Rough Cost Estimation: Our Experience

What is the very first question that comes to your mind when you have a great app idea but no experience in this field? Do you start thinking of the web and mobile development agency that will actually do the whole development thing? Or do you consider what it takes to bring all those features together and make them work smoothly? We’d bet that cost is the only thing that pops up in your mind at this moment. 

“What is the price of creating an app” is probably one of the top requests on this subject in all search engines. Indeed, the cost is extremely critical for those planning to start the project. When you contact an outsourcing agency, the first thing you want to get from them is at least an approximate estimation of your future project. So, in this posting, we have decided to explain how we prepare rough estimates for our customers to solve one of the most popular app-building questions. Let’s get started!


What is the Purpose of Rough Estimate?

A rough estimate serves to outline the broad-brush development phases and to orient a customer to the approximate cost of web or mobile app development. It is usually prepared at the beginning of communication when the customer is not even sure if he/she is going to cooperate with the outsourcing agency at all. This assessment is always a ballpark figure as its accuracy is rather low (20-80%). Such a little precision does not come from the unwillingness of app development companies to uncover the exact price to be paid for the product provided. It is just that more detailed evaluation is simply impossible at this stage due to too little data on the future project.


How Do We Estimate a Project?

Stage 1. Getting familiar with your project

At this stage, we determine your company goals, figure out your key business operations, and define your target audience. This information allows us to process your project requirements and provide feedback on what will work and what will not. 

Stage 2. Coming up with an app concept

At this stage, we dig deeper into your requirements to offer the best possible development methodology based on our vision and experience. When the project vision is defined, communicated and approved, we start to prepare a roadmap and budget. 

Stage 3. Presenting the app concept

This includes:

  • development methodology
  • budget and roadmap 
  • data on technical implementation
  • the full scope of releases 
  • project vision/goal

All the critical elements of the project are to be approved by you and justified by our team.


Elements of Rough Estimate Template

So what a rough estimate looks like? Typically, it includes the following sections:

  1. General section describing the preparatory works
  2. Development section addressing the app development process
  3. Integration of libraries/frameworks 
  4. Non-development data (documentation)
  5. Our suggestions (improving proposals)


What is Detailed Estimate?

After we agreed on all the details/questions raised at the rough estimate stage, we can proceed to the detailed estimation of the future app. It is done with the participation of the coders who will be directly involved in the development. In particular, this includes:

  • All specifications
  • Wireframes
  • Other documentation


Elements of Detailed Estimate Template

It’s structure is pretty similar to that above. But besides the mentioned elements, it also contains the following:

  1. Business logic
  2. User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX)

Rough Estimates at Loonar Studios

Typically, clients get a rough estimation soon after contacting us (usually, within a day). Depending on the project complexity, we utilize the following methods for performing the assessment.

  1. Feature-oriented estimate 

This involves creating the list of options for the future application. For example, you want a messenger-like app with push notifications, voice chat, and text chat options. In this case, we will calculate the cost and time required for the implementation of required functionality without going too much into details. 

  1. Screen-oriented estimate. We use it in the following cases:
  • the customer provides wireframes
  • the customer provides an example of a similar app
  • the customer provides a description of the screen 

For example, you want to create a social app like Facebook. To prepare an estimate, we would carefully analyze it’s functionality, again, without going too much into details.


Key Takeaways

A rough estimate provides you with an idea of the approximate price when project development is at the stage of a vague concept. So, when you contact a web or mobile development agency, feel free to ask them to prepare a rough estimate for you in order to avoid overpaying for unforeseen features. At Loonar Studios, we do rough estimates for free to make sure we are on the same page with our customers. So please do not hesitate to contact us in this regard. Stay safe!