When you are starting a project or a start-up, you are trying to figure out how much it will cost. There are multiple ways of doing that. You can look at similar projects, try to prepare ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) estimation or a very detailed one. In most cases, you will get a number of hours that you should multiply by the hourly rate. And you will get the total cost.
The next step most people take is the optimization of those costs. You have plenty of options. The easiest one – you can try to reduce scope. Probably you heard a lot of times about the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) concept. You can read a bit more about it in one of the previous articles. If you already know it, then probably your scope is minimal. So it means that it will be hard to take anything out and have a working prototype that is delivering value. Then it would be best if you think about other options. You can try to check price and estimation with other suppliers. As a first choice, you will try to find them in your country. I want to encourage you to try to find them abroad and think about India, China or Vietnam. Just remember that with a lower price you will get probably lower quality, some communication issues can occur and also time difference.
What can you do if you still do not have enough money?
Of course, if you know how to code, you can do it yourself. Also, you can negotiate, and instead of money, you can provide shares of your business/idea.
Still, I didn’t say anything about costs. Let’s change the direction. We can prepare a rough estimate of the yearly cost of the development team. It is quite simple. I assume that you will be working as a product owner. Then you should hire about three developers, tester, maybe half of a technical architect and also some supporting roles like user experience or user interface specialist. Looking at salaries in Poland, your development team will cost you about 250’000 USD per year.
Definitely you must be sure that your product will be successful when you are planning to spend a quarter of a million.
Can you reduce this cost and add more business value to the scope?
Yes, you can! You need to leave your comfort zone and try using a new approach to software development – low code. Looking at my experience with this approach by average, we can increase software delivery speed between 4 – 10 times. It depends on what you want to achieve. When your application needs to have very fancy UI then probably you will be closed to 4x. Even then, there will be many places where this factor can be higher. In case when you are using prebuilt components, it can be 10x faster or more. Please do not be afraid that low-code application will look odd. You can do everything that you can do with classical development.
It means for you that you can deliver an application for up to 65’000 USD instead of 250’000 USD. It also means that we can verify our idea in a time of three months of developments instead of one year – so you should start earning money faster. Or maybe you would like to use the additional time for new features preparation.
So where is the catch?
It is a licence cost. In the scope of low-code platforms, you need to pay in most cases, a monthly subscription fee. It connected with a number of your solution users and also a number of applications. In case of Mendix initial price starts at 20’000 USD per year. Still, if you sum everything, it will be cheaper than regular development.
From last month there is an additional option. You can get it for free in Mendix Startup Program. According to the announcement in the first year, it will be free, and in the second one, you will need to pay only half of the price. With this option, you have two years for idea validation and start earning on your product.