It’s a question I get asked many times a week. Unfortunately the answer is always, “Well what does the app do”. The cost of the app from our perspective is a function of the complexity of what we will build. Simple apps are cheaper because they take less time to build. Complex apps are more expensive for the same reason. Forrester Group recently published a study that the average app costs about $20,000 per app, per platform. That is probably a good average, noting that you would have apps that will fall both above and below that average. I’ve seen some apps that cost $2000 and others that cost more than $100,000. Here are a few quick ways to save on your next project.
Build an app similar to one the development shop has already written:
For instance we will build any flashcard, or checklist application much faster and in most cases cheaper than the competition. We’ve built them in the past and we can reuse much of our design patterns and code libraries to lower the costs to future customers.
If you can avoid it, don’t require network and server side interaction
The moment your app needs something done on the server then you are adding the cost of developing and hosting the server side functionality. However interacting with external server side technologies like Facebook and Twitter may add to cost incrementally but they won’t add to the cost like developing your own CRM database to track orders.
Focus on only the core features of your app
What features will provide the most value to your users? What are they going to buy the app for? Build those features first. If your app is a success then build a version two with your profits.
Send the developer clear requirements with drawings of the interfaces
Uncertainty at the beginning of the project will get factored into the cost you are quoted if it is a firm fixed price bid. If you are paying hourly then the uncertainty will cost you when the developer has to change course becuase the requirements weren’t fully understood. While some changes are inevitable when building software, if you know what you want draw it out so that everyone can see and understand what you want. If you can send your developer a few sketches of what each screen will have on it and how you expect everything to work they will have a much clearer understanding of what you are looking for. This should result in you getting a better deal over the life of the project .
Next time: What is the difference between firm fixed price, agile, and revenue sharing