What does creating a web application cost?

By John Cleary

There’s a lot that goes into figuring out final costs when creating a web application. Depending on scope, expertise, and individual features, the cost can vary from one project to another.

Because of this, it’s important that businesses give a great deal of thought to the question of project costs. With that said, we go into more details about some of the things that can impact final project cost when developing and creating a web application.

What determines cost?

When trying to determine the costs of creating a web application, there are a multitude of factors that you should consider throughout the process. It’s important to think of more than just the development cost alone when evaluating the viability of a project.


Think about the time spent early on in the planning stage. There could be issues such as choosing your suppliers, evaluating the overall scope of the project, and internally evaluating the business case. Things like this should be accounted for, as they’re costs associated with developing the web application, even before official development has begun.

While it’s important to take into account the up-front costs that are incurred before development begins, it’s worth noting that spent costs can not be recouped and should not be considered when making a go / no-go decision. This is known as the “sunk cost fallacy” and is an important consideration when evaluating return on investment. Taking a few steps back and approaching a task in a new way might be far more effective overall than soldiering on because of that initial sunk cost.

Bug fixing and support

With each new iteration of a product, it’s not unusual to inadvertently introduce a small number of defects and bugs during development. How bugs and unexpected issues will be dealt with is something that should be decided ahead of time. Will you take on the cost of additional bug fixing, or is that something you’ll factor into price and costings with the supplier?

You should also prioritise working with suppliers that utilise automated testing processes such as TDD & BDD. These practices, often favoured by agile teams, help to promote smaller, more frequent releases. They can also be a really helpful way of spotting issues earlier, ensuring there’s less time spent in the future fixing issues that have been buried deeper in the project and are harder to rectify.

How long-term support will work should also be considered. Once the application is feature-complete, how will the product be supported – both internally by your team, and externally by your supplier? It might be that some elements of the application begin to slow down over time as the application grows, or perhaps certain areas need to change because your business model has changed. Will you incorporate technical support for a certain window into project cost, or agree with the supplier that this will be an additional service?

Defining a budget

Defining a budget is a complex issue that will depend largely on individual business need, as well as the size and scope of the project. For example:

  •      How many people will be using the application, and how often?
  •      How many elements and features will the project have?
  •      What is the deadline for the project?

Answering questions like this early on in the project can help you better figure out exactly how much you should estimate as a ballpark final cost for the project. While the cost may be higher or lower in the end, due to a range of unexpected or unplanned changes, having a general idea in mind first can help a project proceed more effectively in the early stages.

Are there ways to bring down costs?

While it’s true that there are many factors involved in the cost of a web application, it’s also true that there are many ways your business can reduce that cost.

One big way you can do this is by releasing the application once it’s functional, even if not completely finished. This is what’s known as the Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. In this state, you can begin recouping costs while you continue working on and improving the application until it’s 100% feature-complete.

Alongside this, you should also consider how beneficial an experienced project manager will be to help development proceed as smoothly as possible. Unknowingly including a lot of complex and time-consuming tasks within the project can drastically inflate total cost. An experienced project manager will be able to streamline development by de-prioritising or removing high-cost, low-return tasks and items early on. This helps bring down cost while also helping development proceed more smoothly.

Similarly, you should consider prioritising the features that will return the biggest time or cost saving back to your business. By focussing on the larger tasks, you’ll also have completed the largest return on investment on the product if you need to pause development for any reason. This is also a great example of why Agile projects, with their smaller, incremental releases, are more effective than ‘big bang’ developments that tend to be larger and more time-intensive.

Thoroughly considering which features you would describe as core, critical features over those you’d view as “nice to have” will also help reduce costs of a development project. For example, think about compatibility issues or how much you should plan to support older applications — would you incorporate support for IE 10 if some users are still on unsupported operating systems, such as Windows 8? Challenging some assumptions in this manner can really help you to reduce, or even completely eliminate, some level of expensive complexity.

How can Createk help you with web application development?

Understanding and accounting for a range of factors that impact the cost of web application development is particularly important. Knowing what to expect, while also preparing for changes you can’t fully predict, will help development proceed as smoothly as possible.

This is why it’s also so important to work with experienced professionals that you can trust. At Createk, we provide you with a professional web application development service that’s sure to leave you with a feature-rich and function end product. We can provide your business with:

Agility — We provide a service that’s quickly reactive to change, ensuring we work as effectively and as thoroughly as possible

Experience — With over 40 years of experience in software development, we can provide you with a knowledgeable, expert service every time.

Expertise — Because of our many years of experience, we are a highly and widely skilled business. Whatever industry you’re in, we’re sure to be able to help you.

If you’d like to find out more about our web application development services, visit our Web Product Development page. Alternatively, you can contact us to get in touch and discuss how we can help you.

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