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How much does Bespoke Software cost?

by FMS Team

04.04.2022

How much does bespoke software cost?

(This article was published in April 2022 and the numbers used reflect prices at the time of publication. Twice a year we update our bands and estimates and produce a short summary PDF. You can get the latest version by clicking here or the link in the main post below).

If you are above a certain age and a bit of tech geek you might remember when a lot of adverts in magazines didn’t list a price, they put something like “Call for our best price”. What could be the reason behind this? I can think of four:

  • Not wanting to give their prices to their competitors.
  • Thinking they can sell anything if they can get you on the phone.
  • The psychology of the buyer thinking “maybe this place is going to be the cheapest, I must call them”.
  • Prices change too fast to be printed for a whole month. In the tech world this could be the case.

I am sure there are more but it didn’t really matter to me what the reason was at the time, it was just annoying. So much so that they rarely joined any of my purchasing shortlists.

Full Metal, like many bespoke software development companies, doesn’t publish prices on our website. So, are we like the companies who used the “Call for our best prices”? No is the quick answer to that and in this post, we look at why.

Publishing Hourly Rates has Little Value

We could publish our hourly rates, in fact as at the time of this post we charge a blended rate of £95/hour. All our competitors could do it too, but it wouldn’t mean much to you and would not make a great comparison. In fact, WOW do some excellent reporting on all things regarding agencies in the UK. In their 2021 BenchPress report they had the average blended rate in the UK as being between £86/hour and £103/hour.

As a quick side a blended rate is one where the company charges the same no matter who is doing work for you. The alternative to this is a rate card approach where different people in the project have their own hourly rate. A junior developer would be significantly cheaper than a senior developer for example. There are pros and cons of both methods which we will cover in a future post.

So, what is missing to make a comparison possible? The number of hours.  

How Many Hours will Your Project Take?

For most people, the missing piece of information is how long a project will take. Unless you have specialist in house knowledge it will be nearly impossible for you to come up with a number. In fact without a full Software Requirements Specification and input from at least a developer (and probably other members of the team like a project manager), even a bespoke software development company would not provide anything accurate.

So, are we back to the “Call for our best price” requirement? Well yes and no. At Full Metal we want to give you as much information as we can before you decide to go down the route of bespoke software. So, with that in mind we have created bands of types of projects with a price range you can expect to pay. It is very rough and ready, and every project is different, so you will have to speak to us at some point to get a final and more accurate estimate.

Types of Bespoke Software Projects and their Estimated Costs?

The Software Improvers:

This band covers all the smaller projects that we see including:

  • Software Integrations – This can be with third party services or between two or more of your internal systems.
  • Software Addons – Small additional functionality changes to you existing software.
  • Software Fixes – Although better served through a maintenance and support contract, some fixes are big enough to warrant their own project.

Estimated Cost: < £11 500

The Basic Business Improvers:

In this band we cover the simplest “from scratch” bespoke software applications including:

  • Turning a single business process into a software application.
  • Simple mobile applications.
  • Content Management System (CMS) first time setup and deployment.

Estimated Cost: £11 500 – £28 500.

The Process Improvers:

This is the most common band for our projects and is the first level where you start to see much more complete software applications. It includes:

  • Two or three business processes moved into a software application.
  • Bespoke Contact Relationship Management software (CRM).
  • Re-engineering spreadsheet-based processes into Web Applications.
  • Simple Legacy Code updates.
  • All but the simplest mobile applications.

Estimated Cost: £28 500 – £57 000

The Enterprise Improvers:

A lot of these projects are broken down into phases that individually would then be in the process improvers band. Included in this band would be:

  • Enterprise Resource Planners (ERP).
  • Manufacturing Resource Planners (MRP).
  • Complex CRMs.
  • Software designed to be multi-tenant or white labelled.
  • Complex legacy code updates. This is typically software that has been developed over a long period of time and the whole thing needs bringing up to modern standards.
  • Multi-site, multi department and multiple process in one or more connected applications.

Estimate Cost: £57 000+

Download the PDF Band Summary

Cost Of Software Development Report Thumbnail

We produce a summary of the above every 6 months with current estimates and a brief look at where the market is heading. Click on the image to get our most up to date version.

Summary

You can see that the hourly rate alone is not really that useful to most companies but it is not that we want to hide pricing information from you (it’s certainly not our attempt to get you to Call for our best price!). In this post we have tried to give you some idea of what various types of projects cost. If the band fits your budget, then the next step is to produce a detailed Software Requirements Specification and contact us to get a much more accurate estimate for the software application you want to build.

Want to see more?

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