When small companies need a new mobile application to reach their customers, a fresh new website, or some custom software to support their business, they often turn to freelance software developers. Rather than fund an in-house software team, companies can use independent software firms to build custom software to meet their exact needs when they need it. Software developers write code in specific languages; the language they use to build the software usually determines their fees. Other factors include how in-demand certain skills are and how many developers with a particular expertise are available for a company’s project. For example, many developers are highly skilled in WordPress, a common platform, but fewer freelancers are fluent in C++, so they will cost more to hire.
Designing a new website is the most common type of project for which a company hires developers. Web designers, such as Estrela Marketing in West Palm Beach, Florida, Upshot Media Group in Olathe, Kansas, or K Business Solutions in Cypress, Texas, will provide a custom design for your website and offer a variety of features, such as flash animation, integration with social media, and shopping carts.
Design shops often offer packages of website design services. For example, Upshot Media’s fees start at $1,000 for a custom WordPress site. The final cost for a custom-built website varies greatly, starting at about $1,000 and costing as much as $10,000.
Professional developers, such as Unfriend Studios in Austin, Texas, or My IT Guy in Spring, Texas, can build any type of software you need, including web services, mobile apps and cloud-based software.
They generally charge hourly fees based on the language they’ll use to write your software. For example, a small, freelance-based firm is likely to charge:
- Basic C development: $75-$150 per hour
- Front-end web development: $50-$75 per hour
- Back-end web development: $75-$150 per hour
- API development: $75-$150 per hour
- Desktop app development: $30-$100 per hour
- Mobile app development: $30-$150 per hour
Larger software vendors will charge much more, often as much as $300-$400 per hour.
Costs per application
Software development is a large investment for any company, costing in the tens of thousands of dollars depending on the type of application. There is no simple way to estimate costs because each project has so many variables: user requirements, feature set, complexity, size, etc. A simple mobile application with a well-defined, limited set of features usually costs anywhere between $20,000 and $80,000. A moderately complex application, such as an enterprise application with web and mobile functionality or a customer-facing service application, will range from $80,000 to $150,000. And the most complex software can cost up to $1 million to develop; this includes data-driven applications, external apps that support mobile devices, social media, or reporting, and enterprise software with complex business logic.