How much does it cost to make an app for your startup

In today’s highly technological and all-interconnected age everyone has an opportunity to start own business. Startups are a great option to put ideas to test and raise funding. Startups come and go, and almost all of them are related to tech industry in one way or another. In the world of social media and smartphones you can basically launch a mobile app and see where it takes you next.

The cool thing about a startup is that you control and direct your business concept, involve people you like. But the evident question arises: how to make an app, what’s the cost of making an app and how long does it take? In this post you’ll find pinned down basics to app development prices.

Average App Cost

Two essential factors to estimate how much does it cost to make an app are time and rate. Let us explain. Most of startups, as well as established corporations, hire expert software engineers, a.k.a. developers (app developers, mobile developers). App developer hourly rate is the crucial factor, because it takes not just few hours. You app may turn in hundreds or even thousands of development hours to create.

$20 or $200 hourly rate when hiring an app developer, you see the difference. But be careful with cheaper options, as the quality would probably lack too, in result. Generally, the two opposite extremes in rates are Indonesia/India ($15–20) and USA/Canada ($150+). In UK and Australia you may find app engineers for $70–100 per hour, while in Central Europe for $45–55.

Timeframe is next. Some apps require less time to make, others are complicated. It all depends. Almost all modern mobile apps incorporate features like geolocation, social login, push notifications and messaging. You may start with just few main features to reduce the cost of creating an app. Get an initial estimate from the team you’re hiring to see how much time it all would take. Multiply it to hourly rate and that’s your MVP cost.

So, once again the price to build an app will consist of:

Features x Time x Hourly rate = Cost

Popular examples

To shed more light on this, we may take a look at few popular apps and their cost. For instance, messaging apps, dating apps or taxi apps, that have the most users. The #1 chat app WhatsApp is commonly estimated in 1.500 hours to develop in total. At a rate of $150 it would cost about $225.000, while $50 developer rate would result in $75.000 price.

The acclaimed dating app Tinder with 1.5 million paying users includes features like user profiles, geolocation, matching algorithms, discovery settings and private chats. Average development time equals to 1.000 hours. Thus, again the cost may range from $50.000 to $150.000. Find out more about technology behind dating applications and how to make an app like Tinder.

With the same aspects in mind, a social networking app like Instagram would cost up to $200.000, a taxi app like Uber — up to $180.000, a music streaming app like Spotify — up to $100.000.

Closing thoughts

Cost of an app involves certain additional things too, of course. These may be the overall complexity, a method of development, team size and location, app environment and/or platform, etc. Your mobile app can have unique features and services as well. You may also need third-party integrations, web servers to connect to and so on. Thus, the clearer vision you have for an app, the more accurate cost estimation you’ll get.

Another ongoing debate within mobile industry is Android versus iOS. Some believe apps for Android devices are more expensive to create. Others say the price of app development is apparently the same no matter the platform.

In the process of building an app you’ll get familiar with what a back-end, UX, wireframe is. But that’s the whole another story. To recap briefly about the cost of making an app, remember 3 main factors: complexity, features, rates.

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