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Web Application Development Cost: Factors and Average Prices

Updated 05 Jun 2021

Published 11 Jul 2019

10 Min

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Keeping it short: there's no exact number on the ‘initial idea’ stage. That’s due to lots of factors affecting custom web application development cost—time, devs’ country of residence, features, and engineering approach. But moving along and not knowing the cost doesn’t work either.

In this article, we’re taking a look at web app cost estimating complexities, its main stages and approaches and getting as close as possible to figuring out the price. Plus a few hints of how to cut the cost when the app turns out to be too expensive.

What Factors Affect Web App Price?

Why a web app development company–even a large and well-experienced one—can’t tell the sum just by hearing out the idea? Time to check what actually influences web app development cost, and why a plain idea is rarely enough.

  1. Scope of Work

The very first thing influencing the cost is the app’s functionality. It matters whether you’re building a simple online store, an online brochure, or a unique and complex system like hotel management software. Is it a standalone solution or third-party integrations (payment systems, GPS navigation, etc) are the must-haves?

Various APIs, databases, hosting, mobile compatibility—the more sophisticated the web app is, the more time it’ll take to develop and thus the more it’ll cost.

And don’t forget about the code quality. If the team of developers works with very strict deadlines, they might not have enough time for writing clear and high-quality code. In this case, each bug and imperfection will come out soon enough.

Finally, mind that project requirements are rarely carved in stone. They may change over time bringing new features and design elements as your audience grows. And it, again, affects the overall web application price.

How much your web app will cost?

Leave it to our business analysts! They will make a rough cost estimation of your project, for free.

  1. Сomplexity of UI/UX Design

Сustom UI/UX design services cost more compared to template solutions. And how much more depends on design complexity, number of elements, animations, etc.

Besides, app interfaces should not only be unique but eye-pleasant, intuitive, and convenient to use. Both designers and web app developers need time to bring all that to life.

For example, to design a simple landing page like the one Shopify has takes from 6-8 up to 16-20 hours.

  • 6-8 hours = ~$300-$400
  • 16-20 hours = ~$800-$1,000
Shopify and its landing page design

A simple landing page made by Shopify

We're using a $50/h rate here and below as it's an average cost of web application development in our region (Eastern Europe). The hourly rate may be different in your region.

Another example: Apple's Mac Pro landing page.

Complex landing page design

Example of complex landing page made by Apple

It has complex 3D animations and lots of elements. Making a similar page from scratch can take ~80h-100h of work and the cost goes up to $4,000-$5,000 (depending on the vendor's rates).

  1. Business Niche

It matters which project you choose and how complex it turns out to be. For instance, if you're building another online store or web journal, you may expect lower web app development pricing.

Projects like those don’t require special knowledge and skills, so they are comparatively cheap. But unique and complex suites are entirely different. These can't be built without experienced and highly qualified developers plus thorough management expertise. And these two resources are of most value in the world of web development.

  1. Developers’ Location

Offshore development is often cheaper than local. In the USA, Canada, and Australia an hour of software development costs from $80 to $250 – the highest rate in the world.

In the UK, according to Clutch, there are plenty of firms that provide web development services for $50-99/per hour. Eastern Europe offers rates twice as low—an hour of web development costs $20-50 in Ukraine or Belarus.

How much does it cost to develop a web application in different regions? Find out in our ‘European IT Services Market: Software Development Cost by Region’ guide.

It may seem that the bigger's the price, the better's the job. But it's not that simple. Most solid agencies, both local and offshore, value their reputation and keep an eye on the quality of products they develop. And if they happen to lack the necessary expertise, they will swiftly look for someone who doesn't.

What affects web app development cost?

Main factors that affect web app development cost

Ways to Approach Your Idea

Describing the peculiarities of your product is complex enough, especially if you're not sure what tools or technologies to choose. Luckily, there's a couple of working approaches that simplify the process and make presenting the idea to a development team much easier.

Approach 1: Think of the End Result

It's the most popular way of estimating a web app development cost. Start with imagining the end result and trace the steps backward, up to the current stage. You can ask questions like: 'What should we do to get to this point?'.

Mind that it doesn't work for completely new products—there's too much uncertainty about the final result.

Still, 'How to get there?' is not the only question you should ask. Developers will certainly want to get more understanding of the concept they're going to work on. That's why requests like 'I want an app like Uber' aren't applicable here.

Here's a simplified version of how Uber works, and it already includes quite a few details.

Uber workflow graphic

Uber functional flow diagram

Think what makes your product unique, which customers’ problems it resolves, and so on. You'll need to be quite specific so that web app builders can define what technologies to use. Besides, marketers need to be familiar with the target audience, UI/UX designers—with your concept and vision.

Properly selected technologies mean a lot. Check our tips on choosing the right tech stack web apps and make the right choice.

Let's check the following example: you're building a social network app that connects music lovers. You may start with the usual 'login+email+password' sign-in system, then change it to Facebook or Twitter logins. This helps to detect real users and reduce the number of fake accounts.

Be ready to change the original idea when needed. It's inevitable, and sticking to the old plan will only slow you down.

Same with cost: you can't predict all the changes, thus, you can't figure out the exact number right away.

Approach 2: Take Someone’s Idea, Replicate

This is a much less desirable option.

For example, you may come with an idea of an existing app but with minor changes in functionality. And it may seem that you already know what technologies to use, how much time it's going to take, and how much does it cost to make a web app.

Again, not that simple. Even a slight change in makes the app nothing like the original when it comes to code and functionality.

The app may turn out to be even more complex and time-consuming than the original one. And you won't be able to say what parts it consists of and thus it's still unclear what technologies to use.

Cost of Web Application Development

Average web application development cost starts from $3,000 and reaches 250,000+. Quite a gap, right? All because custom apps come with custom requirements, so there's no magic wand for uncovering the price.

At least we can show how the development price is calculated. For that, we've roughly estimated three categories of applications by their complexity.

Simple web apps

These are websites with a basic set of functions, landing pages, and simple online stores. Minimum content and interactive elements – minimum development time (up to a month).

Web application cost: $3,000-15,000.

Medium applications

Pro-level web apps are more challenging to build, and they often contain interactive pages and lots of content. That's why their development takes up to 3-4 months. These are:

  • e-commerce websites
  • prototypes of Internet portals
  • web apps for small companies

Web application development costs: $15,000-55,000

Complex applications

Custom web apps come with exclusive CMS, well-thought-out design, and thus a high level of complexity. They're often aimed at profit-making or help with automating regular business processes. For example, when company with 500 employees decides to move their out-dated CRM system to the web.

The development of complex web applications takes up to 6 months of work.

Сost to build a web app: $55,000-250,000+

A short summary by features:

Web application development cost breakdown

BasicMediumComplex

Info pages

Info pages

Info pages

User account system

User account system

Admin panel

Admin panel

Payments

Payments

API & third-party integrations

API & third-party integrations

High user load

Custom statistics

$3,000-$15,000

$15,000-$55,000

$55,000-$250,000+

Cutting Web Application Development Cost

Let’s say you've dealt with project requirements and the cost estimations are far behind. Now, what to do if the web application cost is too high?

Of course, you can start looking for other development teams that charge less. But it doesn't mean that the quality of the end product will be high. Too low web application cost estimation is also a bad sign.

If you're interested in working with the current team or no one can do the task better (and with same quality), review the options you have:

  • Change the scope. Leave only the core parts of the web app that are required to deliver a minimum viable product (MVP). This way, you can try out the idea with real customers, collect their feedback and then move to costly implementations.
  • Look for alternative solutions. Ask if there are cheaper substitutes to estimated items and if these changes influence the final product.

At Cleveroad, we offer fixed price model when it comes to short-term products (3-5 month) and when the scope of work is specified in advance. Still, it works only for projects that don't require thorough research & development, with defined features and a clear vision of the end product.

Offshore development works great when it comes to budget savings! Just take a look at our 'In-House vs. Outsourcing' comparison.

Again, if the price is too low, it’s a good sign to double-check everything. Don't get confused by attractive web application pricing—clarify how many engineers are involved, their qualification, and whether both parties understand the scope correctly. Or you risk paying more time and money for further bug-fixing and improvements.

Cost Estimation at Cleveroad

Cleveroad provides full-cycle web development services. Which means, the process goes through these stages:

  • Planning
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deployment

A project manager's always there to coordinate the workflow, and the number of developers and designers is flexible, from project to project.

How we estimate cost at Cleveroad

How we calculate custom web application development pricing

We start cooperation with a rough estimate of your future project based on your requirements and the idea presented. And we define the approximate number of hours required to deliver the product. After getting your approval, we move to a detailed estimate, working on web app logic, wireframes and creating detailed project documentation.

Eager to find out your project's cost? Drop us a line, and we'll estimate your app – absolutely for free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Simple web apps

These are websites with a basic set of functions, landing pages, and simple online stores.

Web application cost: $3,000-15,000.

Medium applications

Pro-level web apps are more challenging to build, and they often contain interactive pages and lots of content.

Cost: $15,000-55,000

Complex applications

Custom web apps come with exclusive CMS, well-thought-out design, and thus a high level of complexity.

Cost: $55,000-250,000+

The complexity of the project influences the price. So, to figure out the cost your app, it’s necessary to analyze your project requirements and business goals.

The following factors influence web app development cost. So, you need to consider them before starting the development process.

  • Scope of work. The very first thing influencing the cost is the app’s functionality. It matters whether you’re building a simple online store, an online brochure, or a unique and complex system.
  • Complexity of UI/UX design. Same here: if you choose to go for custom UI/UX design services, be ready to pay more.
  • Business niche. There are projects that don’t require special knowledge and skills, so they are comparatively cheap. But unique and complex suites are entirely different.
  • Developers’ location. Offshore development is often cheaper than local. In the USA, Canada, and Australia an hour of software development costs from $80 to $250 – the highest rate in the world.

Average web application development cost starts from $3,000 and reaches 250,000+. Quite a gap, right? All because custom apps come with custom requirements, so there's no magic wand for uncovering the price.

Custom web apps come with exclusive CMS, well-thought-out design, and thus a high level of complexity. They're often aimed at profit-making or help with automating regular business processes. The development of complex web applications takes up to 6 months of work.

Cost: $55,000-250,000+

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