Cost To Build Custom Web Application Development_cover

How Much Does It Cost To Build a Web Application?

19 Nov 2021 23 min read

You want to build a web application, but you’re worried about the cost. If that sounds familiar, we understand your fear. We’ve wrote this article to show that there are ways to control the costs, and it’s possible to get a custom web application that doesn’t break the bank.

How To Calculate Cost of Web Application Development

How much does it cost to build a web app?

This is one of those questions that can’t be answered with anything except, “It depends.” When you ask what the cost of web application development is, you’re asking about a lengthy process involving many steps. Hours of development, design, engineering, and testing are part of the custom web application process.

If someone quotes you a flat price, you’re right to be skeptical. How can they do that without knowing the full scope of your project?

When a Software Development Company designs custom business solutions, not like it just rolled off the line, there’s no set price for that. Web app pricing varies from project to project. What we can do, however, is help you with your own web application development cost estimation. This guide will walk you through the process we use to develop a web app, what affects each step of the process, and how we ensure cost efficiency along the way.

Since many customers want to get a general sense of what to expect, we wrote this guide to help them estimate their costs. We hope it helps you estimate your web app development cost.

The basic information about the web application, its meaning, types, and development process of web application you can read in our previous issue of web application development guide.

What Affects the Cost of Web Application Development?

When you ask, how much does it cost to build a web app, you must consider the factors that add to the cost. These are the factors that affect the pricing so it can vary from 5k to 250k, and why to know just the idea of your business project is usually not enough.

1. Size and Scope of the Project

Your application functionality is one of the biggest factors that affect a web application development cost. A complex, sophisticated app will have a higher cost.

A custom web application can mean many things. When considering the application you want, consider its purpose and any must-have features. A static web app that serves as a creative portfolio requires a much different timeline than a complex travel app that incorporates travel tips, payment processing, GPS navigators, and online booking.

Is your website going to function as a fully-fledged store, or will it link to online stores? Do you want a standalone app or one that integrates with other applications? Be sure you’re considering all the functions you want your app to have.

The quality of the software is another key part of your project. Engineers and coders need time to develop clean, usable code that’s free of defects. If you rush the job or accept one that’s only partially finished, you’ll get software that’s prone to bugs and malware.

Finally, keep in mind that project scopes can—and often do—change. Yours may start as a small one, and it may expand. The custom web application development cost will vary with these changes.

2. UI/UX Design Сomplexity

You can’t build a standout web application from a template. You need a custom design that increases the user experience (UX) and an intuitive user interface (UI) that makes your app enjoyable to use.

Good design has to be intuitive and eye-catching, which in turn requires combining thoughtful features that include buttons, navigation bars, animated graphics, and an attractive layout. And moreover, every element has to be thought through exactly for your business, to meet the particular behaviors your of target audiences. Sometimes there is a need to create a test to check the usability of some user flows and user friendliness.

3. Cooperation Options

Your web application project cost also depends a lot on who you pay to work on your project. You can choose to create your own in-house team, to hire freelance developers, or to cooperate with a company that specializes in web application design.

We’ll look at the pros and cons of each in detail. We’ll also note how they might affect your web app development cost.

In-house team

How much does it cost to build a web application? When you ask that, you might think you can save some money by working with your own tech team. Ask them to manage the web app development for you.

Pros:

  • Your team knows your products and your business.
  • You’re used to working together and having good communication.
  • Having the freedom of implementing new changes at any time.

Cons:

  • If your team doesn’t have any web app building experience, you’ll have to outsource consulting services at some points.
  • Fully staffing your team will take hours of searching, hiring, and training.
  • An in-house team may be too busy with other work to devote enough time to this project.
  • Building the app may require overtime, added hardware, more software, and other expenses.

Freelance web developers

For small projects or minor changes, you can hire freelancers. When you do, be sure you fully understand how much work is included in their web application development cost estimation.

Pros:

  • Freelancers cost less overall than other options.
  • You can pay for each service as you need it.

Cons:

  • Freelancers are used to setting their own schedules, and they can quit unexpectedly.
  • You have to create a project roadmap on your own or to additionally hire a business analytic.
  • Each freelancer can only estimate their individual fees, so you won’t have a sense of the total project cost.
  • You may need a project manager to oversee the freelancers’ work.
  • If you don’t have tech backgrounds, you’ll have to hire someone to test the app.

Outsourcing Web Application Development Company

Hiring a company that specializes in web application development is one of the best ways to build an app that is stable, innovative, and powerful. A professional company has experience creating estimates and business plans. They’ll present a realistic custom web application development cost.

Pros:

  • Work with an experienced, knowledgeable company that specializes in building web apps.
  • Get detailed estimates, timelines, and arrangements that are documented.
  • Safe cooperation by performing and Agreement and NDA.
  • Business analysts and dedicated project managers who oversee the project and report to you.
  • MVP-based web app development to save your budget and create competitive product.
  • You won’t have to pay for office space, hardware or other overhead.

Cons:

  • You must find a reputable web app development company.
  • It may cost more that working with freelancers but less than create an in-house team.

Eventually its a middle ground of all options when we talking about best value for money, especially for a big projects.

How much does it cost to build a web app with a software development company? Your web application development cost may be higher working with a company that specializes in web applications, however, the project will be easier to control, and the results will be better.

4. Pricing Strategy

Web application development cost estimation also depends on the web app pricing strategy you and your development team agree to use. On most projects, you will have the choice of fixed price or time and materials pricing.

What is the difference, and how will it affect web app pricing? Here’s a breakdown of the two pricing methods.

 

Fixed price billing

A fixed price seems like the perfect answer to the question, “How much does it cost to build a web application?”

Many people think a fixed price bill is best, but that isn’t always true. Always keep in mind that projects change as they progress. There is always something unexpected that can derail even the best-laid plans.

Fixed price billing can be a good option for a small, one-time project, but it’s not the best approach for a long-term project like building a custom app. Here’s why.

When you agree to a fixed price plan, you agree to pay a set amount of money for a set amount of work. That sounds fine until something goes not as planned.

Your project could be moving along right on time, but what happens when you discover you want to add more features to the app? Asking your team to add it means adding more to your original payment or waiting until they get around to it.

Because they’re on a fixed price, they can’t move outside the limits of the original agreement. They’ll complete the app on time as agreed, but they won’t have the opportunity to refine it or implement any new features.

That means your app may be finished, but it won’t have all the features you want. Launching it means launching an app that isn’t enough powerful or user-friendly. That means unhappy users, lost money and lost time.

That’s why a fixed price model is fine for a small, limited project, but it may not be the best way to determine web application development cost for a large project.

 

Time and materials billing

If you want to be sure you’re getting a high-quality app that has the features and functions you want, ask for an agreement with time and materials billing. In this model, web application cost may be higher, but the finished product is exactly what you want.

In this pricing strategy, you pay for the time and resources used to produce the app. It’s like paying for materials and labor when you remodel your kitchen.

You will get an app that meets your specifications because you’re allowing your development team to work freely and without the limits of a fixed price model. If you get an idea for a new feature, you can ask them to add it. You don’t have to wait until the project is over to make changes. If work has to stop because of an unexpected delay, you don’t have to pay for work during that time.

5. Geography

Yes, the location of the web development team you gonna work with can affect the cost of web application development. Hourly rates for software developers vary widely from one geographic location to another.

How much does it cost to build a web app in different parts of the world?

Let’s look at some comparisons. In the U.S., Australia, and Canada, hourly rates for developers can run from $100 – $150 an hour. These are the highest rates in the world. Average rates in the U.K. are slightly lower at $90 – $130 an hour.  Western Europe rates are about  $70 – $100.

In most Eastern European countries, you can get the same high-quality work for rates that are almost half that. The average rate for developers in Ukraine is $40 – $80 an hour.

So it’s easy to assume that the bigger the better, but it is not that simple in this field. There is such a form of cooperation as white label development when big companies hire offshore development companies to perform services in which they don’t have enough experience.  Mostly those rates are based not on the quality of work but on the economical state in every region.

Now you might be confused, then how to choose a good contractor?

There are a lot of aspects that need to be considered, from culturally sensitive communication aspects to clients reviews on trusted platforms, like Clutch.

Okay, now that we’ve reviewed all basic elements of pricing and looked at some pitfalls to consider when calculating web app development budget. Let’s go further to some actual numbers.

How much your web app will cost?

Leave it to our business analysts! They will make a rough cost estimation of your project, for free.

GET A FREE Estimation

Estimating the Cost of Your Custom Web Application

In the previous section, we looked at factors that can affect the custom web application development cost. In the next two sections, we break down actual numbers to help you calculate your own web application development cost estimation.

Building a web application is a team effort. You may fit some of the roles yourself, or you may have people lined up already who can fill one or more of them. Maybe you need to start entirely from scratch.

However you build it, your team should include people who can fill the following roles:

  • Business analyst: Studies the market, decides what features your app needs, writes a strategic plan and all necessary documentation, like a roadmap that is going to be the guide for the whole team.
  • Designer: Makes sure your app has the UI and UX design that creates conversions and sales. An experienced designer should create not only a pleasant look of the web application but a complex design system that reflects people’s usability habits and emotions.
  • Software developers:  Build the app using coding languages, frameworks, and APIs. Here is very important to choose a developer that has proper experience in that technology stack that has been chosen to implement all functionality on the project.
  • Quality assurance engineer: Tests the app to find bugs and other defects before it launches. Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
  • Project manager: Oversees the project, tracks deadlines and ensures communication among all team members. A good, experienced project manager cannot be overstated. It’s the captain on the ship of your project that is supposed to anticipate every storm. He or she should know every pitfall and bottleneck of your kind of project, to prevent budget leaking and meeting timeframes.
  • Marketer: Ensures your app gets noticed and used by your target customers. The marketer creates a strategy to engage people in your project starting from MVP, beta version till the final product. This specialist creates attractive landing pages, digital marketing campaigns and analyzes usability results.

You may not need each member of this team, and you may be able to fill one or more of these roles yourself. A small project may only need a designer, developer and a QA engineer, and a full-featured app needs a full team and in some cases several developers. In all cases, we provide a dedicated project manager to keep communication with our clients open.

Average Web App Pricing

When calculating how much does it cost to build a web application, it helps to know average prices for sample projects.

Typically, a simple web app will cost starting around $5,000, and a full-featured app with many specialty functions may cost from $50,000 to $250,000. Here’s how we calculated the prices of different sample projects.

Cost To Build Custom Web Application Development infographic1

Small Projects

These are typically simple websites, e-commerce stores, and online portfolios. They have minimal content and offer limited customer interaction. This type of simple website is ideal for a small e-commerce seller, creative professional, or online club.

Time to develop: Minimum of one month. Cost: $4,000 to $14,000.

Medium-Sized Projects

These are professional web apps that offer interactive pages, informative content, and multiple functions. They are the type you see on large e-commerce sites and portals. They are ideal for small companies, membership groups and nonprofit organizations.

Time to develop: About 4 months. Cost: $14,000 to $50,000.

Large Projects

These projects involve large, complex web applications that include databases, custom design, multiple interactive elements, streaming and other high-level functions. These projects are aimed at large companies or those that want to move quickly into large-scale app marketing.

Time to develop: At least 6 months. Cost: $50,00 to $230,000.

Post-Project Expenses

Once you have your app, your expenses aren’t over. The cost of web application development also means expenses related to running your app.

These costs include:

  • Servers: $20 to $60 monthly.
  • Push notifications: $10 monthly.
  • Third-party API service charges: Varies.
  • App store developer fees: $25 for Google Play, $99 for the Apple Store.

How To Control Costs on a Web Application Development Project

Does it seem like developing a web application cost is too high for your budget?

Here are some ways you can cut the web application development cost.

  1. Ask for a minimum viable product (MVP), which allows you to launch a prototype version of the app. This version has enough features to be usable, but it’s not fully developed. Using an MVP will let you find out if it’s worth developing and launching a full app.
  2. Consider using third-party services. It may help to cut back web app development expenses. If there’s a function you want, chances are good there is already an application programming interface (API) for it. Well-built, powerful API exists in the public and private domains for many web app functions. For example, such APIs like Skyscanner, Booking, and Open Wheather can be pretty helpful for a travel kind web application. Or for instance, for some payment functionality, there are such Apis like Stripe and Paypal. Do you need a payment processor, a GPS navigator or an online chat forum? There’s an API for that.

Using API speeds the development process and ensures your app will work as promised. This strategy has helped many of our customers build apps they love while saving considerable time and money.

Certainly, there are APIs that may not satisfy all needs of your project. And for such cases, be sure that the company you are going to work with is capable of developing a custom API for you. Otherwise, you’ll have to separately order API development. And working with different companies on the same project is never a good idea for your budget.

So take your time, work with an experienced team that will help you to decide which features are must-haves, and consider trimming out the extras. Consider all the factors that add to the web app development cost, and find ways to mitigate them.

Our Pricing Model

At Web Design Sun, we use a fixed price billing model when we work on small projects where the scope of work is clearly defined. For medium and large projects, we prefer to work on a resources and timing model.

On every project, we look for ways to help you trim the web application cost without sacrificing quality. Be cautious if you get a web application development cost estimation that looks surprisingly low.

The old saying about something being too good to be true certainly applies to this industry. What are you getting for that low price? Will you get a surprise bill later for bug fixes, post-launch support and software updates? Always be sure both parties understand the nature and scope of the work before you get started.

Cost Estimation at Web Design Sun

Web Design Sun uses a full life cycle of web development. Our custom web application development cost includes the following stages:

  • Research&Planning
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deployment

We provide an individual project manager to each client. Your project manager will coordinate all communications and keep you informed about our progress.

Our web application development cost estimation includes:

Cost To Build Custom Web Application Development infographic2

The cost of web application development can vary, and it’s possible to find solutions that keep costs down. Our custom web application services include strategies for maximizing your current resources and finding ways to help you save money.

Don’t let web application cost keep you from getting the business application that will transform your business.

How much does it cost to build a web application? It’s impossible to give an exact answer to that question just like that. Many factors affect the final price of web app development cost, and open communication is important.

At Web Design Sun, we have over 10 years of experience building digital products. Our analysts, engineers and designers have worked on projects for clients around the globe. We provide clear pricing and fair estimates when we discuss development a web application cost.

Cost To Build Custom Web Application Development last_cta

Are you interested in learning how much your project might cost?

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