How Much Does It Cost To Build Custom Software? The Best Ways To Optimize Your Budget

・12 min read
How Much Does It Cost To Build Custom Software? The Best Ways To Optimize Your Budget

Any startup founder will know that software development is one of the most expensive parts of creating your company. If you haven’t found that out yet, then there’s all the more reason to be reading this article.

In this article, we’re going to run through:

  • How much it costs to develop custom software solutions
  • What the impacts of the cost of custom software are
  • How to optimize your software development budget without having to compromise on the quality of the final custom software product.

These are all super important things to know as you move into the development process of any software projects, whether this be at the initiation phase of your company or later down the line as you begin to move into a new software project.

So, stay tuned as we bring you all of the answers. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to appreciate the real cost of custom software development and know how to save money on software costs.

So, how much should I pay for a custom software solution?

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How much does custom software cost? Soltech puts the answer to this question in the bracket of between $50,000 and $200,000, with an average at roughly $75,000 thanks to a lot of software projects finding themselves at the bottom end of this scale.

If you’re reading this with a level of concern for your budget, we understand. This can be a pretty daunting bill at the best of times, with a bit of savviness and understanding, you won’t have to spend any more money on software costs than you absolutely have to.

First things first, you’re going to want to get a better software development cost estimation than that (kind of uselessly) broad bracket we just mentioned. Having a more accurate idea of your custom software development cost is useful for a few reasons. These include:

  • Budgeting: when you know what your overall custom software development cost is going to be, you’ll have a clearer understanding of how much of your overall budget is going to be spent on the software development process, and how much you will have left over afterwards for the likes of advertising and more.
  • Money-saving: if you’re a little bit startled by the software development cost, then don’t stress. It’s better to be surprised by the bill at the beginning of the development process rather than later down the line when it’s too late. You’ll have much more time to take money-saving steps this way around.
  • Choosing your project team: good software development needs good software developers. Put some money from the overall project cost aside to make sure that you can get a strong software development team. Or, consider outsourcing the work to save more money. More on that later.

So, let’s take a look at what actually affects that overall custom software development cost. This way you can start to build a picture of what the final bill is going to look like, so that you can begin to shape your budget.

What impacts the cost of custom software?

As you might expect, there are quite a few factors when it comes to figuring out what your overall software costs are going to be. Understanding what each of them is is going to get you one step closer to an accurate cost estimate.

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Software size

First things first, you’ll need to figure out the size of your software. Some web apps are substantially bigger than others, as you know.

So, why not take a look at a similar application to the one you are considering building? This will allow you to comprehend the software size you are looking to build.

Software complexity

Similar to the size of the software is its complexity. Software with a high level of design complexity is naturally going to cost a lot more than any software system that’s a little more basic.

Does your software need a really powerful UI? Does it need to do anything special that the next application does not? These are all factors of a software’s complexity.

Software solution functionality

Under the same UI umbrella is the functionality of it. That being said, a piece of software can be low in complexity and high in functionality. This is because different functions of software are easier to build than others.

At this point, it might be worth patterning with professional software developers to gauge the cost to develop.

Creative design

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If your software is of the outreach variety then it is naturally going to need to look impressive, and perhaps even more importantly so, it’s going to need to look different.

This is where you will need to be looking for developers with a high level of creative design skills. These guys can really make your software stand out from the crowd.

Integration with other systems

This factor of the cost of software development has the potential to bring in the highest number of challenging variables that can have an impact on your overall software cost.

Some tools, such as PayPal or Equifax, cost minimal amounts of money to integrate but with some other, older tools, you might need to increase the budget a bit.

Migration of existing data

Usually, bringing in existing data can be pretty easy and effortless.

However, if there are a lot of particular data sets you need to factor in, then you should probably begin to think about the cost of writing all of the scripts and performing the necessary testing to be able to do this.

We recommend considering each of these factors in some detail. After you’ve done this, you should be able to put together a more accurate cost estimate.

But let’s check out some other variables that can have an effect (either positive or negative) on your overall software costs.

What else affects your software development budget?

Having a strong understanding of the aforementioned cost factors is a great start, but let’s check out some other areas that can impact your cost.

Some of these are about saving money, others are about spending more. It’s up to you to be savvy enough to know which is which, and how to bring down the cost estimates further through this stage if you can.

Developer skill sets

Every single software developer out there will have a unique set of skills, and so it remains that some of these guys will be much better suited to the project you are working on than others.

Figure out how many hours you are going to need to put into your project with this guide first of all. According to Thumbtack, an average software developer costs anywhere between $75 and $400 per hour.

Now, just do the maths! The more specialist your software developers need to be will probably put them closer to the higher end of that wage bracket.

Software development pricing is easier to do with the help of companies who specialise in bringing the right developers to the table. They can bring the average cost down significantly simply by making sure the right people end up at the right places.

Hiring a development team

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Why not consider hiring a software development company to help with your software project? These kinds of companies will already be close-knit software developers who work well together, complete with a project manager.

This has the benefit of saving both time and money. We’ll explain exactly how that is the case and provide some information about how to choose the right expert companies shortly, so stick around!

Location/Region

Where you are based and where your developers are is going to impact your budget as well. In different parts of the world, software developers are worth different amounts of money.

So, if you are reading about the cost of software development in one country, make sure that you work out the maths to be able to translate it into the country you are based in.

How to reduce software development costs

Now that we’ve managed to understand all of the different factors at play in the overall cost of custom software development, we should really take a look at how to bring some of those costs down!

You might have been reading this article with a slight sense of dread up to this point, and if this is the case, then pay particular attention to this part of the article!

Here are the best ways to reduce software development costs without having to compromise on your project requirements.

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The art of small steps: MVP

The MVP, or minimum viable product of your software project could make all the difference to how effectively you stay within your budget throughout the whole development process.

What we mean by minimum viable product is pretty self-explanatory. This is where you build the bare bones of your software application to find out how feasible the end goal is.

Here, you should build a table of contents for the software, and maybe email it out to some trusted potential end users to give it a try. You can then repeat this process with the same potential end users throughout the development process to make sure that they are still engaging with the project and providing good feedback on the software.

The MVP is a great part of the process to establish some market research, and it formulates the very beginning of the testing process. Just make sure that you are only including the very basic functions of your software at this stage to make sure that they are working first before you even think about building up.

That’s what we mean by the art of small steps.

Open source and ready-made components

Open source code and tools are free and available online for anybody to use most of the time. Utilising these in your software can really bring your development costs down as it will save time and money from constantly building new things and writing new code.

Check out some open source code online right now to see what it can do for you.

Choose friendly architecture

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Make sure that you are automating as much as possible during the software development process, as it will save all of the time and money you can possibly imagine. This is just as good, if not better than using open source code in the first place.

It’s all about streamlining processes. If you can do this effectively, you are going to get a lot more bang for your buck.

Partner with experts

If you need some help with getting all of the advice we have given up to this point to fall in line, then the best thing to do will be to partner with experts. There are plenty of amazing software development companies out there that have everything you will need to make a fantastic end product.

Reach out to Selleo today for some information on how we can help you. We have a portfolio of some top work that you can check out to see what could potentially be in store for your own project. Not only will this bring you a higher level of quality than hiring your own team, but again, it will save you a lot of hassle in the form of both time and money.

Strong process and testing

Using agile methodology in your software development process to stop you from picking up bugs in early stages, and then killing them quickly if they do arrive, will stop you from a lot of backlogging and frustration.

If you put together a team that is good at testing throughout the process then you are not only going to create a more secure and successful piece of software overall, but you are going to do it much more quickly and efficiently than if you skip any stage of the testing process.

Summary

At first glance, the list of things that you need to consider as you go to develop a piece of software can look pretty exhaustive. This can be enough to put off some people from even beginning the process at all, and this can in turn lead to the downfalls of entire companies.

There is no need for your company to go in that direction. With a bit of support from the right people, you can put yourself in a position that a lot of startup founders never find themselves in.

Put yourself in touch with Selleo today and see how we can help you streamline the entire development process. We guarantee being able to save you a whole bunch of time, effort and inevitably stress by providing a team of software developers that has seen it all before.

You’ll end up with a better quality product overall, and be amazed how much you can stay within your budget. Reach out for a consultation today and see how we can help you!

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