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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Web App
A web app is one of the strategic investments a business can make. When you’re ready to build a web app, your first question is probably going to be, “How much does it cost to develop a web application?” The answer is generally not as simple as you might hope.
Just like with any type of custom software, it’s almost impossible to make an accurate estimation without going into detail. Web applications come in different flavors – from simple websites to tailor-made apps with cutting-edge functionality.
However, we can at least point you in the right direction by sharing core cost drivers and price ranges for web development. With that said, let’s find out everything you need about the cost of developing a web application.
Why Should You Build a Web App?
Before you get into details about the factors of website and app development cost, let’s first understand what a web app is. A web application or web app is a collection of interrelated pages, images, and other multimedia elements that can be viewed in any browser.
As for web development, the question of ‘Why’ should precede your considerations about future investments. Thus, business owners should always consider the potential pay-off of website and app development costs.
In 2022, however, a dynamic web application seems to be a mandate. Here’s some rationale:
- Over 85% of customers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. (Toptal)
- A well-crafted, seamless UX design could potentially raise customer conversion rates to 400%. (Forrester Research)
- $2.6 billion is lost annually to slow-loading websites. (InvisionApps)
- Most first impressions are directly linked with web design (InvisionApps)
Of course, the web app market may not be as large as the mobile app market, but it is growing. As more and more users turn to their phones to look up information or perform a task, they are turning away from traditional desktop computers. Web apps are a great solution for businesses that need access to data outside of the office, and they can even reach people who don’t have smartphones.
Moreover, web applications have a lot of benefits. They can provide businesses with a customized platform to conduct business as well as help boost productivity and efficiency. They are also more convenient for the end-user, thus eliminating the need to download and being accessible across devices. Web app development is platform agnostic. Therefore, you won’t need to build a native application for both iOS and Android.
Besides, initial custom web application development cost will be recouped, since an independent tailor-made application will reduce the cost of maintaining IT departments that are responsible for installing and maintaining the software.
Summing up all the above said, the power of web applications for businesses lies in its:
Now that you know how to answer the ‘why’ dilemma, let’s go over to the ever-relevant question ‘How much does it cost to build a web app?’ The short answer: it differs.
What Factors Affect Web App Price?
The total is not a fixed cost that stays true for each and every project. Instead, it is a variable that depends on a gamut of factors and specificities of your project. The average price range doesn’t make the estimation any easier.
Thus, the average web cost starts from $6,000 and may reach 200,000+ for end-to-end development services.
The price of the application varies depending on the client’s requirements, the complexity of the project, average rates, etc. The list is quite impressive and also includes such important tasks as planning, management, market research, design, and much more. With that said, knowing the main cost components will provide you with a better idea of app and website development costs.
Scope of Work
This is a term used to describe the whole set of project deliverables.It is an important part of every web application development project because it helps businesses determine how much effort will be needed to complete the project.
Simply put, it includes a whole range of specific tasks that need to be done for your project. You can roughly boil down this cost driver to your app’s functionality.
Functionality, perhaps, has the strongest impact on the overall price. Thus, around 60% to 80% of the total development expenses are spent on building app functionality.
But to build a successful application, you need to understand the exact problems your software targets. You should also perform competitor research and hand-pick the features that will stand you apart from your competitors.
However, not all features are “equal”. Traditionally, they are divided into must-have and nice-to-have functionality. Must-have features should be your priority, while supplementary ones should take a back seat. This way, you can avoid unnecessary spending.
We recommend building a Minimum Viable Product first. It is a skeleton of your solution that contains only must-have features. The latter should be enough to assess its viability and deliver value to end-users.
Сomplexity of UI/UX Design
When creating an app for a client, the price for development will vary depending on the complexity of the project; however, many factors affect how much it costs to design and develop a web application. From the app usability to its design and interface, UX/UI design holds second place in influencing the total investment.
The design has become a crucial part of any successful web app. It is no longer just about the product; it’s also about how your audience interacts with that product. The way you design your user experience and interface can make or break your brand.
Here, you have two alternatives: you can either use ready-made templates or resort to custom UX/UI design. The first option is cheaper, yet it lacks customization and a unique brand image. Therefore, custom UI/UX design bodes well for an aesthetic look that perfectly matches your business objectives.
So, what are you paying for? Web app design involves a wide range of tasks, including user behavior and competitor analysis, prototyping, an app interface, graphics, icons, and others.
On average, it may take up to 20 hours to make a design for a simple website. In the case of web app development, this number is much bigger.
Hiring software developers is not the same as hiring graphic designers or sales associates. You cannot just log into a job board, put up a listing and hire whoever applies. Conducting an effective software developer recruitment campaign requires you to use your tech resources to outsource the work needed for what you are building. But most importantly, your hiring model is directly linked with app development costs.
Freelance platforms are a popular choice to source software development talent. These platforms provide a marketplace for buyers and sellers of services, with varying degrees of business process automation.
As an employer, you can bring in a lot of benefits to your business if you hire freelancers for a software application project. You will enjoy the flexibility to work with different people thus getting exposure to new ideas and fresh perspectives which can help in improving your product quality. In addition, the rates are usually lower than in software development companies.
Upwork suggests that freelance web developers charge around $15 to $30 per hour. However, this hiring option requires direct management, thus needing much time to choose the hired specialist. Besides, you risk ending up with a mediocre product, missed deadlines, or an inexperienced hire.
Besides, if you need more than just a web designer, you’ll have to hire others separately. In the end, it might be more expensive or time-consuming to hire freelancers.
On-site development is another alternative that comes with obvious benefits. At first glance, it is easy to see the advantages. You have full control over your product, and you can ensure that everything works exactly how you want it to. But, with this type of full control comes a huge responsibility. You have to make sure that your product has no bugs and is up to snuff at all times.
Also, in-house web application development calls for an IT infrastructure that is not always present at each company. While an outside agency may charge a monthly fee for ongoing updates, developing and maintaining your own software can be very expensive upfront and over time. Not to mention licensing, hardware, and software needed to get your development process off the ground.
Last but not least is the outsourcing hiring option, which has become extremely popular in the modern business landscape. The main benefit of hiring an outsourcing agency is cost-effectiveness. This way, you can open your doors online without spending a ton of money on technology, equipment, or software.
Moreover, outsourced development also comes complete with reduced operational and labor costs. Since tech vendors usually take over hiring costs, administrative hassle, and management, outsourcing is also considered the most convenient engagement model. Also, you can hire developers on an hourly basis and keep your costs under control.
The location of your technical partner directly impacts the total app price. For example, US-based specialists tend to be the most well-paid developers due to the high living costs. Indian web designers, on the other side, charge the lowest. European countries tend to offer a golden means of web development costs, providing a combination of affordable services and high quality.
Therefore, a high price does not always mean a high quality of performance, it only indicates that programmers’ salaries are very different in different countries.
Web app development price depends on the type of project and your experience with it. As there are many types of software applications, the prices for development may vary, hence knowing your app time is half the battle.
The complexity of your application usually falls into three acknowledged categories, including simple, medium, and complex applications. This grading is based on the number and sophistication of features. Below, you will find an average web app development cost range for each of them as well as core differences.
As you can see, developing a simple web application with basic business logic and standard functionality is the most affordable option. At the same time, the price range for large-scale solutions is significantly higher. Now let’s dwell on the app types further in the post.
Simple web apps
Simple web apps come with basic features, yet are still well able to deliver business value. For developers, simple web apps create a cross-browser-compatible environment, which allows you to work on a single codebase and have it run in multiple browsers.
From the end user’s perspective, simple web apps also provide efficient ways to access and use the information without having to download large applications or deal with slow application loads.
Simple applications include those with simple business logic. They usually contain 1 to 3 functions and include 3 to 5 screens. An example of a simple mobile application is a landing page or a simple online store.
Solutions of medium complexity step up your technical game and include a wider range of custom features. They have many of the features that you would find in mobile applications and often have access to device capabilities not available to regular web apps. Medium web applications contain lots of interactive elements and content.
Finally, advanced apps rely on a whole range of tailored functionality and can handle large loads. Complex web apps call for a collection of technologies used in commercial web applications.They are characterized by their use of sophisticated data processing and layout rules, dynamic content generation, and API integration.
How to Reduce Web App Development Cost
Although software development does come with impressive upfront investments, there are still some ways to bring your development costs down. Whether it’s in-house or outsourced development, here’s what can make your total more soothing:
Conclusion: How Much Does It Cost to Make a Web App
Just like any software project, web app development doesn’t come with clear-cut pricing. Instead, the total is based on a variety of factors, including developer location, app type, functional complicity, and others. But despite your input, there are ways to bring the costs down.
By delegating your tech tasks to outsourcing destinations and evaluating the MVP first, you will establish a high-level understanding of the costs and reduce unnecessary spending, while maintaining high quality.