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How Much Does It Cost To Develop Custom Software – A Short Guide

Creating custom software development involves really high costs. Starting from validating your idea on the market, through creating documentation, determining the amount of functionality, the platform on which the custom software will take place. There are a lot of minor costs, nuisances, questions and the lack of clear answers. Creating software development can be compared to buying a high-end car. Depending on whether you need a BMW, Mercedes or Tesla for everyday use, the price will be different. After reading this text, you will have a greater context of current market prices.

What kind of custom software do you want to develop or expand?

At a time when artificial intelligence is beginning to replace the most popular jobs and take jobs away from people – it would be good to define the word software itself. Today, custom software development is responsive mobile applications, custom web applications, financial dashboards for banks, enterprise solutions for corporations.

Creating software that is tailored, personalized, and that makes the word “custom” a little blurry today. 

Fortunately, there are a lot of software houses, developers and engineers who are able to dispel doubts with their solid work. This means more or less that custom software development does exist, but is quite hard to find.

What functionalities do you want to include?

For the sake of clarity of this text, let us recall a specific case. You’ve always wanted to create a mobile app to sell wireless headphones. If you are already after the initial market research and you know that you should start looking for an investor, business angel or someone who is able to co-create this application with you and has the appropriate resources. When you are looking for a suitable team of developers, you also need to define your idea and scope of functionalities here.

What exactly should your application have? Do you only need the store function and the ability to add products? Do you only need the store function and the ability to add products? The cost, of course, will grow organically. As long as you have EUR 120,000, there is a high probability that this amount will be enough to create a very simple application for iOS and Android.

 If you think that for this amount you will create the entire application with a lot of functionality, integration, external API, perfect in terms of design that will not need to be improved, and UX / UI – you are wrong.

Is creating your own application or program a luxury?

When you are experienced entrepreneurs and you realize that creating a mobile application, web application or any form of custom software development nowadays is a certain luxury – you are able to win in business with competitors who do not understand it. It takes quite a long time to create a program by a team of developers, project managers, product owners, and automatic testers. Time is money, and in the IT industry you will definitely feel it.

But not necessarily.

As long as you have the technical knowledge, a lot of time, and you are familiar with the business, chances are that you will build the foundations of your software yourself. Any corrections to be made by the development team will eventually turn out to be much cheaper. Unfortunately, you will not avoid one element with such cooperation. Developers will take a long time to analyze your programming code.

How big team of developers do you need?

You already know perfectly well that the cost of software development differs due to the number of functionalities and platforms your solution is dedicated to. However, there are a few more factors that determine the ultimate goals of development. They are mainly people – their time, skills and experience.

If you have a company that does not currently employ any programmer due to various factors – don’t worry, there is a great solution called “staff augmentation“. 

This solution, i.e. employing remotely working developers on your project, means that you do not have to look for developers in your industry on your own. Usually it is associated with very high costs, and hiring responsible people for searching for developers is not needed in the era of nearshoring or staff augmentation. Use ready-made services and solutions that will give you time that you will spend not thinking about software development but about the business side of your venture.

Agile software developers

Minimum development team

When you decide to organically create your application, it will be a great idea to complete a small – five-person development team. Typically, such a team may consist of two experienced developers, one tester, ux designer and project manager. Thanks to these five specialists, you can start the development of your application. 

Medium development team

We can safely call an average team of 10 developers, one manual tester, one project manager and two designers. Such a team is most often built by businesses that have about 90-120 people on board, including the development team they have on their side. Often, businesses of this size rely on external support because they realize how expensive software development is.

Large development team

A team of 20 developers with two project managers, three testers, three UX / UI designers and a tech lead on the client’s side. Go ahead, such a team can be called a big one. Such a number of developers requires perfectly coordinated work of project managers who watch over the quality of the delivered code and functionalities.

The cost of creating a new project does not have to be that high

Of course, if you think your application should have tons of features right from the start and reach hundreds of thousands of people – the cost will be unimaginably high and will likely run into millions of dollars. However, if you are a small startup that is just starting and would be happy to test your custom software on the market with the help of the MVP development created – the cost of which will be much lower than the ready solution. So look for solutions that are a golden mean of high costs, time resources and availability to developers.


cto - Chris Gibas

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