How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?

  • Date Published
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Our article presents the know-how for calculating the cost of application development.

The global market of mobile apps is showing no sign of cooling down, and the eternal question of how much does it cost to make an app becomes more than actual. Without knowing the detailed answer to this question, one cannot decide to pursue the idea to develop a mobile app.

The following article is a know-how guide to calculate app development cost as well as to clearly understand the factors that affect it and effective app development management tricks to avoid unplanned spendings in the future.

Why Invest In Mobile App Development?

The Mobile app industry is evolving quickly, affected by technology advancements as well as consumer demands, and other major factors. It’s a fact now that without mobile-optimized solutions businesses will lose a significant part of their clients and sink under the pressure of competitors. 3.5 billion Smartphones and 1.35 billion tablets worldwide force companies to think about mobile app development seriously. Studies show that over 90% of mobile time is spent on various apps by an average American mobile user, who used to check the smartphone every 12 minutes. According to App Annie, the user base of the mobile app ‎market will reach 6.3 billion by 2021, leading to more ‎spent hours and money, respectively 3.5 billion hours and ‎‎$1,008 per user by 2021.‎

App Development Costs in 2020

In general, there are no fixed prices for mobile app development – costs vary from zero (when you are the developer) to millions of dollars, depending on many factors, such as developers’ rates, app complexity, and time taken.

Skipping all the complicated details, an average mobile app development cost according to a Clutch survey is $171,450. According to online app cost calculators, the cost range of app with dozens of features varies between $200,000 and $350,000. Development companies’ prices vary from $100,000 to $500,000, however, if the app is small, with few basic features, the cost will vary from $10,000 to $50,000, which is affordable for many businesses.

Outsourcing vs in-House App Development

Before diving deep into app development cost calculation details, the business should decide whether to choose in-house or hire an outsourcing development team. Here are the pros and cons of each type:

Pros of an in-House Team:

  • proximity
  • face-to-face meetings
  • fast communication
  • deep project involvement

Cons of an in-House Team:

  • lack of talent
  • the need for huge initial investments

Pros of App Development Outsourcing:

  • huge talent pool
  • any level of expertise
  • lower rates
  • flexibility
  • no need to huge initial investments

Cons of Dev Outsourcing:

  • time zone differences
  • lack of personal control

Factors That Affect the Cost of App Development

Several factors highly affect the cost of app development.

Native vs Hybrid

The first thing you should think about is to decide about the development technique. The cost of development highly depends on whether you’ve chosen native or hybrid techniques. While native apps are designed for single platforms like iOS or Android, hybrids target multiple operating systems. Hence, from a big perspective, the business spends here less money in comparison with native ones, especially, when an app has both iOS and Android versions.

Android vs iOS

In the case of developing a native app, you should decide what platform to target – Android or iOS.

There is no big difference between the two OS development prices. Here, if your budget allows, you can target both markets.

UX and UI Design

Today the visual of the application is no less important than the functionality. UX/UI design cost is highly dependable on the number of screens, visuals complexity, the need for custom elements, and banding. UX/UI design services for application will cost $5,000 for 10-20 screens.

Backend Infrastructure and App Administration

Most apps need connected APIs, analytics systems, administration panel, etc. Such features mean higher costs.

Location and Structure of the Development Team

Development team physical location drastically affects the final cost of application development.

App Maintenance Costs

The expenses don’t end with development. You should know how much does it cost to maintain and support the application. Such a cost range is between $5,000 and $10,000 annually.

App Development Cost Calculator

Here is the formula to calculate the cost to build an app by yourself. Usually, app development companies have two charging approaches, depending on project size – Fixed charge and Time and material.

Why Companies Fail To Meet the Budget

The companies often fail to meet the budget, even when they’ve planned it long before the development started. Here is why:

Multi-platform support: Even if you’ve chosen a native development model, the support of other OS mustn’t be overlooked. This affects the whole development cost.

Marketing costs: Marketing is a vital part of application promotion in the app market. It is very important to plan a marketing budget before the app will be launched.

Integration of 3rd party services: Often development team concludes to integrate the app with third-party API, CRM, or other services. This affects the whole development cost.

App Development Cost Breakdown: Stages of Development

The full cycle of application development is divided into five stages, and depending on the vendor, are known as:

  • Analysis and planning
  • UX and UI design
  • Mobile app development
  • App testing and quality assurance
  • Ongoing maintenance and updates

According to Clutch, 70% of companies start app development with analysis and project planning. This includes business analysis, UX/UI design, and software architecture. This stage cost can vary from $5,000 to $25,000.

UX and UI design

During this phase, a user-friendly interface that is easy and comfortable to use is created. The app design cost varies between $5,000 and $50,000.

Mobile App Development

Usually, the cost range for app development is $5,000-$10,000 without a backend. Companies usually pay $20,000-$30,000 for app development.

App Testing and Deployment

The testing and quality assurance stage is one of the most important parts of the app development lifecycle. It ensures the proper quality and readiness of the app to be used without serious problems. The testing stage usually costs pay $5,000-$10,000 per app.

How Much Does It Cost To Build An App: Used Features Perspective?

NFC, Bluetooth, and other built-in capabilities highly impact time spent on development, and therefore costs.

User login: Depending on logic and complexity, it might take from 10 to 70 hours to implement them.

User engagement: Based on requirements the time spent on developing these features can vary from 25 to 145 hours.

Geolocation: This type’s features are used mainly in food delivery, map or taxi apps, and their implementation can take from 10 to 150 hours

Payments: The most popular gateways to use in your applications are Apple Pay, Google Pay, Stripe, PayPal, credit cards, Payoneer, etc. It can take from 20 to 200 hours to implement such functionality.

Cross-device synchronization: If you create an application that can be used on different devices, the development will take from 20 to 200 hours.

Data encryption: If you don’t want to have problems with GDPR and other regulations, you must include data encryption functionality to your application. Such implementation can take 10 to 80 hours based on the used protocols, level of protection, and your requirements.

Summing Up

After going through so much information, let’s sum up how to avoid unexpected expenses and stick to the set timeline.

  • Do Market research
  • Find a reliable app development vendor
  • Start with the first app version
  • Ensure ongoing
  • Get involved

We hope that this know-how guide will help you to build an excellent product that will reach millions of users worldwide and create value in the mobile application market.