Looking for an app developer? Consider these priorities, says DCBank

If you want to incorporate an app or an API in your company’s ecosystem, Jeff Smith, President and CEO of DCBank, suggests focusing on a few key elements: “The number one thing is user experience (UX) –– make sure there’s the fewest number of keystrokes possible,” he says. “Then there’s the experience of your app developer, and their ability to clearly understand the problem you’re trying to solve.” 

DCBank is a Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform that helps financial institutions and FinTech entrepreneurs with their digital payments (including the transfer of funds), card services, digital wallets, identity and lending software. 

The company goes beyond just offering online banking services, though. Clients are also provided with access to API developer tools, which allow them to have full control over the DCBank products they are engaging. 

What is an API? An Application Programming Interface (API) allows two apps to communicate and share data.

It’s no surprise that user experience is a top priority for the online bank, considering the main purpose of many of their applications and APIs is to offer more services to clients in an easy and accessible way –– while empowering them to embed those services in their own technology, says Smith. 

Creating best-in-class APIs that deliver seamless UX is heavily dependent on the second priority he mentioned — working with a seasoned app developer. 

When Smith was searching for a company to build custom applications, his expectations were clear: He wanted an experienced team that was client-focused, and one that would clearly understand and deliver solutions to a problem, not just build an app. Smith also wanted a team that could deliver on budget and on time.

Some other questions DCBank considered during its search included:

  1. Will this developer have the ability to replicate the app or API solution across multiple platforms?
  2. How many apps are required?
  3. What’s the strength and position of teams involved in the building of these apps? 

Smith says he found all the development support he was looking for with Vog App Developers.

“I’m still using Vog and it’s been five years,” he says. “I don’t use anybody else.” 

The first project that Vog worked on for Smith was building and launching new features for a cryptocurrency application. 

“The first objective was to get the app online and offer the ability to purchase cryptocurrency from a mobile app versus having to go to a computer,” explains Smith. “It was the first app of its kind in Canada.” 

Vog continues to provide ongoing monthly support and development for that application, adding new coins, making changes to the environment, updating policies, managing iOS updates, and more. 

After the success of the cryptocurrency initiative, Smith engaged Vog to build out applications and APIs for DCBank’s core services. With these, the goal was to make the tools more accessible, thus enabling easier integration for customers. 

Vog also provided advisory support so the platform can duplicate or resell services without needing to rebuild a new app each time.

Having an external development team that could be depended on for deliverability and speed is even more important today, as the impact of COVID-19 increases use and expectations of digital banking services, says Smith. 

“The pandemic has pushed the requirement for non face-to-face transactions that can occur wherever, such as a business owner doing payments from their iPad,” Smith says. “That has pushed demand ahead five to seven years, so we’re trying to deliver a better interface on a more expedited basis.”

With double-digit growth annually for the past several years, DCBank works hard to meet those demands, says Smith. 

When it comes to return on investment (ROI), Smith says it’s measured differently depending on the function of each individual app. His team has seen value from improved user experience and customer satisfaction, contract renewals, and additional services that are offered to customers.

As for the cryptocurrency application Vog first built for Smith?

“The ROI for that app was multiple thousands,” he says.

How much does it cost to build an app?

It’s the question we get asked more than any other. 

Yes, we get asked what business needs are driving app development, and we are often asked what a company needs to do to make an app successful. But above all else, the six words we get most often are: How much does an app cost?

While there are some general ranges you can plan for (see below), the short answer is that it depends on the features you need and the complexity of the app.

In this article we’ll cover the primary considerations that drive cost for custom app development. If you’re looking for specific pricing for an app for your company, contact us and we can provide a quote specific to your business.

Variable cost elements

Considering the many functionalities and features that determine the ultimate price of an app, it’s important to discuss variable details with a developer. Variables include: timeline, payment expectations, server and operational needs, as well as any potential extra charges that might arise.

Your developer should also work with you to determine how future costs can be reduced based on your specific needs, he says. 

There are cases where server costs can be mitigated by making sure an app doesn’t pull on the server all the time. Implementing something like Amazon Web Services (AWS) can also lower operating costs. Or in the case where a business needs to move a lot of data, data transfer can be optimized to lower cost.

Of course the price of labour is also a factor to consider. Many firms outsource much of the actual development work done on apps. In 2019, the global outsourcing market was worth $92.5 billion, according to Statista, and cost reduction is the primary reason why companies farm out labour, says a Deloitte survey

Vog does not outsource any of its labour because quality control is easier to manage in-house and many clients prefer to engage directly with the people who are working on their app.

If you’ve been quoted what seems to be a too-good-to-be-true price for an app, you should ask your developer where it’s being built and how quality control, security, and client service will work once the process starts. 

A tactic among some lower-quality app developers is to quote low to win business, and then skip over details, QA, and security requirements in the process. Vog has been brought in to multiple projects in order to fix code written by other developers when projects were outsourced or critical components were skipped. It’s ultimately cheaper to do it right the first time.

And if you’ve been quoted $20,000 or $30,000 for what you think should be a comprehensive app, the developer you’ve found is likely offshoring or cutting corners. 

If you’re looking for specific pricing for an app for your company, contact us and we can provide a quote specific to your business.

Payment and financing options 

Other common cost-related questions include payment timelines and financing options. Each developer is going to have her or his own payment guidelines. At Vog, we are flexible with clients so we might bill them in sprints, or if a client pays 30 percent upfront, they can then pay off the balance in monthly payments.

Financing is also an option through a partnered financial institution. The nice thing about going with financing is that your term can be over the course of up to 72 months, so you can finance your software for the long term.

This can be particularly helpful if a client is engaging the developer for a support contract, after their app has been built and launched. Support or maintenance fees typically range from $1,000 to $10,000 a month, primarily just based on hours required and if a team is going to be dedicated to your account.

Annual maintenance or support contracts will typically cover:

  • Server hosting charges
  • Maintaining stability and performance
  • Bug fixes and app updates
  • Developing new features 
  • Infrastructure and 3rd party API charges

All the factors that determine the final cost of your application –– not to mention ongoing support fees ––  might seem overwhelming. But a savvy and efficient developer should walk you through the variables and options available early on in the development planning phase, and help you access the best value for your project.

If you’re looking for specific pricing for an app for your company, contact us and we can provide a quote specific to your business.

Cost ranges for application development

Some examples of specific factors that influence an app’s price tag include: 

  • Moving data to a cloud environment for access and use within an app.
  • The number of platforms the app will live on (web, iOS, Android).
  • How it will use hardware features built into your smartphone, including GPS, augmented reality, and motion coprocessors.
  • Social media platform integration.
  • The complexity of the visual objects included in the application.
  • The level of support or ongoing maintenance it will need.

In general, apps and price ranges will typically fall into three overarching ranges:

Simple app pricing

Producing a simple app that provides basic features and perhaps two to four core functionalities, will typically cost between $60,000 to $100,000.

Standard app pricing

If you start building integrations with other platform providers that necessitate using APIs from platforms like Stripe or Google, this compounds the cost. The average price for creation of this type of iOS or Android app — that potentially includes a web component as well — is typically between $150,000 and $200,000.

Advanced app pricing

If the complexity of the app is more advanced and requires a platform to engage a more expansive set of user groups that also require different or complicated interactions, for example, then it typically costs between $200,000 and $500,000.

If you’re looking for specific pricing for an app for your company, contact us and we can provide a quote specific to your business.

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