Custom software is software created to solve very specific problems in business. For example, when COTS (Commercial, off the shelf software) no longer solves the business problems it was purchased for, and there are no other software packages available that would solve the problem, without forcing to transform the way the company does business, it is time to create software that specifically addresses the issues.
The short answer is that it varies. Typical software development projects range from $5,000 for single-purpose programs and functionality, to $250,00 and up for full-featured applications. As the application grows in size (features and functionality), the cost of the project grows as well.
We have been building custom software apps, applications, and interfaces for over 33 year, and have a wealth of hands-on experience to help us know how long things take. Before estimating can happen, however, a study called a Scope and Requirements Study must be performed in order to list out the features and functionality required for the application. Once everyone is in agreement on what the program should do, how it should communicate, and it’s inputs and outputs, we can then begin to put the construction of components on a timeline for estimation.
IBM says: Custom software development is important because it helps meet unique requirements at a cost competitive with purchasing, maintaining and modifying commercial software. Custom software can be built to integrate with its intended environment.
The simple reason that software development is so expensive is because it takes a group of people to develop good software: software architect to design the system, software UX designer to create the look and feel, Database Administrator to manage the data, programmers to make the actions occur, and finally Quality Assurance Testers to make sure we deliver a solid, working application.