How Much Does Custom Software Development Cost? 

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Custom software development is like building a house. You can’t ask a builder “how much would it cost to build a house?” and get a useful answer. 

The price will depend on several factors, such as how many bedrooms, how many baths, how many square feet, how many floors, where the electrical outlets are, power requirements, special accessibility needs, etc.

And you’ll need a good architect to draft everything up before you even start clearing the land.

Similarly, there is no one-size-fits-all pricing scheme that anyone can use to yield a quick estimate for a custom web, desktop, or mobile software application.

Everything depends on how big the project is, its features, the time it will take to build, and the expertise of those required to build it. The price can also vary depending upon the tools used for building the software and the location of the developers working on the project.

Getting an accurate assessment of needs, features, and desired outcomes before starting a custom software project is critical for both you, the client, and your development team.

This assessment offers clarity to both parties by defining the scope of work and setting boundaries to keep the project running on time and within budget.

The bottom line is, calculating the cost of custom software will primarily depend on these things: scope, quality, speed, expertise, and the location of the development team.

Scope of the Project

Project scope is the most critical piece of the puzzle. Defining the scope properly up-front almost always makes the difference between a successful project and one that either fails or goes over budget. 

The scope of a project typically defines features, functions, and user-stories, but it also includes things like operating systems, access points, and integrations to name a few. 

Operating systems

The operating system on which your custom software will be built defines a lot about who works on the project and how the program will ultimately function. 

If your project will be a custom mobile application, you’ll want to consider if it needs to be built using the native language of Android or iOS, or if a language that is considered “cross-platform” will suffice. 

If your software needs to run on Windows, Linux, Unix, or the Mac OS, you’ll also want to consider the user experience on every device. This will clearly influence the price as well as the expertise required. 

You’ll want to make sure that you have a developer that has specific expertise working with your desired platform. You definitely don’t want to pay for a developer’s learning curve! 

Bizzuka has a team of over 300 developers, so you’re guaranteed to have an expert working on every aspect of your custom software project.

Integration and Data Migration

Oftentimes, software needs to be integrated with third party systems like payroll, accounting, or CAD systems. Each integration has its own complexities, and navigating this will require more time and skill, tacking on more to the price. 

The whole point of integration is to save money in the long term, so when built properly, the increased development cost is almost always recouped by the operating efficiencies gained.

Data migration is another additional cost. This is something to consider if you will need to move your current data onto the new system. Your data will likely need to be reformatted to ensure compatibility.

Access points, devices, and users

Consider where your users will be accessing the application from. Will they need to access it from an oil rig, office, remote part of the world, deep out on the ocean, or maybe on a marine vessel traveling inland waterways? The access point, type of device, and number of users is a key factor affecting the price of custom software.

Quality

The old axiom “you get what you pay for” holds true for most things, especially in the custom software world. One-man shops, small, free-lancing websites like Fiverr, and unknown developers in far away places can be risky, and cutting corners here can cost you big money in the long run. 

When it comes to quality, a focus on usability and quality assurance testing are paramount to the delivery of a product that gets adopted and utilized by your intended audience. 

You’ll want to make sure that whoever builds your custom application has experience in User Interface and User Experience design. A bad UI or UX can make even the most bug-free application fail when it comes to user adoption. 

In terms of testing, you’ll want to make sure that testing doesn’t only occur at the final stage of development. The best custom software development companies, like Bizzuka, conduct advanced testing at each stage of the development process to eliminate bugs and increase usability.

This extra step is what creates a quality product. Without thorough testing of functionality and usability, you’ll end up spending more in the future trying to fix something that could have been prevented way before your product was launched.

Speed

Sometimes you’re in a hurry to get an application built, because the cost of the current situation or problem is mounting. Speeding up the delivery of the software can sometimes be accomplished by adding team members to the project. Other times it can be sped up by putting an extremely talented and experienced developer on the job. 

And, unfortunately, there are those times when neither of the above will help reduce the time to market. 

Like any other service, if you have options to speed up the delivery cycle, then it will likely increase the cost of the project. It’s up to you to decide if the economics work in your favor, but in short, the time frame required to build your project will most likely influence the cost.

Expertise

Talented, experienced developers are hard to find and they don’t come cheap. If you’re getting quotes from developers that charge temptingly low rates, then you should be very suspicious and cautious. 

Pro-tip:

Take the hourly rate they’ve quoted you, multiply it by 2,080, and if the resulting annual salary is lower than the average employee on your own payroll, then you know you’ve probably got someone in a third-world country or someone who probably doesn’t have the experience to deliver a quality end product, much less deliver it on-time, on-budget, and without exposing your company to added security risks.

It takes experience, talent, good product management, and rigorous quality assurance testing to deliver quality custom software. 

Trying to take shortcuts here can cost you a multiple of the low price that may be tempting you. Gold-standard custom software development companies like Bizzuka utilize top talent, pay them attractive wages, and perform endless tests to ensure a quality software application is delivered on-time, on-budget, and meets all your needs. 

Location

It’s no secret that U.S.-based software developers are expensive. Sometimes having a U.S.-based development team makes sense, because there are no language barriers, no time zone issues, and no international currency exchanges to deal with.

On the other hand, utilizing an offshore team can save a substantial amount of money. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing or who you’re dealing with, it can cost you dearly.

The best of both worlds exists when you can deal with a U.S.-based company that manages an offshore team for you. You can save up to 40% when you use a company like Bizzuka to outsource your custom software development project rather than attempting to tackle it in-house. 

Bizzuka has an offshore team of over 300 developers in Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine that are U.S.-educated, fluent in English, and exceptionally talented. And our project managers are all based right here in the U.S.

Outsourcing vs Offshoring

Outsourcing refers to the development of a project that utilizes resources outside of a company’s own internal staff.

In the U.S., offshoring occurs when a company outsources to a development team that is not based in North America and is usually located overseas. Offshoring is typically done to lower costs and increase access to talent. 

We’ve been managing offshore teams for over 15 years, and we’ve built incredible software applications for businesses ranging from regional maritime companies to Fortune 500 businesses. 

Our team is exceptional and our track record is spotless.

Offshoring allows us to save our clients thousands of dollars on an average project and hundreds of thousands of dollars on larger, custom development projects. Thanks to our incredibly skilled teams, we’ve completed hundreds of successful projects over the years.

At Bizzuka, we’ve successfully executed millions of dollars’ worth of custom software projects in our 20 years of business. We help businesses like yours save money on custom application development and achieve an ROI in the process. Read how we helped one company save over $100,000 in the first six months! 

If you’re debating on whether to build a custom web, desktop, or mobile application, we invite you to schedule a free workflow consultation with us. We’ll help you evaluate your business processes to see if a custom software application is the right move for you. If it is, we’ll also help you determine if offshoring is going to be a fit for what you’re trying to accomplish. 

Offshoring isn’t for everyone, but for most people, it’s a game-changer.