Oct 06 - 6min readShifting Gears: The Cost of Developing Your Product in 2020By Launchbase

So, you have been thinking about integrating digit products into your company strategy or taking your product idea and finally creating it. Having that innovative app idea is a great moment, however you need to come back down to Earth and start making those plans. There are a lot of questions to be answered when choosing your product development agency. One of these being: how much will this cost me?

First off, what is there to know?

When it comes to the specifics of app development cost estimation, there are no individual price-tags. Let’s use our CEO as an example. John has found that his bike has been stolen and he wants to purchase a new bicycle. The second he walks into the bike store, he is overwhelmed by the number of options that he must choose from. The shop clerk is friendly and helpful and asks various questions: “Which bike frame would suit your lifestyle?”, “Are you looking for specific bike components?”, “What terrain will you be exposed to daily?” This may seem frustrating and overwhelming and you might just go with the most expensive one just to get it over with.

Unlike biking gear, there are no price tags when it comes to app development. Especially when we’re talking about custom-made digital products. Also, in both cases, identifying your needs and expectations should be your first step. Why? Because it helps you avoid additional costs, delays, and other types of hiccups in the process. Before we dive into this, we should look at the two most popular pricing models in software development.

Fixed Price Model

In this payment model, the budget of the project is fixed at the beginning. It doesn’t depend on the time or resources spent by the vendor on developing your app. In this price model, your budget dictates the timeline and the process of development, and not the other way around.

Time and Materials

In the time and materials model, the rules are opposite – the budget and development timeline are tailored to your project. In even simpler words, you’re paying your vendor based upon the time they spend working for you. That gives you the ability to adjust the budget as the project unfolds.

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What does it cost to develop a product? 

 Many software houses, including us here at Launchbase, estimate their work in man-days (using the time and materials model). One man-day equals one day’s worth of a programmer’s work. You may ask yourself the question:

“If the budget is flexible and we’re billing the work by the day, is it possible to estimate the costs beforehand?”

Yes, it is. As soon as your vendor identifies the scope of your app and points out its core features, they can predict the number of man-days required to build it.

What do you need for an MVP? 

Let’s circle back to the bicycle once more. As soon as you know what you’re expecting from your product, you might end up buying a beginner’s bicycle for starters. Then, you can decide to expand and build on your purchase as you get more advanced.

The same goes for app development. If you decide to develop a large, complex application all at once, you are going to face a lengthy development process, and end up with a broad set of features your users never needed. On the other hand, you can decide to take a step-by-step approach and start by identifying the core features — that is, ones that your app absolutely needs to be functional. After that, you can release it, and start expanding from there on, as your audience and needs grow. And that’s how we arrive at the concept of creating an MVP. A Minimum Viable Product is a fully-functioning app, ready for a market release. An MVP can be implemented fast and has just enough features to serve its purpose to users. That way, you can save the initial effort and budget for further improvements once you’re sure that your customers need them. It’s a win-win situation.

Choosing an MVP development first will allow you to adjust your budget to the project and scale the product development as your needs grow.

Why develop an MVP first? 

When it comes to business, time-to-market is one of the most crucial factors, often weighing in on the success of the project. The sooner you release your digital product to the market, the sooner you’ll be able to test it and give your users the features and upgrades they want.  On the other hand, addressing your needs and expectations at the very beginning helps you avoid unnecessary costs and delays. Building the full-vision product from the very beginning will most likely take months, if not years. While you keep on perfecting your application, your competition is probably working on their own solution. In the meantime, they may end up releasing it before you and gaining most of the users’ attention. Instead of building the full-vision product from the start, you can choose the iterative approach, adjusting the budget and scope of the project as you go.

What factors influence the cost of developing my product?

The scope of your project 

The rule is generally simple here: the more complex your product, the more it’s going to cost. Developing additional features usually takes more time, and the more developers time it takes, the more expensive your application is going to be (as you remember, the cost of the product is estimated in man-days). Once again, delivering the MVP first helps you cut your initial costs and decide on the next steps after you release the product.

Your own resources 

The final price of developing the product may differ depending on your own materials and resources. As we mentioned before, it’s important to remember that the development price itself does not include costs such as maintenance or design. If you have your own design team or a team of backend engineers, the overall cost might be smaller.

At the same time, the more resources – such as documents, briefs, or designs – you provide us with at the beginning, the easier (and quicker) the project is to estimate

Your app’s tech stack 

In principle, the chosen technology stack of your product doesn’t affect the costs of app development. However, if you’re looking to build a mobile app that is both for Android and iOS, it might be smart to go for cross-platform development. One of the benefits of cross-platform development is that we use just one codebase to create both applications, which makes the development process generally shorter than it is when you go for separate native development.

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Changes made late in the project

Planning is essential when it comes to software development. One of the more important parts of the project is creating a full backlog of tasks and estimating the time needed to complete them. That way, our team can create an app development timeline and estimate your costs accordingly. Implementing late changes, especially significant ones, may require some extra work, prolong the development time, and, therefore, increase the overall cost.

Your product strategy

Having a great app idea is one thing, and a successful market release is another. Although it might sound like a cliché, we can’t stress this enough: when it comes to app development, planning and research done beforehand is essential. Setting up a well-thought product strategy at the beginning will save you the risk of releasing the product that no one needs, or one that has no chance of outrunning the competition.

What do we need from you to develop your product?

Once you decided you’d like to find out more about the costs of your mobile app development, come prepared. What do you need to bring to the table to get a quote from us? The absolute minimum that we need to estimate the cost of mobile app development is a scope of your app: in other words, a list of features your app needs to have. It doesn’t need to be a complete list, though — to prepare a quotation for the MVP development we just need to identify the core functionalities of your app. It is not necessary to have your app all figured out at the very start. Once you come to us with your general idea, we can take it from there – from doing the market research to defining the scope of your app and estimating the costs.

What does the app development price include? 

As there aren’t really any price tags in application development, each project is estimated separately, according to its own requirements and specifications. However, bear in mind that your estimated costs could expand. Designs, maintenance, and support, or backend infrastructure installation might cost you extra, depending on your exact needs and expectations.

 Do you have a product in mind that you would like to collaborate on?

Get in touch with us so we can shift gears on your idea and turn your idea into a reality.



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