How much does it cost to build a web application?
As a software development company, this is a question we get asked a lot. It is the first thought most company owners have when they contemplate developing a web application. They find themselves facing two choices – hiring a professional to develop a web app for their business versus making an app by themself.
App development cost estimation is at the heart of their decision-making. Knowing how app development prices work helps company owners plan a realistic web app development budget and make a choice that is economically viable and right for their business.
Developing a web app by yourself is not an easy feat, especially if you lack the technical know-how of the app development process. But whether you hire a professional web design company or develop it yourself, as a business, here’s why you should always be prepared for a web app development project.
The Rising Trend of Progressive Web Applications
The number of mobile devices is growing globally and as a result, the mobile application market is expanding and evolving. With the growth of mobile apps in our life, web applications are also changing and innovating to add new value to users. A recent example of this innovation is Progressive Web Applications (PWA).
Research indicates a shift in consumer preferences when it comes to e-commerce and brand interaction. With the popularity of wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the average user is moving away from business mobile apps towards web applications, more specifically Progressive Web Applications.
The web application market is expanding, and with it, the demand for web app development services is soaring. Let’s consider some facts and figures that explain the shift towards PWA technology:
- Research suggests that the Progressive Web Application market size is expected to reach USD10.44 billion by 2027.
- Studies show that the average desktop device conversion rate is more than 2X the e-commerce conversion rates of smartphones.
- Mobile app uninstallation rates are high; over 23% of mobile apps are uninstalled within the first 24 hours of app installation.
Users are shifting to PWAs because, unlike mobile apps, they don’t occupy storage space. Comparatively, the app development cost of PWAs is lower than that of mobile apps, and they are also easy to develop and maintain. PWAs utilise mobile app features and smart technology such as AR, VR, and IoT, and offer a better user experience.
For end-users and customers of a business, PWAs are easy to access and don’t require them to download storage-hogging mobile apps. This is why small and medium-sized businesses are dominating the progressive web application market, and an increasing number of large enterprises like Ali Express, Twitter, and Tinder are adopting PWA technology to expand their user base.
Now that we know why web applications are important for businesses in 2023, let’s move on to the development of web apps. If you are a business owner, planning to launch your business idea in the form of a web application. Or if you are looking to develop a web-based enterprise solution, this is a guide for you.
Read on to discover the basics of web development costs and the best practices of executing an app development project so you can save money and get the most out of your budget.
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How Much Does App Development Cost?
When it comes to app development costs, even a well-experienced web app development company can not give you a cost estimate solely based on the idea of your application. There are various types of web applications – anything from a single-page website to a highly-complex progressive web application can fall under the definition of web app development. And the app development costs for them can vary greatly.
Web development companies don’t have a set price list for each type of app, and developing custom web applications means the app development costs for each project can be different depending on several factors. Without a considerable understanding of your project and its technical details, it is impossible to work out a realistic app development cost estimate for you.
Some factors that influence web development cost include:
- Scope of Work: The scope of the project depends on the app’s functionality and technical complexity. A sophisticated web application with complex features and functionalities will take longer to develop and cost more than developing a simple content-based web application.
- Business Logic: The complexity of a software product can play a significant role in determining the app development costs of a project. A web application built on complex business rules is often more challenging to develop, test, and deploy.
- UI/UX Design Specification: Custom websites and web apps often require custom-designed user interfaces, micro-animations, layouts, and other design elements. These are expensive to develop because they are time-consuming and complex to implement for the design and app development teams.
- Third-party Integrations: A web app requiring integration with existing systems and third-party software solutions introduces a whole set of development challenges. Some integrations require developers to study the technical structure of the external system to ensure seamless integration and compatibility.
App development costs vary from project to project and it is difficult to estimate the cost without knowing the scope of work, complexity, design requirements, and tech stack. But let’s talk about some numbers to give you a rough idea of the upper and lower figures of the web development cost ranges.
A web app development project can cost you anywhere from £10,000 to £100,000 and upwards when you outsource your project to a professional web app development company, such as GoodCore. Developing a web app in-house means you will incur the additional cost of recruiting resources, salaries, overheads, etc. This is why many company owners choose to outsource so they can save costs and invest their time in other important aspects of the business.
GoodCore has a team of highly-skilled web app developers adept at building cutting-edge web applications. Find out more about the technologies we work on
Web App Development Best Practices: What Is The Best Way To Develop Web Applications?
Below are tips on how to get things done right and get the most out of your development budget. A traditional web app development process involves seven main stages:
- Discovery and Research: The first step involves defining the problem that the web application aims to solve.
- Architectural Planning: Once you know the problem your web app will solve, it is time to map out the workflow of the application to meet all the technical and operational requirements.
- UI/UX and Tech Design: What will the application look and feel like? How will the end-users interact with the application? These are the two important concerns that are addressed in the UI/UX design phase.
- Development: This is the phase where the web application is built using the selected technologies for database, frontend, and backend development.
- Testing and Review: Quality Assurance (QA) testing is an ongoing process that takes place during and after the development phase. Whether manually or automatically, the developed application is tested for functionality, usability, compatibility, security, and performance before it is released.
- Release: After thorough testing and clearance from the QA engineers, the web application is deployed from a local machine to a cloud hosting server.
- Support and Maintenance: The web app development process does not end with deployment. Web applications require regular maintenance and support to resolve any issues that might occur after release.
When outsourcing your web app development project, here are some best practices you should follow to get the right price from vendors and save costs at every step of the development process.
Create Requirements for Your Product
Project management is easy and effective when there is a clear and precise set of requirements to start with. A business owner needs the Product Requirement Document to tell the development team what they want to create, who the product is intended for, and what value and benefit the product serves to the end-users.
Our advice to you is to always create requirements for your product so it is easier for your development partner to build a web application that meets your exact requirements. An effective PRD includes lists of business requirements, main features, product and technical specifications, maintenance and upgrades requirements, third-party and system integration requirements, dependencies, and constraints. Many businesses might require consultancy at this step, especially with the technical requirements of their applications.
At GoodCore, we focus on our non-technical clients and provide the necessary assistance to them to translate their app ideas into precise technical, operational, and design requirements. In our discovery workshops, we aid our clients in selecting credible technologies for the frontend and backend development of their applications. We help clients choose the right tech stack for their projects and make other important technical decisions.
Without a clear set of requirements, a project can go off-track in the later phases of the development process, causing delays and costing more money to the business.
Understand the Portrait of Your Target Vendor
A successful web development project relies heavily on the skills and expertise of the vendor. There is a plethora of different software development services providers on the market with very similar offerings and services, and selecting one for your project can be a tough choice. Therefore, it is essential to understand who are you searching for.
To streamline your search process, you can refine the available choices based on the following characteristics.
You can choose nearshore, offshore, or onshore vendors depending on your preference. Nearshore vendors are those located in countries in closer proximity and a similar time zone as your location. Offshore vendors are located in far-away countries with significant time zone differences, and service providers located in the same country as you are onshore vendors.
You can limit your search by only looking for service providers of a certain size. For instance, a software development company with 500+ employees, or you can only look for smaller companies with an employee base of 50 to 200 employees.
3. Models of Cooperation
Models of cooperation are important considerations because they affect the app development costs and billing. Many companies offer a range of different options including:
- Fixed Price model (a fixed-cost, fixed-scope project)
- Time and Materials model (project pricing is contingent on the time and resources spent on development),
- Dedicated Team Model (an exclusive development team is allocated for your project and is paid for according to the per-hour rates for each resource on the team).
A number of companies offer various development models. For example, the Fixed Price model is based on a set price, regardless of how long it takes or how many resources are used. The Time and Materials model is calculated on the hours spent on the project and the number of resources used. The Dedicated Team Model assigns a dedicated development team to the project and pays them based on the hourly rates for each resource on the team.
GoodCore offers fixed-cost, time-and-materials, dedicated teams, and hybrid engagement options. Find out more about how we work.
4. Work Portfolio
Looking into the past experience of potential vendors is a great way to refine your search process. You can only look for vendors that have worked with clients from the same industry as your business in the past. This ensures that the vendor is familiar with the industry and domain knowledge required for your project.
Similarly, you can also filter out potential vendors based on their technical specialisations. A service provider with vast experience in web app development and your preferred technologies is the safest choice for your project.
Choose Proper Channels to Search for Potential Vendors
The selection of a vendor is probably the most important decision that you, as a business, might have to make throughout the process. It is crucial that you take your due time in the search process and look for as many options as possible to create a list of potential vendors for your project.
Using proper channels to find service providers can be very helpful during the search process. Here are some major channels you can use:
- Google Search: Yes, a simple google search is a good place to start, especially if you want to hire locally. You can find a list of onshore service providers with a quick ‘software companies near me’ search.
- Clutch: Clutch is a great review and rating platform that has multiple directories of software companies along with their verified client reviews and portfolio. The social proof in terms of ratings and reviews on Clutch can guide your decision making. GoodCore is a top-rated B2B service provider in the UK with 5/5 client reviews. Check out our Clutch profile.
- Manifest: Manifest is a valuable platform that shortlists top software service providers. It also offers data-driven benchmarks and detailed guides for business projects.
- GoodFirms: GoodFirms provides reviews, research, and surveys on B2B tech service providers. It is a great tool to look for vendors for different development services, including web app development. Check out our GoodFirms profile.
- LinkedIn: Asking your connections or posting on LinkedIn groups for executives can help you score potential vendor referrals from business executives in a similar position as you.
It is advised to have a list of at least ten service providers at the end of your search process so you can further shortlist vendors after contacting each of them. Send vendors your Request for Proposal (RFP), conduct meetings with the representatives to discuss your requirements, and ask for quotations to better evaluate each vendor. Here are 10 crucial questions you should ask a software development vendor during the vetting process.
Keep Control During a Project
Once you have selected a vendor and begun a project, it is vital that you, as the client, stay in control of the project. How do you manage the process? Here are some things that you can do:
- Define a project timeline: Before initiating the process, work out a realistic timeline for the project lifetime. It is better to divide the timeline into milestones and deliverables so you can keep up with the progress of the project.
- Collaborate on initial project plan: Invest your time with the vendor during the initial phases of the process to create project plans, requirement documents, and design mockups together. This ensures that you and your development team are on the same page regarding the requirements for the application.
- Communicate frequently: Keep a check on the progress of your project with regular meetings with the vendor and development team. You can keep your project on-track using communication tools like Skype and Zoom and project tracking software such as Jira.
- Provide feedback: Your input can be valuable throughout the development process, even if you do not have technical knowledge. Your feedback on deliverables can help the development team solve problems early, which can be more costly to fix later.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average cost of web app development?
Web development prices are directly related to the complexity of the application and the time, skills, and expertise required to build it. It also depends on your choice of engagement model and the location of the vendor. For instance, app development costs in the UK can differ greatly from the costs incurred in India.
On average, the total costs of app development can fall anywhere between £10,000 and £100,000 or more depending on these factors. Find out more about our pricing approach.
Can I build an app for less than £50,000?
App development costs are subjective to a number of factors such as the requirement of the application, complexity, technologies, and the pricing model. However, it is possible to create an app that is simple to moderately complex for less than £50,000. If you want to strictly stick to a budget of £50,000, you can choose a vendor that offers a fixed-scope, fixed-price model.
How long does it take to develop a web application?
The web app development process involves multiple steps including requirement analysis, architecture planning, UI/UX design, development, testing, and deployment. The development varies from project to project depending on the scope of work, technical complexity, and size of the team. A simple web application like landing pages can be developed within a month or less. While a full-scale complex application that requires features like push notifications and payment integration can take several months to build. Find out more about our development process.
Web applications, especially Progressive Web Applications (PWAs), are the future of e-commerce and brand interaction with customers. More businesses are investing in the development of branded web applications and web-based enterprise solutions to keep up with the changing market dynamics.
When it comes to web app development, most business owners have the same first thought: How much does app development cost? Well, there is no quick answer to this question because software development costs can vary from project to project. The scope of work, technical complexity, website design requirements, technology stack for the project, and the location of the vendor, are some of the main factors that determine the cost of web development.
On average, web app development can cost you anywhere between £10,000 to £100,000 or more depending on the project specifications. You can build a website that is straightforward and simple for less than £10,000 as well. While a full-fledged complex enterprise web application can cost more than £250,000.
As a business owner, you can get the most out of your development budget by searching for the right vendor, creating clear requirements for your application, choosing the right tech stack, and keeping control of the project.