As of 2024, the average cost of custom software development is between $50,000 and $350,000. The specific price depends on the number and complexity of features you include, so simple apps will cost close to the bottom of this range, while complex software will come out near the top.

At least, that’s the price to develop software through traditional methods.

Here at Devize, our total cost is usually closer to $15,000-$20,000—for the same high-quality apps that large development agencies build for ten times the price.

We’ll look at why prices are so different, what factors influence the price, and how to choose the right provider.

How Devize can develop software at a fraction of the price

There are a few reasons why our average cost is so different from typical custom software development pricing, but the main reason is automation.

At Devize, we’ve built reusable segments for the logic every app needs: features like user login, settings pages, and displaying lists of data.

While these are essential, they’re usually not unique. Having reusable components for parts like that lets us focus most of our time building the custom features that will help your app stand out.

Meanwhile, most agencies build these kinds of systems from scratch each time, which drags out the development process (and their billable hours).

In addition to automation, we use modern no-code tools to develop faster than agencies or developers who code everything from scratch. And we work with a lean development team that lets us build faster without layers of administrative overhead.

11 factors that influence the cost of custom software development

If you want to get a general range for the price of your custom software, these are the most important factors to consider.

1. Software size and complexity

The single biggest factor for pricing is software complexity.

Before starting a project, decide which type of software you’d like to create:

  • Minimum viable product (MVP). This includes the core functionality of your app, but lacks more advanced features or polished front-end interfaces. This is most common for startups.

  • Full-fledged software application. This includes all the workflows you’d like to include in the final product. This is most common for enterprise software.

There could be a 10x or even 100x price difference between a simple calculator tool and a SaaS product or e-commerce app.

Knowing what type of software product you want to build will help you set a budget.

2. Number of screens

Designers and developers often think of applications in terms of “screens,” or unique visual layouts your users will see.

This is roughly the same as the number of pages, though some pages can count as multiple screens. For example, viewing and editing data would count as separate screens even if they show up on the same page.

The more screens, the more complex and expensive an app will be, and the total number can help you guess at a software development cost estimate.

Here’s a general guideline:

  • Simple apps: 10-25 screens

  • Moderate apps: 25-40 screens

  • Complex apps: 40+ screens

3. APIs and integrations

Most apps will need to connect data from other systems—but some are easier to integrate than others.

Generally, large and well-known cloud platforms have robust APIs that are relatively straightforward to integrate. Think of common sources like Salesforce, HubSpot, or PayPal.

But the more niche a data source, the more software engineering hours it will take to integrate on the back end.

And this is even more so for legacy applications, custom-built data sources, or any data sources that are on-premise instead of in the cloud.

The total number of integrations you need and the complexity of each one plays a role in the final price of your software project.

4. Software platforms

The more platforms you want to develop on, the more expensive your app will be.

A web application is the most flexible and affordable, and the one we develop at Devize.

You probably use web apps like Gmail, Netflix, or Microsoft365 every day. They work seamlessly on just about every internet-connected device.

But building native apps for operating systems like Windows, Mac, and Linux or mobile devices like iOS and Android have additional, unique requirements.

Building cross-platform apps can increase the total cost of your app more than almost anything else. To build an Android mobile app that also runs on Windows desktop, you’ll essentially need to build two software projects—and you should expect the price tag to reflect that.

5. User experience and interface

How unique do you want your user experience to be?

The user experience (UX) is the total set of visual elements and interactions that lead the user to feel a certain way about using your product.

One part of this is the user interface (UI), which refers to the front-end layout of the app, like how buttons and data and displayed.

If your app is fairly standard, you can use more generic UI layouts, perhaps accented with your brand’s color scheme and logo.

Or you could request an entirely new UX design with animations, unique interactions, and original layouts, which will be much more expensive.

Generally, companies focus more on UI/UX for their customer-facing tools, and are fine with a more generic look and feel for their internal tools.

6. Features and functionality

Features will make or break your development budget.

Generally, features you see on nearly every other app will be simpler to build, while custom functionality will be more difficult (and expensive).

But there are other factors to consider as well, and they usually aren’t obvious. The best method is to walk through the precise functionality of each feature.

For example, you might want to add a user profile. That sounds simple enough, but what is a user profile, exactly?

It could be just an email and password where users can sign up and log in.

Or it could be a complete set of user data, where each user can create a unique username, add a profile photo, feature links to social media, adjust settings for their dashboard, and have different permissions based on role.

Those are both “user profiles,” but different project requirements will incur very different costs.

7. Development region

Where your software development company is based has a big influence on the price of your software. Outsourcing to India, Eastern Europe, or Latin America can be a cost-effective way to cut the total development cost.

Here’s a rough guideline of hourly rates for product development around the world:

  • United States: $100-250

  • Western Europe: $75-150

  • Eastern Europe: $40-60

  • Latin America: $30-50

  • Asia: $20-40

  • Africa: $20-30

8. Technology stack

If you want your custom software solution developed with a specific technology, you’ll probably pay more.

That’s because you’ll need to find a specialized team, rather than going with the tech stack your development company is most comfortable with.

Common and popular technologies will be the most affordable, and obscure or unpopular ones will likely cost more.

The most common right now include programming languages like JavaScript, Python, and Java and frameworks like React, Node, and Django—but this changes frequently. Stack Overflow’s yearly developer survey is a great place to see what’s most popular right now.

9. Data migration and integration

Chances are, you have existing data you’ll like to use in your custom software.

Making that data available to use can be simple or difficult, depending on where it is, how it’s stored, and its general quality.

Here’s what to consider:

Migration. Where is your data now, and is it where you want it? If your data is already in a modern cloud storage platform like AWS or Azure, it’s probably relatively straightforward to implement. If it’s on an on-premise server running outdated software, it will be more difficult—and expensive—to migrate.

Size. How much data do you have? A few gigabytes of basic text is very different from terabytes of multimedia files.

Quality. Is your data ready to use as-is, or does it need to be corrected or modified? Data that’s incomplete or messy might need to be cleaned up before integrating with your app.

New data. How will new data integrate into your app? Will you be pulling from existing stable sources, like a data lake? Or do you need to import real-time or near-real-time streaming data?

Migrating a small amount of high-quality data from a well-known provider will be the most affordable option, but anything beyond that will add extra costs.

Keep in mind that your development team may not work with data cleansing and migration, so you may need to do the work in-house or bring on a third party to help clean and migrate your data.

10. Project urgency

This one goes without saying: if your project is urgent, you’ll pay more.

Unfortunately, urgent projects will often cost more but deliver a lower-quality product. There might be scalability issues due to poor architecture decisions, and bugs because of a compressed timeline for quality assurance.

A good guideline is to start working with a vendor 6-12 months before you’ll need the finished product. Not sure how long your project should take? Read our guide to estimating how long it will take to develop custom software.

11. Changing scope

Finally, we should mention one big reason for ballooning project costs: changing scope.

Adding additional features or revising existing requirements while the project is ongoing will increase the cost of building and extend the timeframe.

While it can be hard to envision your project until you see early drafts, making changes once the software is in development can add months of development time.

Even small changes can require developers to rewrite new software from scratch, which will extend the timeframe and add to the cost of building.

While many agencies are responsible for poor estimates and overdue projects, changing scope is something that’s in your control.

How to reduce the cost of software

Many businesses get sticker shock when they hear that bespoke software development services cost as much as a car or even a house.

If that’s you, here are a few ways to reduce the overall cost of your software project without sacrificing quality:

  • Hire us. Sure, we’re biased. But at Devize, we can usually build projects for far less than other development agencies.

  • Define clear requirements. Before you bring on a development team, decide exactly what you want in your software. This will make cost tradeoffs easier and help developers build more quickly.

  • Reduce your features. Decide which features are most important, and design a software product that only includes them. We’ve included steps for this in our guide to custom web app development.

  • Improve your data upfront. Make sure your data is as ready to use as possible to prevent surprises (and extra expenses) down the road.

  • Use design templates. Templates can look generic, but they can also shave thousands off of the final bill. Ask your development team if they can use templates instead of custom design for some screens.

  • Use a common tech stack. Be flexible with your technology stack. If possible, go with whatever your development team recommends—that will usually be the most affordable option.

How to choose a custom software development company

Researching software development teams to work on your project is exhausting.

Prices can be all over the place, every company says they’re the best, and it’s impossible to learn everything you need to know before making a decision.

How can you know who to work with?

Here are the most important areas to look for.

Look at prior work. Review the other projects the team has worked on. If possible, play with actual live versions of their apps. Are they easy to use? Do they make sense? Are they well designed?

Ask for a cost breakdown by feature or stage. If you’re unsure how a team came to their estimate, ask for a breakdown by feature, or per stage of the development process. Agencies that can’t do this are almost certainly not estimating correctly, which can lead to extra costs down the road.

Review similar software (not industries). Industry experience can help, but experience with similar software development projects is more important. If you’re looking to build a real estate customer relationship management (CRM), looking at a CRM built for an insurance company will tell you more than an unrelated app built for another real estate firm.

Request guidance to reduce the cost. If you have a tight budget, share this with the project manager upfront. Ask what features could be pared down to keep the app within your budget. Most teams will be willing to trim a few features of your app to fit your budget needs.

The final word on custom software costs

So, how much does custom software development cost?

The real answer: it depends.

It depends on the software complexity. It depends on the functionality you need. It depends on the metrics that matter most for your app.

But for most common applications, you’ll spend six figures or more.

At Devize, we start at one-tenth of that—and we move 5x as fast.

If you want to get your software built on time and under budget, get in touch.