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

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

For this purpose, we are trying to split the development process into 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 cloud computing.

List of Contents:

PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE WEB-BASED APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

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

  • The product owner, you as the client, will be responsible for validating 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
Project phase/ Participants Project Manager UX/UI Developer (front-end) Back-end Developer QA Tester System Admin
Technical and functional conception x x x x  
Development x x x x  
Deployment in staging environment/UAT x x x x x
Deployment in production environment/Supp x x x x x

CUSTOM WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT COST ESTIMATION

Let’s address the question of the web application development cost estimation. 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 estimation 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 which is developed for public release. CRM products can be a standalone SaaS platform or a 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 a list of work types 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 for 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 the 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 software development services in North America.


Remember that before getting to this task, there was time spent breaking 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 deal 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 a 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-based 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 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-based app is 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 a simple yet beautiful login page with a 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 applications have 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 with the basic authentication

The page development cost consists of the following:

  • 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 software development services in North America.


A standard authentication will cost approximately $940.

Environment configuration

Sometimes the client requires 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 for 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 for 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 days.

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

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

WEB APPLICATION COST ESTIMATION SAMPLE: THE CINEMA TICKET BOOKING APP

In this second estimation, we are going to consider a web-based app 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-based app, we can provide the following web application cost estimation. The people involved in the custom web application development work 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 app development cost will be approximately $241,000.

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

Total Cost   $241 360 $211 200 $90 320
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

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

How to calculate man-hours for your project?

You can check the detailed guide on estimating software projects in man-hours with additional software estimation examples.

Read the article

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 their 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.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN MAKING A WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT ESTIMATION

The cost of web app development can vary depending on several factors. Some of the key aspects that can affect the price of web app development are:

  • The complexity of a web app refers to the number of features, functionalities, and processes involved in the app’s development. The more complex the app, the more time and resources are required to develop it. For example, an app with complex business logic, data management, and security features will require more time and expertise, increasing the development cost.
  • The features and functionality of a web app refer to what the solution can do and how it operates. Advanced features such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and real-time communication can significantly increase the development cost. Customizable features, integration with third-party tools and services, and user experience elements such as animations, graphics, and sound can also add to the cost.
  • The design of a web app includes its user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) elements. Customized design and UI elements can make the app more engaging and appealing to users, but they can also add to the development cost. The design process also involves testing and refining the app’s UI and UX, which can take time and add to the overall cost.
  • Web apps often require integration with third-party tools and services like payment gateways, social media platforms, and analytics tools. Integrating these services into the app can add to the development cost, especially if the integration involves complex API connections and security measures.
  • Testing and maintenance: The cost of testing and maintenance should also be factored into the overall cost of development. Testing the app for bugs, errors, and security vulnerabilities can take time and require expertise. Ongoing maintenance and updates to the app are also necessary to ensure its continued functionality and security, which can add to the development cost. 
  • Development team location and experience: The location and experience of the development team also impact the cost of web app development. Developers in certain regions or with specific skills may charge more or less for their services.

Overall, the cost of web app development services depends on several factors, and it’s important to consider each of them to get an accurate web application development cost estimation.

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HOW TO REDUCE WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT COST

Reducing the cost of web application development requires careful planning and smart decision-making. Let’s gather some tips that could help you minimize your expenses:

  • Choosing the right tech stack is crucial for reducing web application development costs. You can choose open-source technologies that can help reduce licensing fees and development costs. You can use tools like GitHub to find open-source technologies that match your project requirements. Additionally, you should choose technologies that are easy to use and have good community support to avoid the need for extensive training.
  • Using pre-built components can help reduce web application development costs significantly. Many pre-built components can help with tasks like user authentication, file uploads, and data visualization. These components can be integrated into your application quickly, saving development time and costs. You can also use open-source frameworks like React or Angular that provide reusable components and libraries.
  • Adopting an agile development approach can help you build the application in iterations, which reduces the risk of expensive rework and helps control costs. In the agile methodology, development is done in small sprints, with regular testing and user feedback. This approach helps you identify problems early on and makes it easier to make changes to the application as required. Agile also focuses on delivering value to the customer, which helps prioritize features and saves time and costs.
  • Outsourcing development work to other locations can significantly reduce the cost of development. Though, it’s important to choose a reputable and reliable outsourcing partner. You should choose an outsourcing partner with a good track record and a strong reputation in the industry. Additionally, you should ensure that communication is smooth and regular to avoid any misunderstandings.
  • Optimizing the development process can help reduce the time and cost required to build an application. It can be achieved through regular code reviews, automated testing, and continuous integration and deployment. Code reviews help identify problems early on and make it easier to fix them. Automated testing helps catch errors and reduces the time required for manual testing. Continuous integration and deployment help streamline the development process and ensure that code is released quickly and efficiently.
  • Instead of building a full-featured application from the outset, focus on building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that meets the core needs of your users. That helps reduce development time and cost. An MVP is a simple version of your application that includes only the most essential features. This approach helps you get feedback from users early on and makes it easier to refine the application as required.
  • Cloud hosting services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure can provide scalable and cost-effective hosting solutions. These services offer pay-as-you-go pricing models, which means you only pay for what you use. That helps reduce hosting costs and makes scaling your application as required easy. Additionally, cloud hosting services provide built-in security and backup features, saving time and money on maintenance.

By choosing the right technology, using pre-built components, adopting an agile methodology, outsourcing wisely, optimizing the development process, focusing on MVP, and considering cloud hosting, you can significantly reduce the cost of web application development without compromising quality.

CONCLUSION

In order to perfect the estimation process, we are tracking the time we spend on each task and using this knowledge to help us make our next prediction. It is always important to set a budget, especially if we deal with something as complex as custom web application development. But the budget is just the first stage of the project; the key to a successful app 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-based 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; an additional cost is incurred in that case.

Looking for a professional team to make your project estimate or start the development process?

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

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Frequently asked questions

What is the team composition to start custom web app development?

It's always important to set up a cross-functional team, including

  • Product owner

  • Product manager

  • UI/UX designer
  • Back-end developer

  • Front-end developer

  • QA specialist

  • System admin

How to make a web application development cost estimation?

It's easier to make an estimate by following some simple steps:

  • Define the scope and requirements of your project

  • Break down the project into smaller components

  • Determine the technology stack

  • Estimate the time required for each component

  • Add up the costs

  • Add contingency

  • Consider ongoing maintenance and support

What is the average cost to develop a web application?

The web application development cost could start from $90 000. Besides, it's necessary to keep in mind that the cost of creating a web application is not a one-time expense. Ongoing costs such as maintenance, updates, and hosting fees should also be considered.

How to reduce web application development costs?

The team can significantly reduce the cost without compromising on quality when they

  • Choose the right technology

  • Use pre-built components

  • Apply Agile methodology

  • Outsource wisely

  • Optimize the development process

  • Focus on MVP

  • Consider cloud hosting

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