April 5, 2018

In this article, we will try to write the approximate algorithm for the custom web application development cost. We also created the template on how to estimate the cost for the web-based cinema ticket booking app. So, please enjoy!

Сustom web application development cost is not that easy to estimate or evaluate beforehand. It depends on a large number of variables and criteria which makes each case unique. In this article, we’ll calculate the web application development cost as the sum of smaller components.

For this purpose, we are trying to split the development process into the simple CRUDS. Knowing how much each element would cost and the approximate number of such parts will help you to settle up your budget expectations. The question is no longer whether a company needs to have a web-based version of their software product or enterprise business application but to know how much does it cost to develop a web application that would meet the company’s business goals in the era of the cloud computing.

List of Contents:

PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

The web application development company has to identify the required participants of the web development lifecycle in order to run the project smoothly. These are:

  • The product owner, you as the client will be responsible to validate that the delivered project meets your expectations and needs;
  • The project manager (PM): manage the project through its completion, mend the gap between the client and the technical team;
  • Front-end developer (UI/UX);
  • Android developer;
  • iOS developer;
  • Back-end developer;
  • QA Tester;
  • System Administrator;

CUSTOM WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT COST

Let’s address the question of the web application development cost. We are going to start with a simple task to understand the process and then we will move to less detailed real-world web-based application development.


Note: all the following custom web application development cost estimation is based on a Middle developer.


Let’s take a look at the custom web application development cost from the perspective of the cost for each feature. Later this will help us to see the whole picture. For instance, we have to build a simple web-based CRM. This can be both the CRM which is supposed to be used only internally and the CRM that is developed for public release. CRM product can be a standalone SaaS platform or twin of the desktop CRM product to allow users to have the same functionality in their browsers as they used to have on their desktops.

In features that everybody needs for their web application, CRUD is almost always part of them if not always. CRUD stands for Create Read Update Delete, typically in an application there is always a need to create an entity like Employee, for instance, to access (read) that entity, and update it, Let’s say you want to change the employee’s job title after a promotion or delete a former employee from your database (actually in order to keep history we don’t delete data, we are sometimes implementing other rules to make the irrelevant data disappear from the user’s view). Let us observe the web application price with the standard CRUD.

Standard CRUD with a simple business rule

In a standard CRUD with a simple business rule, we are only dealing with a single entity where its creation does not need a set of rules, it is a simple insertion in a database. We can take the example of the creation, access to simple research with a result in a data table, update and deletion of “work type”.

A work type is simply all types of work allowed: part-time, full-time etc. with its allowed daily working hours: 4 hours for part-time and 8 for full time for instance.

This simple CRUD can be divided into the following small tasks:

  • Create a work type
  • Search for a work type by name filter
  • Display list of work type in a data table
  • Update a type of work
  • Delete a type of work

We are going to evaluate the costs of this simple CRUD. Custom web application development cost estimation involves time tracking and vice versa. This task requires: 

Creating a simple interface of the web-based app:

  • to allow the user to create a work type
  • to view the list of work type
  • to edit a work type
  • to delete a work type (with the help of the link in the interface)

The logic:

  • to persist a new work type in the database
  • to update an existing work type
  • to delete an existing work type
  • to list work type by name

Test to validate that:

  • the persistence is working correctly for a new work type
  • the update is working correctly for existing work type
  • the research returns the expected work type or work types

We have seen that even the simple task of creating, reading, updating and deleting a simple entity requires a lot of development work.

Each task involves:

  • One front-end developer
  • One back-end developer
  • One QA tester

The development flow will look this way:

  • One front-end developer will work 4 hours charging $80/hour to develop the UI for this CRUD;
  • One back-end developer will work 4 hours charging $80$/hour to develop the logic;
  • One QA tester will work 2 hours charging $70/hour to perform the test.

Note: The price is estimated using an average hourly rate for the software development services in North America.


Remember that before getting to this task, there was time spent to break down every module into a single task. It involves a project manager. When the task is that simple, the project manager’s intervention may not be noticeable. A standard CRUD with a simple rule will cost approximately $780, but it is actually not that often that we are dealing with a rule that simple.

Standard CRUD with a medium business rule

Creating an interface

  • to allow a user to create a job: with the list of available categories and all available levels of qualification
    to research and view list of jobs
  • to edit or delete a job

The logic to implement in order:

  • to persist a new job in the database
    to update or delete an existing job
    to list job type by title

Test to validate that:

  • the persistence is working correctly for a new job
    the update is working correctly for an existing job
    the research returns the expected work type or jobs.

The web application development flow looks like that:

  • One front-end developer will work full time for one day charging $80/hour to develop the UI for this CRUD;
  • One back-end developer will work full time for one day charging $80/hour to develop the logic;
  • One QA tester will work 4 hours charging $70/hour to perform the test;
  • One project manager working 2 hours charging $100/hour.

Note: The price is estimated using an average hourly rate for the software development services in North America.


A standard CRUD with a medium rule will cost approximately $1,760.

Standard authentication estimate

A very common feature in a web app is the authentication, in this estimation, we are going to deal with a standard one.
example of the custom web application development cost on the HubSpot login page

HubSpot is a pretty good example of the simple but yet beautiful login page with the light and clean appearance.


In a standard authentication, we will have the login page and redirection to a simple blank page. This redirection can be changed later once the web application has some more pages.

Once the user enters the credentials and hits the login button, s/he will first go through an LDAP authentication and once it succeeds will be authenticated against the application database.

  • Here, the authentication page is very simple: one input text, one password, and one button;
  • The logic is a little bit complex: LDAP authentication proceeds the basic authentication.

The page development cost consists of:

  • One front-end developer working 2 hours with $80/hour
  • One back-end developer working one day with $80/hour
  • One QA tester working 2 hours and charging $70/hour

Note: The cost is estimated using an average hourly rate for the software development services in North America.


A standard authentication will cost approximately $940.

Environment configuration

Sometimes the client requires the certain technologies to be used for the web application development, usually to standardize the tools and environments on which his team is used to work, this is often the case of a client who has an existing IT infrastructure. In this case, there is no cost associated with installing different environments. Sometimes the client does not yet impose any constraint but asks in return the complete installation of the necessary environments with technical advice on the equipment etc. Sometimes, the scenario is something in between.

Complete installation and configuration may require up to 5 working days if we are starting from scratch, if there is already some basis to start with, the necessary time to do the configuration may take a little time sometimes just up to one to two working day.

  • A complete server and environment configuration will cost close to $2,800.
    A custom server and environment configuration will cost approximately from $560 to $1,120.

The following table gives an overview of time repartition by phase and by developers.

  • A complete server and environment configuration will cost close to $2,800.
  • A custom server and environment configuration will cost approximately from $560 to $1,120.


Now let’s apply this process in a real-world example.

CUSTOM WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT COST SAMPLE: THE CINEMA TICKET BOOKING APP

In this second estimation, we are going to consider a web application that allows customers or potential customers to book and/or pay for a movie ticket using an online service. In this example, we are going to take a medium cinema.

Typically, a movie ticket booking application includes the following features and functionalities:

  • Fee management
  • Pricing management
  • Booking system management
  • Movie management (list of movies etc.)
  • Movie theatre management (calendar, capacity etc.)
  • Payment management
  • Administration

Based on the features of this movie ticket booking web application, we can provide the following estimation. The people involved in the custom web application development work the full time during 2-3 months.

  • 2 Back-end developers (3 months) charge $80/hr = $76,800
  • 1 Front-end developer (2 months) charges $80/hr = $25,600
  • 1 Android developer (2 months) – $80/hr = $25,600
  • 1 iOS developer (2 months) –  $90/hr = $28,800
  • 1 graphic designer (2 months) – $60/hr = $11,760
  • 2 QA engineers (2 months) – $70/hr = $19,200
  • 1 PM who manages the project from design to project closure during (3 months) – $100/hr = $48,000
  • 1 System Administrator (2 weeks) – $70/hr = $5,600

A basic ticket booking web application development will cost approximately $241,000.

TABLE: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUILD A WEB APPLICATION IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS

Let’s compose this data into the simple table to see a cost for the development of the platform for the cinema tickets sale and compare the development costs in North America, Western Europe and offshore location, Eastern Europe in this particular case.

Specialist Number of Devs. Months of Engagement US Hourly Rate W. Europe Hourly Rate Eastern Europe
Back-end dev 2 3 80 65 25
Android dev 1 2 80 60 30
iOS developer 1 2 90 70 31
Front-end dev 1 2 80 65 30
Designer 1 2 60 50 25
QA engineer 2 2 70 55 20
PM 1 3 100 65 30
Sys Admin 1 1/2 70 50 25
Total Cost $241 360 $211 200 $90 320

Sometimes, organizations already have a budget allocated for a given project. They can make an in-house estimate or ask external vendors with relevant experience to make their bids to learn how much will custom web application development cost. In the case of the predefined budget, both in-house teams or the software development vendors are usually asked to prioritize according to his budget. In the opposite situation, when the budget is a matter for discussion, the client needs to get a cost estimation as the starting point.

CONCLUSION

In order to perfect the estimation process, we are tracking the time we spend on each task and use this knowledge to help us do our next prediction. It is always important to set a budget, especially if we deal with something as complex as the custom web application development. But the budget is just the first stage of the project, the key for a successful web application is the implication of all the stakeholders. The client’s role is very important during both the design and preliminary discussions as well as during the validation phase. In the flow of the validation process, the accuracy of the delivered application against the product requirements document is checked. Moreover, needs may evolve during the development process.

There are some aspects of web application development that are covered in this article involving other costs such as the cost of the required infrastructure. Most of the time, clients want the web application development to be done very fast, there is an additional cost incurred in that case.

Existek is a professional offshore software development company with vast expertise in the development of robust web applications. Contact us to build your own web-based software or get the estimate for your custom web application development cost, we will be happy to help you out!