Wondering how much does a mobile app development company charge for app development? The cost of any IT project is dependent on several factors, such as the cost of developers, time needed, features, functionalities, app type, design, complexity, and other requirements of the project. So, when we talk about the cost you will be charged in return of the mobile application development services from your development company, it is important to understand the process and the contributors that add to the cost in detail.
Typically, app development of good quality may fall anywhere between $60,000 to $300,000 for one platform (essentially the OS and devices).The app cost that most app development companies usually charge are influenced by the above-mentioned factors. Generally, at $40 per hour rate can be interpreted as follows:
Simple mobile application development cost – roughly $60,000 +-
Basic mobile app development cost – anywhere between $60,000 and $150,000 +- for each platform
Complex, multi-featured, customapp development cost – above $300,000 (examples include Instagram, Uber)
The timeline of the mobile app development process may also vary with small apps being developed in ideally two to three months’ time, basic app three to six months, whereas more than nine months for complex apps. Complex app development is usually an ongoing project.
Let us try to get an estimate of the cost with the help of best mobile app development practices. This blog will help you in garnering a better understanding of the cost formation for mobile app development. The goal is to help you effectively manage the budget for your app development, minimize the cost of the app, and focus on the cost drivers of app development. Let’s understand the budget required for investing in an app idea.
Standard cost of app development
As mobile apps are becoming ubiquitous and almost every person using app or another for different purposes, the best time to invest in an app startup is right now. But, how much do you need to invest on a mobile app development these days?
Let’s put it straight! The cost of developing a median app is roughly $170,000 (on an average and can be plus or minus this figure), whereas the time it may require is usually at least 1100 development hours. The overall price of the app could increase to &730,000 if complex functionality is required. This is rough data as per internet research and discussion with a few Android and iPhone app development services providers. On an average, the app development may cost you at least a minimum of $5,000-$10,000. However, the more features and functionalities you add, the greater will be the cost accordingly.
On an average, enterprise mobile app development may cost you around $150,000 and multi-featured, complex may require you to spend between $260,000 and $365,000. If we consider the timeline, it takes about three to six months for app development. The cost and time required for app development is largely dependent on the app idea, features, and functionalities required in it.
Other than this, the cost of app development is influenced by the following factors as well:
- Complexity and features
- Connected APIs and backend infrastructure
- Vendor location and type
- UI/UX design’s complexity
- Approach – mobile, web, hybrid, native
- Platforms – Android, iOS, Windows, Web, etc.
So, how much does it cost to build a mobile app today?
Your mobile app development services provider will help you get a fair estimate of the cost that you may have to incur for your mobile app development. This blog will help you understand the technicalities and other details of the project.
If we consider the average cost of app development, it is usually anywhere between %5,000 and $500,000 depending on what all do you expect from your app – the design complexity, features, etc. Let’s try to understand the cost and time required for app development with the help of the table below:
To begin with, you will need to connect with a mobile app development company to discuss your project and app idea. They will tell you about the details of the process and give you the best estimate of the cost and timeline. You can combine your creative idea with their technical expertise to get your dream app developed and deployed.
Basics of app development
To be able to better understand the cost of app development and negotiate smartly, you will need to understand the basics of mobile app development. Let’s begin with the understanding of native versus hybrid apps.
Native versus hybrid apps
The app development approach definitely influences the final cost to build an app. An app that meets the guidelines of the OS (operating system) for which it has been developed is referred to as “native”. You can, therefore, only create a native app for any operating system on which you want to run the app. Logically, the price of app development increases aproposthe platforms you intend to tap.
In sharp contrast to native apps, cross-platform or native apps work with multiple OS, meaning you can save a lot of money by building only one app that runs on platforms instead of just one. But, a lot of app developers recommend native apps due to their amazing performance and technical superiority.
iOS versus Android app
You may wonder what is the difference in the cost of app development if you choose one platform or another? Let me tell you, there is no difference in the cost of having an app developed for any one platform you choose. The timeline of app development is the same – whether it is iOS or Android. If you are willing to target both the platforms, your app can be developed simultaneously with the help of iOS and APK and Android. This allows the app launch at the same time. Your Android or iOS app development servicesprovider will guide you about the cost and timeline further depending on your exact specifications and expectations.
Some of the myths that surround the process of mobile app development include:
- Most app startups want their app to become another “WhatsApp” or “Uber” or any other popular and highly successful app: When building an app business, a vast majority of app startup owners tend to hope that their apps to start generating outstanding incomes immediately. Remember, all apps that you see around have been there for a very long time and they have spent enough time, effort, and money on app quality maintenance, marketing, and promotion other than development. So, your dream of making another surefire hit app will require you also to spend a lot of time, effort, and money on it.
A suggestion: Rather than being a copy of another successful app, it is wise to think afresh and introduce something that arouses curiosity and enthusiasm among your potential users.
- Launch a product at the earliest to get maximum users before anyone else does and survey the market later on: A lot of people end up wasting a lot of money and effort on a wrong app idea in a hurry.This is where they commit the biggest mistake on their way to success in app entrepreneurship. It is important to know your market before diving into it. Market research is the key to success.It is good if you can research the market well and understand what is missing and what people are looking for in the market (as far as a new app is concerned). These days, people like apps and products that are habit forming. Such products can help you generate desired revenues as well. Encourage your marketing team to do some research and suggest some useful inputs of what’s trending and what people are looking for?
In other words, you cannot succeed in the market unless you know what is required and what is not? It is, therefore, prudent to evaluate and analyze your market and conduct a thorough research about your app idea itself. Remember, a poor app idea can never bring you desired results and success no matter how much time, money, or efforts you invest in it.
Why is app development a costly proposition?
Not all apps are costly but yes if you want more features, more complexity, exceptional user experience, and truly out of the world apps that impress and engage your potential users, then you should be ready to spend a fair amount of money on it. So the cost, as we discussed above, depends majorly on app specifications and expectations.
Why most people devalue apps and software solutions?
People tend to devalue apps and other software solutions due to the following reasons:
Intangibility – Compared to the hardware, apps and other software solutions are only visible virtually. You cannot touch them physically to see their quality or judge their value. Users don’t even know the amount of hard work that the developers and team have to invest in the background to make the apps visible on the screen and function. Most of the time, it is the hardware that steals the show and software has to struggle to get noticed when it comes to company spending on IT infrastructure.
Creativity cannot be measured at start – The thought and creativity required for a successful project cannot be estimated in the project’s beginning and, sometimes, not even till the end. Usually, multiple teams from different disciplines (marketing, design, development, testing, etc.) are involved in ensuring that the app processes and details are covered. Clients don’t see the work’s result because the results are not tangible. Again, you cannot touch the app concept! This is why a lot of people tend to become easily confused about the final price quoted by their mobile app development company or developers.
Benefits cannot be calculated upfront – One app may not fit all users’ expectations when it comes to UI/UX, functionality, performance, and features. Some app users want simple apps with minimum features while others want intuitive apps with a multitude of features. You cannot compose one message that impresses all and attract them to use the app.
How is the cost of an app estimated?
From building simple mobile apps or highly intuitive and powerful artificial intelligence solutions, the cost estimate of mobile app development is based upon the following key drivers:
App’s features: The app’s features make it possible to operate in a specified manner and each feature adds value to the app. The app features may be an “order” button or a “signup” button or an “add to cart” button or maybe video-streaming or payment integration or anything else. The level of complexity and features in your app are the major contributors to the overall cost of the app. Your Android, Windows, or iOS app development company will help you get a fair estimate of your final product based on your specifications.
- Project description, technical & business requirements – Yes, when you reach out to a mobile app development company for your project, they will ask for your project description, technical & business requirements, and other specifications. This information is compared and concluded in their list of tasks to be performed and features to be added.
- Companies estimate the cost of app development via concepts (features of the app), stories (features required for the concept), and story points (complexity and pace of the app development).
All these are listed in the product backlog, which is essentially the list of features, bug fixes, existing features’ changes, infrastructural changes, and other additional activities the team has to deliver for achieving a specified outcome.
How do I employ a mobile app development company for my project? What are the engagement models and how do they work?
The engagement models refer to the mutual agreement between the client and the app development company in terms of the cost, resource utilization, timeline, and other important factors that affect the project and the product. Generally, clients (business owners who want to build an app) are charged for mobile app development services based on these engagement models:
Fixed cost – This type of payment model implies that the cost is charged for the entire project considering the timeline. This model works well for projects that are small and have clear-cut and predefined scope of work. The biggest benefit of this model is that you already know the cost much before the actual development begins. This helps in better decision-making.
Time and material – This engagement model works perfectly well for projects that require high flexibility throughout the product development life cycle and where requirements are more complex and ongoing. This pricing structure implies that the customer will pay according to the time each resource has to invest towards the project completion. This is recommended for businesses that have a lavish budget and can expand it according to their ever-changing product requirements and specifications.
The time and materials engagement model allows you to adjust the scope of the project and change your requirements during the product development. This helps in controlling the app budget and the flexibility helps businesses achieve desired outcome within their budget.
While you may choose from any of the above-mentioned engagement models, many times the estimated cost of the app development doesn’t match because some mobile app development services providers, in order to lure customers, give a cheap quote but then they fail to deliver the expected quality. The end result is frustration for the client.
Make sure you have everything clear right in the beginning of the project itself. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your road to mobile app development is smooth:
Discuss the features – Make sure you talk about the required features clearly and don’t change your plan frequently. If you keep changing your requirements later on, the cost and timeline of the project may also fluctuate accordingly.
Pay for additional features and functionalities – With additional app functionality, you must be ready for the fact that the cost of app development will also increase.
Optimize functionality – Talk to your development team and work on functionality optimization. Discuss with your team and rearrange the project’s scope to accommodate only the necessary features & functionalities and drop additional (at least those you don’t need now) ones.
What are the stages of mobile app development?
The product development life cycle or the stages of mobile app development are discussed hereunder for your quick reference. These are:
Pre-development: This is the stage of research, discovery, and understanding the need of the project. During this stage, the mobile app development company and the client discuss the scope of the project and features that need to be incorporated in the app as well as the timeline and cost that imply.
Read the blog- Ways iOS App Development Will Change In The Next Five Years
UI/UX design: This is when the app’s look and feel is designed and developed. Ultimately, your clients will use the app only if it looks great and performs accordingly. The role of a great UI/UX is far beyond just the aesthetics and you can expect a great design to help users in better navigation and use of the app.
App development: This is the stage when developers do the actual coding to make the UI/UX, features, and functionalities work as expected. The coding part may look mundane but this is the lifeblood of the design and the app or any other software solution you talk about.
App testing &deployment: Testing the app is important to ensure the app is bug free and ready to launch. The app testing helps in determining the features and functionalities that are not working as expected and find any other issue (performance, appearance, etc.) that might lead to potential app failure as well.
Ongoing support & maintenance: Building an app is not enough, you will have to keep it up to date to be able to continue meeting the users’ expectations. You would never want your app to stop working after sometime as that may compel users to uninstall it. Also, you may want to add few more features, remove some features, and upgrade the app (for its performance or appearance) in the course of time. For this, you will need the ongoing support and maintenance services of your app development company.
Of all these, I believe, pre-development stage is the most important because it helps the development company garner a better understanding of the client’s (business owner who is looking for app development) requirements and expectations. Among the several benefits you stand to gain through a detailed project discussion with the clients, few include:
- Save time and cost on repetitive work
- Validate the requirements
- Work towards a design that is goal-based
- Prioritization of the tasks of the app-project
- Risk management and better coordination between the client and your team
The greatest advantage for the businesses, however, is that they finally get to know how much cost they will have to incur for their app development project. So, you get the most reliable answer to your question, “how much do mobile app development companies charge for their services?”
After this, the task is assigned to a cross-functional-team that may consist of software architects, business analysts, designers, QA experts, etc. At the end of this stage, you may expect a finalized concept of the project, UI/UX design, architecture plan of the project, product backlog, competitor and market analysis.
The cost of mobile application development is influenced by the type of mobile app as well including basic apps, authentication apps, social networking apps, data-driven apps, on-demand apps, e-commerce apps, IoT and hardware apps, marketplace apps, etc.
Please remember, the cost we discussed above is just for common understanding and is not to be interpreted as the exact cost you will have to pay for mobile app development. As already explained above, the cost may vary depending on the features, functionality, and other specifications.
The cost mobile app development companies charge the clients is largely dependent on the features and functionalities you want in your app and other specifications that you want to be implemented in your app. The timeline of project completion depends on the length and complexity of the features and functionalities of the app. Discussion with the mobile app development companies you shortlist will help you get further clarity on how much exactly you will the app cost you.