The 7 Biggest Factors That Affect Your App Development Costs

Adamo Digital Co., Ltd
  • Date Published
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  • Reading Time 6-Minute Read

Building an app is a costly process. Budget mostly decides an app’s qualification. So, checking the cost to build an app before starting is important.

Outsourcing mobile application development or building an app by your in-house team is a costly process. Budget mostly decides an app’s qualification. Therefore, checking how much it will cost to build an app before starting is important. It can help you to plan a development strategy and avoid additional fees. Here are the 7 biggest things that affect the cost.

App Functions and Their Complexity

The number of functions and their complexity affects time, budget and the size of the development team. Generally, the price will go higher regarding the level of the app: simple, little bit complex or highly complex. Thus, you need to answer a list of questions to define the scope of the project. How many functions must be installed, how many app versions to release, would you like to test your design or check the quality. Here are the different things between simple, little bit complex and highly complex app:

  • Simple and a Little Bit Complex Apps: Apps require smaller investment such as apps used for a niche business, e-commerce apps or booking apps. These apps generally have personal user accounts, comments mode, social media integration, and payment system.
  • Highly Complex Apps: Enterprise-wide support apps or global-scaled apps are considered as highly complex apps. These apps require a lot of screens real-time synchronization, interactivity, any bases of integration, offline mode and many other features.

On the other hand, up-to-date technologies such as AR, animations, voice recognition can boost your development costs.

The Size of the Development Team

The development process includes four stages: strategy, design, engineering, and growth. A basic team with a developer, project manager, QA engineer, and UI/UX designer is enough for a simple app. In cases of the highly complex app, an extended team including project manager, developers (two to four members), UI/UX designer, QA engineer, Panel Designer, Admin, and Backend Developer will be better. Thus, you have to pay more for an extended team. The cost may be higher if you don’t have an in-house team.

Also, mobile app development is a very specific field. If your team’s experience doesn’t relate to mobile, you can use your team to build a mobile app for financial reasons. However, this may take times because your team will struggle to learn themselves. Outsourcing a dedicated software development team may be another suggestion which can save your budget and time compared with using an in-house team without mobile app development experience.


Determining which platform to choose is difficult since there are a lot of app-powered devices like smartphone, virtual assistants or IoT products. Thus, to avoid wasting money, choosing a platform depends mostly on your target audience and their mobile devices.

  • Android, iOS, and Windows Phone: these three platforms rely on users’ smartphone. For example, if your customers use Apple devices only, you can develop your app on the iOS platform only. The same situation happens to Android and Windows Phone. These platforms are quick and cost-effective but require a lot of approaches for different versions. For instance, Android fragmentation can make it difficult to guarantee your apps work well for each unique piece of hardware. This happens because there are over 18.000 screen sizes running on Android.
  • Native Platform: In cases of targeting the maximum audience who uses different mobile devices, it’s better to build your app on Native platform. This platform provides more custom-designed features and premium products so it is quite more expensive. Also, the development process requires more time and investment but the result will be better.
  • Cross-Platform Technology: The newest platform to use. Cross-Platform technology is similar to Native platform but it works faster, easier to improve with lower costs.


Integration including standard functions from the operating system and features from the third party waste more money during the building process. However, it will save your time and budget in the long-term period. There are three types of integrations:

  • Standard Integrations: These integration points are available on the operating system itself. For example, GPS on your mobile devices or a sharing widget on iOS/Android platform.
  • Third-Party Integrations: They are external integrations which drive up your development budget. Third-party integrations include complex backend systems such as Salesforce, SAP, Sharepoint, etc. Generally, they are more expensive than standard integrations so you should build an MVP-style lean app development approach to reduce these integrations to a minimum to cut down cost.
  • API Integration: APIs allow two apps to communicate with each other. An API is a complementary backend to store data and content to expose the information for you. This is a must-be part of every app. To minimize the cost, you should not build your API at the same time as the app. Instead of that, it is more efficient to finish the API before developing the app.

Visual Objects

Complex UI elements such as real-time 3D graphics, animations, and complex visual transitions cost a lot of money, compared with 2D graphics and ordinary images. Each element owns the engineering costs to implement one object. However, adding too many complex visual objects can slow down the whole system so you need to be careful before using them.

Data Security and Encryption

Since all technologies are easily attacked, security and encryption are expensive but unreplaceable factors in both simple and complex apps. However, you may waste much more money than that to repair mistakes causing from security gap, viral infection, malware attack or system attacks. Thus, investing wisely from the start of the project will save a big sum of money in the future.

Quality, Testing and Maintenance Cost

To guarantee your app’s qualification, you need to pay for quality checking and testing. This is to find out bugs or errors check whether they meet customer’s demand or not. Also, these processes help you to evaluate the success of the app’s features and performance. Therefore, you should finish these processes before bringing your app to the market. Testing and running app at the same time may cause a higher additional fee.

Another fee which should be planned from the beginning to avoid additional expense is maintenance cost. This will include new features, up-to-date technologies, and security approach. Planning maintenance cost at least once a year not only guarantees your app’s benefits but also minimize your development cost.

Now, let’s make an idea for your app and plan to save the cost!