How much will my project cost?

Great question. We tackle it head-on down below.

Contact us to discuss your next software project

Feel free to call or email us with your ideas and questions.

  • Grand Rapids

    +1 616 776 6020

    Parking Instructions

    The main parking lot is in the rear, or North side of our building and can be accessed from either Wealthy or Diamond. Additional space is available across Diamond or on Wealthy Street in front.

    Grand Rapids Address

    Atomic Object
    941 Wealthy Street SE
    Grand Rapids, MI

  • Detroit

    +1 313 444 6010

    Parking Instructions

    There are several flat-fee private parking lots available across from the office on Randolph Street. Metered street parking is available on Randolph and adjacent streets. Covered parking can be found one block away at the Opera House parking structure.

    Detroit Address

    Atomic Object
    1407 Randolph, Suite 300
    Detroit, MI

  • Ann Arbor

    +1 734 887 6020

    Parking Instructions

    Metered street parking is available on Washington, Liberty, Fourth, and Fifth. There are also three public parking structures within a short walk of the office: at Fourth & Washington, on Fifth Ave. between Liberty and William, and at Fourth & William.

    Ann Arbor Address

    Atomic Object
    206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200
    Ann Arbor, MI

How much will my project cost?

We can't answer this question responsibly until we understand your idea, business, market, users, etc. While we can't tell you exactly what your project will cost, we can draw on the 500+ projects we've done since 2001, and tell you what's typical for the projects we're best suited to help you with.

Our sweet spot

Atomic designs and builds custom software products. We're a great fit for projects where user experience is critical, and one or more of the technology domains of web, mobile, embedded, or desktop are required.

Projects like these tend to be large, or complex, or both. They take a lot of time, and so they cost a lot of money. That in turn means they need to be able to generate a lot of revenue, or possibly save a lot of money. Most of the projects we tackle are on the revenue side of a profit & loss statement, i.e. they grow your business in some way and generate revenue.

Can I count on the budget?

Yes. Our business engagements are fixed budget, scope control meaning we'll help you develop a responsible budget, and we'll stick to it. Since we've never worked with people who have fewer ideas than they have money or time, our job is to figure out the best possible software product we can build for the given budget. That requires thoughtful understanding of the users and the market, and control of the scope of the project, both in depth (polish, refinement, complexity) and breadth (features, functionality).

Some common project types

Many of the projects we do fit in one of the buckets below. There are exceptions, of course, but these are common.

Web or mobile utility (does a few simple things well)
Prototype or demo software
Mobile app that compliments existing full-featured web product
Basic new product, existing product rewrite,
or first phase of complex product
Complex, multi-phase product

How do you bill?

While we work to a fixed budget, we track our time and invoice our clients by the hour. We feel this is the most transparent and straightforward way to bill you. If a member of your team is sick, or attends a conference, your project will have less time put into it, and your invoice for that week will be smaller.

How much?

Here are ballpark figures for the common projects I mentioned previously :

Web or mobile utility (does a few simple things well) 50k-75k USD
Prototype or demo software 25k-50k USD
Mobile app that compliments existing full-featured web product 75k-250k USD
Basic new product, existing product rewrite,
or first phase of complex product
150k-300k USD
Complex, multi-phase product 250k-750k+ USD

Building the right thing

It's not enough to build your product right. We can also help you determine the right thing to build.

We begin every project with a Research, Design, and Planning (RDP) engagement. The time and cost for RDP varies widely. For Atomic, the work of RDP is not an end to itself. We do just enough RDP to responsibly launch implementation with a product design that increases your chance of market success.

RDP costs are included in the bucket estimates we show above.

We can also offer you a separate RDP engagement to help refine or research an idea, to prepare a detailed project plan, or to create artifacts that assist with fund raising or board approval. These sorts of separate RDP engagements run from 20k to 40k+ USD depending on scope, scale, and the nature of the product.

How long?

A typical small team for the projects we work on is one or two developers and one designer. A large team for Atomic is six to eight people.

For a rough approximation of project duration, you can take the estimates above and divide by 35 hours for each person on the team. For example, a 1200 hour project takes approximately 3 months of calendar time for a team of 3 people (1200 hours / (3 people * 35 hours/person/week) / 4 weeks/month = ~ 3 months).

On large projects we're able to add people and go faster. That's quite an amazing thing, actually, and not something every team or company can do. Growing the team obviously requires we have additional employees available since we don't use contractors.

Icerberg illustration: top 15% is from scratch, remaining is off-the-shelf

Everything from scratch?

Atomic teams get incredible leverage from open source and proprietary tools, libraries, frameworks and indeed entire projects. We program from scratch only the parts that make your project custom and valuable. If you measure the amount of code we write, versus the total code we use, it's a tiny portion of the whole. The picture below gives you an idea of of the leverage we get for our clients.

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