Here's more information on custom software development projects and pricing — to help business leaders plan and make great decisions.
The nature of custom development (custom being the operative word) implies a certain degree to variability in pricing models, but that being said most problems facing growing businesses are similar at their cores … and can be approached from similar perspectives, with similar software structures, adjusted and tailored to specific needs. So that's our disclaimer! The information presented here should be used and consulted for planning purposes only. And of course, contact us or your own developer for a specific proposal.
Some things to consider (that will directly affect the pricing of a development project) …
How custom does the project really need to be?
More complex projects cost more. Obvious, right? Could your project be more complex than you think? It could also be less complex, lowering the cost significantly.
Does it need to be pretty? Or in other words … will it have a consumer-facing front-end, or will it be an internal tool, utilized only by employees?
General pricing guidelines
We touched on this in our previous video post, but here it is again:
Simple site: ~$20,000
Simple e-commerce overlay, to simple site: ~$10,000
Enterprise e-commerce and additional functionality like a social network, training tools, donation functionality, donor management and/or accounting functionality: ~$60,000
More complex site allowing for social interactions, social forums, delivered on multiple channels, with a Facebook login, a larger database migration and mobile-friendly architecture: ~$65,000
Complex operational software, with mobile-functionality, large databases, integrations of multiple existing custom software tools. Examples would include complex operational software for commercial construction companies, very large membership-management and subscription software systems and custom tools for software as a service (SaaS) companies: ~$100,000+
Software development project pricing case studies
1. Social-Impact Non-Profit complete site overhaul. This client works with young people to educate and motivate them to effectively address social problems through creativity and non-violence. The project started out as just a simple website, but it quickly became obvious that the situation was more complicated, with (5) websites/applications that had been developed over the years by multiple vendors needing merging. A fundraising tool (think "change.org") was central to the new site, and we created a social network with a Facebook login. The migration of a large, existing database was central to the project. The client had in-house designers and front-end developers to create a pretty appealing user experience, so this wasn't part of the cost, which came in roughly at $65,000.
2. International Charity, complete site with Quickbooks integration. This site was similar in scope to project #1, but didn't require the integration of so many varying sites and applications. Key to the site's functionality, however, was an integration with Quickbooks Desktop, customized heavily to fit the client's needs with donor subscriptions management and donation accounting. $60,000.
3. Commercial construction management operational software—complete site development with mobile app. This was a complex site with multiple levels of functionality and included complex, user-based permissions systems, along with a base mobile app. The software completely automated the clients' standard business functions and included a robust CRM with the ability to generate custom proposals as well as an automated email marketing feature. Scheduling, tasks and project management, document sharing and internal messaging were all included as well. Timesheets, budget reports, change orders, purchase orders, billing and payments and a full Quickbooks integration were included too. The base cost of this project: $125,000 with an additional $30,000 for the basic mobile app.
4. Agricultural industry advocacy group—complete site rebuild. This site required a classic (albeit large) membership system with variable access and sub-user functionality. An e-commerce system ensured membership billing functionality, and an integrated messaging system contributed to usability. A full membership center including reports on membership history and purchases as well as a very large content database made this site — big. There was also a substantial front-end development piece to this one. The price of this software project: ~$105,000
Whatever your project, there's obviously a solution. Developers with general business instincts and sensibilities should be able to offer solutions that actually make sense to a business and to the scope of a project. One way to lower the costs of a development project significantly is to work with a developer leveraging skilled offshore development labor. To be done right, offshore work must be managed closely by an experienced team — preferably one based in the US. Obviously, if you have any questions, we'd love to help … even if we're not the right developer for a given project.