The Unknown Costs of an Independent Software Developer Nobody Talks About

Quick Summary: The ability to accurately estimate the cost needed to complete a software project is undoubtedly a perplexing job. For a successful software project, an exact prediction of the price, time, and effort is essential. In this guide, we have talked about the nitty-gritty of calculating the cost to make an app considering each factor to ease your work. 


Increased technological advancements and the growing complexity of development tasks have given rise to hiring a software developer with in-depth technical skills. However, the cost of hiring a software developer is enormous because there is a limited talent pool in the IT industry. The overwhelming shortage of technical talent has caused a tremendous demand for engineers from worldwide software giants, tech startups, and enterprises. This has resulted in spikes in the salary package of software developers. Hence, hiring a new talented programmer (or any tech talent) will cost huge money and effort as time elapse. The better a programmer is, the more expensive it becomes.

This white paper will discuss the hidden costs of onboarding an independent software developer and the other options available that might fit you better.

The Truth About Software Development

Most companies plan to hire IT minds in various areas such as security, cloud computing, and business intelligence. However,89 percent of them have encountered challenges while recruiting skilled IT professionals. Let’s discuss the “unknown” truth about the struggles of developing software that works and meets your needs. 

The Types of Software Development

The type of software project largely determines the cost of software development. Various software development types, such as web, mobile, or cross-platform applications, all incur diverging expenses. Therefore, to get an idea about the software cost, you must know the type of software development you are looking for. 

Software development companies like Solvtopia can build any type of software you require, including custom-based mobile apps, web apps, and cloud-based software.

Here is the overview of the price consideration that small-size companies charge:

  • Basic C development: This type of software development price varies from $75-$150 per hour.
  • Front-end web development: Typically, the bill rate will be between $50 to $100 per hour, depending on the developer’s experience level.
  • Back-end web development: The cost may vary between $75-$150 per hour.
  • API development: To build a feature-complete, fully documented, and secured API by an experienced United States-based developer will cost approximately $20,000 and require 30 working days. The per-hour rate can vary from $75 to $150. 
  • Desktop app development: It will cost you around $30-$100 per hour.
  • Mobile app development: The per hour cost for this will be approximately $30-$150/hour

Developing the above-discussed type of project will require a different team makeup and additional development effort. Understanding what kind of software you need is the first step in creating a cost estimate. Use this information to determine the final cost of your software project.

Freelance vs. Full-Time

Building software is no easy feat. Finding a potential Software Development Contractor is indeed a strategic step that can either soar or destroy your Business or Startup. Many vital considerations are to be taken into account when choosing between a Full-time Developer vs. a Freelancer. Indeed, there are a ton of benefits to working with freelancers and full-time developers. But, you need to take into account the different risks between hiring a freelance, project-based software developer and a dedicated theed, full-time developer.

Risk of hiring freelancers:

  • Lack of stability: The outsourcing freelance developer could go out of business. Sometimes, when we choose to hire a freelance developer, we face a lack of stability since they are remote and work on many projects at a time; it’s not a rare case when they might go silent and become a fantom. Doesn’t it sound like a ghost story?
  • Multi-tasking (working with multiple companies)– While companies usually offer a stable income for their developers, being a freelancer means having no job security and income. This creates a need for freelancers to hunt for work more and more. When you hire freelancers, more often than not, they have to work on various projects while working on yours, possibly affecting work performance and making progress slower.
  • Risk of low-quality, distracted work– Not all hired freelance developers to take care of the accomplished work quality. Freelance developers are fickle and will have more than 2-3 clients at a time. Hence, there is no guarantee that the freelancer will do their job reasonably and deliver you a top-quality product.

Risk of hiring Full-Time Employee:

  • Lock yourself into one person, which means you’re limited to their capabilities– They are primarily experts in one field- front-end development, design, back-end development, and so on. Hence, if you hire a full-time employee, you are limited to only one service that can get done.
  • Have to pay hiring costs- Hiring full-time in-house employees also comes with certain overbearing costs. For instance, you will need to bear extra costs for health insurance, paid leaves, etc. These are all the additional costs that you “ll have to pay to full-time employees. 

                       Look at some of the most basic company-paid benefits- 

                       a) Legally required benefits (Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance): 8.5%

                       b) Insurance (medical, dental, life): 7.6%

                       c) Annual Bonus: 3.5%

                       d) Supplemental pay (overtime and premium): 2.6%

                       e) Paid Leave: 6.7%

                       f) Retirement and savings: 4.3%

  • If they leave, you have to go through the recruitment process again and start from scratch. For small businesses who need to be relatively quick, this can be a time and cost–draining exercise.

Project-Based vs. Long-Term

While figuring out the cost, a business owner should consider the duration of the employment. 

  • Project-based: Committing a developer on a per-project basis is usually an expensive option. Also, the same developer doesn’t need to be available for the next project. There might be a risk of low work quality. 
  • Long-term: Onboarding a developer for a long-term commitment, ensures the work quality, standard, and availability,

Breaking Down the Associated Costs

If we compare between hiring the developer as a freelancer for long-term or project-based commitment or hiring an agency for the same commitment, the costs associated vary a lot. Freelancers usually charge on an hourly basis, whereas the agency identifies the task and then quotes the amount, usually with fixed charges. Costs need to be borne by the business owner while hiring multiple freelancers, whereas when hiring an agency, the agency pays the cost of hiring developers for the clients.

How To Get The Best Return On Investment

Many organizations set up a vast infrastructure to carry out all IT services in-house. Whether a full-time in-house developer or a freelancer, hiring the right candidate requires much higher research, implementation, and development time. These, in turn, result in escalated costs and duration. If the same task was assigned to the right IT agency (such as Solvtopia), the project could start immediately and save time. Another benefit of hiring a software development agency is that you can focus on your core business goals without getting perplexed by complex IT decisions that an experienced agency can manage.

Handling Project Off to Solvtopia – Why?

  • Expertise: They have a team of specialized individuals with diverse skills who can effectively handle the project’s complexities. Errors made by a newbie freelancer or the only in-house person are optimally minimized here. Furthermore, the agency can work in a well-organized manner and coordination, which is critical in completing the project without any hassle.  
  • Full-package: You can get a dedicated team at an affordable price instead of paying one person a similar rate. They offer a complete service package, including consulting, business analysis, business idea estimating, and structuring plans and strategies. 
  • Flexibility: You don’t want to get into a waterfall contract that is not flexible. Right? There is no real pressure to sustain it for the long-term by committing to a software development agency. You can commit with short sprints and deliverables instead of locking into a long-term commitment. 
  • Saves time and money: Contracting to the software development agency for your project can save you a lot of time and cut down the additional cost. You can get rid of the recruiting, hiring, training & onboarding process by hiring the right software development agency. No hiring cost; no onboarding process!

 Wrapping Up

There are always unknown costs involved when a business onboard an independent software developer or an agency, either long-term or project-based. Only deciding the hiring on known parameters is challenging and time-consuming, as, in the end, the unknown costs matter the most. Solvtopia has the required expertise and is budget-friendly, without any unknown costs; they are always upfront.

Get a free consultation from Solvtopia to know what will be your project’s estimated cost without worry about any unknown costs.