Nowadays there’s software for everything. From ridesharing apps to online shopping you name it. Seeing such availability, we often ask ourselves. How much does it cost to make such software? Well, it depends.
But one thing’s for sure. It’s not easy. Every entrepreneur knows the difficulty of software development. Depending on the features you want to incorporate, it can get quite expensive. But with proper guidance, you can save a lot of money. In this article, we will talk about the details of software development.
What Kind of Software Do You Want to Build?
Executing a project is a much later part of the software development process. But first, you need to fix the kind of software you want to build. Depending on the type, the cost will vary. As you are looking to build software, you most likely have a business going around.
Think about how tough it will be to execute each process. Processes like production, inventory, and employee management. An on-demand service app won’t need the same budget as an eCommerce startup. Therefore, you need to choose carefully.
Factors that Create an Impact on the Cost of Software Development
There are tons of factors that affect the cost of software development. In each factor, you have the opportunity to cut down some extra costs. Also, you can improve your software with each aspect. But the cost will only increase. So, without further ado, let’s check out the factors that impact the cost of software development.
1. The Complexity of the Software
This one is a no-brainer. Complex software will have more features. With each feature, you need to spend more money. Tons of modern-day features make the software stand out. By incorporating the right ones, your software will attract a large audience. But at the same time, it’s going to cost you quite a bit. Features like better security, API integration will require more extra cost.
2. Waterfall vs. Agile
For the beginners out there, this one might confuse you. But don’t worry. We are here for you. So waterfall is a traditional approach to software development. In this approach, you plan the whole project before starting. So, it gives a much firmer price. You can also estimate it beforehand.
On the other hand, agile is a modern-day approach where you break down your app development process. For agile development, you focus on each step’s cost at a time. Therefore, you can cut down when you think a certain step is taking too much of your budget.
But the problem with this approach is the tendency to tweak the cost in different steps. By doing this, you can run out of budget before the project finishes.
3. Software Size
The software size depends on how many screens it has. A screen is the page or startup site that pops up when the user does an interaction.
Suppose you’re going to visit an online shopping software. After clicking on purchase, the software will display you a page where you have all the details of your purchase. Software developers call them screens. Each screen is different.
Your software development cost will increase when you want to make more screens. Generally, small web apps have about 10 to 25 screens. On the other hand, larger apps have more than 50 screens.
4. UI/UX Design and Development
What’s the one aspect that hooks you to software? For many people, it’s the features and the tools. But the first thing you look at is the user interface. The design of the software makes it appealing to us. UI/UX means the components that make a website’s design fascinating and user-friendly.
There are different varieties of layouts and designs you can use in your software. The price will depend on how impressive the elements are. Making software is easy. But making it look interesting is tough. That’s why you have to pay a handsome amount of money to make a high-quality user interface.
5. Maintenance and Updates
Any great software we see today wasn’t built in a day. In the early days, every software went through difficulties. But the developers gradually fixed the technical issues and brought new features. As an entrepreneur, you need your software to be trendy. When it’s old-fashioned, it loses its appeal to people.
That’s why maintenance and updates are important. You will often see software bringing new patches and updates every once in a while. These updates include improving the performance and fixing bugs. Sometimes you need to change multiple things to get the final software. This kind of maintenance and updates isn’t cheap.
6. Hiring Developers
Building software is easier said than done. You may have a revolutionary idea but to make it into reality you need to hire developers. Each software developers have their own unique set of skills. You have to hire the ones that match the kind of software you want to make.
Before hiring them, estimate how many hours it will take to complete the project. Most of the times, developers charge per hour.
So, having a clear idea about the total time will give an estimated cost. Usually hiring a software developer will cost you about $75 to $400 per hour. The developers with more experience and skills will charge more. It’s best to hire someone who is an expert as they can cut down unnecessary costs.
7. Integration with Other Software
You need to integrate your software with other software to be more functional. For instance, look at a ridesharing app or Uber-like app. After developing the whole software, you need to integrate payments systems like PayPal.
Also, you have to incorporate real-time tracking and integration with GPS. Without them, an app won’t be able to complete the whole process.
At a glance, it may seem simple. But a lot happens than meets the eye. As an entrepreneur, you have to ensure the integrated software is well protected. Sometimes this software can leak information to third-party apps. That’s why you need to put in some cash to make it effective.
8. Migration of Existing Data
Do you already have existing software that needs some polishing? Then your job is half done. All you need to do is migrate the data from your old software. Then customize it and reshape it into new exciting software.
You may think that migrating old data won’t cost as much as other systems. Well, you are right. The amount won’t be that significant. But it won’t be cheap either. You need to translate all the data perfectly. Writing scripts and performing this translation will add extra costs to the project.
9. Mobile Version
Every major software has become handheld these days. Sure, some software is only for computers. But using software on mobile has a uniqueness to it. It increases the accessibility of the software.
Cost Models for Software Development
Don’t just jump into building software yet. You have to take a particular approach. Otherwise, you will suddenly realize you have run out of budget.
Fixed Cost Model
This model is for high-end tech companies and well-defined projects. In this model, you have a specific time frame and cost. The model hardly changes over time. You estimate the cost beforehand. This is a clean approach by which you know exactly how much the software will cost you. But you need enough resources and development skills to execute this model.
Time and Materials Model
This one is for the small entrepreneurs who just want to build software. It’s perfect for small projects that don’t have a specific time or cost frame. This is for software projects without a vision or plan.
Most of the time, entrepreneurs get frustrated due to the lack of money in the initial stage. This model can be a lifesaver for them.
So in this model, you separate the whole development process into different parts. Each part has a fixed cost and time.
Therefore, you can finish each phase without worrying about the total budget. It allows you to review and make a budget plan for each step of the process. This ultimately leads to the completion of the whole software.
Designing to a Budget
The hardest part about building software is developing the initial design. Once you get that done, you can add additional features at a later stage of the process. You can fix a certain amount and make the best out of it. After you have built a scratch software, you can try it out. At a later stage when you have funding, you can finish the full project.
This is a very cost-effective model in all aspects. In this model, you work with different developers over a certain course of time. You use each developer's skills to make software with a minimum amount of money.
How To Reduce Software Development Cost?
Now that we’ve understood all the ins and outs of software development, let's look at some easy ways to reduce costs. There are many ways you can reduce the development cost. But keep one thing in mind.
Reducing the development cost doesn’t necessarily mean compromising. You can reduce extra costs even by fulfilling all the requirements.
Open Source and Ready-made Tools
If you're a regular internet user, you've probably come across open source websites. These open-source platforms offer open code and tools you can use to make your software. By utilizing them, you can save a lot of time and money.
They have tools and codes for pretty much everything. You can even borrow interesting layouts without paying a single penny.
For gamers, this is a very common term. But in this case, it doesn’t mean most valuable player. For the software developing process, this means a minimum viable product. This can make quite a difference allowing you to stay within your budget.
You can assume this as a prototype for the software. You build different content for the software at first. Then you can let other users test it out. Either you can email it to them or hire someone to try it out.
They can give constructive feedback by interacting with the software. When you receive a negative response to a certain feature, you can remove that from your software. It will save you a lot of money and make your software more appealing.
Consult with Experts
There are many software companies and web app development professionals. You can seek help from them. They can provide you the insights into developing software. If you stumble upon a problem or run out of budget, look for some advice from professionals.
Imagine a certain scenario. You are in the process of developing your software. At one stage, you encounter some technical issues. Rather than resolving it right there, you ignore it. But at a later stage, this problem can lead to a major issue.
You may think initially that solving this problem will cost extra money. But at a later stage, it will create more frustration and eventually you have to spend more money than you had to.
That’s why software testing is crucial. When you test your software at different stages, some minor or major issues will come up. Solving them right away will help you build B2B apps or B2C apps on a limited budget.
Building software is a dream for many people. With hard-earned resources, we start our journey of developing it. But we struggle and hit dead ends when the budget runs out. This happens too frequently.
But don’t get disheartened. When you get a clear understanding of the whole process, you can make the best use of what you have. Soon, you will build an amazing website with the money you got.