If you look up the Internet for how much a web application costs you won’t find a clear answer. Everybody wishes it could be that simple – to receive a split-second estimate and time-frames – but it’s not.

Let’s draw an analogy.

Imagine you come to a building company with a question: “What is the price of building a house?”. I believe most will agree that the price depends on a great number of factors as in, the type of the house, number of rooms, total floor area, exterior and interior finish, architectural plan, permissions, access to the piece of land, number of employees, their expertise … basically, a good many details.

The same situation applies to software development.

Here are the main factors that impact web application development cost:

A list of main factors affecting web application development cost

In our previous article we have analysed and described these factors thoroughly. So, if you haven’t read it yet, we highly recommend you do so.

Software development costs are largely based on features/complexity (as it determines time estimation for building web app) and an hourly rate of the team who develops the app.

For example, an estimated cost for a web app that requires APIs integrated versus one that is completely standalone can differ drastically.

Similarly, there’s a significant difference between engaging a group of freelancers or a software development company like MindK.

Here are the basic steps to determine an approximate budget for your web project:

  1. Compare  web app development costs based on company rates
  2. Evaluate costs by project complexity
  3. Prevent unexpected web app costs
  4. Cast aside your doubts

Compare  web app development costs based on company rates

Today, there’s still confusion in the marketplace about why web application development cost varies so much from one company to another. With the same requirements, functionality and engagement model, your web application may vary from $10,000 to $500,000.

Here is why.

Hourly rates for web app developers (as well as web designers) depend on three key factors:

  1. Geographical location
    The physical location of specialists determines how much they are paid, as well the height of their company rate. Companies located in countries with a higher cost of living tend to have higher rates.
  2. Business experience
    Highly-skilled specialists as well as web development companies who have experience in certain narrow fields are always in high demand. Obviously, they charge more as they may possess certain experience in your particular industry and know what your customers really want and how to appeal to them.
  3. Company’s size, reputation and honored awards
    If you plan to hire a web development company with a worldwide reputation, big team, nice office, and a proven track record, you should be ready to pay more. However, they are offering you their mastered expertise, less risks and valuable guidelines.

Well, a picture paints a thousand words.

Average web application costs by development company size

Note: These breakdowns should be used for general guidance only. Specific costs will vary based on the complexity of the features implemented. 

Large enterprises in return for their higher rates usually offer an extensive portfolio, a clear well-organized processes and an assigned account manager to keep you satisfied. Smaller companies often pay more attention to their clients and try their best to deliver the best customer experience they can.

Select experienced specialists that you think can benefit your business in the long run. They are not necessarily the most expensive on the market.

To let you compare web application development cost by companies in different locations we have analysed the average web developer salary per month experiencing different technologies.

We are ready to share the results with you.

JavaScript Developers

Stack reports that JavaScript is the most popular programming language of the last year (five years in succession) and the most popular language for custom web application development as well. Below you can find the average salaries of Javascript developers by countries and compare them to average worldwide mark:

JavaScript dev monthly salaries by countries

Java Developers

Java is considered to be a popular programming language for back-end web development. Stack Overflow reports that 39.7% of developers used the language in 2017. Here are web developer salaries in different countries:

Java dev monthly salaries by countries

PHP Developers

PHP is one of the most used programming language in the world, as it is multi-platform and flexible.

PHP dev monthly salaries by countries

Design is just as important as technology implementation. If you’re looking to create a web app, you should give heed to this aspect of web development as much as the technical one.

Here is a short overview of average designer salaries around the globe:

Designer monthly salaries by countries

Now you have a clear picture on web development company rates.

When choosing a web development company for cooperation, we recommend you pay attention to previous experience (you may ask for references and work examples) and find out how the processes are set up іn the company.

Often times, companies with higher rates cost less in the long run. All this is thanks to streamlined processes, clear business workflows, effective management and a great experience under the belt. So, research and avoid the most common mistakes when selecting a company for cooperation.

Key takeaway: The choice of a web application development company has a major impact on costs. Both freelancers in expensive location and superstar company in cheap location may cost you an arm and a leg. Try to find a company with a proven track-record and build a long-lasting cooperation.

Evaluate costs by project complexity

Now we’ll try to present some general figures of web application costs based on project types.

Note: You should remember they are not precise estimations, but approximate price ranges. And surely the Grand Total directly depends on the web development company rates.

Basic (simple) web app

$5,000 – $15,000

Basic projects are usually projects involving basic functionality, minimum content and interactive elements, plain UI/UX, simple search. Examples of such web applications are:

  • Simple web apps with predefined template layouts;
  • Small online catalogs;
  • Calculator pages; and
  • Widgets or additional features to the existing web apps.

Professional (mid-complexity) web app

$15,000 – $60,000

These web applications are more interactive and contain a lot of content, media and functionalities, for example:

  • E-commerce stores;
  • Marketplace-based web apps; and
  • Modules or additional parts for existing web apps.

Сomplex web apps

$60,000 – $200,000

They usually include advanced features like audio/video processing, real-time synchronization, integrations with third-party services, custom animations, complex backend, etc.

Such web applications may be created to automate processes in a company with 200 employees or less. They also may be MVP of custom web applications, requiring something like 5-12 months and a development team where number of Web and QA Engineers varies depending on requirements and deadlines.

Enterprise web apps

$200,000 – $500,000

These web applications are usually developed for established companies. They are custom, component-based, distributed and mission critical web apps and individual UI/UX design, usually developed using enterprise architecture.

All such web applications are meant to automate business processes in the company and bring a stable profit to their owners. Among the common enterprise applications are:

  • Automated billing systems;
  • Payment processing apps;
  • Email marketing systems; and
  • Call centers & customer support applications, etc.

Such web applications require 12 – 24 month and more of teamwork.

Innovative web apps

$500,000 +

Unlimited Projects are usually for large corporations with strong cash flow, or innovative startups.

The key reason why the cost of such web applications is too hard to foresee lies in its title.

As a rule, they are complicated web apps that nobody has done yet. Lack of similar experience, complexity and innovative nature, requiring a large distribution and integration, prevent objective evaluation of the total cost and timescales.

Web application development cost by project complexity

Prevent unexpected web app costs

As a rule, there are two reasons why web applications may cost more than was estimated:

  1. Scummy development companies which may provide you with low price intentionally to сatch your interest and then charge you for each change request.
  2. The scope increases while the project is being developed.

You don’t have to worry about #1 reason if you aim to find a reliable development partner.

Every time we start collaborating with a new client, our web and mobile app development company prepares two comprehensive documents that reveal all the finest details related to the costs of our client’s project.

To have a clear understanding of what should be in project estimates and how we do it in MindK, you can read these short articles:

Now let’s handle the second problem.

It is obvious that entrepreneurs are aimed at the top-flight product. As new ideas arise, they naturally increase the scope of the project. To keep control of your budget when the scope changes, you can use a product backlog approach.

The product backlog is a prioritized to-do list. It includes an extensive list of software development tasks that are sorted by importance.

Once a new idea appears, add it to the project backlog. Update and maintain it continuously. As the project goals may change through time, previous “wants and wishes” may become irrelevant.

As a result, each sprint includes only high-priority features and the scope stays within the budget. This approach will help you focus on actual business needs, be sure that the money is spent for bare essentials, optimize ROI and streamline the development process.

Cast aside your doubts

Well, you have your project cost estimated, but it is not what you expected.

For example, the price is too high for you.

It’s OK, don’t make a hasty decision.

Instead, clarify the details.

When all the peculiarities are clarified and both you and your web development company understand the scope correctly, you either quit or try to reduce the cost (if you are interested in working with the team or you understand that no one is able to do it cheaper and without any loss of quality).

So, what you can do here:

  1. Cut the scope. You can leave only the essential parts of the app development necessary to build a minimum viable product (MVP).
  2. Find alternatives. Try to find some cheaper substitutes to estimated items. It often happens that it is possible and such changes won’t influence the end product. OR you can also change your web development partner (but it’s easier AND CHEAPER to do before the web app development starts).

If the price is unexpectedly low, clarify the details again.

We get it. A bottom price can be attractive.

Nevertheless, it is better to clarify what the price includes, how many experts are involved in the projects and whether all parties understand the scope correctly.

If you can’t resist the temptation and don’t clarify details, you risk overpaying for further change requests and improvements.

Concluding note

So there you have it and see that a number of factors can affect software development costs. We hope that now you have an understanding of how companies price custom web application development and ready to control expenses for your project.

If you want to get a more precise estimation of your web application idea, your next step is contacting companies directly.

Here in MindK we consider the project estimation process as the chance to better understand customer business needs, and the target market. In turn, the customers have time to see whether they are satisfied with our way of communication, work approach and prices. You can contact us with your idea and get a project estimation for free.

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