Coming up with an app idea is easy, figuring out what to do next or questions like ‘how much does it cost to build an app’ or ‘how much does it cost to create an app for your business’ comes next to everyone’s mind.
In today’s tech-savvy and competitive world, it is crucial for every business owner to invest in a mobile application. But how much investment does a mobile application needs in reality? Is it $10,000 or $100,000 or even more? To be honest, there is no particular figure which can represent the development cost of a mobile application. There are several factors which affect the app development cost and therefore, it can vary from $2,000 to $100,000 and even more.
These factors vary from app to app. For instance, a simple camera with customized filters will cost less than a camera which has advanced features such as social media integration, advanced editing options, and cloud storage. Picsart, for instance. Similarly, the development cost of a shopping portal will be higher than a simple file manager.
Therefore, in this blog post, we are going to share a list of several factors which can influence the development cost of your application. We have only added the most common factors, and there may be other factors which can increase or decrease the app development cost.
Here is a List Of Several Factors Which Influences the Development Cost of Your Application
1. Which Platform Do You Want Your App to Run On?
Choosing the platform is the first step towards deciding the development cost. Here’s an in-depth platform-wise cost comparison of app development process. For instance, whether you want a native application or a hybrid application. A native application is platform dependent and can only run on a particular platform. However, hybrid applications run on various platforms.
Since Android is the widely used mobile operating system across the globe, many business owners prefer investing in Android development. However, the development cost of an Android can be a bit higher when compared to that of IOS. JAVA being a bulkier programming language requires more lines of codes which eventually increases the time taken to develop process. Furthermore, the testing phase in case of Android is time-consuming.
The programming languages, Swift and Objective C, used for building an IOS application are simpler than JAVA, which means developers can get the job done by writing fewer lines of codes only. As a result, the development time and cost decreases. However, the hourly rates for IOS app development are relatively higher than that of Android. The programming languages, Swift and Objective C, used for building an IOS application are simpler than JAVA, which means developers can get the job done by writing fewer lines of codes only. As a result, the development time and cost decreases. However, the hourly rates for IOS app development are relatively higher than that of Android.
Hybrid Application (Cross-Platform Apps)
One of the ways to lower the cost of app development is developing hybrid apps. Hybrid apps are cross-platform apps which can run on several platforms, which means that a single set of code will work for different platform. Even though hybrid apps lack a couple of features and functionalities, they are still better a better option for business owners with a tight budget.
2. The complexity of mobile application influences the development cost of a mobile application
Complexity is another crucial factor which influences the development cost of a mobile application. We have divided complexity into three different categories, i.e., simple, moderate and complex applications. The apps cost varies as per the complexity of the application. For instance, a simple camera application with a couple of customized filters will cost less than a camera which has cloud storage and social media integration as well. Let’s take a brief look at each complexity individually.
Simple apps with regular features
As the name suggests, these are simple apps having a couple of regular features. These apps usually rely on the firmware or the hardware for their working. For instance, an app which uses a mobile phone’s flashlight to work as a torch. Since there is no database integration or other advanced features, the app development cost is relatively low.
Moderate apps with some advanced features like payment options, UI, and more
These applications have a few advanced features such as payment options, customized user interface, database integration, customer login, cloud storage, etc. For instance, Amazon Kindle, an online ebook store which provides a plethora of ebooks sorted using user’s interests. The app also has a payment gateway using which user can purchase his favorite book. The app development cost of these type of applications is higher than a simple application.
Complex apps with some more advanced features that include API Integration, AR, VR, and more
These type of applications have advanced features, and therefore their development cost is higher than other apps. Third Party App Integration, Secured Payment Gateways, AR/VR Integration, Encryption, real-time chat support, multi-language support are some of the advanced features which increase the complexity as well as the development cost of a mobile application.
3. App Features you want to integrate
Now, that you have decided the platform and the complexity of your application, it is time to choose the features which you want to integrate into your application. As we mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of features which you can add to your mobile app. However, make sure to choose features which are suitable as well as have a dedicated role as per your business requirements as with every added feature, you’ll have to spend extra dollars. Here are some of the commonly used features which most of the mobile applications have.
Design of your app
Your app’s success rate highly depends on its UI/UX design. The more interactive and engaging the app is, more are the chances for a user to stick to it. However, to create such apps, you’ll need to add more pages, which means the developers would have to spend more hours on the development process, and eventually the app cost will increase.
Furthermore, the large number of pages will also require easy navigation, which is again a time-consuming process for the developers. Therefore, every single element of the designing process is just adding extra dollars to the final price of app development.
There is a variety of mobile apps which ask the user to login first. As of modern standards, integrating social media logins is the most reliable option as it automatically collects all the data about a person and creates his/her profile accordingly. Though creating a user login system is quite an easy task for the developers, it is highly time-consuming. It can easily take 20 development hours to build a login system which will cost you extra $500-$1000.
Today every smartphone in the market supports both portraits as well as landscape screen orientation. Therefore, it is crucial that your app works fine in both the orientations, i.e., automatically change the layout settings when a user switches his screen orientation. Designing such a design takes around 15-20 development hours, increasing the overall cost by $500-$700.
Most of the apps need to access user’s current location to provide him/her with the desired functionalities. As per the cost to integrate the feature is concerned, it can cost you anywhere between $1000-$1400. However, it mainly depends on the accuracy of the geolocation. The better the accuracy is, higher would be the development cost.
Before even the development begins, the entire layout of the app is designed in such a way that a proper user flow is maintained between different pages of the app. Navigation is an integral part of every app and to make an app navigable, the developers have to add gesture support like swipe scroll, double-tap, etc.
Google Map Integration
Speaking of location services, Google Map integration has become an integral part of mobile app development. Taxi apps, hotel apps, and dating apps are some of the categories of mobile application where google map integration is highly crucial. The cost to integrate Google maps into an app is a time-consuming task, which means more development hours. It usually costs around $1000.
A messaging app has a wide range of elements, and the cost mainly depends on the way you want to integrate these elements. For instance, while some of the apps allow person-to-person chatting, others also have a chatbot to resolve customer queries. Such apps can easily take up to 80 development hours and can cost anywhere between $1000-$1450.
Usually, games leverage in-app purchases to sell certain gaming items to the user. If you want to integrate in-app purchases in your app too, there are a couple of things which need to be taken care of. Since you are asking the user to share his bank details, it is crucial to have a secured payment gateway. Designing and integrating an in-app purchase model usually takes up to 40 development hours and costs around $500-$800.
Third Party App Integration
Third-party app integration means navigating users to another app’s interface, without making him exit the current app. For instance, you want to create a shopping portal which requires the user to login with either a Google or Facebook account. Now, rather than making him switch between the apps, the developers can integrate both Gmail and Facebook’s API, allowing the user to sign in directly.
While the feature is quite handy, it requires the owner to spend extra bucks for the development process as integrating third-party app APIs increases the development hours.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are dominating every other technology in the field of entertainment. Whether you want to build a mobile game with AR/VR support or a streaming app which allows the users to watch their favorite movies using a VR headset, you’ll have to pay extra dollars to the developers for integrating these technologies.
However, the AR/VR experience is not only limited to the entertainment industry. For instance, IKEA has allowed its customers to make better shopping decisions by integrating AR support to its IOS application. The users can virtually place IKEA’s products in their apartment using the IKEA app. However, the development cost of developing such applications can go as high as $70,000.
There are two types of database connectivities used for mobile application development, i.e., static and dynamic database. Static database means all the data is stored locally on the user’s device, and the user can access it without an active internet connection. Developers can create a static database using simple database engines, SQLite, for instance. It requires fewer development hours to develop static applications, and therefore the development cost is lower.
The dynamic database, on the other hand, is stored on an external server, and the user will need an internet connection to fetch the data. Applications such as e-commerce stores commonly use the dynamic database to store user information. In such cases, developers have to spend extra hours to maintain a smooth flow of data between the app and the external server. As a result, the app development cost increases as well.
While developing an app, it is essential to provide a security mechanism to secure the user’s information, mainly if it involves financial transactions. If you want to build a healthy relationship with your customers, it is crucial that you invest in integrating a security tool. For instance, if your app involves in-app purchases, then you must provide a secured transactional process. User’s personal information, bank details, location, address are some of the stats which are extremely vulnerable to threats, if not secured properly.
Encryption is another security technique used to secure user’s information from hackers. Encryption is quite a handy feature for chat messengers which involves an end-to-end conversation. Once the data would be encrypted only authorized users can access it.
Furthermore, If your mobile app has a user login system, it will require a user authorization system which checks if the user is authorized to access the information or not.
The cost of integrating all these security tools is high, and therefore the cost of developing the mobile application also increases.
Payment Gateway Integration
Let us say you want to launch an e-commerce store with an option of online payment. Now, rather than designing a payment gateway from scratch, it is wise to integrate third-party payment gateways which are already available and provide a secured transactional process. There are several payment gateways available worldwide, and you choose anyone as per your business requirements.
However, integrating a payment gateway will also increase the app development cost as the developers would have to spend extra hours designing a format in which the app sends and receives requests from the payment gateway. In a conversation with a group of developers, they explained how integrating payment gateways add 40-50 more development hours.
Today almost 90% of businesses utilize push notifications to tell the customers about their latest updates. For instance, a seller has added a new product to your e-commerce store, and you want to update the customer. However, there are several types of push notifications, i.e., text notifications, image notifications, and notifications with action buttons. Furthermore, an analysis is involved in deciding when and whom to send notifications. These all factors can affect the entire app development cost.
Mobile ads are one of the easiest ways to generate revenue through mobile apps. There are different types of ads including banners, pop-ups, and full-screen ads. Ads can be customized as per your preferences using different external service providers like Google AdMob, InMobi, Tapjoy, Flurry. However, implementing this feature does take 50 development hours and the cost can go as high as $1500-$2500.
Access to Smartphone’s Firmware
Many apps rely on the smartphone’s sensor for their functionality. A food delivery app, for instance, needs to access GPS to detect the user’s current location to search nearby restaurants. The development and testing phase of such an application can take longer than a regular app as the type of sensors varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the developers have to test the app for each sensor individually.
If an app needs to support various languages, a lot of work needs to be done by the developers. For instance, while adding multi-language support, the user interface needs to be readjusted for each language individually. It can take about 10-15 development hours to adjust and refine the app interface for a single language. So, if you want your app to support multi-languages, be ready to spend extra dollars on the development process.
App Maintenance Cost
Your investment does not end with uploading your application on the play/app store. If anything, it’s just the end of a phase. From here onwards, you need to invest in maintaining the app. Maintenance involves several factors such as removing existing bugs, adding new pages, updating UI, etc. According to professional developers, the maintenance cost can be 20% of what you have paid for the app development per year.
Many businesses reach their audience through various platforms such as a mobile, desktop, tablet, etc. So, it is highly crucial for business owners to implement a proper synchronization mechanism. For instance, a streaming app like Netflix when updates the central server, users running Netflix on different platforms gets updated with the same information.
Though synchronizing the data structure is not one of the critical tasks, it does add 50+ extra hours into the overall development process. As a result, the development cost eventually increases.
Today real-time streaming has become the latest trend. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube have already added the live streaming feature to their mobile apps. The feature allows a user to have a live interaction with his followers. While as tempting as the streaming feature is, embedding it into your mobile application is a strenuous task.
Since there is a real-time transmission between the user and the central server, the entire fetch-and-transmit scenario should be up to the mark. Usually, it takes 15-20 hours to develop a streaming system but as per the complexity and requirements of your app, the development hours can even hike up to 30-40hours.
A user is not always connected to the internet which means it is crucial that an application works fine in the offline mode so that the user can have access to some amount of the data. For instance, a messaging app like Whatsapp allows the user to read the older conversations in the offline mode too. Similarly, Google Maps also comes with the offline feature using which the user can save an offline map for any region.
In such scenarios, the developers design a local-storage system which stores the data on the user’s phone itself. So, if you want to make your app work in the offline mode, add 20 extra development hours in the original time.
4. Who do You Hire Matters?
When it comes to hiring developers, you have two options, either freelance developers or professional app development agencies. Always remember your decision will not only affect the app development cost, but it’s success rate as well.
While hiring freelance developers can be inexpensive, the work of professional agencies is much reliable. Reason being, unlike freelance developers, app development agencies have a dedicated team of developers, designers, and testers.
Each team has expertise and experience in their field, and therefore you can expect quality work from them. Even though freelance developers can get the job done, but you’ll have to hire developers, designers, and testers separately which is nothing but a time-consuming process. Furthermore, app development agencies will guide you with the best features as per your business requirements. Therefore, if budget is not an issue for you, we recommend hiring professional app development agencies.
Furthermore, app development agencies will guide you with the best features as per your business requirements. Therefore, if budget is not an issue for you, we recommend hiring professional app development agencies.
Development Team Cost
If you hire an app development agency, it is more likely to have a dedicated team of professionals. The team usually includes:
- Project Manager.
- Back End Developers.
- UI/UX Designers.
- Testing Team.
Each of the team members has duties of his own and therefore have different hourly rates. Take a look at the following table to understand the duties and hourly rates of different team members.
|Team Member||Job||Hourly Rates|
|Project Manager||Communicates with the client and ensures that the entire development process is being carried out smoothly while ensuring an on-time delivery of the project.||$20+|
|Developers||Writes down the code for different modules of the app and provide functionality to the app.||$25+|
|Designers||Designs the UX/UI to provide users with an engaging via which the user interacts with the app.||$15+|
|Testers||Ensures that there aren’t any bugs in any module of the app while ensuring that the end-goals are being met.||$20+|
Cost Breakdown for Native App Development: Android and iPhone
|Project||Small MVP||Small Enterprise||Medium MVP||Medium Enterprise||Large MVP||Large Enterprise|
|Discovery and Wireframing||$1,500||$2,500||$2,500||$3,500||$5,000||$9,000|
|App Screen Designs||$2,000||$3,000||$3,500||$5,000||$5,000||$9,000|
|iOS native development||$9,000||$11,000||$37,000||$45,000||$60,000||$90,000|
|Android native development||$9,000||$11,000||$37,000||$45,000||$60,000||$90,000|
|Back-end Programing, Database and APIs||$5,000||$7,000||$9,000||$10,000||$12,000||$12,000|
|Quality Assurance and Refinements iOS||$2,000||$2,500||$5,000||$6,500||$7,000||$9,000|
|Quality Assurance and Refinements Android||$2,000||$2,500||$5,000||$6,500||$7,000||$9,000|
|Deployment and Cloud||$1,500||$2,000||$2,000||$3,000||$2,000||$3,000|
|Total (One Platform)||$21,000||$35,500||$68,000||$81,000||$101,000||$152,000|
|Total (Android and iPhone)||$32,000||$49,000||$110,000||$125,500||$168,000||$251,000|
Cost Breakdown for Hybrid App Development: Android & iPhone
|Project||Small MVP||Small Enterprise||Medium MVP||Medium Enterprise||Large MVP||Large Enterprise|
|Discovery and Wireframing||$1,500||$2,500||$2,500||$3,500||$5,000||$7,500|
|App Screen Designs||$2,000||$3,000||$3,500||$6,000||$5,000||$9,000|
|Hybrid App Development using PhoneGap technology||$10,000||$12,000||$38,000||$45,000||$65,000||$100,000|
|Back-end Programing, Database and APIs||$5,000||$7,000||$9,000||$10,000||$12,000||$12,000|
|Quality Assurance and Refinements||$2,000||$4,000||$5,000||$7,000||$9,000||$11,000|
|Deployment and Cloud||$1,500||$2,500||$2,000||$3,000||$2,000||$3,000|
|Total (Android & iPhone)||$22,000||$38,500||$69,000||$89,500||$108,000||$162,500|
How Much Does it Cost to Hire Mobile App Developers
iPhone/iOS App Developers Cost – Hourly Rate
Android App Developers – Hourly Rate
How Much Does it Cost to Hire Mobile App Developers India
iPhone/iOS App Developers India Cost – Hourly Rate
Android App Developers India Cost – Hourly Rate
Conclusion – How much does it exactly cost to build an app
So, how much does it exactly cost to build an app? As we mentioned earlier, there is no exact figure which can describe the app development cost. However, by analyzing the above factors and country you choose to hire the developers as per your business requirements, you can calculate an approximation cost for your app.