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In 2023 when people are used to being mobile, many businesses need to build their applications and retain customers. But how much does it cost to create an app?
In 2023 when people are used to being mobile, many businesses need to build their applications and retain customers. App development cost is a major consideration when planning your mobile strategy. So, how much does it cost to create an app? In this article, we will try to answer this question.
It’s safe to say that even the simplest apps aren’t likely to cost less than $15,000, while the more expensive ones might be $240,000 or more while the average price is around $150,000. That’s not an easy question, as the cost can vary dramatically according to the solution's complexity.
Here are a few surveys conducted on this question that might help you:
- According to Business of Apps, a simple app’s development cost is up to $32,000, an app of medium complexity is worth up to $48,000, and the price of creating a complex app starts at $72,000.
- GoodFirms provides other figures regarding the cost of developing an app. You’ll need from $100,000 to $185,000 for multifunctional and complex applications like Instagram, Tinder, or Uber.
- UpCity conducted a survey determining the average cost of each dev stage. You need $10,000—15,000 for the discovery phase, $10,000—15,000 for the design, about $5,000 for building any app feature like push notifications or advanced analytics, and $5,000—$10,000 for testing and support.
As you can see, those are some significant discrepancies. It would help if you thought about what the platform is intended for and the complexity and number of features. QA will be a factor, as well as expenses having to do with marketing, design uniqueness, location, and rates of the IT vendor.
Softermii will help you manage all the factors contributing to the final cost of making an app.
We’ve been in this business for over seven years and have extensive expertise in providing excellent mobile applications at reasonable prices. Some of the best examples of the apps we’ve developed are Dollar Shave Club, Streamotion, Smart Start and Mediconnect. Our experts choose the best tech solutions and calculate the development cost easily.
So, let’s get into a more detailed explanation of how much it costs to create a mobile application. We are well aware that the final costs can vary greatly because it depends on dozens of factors, but in this guide relevant to 2023, we have tried to describe the most detailed information regarding the mobile app development cost.
Factors That Determine Mobile App Development Cost
While there is no precise answer to the question “how much does it cost to build an app?”, there is a short list of features with the most significant impact. They are:
App Development Complexity
The number and sophistication of the selected features affect the development complexity.The chosen tech stack has its influence as well. The cost of creating an app will also vary depending on the level of customization, the number of screens, etc.
App Design Complexity
Design faces the same cost-influencing factors as the development process. The more features and screens, the more work designers have; accordingly, the app’s price increases. Also, consider whether your design is basic or custom, whether you use animation, 3D, etc.
Yes, perhaps design is not a fundamental factor that affects the cost to run an app, but it is a fairly important process that can cost a decent amount of money. The cost to develop an app will depend on several factors, including the number and complexity of UI wireframes, prototypes, the amount of animated content, etc.
You have three options when choosing a platform for your app. It is the native iOS or Android applications creation or the cross-platform solution development. The app development budget will depend on the platform you select. A mobile app development budget will depend on the platform you select.
The cost to build a mobile app is also affected by the industry in which you operate. After all, depending on the niche, your application may need a specific functionality or design approach. For example, healthcare apps will have different features from eCommerce platforms.
Project Industry and Type
As we’ve already stated, the cost to build an application depends on the industry. App type is a price-influencing factor as well.
For example, social platforms are usually relatively easy to create because they are somewhat formulaic. If you’re looking to build a mHealth app or complex medical platform, it requires quite a significant backend and design development to work properly.
Let’s look at the main types of mobile apps you can develop. Here they are:
- Data-driven apps
- Device apps
- Functionality apps
- Custom apps
- Gaming apps
In addition to the app types, there are numerous industry-related categories. Take a look at some of them:
- Health and fitness
- Social media
- Photo and video
- And many more
Therefore, the final mobile application development cost may vary greatly depending on what kind of business you have and what tasks the future application faces. Especially, it concerns the custom app development cost, when the set of features is very individual.
Mobile App Development Team Hiring Cost
The location also counts greatly as you look at how much an app costs. The most popular destinations for locating and employing dev teams include the USA, Eastern Europe, Asia, and various parts of Latin America.
The average hourly rate of iOS developers in the USA is $46.72, nearly the same for Android experts. In Western Europe countries like Germany, the average hourly pay of an iOS engineer is about $42, and $40 for an Android specialist. As for Asian countries, for example, India, the numbers are significantly lower. The hourly rate for iOS and Android developers (read Android developer salary) is about $4.54.
If you have just an idea in mind, consider hiring the entire software development team. Here is a list of team roles you need for making an app and an average rate per hour in different regions according to Payscale:
If you’re attempting to strike a balance between price and high-quality dev skills, you might look toward Eastern Europe and Ukraine in particular. App development there might cost you a reasonable $40 per hour. You can keep those prices lower if you outsource the project to Ukraine.
Android or iOS Native App
It would help if you considered whether to build your application for Android, iOS, or both. Remember that the platform you choose will influence the average cost of app development.
When trying to make up your mind, it’s going to be all about the customers you’d like to reach with your mobile solution. Are they likely to be Apple device users, or will they opt for Android?
Here is a map with the iOS and Android user distribution by country. So, check your target market first and decide what platform to choose.
Of course, making a mobile platform for both is the best case. It would help if you also kept in mind that native Android or iOS apps usually work better than cross-platform ones. Native apps might cost you a bit more, but their higher overall performance makes them desirable.
App Maintenance Cost
App maintenance is another thing on your list of expenses. As a rule, it’s worth 15-20% of the total app development budget.
What exactly is included in the application maintenance? Here are the main components:
- Hosting. Depending on the amount and type of data stored on the server, the annual cost varies from $840 to $3840.
- Monitoring. You can monitor application performance on any available analytics platform, such as Google Analytics. It is not possible to calculate the cost of such services in advance, as it depends on the number of your users.
- Engagement and Marketing. The marketing services cost will vary depending on the tools and platforms. For example, the cost-per-install is $3.6 for iOS apps and $1.22 for Android apps.
- Updates. The cost will vary depending on what you change in the application. For example, adding a new feature costs more than $5,000, while minimal bug fixes can be done for $1,000-$2,000.
- Licenses and APIs. If your app uses third-party technologies, you must also pay for them. The technology’s provider determines the price.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mobile App: Cost Breakdown
Developing an app consists of different steps, and you should keep in mind the cost for each. Let’s go in-depth with some details on each part of the expenditures.
Business analysis is a critical stage, and you’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. Part of what will happen at this stage is that you validate your app idea and determine the detailed documentation on your platform development.
It is some of what will be taking place during this stage, as conducted by business analysts:
- They’ll identify a problem or “pain point”
- They will identify and define the project’s value
- They will define, understand, and verify the business scope
- They’ll do analysis, including mind mapping and competitor study
- They will produce a business solution
- Workshopping will be next, consisting of requirement elicitation and management, documentation development, testing, and support
- They will produce the best possible solution based on market needs
- Finally, they will work on enhancements, such as changes in management and support, should they be necessary
It all will be required if you want your project to succeed. Let’s say you’ve decided to do this part of the app in Ukraine at $40 per hour. Depending on the app’s complexity and requirements, the business analysis stage might cost anywhere from $2,500 to $12,000.
Mobile App Design Cost
How much does it cost to design an app in 2023? Let’s say you were to divide the mobile design into three categories: simple, somewhat complicated, and highly complex.
At design costs with an hourly rate of $40-$50 per hour, you might expect to pay $5,000 to $10,000 for the simple app. The somewhat complicated solution may cost you from $10,000 to $20,000. If you’re going for the complex platform, like designing an eCommerce app, that should run you upwards of $20,000.
The design complexity and time-consuming of its creation will be considered factors when you look at what you can expect to pay. For highly functional platforms, the cost will go up nearly exponentially.
The answer to the question of how much money to develop an app will be much less if your application is simple. A simple app will consist of platform-specific, standard elements. The cost rises when you start talking about animations and customized elements.
App Features Costs
The average cost to develop an application will vary according to the features, but that hardly matters if your budget is limited. You must prioritize the vital features if you do not have a solid budget for your app. However, there are some features you need to have, or else the app will not function correctly.
For the following, let’s assume the cost of creating an app of $40 per hour, as would be the case if you’re hiring a development team from Ukraine.
- Registration and Login
Mobile app development costs for this aspect should not be too high. It is the part of the app where users can register and log in with an email. There also must be “forgot password” and “logout” features. The time to create this might be 20-25 hours, costing $800-$1,000.
The app development cost for payments will be higher. This feature allows users to pay for services and products within the app. They should be able to use or scan credit cards or a payment gateway. This part might take as many as 50-65 dev hours. You would be looking at the cost of $2,000-$2,600.
- In-App Purchases
This feature allows users to make basic in-app purchases. It would probably take 20-30 hours to design, costing $800-$1,200.
- User Profile
Users appreciate it when they can easily create a user profile for themselves and have a history on it with, for example, their purchases or whatever else. There should be text fields for personal information, gender, birthday, a photo, etc. It might take up to 15-20 creation hours, costing $600-$800.
- File Uploading
Many mobile solutions like messaging apps need uploading capabilities. The user must be able to upload photos and videos, and there should be video playback and photo view capabilities. That might take 20-30 dev hours at the cost of $1,000-$1,500.
- Messaging & Chat
Most apps will require a basic chat feature. That might involve a list of chats, a way to send text messages or images, a list of messages with time and user avatars, and push notifications for new discussions and messages. That might take as long as 60-80 dev hours, and you’d be looking at a price tag of $2,500-$3,200.
The price will be higher if you need a more complex messenger with the ability to send media files and documents, read sent messages, see conversation details, and view online/offline status. It will take approximately 160-170 hours to develop and cost $8,000-$8,500.
If you’re looking for a video chat app development, it can take up to 80 hours more. You can reduce it with ready-made video API integration if you already have the messenger platform.
A search feature is a must-have for apps. There should be a basic search function and one with suggestions. That will require around 13-18 dev hours, costing $650-$900. And it can be more if you need to have a search with some custom suggestions.
- Report Abuse
Users will appreciate a report abuse feature. It should include a list of possible reasons for reporting misconduct, and each subsequent entry will increase the estimate. The hours might range between 10-12, at the cost of $400-$500.
- Push Notifications
Push notifications also come in handy in apps. It will take about 12-15 hours of dev time and cost between $500-$600. Specific push notification implementation will increase the estimate.
Advanced Mobile App Features Cost
There are many advanced features that you may feel your app needs. Let’s go over some of them next.
- Backend Infrastructure and App Administration
With mobile app development, the backend is typically an OS that gives developers APIs or SDKs that provide the ability of data exchange between a database and app. The development cost will vary significantly, depending on the number of additional features and the amount of transferred data between users’ devices and servers.
Read Also: Average back-end developer salaries
- Data Encryption
It is a feature used to secure messaging and end-to-end encryption. In such a scenario, only the receiver has the needed decoding protocol. It is one of the must-have mHealth app features, as well as for finance, banking, and eCommerce platforms. Adding this will likely take between 16-24 hours of dev time. The cost should be between $650 and $1,000.
- Administration Panel
The admin panel is a useful app tool for managing stats, users, and content. This area will include admin authorization, management, and user management.
The first will be so admins can register, log out, and log in. The second is so admins can manage other admins. The third one is so admins can control user applications. Adding them will take 8-12 hours, 6-10 hours, and 20-37 hours, respectively. You would be looking at costs of $350-$500, $250-$400, and $800-$1,500.
Admin authorization and user management features allow creating an admin panel within which you can manage user accounts like filtering and sorting for your purposes. It takes up to approximately 60 hours and around $2500.
That feature is useful when building real estate applications, where the admin can create filtered users’ segments who like or save one or another property and send personalized offers for them. And this is only one example of using it.
- Connectivity with Device Hardware
It might include connectivity with entities like heart rate sensors, accelerometers, barometers, Bluetooth, etc. It does not require backend development, but you’ll still look at 16-24 hours of dev time for each addition. That will be something like $650-$1,000 for each component.
It is where you would add geolocation with Google Maps. It will likely take 32-48 hours, costing $1,500-$2,000.
This more general feature will also require integration with Google Maps SDK. It will take 32-40 hours to set up, on average. The cost will be $1,300-$1,600.
- Offline Mode
Offline mode is useful for apps as well. No backend development will be required, but the app should still be able to collect data when it’s in this state. The hours required might be up to 80. The cost will be around $3,500.
Setting up streaming services can benefit many video streaming apps in entertainment, learning, automotive, healthcare, and other industries. This complex process can take 56-72 hours of dev time. The cost is $2,300-$3,000.
- In-App Calls
It is an addition whereby the user can make audio or video calls. They should also be able to see a list of contacts. It can take 257-365 hours. The cost will be from $12,850-$18,250.
- AR/VR Integration
AR/VR-based apps are becoming quite popular today, not only for entertainment and games but for the healthcare, automotive, real estate, and education industries.
AR/VR SDKs and APIs integration depends significantly on what functionalities you need, API documentation, and implementation complexity. Generally, it might take from 20+ hours per one API or SDK and start from $800 at a minimal cost.
It will be used to assess consumer app performance and track user activity. The cost and hours will vary depending on the number of analytics you plan on track and how specific and detailed that monitoring will be. Simple integration with one analytics tool (Flurry, Firebase, MixPanel, Basic SDK) takes around 2-5+ hours for each tool, costing $100-$200.
Other App-Building Expenses
Here are some other expenses you must prepare for when calculating the cost to make an app.
The project manager is directly responsible for the timely completion of tasks and monitors the overall performance of your dev team. It is a time-consuming activity included in the app cost. If you’re paying $40/hour for it, the average cost might start at about $7,000, and it could be up to as high as $32,000, depending on the scope and timeline of the project.
It is nearly impossible to create an app with no bugs. QA services will be required, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to as much as $25,000. In some cases, it might be, even more, assuming the Ukrainian rate of $40/hour. If you want your app to perform well, this aspect of the project is essential.
App Launch Cost
Launching the app on either Google Play requires a $25 registration fee or the App Store costs $99 each year but must also be factored in. This part of the project shouldn’t be too costly. Again, it will depend on the size and complexity of your application.
Real Examples of How Much It Costs to Build a Mobile Application
Every day, app development companies field calls from potential clients. The client will ask questions like, “tell me the cost to create an app like Facebook,” or “how much does it cost to design an app like Uber?”
These might seem simple questions to answer, but based on what you’ve seen regarding how app costs can vary, that isn’t so. Let’s look at some real-world examples of popular apps and try to get some idea of what it costs to create them.
Facebook is a social network that offers broad functionality. This company is constantly testing new features and improving the app. According to Quora, it would cost between $350,000 and $400,000 to develop the Facebook app because of its numerous highly complex features.
Uber is a ride-hailing app. What the passenger sees as a single application is actually many apps. Uber consists of three solutions for passengers, drivers, and the administrator. Its value increases significantly only because of this.
Uber was given $200,000 in seed money during the funding round and spent them to create the beta version. About $90,000 or more went into app creation. So building a similar application would cost you $90,000-$150,000.
Tinder is probably the most famous dating app. It has raised about $50 million in three funding rounds.
The main feature of this application is to scroll left and right to choose a person you like or dislike. In addition, Tinder offers geolocation, user profile, messenger, and push notifications functions. Similar app development starts at $70,000.
So, the average cost of mobile app development is somewhere from $70,000 to $400,000, and the entire process of developing a mobile application will take from 11 to 25 weeks.
How to Save Money When Developing a Mobile App
The budget for mobile platform development is quite high and varies significantly. For newbie businesses and startups, it might be an unaffordable investment. Having worked with many clients from different industries, we figured out the approach that helps avoid over-spending and save your budget. So, follow the next tips:
Research the Competition
Download the apps of other companies in your niche, and look them over. See if you can identify any issues your app could improve. Multiple apps can solve the same problem, as long as they have different approaches.
Select Your Platform
As mentioned previously, the cost of the app depends on the platform you choose. The earlier you are in the process of selecting the platform, the better it will be for your dev team.
Understand Your Problem
An app exists to solve a problem or “pain point.” If no problem is being solved, no one will want to download it. As you think about the problem you’re attempting to fix, create app features that will directly address it. Keep the app streamlined, and don’t get sidetracked.
If you can be efficient when creating the app, that will help you to keep the costs down and budget properly. The quicker you have accurate numbers in mind, the sooner you get the needed funds together. You don’t want to adjust the budget later because of surprise expenses.
Start With Minimum Viable Product
The cost of building an application can vary greatly depending on the MVP. The minimum viable product is how your app will first be released to the public. This MVP is being put out there for testing purposes. The app will be in its most streamlined, basic form. You can add more features later once you have determined that customers are successfully interacting with this first version.
Mobile App Development Budget Template
It would be reasonable to break the cost into different categories and document them to calculate the app development price. We have prepared a template that outlines the main components of development expenses.
Mobile App Development Budget
Mobile App Platform
This app development budget template will help you structure your expenses.
Softermii Experience in Mobile App Development
Softermii has more than seven years of experience in mobile development. During this time, we have created numerous native and cross-platform applications.
Softermii has more than seven years of experience in mobile development. During this time, we have created numerous native and cross-platform applications.
Our main advantages include two times faster development, which is possible thanks to our pre-made engines. We are used to tight deadlines as well. As a result, you may encounter a maximum of 15% deviation from the delivery time with us. Additionally, our mobile apps frequently get the highest ratings in the app stores.
To make sure of our competence, look at our recent projects:
Streamotion is an app transforming modern eCommerce. This application offers live broadcasts to facilitate online sales. We developed Streamotion in seven months, and in just two weeks since launch, the app has attracted more than 20,000 users.
SmartStart is a web and mobile app for managing personal finances. It offers real-time updates on users’ expenses and loans. In just two months after the release, 24,000 users joined the application. During this time, they conducted 1,296,000 transactions!
Scrollme is a Tik-Tok-like mobile app. This platform focuses on video communication and live broadcasts, allowing users to express themselves. Our team needed ten months to develop this app. Scrollme currently has over 2 million active users who have already uploaded 1.3+ billion videos.
These are just our recent projects in the mobile development field. Our experience extends much further. If you also have an idea for an app, contact us, and we will calculate its cost.
We hope our definitive guide on the cost of developing an app has helped you better understand this topic. Now you know what affects the final application’s price and how to calculate it.
Although you can now roughly estimate your app development budget, it is always best to contact the dev professionals for precise calculations. Softermii’s mobile app development team has seven years of industry experience and can easily calculate the cost of making an app.
Drop us a line, and we will get back to you with a free quote and estimation of your project. Let’s make your vision a real tech solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
What factors determine the mobile app development price?
Softermii points out several aspects that affect the app development budget:
- App development complexity: number and complexity of features, selected tech stack
- App design complexity
- Selected platform: native iOS or Android, or a cross-platform solution
- Industry and app type
- Dev company’s location and rates
Can you calculate the app development budget for me?
Yes, Softermii will do it for you. Our experienced developers know all the features of creating mobile applications and can calculate their costs, considering your needs and offering the best tech solutions.
What should I look for when choosing a company to develop my application?
Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:
- Set clear requirements and goals for your app
- Give preference to those companies that provide a wide range of services
- If possible, interview the developers personally
- Carefully study the company’s portfolio
- Find out if the company follows privacy and data protection policies
What is the best destination for hiring mobile developers?
It all depends on your budget and needs. For example, outsourcing to remote countries such as India is cost-effective, but communication problems may arise. Searching for developers directly in your country is convenient but sometimes expensive. We recommend giving a chance to Eastern European countries, such as Ukraine, where qualified workers are at a reasonable price.
Is mobile app development expensive?
Of course, you do not always need over $100,000 right away to build an application. Yet, the cost of developing an app, even the simplest one, cannot be lower than $15,000. It’s because you need an entire team to work on it.
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