An All-Inclusive Guide on Custom Software Development Cost for 2023 and beyond


By : Biztech

An All-Inclusive Guide on Custom Software Development Cost for 2023 and beyond1


In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, custom software development has become the new and essential norm. It is important for streamlining operations, enhancing customer experiences, and gaining a competitive advantage.

Custom software is tailored to meet your unique needs and is comparatively a better choice than off-the-shelf solutions. However, the custom software development cost tends to be on the higher end because it is tailored to meet your precise requirements, enabling you to achieve unmatched efficiency, innovation, and scalability.

So, if you are planning to build a custom software solution, it is better to know all the associated costs of custom mobile app development beforehand.

With the help of this all-inclusive guide, we shall help you understand how the costs will vary for a custom project and what factors will affect your project budget.

So without further ado, let’s jump in!

Key Factors That Affect Software Development Cost

Key Factors That Affect Software Development Cost

Understanding the intricate web of factors influencing the cost of custom software development is paramount. From project scope and complexity to technical specifications and ongoing maintenance, these cost considerations shape the feasibility of a project and its long-term impact on the organization’s resources.

By grasping the significance of these cost factors, businesses like yours can make informed decisions, allocate budgets wisely, and ensure successful project outcomes that align with your strategic goals.

  • Project Complexity and ScopeThe cost to develop software varies hugely based on the project scope and complexity. If your software is large-scale with advanced features and functionalities, it affects the development effect and will subsequently increase the price.
  • Technology StackThe type of tech stacks you use for custom software development also affects the cost. Are you using free or open-source software for development? Then, the cost of technology becomes close to none.However, if you use proprietary software, you will have to pay for a license fee or subscription fee and other associated costs.Open-source technologies:
    • Programming languages: Node.js, Python, PHP, Java, Ruby
    • Frontend Libraries: Angular, React, Vue.js
    • Frameworks: Django, Ruby on Rails, Flask, Spring Boot, Express.js
    • Database: MongoDB, MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL
    • CMS: Drupal, WordPress, Joomla

    Proprietary technologies:

    • Programming languages: Swift, Kotlin, C#
    • Frontend Tools: Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Dreamweaver
    • IDEs: Android Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio, Xcode
    • Database: Oracle database, Microsoft SQL server
    • CMS: Sitecore, Adobe Experience Manager
  • Design ComplexityThe intricacy of user interfaces (UI) and user experience (UX) design elements can influence design and development time, affecting the overall cost.
  • Development TimeframeThe timeline for project completion can influence costs. Rushed development may require additional resources so that the project can be finished in time. Therefore, it can potentially increase your development expenses.
  • Development TeamThe size and skill level of your development team is likely to impact the software development cost. If you have more senior developers on your team with expert project managers, the cost will shoot up. At the same time, the cost of hiring entry-level developers is much less.Here’s an estimate of various developer rates based on their skills and experience level.
    Developer Experience Level Yearly Hiring Cost (in $)
    Trainee 60,000
    Junior Developer 70,000
    Mid-Level Developer 90,000
    Senior Developer 120,000
    Software Architect 145,000
  • Development TypeThe type of development is also a crucial factor in determining the average cost of software development. For instance, if you only have to develop the frontend or backend of a website, it is likely to cost less than the complete development of your website. Similarly, the cost to build an app will be different too.Moreover, different dedicated developers charge various amounts per hour for developing different kinds of applications. The below table mentions the hourly rates of developers in the United States. Check it out to understand the difference in rates.
    Development Type Cost/Hour (in $)
    Frontend Development 120
    Backend Development 150
    Full-Stack Development 130
    Mobile App Development 140
  • Developer LocationDevelopment costs can vary significantly based on the geographical location of the development team, with rates differing across regions.
    Developer Region Yearly Hiring Cost (in $)
    USA 200,000
    UK 140,000
    Australia 120,000
    Western Europe 120,000
    Eastern Europe 70,000
    South Asia 30,000
  • Migration of Existing DataAre you building new software from scratch? Or, do you want to build on top of your existing software? If that’s the case, you also need to migrate your existing data to the new system. So, the cost of development will also include migration costs as developers will have to take care of that as well.
  • Ongoing support and maintenanceFactoring in ongoing maintenance, updates, and technical support is essential for assessing long-term costs beyond initial development.

Why Are Most Software Project Estimates Wrong?

In the previous section, we already explored the various factors that influence the cost of software development. But, that’s not all there is to consider. There can be several other factors as well that influence the total cost of the project.

Honestly, these can be a lot while deciding on the project budget; more the reason why most software project estimates go wrong.

Let’s check a few reasons why businesses struggle to estimate project budgets appropriately.

I. Inaccurate Planning

You need to plan your project scope first before deciding on the project budget. If you fail to plan the project scope considering all the aforementioned factors, it can lead to inaccurate budget estimates.

II. Incomplete Requirements

In case you hire dedicated developers from a team, they will give you a budget estimate based on your requirements. However, most companies fail to convey all of their requirements clearly to the development team and change project scope later. Consequently, the project budget also varies, leading to inaccurate budget estimation.

III. Unprecedented Technical Challenges

Certain technical challenges, the need to adopt new technology, the scope for integrating new tools, etc. also impact the project budget at times.

IV. Evolving Technology Landscape

The constant change in the technology landscape can also impact the cost of custom software development.

Payment Models for Software Development

 Payment Models for Software Development

There are several payment models commonly used for software development projects, each with its own advantages and considerations. Depending on these models, the software development costs vary far and wide.

Here are the main payment models:

Fixed Price

In this engagement model, the project scope is defined from the get-go. And so does the project timeline and budget. So, if you are clear about your project needs and can convey the same to the development team, this is the best model for you.

Advantages of Fixed Price Model:

  • Fixed budget
  • Defined scope
  • Minimal risk
  • Easy project management
  • Minimal client involvement
  • Measurable success

Drawbacks of Fixed Price Model:

  • Limited flexibility
  • Scope creep
  • Uncertain requirements
  • Compromised quality to meet the deadline

Time and Material

This engagement model is the most flexible of the lot because it allows companies to hire resources as per their changing requirements. So, when you connect with a software development company through the T&M model, you only pay developers for the actual time and resources spent on the project.

The billing is based on hourly/daily rates. So, the developers and designers are paid for the hours worked. It is apt for projects where incremental development is needed.

Advantages of T&M Model:

  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Incremental development
  • Transparent billing
  • Support for experimentation
  • Risk sharing
  • Accurate costs

Drawbacks of T&M Model:

  • Budget overruns
  • Client involvement
  • Project delays
  • Resource allocation challenges
  • Misaligned expectations

Dedicated Development Team

As per this payment model, you can hire a team of developers, designers, and other experts at a fixed monthly fee. You have complete control over your project direction, resources, and team selection. It is the best fit for long-term projects with evolving requirements.

Advantages of Dedicated Team Model:

  • Complete control
  • Resource availability
  • Flexible scaling
  • Long-term partnerships
  • Cost-efficient
  • Mitigated risks

Drawbacks of Dedicated Team Model:

  • Communication overhead
  • Continuous oversight
  • Dependency on team
  • Scaling rigidity
  • Communication challenges

Note: Some other models are:

  • Retainer Model

This kind of engagement model is suitable for companies that need to retain a certain level of services each month. For instance, if you need ongoing support, maintenance, and regular upgradation for your custom software, you can retain these services at a monthly fee. It is apt for clients that need continuous support or improvement of the software.

Advantages of Retainer Model:

  • Predictable engagement
  • Flexible services
  • Proactive support
  • Continuous improvement

Drawbacks of Retainer Model:

  • Unused hours
  • Scope misalignment or changes
  • Varying workload

Hybrid Model

Several times, a client may start with a certain payment model and want to switch to a different one at a later point in time. The hybrid model allows you to do that. For instance, you may start with a fixed model and change to time and material at a later point, as needed.

Advantages of Hybrid Model:

  • Optimized resource utilization
  • Risk mitigation
  • Agile adaptation
  • Strategic partnership

Drawbacks of Hybrid Model:

  • Communication challenges
  • Administrative overhead
  • Contractual complexity

Steps to Determine the Cost of Custom Software Development

Determining the accurate custom software development pricing involves a systematic approach. It requires you to assess every aspect and define the project scope so you can ensure accurate budgeting and successful project execution.

Step 1: Define Project Scope

First, analyze your project needs, competitor market, and target audience to determine your project scope. It should help you define the project scope with all its goals, features, and functionalities. When you approach a company, they will look at the project scope and tell you the product development cost.

Step 2: Estimate Effort

When developing a custom software project, you have a lot of tasks to take care of right from designing and development to testing and QA. Establishing all the various tasks required in the project will help estimate the efforts (number of hours/ days) required to complete a project.

Step 3: Calculate Various Types of Costs

Product development costs aren’t the only ones for you to consider. Let’s look at the various types of costs involved in custom software development.

I. Development costs (Cost of hiring)

II. Infrastructure costs (Hardware and software acquisition costs, cloud services cost)

III. Tools and licensing costs (Costs for debugging tools, version control systems, IDEs, performance monitoring software, testing tools)

IV. Project management costs (Communication tools, ERP/CRM tools, cost to hire project managers, etc.)

V. QA costs (If you are handling the project with an in-house team)

VI. Deployment and integration costs (Cost for APIs, third-party systems, deployment tools, etc.)

VII. Documentation costs (Cost for preparing training materials, API documentation, technical guides)

VIII. Change management costs (Costs for revisions and iterations or change in project scope)

IX. Operational costs (Cost of maintaining software, performance, database management, data security)

X. Consultation costs (Some companies may charge a nominal consultation fee)

XI. Maintenance and support costs (Expenses related to post-deployment support, update, maintenance, iterative development)

Step 4: Estimate Contingencies

Add a contingency buffer to account for unexpected issues or changes in requirements. This buffer helps mitigate risks and ensures a more accurate custom software development price estimate.

Step 5: Factor in Time

Estimate the time required for each task and the overall project timeline. Consider dependencies, testing phases, iterations, and potential delays.

Step 6: Consult Software Development Agencies for a Quote

Whether you want to avail CMS development services or custom web or mobile development services, you must choose a potential team that can help you in this pursuit. Shortlist a few contenders based on your preference and consult them to get a quote.

Note that you will have to document your project scope, keep it ready, and share it with them.

Step 7: Negotiate and Finalize

Now, it is time for negotiations. You can decide on your preferred engagement model and negotiate charges with the company. Negotiate any necessary adjustments to the estimates. Once both parties agree, finalize the project cost and terms.

Step 8: Sign a Deal

Make sure you sign a contract specifying all the terms and conditions as you prefer. Thus, you will have minimized risks and get to develop custom software as per your needs.

If you have an in-house team working on your custom software development project, you will need to consider all the factors that influence the cost. However, you don’t have to get involved with these nitty-gritty details when you outsource the software development project to a professional team.

Are you still looking for an expert team of skilled developers who can help with custom software development? Then, BiztechCS might be the right company for you. With our 16+ years of experience and exposure to 1200+ projects, we bring the best talent to help you develop innovative yet affordable software solutions.

Want to learn more about our cost estimation? Let’s check in detail!


In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, understanding the intricacies of custom software development costs is paramount. As businesses harness the power of tailored solutions to fuel growth, this comprehensive guide has unveiled the essential factors shaping the financial journey.

From open-source to proprietary, engagement models to project estimates, each facet contributes to the puzzle of custom software development costs. By navigating this guide, you should gain a compass to navigate the financial terrain of your software ventures.

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