The Hidden Factors That Determine Your Software Development Project Costs

As you look to develop new software or upgrade existing applications, you need to keep your budget i.e. software development cost in mind.


Varun Bhagat

a year ago | 2 min read

Software development can be an expensive endeavor, and it’s easy to forget that the cost of software development goes beyond just paying your programmers and designers. In fact, there are a number of hidden factors that influence how much your project will cost over the long run. That’s why it’s so important to have a software development strategy in place before you begin any project, so you can set yourself up for success right from the start.

Software development cost factors:

1. Platform: Do you want to run it on a desktop computer, a mobile phone, or in the cloud?

Will your software primarily run on a desktop or laptop computer, or will it work on a mobile device like an iPhone or iPad? Do you want to build an application that runs entirely in the cloud (i.e., online), without any hardware requirements at all? These considerations might make development faster or slower and more or less expensive—and might also make it impossible.

2. Project Size: How big is it?

As a rule of thumb, small to medium software projects can cost between $50,000 and $500,000. Large-scale enterprise solutions will be more expensive (think millions of dollars). The reason for these variations is that project complexity increases with size. One developer could manage a project with just an idea; in practice, it’s not unusual for teams to build systems supporting thousands of users over many years. Anything larger than a two-person one-and-done requires careful planning and coordination – which comes at a price.

3. Project Duration: How long will it take to build the app?

If your app will be relatively straightforward to build, you can expect a quick turnaround time. With a lengthy design process, however, you may not see results for several months. You may have to hire temporary workers or rely on outsourcing if your project is especially complicated and spans several months or years. It’s best to thoroughly scope out your project with an experienced team before beginning so that everyone is on board from day one about what kind of work needs to be done and how long it will take. The longer the project duration, the higher the software development cost.

4. Technology Stack: Which programming language will you code in?

Agile, waterfall—you’ve got options. Will you code in Ruby? Java? Objective-C? The technical skills of your development team are important to know upfront so you can create a realistic budget and stick to it throughout.

5. Developer Experience: Is it Junior, Intermediate, and Senior developers?

The level of experience will determine a lot about how your project goes. An inexperienced team is more likely to miss deadlines and deliver a poorly-designed product. They’re also likely to spend more money as they take longer to complete features and make mistakes along the way. An intermediate developer may cost you $100/hour while a senior developer may cost you $150/hour or more. You can usually find out what kind of developer(s) you're working with by requesting their resumes before hiring them. You can hire software developers in India from India at a low cost.


Despite large software development price ranges, a given project’s cost is still dependent on several additional factors. An internal financial audit is one way to determine whether there’s been wasteful spending within your company. To effectively control costs, you need to ask yourself what do I want out of my IT budget? A thorough cost-benefit analysis can help you with that process.

In case of any confusion, you can always get in touch with a software consultant company.


Created by

Varun Bhagat







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