Evaluating Your Budget: How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?

1 September 2022 Writer: Lera Grechanik 1935 views

The question all the customers ask is the one related to the price. To be more specific, the question is how to estimate cost of app development, at least approximately”. Of course, everybody is looking for a high-quality level for a relatively low price while hiring an agency. We do know what we are talking about, simply because we specialize in custom mobile app development for startups and established companies around the world.

Surely, the price varies a lot depending on different factors, but we will make a humble try to figure out an estimated amount one will have to pay for web software, iOS app, Android app, etc. However, we will have a closer look at what the owner pays while working with an outsourcing company.

What Influences App Development Cost Estimate?

There’s a general idea that the average cost to develop an app depends only on the hourly rate and amount of hours, dedicated to this or that task to be closed. But it is far from the truth. There are a lot of factors, among which we should not forget about the product complexity, finding the professionals for each task. Here we would include even post-release support costs.

App Development Team

Let’s start from the very beginning, the core of any project – the team. It can be basic or extended depending on the project. In any team, there are not just developers but a business analyst (maybe two), a solution architect, a project manager, a QA, and a UI/UX designer. Yes, it’s possible to cut corners and sacrifice some UX, but the UI you will get still has to be the proper one. So in any case UI/UX designer has to be hired, if not full-time, but at least part-time.

Celadon team

Technical Complexity

It is one of the most obvious points, changing app development cost estimation. There might be a lot of features to be implemented, for example, some sophisticated filters and additional options, real-time integration, AI implementation, and so on. When there’s a need to develop something unique from the scratch, development time increases, as well as the requirements for the developers’ qualifications and experience. It means that the costs increase as well, and this example is just one out of all the possible ones. Let’s have a look at the other cases and features, increasing the project complexity and total price.

Backend Development

If you are about to create a huge cross-platform app (or an Android one and need to convert android app to ios) with massive data flow for millions of users, the thing which you will need first and foremost is – a well-developed backend. It has to provide smooth work under different conditions, withstand loads and be capable of processing immense amounts of data. Of course, in this case, the development time to build a complex architecture will increase. The cost estimate for app development will differ accordingly. If you think, that’s all, we have news for you. The more complex architecture you need, the more diverse team will be involved.

Niche Third-Party Integrations

Yes, third-party integrations can boost development speed. But it comes with some additional complications for the team. For example, in most cases, the documentation is inconsistent or too complicated. It leads to the additional time needed to figure out how to work the integration over. Also do not forget for some fee you will have to pay for using the services. It is especially true for niche integrations.

In-App Purchases

Willing to make an app convenient and user-friendly, business owners try to implement all possible payment methods This approach works nicely, it’s true. But in this case prepare for additional mobile app development expenses to appear simply because you will have to pay for each and any new added payment method - in-app purchases, PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.

Hardware Components

If you think that the only thing worth thinking about is the software itself, consider another point. In case you are about to develop some app, which uses a logging device or something related to the smart home concept, sooner or later you will have to buy hardware for testing purposes. In cases like that, there’s a wise idea to add the hardware price to the total amount when estimating app development costs.

Supported Browsers, Devices, and Operating Systems

In developing an app, it is a must to make sure that the latest versions of the browsers are supported and everything works correctly. If this point is omitted or skipped, there’s a high risk to get fewer users than it might have been.

 If you are focused on mobile apps, make sure that your product works fine with the latest and the previous versions of iPhone (e.g. iPhone X and XS) and support the latest and previous versions of iOS (e.g. iOS 10 and iOS 11).

 Android apps, being much wider used, require more devices in the list. There are three key points that determine the number and models of devices to be supported:

  • The size of the market share for each Android device manufacturer
  • Popular devices in the market and among the target audience
  • Preferences of the client

The same works for choosing Android operating system versions. At the moment the versions from Android 5 are supported, but it’s up to the client, so he can specify the particular ones to be focused on and support later.

More devices – more time for development, support, and integration. Also, it means more time is spent on adapting the app for different screen sizes, resolutions, and hardware specifications. More options – more time spent on testing. It might sound scary, so you can choose to focus on the most popular Android devices. Such an approach allows for keeping android app development cost estimate relatively the same and avoiding dramatic increases.

 Obviously, more devices will mean more time spent adapting the application for various screen sizes, resolutions, and hardware specifications. It will also mean more time spent testing. However, if you choose to support only the most popular Android devices, the smartphone app development cost estimate results for Android development will be essentially the same.

In general, it takes more time to create an Android app because of the market’s being fragmental. In turn, fragmentation leads to higher costs.

Custom Designs and Animations

Users nowadays have sophisticated tastes and demand a lot from the app. One of the ways to give them what they want is to use custom UI/UX design and development services. Custom interfaces are more complex, they require a higher skill level to be implemented, so the mobile app development cost will be higher in comparison with the standard interfaces.

Custom animations are another option to increase the UX level of your app. We are working in this field as well, so in case you need a unique animation, drop us a line. We will see what we can offer and estimate app development cost.

Post-Release Expenses

One of the biggest mistakes product owners do is to forget about post-release expenses and support. They consider only the cost of programming itself, and in some cases add here basic testing. But the product is growing with time and requires more and more support, as well as additional testing and even development. Add here CS, server maintenance, and legal support after all. Do not forget about promotion and marketing expenses. All the points, mentioned above, can be and has to be included in the mobile app development cost estimate.

As we mentioned above, in the case of using third-party integrations you will have to pay the fee, and not just once but on an ongoing basis. This should also be kept in mind while evaluating support expenses.

The trick is, that support expenses are not included in the initial estimation. It is provided as an additional service by most companies. So when you estimate app development costs, include in the ability not just development costs, but support expenses as well.

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What Hourly Rate Will You Pay to Build an App Around the Globe?

There are millions, literally millions of developers, creating great apps. But how do they differ? Is it possible at all to pick a good one, or it’s just a question of luck? Let’s see. Choosing a developer, pick the one, that has experience in the field you are working on, not just the programming experience. It works both for freelancers and agencies and ensures the project will be finished shortly. Still, the only way to check if the company or freelancer has the background you need is to check their portfolio and client reviews, if available.

Working with an extensive company is not guaranteed that the investment will be returned, and the app will become a gold mine. The same result can be achieved while working with less expensive programmers, because the price is not always the measure of potential result, as far it is influenced by different factors. And, believe you or not, geography is one of the key points.

Have a look at the price map to get a hint on how to estimate coding cost for app development. The picture is the following one and is based on a developer hour costs.

  • North American companies charge from $50 to $250 per hour.
  • Australian ones are less expensive -  $50 to $150 per hour.
  • For Western Europe and the UK, the rates are around $50 and $170 per hour.
  • Eastern European companies offer their services from $30 to $150 per hour.
  • Indian ones - $10 to $80 per hour.
  • .

When we know the approximate cost, let’s follow along.

How to Estimate App Development Cost?

Talking about the price estimation, we have to admit that even the most professional agency can’t tell you out of the blue how much the project will cost. The reason is simple – there’s no price list, allowing to estimate app development cost by just adding this or that functionality. If you see the ads like that on the web, just pass by – it is one of the most common marketing tricks. As a rule, the agencies have hourly rates, and they are pretty flexible.

As was mentioned, the cost of creating an app is generally and most often based on the number of hours spent by the team.  Of course, the more complex functionality and architecture are being developed, the more hours will be spent because there will be much more time needed to implement all the features. The apps can be divided into three groups – simple, middle, and complex ones, so let’s make try to figure out how much an app of each category may cost. We will consider the hourly rate to be $50 per hour. It is close to the average amount, so the estimations will be more or less accurate.

  • In the case of simple apps, their functionality is relatively straightforward, there’s no third-party API integration implemented and in some cases, a sophisticated backend structure is not even required. The functionality often includes only standard UI modules, simple filters, map markers, and so on. It will take around 1000 hours to create such an app from the scratch and the price starts at $30,000. 
  • Middling complexity. Such apps have custom UI features, real-time chat and payment options, functionality, APIs, and a backend server. Such an app, being one of average complexity, takes up to 1800 hours and will cost around $50,000. 
  • If an app includes advanced functionality, it is considered to be a high complexity one. The functionality may include real-time synchronization, custom animations, integrations with third-party services, a complex backend with several types of database relationships, and so on. The timeframe becomes really huge and starts from 2400 hours with a minimum price of $80,000. The apps in this category are dating apps, streaming apps, or social networks.

How Do We Estimate Cost to Build an App?

We never send the bill without a prior rough estimation. Let’s make it absolutely clear. Before the bill is sent, and we tell you the price, we use a three-stage framework, so the actual value of the project can be easily delivered.

  • First, the customer has to fill out the contact form. After that, our engagement manager schedules a call, and they have a talk to confirm the details and clarify the business goals, technical specifications, app scalability, and possible user stories.
  • As soon as these basic requirements are collected, we perform a basic business analysis to offer the exact solution to meet all the business goals and fulfill the customer’s needs. Then the estimation goes.
  • In the next stage, the results are forwarded to our solution architect. He prepares a report with feedback, suggestions for the app structure, use cases, and some ideas about technical implementation.
  • Next, another meeting is scheduled, so the team can present the feedback, and clarify the details, requirements, and potential issues. The scope is specified during this meeting as well. The scope is the set of features to be implemented to cover the business challenges. And only after this, we start preparing a product offer.
  • The project offer is presented at the last pre-planning meeting. It includes the number of hours, technologies to be used, and application architecture approach. The set of features in the scope.
  • In the end, the offer is negotiated, so we can find the best possible solution for the client.

When the rough estimate is approved, the team proceeds with the detailed estimate. For that, the requirements for each scope or part of work are identified and documentation is prepared. However, we make wireframes, so the client can check and have an idea of what his app will look like.  

As a company, we provide full-cycle development services, working on developing mobile and web apps. In other words, the price in our estimations covers all the services we provide, even project management.

Requirements Analysis + Design + Development + Testing & Verification

With each iteration, we make your project better and better until it becomes a successful one. But to launch an app is just the first step of the journey, not the end of it. Only long-term cooperation with the development team can ensure that the app is not just launched, but works fine and is really profitable. Explore our brand-new article TikTok business model on how to get the profit of your application.

Areas of responsibility - brand and growth marketing. Strongly believes that software development is an art and marketing is not just about sales but about sharing your passion. Her educational background in the field of business and marketing allows her to create expert content and help others to grow and expand knowledge.

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F.A.Q.

01.
How to estimate mobile app development for iOS?
Nik
Business Development Manager

There’s no one algorithm that would help you to do an iOS app development cost estimate, as a great deal of factors to be considered like app complexity, features, functionalities, design, etc. The best and the quickest way to estimate mobile app project is to contact us. After clarifying all the nitty-gritty details, we’ll provide you with app solutions rates.

02.
What influences the cost to make an app?
Alex
CEO

To estimate mobile projects, we give thought to plenty of factors related to the work to be done. The main factor influencing the cost is the development team and hours amount. Hours amount in their turn are affected by different development nuances, that are:

  • Backend development
  • Technical complexity
  • Design and animation 
  • In-app purchases
  • Supported devices, OS, browsers
  • Niche third-party integrations
  • Hardware components
  • Post-release expenses

It gets hard to predict the cost of development, so you can reach out to our team for cost estimation.

03.
Is Android app development is less expensive than iOS?
Lena
Project Manager

iOS app development is estimated to have nearly equal costs if compared to Android app development cost. Naturally, if you want an app running on both OSes, the cost will double. A different programming languages are used to develop an app for each OS. Moreover, It’s always about developing 2 apps, so 2 development team are required. This is why the cost to create an app for Android and iOS multiplies.

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