Time, scope, and cost are the triple constraints in every project. Want a faster product? Apply more budget. Need to launch sooner? Reduce the scope.
So it seems natural to start a project with a firm budget in mind. In fact, that’s one of the reasons “app development calculator” is such a popular search term. It captures both your search traffic and returns a number that you can pin your hopes (and budget) on.
There’s a better way, though.
If you’re sincere about building a piece of software that solves a real problem, establish a monthly, recurring budget that gets the job done. Here’s why.
The Many, Many, Many Possible Ways to Build an App
A standard app development calculator asks you a few questions to come up with a general idea of what to charge you. But there are endless variations on your options.
Your choices might look (roughly) like this:
We’ve done the math for you. Using our example above, there are a total of 340,200 variations in what your initial app could look like.
A simple calculator is not granular enough to reveal an accurate number. You need an experienced technological strategist to do more than point you in the right direction. You need a guide that understands app development from conception to the maintenance phase and everything in between.
Establish a Monthly Budget Instead
A steady monthly budget sustains a project's pace, consistently delivering results, without all of the stops and starts that can disrupt design and development. Rather than pinning all of a project on one big win, clients will see consistent progress on their projects.
With a monthly budget, you’ll be hiring an entire team to tackle your problem and solve it in its totality. Product owners, technical project managers, UX designers, and developers all work iteratively at a consistent pace to deliver an MVP and then add features that bring value to the project.
Instead of spending a large sum of money and finding out that the team you’ve hired isn’t a good fit for your project, you’ll be able to spend a set, budgeted amount and get to know your team over time. As you make manageable payments, your software development team will build trust with you. Regular communication, consistent product delivery, and advice from experienced team leaders will help you understand how the 340,200 variations available to you were narrowed down to create an app that solves your problem.
App Development Costs Are an Investment
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Apps aren’t a 99-cent product delivered to the app store.
Just like furniture, land, real estate, and computers, app development is a long-term, permanent business asset. Technology phrases like “Software-as-a-Service” and “product development” make apps sound like they’re a service or a product.
Instead of visualizing app development as churning out a product, it’s time to think of it as a factory. You’re building a factory to deliver a product or service that supports your business. Just like an automobile factory has to repair machines and produce new designs to be competitive, your app “factory” will also need maintenance to remain competitive in the app marketplace.
It’s important that you continue to budget and plan for your future growth. You should plan for these additional costs:
Maintenance - Server upgrades, bug fixes, additional features, and scalability
Server and storage - Additional storage, integrations, and hardware upgrades
Security costs - Staying current on threats and training
Legal costs - Filing for a patent, lawyers, and filing fees
We’ll do our best to prepare you for the long-term success of your app. We’ve built, launched, and maintained dozens of apps and our team can help you navigate this process.
Share Your Problem With Us
We’ve found that the best way to approach app development is to come to the table with a problem instead of relying on a calculator. We’ll work with you and your budget to design an app that solves that problem.
As we dive into discovery sessions with you, we’ll be able to uncover issues that you haven’t thought about yet. We’ll work to deliver an MVP quickly so that you can begin to see tangible results as soon as possible.