How much does an app cost?

Why don’t you tell me?

These usually are the beginning and the end of a conversation when it comes to the cost of a mobile app.

In the middle there’s an attempt (usually in vain) to explain why the question is misplaced.

Would you step into a pizza place and ask “How much does a pizza cost”?

They would ask you in return: what kind of pizza do you prefer?
The cost will depend on the number and the type of seasoning. A simple “Margherita” will obviously cost less than a more complex pizza with olives, artichokes, mushrooms, ham and salami.

Again, would you get into a grocer shop and ask “How much does 100g of raw ham cost”?

They will ask you to choose among the several available kinds (e.g. Parma, San Daniele, and so on), each one with a different price.

There’s many more cases you could think of: from the car (depending on the model, the manufacturer, the engine size or on the extra features, e.g. whether you want it fully equipped or not) to your PC, from a smartphone to a vacation package or a house and so on…

It’s not a matter of generic app cost but of what will the app do and how hard is to implement the desired behavior.

It’s all about what you need it to do and what’s the necessary effort to suit your needs.

It could range from a simple app displaying static textual content to a complex navigation assistant displaying maps, suggestions and places, to a picture sharing app with image filters and stickers, to a messaging app or a social network one.

The cost of an app is computed the same way as any other piece of software, based on the features and the time one needs to implement it.

So, don’t ask how does an app cost, instead say:

I need an app doing this:
* x
* y
* z
what would the price be for that?

Everything would be more clear and simple for both the client and the developer.

This story is also available on xabaras.it (in Italian).