Apr 11, 2019

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App? Major Considerations and Breakdown

The popularity of mobile apps is going up today. And that is a well-known fact. 

What is not a well-known fact is how much does it cost to build a mobile app. Think about it for a second. Everyone keeps telling you how amazing the app market is today, and how there is an app for every scenario. And encouraged by their words, you go ahead with your application idea, without finding out anything about how much it is going to cost you. 

Getting into app development without knowing anything about the cost of development is going to be harmful to you and your business. But when you search on the internet about it, you will only get fragmented results on what affects the mobile software development process and some vague figures. 

Through this article, we are going to give you a detailed look at the factors affecting the cost of development that can give you a clear idea of what your budget should be. So without further ado, let’s start talking about the cost of making a mobile app.

Steps To Asses The Cost Of App Development

Here is a list of key factors that’ll affect the development cost. Take notes because we are going to talk about these in detail. 

So what are the key factors that are going to drive the price for the development of your app? Let’s have a look.

1. Determine The App Type

Before you think about “how to make an app?” think about “what is the type of my app?”.

Because the type of application is the first key factor that will affect the cost of development. Choosing the app type early is going to help you plan out the entire development journey complete with the cost estimation. 

As app owners, When it comes to choosing the type, you have two options. 

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid or cross-platform apps are built using a combination of native and web technologies. The creation and maintenance cost for these applications are comparatively low, and on top of that, they reach a larger audience than native or web apps. This is because a hybrid app can run on all OS like iOS, Android

Native Apps

The best way to achieve a balance between balance and performance through your mobile application is to choose a native approach. Built for specific operating systems, such as Android or iOS, these apps have different technological built as well as different software to build them. 

Because of the complexity of these applications, the price of development can be a lot higher than the above mentioned two. But despite the expenses, these apps are also high in demand among the users.

2. The Platform You Choose

This point is for those who chose the native approach. 

When you choose the native application development, you will be presented with another question-

Should you pick Android or iOS to build an app?

cost of mobile app development based on ios vs android
Source: https://www.mobileappdaily.com/

Now you will be tempted to create an Android and iPhone app, both at the same time because when you pick both, you will get access to a larger audience base. Right?

The assessment is accurate, however, it is not very future safe. When you work on the development of both platforms, you create a big risk for your business venture. The development process can get messy, and the average cost to make an app will increase more than necessary.

And that is why you need to choose a platform at the initial stage of development. However, before making this choice you need to keep in mind some extra factors so that the platform choice benefits your business. 

Market Share

Initially, it may have seemed like iOS was taking over the market with their exclusivity and special features. However, according to the below chart, as you can see, Android apps are currently ruling with a whopping 75% share of the global smartphone market. 

market share of cost of mobile app development
Source: https://gs.statcounter.com/

So if you aim to reach a higher number of users in a small amount of time, then you should go with Android as your preferred platform for application development.

Development Complexity

The complexity of development should be another factor you need to keep in mind when choosing between Android and iOS.

When faced with the question, remember the problem of fragmentation the developer might face with Android app development process. Android is an operating system that has a large range of smartphones built by many companies across the world. Developing an app that fits all the Android devices is something incredibly complex, and it is going to affect the cost of development. 

With iOS, you don’t have a similar problem, because the diversity of devices is not that large when it comes to iPhones. There are a limited number of devices that run on iOS and the OS is always updated to the latest version as well. So building an app for iOS is going to be easier than developing one for Android, and as you should know already, “easier = more affordable”.

Deployment Process

iOS apps may be faster and easier to develop, but they make up for it during the deployment process. 

By that we mean, when it comes to app launching on the app stores, iOS has a stricter approval process than google play store does. And on top of that, the Apple App Store will charge you an annual fee of $100 every year, while the Google Play Store is only going to charge you a one-time $25. When it comes to the app deployment process, deploying an Android app is going to be easier and more affordable for you than iOS. 

Revenue Generation

Last but not the least, you need to consider the kind of revenue you are going to make with your app. And when it comes to revenue, iOS is going to be a better choice for you than Android. According to the stats, Apple earned 93% more revenue from app downloads than Google play store on by the third quarter of 2018. So if generating revenues is your main aim with your app, then you should choose iOS. 

3. Functionality (What Does Your App Do?)

The functionality of your app means what your app does. For example, travel app development cost is going to be more than that of a simple clock app because of the difference between functionality.

This is the phase where you have to shortlist the app features and functionalities your app is going to showcase. The business logic behind your app will affect the complexity of your app, the audience for it, and ultimately the cost of development. So make sure that you figure out the proper functionality for your app. 

4. Design And Development

Design and development are the two pillars of the mobile application development process. These are the two steps for which you will have to do all your research, and without these two stages, all your planning and ideation is for nothing. 

how much does it cost to make an app with design and development
Creatively designed food app by Unified Infotech

The design can be a powerful element that convinces the user to install your app, and such a powerful design is going to cost you a fair bit. Employing a high-end designer will harvest more bucks than an inexpensive UI/UX designer. For your app, you have to choose a UI/UX designer who can appeal to the target demographic with their design skills. 

As for development, it is the most important part of the development process. This is the stage where the structuring, layout, etc all happens. When the development process is done robustly, it’ll do 50% of the work. Here, the cost slab is heaviest. It takes time, and the price keeps fluctuating depending on the software and programming language, and the kind of code used for the development process.

5. Testing Your App

To make your app truly flawless, it requires rigorous testing. With the testing process, you can be assured that your app is functioning the right way on different operating systems and devices. 

There are two ways you can test out your app- the automated testing, and manual testing. The cost of manual testing is a little higher than the cost of automated testing. But to make sure that your app is without any bugs, you have to invest in both kinds of testing. You might be tempted to cut out the testing phase from the entire development process to save time and money, but that will only make your app suffer.

6. Deployment Process

We have already mentioned previously that Google charges a one time fee of $25 while App store charges a $99 fee annually every year for publishing your app.however you should also know that on top of these expenses, if your app has an in-app payment mode, you will have to pay a 15% tax to both the major application stores for every purchase made on your app. 

The cost of deployment is easy to miss when you are developing an app, so make sure that you count these in when assessing the development cost.

7. Maintenance 

The maintenance cost is not something that is included in the average cost of developing a mobile app.. Maintenance and updates happen after the development is done with and the app is already launched into the market. But think about it this way- as app owners, the moment you get started with your software development process is the moment you sign up for these later costs as well. So it is better to consider them early rather than later. 

If you hire an agency to develop your app, they will charge the maintenance cost as a yearly prepaid amount.

Bonus Features That Might Drive Up The App Development Cost

Besides the stages and extra features, there are plenty of external factors that affect the cost of development for your mobile application. These factors are not going to be a direct part of the development cost, but at the same time, they will have significant influence over it. What are these factors? Let’s have a look. 

Use Of Third Party Services

Is your app functioning on its own? Do you have to use a third-party app development software to build the app? Or is it taking data from another service? Usually, most apps interact with third-party APIs, at the enterprise level. This adds to the cost in terms of periodic maintenance charges for the APIs.

So if your app is self-dependent then you can look into other factors. But in case your app uses any third-party SDK and tools or has third-party integration, be sure that it will contribute to your cost to develop an app.

Navigation System

When you install an app, one of the first things you want is smooth navigation. Surfing through pages, options, links should be convenient enough. Good navigation is a direct indication of a good user interface.

easy navigation for users defining cost of app development
We designed and developed the easy navigation for users

App creation cost for this feature incurred depends on the complexity and build. So make sure you spend a good amount of time deciding on the budget for this. It usually takes a minimum of 10 hrs and cost can vary depending on who you hire for the development of the app.

GPS

Many applications, especially taxi apps, dating apps, travel apps, etc have this feature as their defining traits. It depends of course on the type of app you want to develop, especially if it falls in the above-mentioned category.

location tracking with GPS for mobile app cost breakdown
How we created the advanced GPS tracking

With increasing population and urban diversity, geolocation has become more important with time. Such an innovative feature usually takes around 50 hrs to develop and integrate into the app.

Multilinguality

This is an important feature to consider if you want your app is made for cross-cultural usage. Many countries around the world would rather communicate in their native tongue rather than English, like the European countries of France, Spain, Italy. And that’s why if you want to reach all these countries with your application, you should consider multilingual functionality for your app. 

So, how much does it cost to make an app for integrating different languages? An app with language preference would be preferred more than if it strictly uses English as the only mode of communication. Plus your market share would increase exponentially. Working on this requires 15 hrs of development on the part of the app builders. 

Offline Facility

We don’t always have a data connection. Even with portable wifi devices, there might be problems with the connections. And that’s why you might need an offline facility in your app. 

how much does it cost to make an app for offline mode
Source: https://www.idownloadblog.com

If you want to be on the competitive edge you should consider this feature for your app. It would not only save your users from spending too much internet data, but it’ll also turn your app into one of the most useful tools in the market.

External Factors That Affect App Development Cost

Besides the stages and extra features, there are plenty of external factors that affect the cost of development for your mobile application. These factors are not going to be a direct part of the development cost, but at the same time, they will have significant influence over it. What are these factors? Let’s have a look. 

Location

How much does it cost to build an app in different countries? Different countries different currency rates against the US dollar. It determines the price of commodities and services as well as mobile applications. Hiring developers from development companies in different countries will cost you differently.

how much does it cost to make an app stats
Source: https://www.statista.com/

So before you choose an offshore agency or an agency in your own country, consider the location-wise mobile app development cost for you.

App Development Agency Or Freelancer

The owners of big enterprise can choose to build an in-house developers team for all their app needs. But if you are just a small startup, you have to decide whether you want to choose between a freelance developer or app developers from a development agency.

You have to be careful while choosing app developers and make sure how much app developers in NYC cost because it will affect your app in the long run. As a startup, it might seem beneficial to you to hire a freelance developer. They charge less and seem like the perfect solution for a startup, but at the same time they are not exactly bound to their client by the kind of legal contracts an app development agency would be. Which means they can leave any time they want to. And on top of that, they give no guarantee for the product. 

And then we have the various app development agencies. They are not only going to serve you with high-quality work but also some form of guarantee for your app and fulfill all your app requirements. An agency is going to be bound to various regulations such as the time limit and the budget. Sure they will charge you more than the freelancers, but in the long run, it will be beneficial for you to choose an app development agency over freelancers. 

Development Time

There are millions of apps in the market. All of varying sizes and measurements. So naturally, the time involved in their development takes their respective durations. 

The time of development will fluctuate, depending on the platform, complexity and functionality of the apps and the skills of the developers. More time, more expense. 

But also, multi-faceted apps offer diverse functionalities which are preferred when compared with the ones providing single functionality. You have to choose the right option for tackling the cost, as well as gain a competitive edge in the market.

Marketing 

Marketing your app may seem like a trivial thing and you might think that your app doesn’t require it, but it is nonetheless an important one. Another factor that is not directly connected to the development of your application, and yet, will have a serious influence on your the cost of your app. 

Marketing actions taken for your app can increase your app’s all-around reach. Some app development agency offers to do the marketing for your app as an extra service on top of app development service. However, you can also hire a dedicated marketing agency for this. Depending on what your choice is, the cost can go up or down. 

Ultimate Cost Estimation

So, how much does it cost to develop an app?

We know you might be expecting a set figure at this point for your customized mobile software. But there’s no set figure when it comes to cost estimation to develop an app.

As vague as it sounds, it still stands true. There are too many varying factors that need to be considered, and that’s why it is really hard for us to pinpoint a figure of sum for you and tell you “this is how much your app will cost.”

The only way you can get a proper estimation is by sitting down with a reputed application agency and hash out your app idea, the feature requirements, and all its functionalities. And depending on that talk, the agency will be able to give you a clear idea of how much it’ll cost to build your app. 

How We Can Help

At Unified Infotech, we have a team of dedicated and experienced developers who deliver cutting edge solutions to our clients. Our years of hands-on industry experience brings to the table desired quality and innovation. 

Unified Infotech provides custom technology solutions including App Development, Web Development, SaaS, Small Business Advisory and Consulting Services.

We believe your feedback is our opportunity for improvement. So we employ client engagement in every step. We keep you updated on every step and welcome valuable inputs from your end as well.

Our projects are delivered with high-end precision. We keep track of market updates and future technologies to harness them in delivering better performance with time.

Our services have been recognized by Clutch.co and Deloitte 500 Fastest Growing Firms. 

The matter of app development cost is a tricky one, there are too many variables and too many factors to consider. And that’s why before you start making an app or start researching on “what do I need to develop an app for my business?”, consider all the factors and variables that will ultimately determine the cost of development for your mobile application.

See our work here. Feel free to connect with us.

We’d be happy to help.

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Pratip Biswas

Founder, Unified Infotech

I am an Entrepreneur and a Tech Geek with more than 1500 successful projects launched. I share my experience through my love for writing and help other entrepreneurs reach their business goals.