How much does custom software cost?

How much does custom software cost

If you’ve ever asked about the cost of custom-made software, you’ll know there’s no straightforward answer. Partly, this is because the process is complex and involves several stages. Also, each software company faces different costs and has different ways of doing things.

This blog post will explain more about the reasons behind the differing costs. And it will help you discover what to include in our brief, what questions to ask, and how to choose a company that aligns with your needs and budget.

Why do prices differ from company to company?

Bespoke software development prices vary due to the location of companies, the way they work, their past projects, and how the company and its employees calculate quotations.

Development techniques

There are several ways to build software – and some methods cost more than others. Test-Driven Development, TDD, is one such technique, where the tests are written before the code itself. 

Project uncertainty

Knowing precisely what’s involved before a project begins can be tricky. Some companies will add bigger buffers than others to cover the unknowns. One way to minimise the uncertainty is to work meticulously with the project team when gathering requirements.

The location of developers

Some companies have teams in places where it’s cheaper to live, and wages are lower. So, you’ll probably pay less if you use a company that employs skilled people from Asia, for example, rather than Europe.

Making use of old code

If developers can use parts of code they’ve created before, they can save themselves time and might charge you less.

Looking at past projects

Some companies will give you an estimate based on similar jobs they’ve already done. But because every job is unique, they won’t always get it right.

Covering all bases

If you’re unclear about what you want, companies will include everything they think you might need in their quotation – whether you need it or not.

The human factor

People within the same company may have their own ways of calculating estimates, leading to varied results.

Estimating the costs: Two models

Estimates for developing bespoke software are usually decided in one of two ways.

Fixed Price

The company gives you a set price and sticks to it, even if the job takes longer than expected.

Hiring a Team

You pay for a group of developers to work on your job till the project is complete. You might agree to an initial time frame but will need to pay more if the work takes longer than expected.

We’ll be writing more about the pros and cons of these two approaches in the coming weeks – so stay tuned!

Where Do I Start?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help ensure you get bespoke software at a fair price and don’t pay for services you don’t need. As you’ll notice, having a clear project plan from the start is vital.

In a Nutshell

Understanding the cost of bespoke software can be tricky due to different factors and company practices. To ensure you get the best value, clarify your needs, set a budget, and consider factors like code quality and user-friendliness before finalising any deal.

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