How much does custom software cost?

This, of course, depends.

The very nature of custom software development is that the software is designed and developed to meet your specific needs. Addressing each of those needs has a cost associated with it.

We can however share our experiences here. Modest projects can start at $20K to $30K, with many approaching $100K. Large enterprise solutions can run into $1,000,000 or more.

  • Investments in custom software are typically analyzed just as any business investment:
  • Will this make me or save me money (ROI)
  • Is this critical to the enterprise (strategic)
  • Is this required (regulatory)

How to Estimate Costs

Estimating is usually done in increasing levels of refinement. Let us explain…

Let’s say you want to build a house, so you contact a trusted general contractor. You indicate you want a 4 bedroom, 5 bath, 3000 square foot house. You ask what it will cost.

The answer will likely be “it depends”. But, he may be able to say something like, “Well, cost per square foot runs from about $100 to $200. So, the construction will likely run $300K to $600K.” You agree to start the project.

  • As the project starts, he begins to ask you a series of questions…
  • Brick or siding?
  • How big is the master bath?
  • Do you want a garage?
  • Asphalt or concrete?
  • What kind of appliances?

As these decisions are made, the pricing get refined. The budget is clearer. He counsels you on some of your decisions and the cost impact. Essentially, you are building the budget as you design your house.

There is an alternative. You could hire an architect who will ask all of these questions ahead of time. Plans are drawn, prices are gathered from the plans. An estimate is prepared. We have found that this architect-design-build process while thorough, can be tedious. A lot of time and money is spent before the project starts. So, many clients prefer to set priorities and make design decision as the development team constructs. This method of development is called “agile” and is currently in wide use by all development teams.

What we can say is that we will work with you to gather requirements, design your system, and develop your software all the while working within your project budget constraints.


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