How much does it cost to develop a web application?

12/04/18

What does it cost to develop a typical custom web application? Perhaps a bespoke customer relationship management (CRM) system that medium sized business might use for tracking customer enquiries and orders?

Let’s say that a client asks us to develop a web application that does the following:

  • Works in a browser on the desktop, tablet and mobile.

  • Supports 50+ concurrent users and also multiple user roles - so maybe admins, customers, sales and management (they get some kind of overview screens). Will scale to support many more users if required.

  • Data’s stored in a industry standard database.

  • There are 20 or so screens in total. These handle new records, updates and deletes. Some built in reports.

  • The web application looks great - it’s themed with client’s branding and and looks like a modern, very usable web application.

How much is this web application going to cost to design and develop? The best way to give you an idea is break up the job into its constituent parts:

  1. Initial requirements analysis and design work with the client - that’s talking in detail about what’s required, understanding business processes and perhaps doing some wireframing. That could be two analyst developers working with the client for a week. 10 days of effort from us sounds reasonable.

  2. Building the application framework - menus, use authentication, integration with the database. The basic skeleton application. 3 days.

  3. Developing the real functionality - screens and workflows that meet the requirements. I’m going to say this task is 1 developer for a month. So, 20 days.

  4. Testing - refining functionality and fixing bugs. Another 5 days.

  5. Supporting the client with acceptance testing. Making last minute tweaks to the design. 5 days.

  6. Releasing to ‘live’. Let’s assume that’s straightforward - perhaps we host the application. 2 days if we include a bit of time to setup a hosting environment.

The total then is 45 days, a little over 2 person months of effort. On a day rate of £550/day + VAT that gives us £24,750 + VAT.

It is a basic example but it shows you how we approach costing up work. And remember, the point of that web application is to generate new business for the client and/or streamline the way they currently work. This bespoke web application is doing something that an off-the-shelf system can’t do - it will pay for itself very quickly.