Building a Web App: How Much Should You Pay?
You decided your business could use a new web app. Whether it's a startup or an established business, building a web application is a great way to improve your customers' experience.
From time to time we'll receive an email with the question "How much does a web app cost?". Our answer is always "What are you looking for?"
It is estimated that cloning a social media -like Facebook or Twitter- would cost around $500k and would take somewhere between six months and a year. But if you're looking for an original, custom built web app, there's no calculator to know exactly how much it'll cost.
Know your budget
The first thing you should establish is your budget. Talk to your CFO and get an idea of how much you can spend, before deciding on how much you should spend.
Imagine you were buying a new car. You need to know your budget before you compare different models. This way you'll know what type of car you can buy. Building a web app is the same.
Know what you want
Your project will typically fall into one of these three categories:
- Basic Web Apps: Landing pages with some interactive elements, templated layouts. Cost: $5k-20k. Time: 1-2 months.
- Professional Web Apps: Interactive websites with several pages, startup prototypes, e-commerce shops. Cost: $20k-60k. Time: 2-6 months.
- Established Companies Web Apps: Large websites with custom CMS. Cost: $60k-500k. Time: 6-12 months.
Know your developer
We've discussed the process of choosing a developer, and we established that a full stack web development agency was the most efficient choice.
Once you choose which development company you want to work with, you should see if they have worked on projects like yours. Both the purpose and the complexity of the web app should match.
Then you can ask them about that particular project. How much it cost, how many months it took. For custom web apps there's no way of knowing the cost and time in advance; that will be as close as you'll get.
Building a successful custom web app is a long process. You should find a development agency that offers more than just code: you need a partner that will care about your business as much as you do. That's the only way to make sure your money is well spent.