The True Cost of Custom WordPress Plugin Development
Honestly, it depends. Not the answer you were looking for. That’s the most frustrating answer you can possibly get, isn’t it? It seems evasive, doesn’t give you a straightforward number, and you’re still stuck without any clarity. Here’s an honest answer, because anyone who knows what they are doing, having doing it before, will say…….because it’s true.
The cost of developing a custom WordPress plugin does depend on a lot of different factors. One could easily compare it to construction project. How much a building a house, depends on how big the house is, the area you are developing in, square footage etc. Estimating the cost of your plugin isn’t all that different.
So here are some clues to getting you closer to the goal : What is this going to cost me?
DOES AN EXISTING PLUGIN EXIST?
We have seen clients lose thousand of dollars, from dishonest developers, who simply will not admit that there already exist a plugin that is similar enough to do the job. It may not look exactly like you were hoping for, but is the functional goal achieved? That is the question.
YOU WANT WHAT YOU WANT....
Ok, fair enough. You want exactly what you envision. No compromise. No exception. Be prepared then to put out some capital to get that. There are steps you can take to reduce the price tag:
- Validate your Idea
- Draw out exactly what you envision and consult a developer to work out the details
- Figure out why this plugin would be better than the simular
- Negoiate with your developer. Sometimes a developer will be willing to reduce their overall billable, if you give them ownership of the code, so that they may list and sell the plugin directly themselves. You have an unlimited license for life, but they get to market it else where. It is called unlmited license – none exclusive.
WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE BILLING RATES?
If you’ve been anxiously waiting for a straightforward formula, it’s time for the big revelation!
TOTAL $ = Total Hours x Cost Per Hour
So really the factor is how much you are paying a developer per hour. Be warned though, cheaper per hour does not mean less money overall. An experienced developer will save your hours and hours of time.
Ball park, not an estimate, but an overall average cost of custom plugin developer runs about like this:
Low range: $5,000 – $8,000
This is really the least it’s ever going to cost. I’m talking about a small plugin that is only built for adding some minor features to your website. Not a core plugin, that you sell your product on, but some small features, usually behind the scenes kind of information.
Medium range: $8,000 – $25,000
Now you are looking at some important functionality. Features that a theme does not provide and yet are a key to the function of the site. If the concept is unique enough, you might be able to get the developer to lower the price by 30% if you give them ownership. That does not mean they will, but you can try.
Average range: $25,000 – $50,000
Yes, those first two ranges were just to make you feel better. If we’re talking about serious plugin development, your idea is likely to fall into this price range.
High range: $50,000 and above
In this range, are plugins that are unique and demand in-depth requirements analysis. They may have a very rich feature set and/or complex development work involved.
NOT WHAT YOU WERE HOPING FOR?
Contrary to public concepts, the web is not easy matter. Plugins have to work on hundreds of different devices and be compatible with multiple browsers. A good and experienced developer will know how to code it for best compatibility.
Ultimately, in the end, you get what you pay for. The technology you wanted, that just works…and thus happy viewer/customers.
CEO & Technical Director of Multimedia Designs, LLC, System Designer, Developer, Producer with 15+ years in the internet design and development space and 25+ years in the Software Development for the entertainment industry. Winner of the prestigious International Themed Entertainment Association award for interactive design. She holds a degree in Computer Engineering & Mathematics from California State University, Long Beach.