How Much Does an App Development Cost [Complete Guide]
By Tripti Rai
May 9, 2018 5 min read
Last update on: September 20, 2019

The year began with an app count of Apple store is 2.2 Million and that of Play Store is 2.8 Million and it will be double if not quadrupled in the coming one to two years.

A quick look at the app store statistics will show you a picture that looks like this – a platform that is on one digit million valuation but is showing all signs to grow to double digit as more days pass.

The statistics are a direct sign of how fast the mobile app economy is growing and growing alongside is the demand to find answer to the app development cost. The demand is on an all time high and so is the willingness to try new apps with new features, along with the readiness to make a brand that gives real value – famous and high revenue generating.

The everyday news feed that is filled by announcements related to how App A received million dollar funding and how people downloaded and loved B enough to make it the top grossing app is the reason that the onset phase of app development world is far from reaching the state of maturity.

Businesses have started seeing the potential that going mobile brings to their business revenue and growth. And this potential has directly resulted in the growing demand for getting an app developed.

Now, talking about App Development, one of the first questions that is one every client’s mobile app development checklist is how much does an app development cost? An app that guarantees business and revenue growth. And what about time? The answer to these is in this infographic here –

Time and Cost of Mobile Application Development

Now that you have gotten the idea of the amount you will need to save or get funded with to develop your app, let us look at the exact mobile app development cost breakdown. But before we do, here’s the formula for calculating the app development price.

The Formula of Calculating App Development Cost

While there is no standard by the book formula of estimating the mobile apps development costs that a company charges from its clients, the one that is generally used by the majority of app development companies is –

(App Feature X Time) X Hourly Rate = App Development Cost.

There are a number of factors that vary in this equation, which changes the overall mobile app development cost. But once all those factors are considered and a workable wireframe is developed, this formula is then applied on the basis of the features that the app would have multiplied by the time it would take to develop all the features and integrate them together and the final multiplication of this valuation with the hourly rate, which varies from company to company.

Now as mentioned above, there are a number of factors that affect the average cost of app development. Before we go further into the article of average numbers, let us first look at the factors that influence the app development pricing.

Factors Affecting the App Development Cost

Factors Affecting App Development Cost

App Purpose

What complexity of issues the app will solve for its users directly impact the cost of app development. As the more complex the solution the costlier an app would become owing to the technological dependencies.

App Platform

While there is hardly any difference between Android app development cost and iPhone app development cost, the difference comes when you move from one platform to another. If mobile app costs X its web counterpart will reduce to a huge extent.

Now, when we talk about app platform, the difference in average cost of app development would not come with the difference in device like Wearable or TV or even Tablets. The difference would only be when you compare an app on mobile with one on web or when you compare the native app development cost with cross platform one.

[Read: A Guide to Everything You Need to Know about Mobile App Development]

Visual Complexity

The more you experiment with the visual capabilities of your app, the more expensive it becomes. An app that has zero animation will be more cost effective than the one that uses a lot of transitions, which in turn would be a lot cost effective than the one that makes use of the AR/VR technology to show content.

The amount of visual complexity leads to the greater technological effort from the backend and frontend development and design front, which comes with a price tag.

Hardware Features

There are apps that are dependent on device inbuilt capabilities like GPS, motion processor, and NFC and then there are apps that are not dependent on any of the device features and work as a standalone element. The difference in mobile app development cost estimates comes in here in terms of how dependent an app is on a device. The more the dependency, the higher would be the need for API integration and thus cost.

This year has already started with a set of new devices coming in with new features and powerful in-built capabilities and with that respect, the attached cost of integrating an app with the device’s hardware has also changed.

Technology Complexity

This one goes without saying. The more technical the app is the more its cost of app development. If your app is as simple as the Flappy Bird, the cost would also be evidently low. But the moment you decide to up the technicality scale and create an AI based medical app, the amount would automatically go up.

While we are talking about technicality here, the discussion would be incomplete without the mention of the technology that the world is now swooning over – Blockchain.

Blockchain is the one technology that holds the capability to not just take your app to the next level in sense of innovation and safety but is also the one that would increase its development cost to a huge extent. When it comes to Blockchain app development cost, the budget plan takes a sharp contrasting turn if not planned in advance.

App Data Storage

Another contributory factor that adds up to the mobile app development cost breakdown estimate is the place where your app data is stored. If your mobile app data is stored in the Cloud, the cost would be a lot lower as compared to when you store the data on-premise.

The cloud storage medium is considered a less expensive mode of storage because of the simple fact that businesses are charged on the basis of usage of space and also they are not charged for the maintenance or upkeep of the storage as it is all undertaken by the parent cloud company themselves.

Integration Points

Is your app taking data from another app or is it concentrated on its own platform is another thing that tends to increase the app development cost to a huge extent. To explain this with an example – If your app is like Facebook where stories and posts from other websites are also shown, it means you are connecting your app with another application on mobile or web. Creating a link like this one would require API development and some very precise safety measures, which all come with an attached cost.

App Security

Seeing the growing amount of hacks and security breaches paralyzing the mobile app economy, you cannot leave a single stone unturned when it comes to ensuring that the app is one hundred percent hack-proof.

Ensuring that the app is in under no circumstances open to data breaches is something that requires heavy multi-factor authentication system algorithms, which in turn come with a cost.

App Testing

An extension of app security is mobile app testing – the process which ensures that all the app functionalities work as they are supposed to, under all the different circumstances and the various device and operating systems.

While, the cost of automated testing is a little lower than manual testing, you will – to achieve an app which is impeccable – have to invest in both and at the same time in tools that are very advanced.

The usage of proper, reliable tools along with the allocation of skilled resources is what adds on to the cost you will have to pay in name of mobile app testing.

App Deployment

Another important and often ignored cost incurred at time of mobile app development is the App Deployment cost.

While Google charges one time $25 fees, App Store charges $99 yearly fees for publishing your mobile app on the store. Also, if yours is an app that carries an in-app mode of payment, you will have to pay a tax of 15% on both App Store and Play Store on every purchase made on your mobile app.

So, although the costs are not directly related to your mobile app development process or even going to your partnered mobile app developers, they are a cost indeed.

Maintenance Plan

Generally, the estimated cost of mobile app development doesn’t include the update or maintenance cost that is incurred after the app is launched in the stores. App Maintenance is generally incurred over and above the actual development cost and is charged by companies as a prepaid yearly sum.

With this, we have now touched upon the different factors that influence the cost to make an app aka the answer to how much does it cost to make an app for your business. Now, as promised, let us look into cost valuation that varies from one situation to another. In this section, we will be looking at numbers attached with different parts of mobile app development, which in turn would give you an idea of the cost budget that you should keep aside for your mobile app venture.

Here we go –

App Development Stage wise Cost Difference

App Development Stage wise Cost Difference

Depending on what the app development stage is, the associated cost varies. Knowing what price tag is generally attached with a stage gives the idea of what to expect – an information which helps both when you are looking for a-la-carte service and when you are looking to get venture fundings.

App Category wise Cost Difference in App Development

App Category wise Cost Difference App Development

There is always an obvious app development cost difference from one app category to another. Depending on the category, the number of devices that will be online on an app, the needed technological capability, and even the hour of development varies from one to another.

The cost varies even more when we bring in the complexity scale of the app in the mix.

App Platform Wise Cost Difference in App Development

App Platform Wise Cost Difference App Development

When talking about platform wise app development, the difference comes when you are developing an app for mobile versus when you are developing one for the web. And then when you are developing a native app versus when you are investing in cross platform app development.

Another point of difference that comes when we talk about platforms is between Native App and Cross Platform App Development.

Noting all the cost attached app development processes such as – Wireframing, Design, Native development, Backend Programming, Application Administration, QA, and Deployment & Cloud, an average native app, which would go on one platform would cost somewhere around $21k, while the same app when developed in the cross platform module will cost somewhere around $22k.

Development Agency Size wise Cost Difference

Depending on who is developing your mobile application – Freelancer or a large cap app development agency, the cost to make an app would vary.

A freelancer or a company of 2 to 5 which is just starting will charge less to help create their work portfolio, while the large cap companies which have thousands of employee to take care of, will be focusing on clients who are ready to pay hefty amounts in name of mobile app development and deployment.

There is a considerable amount of cost difference that comes up because of the varying team size. Let’s have a look at the breakdown structure:

Apps Developed by Large App Development Companies – $450,000 to $1,500,000

Apps Developed by Mid Cap App Development Companies – $150,000 to $450,000

Apps Developed by Small Cap App Development Companies, like Appinventiv – $27,000 to $150,000

Apps Developed by Freelancers or Small Shop companies – $2000 to $25,000

Location wise App Development Cost Difference

Location wise App Development Cost Difference

One of the most crucial factors that back the app development cost is region. The cost will vary greatly when you go for an app development company in the US versus when you are investing in a company based out of India.

This is what the average hourly rate chart look like when you move from one region to another –

United States of America – $150 per hour

Europe – $130 per hour

Australia – $150 per hour

New Zealand – $170 per hour

India – $20 – $80 per hour

Code Reuse wise App Development Cost

Code Reuse wise App Development Cost

Like the stark difference in web and mobile app development costing, there are two other factors that come with the same poles apart cost difference – App Developed from the scratch versus one that is a White Label Solution.

Since in white label solution app, the biggest changes that a company would be doing would be in terms of branding, the costing comes out to be very low. You can expect to get your white label app up and running at just $500 range.

So there you have it – the different features that affect mobile apps development costs and the cost variants that change from factor to factor. To get further clarification on the app development cost breakdown structure and the budget that you should have depending on your app type, contact our team of business development associates today.

Tripti Rai
Tripti Rai
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