How much does web development cost?

Gábor Németh


How do we calculate the cost of a development?

Our inquiring clients are usually quickly convinced that Arteries is a reliable and experienced team. But then one of the most frequently asked questions – in the beginning phase of developing websites and web systems – is

“How much will this website/shop/system cost me?”

The question is right, but the answer is not as easy. This article describes Arteries’ pricing methods. It is useful reading for those who are thinking about developing an online solution.

We will discuss the planning phase, UX design (user experience), visual design, web development, quality assurance (manual and automated testing) and project management costs.

For those who are planning to develop a mobile app, we write separately about mobile app pricing, but this article may also be useful. In general, mobile apps also have some kind of web system in the background, the APIs are provided by a backend solution for mobile devices. This is also a web development service and is priced as described here.

Generally, the price of an average web system solution ranges from 2500 USD to 50000 USD (we rarely have orders under 2500 USD, but these are usually very simple websites or landing pages. We will not discuss the pricing of these small sites in this article.)

What factors influence pricing and how much does each option cost?

1. Planning

It is important to know the core idea and how well the idea is developed. It is usually more costly to build a solution where the needs are not yet well understood (higher planning requirements).

Arteries routinely designs online systems, so if you don’t already have a specific system in place, you can leave it
to us.

At Arteries, we have not only web developers, but also an excellent design team: we design not only a pleasant brand image, but also a user experience (UX). After all, you don’t just need attractive graphics, you need a system that users will be happy to use and return to.

The planning process for a website or web software can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 months. The planning involves
highly qualified software development colleagues. The average cost of a planning phase can therefore range from 750 USD to 12500 USD.

The planning process is usually carried out on an hourly rate contract basis, in several iterations, closely involving you in the process. For the plan
we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, as we can confidently say that we can routinely deliver optimal designs from small systems to highly complex ecosystems.

2. Pricing depending on the project management methodology- waterfall and agile development pricing

If we already have a specification, the cost of the system development can be planned in advance and fixed. We call this method waterfall development: we calculate a fixed price and a fixed timeframe for the project, and then we carry out the development, quality assurance and handover in one step. After that, the cooperation can be continued in a new project. This methodology can be used when the needs, objectives and framework are well defined in advance.

Instead of this model, we can also choose the agile development methodology, where a dedicated team delivers sub-solutions in sprints (phases) of a few weeks, according to pre-agreed and continuously maintained priorities. In this case, there is no specific time limit or budget: we try to deliver the most important features as soon as possible. It is good to have these in the hands of users on the fly, and we can keep moving towards the desired goals based on their feedback and further planning.

The main advantage of agile projects is the high degree of flexibility, but it also requires a lot of communication and daily time investment from you, the client. If this cannot be provided, it is not recommended to work in this way.

With the agile methodology, you can predefine a cost cap, and by varying the size of the team involved in the development, you can adjust the monthly costs and thus the pace of progress. Such projects are highly predictable due to their fixed monthly costs and are very adaptable where needs may change over time or are not fully predictable.

3. Related third-party solutions, related systems

If the task is clarified (there is an appropriate specification), the pricing of the system may also depend on the related external systems (e.g. ERP system, external e-commerce solution, business intelligence system, accounting and billing system, payment service provider, credit card acceptance system… etc.).

Some systems are poorly documented and operate like a black box (we can’t see exactly what they do and how they do it), so the project may have unexpected costs until they are discovered.

We will try to estimate these for you in advance. However, the costs of connecting to well-documented external systems are 100% predictable and foreseeable, and we will inform you of this as well.

Arteries has a significant experience in integrating external systems, our colleagues have worked with dozens of different systems over the years, and have become familiar with their needs and capabilities. During the planning process, we can accurately determine these expected costs.

4. Planned or expected number of users

For online systems with a small number of visitors, it is sufficient to build a solution running on a single physical server, as this server can handle the load caused by users.

When “many” users are using a system in parallel, we need to think about a scalable solution. This means hosting the system on one of the cloud providers, and making sure that when a large load arrives on the website, the servers running in the background automatically “clone” themselves to provide more capacity for visitors. When the load is lifted, these clones are shut down and the servers are restored to their original capacity.

Obviously, an infrastructure like this is more costly to set up and maintain both initially and during operation.

A scalable, high-traffic system means a monthly(!) ongoing and load-dependent cost of more than 250 USD, while a low-traffic web solution can be operated from 50 USD per year(!).

5. Optimization for mobile devices

Today, all our web systems are built in mobile optimized versions, so so this requirement is basically NOT a price affecting factor.

However, there are some systems that require a different technology on a mobile device from the desktop version, in which case we will indicate the price change during the planning process.

6. Applied framework, built-in open-source subsystems

For our web solutions we often use some kind of development framework (e.g. Laravel, Phalcon), or ready-made open source solutions (WordPress, Woocommerce, OpenCart, Bagisto …etc. ), which we customize and adapt according to your needs.

The advantage of using open-source subsystems is that they can be used at a significant cost saving compared to a completely custom development from start to finish. However, there can be a number of disadvantages to incorporating frameworks and open-source solutions.

What are the disadvantages of open-source subsystems applications?

Some of these disadvantages affect the security of the system, others hinder the operational process or make it more costly. Occasionally, specific requirements are more expensive and complicated to implement. This kind of solution does not necessarily provide a good use of server resources, and it needs to be carefully monitored during operation to ensure that it delivers a good user experience.)

You can be sure of one thing: Arteries’ web experts will recommend the best proven solutions in our experience, and we will inform you about their advantages and possible disadvantages. We will only recommend the more expensive route if it pays off in the long run and is justified.

The same website, web store or web system can therefore be built in different ways, and there can be significant differences in pricing between the technologies used. If you’re not an expert in the field, you can rely on our experts’ advice: it’s in our interest that our partners are satisfied with the solution we create for the long term.

7. Quality assurance expectations, testing processes

We always test the solution to be built and only deliver it in a correct and reliable working condition. It can also happen to us that we make a mistake, but if it occurs, we fix it under warranty in all cases. However, quality assurance is an essential part of the development process and therefore expensive.)

The tools and solutions used for quality assurance can also vary. In principle, checks can be done manually, which is initially cheap, but if this has to be done for each change, manual testing becomes very expensive in the long run.

This has led to the development of test automatization procedures, many of which are used by our company. Software tests are created for the functions to be tested in a repetitive way (unit tests, integration tests, regression tests, end-to-end tests). Since they are performed by machines, they are cheap and can be performed many times. They can be run automatically for each feature change and alert the developer if a bug is detected in the functionality. They are costly to produce, but for a system that is frequently changing and under continuous development, these innovative testing solutions are certainly cost-saving.

The Arteries team has a dedicated team of testers to carry out these tests, and our experts will propose the most optimal quality assurance package during the design process.

The quality assurance process accounts for 20-35% of the total cost of web development in our company.

A company can gain a major boost by a good web system and can generate significant additional revenue.

A weak system, on the other hand, can hamper your business, paralyze it and give it a bad reputation. No doubt everyone would prefer the previous option.

The pricing of a good web development project depends on a number of factors: the level of completion of the preliminary plans, the complexity of the task, the development methodology chosen, the external systems to be integrated, the expected number of users, the selected development framework or open-source subsystems, and the level of quality assurance processes.

We have indicated price levels above, but an accurate price can only be given after accurate planning (just as the contractor can only estimate the cost of constructing a building on the basis of detailed construction designs).

It is important to start planning and building a system with developers whose expertise you trust, who have a real insight into the areas involved, who are not new to the profession and who can provide relevant references and experience.

Arteries has them, so you don’t have to go far. Feel free to request a consultation, let’s plan together! We offer a 100% satisfaction warranty on our plans, and our team will recommend solutions based on years of experience.

If you have received a plan or proposal from another development team, but are unsure about its quality, our colleagues will be happy to review it and give you an independent expert opinion.

If you’ve been disappointed by other developers, feel free to tell us about your doubts, concerns and fears: with many successful projects behind us, we’re sure to have reassuring answers and suggestions for moving forward.

Feel free to contact us!

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