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How are app development costs estimated?

We do estimates using the agile method, where an app is broken down into:

• Concepts
• Stories
• Story points

Concepts are the sum of all the features described in the previous section. Stories are the features required to make the concept come to life. Story points factor into velocity, aka how long it takes to get built. 

Once we understand the concept of an app and match it to features, we can break that down int stories with estimated story points/velocity. This will tell us how much time and resources are required to build the app, which represent the bulk of the cost. 

Why initial estimates often go under

There are two reasons why apps cost more than estimated:

Bait-and-switch development shops that purposely give you a low number to get you in the door, then start charging you for every line of code. 
The scope increases as the project develops.

We are extremely diligent in our estimates, which means transparency for clients and a simple understanding of what they can expect for a project. We don’t have to worry about.

Entrepreneurs want to make the best possible product. As the app comes alive, they play around with it, show their friends — and the scope naturally increases. You get new ideas and expand the vision of the app. This is the best and worst part about custom software development: the continued ideation and tinkering that leads to an amazing product.

When the scope changes, you have three options:

Swap features: if you get a new idea, does it make sense to replace with a prior one? This way you keep the same scope — and costs. 

Pay extra: If you want to have your cake and eat it, too, we estimate the cost of the additional feature and then build it. 

Drop: When you revisit the overall scope, you might decide that the new features simply aren’t worth it at this stage.

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