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The Benefits and Cost of Custom Software Development

The pace of technological innovation in the marketplace today demands that every company operates as efficiently as possible. One of the key tools for enhancing organizational workflows is the adoption of bespoke tools derived from custom software development. 

Custom applications, unlike commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS), are built to address specific needs for companies. COTS, by contrast, is generally designed to target a very broad range of requirements. Consider a product like Microsoft Office, which is one of the most popular COTS offerings in the world because it has a very expansive feature set that will work for a large number of different types of organizations. 

But not every business need can be met by COTS and hence custom software development is sometimes required to fill that gap.

How much does custom software development generally cost?

Custom software development can range widely in price. A simple, standalone app built by a small team in a short time for a very limited purpose might cost just $10,000. Generally, however, most custom software costs around $40,000 to $50,000, but as more features and requirements are added, that price can quickly move into the six figure range.

What factors increase development costs?


Some apps don’t do a lot of heavy lifting behind the scenes. They perform a small and not terribly complicated role. Others have powerful analytic engines built into them and are doing a lot of serious calculations. More complex apps require more senior developers and more time for development, both of which increase costs.


Apps can be measured by how many screens or pages they contain. A small app might have just 10 or 20 screens, a medium-sized app can have up to 40, and anything more than that would be considered a large app. More screens require more development (and they increase the overall complexity of the project) and have a higher cost.


A text only interface is functional and utilitarian, but it’s not so easy on the eyes, and it might not make for the best user experience (UX). Leveraging design experts to upgrade custom software with visual imagery, audio cues, and other features like corporate branding all greatly enhance the UX, but at an added cost.


Building custom apps for highly regulated industries like healthcare, law, and finance demands an in-depth understanding of the unique and often stringent internal rules and external legal frameworks that they must adhere to. That adds cost and complexity to any project.


Standalone custom software is almost always cheaper to develop than a solution that will need to integrate with many other systems. Some integrations might involve the software connecting with other parts of the organization’s tech stack, and some connect to outside services like payment processors or identity management platforms.


Are you building in-house with your own developers, commissioning a software development firm, relying on freelancers, or outsourcing to an agency? The quality, location, and experience of the development team will also be reflected in the price.

What are the advantages of custom software development? 

Greater Scalability

Custom software can be easily scaled up or down to accommodate changes in the business environment or user needs.

Enhanced Efficiency

Software that is tailored to specific business needs solves only the problems you have and none you don’t. That way, organizations are only paying for what they need.

Stronger Security

Custom software can be designed with built-in security features to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access. COTS may have some of the security features you want, but not all, and adding them may be expensive, impractical, or impossible.

Better User Experiences

Custom software can be tailored to the specific needs of users, resulting in a more intuitive and user-friendly interface. Because the developers know ahead of time what the users need, they can more readily meet their expectations.

Smarter Integrations

Custom software can be designed with integrations to existing systems and data in mind from the onset, which greatly accelerates how quickly and easily it can be added to workflows and reduces the need for data migration or duplication.

Endless Flexibility

Many COTS options are highly extensible, but none can match the flexibility of custom software which can be modified or updated as needed to adapt to new technologies or business processes

Unique Features

Developing custom software solutions can give a business a competitive advantage by providing unique functionality or capabilities that others in their industry lack.

Boosted Productivity

A custom solution can be designed specifically to enable strong productivity from your teams, such as by automating repetitive tasks, streamlining processes, and reducing human error.

Long-term Cost Savings

The up-front costs for custom software might be much higher than COTS, but it can save money over the long haul by eliminating the need for multiple other solutions, upgrades, and add-ons.

Stay connected to the Unosquare blog for more helpful guides to modern software development, and get in touch today if you need added support for your next project from our experienced and talented development professionals.


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