The cost of building an application isn’t fixed, especially when you are building a complex mobile app. The industry is rising steeply in the market and businesses are brainstorming ideas to surprise the audience with another unique application. They are also getting engaged in mobile app development projects and preferring to make their brand impactful in the market.
However, there are plenty of aspects to think about while even initiating mobile app development. And the major one is estimating the overall app development cost. In this elaborative guide, you will get a step-by-step, factor-by-factor analysis to estimate the expenditures for building a successful mobile app.
Before starting with any of the factors, first, we need to focus on requirements that will help to estimate the app development budget.
Core Requirements to Analyze App Development Costs
You can’t just predict a rough amount required for developing mobile apps. You need to plan the requirements you will be including in the development.
Here is the list of requirements that will help to estimate the overall app development cost:
- Type of app or project – considered to be industry-specific
- Team of developers you choose
- Location of the development team
- Type of platforms (iOS, Android, web or multiple)
- Design complexity (basic, custom, use of animations)
- The complexity of the project
- Number of features
- Testing and QA
- Launch or release
However, to make it easier to understand, we have explained these points in detail below.
Usually, an average cost to develop an app is around $150K to $250K, including all the services and essential features. However, you will get the estimate according to your project using this guide.
Taking these rough figures aside, you should use the above-mentioned factors to calculate how much load your wallet will take to get you a perfect business app. So, let’s get started with them:
Major Factors influencing the Cost of App Development
Choosing the type of App (along with avg. cost)
Before moving forward to any other factor, you should know different types of applications along with their development costs. In that accordance, you need to calculate the cost of app development.
For a rough exposure of the app development cost, here is the categorization of these applications along with their costs:
- Basic app
Basic mobile applications generally comprised of 5-6 screens with no backend or other system administration. These applications mostly have static information, so they are less-preferred nowadays. More often, businesses used to build cloud-hosted applications.
- App Cost: $15,000
- Timeline: 1 month
- Data-driven app
Information-driven applications are characterized as those that devour and process just explicit data. For example, today Weather application utilizes outsider API data.
These applications are likewise not being preferred nowadays, yet despite everything they exist. By and large, these applications are either the augmentation of a bigger programming item or incorporate extra highlights.
- App Cost: $20,000 or more
- Timeline: 1 to 1.5 months
- Authentication apps
Validation-based mobile apps need audiences to sign in to give full application access. The app development cost for this type will be more as it requires different features and functions.
Here, the user has an individual record and connects with the information, which is synchronized among gadgets. Moreover, it requires an admin console to monitor every action and event.
It is fitting to utilize enlistment by means of informal communities (Facebook, Twitter, and so on). This is a one-advance technique that is complex to execute. Our group has a huge involvement in creating applications with login usefulness.
- App Cost: $50,000 or more
- Timeline: 3 to 5 months
- On-demand apps
On-demand applications have a basic objective to fulfill the daily requirements and needs of the users through online ordering. The most notable example of this kind of application, overcoming the market around the world, is Uber.
The expense of Uber’s task can be distinguished by essentially investigating its subsidizing. This app requires a set of APIs and plug-ins that make them more responsive and interactive.
Likewise, on-demand apps require a lot of work in integrating different APIs, navigation, logistics, and a lot more.
- App Cost: $60,000 – 90,000+ (per platform)
- Timeline: 6 to 9 months
- Social Media App
Another major category in mobile apps is social media. These apps utilize a lot of data, features, storage, and other APIs. Building these types of the app takes a lot of time as well as costs.
Making a clone of the most broadly utilized social networking apps like Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube doesn’t prompt more noteworthy achievement. If you have a unique idea to help audiences to connect with each other then you will better get success for this project.
Most of them began from an MVP development for a better understanding of the project.
- App Cost: $80,000 to $250,000
- Timeline: More than 7 months
- IoT/Hardware-based Apps
Another major innovation is IoT-based applications that interconnect specific physical items or gear with innovation. When IoT innovation is applied, these things are considered ‘savvy’ for businesses as well as users. These ‘keen’ things could be clinical instruments, pet collars, gadgets for home help, etc.
IoT-based applications need to interface with a gadget either by means of Bluetooth or WiFi. This assists in sending requests and getting information from users. So as to build up this sort of application, you need to be specific about technologies to connect with.
- App Cost: starting at from $80,000
- Timeline: from 3 to 5 months
These are just a few types of apps, there are many more such as gaming, etc. However, it depends upon the requirement of the client, and what they want the app to look like for the users. Depending on your business objectives, you can choose the type of app and have a rough idea of the app development cost. These examples are the best to predict what will require to get your project successful.
Hiring/Gathering a development team
You can’t execute the project without the help of experts, that is, a proficient team of developers, designers, testers, and other app development professionals.
Now the question is – should you hire mobile app developers or a team of freelancers for your project. It all depends on your necessities.
Hiring an expert company will require checking up on their plans and might be a little expensive. However, the cost of hiring an agency varies according to their plans and services you need.
- Advantages of hiring an app agency:
- One team full of experts – Hiring a company for your app development project will provide a single team of developers, designers, and testers.
- Transparency – You can straightforwardly know their hourly rates, estimated times, and portfolio for better analysis.
- Disciplined and skilled – Under the acknowledgement of the company, the team ensures the timely progress of the project.
Talking about freelancers, their hourly rates vary according to the location, experience, and market. Hiring them will require individual contracts with developers, designers, and testers separately. This can be a major disadvantage because you need to handle and coordinate with individuals, not a team, which can be very hectic.
One big advantage you may find is that you have no limitations to stick with a fixed hourly rate as seen with professional companies. You can choose according to the individual solutions they provide and never bound to a specific service. You pay for what you get from them.
It totally depends on you and the type of project you are thinking of building. Hiring professionals is a crucial step in app development cost breakdown so take it seriously.
The location of the development is another major aspect that will help to decide the right cost for building a mobile app. In case you are preferring to get quality services instead of focusing just on money then you might find some countries worth outsourcing projects.
Here is the table describing the location of every app development expert and their rates according to locations:
|Designation||NorthAmerica||Western Europe||Eastern Europe||India|
As displayed in the above data, locations play a major role while choosing a development team and in estimating app development cost as well. Choose wisely according to your preference, and make sure that your project is built with quality.
Picking the right OS Platforms
Picking up the right mobile platform also plays a major role in evaluating the cost to develop an app. Most of the businesses aim to target every major platform to cover a wider audience reach with their app idea. So, you might also think to do this, not in the beginning but afterward.
- iOS or Android:
At first, you might not choose to spend a huge amount of money unless you have sufficient funds to go for both the platforms. Choosing either of them will cost you different prices, depending on the feature set and functionalities.
- Android app development costs around $150K to $250K.
- An iOS app will cost between $200K and $350K.
For a better decision, you need to analyze competition, market demands, and target audiences. Then you will be able to choose the right platform for your project.
Building an app that can run on every mobile platform is always beneficial. However, it might cost you a bit low as compared to platform-specific apps (native). The key reason is you only need a single cross-platform app development framework to design apps.
On average, businesses are spending $150K to $300K for developing these apps. So, it is quite lower than the cost to develop an app that is platform-specific. Here also, you need to be specific of functionalities to be included in your project.
Deciding on the platforms will make one-step easy to define app development cost. So, be sure of what you are targeting and how much you can spend to reach that objective.
Designing the App
Another impactful factor that will influence the overall app development cost is the mobile app design. While designing the UI layout of a mobile app, it requires adding logos, screens, buttons, plug-ins, and other majors that have different costs.
Since the mobile app will have different screens, so it will be a challenging task for the designers to add appropriate and effective functions. In that case, the cost of app design will vary that further affect the overall cost of app development.
Here are some crucial factors that will help to decide on app designing costs:
- Complexity: Simple app design is generally less complex and costs around $5,000 to $7000. Talking about medium complexity, it will range between $10,000 to $15,000, while complex app design can cost you around $25,000.
Note: Complexity varies according to the number of features and functionalities.
- Platforms: For all OS versions of iPhones, the design will cost between $4000 to $8000. On the other hand, you will need to spend between $6000 to $10000 for all Android versions.
Many of you might confuse great design with animations and visuals in the design. But it’s not completely true. Adding elements in a way that they don’t affect the performance of the app is the key to successful design.
Concluding these factors can help you to find the correct estimate for designing an impactful and desired mobile app.
Key Features Included
Adding features from GPS to chatbots require time according to the project. In addition, each feature and function attains a specific app development cost. So, you need to be specific about each functionality to be added to your app.
On average, it will take approximately 5-8 months to develop a mobile application. So, the cost will revolve around this timeline considering the features to be included for a complete app development process.
Let’s examine the time and cost required to integrate features into a mobile app:
Common feature widely used by the developers:
- User login/registration – The login and registration module is required for users while accessing an app. Integrating this function through a phone number, email, or social media accounts is generally required. Implementing login features takes around 18 – 22 hours, and might require expenses between $500-$1000.
- Chat – Chat feature is a must for making an app interactive for the users. Depending upon their integrity and functionality, developers can take around 50-60 hours to implement it in a mobile app. This function will add $1500-$2000 more in your app development cost breakdown.
- Search – Adding a search feature helps users to explore the application easily and make its access flexible. Most of the applications offer it and gain a better response from their audiences. Integrating it with a set of filters that might take 10-13 hours. As it fetches data from the backend, the time may vary to improve its response function. The cost of integrating the Search feature will be $250-$300.
- Push notifications – Notifications are commonly used functions in almost every app. So integrating it will be crucial for your project. However, it totally depends on the logic and concepts you want to utilize. Because notifications can be sent through text message and visual-based content.
Hence, integrating it might take up to 50 hours, or more if logics are optimized for better representation of messages. Integrating them will require $1000-$7000 to add up in mobile app development costs.
- Payments – Integrating payment gateway APIs is a little complex process, but is mandatory nowadays. In today’s era, digital payments are being utilized to make transactions, and many mobile apps are proof of this. It includes the integration of different payment methods like e-wallets, PayPal, net banking, cash cards, etc.
Integrating these functions might take a long time, around 50 hours. Moreover, different payment APIs have their own cost. So, you might need to spend around $2000 to $4000 per API. As you choose more to integrate, the overall cost of mobile app development will increase.
- In-app purchases – This is another essential component for your mobile app that will also help in the integrated app monetization strategies. This function can be applied to subscriptions, ads, and other special features. It might take 25 to 35 hours to build this function in your app and may cost $800 to $1300.
Complex features that can be added:
- Geolocation – Integrating real-time location tracker is another core feature, generally used in on-demand and travel apps. Integrating this feature usually takes up to 45 hours and might cost you around $1300 to $2500. The price range may vary according to regional accuracy and range proximity.
- Google Maps – Geolocation will work more efficiently with Google Maps as the user might want to navigate the locations through it. This feature will take around 35 to 40 hours, with a pricing of $1000. It is the same for both iOS and Android platforms.
- Ads – Another additive to your app is digital ads, integrated to promote your app periodically. Integrating this API will take 6 to 12 hours depending on the type of add you want to place. Approximately 8- 16 hours are typically spent on simple banner placement. It will cost you between $1200 to $2000.
- Offline mode – Offering this feature will help users to explore and utilize your mobile app even when the internet connection isn’t available. The time for integrating this feature will depend on the device’s storage and other specifications. Developers might need up to 75 hours to implement it and may cost around $800 to $1600.
- Data encryption – This crucial feature allows users to secure messages and other exchanged data through end-to-end encryption. Implying this feature might take 18 to 24 hours depending on the type of complexity in the data (text, video, images, etc.). Integrating this feature might cost your $700 to $1000.
- Media streaming – Allowing users to stream content through your app is another additional feature. Integrating codecs and APIs to run this feature might take 60 to 70 hours. Including all the formats to stream the media, the cost may lie around $1200 to $1500.
- Device Connectivity & Security – Allowing your app to have access to different device functions such as storage and security helps to increase its usability. It includes a fingerprint sensor, proximity sensor, and many more. Integrating this API will take not more than 10 hours and cost lies between $250 and $400.
Deciding on features will help to have a better understanding of the cost to develop an app. Pick those that are really necessary for making the app more accessible and interactive. One good idea is to make a list of these features and then revise them to calculate how much you need to spend on them.
After adding all the necessary features, you need to test every module and assure its quality performance. So, let’s take a review of the quality assurance section that will play a major role in analyzing the app development cost.
Complexity levels are generally defined by the type of project you have undergone and how well-integrated you want it with features. Below is a table elaborating the different levels of complexities that can give you a better understanding of the costing:
|Complexity||Notes||Time (hours)||Cost at $100 rate|
|Simple||Simple features: Email subscription, social login, calendar, etc.|
Excluding APIs, add-ons, plug-ins, etc.
|Moderate||Customized features: Payment gateways, limited API integrations, back-end server management, etc.||500-800||80,000|
|Complex||3rd-party API integrations, animated UI components, multi-level back-end, real-time features. multi-lingual support||800-1500||150,000|
As the feature increases, the complexity of a mobile app also levels up. In that case, choose the features set according to your app idea. It will help to determine the cost of app development in a better way.
Testing & QA
it is impossible to develop a bug-free app irrespective of the experience and expertise of mobile app developers. They will encounter them as they proceed further with testing each and every module.
To make sure that your app is running effectively without any bug, the testing team needs to implement test cases and remove them. As the process is executed by the testing experts, so it will be added to the app development cost breakdown. So, make sure you take it very seriously for the sake of the performance of your app.
The key objectives of testing an app are:
- Analyzing and increasing the opportunities to make an app work productively under all circumstances.
- Making sure that the app meets all the necessary requirements and specifications.
- Analyzing the latest information about the updated state of the app.
By following these objectives, one can assure that the app is working qualitatively according to your expectations. However, no one can guarantee its 100% success along with the perfect performance.
The QA assurance team checks each and every module while making test cases. Along with the development of your app, QA experts will take care of the following functions:
- Gathering & analyzing the reports
- Planning and discussing the tests
- Developing test cases
- Executing the test plan
- Summarizing report
- Finalize the performance report
By reading, the steps might look easy but it takes a lot of time to initiate, process, and execute the QA tests. Talking about the cost, you might need to add $10,000 to $20,000 in your overall cost to develop an app. The price range may vary depending upon the complexities, functionalities, and overall performance of the application.
For a better end-product, you should consider these expenses reasonable. QA and is a crucial step that lays the roots of its success.
Once you get your app tested and assured with quality with the help of experts, you are good to go with its release. However, there are also some expenses required to add up to the overall app development cost.
When you get a final review from the testers after making changes for removing bugs with the help of developers, you will be ready to launch the app on the different marketplaces. The cost of launch will also be included in the app development cost breakdown, however, it won’t be that high as compared to other processes.
A mobile app launch will require to make and buy a developer account on different app marketplaces:
- The one-time cost for Google Play app store is $25
- Yearly fees for Apple’s App Store $99
Another program plan from the App Store is offered by Apple organization in which you can share your app within the organization. It will cost around $299 per year under the App Developer Enterprise Program.
Google’s Play Store doesn’t charge any additional fees for this program. However, they have strict guidelines to approve a mobile app to be uploaded to the store.
Apart from the launch, there are certain other aspects that should be added to app development cost breakdown. They are generally post-development process, so let’s see what they include:
Post-development Costs for Mobile app
If you are thinking that spending the cost to develop an app is complete at the launch, then you might think of post-development operations. It includes monitoring, maintenance, consistent upgrades, and other necessary operations.
Once you start getting the downloads increasingly, you need to make sure they are having a good experience and there aren’t any bugs during the launch. You need to keep the performance of your app consistent throughout its active state.
Here are the tasks you need to take care of:
- Bug fixing
Bugs can occur before as well as after the launch of the application. The QA team has to monitor the application’s performance and keep everything in the reports for better outcomes.
Even if the concept is brilliant, these bugs can lower the chances of survival of your app. Hence, bug fixing is another major component in app development cost estimation.
- Consistent Upgrades
Timely updates help to resolve the bugs and issues that might come forward in the future. For all stores, you need to be specific about the upgrades according to the platforms and the devices that users have to access the apps.
The process will come under the testing and development team, so you don’t need to increase the overall cost to develop an app. Normally, an update in a mobile app requires 3 to 5 hours. So, you have to coordinate with the team consistently for the regular updates and upgrades in the application.
- Performance optimization
Monitoring the app performance is a necessary task, and your team needs to examine real-time data. From page load to user actions, every essential activity impacts the performance.
Analysts have to monitor the app’s working throughout its access and you need to measure their time of work for a better understanding of the cost for app’s maintenance.
Throughout the process of pre and post-development of an application, you need to calculate the hourly rate of each and every app development expert. This will add up to the overall app development cost breakdown.
Now we have reached almost the end of this post and now it is time for a short review of the factors to determine the cost of app development.
Revising the process of Estimating App Development Cost
Estimating the accurate cost of developing an app might not be possible but you can make a plan and review it to avoid missing even the small things. From the very first pointer, you need to analyze all the essential factors included for the successful development.
Here is the table that will provide a final review of determining the cost of app development:
|Processes||Basic App (Little Complex)||Medium App (Less Complex)||Large App (Complex)|
|Testing & QA||$6000+||$16000+||$25000+|
|Avg Build Time||4 to 6 months||8 to 12 months||14+ months|
At every stage, you need some expenses to spend which will further add to the overall cost to develop an app. Keep the list checked at every essential stage and make sure you don’t lose out on your wallet for additional costs.
However, there are certain ways to minimize the expenses and save as much as you can during the app development process. Let’s figure them out:
Tips to Minimize App Development Cost?
To lower the overall cost of app development, you can think of some effective measures from designing to testing or from planning to execution. Here’s a little rundown of things you can do to lessen the expense.
1- Make a definite arrangement –etting it on paper is a superior procedure! Come to designers with an unmistakable thought and an approach to appropriately clarify it.
2 – Offer specific details and technical aspects. This can spare you from miscommunication, mental meltdowns, and loss of assets.
3 – Consider MVP development. A Minimum Value Product (MVP) can assist you with gathering information and dodge issues or bugs in-between sometime before you dispatch.
4 – Speak with the teams reliably. This will keep you and the group in the same spot. On the off chance that anything disappears, at that point, you may pay later for the things you missed.
5 – Lean toward testing from the earliest starting point. It may appear glaringly evident, yet not every person does this. Early testing encourages you to discover bugs which, if not remedied in an auspicious way, can cause more bugs, later on, prompting the need to revamp entire highlights.
6 – Code Optimization: According to the updates and upgrades, your team needs to optimize the code and run them again for better app performance. This will make the project better than before and help to fix bugs hidden in the app.
7 – Work together with a Good Agency. Here and there it’s more astute to pay somewhat more for an engineer experienced in your field and with a decent notoriety. Check past activities and audits on proficient stages like Clutch.
The more a group thinks about your application before you sign an agreement and begin chipping away at it, the higher the odds are that their application development solutions will be as exact as could reasonably be expected. Here, the core objective is to lower app development costs. So, keep your heads up to come up with an effective bottom line at the end of budget estimation.
Q- How long does it take to develop an app in 2020?
In the event that you intend to build an application of medium unpredictability, the timetable to execute your application can take from 6 to 9 months. By and large, the course of events to assemble an application changes somewhere in the range of 6 to 9+ months. It relies upon various components including various highlights and their
multifaceted nature, uniqueness of the plan, utilization of outsider administrations, etc.
Q- What are the stages of the mobile app development process?
Every development cycle starts with a plan and a set of objectives. Then comes the crucial stages of app development.
Designing app layout and theme
Developing an app with core features
Testing and quality assurance
Post-launch app maintenance.
Q- Freelancers vs Mobile app development company: What to choose?
The benefits of working with specialists is minimal app development costs. Then again, this participation has heaps of associated dangers like lower administration quality,
the executives of the procedure are your ally, constrained responsibility, and straightforwardness. You can evacuate these dangers when working with a product improvement
organization and utilize benefits like venture the executives, responsibility, and order
Q- How much should I spend on the app maintenance?
The app maintenance expenses may go from 15% to 20% of their overall
cost to develop an app. As such, in the event that you paid $40,000 for an essential
application, at that point you ought to be prepared to contribute from $6,000 to $8,000 for upkeep.
A young entrepreneurial technocrat who is the Co-Founder & CEO at Appventurez Mobitech. After completion of his masters in Computer Application, he dived into the world of technology as an iOS developer. As a CEO, he firmly believes teamwork and collaboration are the essential tools for any company’s success.
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