Software development is an important part of a business growth strategy. However, there’s one question that comes with this—how much does software development cost? Well, there’s no definite answer to this. The thing is—the cost of software development depends on business requirements, as well as other factors.
So, what you can do is to estimate a budget, but not estimate the final cost of the entire project. Software development is not like products manufactured in an assembly line—where you can refer to a past project to calculate the cost for the project. This is the reason why you’ll never see similar software development projects. Certain variables come into play in the middle of the development project. These variables can lead to extra cost and time needed to complete the software development project.
Payment options for software development
There are two common payment options for software development:
- Time and material
The best option for your project will greatly depend on the size of your projects, as well as how you’ve defined your needs and requirements.
This is a deal for software development projects that have clearly-defined requirements, and they are not bound to change. Here, you will need to pay the full development cost before the project starts. While this works for many clients, it comes with numerous risks. There’s the risk of delays, especially if the project is large, and also losing communication with the development team. The fixed-price payment option is ideal for small projects.
Time and material
This provides a lot of flexibility. You can make payments incrementally, but not in full. Moreover, you can opt to pay weekly, monthly, or according to your agreement with the developers. This option gives you more control over the entire development project. You can always assess the progress of the project whenever you make payments. With this, you can ask for reports or request for additional features.
So, what determines the cost of software development?
The complexity of the project
Typically, the number of features the software has, as well as the logic of the software define this. Besides, the features have different cost implications. For instance, video calls and push notifications have different costs because of the time requirements and complexity of the code. Technical real-time data analytics with various permission levels will need different resources than a nutrition app.
The cost of software development will also vary depending on the platform that you want to deploy the software. And why is this? The answer is simple—each deployment platform has different specifications. If it’s a mobile app, the cost will depend on the operating system. Is it for Android only? Or iOS? With this, the cost for each of the two deployment platforms will differ because the two platforms have different numbers or devices.
Generally, Android has more number of devices, compared to iOS. With that, you should expect the cost of developing an Android App to be higher than the other platforms. Also, if you want an app that competes with other major apps like Google Chrome, it means you will need to develop the app for all the primary deployment platforms. With this, the software development cost will be much higher.
Before we describe the software size, we will need to define a screen in the context of software development.
Screen – this is an open menu, page, or what the user sees the moment they make an interaction. For instance, a ‘change password’ page and ‘login’ page are two screens, which serve different functions. With this, everything is pretty straightforward now. The cost of developing software will be higher for software with many screens.
Generally, small applications with a range of 10 – 15 pages can cost you an average of $75,000 and above. Larger software development projects, with over 50 screens can cost an average of $250,000 and above.
Custom software design can make your software unique, and easier to use. There’s a time when most people loved software programs with lime green text, with a black background. However, long gone are those days, although that’s an effect used in some apps today. Great, appealing, and simple user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are what make software user-friendly.
The software development process can be very technical, depending on how unique you’d like the elements to be, as well as the number of repetitions. Please note that the best software designs are not designed perfectly from the beginning. They are only achieved after several redesign cycles. Moreover, if you want your software to have more high-quality custom images, expect to pay more for that.
The Entrance Consulting software development experts say that the cost of software development greatly depends on the number of people handling your project. This applies the same principle as when you’ve employed a dedicated team. The time of everyone participating in the project, from the developers, project manager, to the QA-engineer, will cost you money.
Besides, the type of software development team matters too. If your company has an IT team on payroll, then your software development project will be a bit cheaper. However, since the wages will be recurrent, they can accrue, and make the software development project expensive in the long run.
Also, you should note that not most IT teams have the needed knowledge for such projects. With this, you will need to bring in a dedicated development team, to work hand in hand with your in-house IT department. Then, we have outsourcing, which is the most costly option. However, this assures you of having quality results at the end of the project.
How much a software development company pays the developers has a direct impact on the cost of a software development project. These costs will depend on the location of the company, as well as how much an average developer earns in the industry, and their location.
While the quality of the work will be the same, you are more likely to pay more for developers in the US or Canada over developers in Asia. Besides, the costs will depend on whether you are choosing a larger software development company or a startup. Major development companies normally incur a lot of costs trying to maintain their brand, unlike startups.
While software development costs might seem high, you must also understand that the software will be customized to suit your business needs. Thus, this is not a one-size-fits-all process. Every element in the development project must work together, to complement each other. This, in turn, leads to higher productivity and prevents the possibility of technical issues in the future.