How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Highly Functional Mobile App?

Sophia Martin
Apr 25, 2020 · 10 min read

How much does it cost to develop a mobile application is the most common question that comes to your mind. If you ask this question to the mobile app developers, they will tell you that the development cost will be dependent upon several factors and its functionalities.

But what about those websites that claim to get your app developed under the cheap price tags? Well, the matter of the fact is, that’s just a marketing technique. Don’t fall for the trap!

When it comes to buying anything, you have heard this fact that” you will get what you will pay for” but in case of mobile app development “it depends”, that raises multiple questions for the startups or enterprises rather than providing an answer.

If we consider the survey report and years of data, it has been concluded that any quality apps will cost you in between $50,000 to $1,000,000.

Some apps may cost you less, but if you are looking for mobile apps with excellent user interface, design, features, smart marketing, superior development framework, then the cost will be somewhere in these cost brackets.

In 2015, a Clutch survey was carried out with some of the leading mobile app development companies to determine the average cost of the mobile application. They found that average development cost is ranging in between $37,000 to $171,450, but it can go high up to $500,000 or higher depending upon the various factors.

Image Source: https://clutch.co/app-developers/resources/cost-build-mobile-app-survey-2015

Considering the above statistics, the best way to find out where your app cost will fall is to understand the aspects that can affect the app development process. Understanding each factor in detail will help you determine what exactly you need, how long it will take to develop, and what exactly it will cost you.

Now the central question comes here “what are the most crucial factors that can affect your app development process and cost?

Generally, the cost of developing any mobile app ranges from $5000 to unbelievably expensive price. There is no straightforward answer to this question! There are multiple factors involved in including application complexity, developers price, features and so on.

So the price to make any app depends on these below mentioned factors:

Deep Diving Into App Development Cost

Pre-Research Stage

-Complexity of the app

- Understanding the Type of Mobile App

Development Team: Outsourced vs In-House

Design Stage: UX/UI Design of mobile application

Development Stage

- Features and Functionality of App

Quality Assurance

Deployment Stage

App Maintenance Cost

Conclusion

Let’s get started with app development stages in detail and learn how much it will cost you:

1. Pre-Research Stage

Pre-research is the discovery stage that will help you sketch out the entire development process, but this stage is complicated as well. The early stage of app development is critical as it will help you find out what you can do and what strategy you can adopt for your app to make it stand out from the crowd.

This stage includes two significant points:

  • What is the complexity of your app?
  • For what operating platform are you developing your app?

Let’s find the answer…

To decide the complexity of the mobile app, let’s divide it into three categories — Simple, complex and highly advanced and understand how much it cost you approximately.

  • Basic Simple Apps: If you are a startup and planning to launch an app with a lower budget, then it is worth to get started with the simple apps designed with simple features like an email subscription, social login, calendar and more. These apps are for primary purpose and have no API integration, no back-end, standard UI components and other sophisticated features that uplift the development cost and time.
  • Complex Apps: For SMEs and enterprises, moderate apps can be a perfect choice as these apps have custom UI features, payment features, API integration, back-end server and more.
  • Highly Advanced Apps: Compex apps are highly functional apps built with custom rich features, including multi-language support, 3rd party integrations, custom animations, complicated back-end, pro app design, excellent user-interface, and more.

Once you decide the complexity level of your application, the next big thing you need to decide is for what platform you need to develop an app.

Now, a more practical tool to calculate the cost of your app is to decide what type of app you can choose to develop.

SINGLE OR CROSS-PLATFORM?

  • Native Apps: Native apps are developed for specific operating systems like Android or iOS, with different coding sets. If you need to target both platforms, then you need to hire mobile app developers with the expertise working on different platforms. Native apps are large and heavy, which deliver the best User experience and fast working. However, they can be expensive as you need to involve a big development team for the app development process.

Examples of Native App: Google Maps, Twitter, Telegram, PokemonGo and more.

Best Frameworks to Develop Native Apps: Object C, C++ for iOS/ Java, JavaScript for Android

Development Time: 3 to 6 months

Development Cost: $10,000 — $100,000

  • Cross-Platform Application: With total combined app download from Google play store and Apple Apps store amounted as 33.6 million in Q1 of 2020, it is becoming essential for enterprises to target both operating platforms to reach out to the more significant section of the users. The best benefit of investing in cross-platform applications are, they are based on a single codebase and run on multiple platforms without making any changes in the codebase. It involves less cost to make an app and a perfect option for small and medium communication apps like game apps or lifestyle apps.

Examples of Native App: MixRadio, Facebook, Zipcar, SmartShare and more

Best Frameworks for Cross-Platform Development: Flutter, React Native, Angular, Vue and more.

Development Time: 5 to 7 months

Development Cost: $20,000 — $100,000

Image Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/604343/number-of-apple-app-store-and-google-play-app-downloads-worldwide/

2. Who Will Develop Your App?

When it comes to choosing the app development team, there are two significant options either outsourcing software company or get considered an in-house team. Undoubtedly, picking a professional offshore development team over the in-house team sure seems to be more expensive, but their reliability and quality of app development is much better.

In many countries, leading software development companies are backed by a highly skilled and experienced pool of developers with years of domain expertise. Also, you can hire the entire development, including designers, programmers, project managers, all under one roof. Whereas, in-house teams are working with limited resources and technologies, and make it challenging to create high performing apps.

Also, you can choose to hire developers on an hourly basis that is starting from $18 to $30 depending upon the skills and experience of the developer.

The basic development team include:

  • Project Manager
  • Programmer
  • UI/UX Designer
  • QA tester

Extended Development Team

  • Project Manager with hourly cost $18-$30
  • 2–3 App Developers at $35+ per hour
  • 1 Back-end Developer at $20+ per hour
  • 2 UX/UI Designers at $15+ per hour
  • 1 AQ engineer at $20+ per hour

3. App Design Stage: UX/UI Design of the App

Your app design can either make or break your business. The more complex the app design, the more expensive your application cost becomes and might be challenging to navigate for users.

Simple app designs with standard features, platform-specific elements are crucial to success.

Beautiful and straightforward app designs are all that users need today. But Steve Jobs Says that “design is not just what it looks like and feels like, the design is how it works”. And in mobile app development, it includes visual design, user interfaces, UX, logo design, icons, wireframes, branding and more.

According to Clutch Survey, the app design stage will cost less than $5000, depending upon how intricate your app design is.

Image Source: https://clutch.co/app-developers/resources/cost-build-mobile-app-survey

4. Development Stage

To find the answer to our most awaited question: “how much does it cost to make an app”, you should find out basic functionality and complexity of the app. The more features you integrate, the higher the price will be. From screens, buttons, categories involved in, to what frameworks you choose to develop apps, many factors can affect the cost of the app development.

Let’s discover what features you need to include in mobile apps:

- User Login

User login is required when users have to register and log into an app to access it. No matter whether registration will be made through email, phone or social media profile, this feature will make it easier for users to access an app even automatically by using auto password remember details. This is an essential feature of the app that takes around 20 hours in development. If you choose to hire iOS app developers, then it will translate you into $500- $1,000 cost.

- Push Notifications

It is a must-have feature for your app, which allows you to notify your users about the latest addition, about any activities related to an app or services. The notifications can be sent in different formats either in simple text or an email with action buttons.

The timeline for developing this feature is between 12 to 20 hours, which may cost you around $800 to $1000.

- Admin Panel

All apps have two admin panels for user management and payment management. From managing the list of users, deleting or blocking users, creating a list of users to managing payments, you need to hire app developers to develop flawless admin panels.

The estimated time to create this feature is around 80- 90 hours which will cost you around $7,500- $8,000

- Chat/ Messaging

To stay connected with your valuable customer, it is essential to create a chatroom for the users. But there are several variables at play like what kind of chat you need to make with users? Is there any possibility for file transfer? Does it save the chat history? Is there any option to auto-delete? Is it person-to-person chat or a group chat? And more.

You can choose to hire an Android app development company, which will take around 80+ hours to build this feature and cost you about $5000 to $6,000.

- App Security

Data encryption is highly essential to keep your user’s data safe and secure with your app. Make sure the encryption of the data should be end-to-end and transfer of data from a mobile app to its back-end should be done by default.

The task is dependent upon the data type and takes around 30 hours to complete the development. This feature will turn to cost you about $750- $1,500.

- Multi-language Support

If you are trying to target multiple regions or global markets, then make sure your app will be presented in various languages. The primary thing to be focused here is the adjustment of the UI design.

Adding this feature to your app will cost you approx. $350- $750 and takes up to 15 hours to develop.

5. Quality Assurance

If anyone tells you that they can develop an app with no bugs at all, don’t trust it. It is unreal to launch an app without testing.

The main objective of testing an app are:

  • Checking that app is working flawlessly on all operating platforms.
  • It is meeting all specified requirements.
  • Provide up-to-date information.
  • It is bug-free and easy to navigate.

QA services may cost you somewhere $5000 to $15000 depending upon the complexity of the app. However, the average rate of hiring mobile app developers is starting from $18 t0 $30.

6. Deployment Stage

The launch of your app depends upon the platform you choose to launch. Compared to the other expenses, the price to launch an app is not so high, but you need to adhere to proper guidelines for app submission. So any company you hire to develop an app can help you launch an app to your choice of the platform, but you need to pay app submission fees that are $25 for Google Play store and $99 for Apple App Store.

7. App Maintenance Cost

Your app development costs do not end up with the release of the application. However, many of you are wondering why to bear this app maintenance fee when it has been successfully published to the app store? The matter of the fact is, distributing your app to the app store or play store is the beginning stage, your end target is daily active users. And if you want people will download your app and keep using it flawlessly, then you need to upgrade your app frequently with the latest features.

As per Clutch survey, 28% of app development firms predict that post-launch app maintenance cost will be less than $5000, while another 28% predict it will be in between $5000 to $10,000.

Image Source: https://clutch.co/app-developers/resources/cost-build-mobile-app-survey

Ending Note

To end this article, it is worth to conclude that there is no simple answer for an app development cost. Multiple factors can affect the value of your app development, including the app size, complexity, frameworks, technologies, features and functionalities, deployment charges and more.

Hopefully, this researched blog will help you find the answer to your question and provide you with an estimate of app development cost.

However, the app development cost varies according to your project needs and the level of the development team you hire for your project needs. Various online calculators have concluded the total app development price is between $200,000 to $350,000, whereas few leading software development companies have revealed that it will cost you around $50,000 to $100,000.

To determine the actual cost of your mobile app development, we recommend you to discuss the details of the project with the developer and get the right price and time estimation of the app development.

Read More: Top Mobile App Ideas That Can Change the World in 2021

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