If you just want to get a really quick idea of what custom software will cost, refer to the topic, Common Initial Questions About the Cost of Custom Software.
We really want to help you stay on budget, so we are providing some in-depth information here to help you do just that.
After your requirements have been fully evaluated, an outline of the project is developed (Project Concept) from which an estimated project cost can be calculated. This cost is still an estimate, but in order to protect out client from uncontrollable costs, under most circumstances, we are able to incorporate a guaranteed maximum limit of 20% above the estimated cost, based on the original project concept. In other words, if your project estimate is $40,000, it won't exceed $48,000, so long as there are no additions or changes to the original project outline.
To restate... The limit guarantee is based on the original specification. Additions and changes to the specification will result in higher costs and obviously are not subject to the 20% maximum. Refer to the discussion on how to stay within a budget.
The Project Concept is a somewhat detailed outline of the project and is created based on an extensive evaluation of the needs and requirements of the client (the In-Depth Analysis). It is detailed to the point of providing a road map for the development of the software. The estimated time needed to complete the project is based on this outline.
There will be an initial charge for the Project Concept outline, which is payable in advance. This charge is determined in the Initial Analysis stage and is based on the time required to gather the required information (through consultation with a representative of the company/organization and, if necessary, interviews with the end users of the new software).
The Project Concept is a documented outline that you will receive which covers the requirements and the plan to develop the software, in addition to the cost estimate. The cost to produce the Project Concept is generally between $1,000 and $5,000, but can vary, depending on the expected scope of the project as determined by the initial summary analysis. You will be advised in advance (after the Summary Analysis stage) of the actual cost to produce the Project Concept.
In some instances, the project may be too complex and/or lengthy to provide a reasonably accurate estimate. In this instance, an hourly rate will be provided. Also, you may just simply prefer to hire our services at an hourly rate, regardless of project size. It's your choice.
Note that you are not obligated to proceed with the project after receiving the Project Concept. And, if you decide at any point that you wish to stop the development process, you may do so. Your only obligation will be to pay the cost of development between your last payment and the date of suspending the project.
Prior to beginning actual development of the program (after the Project Concept stage), an initial down payment is expected. The amount may be 10% of the estimated amount, or the equivalent to one month of development time, whichever is less. This amount is held in reserve and applied towards the final payment.
Payments are typically made every one or two weeks until project completion. The amount of these payments is based on the actual work hours of the project. They begin from the start of the design on paper stage (which follows the Project Concept stage) and continue throughout the project (allowing for the down payment near project completion).
You are likely wanting software developed for your company in order to save time and money on a task, or collection of tasks, that are presently run inefficiently. Or this may be for something completely new, in which case, you are wanting to start out as efficiently as possible.
You typically should expect the custom built software to pay for itself in about a year, but this can vary in either direction, depending on the purpose and extent of the software's functionality. We've actually developed software that paid for itself in 1 month. Of course, during that time, you will have the added benefit of the time savings plus enjoying any new benefits that your previous methods did not allow. After that time, you should benefit from the reduced expenses and/or increased revenue that the software helps to provide.
Improving the employee experience (or customer experience, if applicable) of course has it's own rewards.
(Refer to the Evaluation & Development Process)
Summary Analysis (initial consultation): No charge
In-Dept Analysis (Leading to the Project Concept): Quoted (typical range is $1,000 - $5,000)
Development (all aspects of design, programming, testing, implementation, support): Varies*
* It is obviously impossible to provide a specific cost for software development until all the information is at hand. Refer to the discussion above, as well as the topic, Common Initial Questions About the Cost of Custom Software. Also, if the project does not have a set budget (see above), then this will just be an hourly rate.
Down Payment (start of programming process): 10% of total estimate, or equivalent to one month of development time.
Support Plan (if deemed necessary): Quoted based on requirements and duration
Initial development includes unlimited support during the initial integration period and slightly beyond.