The companies located in Silicon Valley set a minimum price of $30,000 for a pretty simple chatbot. A more advanced, top-line chatbot can cost as much as $150,000. According to Quora.com, the easy-built Facebook Messenger chatbot for small business marketing purposes costs from $3,000 to $5,000. Companies may spend upwards of $50,000 for such a chatbot to include customer tech support.
Why does it cost so much? Let’s do some simple maths to figure out. According to the Glassdoor, the average base pay of a software engineer in Silicon Valley is about $137,000. Additional benefits such as cash bonus, stock bonus, profit sharing and commission sharing are about $30,000 to $50,000. So the annual salary of a software engineer is at least $167,000. If we consider a normal full-time job with 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. The hourly rate will be $16,7000/40/52 = $80. Keep it in mind that $80 per hour is the rate the software company pays to its employee. To compensate for costs such as marketing, hardware, facility and operation and make profits, the charging rate has to be at least three to four times higher than the employee salary, which ends up at least $240 per hour. Even the freelancer software engineer will charge $250 – $850 per hour, depending on their experience level.
How many hours are usually needed to build a chatbot? Let’s take a look at what the estimated quote of chatbot development usually includes:
• Integration with one chat platform – the duration depends on bot complexity, but on average it takes 40-56 hours.
• Creation of a communication interface
• Command language user interpreter – depends on number of teams. On average it takes 40-56 hours.
• Natural language user interface – depends on number of teams. On average it takes 120-160 hours.
• Business logic
• Adaptation of existing business logic, if there already are web applications or APIs for mobile app. It depends on the amount of logic. On average it takes 120-160 hours.
• Creation of business logic from scratch. It depends on the amount of logic. On average it takes 160-192 hours.
The total hours of building a chatbot from scratch is at least 320 hours. However, the time can be significantly shortened with Google AI platforms. The machine learning and natural language processing algorithms have been ready for applications. We only need to focus on the chatbot structure and content.