The cost of no-code app development in 2023
You're considering no-code development for your next project, but you wonder about its cost? It's a valid concern, as understanding the financial aspects of your development approach is crucial for making informed decisions.
Here, we'll take a close look at the financial aspects of no-code development, compare them to traditional methods, and clarify the factors that can affect your project's budget. This article will provide insights to help you manage the financial side of your upcoming software project.
This article explores the costs and considerations of no-code development compared to traditional methods. No-code development offers cost advantages, making it attractive for projects with limited budgets and time constraints. It's especially beneficial for smaller projects and startups.
The project scope is a critical element that outlines the budget requirements and initial direction for your development efforts. It serves as the foundation for project planning, helping you identify the key stages and costs involved in your software development journey.
MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the initial version of your application with essential features that allow you to validate your concept and gather user feedback.
MVPs typically include core features that address the primary problem or need of your target audience. These features should provide a basic, functional solution to the user's problem without unnecessary complexity.
- Estimated cost ranges:
The cost of developing an MVP can vary widely. It often depends on factors like the complexity of the features, the chosen no-code platform, and the expertise of the development team.
An MVP developed using traditional methods can cost around tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Using a no-code platform for your MVP can significantly reduce costs, cutting approximately 30% to 70% of the traditional development expenses.
MSP (Minimum Sellable Product)
The Minimum Sellable Product (MSP) is an extension of the MVP and includes additional features that make the product market-ready.
MSPs build upon the MVP by incorporating advanced features that enhance the user experience and value proposition. These features may include payment processing, user authentication, and more robust functionality to generate revenue.
- Estimated cost ranges:
Developing an MSP generally costs more than creating an MVP due to the inclusion of more features. Building an MSP with traditional development methods can be expensive, ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. A no-code approach can offer substantial savings, reducing costs by approximately 40% to 80% compared to traditional development.
Prototypes serve as visual representations of your app's design and user interface, providing a tangible way to explore and validate ideas before full development.
Prototypes are invaluable for validating concepts, design ideas, and user interface elements. They can help secure funding, gain stakeholder buy-in, or serve as a starting point for development discussions.
- Estimated cost ranges:
Prototyping costs can vary depending on the depth of interactivity and design fidelity required.
Creating a prototype through traditional development may cost several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
Opting for a no-code prototype can be highly cost-effective, saving approximately 50% to 90% of the expenses associated with traditional prototyping.
The Full Scope represents the complete set of features and functionalities that the final product should have, encompassing all requirements and goals.
A full scope includes all planned features, advanced functionalities, scalability considerations, and a robust infrastructure. It is the end goal of the development process.
- Estimated cost ranges:
Costs for a full-scale development project can vary significantly based on the project's size, complexity, and industry. A full-scale project developed traditionally can cost millions of dollars.
Choosing no-code development for a full scope can result in significant cost reductions, typically cutting around 30% to 70% of the total project expenses compared to traditional development.
Cost compared to building a tool from scratch
Traditional development costs
Traditional development is a complex process led by experienced software engineers who create custom code to build your application from the ground up. This initial coding phase is labor-intensive, and it requires meticulous planning, design, and coding to craft tailored solutions that meet your project's unique requirements.
Testing begins after the coding phase. To make sure that the program works as intended and is free of bugs and errors, thorough testing is essential. This phase involves dedicated testing teams and can extend the timeline and budget significantly.
Furthermore, traditional development projects do not conclude with deployment. Ongoing maintenance is a vital aspect that requires continued investment, and it’s critical to ensure the software functions smoothly and remains up-to-date. Maintenance involves addressing bug fixes, and security updates, as well as adapting the software as your needs evolve.
Learn more: Traditional Development vs. No-code/ Low-code
No-code development costs
No-code development offers a transformative approach to creating software applications without
the need for extensive coding. No-code platforms provide intuitive, visual interfaces that allow users with varying technical backgrounds to build applications by connecting pre-designed building blocks. While the development process itself is often cost-effective and efficient, it's crucial to understand the complete cost structure.
No-code platforms typically operate on a subscription-based model, where users pay a recurring fee to access and build on the platform. This subscription cost covers the use of the no-code tools, and access to pre-built components, and often includes features like testing environments.
In addition to the subscription fees, there are ongoing costs associated with hosting and maintaining the applications built on no-code platforms. While you create your app within the platform, it's important to note that the app needs to be hosted somewhere for users to access it. Most no-code platforms offer hosting services, and the cost can vary depending on factors such as the size and traffic of your application.
For instance, platforms like Bubble.io offer different pricing tiers with varying levels of hosting and workload capacity. As your application grows and attracts more users, you may need to adjust your hosting plan to accommodate increased traffic, which can lead to additional hosting expenses.
Furthermore, while no-code development simplifies many aspects of the development process, it doesn't eliminate the need for ongoing maintenance entirely. Regular updates, bug fixes, and adjustments to meet evolving user needs are still necessary. While no-code platforms may automate aspects of maintenance and alleviate the need for extensive post-launch upkeep, it's important to budget for ongoing support.
In summary, no-code development presents an attractive alternative for building software applications with reduced initial development costs and a faster time-to-market. However, it's essential to consider the subscription fees, hosting costs, and ongoing maintenance expenses when evaluating the overall cost of your no-code project. These costs can vary among different no-code platforms, so you should research and select the one that aligns with your project's specific requirements and budget constraints.
The cost of no-code tools, tool pricing, and hidden costs
To understand Bubble’s pricing we should start by explaining the concept of "workloads." Workloads refer to the capacity that your Bubble application has to handle user interactions and data processing. They are bundled into all pricing plans to provide you with the resources needed for your app's operation. As your app grows and demands more resources, you have the flexibility to purchase additional workloads to support its scalability.
Now, let's explore the pricing plans:
- Free plan: The free plan is suitable for small projects and beginners. It provides limited capabilities to get you started at no cost.
- Paid plans: Bubble offers a range of paid plans, each designed to accommodate different project requirements and stages of growth. These are the prices (billed annually):
- Starter plan: Priced at $29 per month
- Growth plan: At $119 per month
- Team plan: Priced at $349 per month
- Enterprise plans: For enterprise-level projects with specific and demanding requirements, Bubble offers custom pricing. The exact cost will depend on your project's individual needs, so you'll need to engage in discussions with Bubble's sales team. This plan provides highly customizable workload resources to meet the demands of large-scale and mission-critical applications.
- Basic (Free): Ideal for beginners and small-scale projects. Accommodates up to 3 users.
- Starter ($25/month): Designed for professionals and teams creating work-related apps. Supports 10 users.
- Pro ($99+/month): Tailored for growing teams focused on app development and streamlining workflows. Supports up to 50 users.
- Business (Starting at $249/month): Geared toward businesses seeking integrated solutions across their organization. Up to 100 users.
- Enterprise: Enterprise-grade tools with advanced control. Contact Glide Labs for custom solution details.
Webflow offers three main plan categories:
- Free plan: Ideal for getting started and experimenting with website building. Limited features with a webflow.io subdomain.
- Site plans: Hosting plans for personal sites, blogs, and business websites. Starting at $14/month for basic sites and $29/month for e-commerce plans.
- Workspaces: Designed for developer and designer teams, charged per user. Pricing starts at $16/month for freelancers and $19/month for in-house teams.
Now, let's break down the pricing of Site Plans for personal sites, blogs, and business websites:
Webflow offers four packages:
- Basic: Starts at $14/month (annual billing) or $18/month (monthly billing). Ideal for simple sites, portfolios, or non-CMS projects.
- CMS: Priced at $29/month (annual billing) or $23/month (monthly billing). Suitable for content-oriented websites with an intuitive CMS.
- Business: Designed for high-traffic sites, costs $39/month (annual billing) or $49/month (monthly billing). Offers additional features and increased limits.
- Enterprise: Tailored for enterprise companies with customizable features. Pricing is available upon request.
Additional costs and hidden Expenses in no-code development
While no-code development offers affordability and ease of use, it's essential to be aware of potential additional costs and hidden expenses that may arise in your project. Here's a closer look at these factors:
- Hosting costs:
In most cases, no-code platforms provide hosting services for your applications. While this is often included in your subscription, there might be limitations on storage, bandwidth, or custom domain usage. Be sure to understand your platform's hosting terms and consider potential scaling costs as your user base grows.
- Plugins and extensions:
No-code platforms offer a wide range of pre-built integrations, but you may encounter scenarios where you need specialized functionality. Purchasing or subscribing to third-party plugins or extensions can add to your project's costs. Be mindful of these expenses when expanding your app's capabilities.
- Third-party services:
Sometimes, you may require external services like email marketing, analytics, or payment processing. These services often come with their pricing structures, which can contribute to your overall project costs. Ensure you budget for these additional services.
While no-code platforms make it easy to start small, scaling up your application can introduce hidden costs. You might need to invest in higher-tier plans or additional resources to accommodate increased user traffic and functionality.
Ongoing maintenance and updates are essential to keep your no-code application running smoothly. Failing to allocate resources for regular upkeep can result in unexpected costs down the road.
The cost / Development approach
DIY (Do It Yourself)
- Learning curve and time investment:
Opting for a DIY approach means taking on the responsibility of building your application independently. While this can be a cost-saving choice, it requires a substantial time investment. Learning the necessary skills and tools may involve a steep learning curve, especially if you're new to programming or development.
- Costs saved or incurred:
The primary cost-saving aspect of DIY development is that you don't need to pay external professionals. However, it's crucial to understand that this approach comes with significant risks. While you can skip the immediate expense of hiring experts, there are other costs to consider, like buying development tools and learning materials.
Moreover, any mistakes or oversights during the development process could lead to additional costs for bug fixes or revisions or even have serious consequences. Mishandling data privacy or security, for example, could result in significant sanctions or lawsuits. These issues have the potential to undermine your project's reputation or cause it to fail.
- When is DIY a good idea?
DIY becomes a viable option when you have the technical skills required for development. This approach is well-suited for individuals with a limited budget, a clear understanding of their project's requirements, and a desire for hands-on control over every aspect of development.
- Pros and cons of hiring an agency: Hiring a development agency brings the expertise of a team of professionals who can handle various aspects of your project, from design to coding to testing. Agencies offer structured project management and accountability. However, this option can be relatively expensive compared to DIY or freelance options.
- Estimated costs and variables affecting it: The costs of hiring a development agency can vary widely depending on factors such as project complexity, agency location, and the level of expertise required. More complex projects or those with advanced features will naturally incur higher costs.
- How to choose the right agency: To select the right agency, consider factors like their portfolio, client reviews, relevant experience, and communication skills. Ensure they understand your project's objectives and have the necessary technical skills to execute it effectively. If you want to know more, you can check out our article on how to choose a no-code agency!
- Rate ranges for freelancers: Freelancers offer flexibility and often competitive pricing. Rates can vary significantly depending on their expertise and location. Entry-level freelancers may charge lower rates, while experienced professionals or specialized freelancers may command higher fees.
- How to vet freelancers: Vetting freelancers is crucial to ensuring a successful collaboration. Review their portfolios, check references, and evaluate their communication skills and responsiveness. It's essential to find a freelancer whose skills align with your project's requirements.
As you explore the world of no-code development, remember that cost-efficiency doesn't mean compromising on quality. Our article has illuminated the financial aspects of choosing no-code to help you make informed decisions.
Here are a few more tips to consider:
- Prioritize your project's specific needs and goals.
- Keep scalability in mind as your project grows.
- Don't hesitate to seek expert consultation when necessary.
Now, take the next step—get in touch with us! We're here to provide personalized advice and offer a detailed project quote for your project