mobile app development

What is the Cost of Custom App Development for a SaaS-based Business?

Wondering how much will it cost to build a SaaS app? Check out the most recent findings!

Cost of Custom App Development

It's no secret that cloud computing has revolutionized how businesses operate these days. Any company today can basically rent out computing power alongside software and platform solutions. Anything you need can be provided via the cloud (the Internet).

The most popular example is SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS allows any company to either choose any existing software solution or create a custom solution tailored to their specific needs. Opting for an existing solution means you can use the software anytime you wish and on any device for as long as you're paying a subscription fee.

According to a report, the global SaaS market is expected to grow from $130.69 billion in 2021 to $716.52 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 27.5% during the forecast period.

app development for business

SaaS businesses can create custom apps for their clients that will be used in-house or further sold to the client's customers. The point, in fact, is that you create pretty much anything you need these days.

However, businesses that opt for such solutions often wonder how much does it cost to create an app for your business? Let's find out, shall we? But before we delve any deeper into the costs, let's see what a SaaS app is, and why SaaS is so popular right now. But before we delve any deeper into the costs, let's see what a SaaS app is, and why SaaS is so popular right now.

What is a SaaS app?

These apps are usually browser-based, so there's no need to download or install the software. Everything is configured and ready for use.

The end-users pay a monthly or a yearly subscription fee to use the software. Companies that decide to develop apps based on the cloud model do so to provide convenience for their customers or themselves, depending on who will be using the app. 

Let’s consider a popular product that transitioned in 2012 from an on-premise software delivery model to the SaaS model - Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop and its countless other programs were sold to consumers for a one-time price. Once the consumer paid, they were given a key to indefinitely access a certain version of Photoshop. 

But now instead of paying a high up-front cost for a one-time product license, Adobe customers must sign up for a monthly subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

For instance, the Photography plan that includes access to Photoshop and Lightroom starts at $9.99 a month, while the last version of Photoshop available with a lifetime license starts at $700.

Such subscription models are affordable for many different demographics, including students. Also, a monthly subscription can be canceled at any time.

How much does it cost to develop a SaaS platform?

To give you a rough estimate, the average cost of app development for SaaS business typically ranges from $50,000 - $150000. However, various factors contribute to these numbers - 

  • Complexity of the app
  • Types of SaaS solutions
  • Scope of the project
  • Freelancers vs. companies
  • Location of app development team 
  • UI/UX design
  • Features

cost of building a saas product

Let’s analyze each of these factors separately for deep insight into the intricacies of each.

1. Complexity of Saas app

Complexity can be a combination of various functionalities, user roles, or a degree of difficulty faced by developers. For instance, SaaS apps designed for the healthcare domain with multiple integrations and functionalities have a higher complexity than one performing a basic task with a single feature. 

However, there are SaaS platforms that offer a single purpose but are highly complex. For instance, Grammarly helps users with basic spell check and basic editing, but at the backend, AI and big data analysis play an important role in helping the software achieve its aim. 

Therefore, complexity is a relative term you can’t define properly. However, you can say that higher complexity means more developing hours, leading to higher costs of app development for SaaS business. Based on this, we can divide SaaS applications into four categories - 

Complexity Average price (approx.)
Micro SaaS $10,000 - $15,000
Basic SaaS $30,000 - $35,000
Average SaaS $45,000 - $60,000
Complex SaaS $140,000 - $150,000

What is the Cost of Custom App Development for a SaaS-based Business?

2. Types of SaaS solutions

Another factor that affects the cost of SaaS app development is the type of software or app developed. Some SaaS apps are difficult to build and require more effort, while others have basic features that developers can build within a limited time frame. 

So, based on the types of SaaS solutions, the cost calculations are listed below - 

Type of SaaS solution Avg. price of MVP Example
CRM $50,000 - $60,000 Freshworks
Email marketing $60,000 - $70,000 Mailchimp
Project Management $60,000 - $70,000 Confluence
Accounting $70,000 - $80,000 Quickbooks
ERP $100,000 - $120,000 Netsuite


3. The scope of the project

The most important factor in determining the cost of creating an app is the scope of the project. For example, the costs of building a simple tool that will address an issue or two largely differ from developing a platform with a wide variety of features.

In other words, how much does an app cost depends on what do you want to build? This ultimately determines the SaaS application cost. The larger the project, the more resources it will require. This rule applies to any project, not just SaaS apps. That's why it's of vital importance to determine your needs before setting up a budget for the project.

4. Freelancers vs. Companies

Another factor that impacts the custom app development cost is to who you outsource the development. Some companies choose to outsource this task to freelancers, while others opt for development companies. So, what's the difference? Freelancers are usually cheaper and there are fewer strings attached.

On the other hand, mobile app development companies offer a variety of services for a fixed but slightly higher price. So, freelancers are a more budget-friendly option, but development companies offer more features, such as tech support, updates, fixes, patches, etc. Basically, it comes down to what you can afford and how much room for maneuver you have in your budget.

5. Location of app development company

The location of your app development company also plays an important role in determining the overall cost of development for your SaaS app. The price varies across regions and continents significantly. For instance, the cost of development in areas like Ukraine is comparatively less as compared to UK or US. 

Let’s take a look at the breakdown of development rate across different geographical regions - 

Location Avg. cost (approx.)
USA $170,000 - $180,000
UK $130,00 - $150,000
South Asia $45,000 - $50,000
Eastern Europe $60,000 - $70,000
Western Europe $80,000 - $1,00,000
Australia $100,000 - $120,000


6. App design

Every app needs a good design. Otherwise, no one will use it. If the design is right, then more people will enjoy using your app. However, that means additional SaaS development costs because app design is a separate matter on its own. As you may already know, the more complex the design, the more difficult it is to bring it to life, and hence the cost of creating an app is more.

You also need to keep in mind that app design with great visuals will cost more to develop, so make sure your budget is capable of supporting a truly awesome app design, to begin with.

Generally, building a good UI/UX design takes around 2 to 3 weeks, and the average hourly rate is between $25 - $45, costing roughly $3000 - $5500.

7. Features & functionality

Every feature you want to add increases the overall costs. One or two additional features may not affect the price that much, but if you're going to add more features, it will prolong the development process and, therefore, increase the costs.

Therefore, it’s advisable to focus on developing an MVP. An MVP includes enough features to attract early-adopter customers and get their feedback as quickly as possible. This would also help you save time and money. Once you get customer validation, you can create a full-fledged application. 

For instance, a simple scheduling app with a calendar feature may not cost much. However, if you want that app to be available across multiple platforms and devices, that's a whole different story. The more complex the app is, the more it will cost to develop it because you have to do it right and that takes both the time and resources into account.

Here is the list of basic features that any SaaS app must have - 

  • Security
  • User permissions
  • Communication
  • Analytical tools
  • Billing & account management

Hidden costs of SaaS application development

Let’s now shed some light on the most common hidden costs of SaaS mobile app development projects. Understanding these factors will reduce risks along with saving time and money. So, without further ado, let’s dive into each of them in detail!

1. Maintenance

Usually, support and maintenance cost is about 25% of the software development cost. For instance, if the cost of developing your SaaS application is $100,000, then your maintenance cost can be as high as $25,000 per year.

Your maintenance cost will include spending on -

  • SSL certificate
  • Domain name
  • Hosting
  • Technical support
  • Cloud services

This cost is important to consider to keep your platform running smoothly and provide a quick fix if an error or bugs occur.

2. Marketing

When building a SaaS app, it becomes crucial to spend money on marketing in order to attract customers and gain visibility among the target market. In general, the marketing expenses are two to three times of app development costs. 

The marketing costs include several important aspects like email marketing, SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, etc. However, without promoting your products in front of the target audience, it becomes difficult to become successful when technology is constantly evolving. Though marketing involves a lot of money, it will help you gain visibility, reach, and higher revenue.

3. App publishing costs

When building an app, it’s prudent to keep in mind the app store requirements. When publishing an Android App on Play Store, you are required to pay a one-time fee of $25. Apple, on the other hand, charges $99 per year.

If you are looking to distribute your app exclusively within your organization, you will be charged $299 a year to join the Apple Developer Enterprise Program and provide your app via the App Store. Google Play doesn’t charge the service.

What is the Cost of Custom App Development for a SaaS-based Business?

Successful SaaS applications and their development costs

There are several successful SaaS products in the market like Uber, Twitter, Slack, Mailchimp, etc. If you want to develop a product that provides similar services, you must know how much it costs. This would help you plan better. 
Here are the costs of building some successful SaaS products along with their feature list:

App name Feature list Average price of MVP (approx.)
  • Email automation
  • Custom forms
  • Geolocation
  • Email segmentation
  • A/B testing
$80,000 - $100,000
  • Account authorization
  • Creating profile
  • Editing profile
  • Uploading photos/videos
  • Search
  • Geolocation
  • Followers and following
$60,000 - $100,000
  • Email notification
  • Text, audio and video calls
  • Instant messaging
  • Apps integration
  • Single sign-on
$65,000 - $90,000
  • Profile creation
  • Account authorization
  • Photo/video upload
  • Photo editing filters
  • Geolocation
  • Search
  • Direct messaging
$40,000 - $60,000
  • Login page
  • User profile creation
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Geolocation
  • Table booking facility
  • Payment gateway
  • Online order management
  • Push notifications
$25,000 - $40,000


Wrapping up!

I hope this article has perfectly answered your question - how much does it cost to create an app for your business? Developing a SaaS app is a complex process that requires a lot of time, effort, and dedication. It's only natural that the development of such apps will be an expensive endeavor. However, the price will drastically vary depending on your choices and needs.

It’s time to start working. You’ve got a lot ahead of you – and it’s probably a little daunting. If you have a great app idea, then we have sorted some of the top app development companies around the world to help you get started with custom app development for your SaaS-based business.

Aparna <span>Growth Strategist</span>
Written By
Aparna Growth Strategist

Aparna is a growth specialist with handsful knowledge in business development. She values marketing as key a driver for sales, keeping up with the latest in the Mobile App industry. Her getting things done attitude makes her a magnet for the trickiest of tasks. In free times, which are few and far between, you can catch up with her at a game of Fussball.

Want To Hire The Best Service Provider?
MobileAppDaily will help you explore the best service providers depending on your vision, budget, project requirements and industry. Get in touch and create a list of best-suited companies for your needs.

Featured Blogs

mobile app development

A Concise Guide to Estimate the Cost of Pinterest App Development

4 min read  

Over the years, the mobile app market had witnessed millions of app uploads on both major platforms i.e. Android and iOS. However, it won’t be wrong to say that the capacity to do something novel has already been exploited to a much larger capacity. There are apps for almost everything.Thi

mobile app development

Cross-Platform Mobile App Development: An Ideal Guide in 2023

4 min read  

There is no stopping to the explosion of mobile apps. The spurt in apps can be credited to the evolution of the smartphones. From a simple alarm app to the complex navigational app, our smartphones are brimming with a number of apps.In 2015, global mobile app revenues amounted to 69.7 billion U.

mobile app development

Dope skills an iOS/Android Developer must Hone in 2023

4 min read  

The global app economy is projected to generate 21 trillion USDs; a clear indication of how booming the app industry is. As smartphones are clear winners of communication devices, apps are the mitochondria which (em)power any and every form of communication. The demand for app developers is on a con

mobile app development

Golang is the Foremost Choice for Building Modern Enterprise Applications

4 min read  

We first need to understand what enterprise mobile development means. Enterprise application development refers to the development of applications for enterprises, which follows a complex development process,Go, also known as Golang, is a compiled Google’s programming language that is stat

Featured Interviews


Interview With Coyote Jackson, Director of Product Management, PubNub

MobileAppDaily had a word with Coyote Jackson, Director of Product Management, PubNub. We spoke to him about his journey in the global Data Stream Network and real-time infrastructure-as-a-service company. Learn more about him.

MAD Team 4 min read  

Interview With Laetitia Gazel Anthoine, Founder and CEO, Connecthings

MobileAppDaily had a word with Laetitia Gazel Anthoine, Founder and CEO, Connecthings. We spoke to her about her idea behind Connecthings and thoughts about the company’s services.

MAD Team 4 min read  

Interview With Gregg Temperley, Founder Of ParcelBroker App

MobileAppDaily had a word with Gregg Temperley, Founder. We spoke to him about his idea behind such an excellent app and his whole journey during the development process.

MAD Team 4 min read  

Interview With George Deglin, CEO Of OneSignal

MobileAppDaily had a word with George Deglin, the CEO and co-founder of OneSignal, a leading customer messaging and engagement solution, we learn multiple facets related to customer engagement, personalization, and the future of mobile marketing.

MAD Team 4 min read  
MAD Originals
MAD Originals

Cut to the chase content that’s credible, insightful & actionable.

Get the latest mashup of the App Industry Exclusively Inboxed

  • BOTH
Join our expansive network, build connections and expand your brand presence.