Have you finally agreed that it’s time you build a mobile app? If so, you are in the right place.
But before we delve more into this ultimate guide to creating apps, it is only wise to discuss the big question on your mind. How much does it cost to build an app?
This is no doubt the question on the minds of every other person in your shoes. If you, like many others, have searched online and got a definite price upfront, sorry to disappoint you, but that price is wrong.
The reason is that the app development cost depends on so many things that it makes it extremely difficult to give an exact price. However, if you would like to get a price, you will probably be getting a fee that ranges from $20,000 to $100,000 or even more.
That’s quite a gap.
Well, it only justifies that creating an app involves a lot of factors, and those factors must have been met before any app developer can tell you without a doubt how much precisely you should budget to have your mobile app done.
We will discuss the factors affecting the cost of app development in this guide. But beyond that, we will also look into how the type of app and parts of the world you intend to get a developer affects the price.
Further down the guide, we will also discuss the differences between hybrid and native mobile apps, the benefits of each, and which you should decide upon. If you believe that the price of creating an app is high, you will also find out the reasons for this, but you will also see why an app is an excellent investment, among many other things.
So, what do you say we jump right into it?
Factors Affecting the Value of Applications
When you have decided to create a mobile app, don’t expect a software development company to give you the cost for app development right away. They will need to analyze how long it will take to create your app. They will also have to know your initial requirements.
Several factors affect the value of apps. And until your software development company has the right information, they can’t give the right price of what your app will cost. Let’s discuss these factors.
Category and location of the developer
The type of mobile application you intend to develop will affect the app development cost to a large extent. For instance, you cannot expect to be quoted the same price for developing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or a Learning Management System and a static website. Because the requirements of these mobile apps are different, the price will also be different.
Likewise, the location of the producer or developer will also affect the cost of developing an app.
We will discuss this later in this guide, but you will know that location determines how much developers charge for providing their service.
For example, you can expect to get a higher quote in the western world like the US and Europe than in places like Asia or India. It is important to note also that a high price does not mean the developed app will be superior; it often depends on the developer’s location and reputation.
It is also important to note that you need beyond a mobile app developer to create your app. You will most likely find programmers, business analysts, project managers, architects, graphic designers, and quality assurance engineers in a typical software development company.
Depending on the structure of the software development company and the complexity of your app, all of those professionals may contribute before your app is ready. Needless to say, this will also affect the price of the mobile app.
Complexity and number of features of the application
The complexity and number of features you expect in the mobile application are significant drivers determining the cost of developing an app. Hence, to answer the question, “how much does it cost to create an app?” First, you will have to answer the app’s complexity and how many features it will have.
Screens, fields involved, buttons, and the amount of logic are some of the things your developer will consider in determining the app’s complexity. While the implementation of some features is relatively short and simple, some can be lengthy and require some additional coding or integration of third-party API.
For instance, it might take an average developer 28 – 48 hours to implement the login feature where users can either log in with their email addresses or social media accounts and log out of the app.
In contrast, the basic admin panel that includes user management features, including creating, editing, and deleting users, may take a developer between 66 and 90 hours. If your mobile app includes making audio and video calls, it might take up to 300 hours for a senior developer to implement.
Internal infrastructure and connected APIs
A mobile app’s internal or back-end infrastructure is the Operating System (OS) upon which the app is created. The OS also provides the APIs developers use to offer data exchange between a database and the app.
Now, you would want to track your users’ activity, access performance, and a few other things, which means your developer has to equip the app with analytics. And without a doubt, the cost of developing the app will also vary depending on the number of parameters you intend to track and how detailed you want the tracking to be.
The complexity of UX/ UI design
You must know that before a developer begins the implementation process of your app, they must first visualize the mobile app in the form of designs. Each page and process must be defined and clear, which is the work of a product or UX/UI designer.
If your app is a complex one, it will require complex designs, which means complex implementation – all of which means a high development price.
Inclusion of additional branded visual elements
Marketers will tell you that branding is important. Your app is nothing more than a means through which users interact with your business – this is assuming that the app you are developing is for a business or organization.
If your app is then an arm of a business, they expect that everything a user sees from your app is in unison with other forms of communication the business has in place. This is important to establish your business or brand in customers’ minds.
That means visual elements like consistency, color, imagery, typography, and logo must be put in place. These are basic, but if you require additional branded visual elements like thorough market research, you can expect that to affect the cost of creating the mobile app.
Development approach (native, mobile web, hybrid, etc.)
What approach do you expect your app to take? If you are not a technical professional, this might not mean much to you, but the development approach your software development company takes will determine how much you can expect the quote to be.
A native app, for instance, means it is restricted to an operating system. That means, if your users are on different operating systems, you will have to develop mobile apps for the various OSs. On the other hand, hybrid apps mean your development company does not have to create different apps for different operating systems.
Depending on the solution in mind, you might also need to develop a mobile web, and this means more development and implementation can significantly affect the app development price.
The number of platforms to be developed (iOS, Android, web, etc.)
As we discussed above, developing a native app often means developing different apps for each platform. These developments only summarize the increase in the mobile app development price.
How Much Does It Cost to Create An App?
We have seen that several factors affect the value or price of the app. But with that understanding, what do you think should be the cost to develop an application?
At this point, we must know that the app development price is also affected by the app type, the region the developer is located, the mobile app design and structure, and the platform on which it will run.
If the developer charges $40/hour, you can expect the app development cost to take the following look:
|App Type||Estimated Cost||Estimated Developed Time|
|Simple App Development Cost||$40,000 to $60,000||2-3 months|
|Average App Development Cost||$60,000 to $150,000||3-6 months|
|Complex App Development Cost||from $300,000||9+ months|
Cost of Creating Applications By Type
The average cost of developing a mobile app is also determined by its type. You will agree that the price of developing a basic app like a calculator will be lower than an e-commerce app, for instance.
Before we look into how much to build an app based on the type of app, however, have you ever wondered why an app development cost could reach $200,000 or even more?
To justify the phone app development cost, you might want to look into the funding and exiting of major apps. First, how much do you think it cost the original developer of WhatsApp to create the app? When you discover that Facebook bought the app for 1 billion dollars in 2012, then $200,000 begins to look like an excellent investment to create a mobile app. Don’t you agree?
Next, Uber, the riding hailing app, raised $200,000 of seed money and $1,25 million during the Angel round of funding. This was immediately followed by 11 other investment rounds that amounted to $8.71 billion. When the company raised $3.5 billion in a single round in 2016, it set a record most private companies can only dream about. The popular photo messaging app Snapchat also raised $485,000 in the Seed Round, and later for eight other funding rounds, it raised $ 2.6 billion.
What does all that tell you about app development costs? While it is true that not all businesses will raise such amounts of funding, those figures are true for launching a business from the ground. And it justifies the question, “how much to build an app?”
Below is a list of popular mobile app types, their cost, and the estimated timeline:
|App Type||App development cost||Timeline||Examples|
|Basic app||$20,000||1 month||Calculator, camera, clock|
|Data-driven app||$23,000||1 month +||Stocks, calendar, weather|
|Authentication app||$65,000||3-6 months||Google drive, McDonald’s Loyalty app|
|Social networking app||$60,000–350,000||3-6 up to 9 months||LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook|
|E-commerce app||$60,000–350,000||3-6 up to 9 months||Alibaba, Amazon, eBay|
|On-demand app||$75,000||5-7 months||Uber, Nimber, Postmates|
(multilevel web platform)
|$350,000||9 months +||Booking.com, TripAdvisor|
|IoT & Hardware app||$65,000||3-6 months||WeMo, Amazon Dash Buttons, DirectTV|
Cost of Creating An Application By Region
The region where your software development company is located will also affect the development price. While some regions charge higher than others, it doesn’t mean they develop the highest quality apps.
For instance, the app development cost in India is lower than in the US, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t world-class developers in India.
Before we see discuss the question, “how much does it cost to create an application in different regions of the world?”, we must understand that their hourly rate is determined by a few things that can include:
- The complexity of the app and the caliber of professionals involved. Will your app development require the services of programmers, testers, project managers, business analysts, scrum masters, or testers?
- The qualifications of these professionals. Are they junior, middle, or senior personnel?
Then, let’s see the hourly rate of mobile app developers in different regions and compare how much it costs to make an app in India with other parts of the world.
Then, let’s see the hourly rate of mobile app developers in different regions and compare how much it costs to make an app in India with other parts of the world.
|Region||Hourly rate ($)|
|United States (USA)||120-150|
|United Kingdom (UK)||100-120|
Hybrid Vs. Native Mobile Apps: What to Choose?
You will also have to decide if you will create a hybrid or native mobile app. And as you must have known, these are priced differently.
If you decide to develop a native app, you will have to decide which platform to build for. Should you build for Android or iOS? If your users use both operating systems, that means you will have to develop two separate apps. And that means you will want to answer the question, “how much does it cost to make an android app? or what does iOS app development cost?”
Most businesses build native apps because they easily enhance user experience. Native apps also make it easy to access hardware such as the camera, GPS, and contact list, within the users’ devices. Since you have to develop separate native apps for each OS, you can expect the cost to go high. Essentially, you will have to consider both iOS and Android app development costs.
Another reason businesses prefer native apps is because their native UI makes it easy for users to learn the app quickly.
Next, when searching for the app on the app store, either Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store, native apps are easy to discover. And you get maximum support from Apple or Google, as the case may be.
So, while native apps development is expensive, hybrid mobile apps are a lot less expensive. You don’t have to develop mobile apps for separate OS with hybrid apps, and a single hybrid app is ready to launch on both Apple and Android platforms.
This makes the development time and market reach faster than native apps. It also means you don’t have to worry about individual costs like the iPhone app development cost or Android app development cost. The development process is also easier with hybrid apps, and the maintenance cost is lower.
Reasons for Expensive Application Development
Considering all that we have discussed, do you now know how expensive is it to make an app? Let’s see some of these reasons.
1. Hourly rates
Hourly rates are a major reason why app development costs can be costly. Since you probably don’t have the expertise to develop an app yourself, you will have to employ someone to do that for you. Now, what is the hourly rate of the developer? And how long will it take them to complete the mobile app development?
Say their hourly rate is $50 per hour, and it takes them 500 hours to finish; the app development cost will be around $ 25,000 provided there is no other cost incurred during the development.
2. Type of the app
Another reason determining how expensive it is to make an app is its type. Because different requirements arise concerning the app’s purpose, its cost can go high. For instance, the price of a simple app like a calculator will be different and lower than that of an e-commerce or game app.
3. App platform
Do you prefer a native app where you have to develop different apps for each platform, or do you want a hybrid app that caters to all platforms?
Native app development cost is higher than its hybrid counterpart for good reasons. But you will have to decide if you prefer faster to the market possibility of the hybrid app or the ease of usage of the native app.
Developing your mobile app through an app builder or no-code tools is also possible. And we will discuss more on that later in this guide. Other reasons that cause the expensive application development include the cost of maintenance and repair, the region you are hiring a developer from, and whether you are hiring freelancers or agencies. If you want low cost app development, a region where the developers charge cheaper is your best bet.
Why Might App Creation Be A Solid Investment?
We have already discussed how much companies like Uber and Snap Inc. raised at the start of the business. So, if you are still wondering if an app creation is a solid investment, maybe the following statistics will help.
According to Statista and other researches:
- Free apps account for approximately 92% of the total apps in the Apple App Store. Free and freemium are the most effective pricing strategies for apps.
- After the revenue of the mobile app industry reached a staggering $581.9 Billion in 2020, it is estimated that it will reach $ 1 trillion in 2023, provided the trend doesn’t change.
- The mobile app development industry will grow beyond 18.4% in 2026, and the industry will reach $ 407.31 billion by 2026 (Market Research).
- An average smartphone user will spend 88% of their time on their mobile device on an app (eMarketer).
- While 7 in 10 smartphone users download games, over 95% of all users download communication applications, messaging, web browsers, etc.
To put things in perspective, if Uber were to sell their business today, how much do you think the buyer will have to pay? While businesses are much more than mobile app, you will agree that most of Uber’s revenue is from their customers who interact with drivers on their apps.
So, we ask again, how much will Uber cost today to exit? So, would you say developing their app is a solid investment for a business like that? Would you say the app developer cost is worth it?
What Are Your Options for Developing An App?
The good thing is that we live in a world of options. However, those multiple options can quickly become problems and confusion if you are not well informed. One certain thing is that you have to choose the team that works on your mobile app development carefully, as this will greatly determine the average cost to develop an app.
One major benefit you will get when you carefully choose the right team is higher quality that doesn’t equate to a high application development cost. No matter the level of growth your business is in; you would want to get the best value for your money. And if you are a startup with a low budget, this topic is more important to you.
So, how do you choose the right team to work on your app development? Let’s get to it.
Medium-sized local agency
We will discuss the first option, an agency in your locality that provides many other services aside from app development.
We showed earlier the different app development costs based on region. So, if you intend to hire a local agency, you now know how much you should budget. For instance, if local agencies charge $200 on average per hour per professional and your app development takes 500 hours, you should be looking to spend around $100,000 on the app development alone.
Having said that, why would you want to hire a local agency? One, they are responsible and accountable for their work, and that means you don’t have to worry about ensuring they are doing their work or providing a workspace for them.
With a local agency, you will also have specialists with expert knowledge who are readily available to help in case of issues or ongoing maintenance. With that setting, how much does an app developer cost?
While all that is good, you might want to consider if you are ready to spend $100,000 on an app right now. Remember that your “how much to make an app” question will depend on your locality. And this doesn’t include other factors that ensure the app’s success, like market analysis, maintenance, and copywriting.
To answer your question of where you should hire a local agency or not, we will say, “run a cost-benefit analysis.“
If you are a small company where your IT department can handle both the development and support of internal information systems, an in-house team might be the best solution for you.
You will also like an in-house team if you want complete transparency and constant communication of the development progress. However, you must consider the mobile app development cost.
In the western world, the salary of an average full-stack developer is around $90,000 per year, and a mobile developer will command around a similar price. Note that those are simply the mobile app development prices and do not include the cost of setting up their workspace, system server, and other infrastructure.
However, an in-house team is great if your ongoing and long-term app development project. Your communication will be smooth, and you will not be deprived of a constant flow of ideas. But remember, the responsibility, budget, quality, and employee welfare are all for you to bear.
In this arrangement, it might be difficult to answer anyone how much an app costs to make. But you can take solace in the transparency and total control you enjoy.
Many people run away from freelancers, and their fear can be justified. Freelancers can be hard to manage, and without proper vetting, it might be difficult to ascertain that the freelancer you employ will do the job to your satisfaction.
Another reason why some don’t want to work with freelancers is that they can leave you hanging. So, while freelancers are one of your cheapest bets, you might have to ask here if the freelancer will see the project through, and because of this, it is hard to ascertain what is the development of an app cost.
If you decide to employ a freelancer, you have two options. Either hire them on a contract basis or an hourly basis. Anyone you choose is fine; just ensure you properly vet them before committing your app development project in their hands.
Hence, your question here won’t be “how much does it cost to hire an app developer?” rather, it will be “how do I manage them to stay committed to my project?”
Mobile app builder
We have discussed committing your app development projects to programmers, but nowadays, mobile app builders are also on the rise, and people have begun to look in that direction.
For instance, Andromo is a no-code native apps development platform that lets you create an app in minutes. It sounds unreal, but you might want to reconsider with over 80,000 apps launched on Google Play Store.
With this option, you don’t need technical or coding skills. All you need is to be sure of what you want to develop, and you can begin right away. Essentially, you will have a simple user interface with drag-and-drop features so you can visualize your app while in the development phase.
Aside from the no-code app development feature, app builders like Andromo also provide extra means to monetize and profit your app. You can either add attractive content-related ads, become an app seller on Play Stores, take commissions to build custom apps or place other sponsored content. All of that without writing a line of code or having technical expertise.
How to Build an App on a Budget?
If you say, “I don’t have the budget to hire an agency or spend thousands of dollars on the app development,” you have an option. Yes, you can build an app on a budget.
You might not have the funds to develop a fully functional app or implement all the features you want, so building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) might be the best option. It would have limited features, functionality, and design, but it will get you started realizing your dream of developing an app.
The MVP will also make it easier to present a product to investors while seeking funding without spending a fortune on the initial app development.
One great way to build an MVP is to invest in an app builder like Andromo. You don’t need any technical skills to get your app ready. What’s more? It gives the low cost mobile app development option.
You would have to budget thousands of dollars on the core app development cost to hire a software development company. However, with an app builder like Andromo, you can get started with as low as $10 per month.
Andromo gives users three plans. The first is Hobbyist, which gives you access to 2 GB storage, 30 projects, and other benefits. Your investment cost here is only $10/ month.
With the PRO plan at $28/ month, you can create up to 300 projects with 10 GB storage. It is perfect for content creators and small entrepreneurs.
The Ultra plan lets you develop unlimited apps with 100 GB storage at $48/ month. It is perfect for professional app creators and business development representatives.
Needless to say, if you are looking for a cheap app developer without compromising on quality, this is the right option.
Benefits of Andromo
You only spend money on Andromo after your trial period has lapsed. And with three subscription options available – Hobbyist, Pro, Ultra – you have access to distinct capabilities and features. The pricing is also relatively low compared to other means of app development we have discussed. You can begin developing your app for as low as $10 per month for the Hobbyist option.
Easy to use
Andromo is a drag-and-drop app builder with a minimal dashboard. You don’t need technical skills, and turning your idea into reality will only take minutes. You will also be able to test the final app within theф builder.
What is the essence of an application when you cannot decipher how users are using the app? With Andromo, you can use analytics tools to capture, analyze, and deliver insights and metrics such as user behavior.
Advanced monetization features
Andromo is the first all-in-one, no-code platform to allow the creation and monetization of mobile applications. Creators can make money through the app in various ways, including allowing others to run ads and taking commissions to build custom apps.
The Final Part
The cost to build an app is an essential topic that must not be taken with levity. And from the guide, we have seen what determines the mobile app development cost. Some of the factors include the app’s complexity, the region where your developer is located, and the type of the app.
We have also shown that while you are just starting out, it is only wise to build a Minimum Viable Product before committing thousands of dollars to app development. An excellent place to start is a no-code builder like Andromo.
Not only does it make it easy to build an app through its drag-and-drop feature, but it also allows you to monetize the mobile app. And when we consider that it takes as low as $10 per month to get started, it gets interesting.
Creating an app is a great investment; however, ensure that the option of app development cost you go for will give you the best value for your money. Custom app development cost used to be an issue; it is no more.