The Truth Behind Custom Software: Is It Really Expensive?

Discover the real story behind the cost of custom software development and why it might not be as pricey as you think

5 mins read
Published July 10, 2023
By Josh Comery

Are you thinking about getting custom software for your business? The cost is always a concern, isn't it? We tend to assume that custom software development is a luxury only big corporations with deep pockets can afford. But, let me tell you a secret... it might not be as expensive as you think! In this article, let's dig deeper and uncover the real story behind the cost of custom software.

Understanding the Factors that Influence Cost

Now that we've debunked the misconception, let's explore the factors that influence the cost of custom software development. It's essential to gain a better understanding of why it may not be as expensive as it may initially seem.

1. Complexity and Scope

The complexity and scope of your custom software project play a significant role in its cost. If you need a simple software solution with basic functionalities, it will naturally be more affordable than a complex system that requires extensive integrations and advanced features. The size of your business and the number of users interacting with the software also contribute to the overall complexity.

2. Development Time

Development time is another critical consideration. The more intricate and feature-rich your software needs to be, the longer it will take to develop. However, thanks to advancements in software development technologies and methodologies, the time required for custom software development has significantly decreased. This means that the overall cost is often more reasonable than anticipated.

3. Scalability

Scalability is a game-changer with custom software. Your business is not set in stone; it grows and evolves over time. Off-the-shelf software may lack the necessary flexibility and scalability required for long-term success. With custom software, you have the opportunity to build a flexible foundation that can adapt and grow along with your business. So, you see, it's an investment that can save you money in the long run!

4. Maintenance and Support

When considering the cost of custom software, it's crucial to factor in ongoing maintenance and support. While there may be initial costs for bug fixes and updates, having a dedicated support team to address any issues can significantly reduce downtime and associated costs in the long term. Peace of mind is priceless!

5. Return on Investment (ROI)

Let's talk about the ultimate goal - return on investment. Viewing the cost of custom software development in terms of its potential ROI is crucial. Custom software can streamline your business operations, enhance productivity, and give you a competitive advantage. Over time, it can deliver significant financial benefits by improving efficiency and reducing manual work. It's like having a secret weapon to save costs in other areas of your business. This is the key secret that big businesses use when deciding to build their own bespoke systems - in reality over time, it quickly pays for itself - a rare feat most off the shelf systems never achieve, but Custom software ROI typically returns within the first 6 months of operation.

Finding the Right Balance

Now that we've explored the factors influencing the cost, it's essential to find the right balance that aligns with your business objectives and budget. Don't fall into the trap of choosing the cheapest option without considering the long-term implications. Instead, focus on selecting a reputable software development partner who provides transparent pricing, clear communication, and a proven track record of successful projects. Remember, quality matters!

So How Expensive Is Custom Software? Here's some Examples

Okay so we've covered different things that influence price in a broad sense. But what about some real world examples? We'll cover some off below taken from Atreons Open Pricing Model which is one of the UKs bespoke software providers

Internal management system from £3,000

Imagine in your business you have lots of internal tools you already use, including data spread out amongst various spreadsheets. A single system to manage all of this information might not cost as much as you think - In fact having a base system up and running that your employees can login to can cost as little as £3,000

Advanced automated reporting From < £1,000

Suppose you have business reports you regularly spend hours building and maintaining - Providing data access exists then a simple automated solution to let you view and manage this data can cost less than £1,000 ! Really the complexity here is all about how easy it is to gather the data automatically, to then build those reports. Imagine the hours spent each week chasing data around and building visualisations - gone in a heartbeat. With the data at your fingertips, you'll find yourself making more data-led decisions a breeze.


A CRM System itself can be a large project, however you might find that actually your business would benefit the most from some automations first and foremost. This could include automated email responses, triggering campaigns based on certain criteria or automatically populating customer data with various industry data. It really is all at an affordable price for any business.

MInimum Viable Product (MVP) Avg. £5,000

Got an idea you need to take to market? This one really varies depending on the product and complexity. However it could run as low as £1,000 or up into the tens of thousands - This one is ultimately all about what is the definition of your MVP? What features does it critically need, which doesn't it. You can help shave off costs, or add them on depending on exactly what your definition of success is.


In conclusion, custom software development may not be as expensive as you initially thought. By understanding the factors that influence the cost and weighing them against the potential return on investment, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals. Custom software is an investment in the future of your business, providing you with a tailor-made solution that can transform your operations and keep you ahead in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

So, don't let the misconception of custom software being an extravagant expense hold you back. Embrace the power of custom software and discover how it can revolutionize your business without breaking the bank!

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