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How much for a chatbot? (Part 1)

photo by frankieleon on Flickr

Chatbots become more and more popular. The companies, interested in this trendy technology, sooner or later ask a natural question: “How much”?
The range of answers is astonishingly wide: starting with $0 and up to $100 000+.
So, what influences the price of chatbot development?

1. Functional components of the chatbot project
2. The rates of a company or a platform hired or used for bot building.


Functional components of the chatbot project


The main reason why there is no ready answer to a question “how much for a chatbot?” is that you have to measure the amount of work
It comes natural, that the bot showing contact info and photo gallery is several times cheaper than the bot for a large online shop which can search for items, process orders and receive payments, track delivery, notify about promotions, and entertain a customer with a small talk in the meanwhile.

Here are the main factors forming the price of the chatbot project

  • Dialogues development
  • Admin panel (Dashboard)
  • Interaction channels
  • Integration
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Back end

To develop each of the functional components, a certain number of man hours is required.
For illustrative purposes, we provide the approximate cost of each component based on rates of our company.
To calculate the cost of other companies’ services, multiply the quantity of man hours, required to accomplish the task, by the rates of a certain development company. The rates differ depending on the region, experience, and marketing position of the given company.


Dialogues development


Why do you need a chatbot? Which business processes should it automate? Which functions should it perform? After elaboration of these questions, factual patterns and conversational scenarios provided by the company that orders a bot, conversational flow chart is created.
It takes from 6 to 28 hours of work. The price starts from $100.
Sometimes, Technical Specification of chatbot project is required.
Specification includes:

  • a detailed description of chatbot functionality,
  • chatbot prototype,
  • a detailed description of dashboard functionality (if there is a dashboard in the given chatbot project),
  • admin panel prototypes,
  • development and testing requirements,
  • deployment requirements,
  • development methodology.

Such specification writing takes about 5-6 working days, which includes consultations and discussions with customer, and confirmation. Technical Specification costs $400 – $600


Admin panel (Dashboard)


The dashboard allows chatbot management: adding content, broadcasting, viewing subscribers and analytics. Not every chatbot project requires admin panel, and its functionality may differ.
On average, admin panel development takes 68-96 hours and costs $1700-2400.


Interaction channels


Should a chatbot interact with users on a website, over SMS, in a messaging app? In which messaging app or apps – Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram, Kik?
As a rule, connecting additional messaging app takes from 38 hours and costs from $1200 (adaptation, interface elaboration).
Adding a website widget will cost from $1700, and SMS – from $1700-2500




  • with Customer’s information systems and services, CRM, ERP, data base, email-marketing systems — from 48 hours and $1400
  •  with third-party apps (Google services, Wikipedia, search systems, news portals, etc.) – providing they have open APIs in English — from 46 hours and $1200
  • with a payment system — from 30 hours and $800


Natural Language Processing/Understanding


Natural Language Processing allows processing requests input by a user in Natural Language (text or voice). Not every chatbot needs it. In many cases, all necessary functions can be implemented without NLP/NLU.
In case, when the NLP is required, it is, as a rule, carried out by means of integration with external NLP services, such as IBM Watson, Microsoft LUIS, Wit.ai, and Api.ai. Depending on the project, services connection can take from 18 hours, but after connection, the system should be trained, It takes at least 120 hours. If the training is carried out by the Customer side, external NLP services integration price starts from $1000. If the developing company is in charge of training, the price will start from $6 000.


Back end


It is a part, invisible to users. It connects all the previously mentioned components and enables chatbot functioning. It includes tasks performed while chatbot interacts with a user: information sending, searching for tickets for given dates in an agency database, search for information about products, delivery, placing an order, payment process and so on.
The back end for the simplest chatbot, without integration and a dashboard, including only dialogues with buttons (a chatbot similar to an online business card), takes from 51 hours and costs from $1200.
Back end for a standard chatbot with a dashboard, integration, for 1 or 2 messaging apps will take from 144 hours and cost from $3000.

In addition to functional components, specialists estimating a chatbot project price take into consideration:

  •  deadlines;
  • after-launch support requirements;
  • the choice of technologies: if you want developers to use certain technologies or programming languages, it can be more expensive than letting developers pick the optimal languages and tools.


Totally, a simple chatbot without a dashboard can be built in a week (a little longer than 56 hours) and cost from $1300 (with Singularika rates). A chatbot for one interaction channel with technical specification and a dashboard, with CRM integration, will be ready in about a month (270 working hours) and cost $7400.


But what about a chatbot for $0, mentioned in the beginning of this post?!
That’s the matter of rates, which, as we have told before, differ significantly in various companies and on various platforms.
It is explained in greater detail in the second part of our article.

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