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How Much Does a Custom Software Development Cost

Belitsoft, as one of the best custom software development companies, is highly experienced in software development projects' cost estimation. Do you want to know how much does it cost to develop a custom software for you? Send us your requirements and get a free quote!


Are you a web/mobile or any other software startup Founder/CEO?  You will be surprised when you compare the prices from various custom software development companies in your country (like the USA, Israel, the UK, and so on) or offshore. They can differ significantly!

What type of price did you get from your potential vendor? A minimum starting price or the total fixed price? Get a clear answer! He may send you a good low price and you may think that this is the total fixed price. You may not know that it is just a minimum starting price.

There are three types of cost estimation based on three types of requirements’ completeness. You can find them in the comparison table below. Our experience proves that the most optimal start of your web/mobile startup is based on User Stories document followed by gathering of requirements up to Software Requirement Specification document during the development of software.

Comparison Table: Options For Cost Estimation and Further Work Under the Project (based on an example of 1000 hour project’s budget)

Types of documentation Scope of work
User stories
Software Requirement Specification
What is it? A document that lists all needed features of a product in general terms A document that describes all needed features of a product in more details than Scope of Work (It captures the "who" will use software’s feature, "what" exactly will be used and "why") A document that describes all needed features of a product in as precise details as possible.
Is it required to create this type of documentation before programming work will begin? Yes Yes No
How much does it cost to write this type of documentation for a software project? ~20h ~60h ~150h
The result of the cost estimation after creating this type of documentation Min price – and more Min price – Max price Exact price
How much time is required from a client to participate in a process of requirement’s gathering with this type of documentation? ~4h ~12h ~24h
Level of completeness of this type of documentation? Low Average Hight
What is the probability that the initial cost estimate will be close to the final budget with this type of documentation? Low Average Hight
Options for further work under the project with this type of documentation. T&M (Time and Material)
Dedicated Team
Fixed price (based on Max price which is calculated taking into account all the risks for a vendor) T&M , Dedicated Team (based on Min. price and more) Fixed price
Dedicated Team
What types of risks for himself does a vendor include in cost estimate of a project based on this type of documentation? Costs of risks are not included, because T&M refers to the estimation of a small part of work just before this work should be done. Hence, a vendor cannot predict the max price corresponding with a final budget. So a vendor needs to control this before each sprint (stage of development during 1-2 week). Fixed price – cost risks are up to 50% due to the incompleteness of some crucial but not so obvious requirements. T&M , Dedicated Team – costs of risks are not included. In addition, a vendor guarantees, that final budget will never exceed the Max price if new features won’t be added during software development process. Fixed price – cost risks are no more than 10%, because the project’s documentation is complete. T&M , Dedicated Team – cost of risks are not included. In addition, a vendor guarantees that final budget will never exceed 10% of the initial estimate.
Is it possible to quickly start coding a project without this type of documentation? Yes Yes No, because writing Software Requirement Specification takes a lot of time – see above.

How to understand: I got only Minimum Starting Price or the Final Total Fixed Price?

Minimum starting price is a type of initial cost estimation for new software projects. It is based on the following:

  • A brief description of a future software project you want to build (general requirements);
  • The experience of the team of developers who will estimate and build this project.

Hence, the more general requirements you send, and the less experienced team estimates it – the more likely the actual costs will exceed the initial estimate.

As a result, you will pay an earlier agreed price, but wouldn’t get your earlier agreed application. You will be asked to pay more. Not just once.

What next?

  • You think you have got “the best” price – but you have got the worst one in fact;
  • You startup will fail, as many others did.

No exact requirements? No total fixed price

Custom software development is a service for creating brand-new products from scratch. A software engineer (or a development team) should know how many hours  would be spent to create this software product. For this reason, he should get absolutely precise requirements.

What does this mean?

  • Absolutely precise requirements describe a future product in such detail as if it has been already developed. Compare with building a house from scratch. Check out, for example, an international standard of writing a software requirements specification;
  • In 99,9% cases, you never send absolutely precise requirements for a software development cost estimation. In all these cases, the exact price is not possible. Hence, you will get just either a Minimum starting price or even a Maximum starting price.

Maximum starting price is a type of initial cost estimation for new software projects, which includes risks for a software development company. Risks, which may never happen. As a result, with Maximum price you may overpay.

What can be done?

  • Don’t know how to create detailed requirements for the project? It’s hard and almost impossible to gather software requirements by not a professional. This job should be done by a specially trained staff, for example by a business analyst.
  • Software requirements gathering is a work that requires time. Not just the business analyst’s, but yours too. A business analyst will answer questions. You will need to have enough time to communicate effectively with him!

If you look for a fixed price then it’s better not to start your tech startup at all without sufficient communication for gathering software requirements. You can check out these examples of failed IT projects, which happened because of the lack of proper attention to the collection of requirements.

And yet how much does it cost to develop my web/mobile startup?

  • To get the exact price it is necessary to pay for gathering absolutely precise requirements;
  • Precise software requirement gathering’s costs is as a rule about 10-20% of the total cost for development of your web/mobile startup;
  • If you don’t want to pay for your software requirements’ gathering - you will get just either Minimum starting price or Maximum price.

What We Recommend

Belitsoft Software Development Company has been providing custom software development services for startups since 2004. We have successfully delivered dozens of projects on budget and in time for our clients from the USA, the UK, Israel and Europe. Check out our portfolio, testimonials and reviews.

How did we achieve this?

  • First of all, our clients trust us based on our expertise;
  • Second, our clients order software requirements gathering at our place before cost estimation of the project and before its development;
  • Third, they find time to communicate with us in the process of gathering software requirements.

How to Start with Us

Do you have an idea of a web/mobile or any other software startup? Send it to us for a quotation. We will give you the starting price and propose to make an agreement for development (or, if you wish, just for requirements gathering).

If documentation is not ready then we will start with User Stories gathering. Alongside, we will start to create the software requirement specification that will be based on User Stories but has all necessary details for our programmers. Simultaneously with it, we will start programming.

To sum up T&M/Dedicated team development can be started with Scope of work or just User Stories, however fixed price software development process is strictly based on Software Requirement Specification document. But, to avoid delays in starting programming of your project, we propose to start with User Stories gathering and work on T&M basis.

We are ready to make our contribution to the success of your tech startup.

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Written by
Partner / Department Head
I've been leading projects in Healthcare, Financial and other domains for 14 years.
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I expected and demanded a lot of you at Belitsoft company, but you exceeded my expectations. You acted pro-actively, challenged me at the right moments. Thanks!

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We have been working for over 10 years and they have become our long-term technology partner. Any software development, programming, or design needs we have had, Belitsoft company has always been able to handle this for us.

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They use their knowledge and skills to program the product, and then completed a series of quality assurance tests. We were working in an agile way with them. Belitsoft performed very well throughout our project. We are definitely looking at Belitsoft as a long-term partner.

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I highly recommend Belitsoft for website design and development. We were up against a tight deadline to launch the project. The work was delivered on time and within budget! I will continue working with Belitsoft as a valued partner for our web development!

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We have worked with Belitsoft team over the past few years on projects involving much customized programming work. They are knowledgeable and are able to complete tasks on schedule, meeting our technical requirements. We would recommend them to anyone who is in need of custom programming work.

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Belitsoft company is able to make changes instantly. One of our internal engineers has commented about how clean their code is. Belitsoft seems to know what they're doing, which I appreciate.

Darlene Liebman

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It was a great pleasure working with Belitsoft. Software Development Company. New requirements and adjustments were implemented fast and precisely. We can recommend Belitsoft and are looking forward to start a follow-up project.

Renè Reiners

Deputy Head of Division at Fraunhofer FIT (Germany)

Apollo Matrix

Belitsoft company has been able to provide senior developers with the skills to support back end, native mobile and web applications. We continue today to augment our existing staff with great developers from Belitsoft.

Pete Johnson

CEO at Apollo Matrix (United States)


Belitsoft company delivered dedicated development team for our products and technical specialists for our clients time to time custom development needs. We highly recommend that you use this company if you want the same benefits.

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Managing Director at Key2Know A/S in 2012 (Denmark)

Regen Med

We approached BelITsoft with a concept, and they were able to convert it into a multi-platform software solution. Their team members are skilled, agile and attached to their work, all of which paid dividends as our software grew in complexity.

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Having worked with Belitsoft as a service provider, I must say that I'm very pleased with the company's policy. Belitsoft guarantees first-class service through efficient management, great expertise, and a systematic approach to business.. I would strongly recommend Belitsoft's services to anyone wanting to get the right IT products in the right place at the right time.

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