How Much Does It Cost To Develop a Product?

July 4, 2024

Embarking on a product development journey is an exciting venture, but it's natural to start thinking about the associated costs. High-level product design can be expensive and daunting. Understanding the financial landscape of product development is crucial before using cost as the deciding factor when choosing your collaborators. Having the right mindset and working with the right team are key to maximizing your return on investment. In this blog, we aim to help you grasp the value of your investment and highlight the critical factors which are just as important as cost when choosing who to work with.

Working with the right people

Embarking on a product development journey is a significant investment, whether you're an entrepreneur, startup, or established brand. The most critical first step is focusing your mind on choosing the right people to bring your idea to life. The team you select will decide your chances of achieving commercial success so its not a decision to make lightly.

In the initial stages of choosing a design partner, avoid making decisions based solely on cost. To maximize your ROI, it's crucial to collaborate with the right people and invest appropriately in your project. Instead of seeking a consultancy that will act as your "yes men," making decisions without considering future ROI (typically this is what you get when you take a cheaper route), look for a team that challenges your ideas, asks tough questions, and uncovers innovative opportunities you may have overlooked, all with the goal of optimizing your return on investment.

At FLYNN, this is our top priority. Every design decision we make is evaluated for its impact on your ROI, ensuring you have the best chance at commercial success. We won't let you pursue an idea if we see it has a low chance of success. Instead, we'll work with you to optimize it, infusing it with the DNA needed to thrive in the market.

High-level product design requires investment, and it can seem expensive at first glance. However, we understand this. We are committed to ensuring that your investment translates into significant returns.

Getting the right mindset

We understand that the level of investment can be daunting, but this apprehension often comes from not fully appreciating the value of proper investment. Many clients approach it with the wrong mindset, not considering how this initial investment can significantly enhance their potential for high returns in the future.

So, as your considering “What does it cost to develop a product?”

You should think of it like this;

“What is the real cost to me, if I decide not to bother developing the product?”


“Am I injuring my project that has potential for high investment value by cutting corners on this initial cost?”

You need to consider the cost of lost potential from working with the wrong team, having the wrong mindset, and taking the wrong approach. High level product design consultancies will always be focused on maximizing your return on investment, especially in the initial proposal stage where quotes are generated. This is a stage we put significant effort into, ensuring we tailor the project exactly to the clients needs and we provide a quote which is sufficient to give your product the best chance at commercial success.

Building in value from the start

To create optimized proposals and ensure projects have the best chance of success from the start, we conduct startup workshops and discovery audits for established brands. Your brief sets the boundaries for your project, so it's crucial that it is refined and doesn't limit your products potential. We dive deep into your business and the problem you're aiming to solve, leveraging our external perspective to uncover untapped potential and optimize the brief.

There's nothing worse than investing time and money into a project only to discover six months later that a competitor has found a better solution. Our goal in these sessions is to explore every angle so the solution we take into development is optimal and the risk is minimized. By the end of the session, we have a well-defined product specification and a clear understanding of the project's requirements. This detailed specification informs our quote, it lets us know what level of investment the project will need to reach its full potential.

We receive excellent feedback on these sessions and have consistently seen their benefits play out. For more details on how these sessions can optimize your project's success and to book a session, visit our Workshops and Discovery page.

We began conducting startup workshops and discovery audit sessions because we identified common factors leading to product failure, which can be avoided by investing time upfront to optimize the brief and develop a robust product specification. The image above highlights the five key questions we address during these sessions to maximize your project's chances of success.

Understanding your investment

Understanding return on investment is crucial when evaluating the costs involved in product development. One of the biggest challenges we see in clients understanding ROI is their own imagination. When you receive a quote, and it comes down to an analysis on front loaded cost vs output, most clients will end up limiting their projects potential by not seeing the extra value from a higher investment. This stems from most clients not fully appreciating or understanding the value of the output at this early stage, because what a high level consultancy does is exceed the client's imagination.

A common problem we encounter is that what we are selling does not yet exist at this proposal stage, it exists only in our minds. This creates a challenge in conveying its value, and if clients don't understand this value, they can't accurately assess their potential ROI. So there needs to be an element of trust between a product design consultancy and their client.

To bridge this gap, we emphasize the importance of a collaborative partnership. We work closely with our clients to ensure they understand the vision and potential of the proposed product. By fostering a transparent and communicative relationship, we help our clients see beyond the initial costs and envision the substantial long-term benefits. An extra 20% investment at the start can translate to a significantly higher percentage return in the future.

At FLYNN, our client relationships are everything, and we make sure that every investment you make is aimed at unlocking greater value. Your success is our success, so you know our goals are always aligned. You can trust that our quotes reflect what we believe is required to generate maximum value in the product and maximum return on investment.

The value of investing in high level design

Part of optimizing clients return on investment comes from guiding them to the right path. Its easy for clients to become blinded by their initial idea and this can lead sub-par products being developed.

We often see clients leaving untapped potential on the table because they are constrained by their own initial perceptions of what they need. For example, clients might approach us thinking they only need a prototype or a specific solution they’ve envisioned, without exploring other possibilities. The value of hiring a high-level product design consultancy lies in our ability to envision new product ideas and business opportunities that may not yet exist in the client's mind. Our goal is to tap into the core market and achieve greater market traction with a superior product solution, often surpassing the client's original concept.

This is why we conduct our workshops and discovery audits, and why they work so well. These sessions ensure that what we develop is the best version it can be.

Value based costing

Costing a project isn’t just about time and materials. When clients see it that way, they might think they can cut corners by hiring a university team or a freelancer. However, if you want high-impact ideas that truly affect your bottom line, it’s essential to recognize the value in the output and the commercial potential of the collaboration. High-potency design for business demands an investment in expertise that can deliver significant results.

Consider this: if an idea takes two hours to create, does that justify a lower cost compared to one that took two months to develop, even if the two-hour idea has the potential to generate a much higher ROI? Value is not a time-based commodity, so the cost of high-level product development should not be viewed as such but be viewed in terms of the value you are receiving for your investment and the future commercial success it can generate.

We often say a product can never be better than its brief, just as a goldfish can never outgrow its bowl. That’s why the proposal stage is so fundamental and intrinsically linked to price. Through our startup workshops and discovery audit sessions, we align ourselves with our clients, gaining a deep understanding of the problems they aim to solve, their business goals, and their motivations for starting this venture. The proposal stage and the brief set the boundaries for the entire project and can mean the difference between success and failure.

Techball - Developed by FLYNN Product Design for Liverpool Football Cub. A first off its kind camera football that captures the perspective from the ball as its being kicked. Used for marketing campaigns by Liverpool football this award winning product was the result of some highly technical product design. We worked diligently to ensure we exceeded expectations, going as far as developing a new polyurethane material and casting process to achieve the performance we wanted.

Working to your budget

Project costing doesn't follow a strict formula, and no two projects are the same. That’s why we always tailor our quotes not just to the project's needs but also to the client's specific situation. Our proposal process leads to product development journeys optimized for success and provides a quote that reflects the level of investment needed to achieve that success. However, we understand that this investment can be significant, so we like to work within the client’s budget.

This doesn’t mean cutting corners to lower the price, which would hurt your chances of commercial success. Instead, it means adjusting the development journey to meet the client's needs without limiting the product's potential. For example, for entrepreneurs and startups with limited funds, we might suggest an initial, investment generation phase instead of a full product development process. This involves generating initial concepts, creating investment materials like product renders, and developing proof-of-concept prototypes. The goal is to develop the idea just enough to intrigue investors and build confidence in the concept. This allows clients to start the project with lower funds and then use the work from this initial phase to secure the full investment needed to develop the product to manufacture.

To conclude, whatever way you look at it, costing a product is only really feasible once we have spent a good amount of time in a reciprocal discovery process with the client. Reviewing the problem they are trying to solve, what they current idea on what their current solutions look like and how we can help them change the game.

So, if you’re thinking about starting a product development journey we’d love to hear about your idea and discover how we can make that journey happen. Book a free discovery call here to start the process.

We provide businesses with product design consultancy, industrial design, prototype design & related services.

Schedule your free meeting today and give us our next challenge !

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