Apr 11, 2019

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

Going out for a movie? You look for seats on your app!

Is this scenario familiar to you?

Well, all that is possible through a mobile app, right!

By now it’s clear to you. Mobile Apps are an integral part of your everyday life. From information to entertainment, research to the reservation, etc there is a mobile app for literally everything. This shows how popular apps have become today.

Naturally, mobile app development is going leaps and bounds due to this popularity. But what are the key factors that influence the very cost of mobile app development?

How much does it cost to make an app?

How would you differentiate cheaper development offerings from those offered by a certified app development company?

We’ve got your back!

Before going through the pricing structure, let’s take a look at the market first.

What Does The Market Have To Offer?

According to Magneto IT Solutions, the number of app downloads in 2018 was 205.4 billion. That is a significant increase from 178.1 billion in 2017.

how much does it cost to make an app stat 1
Source: https://magnetoitsolutions.com/infographic/mobile-app-development-trends#google

Also, in the case of mobile app platform, the Google Play Store had 8 million apps. This was followed by the Apple App Store with 2.2 million. There were 669K apps in the Windows Store. The Amazon App Store had 600K apps.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App stat 2
Source: https://magnetoitsolutions.com/infographic/mobile-app-development-trends

Now that you know the market standpoint, let’s look at the elements that influence the pricing for mobile app development.

What Factors Influence The Mobile App Development Cost?

Before you get into the mobile app development discussion and planning, you need to ask three main questions:-

  • What will the mobile app do?
  • How will you build the app?
  • And finally, Who will build the app?

These elements are instrumental in determining the cost of app development. Now let’s look into the factors in detail.

1. What Will Your App Do?

This is where you decide on what your mobile app should is targeted at. You need to shortlist the features and functionalities that your app is going to showcase. This depends on the goals or the purpose you are trying to achieve with this app.

Do you have an idea on the complexity of the app? The business logic behind the app determines the functionalities in terms of user-friendliness, unique quotient, and attractiveness.

how much does an app cost and hoe to earn from it

There are also other factors that add to your mobile app development cost. Like, the platforms and devices on which the app will work. or any specific device it will be catering to.

2. Are You Planning to Use Any Third Party Service?

Is your app functioning on its own? Or, is its 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 of third-party integration, be sure that it will contribute to your cost of app development.

Certain Key Elements That Determine App Development Cost

By key elements, we mean every fundamental step built exclusively for the users developing which can incur significant charges. These are features augmented for the user interface and the premium facilities that allow a user to navigate in a much more convenient way.

As an entrepreneur, you’d want to make these features as unique as possible, but at the same time, should keep in mind the charges that come with it. Your budget should be enough to cover these expenses without compromising on the development aspect. The answer to how much does it cost to make an app depends on some of the key features. Let’s explore.

Login System – the door to enter 

It is no surprise that almost every app has this feature as an integral part of their process. Options like “login through the mail, “login using Facebook” are offered to the user. This implies that apps nowadays come with account creation facilities which form the basis of personalization. So working on this would charge respective amount. More complex the login process, more will be the app development cost slab.

Push Notifications – that keeps the user updated

Without this facility, no app would have ranked the position they hold now in the market. As a user, when you get notified, it is that function that triggers a level of affinity towards the app you’ve installed and have read positive reviews in the play store. But imagine you are never notified, and you have to log in every time to check for events. How would that feel?

So, while building an app, make sure that every user who has installed your app receives push notifications for every single event. Of course, this being a very important feature would take considerable time and resource, it will answer how much does it cost to make an app.

Navigation Facility – determining the cost of app development

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. App development 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. The cost of developing an app with this feature usually takes a minimum of 10 hrs and costs around $250.

Geolocation (GPS) – a major cost of an app deciding factor

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. With increasing population and urban diversity, geolocation has become more important with time. Such an innovative feature usually takes around 50 hrs and costs around $1250. And it ads up to the answer for how much to make a mobile app.

Chat Facility – everyone wants this, period.

If you’re developing a social media or dating app, then this should be your prime focus. Out of all the features and updates, this one drives the user base. Working on this would ensure the marketability of the app. It requires more than 80 hrs of development time and incurs around $2000.

Multilinguality – when native languages are important, it affects the cost of making an app

You might consider incorporating this feature in case your app is made for cross-cultural usage. Many countries seldom employ English as their regular language. Especially in Europe, people prefer interacting in their native tongue.

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 along with a price tag of $350.

Offline Facility – when the internet is down

Not always do we get to avail our favorite wifi. Portable devices are there, but what if the connection is weak like it happens in high altitudes. A lot of tech firms (e.g. YouTube) have realized this and rightfully addressed it as a business opportunity. You too should consider doing the same if you want to be on the competitive edge. It would save your users from expanding too much internet data, thus making your app more preferred in the market.

3. What Is Your App Type – An Important Measure Of App Cost Estimate

Is it a native, web or a hybrid app?

Are you planning to build a technologically sophisticated app which has optimum performance and user experience? Well, then a Native app is your best bet.

Though native apps are complex, they are targeted at a specific platform. This ensures good performance quotient for the app. But it also comes with an extra cost. Native apps are more expensive to build. So, do consider your budget before getting onto the development phase.

Related Read: 5 Reasons React Native is The Most Preferred App Dev Frameworks

If you’re on a low budget, but want to address a large audience, then Hybrid app is your thing. Hybrid apps are built using both web and native technology. The development cost is low, so is the app maintenance. There may be some performance issues, but they run smoothly on popular platforms. The app development cost for hybrid apps is comparatively lesser.

Now, to get an idea of how much does it cost to make an app and the overall expenses, take a look into the following chart:

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App range

As you can see, each step comes with its respective expense slab. And any professional developer bears this in mind prior to designing an app.

Cost Estimate:

What Are The 3 Key Factors Behind The Expenses?

Several factors play important roles in determining the cost of app incurred while developing it:

1. App Functionality

Which platform the app supports, what purpose does it serve- all these determine the pricing? Is it compatible with iOS, Android, etc?

2. Third Party Integration

If your app takes data from another app, the price would be automatically higher compared to when the functions are totally inbuilt.

3. Visuals

Complicated visuals would cost you more than the minimalist ones. More sophisticated designs require more time and resources. Making it simple would save time and money both. Plus simplicity is often preferred when it comes to UI/UX.

Time Consumed In Building Apps Of Varying Sizes – Adds Up To the Cost of Mobile App Development

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.

Apps with multifunctional features are complex and consume more time than simpler ones. More the time, more the expense.

But also, multi-faceted apps offer diverse functionalities which are preferred more 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.

To put it into perspective, this is a curated infographic that we have created for an easier understanding:

How Does It Vary Across Countries?

How much does it cost to make an app in different countries? Different countries different currency rates against the US dollar. It determines the price of commodities and services. Well, apps are no exception. Developing them in a specific country will cost you differently than doing the same in others. To see how they compare, take a look:

Cost Estimate:

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App for different platforms

How About The Companies That Develop Them? How Much Does it Cost to Make an App from Them?

Freelancers are the least expensive choice when it comes to cost negotiation. They are passionate individuals who strive for excellence while monetizing their work at the same time.

But don’t get blinded by this. They do charge less, but it comes with a cost.

It has been reported many times that freelancers tend to deliver no guarantee when it comes to app maintenance.

Also, legally unbounded, they tend to leave in the middle of the development process without any prior intimation.

Whereas professional firms [irrespective of their sizes] provide a certain degree of assurance [since as a registered organization they’re legally obliged]. They might charge higher, but the amount is worth investing. So be careful when speculating on it.

We’ll be covering this section in a while.

Key Questions You Should Ask Before Getting Started (that will also determine how much does it cost to make an app)

  • What type of app are you building? Is it for iOS, Android or both?
  • Do people have to create an account? If so, then through what should they connect? Email or social media accounts?
  • Will your app have personal profile building facility?
  • Do you wish to make your app free of costs? If not, then what should be the revenue model? Will it be upfront costs or in-app purchases?
  • Do you want people to rate your app? Will it provide a feedback and rating facility?
  • What kind of display should it have? Will it be minimalistic or sophisticated?

All the above questions are instrumental in determining your cost of developing an app. You should analyze every step and see what answers you get depending on which you will draw a conclusion.

Development, Deployment And Maintenance Costs- Should I Consider Them Separately?

Yes, you should. In fact, you must. Most people give too much focus on the development cost and tend to neglect the other two. Doing so puts considerable strain on the stipulated budget. People have a hard time managing financials. Thus, keep this in mind before getting on board with your app development process.

So What Are The Stages Of App Development Process?

Different processes have different cost slabs. From the project’s inception to its final touch, every step comes with its specific price tag. You must list the individual costs before deciding on your budget. Take a look:

1. Research Stage

Any project needs a good amount of research before commencement. App development is no exception. You should conduct a thorough survey or secondary research and gather enough data to give your project the right direction.

Since good professional research is no easy task, the employing agency would obviously charge a considerable amount. It requires time and consumes company resources to a considerable scale. So expect the cost to be high.

You might want to limit your time dedicated to research, but quality cannot be compromised for saving some extra bucks, keeping in mind that fair research always plays a key role in gathering authentic data.

Cost Estimate:

2. Design Stage

Design is the very first thing that catches the glance of a user.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App unified portfolio

Such powerful can be the impact, that people often end up installing an app based on its design alone. So never overestimate development over design. Development is indeed the underlying framework, but design holds the first allurement to a user’s mind. A high-end design will harvest more bucks than the minimalist ones. Both are marketable depending on the UI/UX, targeted age group, and the demographic it aims to be popular in.

3. Development Stage

Now comes development. 

Considered as the most important step, development is the process that manifests into the unique features you want to offer.

The structuring, layout, etc all depends on development. Good development does 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 used for the development process.

Cost Estimate:

4. Testing Stage

Launching a product without testing it in the live market is something you should avoid at all costs.

app development cost MVP

The minimum viable product technique is crucial to an app’s success. No wonder it is used by almost every successful agency across the globe. It helps you in analyzing the success rate of your app and receive valuable feedbacks beneficial for your app’s improvement. Always test it in the market before going for the launch. It will save you time and the risk of incurring a loss. For everyone who is wondering how much does it cost to create an app should also keep testing time in hand.

5. Deployment Stage Costs (Cost Of App Release)

The cost incurred in the deployment stage provides a certain range as well. The cost of app release should be considered in times of deployment. Strategic pricing would ensure quality deployment in the market.

Cost Estimate:

6. Maintenance Stage – How Much Does It Cost To Maintain an App

Only building an app, and launching it in the market isn’t enough. You have to follow up your product and keep track of the difficulties faced by the users. You have to check whether your app is facing any glitches or bugs, and hence repair them accordingly. The cost of this as follows:

Cost Estimate:

How To Choose The Right Developer?

The developer you’ll employ for your project would definitely matter in the long run. After all, it is they who would be executing the entire process from scratch. Choosing the right developer ensures the success rate of an app, and also determines the marketability quotient.

Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of developers which will also answer how much does it cost to make an app:

  • Freelancers
  • Professional Agencies

Whom should you employ? Who would be best suited and equipped to carefully carry out the project?

1. How About Freelancers?

Freelancers are young energetic individuals indeed. But they are not chained by the same legal norms that bind agencies to servitude. So they often tend to leave without any prior intimation. Plus they do not provide any guarantee for the product. They charge less than the agencies, but then again, compromising on your dream project for a few bucks is always a foolish approach.

2. Professional Agencies- A Better Choice?

On the other hand, agencies are bound by norms, for which they not only provide high-end services but also gives a minimum guarantee. They make sure that the project is completed within the stipulated time and budget, which freelancers often fail to do or just don’t care. The charges are high, but it’s worth the money.

So, How Much to Create An App?

Giving a rough estimate of the cost to create an app for simple apps would be around $15000 to $25000. For apps with medium complexity, it would be under $25,000 to $50,000. And for enterprise-level apps, it might cost you above & 60,000.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App

At Unified Infotech, we have a team of dedicated professionals who deliver cutting edge solutions to our clients. Their years of hands-on industry experience brings to the table desired quality and innovation. So if you have an app idea and wondering the cost to build an app- we can help!

how much does it cost to make an app and ideas to make money

Our services have been recognized by Clutch.co and Deloitte 500 Fastest Growing Firms. See our works here. Feel free to connect with us.

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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.