Web application development cost is a term that digital marketers and developers use a lot, but when clients pop the question “How much,” they rarely get a precise figure right off the bat. This isn’t because both developers and marketers are bad at ballpark web application development cost estimation; it’s more because giving a more precise figure is more or less impossible without knowing more about the intent behind the web app, its features, size, and other surrounding characteristics that will influence the web application development cost breakdown.
That said, this article aims to bring potential web app owners closer to understanding all the factors that may influence web app development costs, understanding the development methodologies, and getting a better grasp of the latest changes in web app development and other things that will tip the scales when it comes to pricing and overall costs.
How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Web Application: Understanding The Market
Most customers online focus on convenience and usability when opting for digital services and goods. This will usually mean that they will want to click less and get more done, easier and quicker. On that note, the shift toward web apps has already started, even when compared to mobile apps, as they save even more time and simply make things more convenient for the user.
For example, the use of IoT devices and progressive web development will only keep web app development going strong, along with education, eCommerce, healthcare, retail, entertainment, and travel. To be more precise, data from Statista suggests that the enterprise application software market will reach 479 billion U.S. dollars in 2026.
On the other hand, around 50 percent of mobile users simply delete the mobile apps they don’t use often as they only take up space on their phones.
Also, in 2019, the market for app development software was worth “only” $168.71 billion, but experts estimate that by 2027, or less than a decade, this same market will reach a staggering $1,039.89 billion by 2027, with a respectable annual growth rate of 25.54%. Experts have also mentioned that the main driving forces behind this tremendous growth are the growing popularity of IoT devices and cloud computing.
And, when talking about web application development cost estimation, dedicated app price calculators suggest that the estimated prices for more intricate apps hover between 267,00 to $360,000, and the average length to develop an app will take at least three months or more in 80% of cases. In 40% of cases, the development cycle will usually be longer than six months.
Custom Web Application Development Cost Based On Project Complexity
For the most part, web app development will be highly individual. Still, there is a web application development cost breakdown model that can usually be used to give future web app owners a better understanding of the estimated costs of each project based on the complexity of features it has.
For starters, a simple development project with the app only having basic functionality and features will cost around $10,000 to $25,000.
Medium-sized or more elaborate projects with custom features, advanced functionality, and moderate complexity will hover between $25,000 and $60,000.
Lastly, high-end complex projects with advanced functionality, features, and intricate designs usually cost between $60,000 and $250,000 or even more.
Still, you should note that this web application development cost estimation only uses rough figures, and the actual cost may vary distinctively on several other factors. For instance, the hourly rates of the developers will be different based on location, which can significantly increase or decrease the end cost (for example, rates can range between $25 and $200 per hour).
Establishing the basic project requirements is essential to keep costs sensible and within the borders of the average price of web application development services because this will give a more detailed and accurate cost estimate for your specific project.
Custom Web Application Development Cost: Influencing Factors
When talking about the average cost of web application development, some experts would say that a simple app will cost at least $15,000 and may even pass the $250,000 mark if it’s a complex and feature-rich app.
Still, estimates and cost breakdowns may vary based on several factors. The amount of money spent will also depend on several other factors, including the following:
When you build a dedicated app to run on both iOS and Android systems, you will probably almost pay double that of a progressive web app. On that end, the average is around $9600 and 160 work hours to develop an Android app; the same will go for an iOS system.
Your basic features will also highly depend on the type of app you want developed. Content platforms will typically have event calendars, options for document hosting, image video storage and sharing options, and more. If it’s a networking platform, it will also probably have a message board and chat.
Lastly, you may opt for custom features that can considerably reduce costs. For instance, a simple feature may cost around $15000 to build, but a complex feature that will need a custom backend may even cost around $58000 to create.
Do you want your app to be able to access other device apps or resources, such as GPS, camera, Bluetooth, accelerometer, gyroscope, or even all?
What kind of information will users have to provide? How will you want to protect their information? What will users be able to do with the application? What’s your engagement approach? Will you have chatbots, newsletter subscriptions, or push notifications?
Hosting and Maintenance
How are you planning to sustain and scale the app as time goes by? You will also need to address topics regarding firewalls, databases, servers, load balancing, content delivery networks, and more.
Will you take advantage of in-app purchases or opt for a fixed application cost (monthly or yearly)? Or will you generate revenue from ads only?
Typically, you will require the help of an entire development team to create your application. There are several models you can choose from, like hiring an agency, working with freelancers, or having your own dedicated in-house team.
- In-house developers: For starters, these experts will usually have a thorough understanding of your business and brand, and they will be constantly in the company, limiting the problems stemming from miscommunication. On the flip side, investing in an entire team is a much more expensive endeavor than hiring a group of freelancers or working with an agency. Also, with this model, you will need to take care of recruitment and employee retention.
- Development companies: This will be the most viable option for most companies as you will get access to seasoned professionals and have total control over your project. Also, you won’t have to worry about setting up the entire architecture for development, meaning you don’t have to worry about management platforms and so on.
- Freelance developers: This may be less expensive than having an in-house team or even a renowned agency squad, but often, the quality of the end product will be mostly unpredictable.
The location of your team will also make a cost difference. US-based teams will charge more than most Europe-based teams. To that end, hourly rates will be even lower in Southeast Asia and Africa.
Scope of Work
The overall expenses associated with creating a web application are directly linked to the extent of the development work needed. Starting from the ground up entails navigating through all the conventional stages of the software development lifecycle.
Focusing solely on essential features required for building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is advisable to minimize costs. Many prosperous products, such as Uber and Dropbox, began with proofs of concept.
The concept of web design can also be a great way to save money or to drive costs upward. For instance, some app owners will opt for basic templates and themes that offer, more or less, cookie-cutter solutions. While these are great for saving time and keeping costs down, they will often seem lazy to the more experienced user and may even be outdated compared to your competition.
To that end, you can always opt to make changes to these templates and themes to make them more personal, but every change will mean that the end product will be slightly more expensive.
Lastly, if you truly want your app and business to make a difference and be easy to use and unique, chances are you will opt for custom design services, which can drive prices up but are often well worth the extra.
Are you considering developing an app that operates autonomously or incorporating technology from an external source? The complexity of integrations required for your software significantly influences the cost of web application development. However, there’s no need for concern because the functionalities you require are often readily accessible through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). By incorporating these APIs into your product, you can proceed swiftly without investing time and money in reinventing existing solutions.
The industry in which you are will also play a significant role in determining the overall costs of the development project. For instance, accounting and healthcare have strict and complex regulatory requirements regarding software development. You will need advanced user data protection features to keep your client’s information safe, and implementing these features may lead to higher associated costs.
Lastly, different contingencies during the development process will also alter the costs. Even if you and your company gave all the necessary detailed info and the development company has given a corresponding estimate based on the number of developers and working hours, there will always be tweaks and changes down the line. Needless to say, these changes will often mean additional prices.
Putting It All Together
As you can see, a myriad of things may affect the end cost of your custom web application. Hopefully, this mini guide has given you more insight into all the considerations that can drive prices up or keep them optimal.
Remember, every project is highly unique and will pose its own set of challenges. That said, future web app owners are always encouraged to research their own business needs and app market potential, along with studying their options regarding development teams. This way, they will have a more thorough understanding of the projects that are ahead of them. And ultimately, they will be able to make more budget-conscious decisions, keeping costs optimal.