How much does it cost?
The only time when we can hope for an exact figure for an answer is when the thing is already finished and lying on the counter. The manufacturer knows exactly how much labor, material and overhead were used to produce the item and can name an exact price.
What about things that have not been made yet? How much does it cost to build a house?
When we are building a house we do not mean a standard mass-produced box-like structure when we will have a hard time telling ours from our neighbor’s. No, we want a unique place made with a focus on our taste, comfort, and way of living. So, how much does it cost?
Asking this question to a construction company will immediately call for a dozen counter-questions.
How large do you want it to be? How many bedrooms? How many floors? Do you want large windows or smaller ones? Do you need an attic and a cellar?
Moreover, even if you answer all these questions, you may get only a ballpark figure, because we have not even started talking about materials and designs. It may take a week or two to calculate an estimate which in the majority of cases is going to be adjusted anyway as the construction progresses.
Why should building a software product be any different?
Each application is to be unique, recognizable, eye-catching, one-of-a-kind. In software development, there is no room for mass production, and no two products are alike.
Thus, when you ask how much it will cost to create an app, be prepared to answer a lot of questions before you hear any figures. What do you want your app to do? Who is it for? Are you planning any third-party services, such as maps or payment engines? Will you use any special technologies, such as augmented reality or artificial intelligence?
By the way, even after all these questions, you may still get a range of figures, as to come up with even a rough estimate, the development company needs to outline the main functional components and determine how many hours each of them will take.
In software development, costs are most often calculated as the number of hours multiplied by the hourly rate. The hourly rate depends on the technology that is required, the level of experience and seniority of software developers, length of a project, etc.
For example, if we talk about developing a virtual reality application, there is a whole variety of options, all of them influencing the cost of development. A simple VR app using a 360-degree video and no 3D models will take 100-250 hours to build. On the other side of this spectrum, we have sophisticated multiplayer applications with content created by 3D modelers and technical artists and interactive models.
This kind of application may take from 1000 hours and more to create and require a Unity 3D developers to develop the VR content. Naturally, the costs will be starkly different, while both cases fall under the loose description of a “VR app”.
Of course, this does not mean that you should launch your app development project with a “blank check”. On the contrary, we insist on preparing both a rough estimate and a detailed estimate of your project before we begin working on it. The only thing we need from you is an application design document.
If you do not have an application design document in the classical meaning of the word, don’t worry. Just describe your idea to us and try to answer our questions. Our experts can translate your visions and expectations into specific features and technologies.
We offer a special consulting service to prepare the concept of your application according to your description.
After you share your idea with us, our consulting team (a project manager, a business analyst, an art lead, a dev lead, and a QA specialist) begins working on the general app concept and the rough cost estimate. This task takes from 2 to 5 working days for a general concept, and up to 4 to 8 weeks for a full Discovery Phase. All is billable according to our daily rates.
If our estimation does not fit your budget, we will always try to suggest alternatives. In some cases, we can cut down the functionality or replace the technology to achieve certain savings. In other cases, we may start with a PoC that will, on the one hand, validate the idea and, on the other hand, help to define the feature scope more accurately.
The preliminary cost estimate is possible only after we can convert your business requirements into technical requirements (application design document) and build the feature scope of work. At this point only, we know which skills we need to create the app and how much time it will take.
To wrap it up, we would like to say that building custom apps is an extremely flexible process. The budget does not always play a critical part. You may start with a brilliant PoC or MVP that will not cost much but will guarantee you the initial user base and show the direction of the further development.
If you have a project idea, contact us for an initial consultation.
Our consulting team will do their best to suggest the most optimal solution for your project.Back to Playbook