The question we’re asked the most when we speak to people interested in working with us is: “How much will it cost to build my app?”
Of course, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Ultimately, it comes down to how complex your app is and how long it takes to build. The bottom line is great apps can’t be built overnight or for free. But, this doesn’t mean that there should be any nasty financial surprises along the way.
When we work with startup founders, we tend to employ a process we’ve dubbed internally as the “Pragmatic Launch”. We kick off with a Discovery Session, so we know exactly what needs building and how. This means we can commit to a timeframe (usually 12-16 weeks) and a cost.
Often, agencies will charge a daily/hourly rate, and there are some common misconceptions about builds that work to a fixed price. Misconceptions we want to clear up below…
Fixed cost myth no.1 – No transparency
We won’t start a project without first having an intensive one-day Discovery Session workshop. We aim to really drill down into your ideas and features, target market, monetisation model, metrics and growth plan.
We will have boiled down your many ideas into a working to-do list – really getting to the minimum and viable aspects of your MVP.
You’ll leave the session with a clear idea of when your MVP will be ready to launch, exactly how much it will cost and what features it will have.
We then produce a Technical Delivery Plan – These documents are incredibly in-depth and layout actions, technologies, timeframes – breaking down the core functionalities for the app build. Our Project Manager will use it to ensure development is keeping to schedule and that everyone’s keeping an eye on the bigger picture. This means you’ll know exactly what we’re doing, when and why.
Throughout the build, we’ll have bi-weekly check-ins, so you’re always in the loop, and all of our clients have access to staging servers and our project management tools, meaning you can see exactly what our team has been up to.
Fixed cost myth no.2 – Over-estimated costs due to buffers
This is a direct quote pulled from the ‘Our Values’ section on the About page:
“Don’t take the biscuit – Openness, honesty and jargon-free communication are all things that we value. We speak our minds, we listen carefully to our clients, and we’re reliable and supportive from start to finish. Our clients stick with us and we’re proud of that.”
We don’t need to overestimate – not just because it’s not the way we like to do business but because we’ve been doing this a while, and we are confident in our ability to get the work done on time and within budget.
Plus, as mentioned above, you’ll have access to staging servers and our project management tools – if we ever over-estimate, you’d know about it!
Fixed cost myth no.3 – Inflexibility
We’ve been doing this a long time. Nic, our CTO, has been coding for over 20 years, and CookiesHQ is a decade old. There’s always a risk and unknown in what we do – that’s why flexibility is a must.
If, after some more research, you realise a feature that you didn’t think would be important for your MVP is actually crucial, we’ll implement it. Openness and compromise are key here. We’ll be upfront with you if implementing this feature means we may go a few days over estimation or that we’ll have to drop another feature.
Wireframes and flat designs are one thing, but when you start actually interacting with your app on a phone or desktop, we know your mind might change. It won’t be a problem because we’ve foreseen it – some design tweaks here and there, a bit of work on the front end – and we’ve allowed time for it.
Fixed cost myth no.4 – Waterfall
It’s common for people to assume that tech agencies who work to a fixed price model employ the Waterfall methodology. Not us! We work according to the Agile methodology as we have found it’s what works best for our clients.
Waterfall methodology is linear and sequential. Each part of the build depends on the part before’s completion. A Waterfall build allows no scope for flexibility once a project has begun, which works for some products but not the kind we typically take on.
The Agile methodology is iterative and team centred. As each part of the build is completed, it’s reviewed by everyone involved (including the client). New features are delivered quickly and predictably, and the development tends to be more user-focused. Overall it’s a highly collaborative and flexible way of working and allows clients to see and get a feel for the product early on.
Fixed cost myth no.5 – Likely to accumulate technical debt
Technical or Coding debt is when, during a build, a quick or easy fix is chosen for the short term, in the knowledge that it will have to be reworked further down the line. The more this accrues, the wider the ripple effect, and the more costly and time consuming it will be to rectify.
When we hold our Discovery Day session, we don’t just get to know your product – we cover your long-term goals as a business and plan our codebase accordingly. We believe in using good code as a foundation for scaling your app as your business grows and our work doesn’t stop on launch day.
We’ve been working on some of our clients’ products for over 5 years, so it’s in our nature to make smart coding decisions with your businesses best interests in mind. After all, your successes are our successes!
If you’d like to book a Discovery Session, have an initial consultation on your project or just chat through the feasibility of your idea, we’d love to hear from you – get in touch!