How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Web App, and What Does the Price Depend on?
Any potential client who comes to us with a project wants to know the answers to these questions. Trying to give both an exact and universal answer is the same as trying to find the exact answer to the question: “How much does it cost to build a house?” At the very least, you will need to specify the planned area, the number of floors, etc.
Any good engineer ‘s answer will start with the phrase, “It depends on…” Each project is unique and requires the use of different technologies, tools, and a development team. Therefore, the cost of development depends on the combination of many different variables.
There are several factors that have a major impact on the final budget. Understanding them will allow you to better navigate the issue of assessing costs for web app development. Now, we shall try to eliminate uncertainty and tell you what it all depends on.
This is the most compact of all the items in our article, which for some reason is often forgotten by the authors of similar publications. To continue with the house analogy, you understand that the cost of building a house out of wood will be significantly different from the cost of building a house out of brick. The same is true with web development services – the technologies used also affect the final cost.
A project developed using PHP or a ready framework will cost less than a similar product based on Ruby or Java. It’s easier to create a site based on the readymade CMS than developing the same project from scratch.
There are cases when a particular technology is a mandatory condition and it’s practically impossible to create the desired product without it. But you can often choose an alternative, and thus reduce the development budget and accelerate the time to completion.
Functionality and technical complexity
This is the stage of gathering and analyzing the requirements, when you hold interviews with the client regarding the product’s goals, his vision of the desired product functionality etc. Then, based on this, you create a list of the main functions that must be implemented in the future product.
The simplest variant here is a site, where content is added by one user and its main purpose is to deliver certain information to the target audience. Any transactions, personal cabinet or integration are not provided.
The development complexity increases if the client requires:
- personal information storage and possibility to add content on the user side;
- data computing and processing on the server side;
- transaction processing and making payments;
- admin control panel with user rights;
- monitoring, collecting statistics and analytics panel;
- integration with various services;
- site localization for several countries, etc.
Even if you know exactly what your product should look like, we recommend getting your priorities clear and narrowing the idea down to a set of core functions. It’s all about creating an MVP — minimum viable product.
This will save the budget and development time, and you will be able to quickly test the product’s first version under real-life conditions, thus receiving vital feedback from real users.
This is the stage when the magic happens and designers embody your ideas in the form of real interfaces and various visual elements. Yes, it can be expensive, but it is a must.
There are two main ways to implement this stage:
- Use ready templates, both paid and free.
- Order an individual program that reflects the spirit of your brand and takes into account all your personal requirements.
As you might have already guessed, the first option is the most affordable. The second can cost significantly more, but its advantages are undeniable.
You may ask why this is relevant, since we are talking about technical things? The thing is that a broad business domain means a huge selection of contractors, which reduces the implementation price due to the high competition between them.
Unique and complex apps in a specific niche may require the involvement of non-technical specialists, and developers cannot create the desired product without consulting with them. Examples of such niches are logistics, healthcare, and fintech.
This does not mean that you will have to look for an agency that specializes specifically in this market segment. Most companies will easily find the proper outsource specialist. However, this will definitely affect the cost of work.
The team and workload
In addition to the other factors listed above, one of the most important factors significantly influencing the final price is the performers’ working costs. You can contact any USA company, or, for instance, you can outsource the work to Ukraine. The price of services in terms of the cost per hour of a specialist’s work can differ by a factor of 2-3!
The customers’ main concern is the possible loss of quality. But in fact, there is nothing to worry about since the cost of developers’ services from Eastern Europe is lower simply because in countries such as Ukraine, Poland, Romania etc., there is a much lower cost of living, which affects the price of work.
You can draw an analogy with the prices for real estate. An apartment in a large metropolis can be 5 times more expensive than similar-quality housing somewhere in a small town. It’s all about high demand and an overheated market, which leads to a corresponding increase in prices.
The working cost for US developers is, on average, $80-150; in Ukraine, about $25-50. Think about it, especially if the project is long-term.
Testing and support
The QA engineers perform web app testing on various parameters before its release. In addition to the manual tests they sometimes perform automated tests which cost extra money, but are necessary for large projects.
The last stage of work on the product – launch and further support – also requires certain investments. These costs include infrastructure costs and error correction.
Nothing in the world is perfect, and even if there is an amazing team working on your web app, you may still discover some errors after the launch.
You also have to pay for the domain name and server, and if the product is complex and requires a high load, this item should also be included as separately in the development budget.
In addition to the list of functional requirements, that is, a list of things a web app should perform, there are other features that fall into the category of non-functional requirements.
They include characteristics such as responsiveness, scalability, high security level etc. They are important primarily in the context of the impact on the experience of user interaction with the system.
For systems that are designed with a high-load level expectation, one of the most important non-functional requirements is the system throughput. This means the number of requests that can be processed per unit of time.
The development of highly loaded systems on the web is expensive, since their architecture has some special requirements. If it is expected that it will be used by thousands of people every day, it is necessary to ensure a high level of reliability and safety and to minimize the downtime risk.
Brief figures for the main project types
It goes without saying you are interested in a specific range of figures. So, based on the web app development costs in Lvivity and project complexity, the following options can be highlighted:
- Simple apps. These include sites with some static information, several interactive elements and simple additional component integration. Development cost: up to $5,000. Time: 1–2 months.
- Medium-complexity projects. Usually these are advanced online stores or corporate platforms with additional modules, third-party integration and API. Development cost: $5,000–$20,000. Time: 2–4 months.
- High level-complexity projects. These are complex platforms and corporate-level systems designed for high load and scaling. They are intended for business process automation, infrastructure management, and provide sets of integrations. Development cost: $30,000 and above. Time: 6 months or more.
Of course, the above gradation is rather simplified. But it should be enough for you to come to some conclusions.
Is it possible to give an accurate estimate?
The answer is yes, you can. But only if it concerns small and simple projects, for which the customer can provide an exact technical task which will not change in the development process. As you know, there are quite a few such projects.
Hopefully, you now have a pretty good idea of what factors affect a web app’s development costs. And, most importantly, you understand why responsible and professional developers can not give an answer immediately. In any case, they will need time to evaluate, in order to offer you the best solution.
In most cases, when a client asks us to estimate how much a web application development will cost, we can provide him with an approximate range. To make this range as accurate as possible, we conduct a series of conversations and consultations, which allow our team to understand your goals and offer you the best solution based on them.
After the decision is approved by the customer, we proceed to the evaluation stage. Great experience in creating projects of different scales and in multiple niches allow us to make this estimate quite accurate.
An individual approach to each project is the key to its successful evaluation and implementation. Therefore, having spent more time on the analysis before we start, we help save you time and money in the future.
So if you have an idea for a web project, and you are interested in how much it will cost to develop it – write to us, and we will not only answer your question, but also help create a high-quality product that will allow you to achieve your goals.