How Much Does it Cost to Make an App?
Spoiler: Want to know what your app idea will cost? Use our Mobile App Cost Calculator
The rising internet penetration rates and increasing mobile phone ownership have accelerated the adoption of mobile applications for personal and business reasons. According to trusted sources, the global internet penetration rate is 59.5%, with Northern Europe ranking first with a 97% internet penetration rate. Additional statistics show that the current number of cell phone users is 6.37 billion, meaning that 80.69% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone.
So, with rising phone ownership and internet penetration rates, mobile applications are finding new users on personal and business fronts. For instance, individuals are using applications for communication, networking, and work-related purposes. Mobile applications like Slack and Messenger provide enhanced communication capabilities. While LinkedIn, Indeed, and Zip Recruiter are classic applications to connect with professionals and experts in diverse fields.
Therefore, with these trends, most people, mostly brand managers and enterprises are exploring opportunities for app development. One of the most important questions by individuals and enterprises is how much it costs to make a mobile app.
In this post, we take a long journey in exploring the mobile app development costs. This exploration will help you make informed decisions when choosing your next mobile app developer.
How Much Does It Cost to Create an App?
Many factors influence the cost of a mobile app development project, and depending on the complexity of the app, at $40 per hour, the average cost of mobile app development will be:
- Simple app development cost – $40,000 to $60,000
- Average app development cost – $60,000 to $150,000
- Complex app development cost – $300,000
The cost of developing a mobile app ranges from $10,000 to $150,000 and depends on app complexity.
|App type||Estimate cost||Time|
|Simple app development||$40,000 – $60,000||2-3 months|
|Basic app development||$60,000 – $150,000||3-6 months|
|Complex app development||From $300,000||9+ months|
Therefore, the answer to how much it costs to develop a mobile app can quickly go overboard, depending on the app features and functionalities. Luckily, there are several options to get a rough estimate of your mobile app development project. The most reliable one is to contact an established mobile app developer. But you can also leverage an app cost calculator.
If you send a formal request to a development studio to estimate the typical cost range of custom mobile app development without the terms of reference and proper documentation, the cost will most likely be approximate. In contrast, a cost calculator needs to capture a wide range of mobile app development services and the required time.
The main factors considered in a mobile app development project include:
- Design complexity and number of supported screens
- Development process
- Quality assurance
- Number of features and functions
- Feature complexity
- Database complexity
- The complexity of third-party configurations
- Implementation of security protocols such as HIPAA and GDPR
- Size, level, and expertise of the development team
At NS804, to determine the cost of a mobile app, we follow and adhere to an iterative estimation process. To get a clear idea of the cost of mobile app development, let’s examine the world’s app development statistics.
Mobile App Development Cost Statistics
The world’s mobile app development market determines the popularity of mobile apps and the cost of development. The total number of apps available for free download in the App Store is over 6 million.
Statistics detail the mobile app development market. Below, you can find some vital figures based on different methodologies and different sources.
- On average, 100,000 new apps are released by Google Play every month, and 30,000 on the Apple App Store.
- Free mobile applications dominate the mobile app market. The most effective pricing strategy for open-source mobile applications is free and freemium. For instance, free utilities account for 92% of the total applications.
- The mobile app development market is expected to grow more than 19% by 2026 and the market is expected to reach $407.31 billion by 2026.
- The mobile app industry revenue reached $580 billion in 2020. If this pattern does not trend, the industry will reach $1 trillion in 2023.
- People spend approximately 90% of their time on apps. Soon, people will use their phones 4 hours a day, and 90% of this time will be for activity in the applications.
The cost of mobile app development depends on the primary function of the app and the features it encompasses, with several factors influencing the cost of mobile app development. Below we take a look at several factors that affect the pricing of mobile app development.
Factors that affect mobile app development cost
Before developing a mobile application, you need to determine and analyze your business goals and target audience, understand how to develop the app, and choose a coding platform.
The screens, buttons, and other elements make the mobile app engaging, unique, convenient – but each additional piece affects the overall app budget.
Therefore, it’s essential to pre-develop a prototype and think over the functionality to the smallest details. This investigation of functionality in their smallest details influences a range of factors that affect the price.
How much it costs to develop a mobile app depends on three things:
- Design and structure
- App complexity levels
- The platform on which the application will run
- The complexity level of the mobile app development
The smaller and simpler the application, the less time you will need to develop it. When it comes to timing the application development, you need to estimate the scale of the upcoming work.
How many features will be integrated with this product? How many buttons, screens, and functions will it have? How complex will the business logic of the application be?
The complexity levels of the mobile app depend wholly on the features and integrations you select and how to get an application approved.
Types of applications and their complexity levels
- Simple apps. These apps are created without any added benefits. You will only have essential features with low-tech screens and all the necessary user interface UI solutions.
- Mid-level apps. Have a lot more complicated features and functionalities to offer. You can access integration with the application programming interface API, more screens, and a custom user interface. You also access features like real-time messaging.
- Complex apps. These are apps with embedded multi functionalities. You can get complicated and advanced features like real-time synchronization. You also access additional capabilities such as media processing, chatbot, UI animation, and many more.
A simple app has the least complexity because it entails only a few features, an example is a calendar app. A middle app has an average level of complexity with a few roles, data use, and API. An example of a middle app is the EHR platform. A complex app consists of many roles and complex technological solutions; an example is a telehealth mobile app.
- The complexity of the application design
Progressing on how much it costs to develop a mobile app, we have delved into the app design stage. The design stage is considered an integral part of the app development process. You cannot separate the two in determining the cost of mobile app development. Designing is much more like the development part, only that you add more features and the cost rises dramatically.
Similarly, in design, when you decide to use more features, templates, and functionalities, the cost estimate will be restrictive but more customizations mean more time and higher costs. When examining the complexity of the app design, there are several features to look at:
- User experience
- User interface and user visuals
- UX writing
- The platform on which the app will run
By knowing how much it costs to develop a mobile app depending on design and complexity, it’s time to consider the platform. In determining the platform, you need to consider two things:
- Design hybrid or cross-platform application. Hybrid here means that the application will run on either android or IOS devices. It is helpful to know your target audience and identify the cost of either IOS app or android applications. Cross-platform applications provide the benefit of smooth operation, easy-fit, and can use platform-specific features. This helps create a better experience and lowers the “how much it cost” questions about app development. The cost of developing a native app is cheaper than the hybrid app for obvious reasons; you require double efforts and double human resources to build two apps simultaneously.
- Develop a native app. The second option is to develop a native app. In contrast to a hybrid app, a native app runs on a single platform: IOS or android. Thus, if you want to build an app for both android or IOS using native frameworks, you will need to hire two development teams. One team creates an Android version and the other an IOS version. Since you will need to hire different teams for different applications, the cost will certainly double.
Hidden App Development Costs
There are some hidden app development costs that you need to know about. Precisely, a few additional costs add to the final quotation of how much it costs to create an effective mobile app:
- Functional costs. These are fees to third-party integrations. For instance, SMS and push notifications, payment getaways, and geolocations.
- Administration costs. These costs denote management costs such as content manager salaries and content development costs.
- Infrastructural costs. These refer to the payment for servers, integrations like Redis and CDN.
- Support costs. These are additional costs to fix a bug, upgrade or update an application, and make future improvements.
Looking at the details, for example, it costs $75,000 to develop a mobile application. Depending on the load and the number of integrations, it can cost anywhere from $5000 to $20000 per year. Maintaining the application would cost 20% per year of the original app development cost which is $15000. The app marketing costs will range from 50% to 100% per year of the app development costs, that’s $75,000 to $150,000.
What are your options when it comes to mobile app development?
The final point to consider in how much it costs to build a mobile app is the team of technicians you choose. The assumption that the kind of environment one adopts does not matter is an invalid one.
On the contrary, choosing the right team of experts has several advantages. One of them is higher quality projects and lower costs. As a start-up or a mid-level enterprise, the need for a unique product is imperative, but the budget is low.
Therefore, if you want the best bang for your bucks, select the right team. The choice of a team will significantly impact how much it costs to create a mobile. Having the right team will drive down the cost of mobile app development. But the wrong team can be a financial drain, draining your business’s money and your employees’ time.
One tip: Always keep three things in mind when hiring developers for your mobile app solution.
- Focus exclusively on the product
- Do not mess up with the design
- Constant outreach and marketing
Below is a description of each item with more detail and depth.
Option 1 – Hiring a local agency
You can always select a medium-sized enterprise that provides customized mobile app development solutions, including SEO optimization.
- Cost criteria – To develop the app, the development costs by the local company will be higher. Depending on the nation you are starting your start-up in, the per-hour rates of development for a development team or a local studio range from $150 to $200 per hour per specialist.
There are specific pros and cons to hiring a local development team. There’s no doubt that if you hire a local development team, you can always maintain constant communication. In addition, you will access expert quality and the ability to schedule regular checks and improvements. Lastly, a local development team is responsible and accountable for the project from inception to completion.
To access these specialized services of a local development team, you should be ready to spend $40,000 on average. However, this price quotation is bereft of the edits, maintenance, copywriting, and market analysis. If you run a cost-benefit analysis, you will realize that this option is not worth it. For complicated projects, there’s yet another option.
Option 2 – Building an in-house team
An internal app development team is most suitable for middle-level companies where a full-time IT team can handle the support and development of internal information systems.
- Cost criteria – If you’re someone who wants full communication, transparency, and a trustworthy solution, hire an in-house development team. However, if you ask how much it costs to develop a mobile app using an in-house development team, the answer is shocking. Here, the cost is even higher than delegating the project to a local development team.
Below is a quick breakdown of the basic costs.
- Full stack developer – $100,000 per year
- Designer – $85,000 per year
- IOS or Android developer – $80,000 per year
However, if the developers work for equity from the onset, the founder could save a significant budget. So, in total, the in-house costs and the maintenance costs are twice as much as hiring a local development agency.
Luckily, one of the benefits of hiring an in-house development team is the constant flow of new ideas. The communication is super smooth, and everyone in the team will be fully engaged and dedicated. With this solution, however, all costs come to your shoulders. Quality, responsibility, budget, and employee welfare are in your hands. With this solution, you are looking up at an extra cost for mobile app development.
Should you go with this option? Well, as a start-up, hiring a team also means finding space to accommodate them. If not, you may want to save up some space for the server and other critical IT infrastructure. So, if you don’t want to get a shocking answer to how much an in-house team can cost, it’s better to consider yet another option.
Option 3 – Work with freelancer developers
If you quickly want to test a hypothesis or try out a small project, work with freelancers. If you choose to work with freelancers, you will need more time to communicate with project managers and contractors.
- Cost criteria. There are two ways you can get ahead with freelancers. First, you can hire them on a contractual basis, and secondly, you can hire them on an hourly basis. In addition, there are plenty of platforms to find freelancers. Websites like People Per Hour, Freelancer, Upwork, and Fiverr are a few examples.
The hourly rate of a freelancer again depends on which country you are hiring your expert in.
- United States – $50 per hour
- Asia – $25 per hour
- Ukraine – $25 per hour
- Latin America – $20 per hour
These are the starting rates, and they can hike depending on the experience and expertise of specific freelancers.
Just like other options, there are pros and cons to working with freelancer developers. Hiring a freelancer is not a problem. However, ensuring that the freelancer helps you from the project concept initiation to product completion, and adheres to your specifications can be a problem.
So, we cannot advise going the freelancing way unless and until you have the energy and time to monitor the freelancers continually.
Option 4 – Outsourcing app development
If you have a complex and large-scale project with multiple stages and you’re ready to spend money on the app, it’s easier and more efficient to outsource the mobile app development by outsourcing a mobile app development company.
- Cost criteria. Countries like Ukraine, Japan, China, and other Asian destinations provide adept design and development teams. These nations ensure a high-quality project and creativity. It boils down to the cost of mobile app development that differs from one country to another. In Ukraine, for example, you will get a local development agency for as low as $30/hour. No freelancers or app development companies charge exorbitant or predatory pricing for app development.
There are also pros and cons to outsourcing mobile app development. Outsourcing is a classic option to build a minimum viable product MVP for yourself or your start-up at reasonable prices and with minimal risks. Getting your hands on an excellent agency from another country will earn you a multitude of benefits:
- High quality
- Break-free communication
- Adherence to operating guidelines and compliance requirements
- No hiccups or fuss
- Responsible team
- Timely delivery
So, besides the low mobile app development cost, you are also getting access to an innovative, functional product.
Should you go for the outsourcing option? Yes, absolutely! Outsourcing app development to a trusted agency will reduce the mobile app development costs. However, before choosing a trusted agency, make sure you leave no stone unturned. Check everything and talk to the app development team. Make sure to check their case studies, past experiences, and references.
In general, the cost of outsourcing a mobile app development project can vary from $30,000 to $50,000. As mentioned above, it all depends on the minimum viable product, operating system, type of app, tools, software, UI/UX design, and applicable features.
What to consider in your mobile app development?
When it comes to mobile app development, you have to consider and analyze several things, including.
- Project management. Determine the project manager who can design and knit together different stages of the project lifecycle.
- Business analysis. Analyze your business goals and tie them together in the project development process.
- Development process. You need to examine the development process from backend to frontend.
- UX/UI design. Provide an intuitive and interactive user interface to enhance the app’s user experience.
- App testing. App testing is a critical part of the app development process. After testing, you can identify opportunities to optimize your development process.
- Deployment. It’s crucial to determine how the app will be deployed, and the necessary deployment requirements and evaluation procedures.
- App maintenance. The app has to be maintained regularly to detect any upcoming technical issues and adjust to emerging or growing market dynamics.
NS804 – Your Number One Mobile App Developer
NS804 is a trusted mobile app developer with years of experience in mobile (IOS and Android) app development. NS804 ensures that you get the best from your mobile app development, with a customized cost calculator and unmatched expertise in product development.
Contact NS804 to know how much it costs to create your mobile app.
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