developers, and you will be paying for the developer’s salary during the service. Such models typically have a shorter software development time. Also, you don’t necessarily interact with the entire team for project updates; instead, a project manager is assigned for seamless interaction and communication.
The cost of hiring a software developer can vary from location to location. For instance, hiring software developers from the US or Western European countries can prove a costly affair due to the fact that the average hourly rate of developers here is around $100.
However, there are certain regions where you can get the software built for a much lower cost without hampering the quality. Easter European regions like Ukraine are the go-to IT outsourcing region, where the average rate is $45 per hour for software development.
By choosing to outsource from countries like India and China, you can further decrease the custom software development costs. Just be sure about the cultural and time zone differences.
Type of app and its complexity
Do you wish to build a complex app? Or perhaps a simple one that doesn’t require a lot of backend processing?
Your need and choice can play a key role in the development process of the software and its cost. Simple software doesn’t require additional expertise. In contrast, a complex application might need a tech stack, intricate algorithms, and intense backend processing.
In short, the more user interaction your application has, the more expansive it may need to be, leading to an expensive affair! Complex software or application also means more customization, which is tedious for the developer. This could lead to rigorous testing of the custom model, thereby costing you more.
Average costs of software development
As we read above, the cost of developing an application or software depends upon myriad factors. Hence, it is certainly impossible to determine how much you would end up paying to the software development company.
However, a ballpark estimation is that you might end up paying $160 per hour, as of 2022, for software development.
The overall software development pricing estimation is expected to range between $50,000 to $250,000, where the lower price tag fits a software development of a simple app that takes less than 700 hours of work.
To build a multi-platform app with complexities and server-side applications, the fee can likely reach six figures.
Let’s further analyze the cost of software development based on the type of software you wish to develop –
A content management system or CMS operates as a tool that assists in creating and updating content, including press releases, blogs, articles, and even videos.
Besides, a customized software development solution is much more potentially profitable and expansive. This is especially true if your business deals with unique and new products regularly.
The cost of developing a basic CMS platform with a few custom configurations and features can be from $20,000 to $50,000.
Customer Relationship Management Systems or CRM systems feature different tools that assist businesses in managing vendors, winning over clients, partner relationships, and keeping track of customers.
If you have a unique target audience or management approaches, then a custom CRM platform can prove a boon for your business.
However, you can end up paying $100,000, on average, for a platform with a set of basic features along with a few custom ones. But, if you wish to go for large and complex CRM software development solutions, the charge might go upwards of $600,000+.
Enterprise Resource Planning Systems or ERP systems are developed to assist businesses in handling their regular functions like supply chain tasks, compliance, project procurement, management, accounting, etc.
As a small company, you might benefit from an off-the-rack solution. But, with growth, the number of daily tasks might multiply, leading to the need for a system tailored particularly for your business.
Based on the number of features you want on your ERP software, the software development cost can be $100,000 and more. With more advanced features, get ready to pay between $150,000 and $500,000 for your ERP software.
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Supply Chain Management Solutions
Also referred to as SCM, supply chain management is a complex business process. It involves individuals, including retailers, suppliers, distributors, producers, vendors, and customers.
From the initial stage of tracking the raw materials to the customer purchasing the final product, SCM software takes care of everything.
To boost the business process and eventually increase the business revenue, it is imperative to have a custom SCM solution in place, which can cost $100,000 to $300,000 on average or more if you wish to include more custom features.
The job of eCommerce software is to help businesses create websites and promote and sell both physical and digital products.
Such software makes it easy to integrate the digital store with the business’s website, thereby giving the users with direct access to services and products.
While there are existing eCommerce platforms that you can utilize, with complex requirements and unique architecture of your business, you might need a custom software development solution.
The cost of developing eCommerce software is from $20,000 to $70,000 and more if you use popular CMS like Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.
However, custom software built from the ground up can cost $50,000 for a simple product and add up to hundreds and thousands of dollars if you have complex requirements.
In the past few years, SaaS, or Solution as a Service, is gaining huge traction among business owners. This is because SaaS-based applications can be used with monthly or yearly fees and can be accessed on almost any device.
Since these types of products are hosted in the cloud, they tend to offer a great level of convenience and security for end-users.
For SaaS software development, you can pay anywhere between $25,000 to $100,000. With complex needs, perhaps you might have to spend a few more additional dollars.
The average cost of mobile app development
The mobile app development stages are categorized into three sections, including –
A basic mobile application refers to any type of digital product or MVP that a business produces to test the target market.
This digital product includes only basic features with very straightforward elementary UI design assets and business logic.
These applications only have five active screens at maximum.
The software development process of the basic app can vary from 330 to 650 hours. The QA engineers might set a time limit of 50 hours every month, along with a basic checklist. The overall timeline of basic app development can be 4 to 9 weeks and can cost $20,000 – $50,000.
Again, the medium-sized mobile application is quite similar to the basic one and comprises very standard and basic features along with medium business logic.
The medium app also includes:
- custom UI/UX animations and assets,
- around 6 to 15 main app screens,
- and can support two main languages.
When it comes to the developing process, the working hours vary between 660 and 1100 hours.
Around 80 hours per month are dedicated to testing and preparing the application by the software developers for the deployment phase.
The total timeline of medium app development is set from 10 to 15 weeks, which translates to 2 to 3.5 months. The software development cost of making a medium application is $50,000 – $100,000.
The term “large” refers to the features included in these types of applications. They have complex business logic and are developed for large corporations.
The large mobile application also contains:
- a custom UI design process
- multiple software and third-party integrations
- complex architecture
- solid security
- custom code
- large-scale user base,
- and more than 15 interactive screens
The development team can take around 1200 hours to complete building a large application.
160+ hours per month are dedicated to testing the application. This means the total development time is more than three months. When it comes to the expense, get ready to pay more than $100,000 for the web development costs of the large mobile application.
The cost of software development is hard to grasp, but without a good estimation, you might end up spending too much or even run out of resources.
Thankfully, with much deliberation between the client and the developer, it is possible to obtain precise average software development costs. And for that, having a clear idea of your need and reaching out to the right developer is imperative. Use this blog as a guide to get started with your software development needs!