Mobile App Development Costs: Budgeting Guide

Consumers are often in a dilemma of how much a mobile app development will cost them if they want to build one. If not accurate, they just want to get a rough idea. For hiring an agency, people usually look for relatively low prices and superior quality. There is no denying the fact that the cost of developing software depends on several factors. Hence, numerous things will impact the costs incurred to get an app developed. The average cost of mobile app development hinges not only on the development team’s hourly rates. Also on several other factors such as the app’s complexity, difficulty finding talent, and post-release assistance. The key is to comprehend the process of app development and its maintenance. What are the benefits, relative cost to build an app, and other downfalls involved? Let us dive deep into the details of the costs of making an app. Right from getting groceries delivered at your door to booking a cab, we have an app to get all our needs fulfilled.

Also Read: Mobile App Development – Top Aspects to Consider

Processes Involved in Developing a Mobile Application

We all stay so busy using the app that we don’t get the time to wonder about the process of development. Let us first discuss the processes involved in the making of a mobile app.

App Discovery

Mobile app developers always work on developing the next big application. The foremost step entails the discovery of an application that you want to develop. This phase simply pertains to putting your idea of application on a piece of paper. After considering your business objectives, and the expectations of the end-users, you finally decide how your app will look like. This stage involves defining all essential requirements and major milestones.

Research

The next step involves researching how app developers can merge their proposed ideas into a completely functional mobile app. The developer needs to incorporate the brand into the functionality and design of an application. At the same time, the developer must also consider how people use a mobile website vs. how they use a mobile app. The developer also needs to establish how the app will function on different devices and platforms.

User Persona

This step involves establishing a user persona for your mobile app. A user persona depicts creating a personality for your mobile app, keeping your target audience in mind. Developers frame this by doing intense research on the objectives and requirements of the users. They also observe the behavioral pattern of their users to develop their persona. Simply put, the developer is necessary to get into the minds of app users to know what they think and expect. Developers generally create hypothetical scenarios to develop it.

Market Capitalization

It is one of the most important characteristics that enable investors to determine the returns and risks involved in app development. You also let the investors pick their stock that can meet their diversification criteria and risks involved. This step comprises estimating mobile app cost.

Want to know how much app development can cost for your business? To receive an accurate mobile app cost estimate, get in touch with a mobile app development team.

Costs to Develop a Mobile App (Complexity of the App)

The cost of creating an app increases with the increase in the app’s complexity. If you want to develop a custom app, you will have to invest a considerable amount of money. On the contrary, if you want an app with basic functionalities, you can get one established in a minimum budget.

There are several kinds of apps. However, as far as complexity is concerned, apps are classified into three major categories — simple, moderate, and complex apps.

Basic Apps: These apps don’t need remote data servers and are developed in much lesser time. Instances of such apps include calendar apps, diet planners, etc. The app development price varies anywhere between $1000 and $4000.

Moderate/Medium Level Apps: Such apps save all collected data on remote servers and need intricate programming. The app dev cost ranges from $5,000 to $8,000.

Complex Apps: It is very hard to estimate the price of developing such apps. These apps can include simple features and encompass complex features such as virtual reality, voice assistance, and so on. Estimating the costs of developing such apps broadly, it may range anywhere between $6,000 to $250,000 and beyond.

Different Kinds of Mobile Apps Based on Technology

Apps are classified into several categories based on the technology used to develop them.

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Simple/Basic App

A basic app has basic features such as setting reminders, making calls, and so on. They can be either android apps or iOS apps or both.

Native Apps

Native Apps are developed specifically for specific operating systems. It merely means you can either have native iOS apps or native android apps. They are built for one platform, and you cannot interchange between them. Native apps are coded using various programming languages that include Python, Swift, Java, C++, Reach, etc.

Hybrid Apps

These apps are very similar to native apps. Such apps have a home screen icon, responsive design, security, rapid performance, etc. The technology used by Hybrid apps includes a combination of web technologies and many native APIs. Languages include HTML5, Swift, Objective C, etc.

iOS vs Android App Development

These are two different operating systems for which apps are developed. Both differ from each other based on several factors such as technical foundations and the process of building them. They also contradict depending on the design and marketing strategies. In short, the entire development procedure depends on the chosen operating system and the funds you wish to spend. For example, the iOS app development cost can be more or less than the android app development cost.

Social Networking App

A social networking app is a mobile application developed for social networking sites. It is an online platform used by people to build social relations and networks. Such apps are beneficial in connecting with people who share similar personal interests or career interests. These apps help people make real-life connections based on similar backgrounds, activities, etc.

eCommerce Apps

eCommerce apps are developed to transact services or products in return for their benefits. eCommerce is a boom these days. You can find an eCommerce app for everything – banking, shopping, entertainment and so on. It connects sellers to potential buyers. Mobile applications are more like an extension of eCommerce, and such ideas drive great success to a business.

On-Demand Apps

The app market in today’s world has evolved more than ever. On-demand apps connect consumers with several varied service providers and vice versa. On such apps, users can order services of any kind, and then the providers strive to deliver the service in just minutes. For instance, Uber, Ola, Swiggy, etc. Such apps are reliable, rapid, and user-friendly platforms.

IoT Applications

Such applications pledge to bring considerable value to everyday lives. IoT applications can equip numerous everyday objects with intelligence and connectivity. It is essentially a platform on which embedded devices pertain to the internet. They are also able to compile and exchange data with each other. It furnishes devices with the ability to collaborate, interact, and learn from different devices’ experiences just like individuals do. Smart Home is one of the most prominent examples of IoT applications.

Enterprise Mobile Application

Enterprise applications are beneficial for organizations. They help companies streamline their workflows, enhance their employees’ productivity, boost consumer experience, etc. At the same time, such applications provide rapid and convenient user access to the corporate knowledge base. Such mobile apps are developed to securely synchronize and integrate with existing applications, corporate databases, and systems.

Mobile applications differ based on the requirements for which they are developed. Developers use unique design and animation procedures to provide the desired look and feel.

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App Design and Animation

When it comes to the application interface, great mobile animations appear more natural to the users and work for the good of an application’s user experience. Animations on the interface of mobile apps are beneficial in giving instant feedback on the interactions of users. Animations help them navigate through the app and also get them engaged. Different types of mobile animations are used to enhance the user experience. App design and animation of a mobile app involve varied phases.

1. Wireframing

Wireframing is an essential schematic blueprint in the process of mobile app development. It serves as a visual guide that illustrates the layout of your app. It administers a flow between the screen and the functional representation informed by your business’s objective. The wireframe of a mobile app lets the developer explore the thought process, its utility, navigation, and the benefit of its simplicity.

2. UI Design

One of the major differences between a good app and a bad app is usually its UI design integrity. A good user experience separates an app that is successful from an unsuccessful one. There is no denying the fact that mobile users expect so much these days from an app. They want fast load time, delight while interacting, and ease of use. UI design serves as an essential component of your mobile app. Developers need to consider a lot of things when designing a mobile app.

3. Animation

Animation in mobile apps helps users identify several relations between views and interface elements. It also helps to give feedback to the users so they comprehend what is happening. It indicates the hierarchy of screens and pages. The animation is also beneficial to attract the attention of users to crucial functions and elements.

Mobile App Development is flourishing like never before. Developers need to have knowledge and skills to establish a user-friendly application. Also, many factors affect mobile app development procedures.

Few Factors That Affect Mobile App Development

Pre-Development

There are a few key points that the app developer should keep in mind before developing an app. It includes comprehension of the market, trends, and consumer demands. You are also necessary to identify the target audience, select the right platform, set a plan of action, know the budget, etc.

Technical Features

After having a basic app idea, you need to list the features you want to incorporate in your mobile app. Think about what your consumers are looking for in a mobile app. Serving them with their desires is crucial since if you don’t offer them what they need, your competitor will. Include the must-have features in your app to make your app stand out.

Tentative Time-Period

On average, app development can take anywhere between three to nine months for the procedure to get completed. The time taken depends on the complexity and app structure. The entire development procedure comprises different phases, and distinct stages take different amounts of time. Some consume more time, and some are completed in less time taken.

User Design

User Design enables developers to provide a design to mobile applications. Mobile apps have a wide variety of uses, and there are a few things that strengthen them. Such things include accessibility, optimal usability, the overall user experience, engagement, etc. Design principles are critically significant, and developers should pay attention to them.

Backend Infrastructure

It refers to behind the scenes part of web app development. Backend developers are responsible for establishing the logic on which your mobile app works. Simply put, it includes any kind of development that involves making the user interface of your mobile app.

The mobile app development process also includes unique features to make your app stand out. Before you find out the cost for app development, you should know the complexities of an application since the features and functionality play a major role in deciding mobile apps’ cost structure.

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The following features and functionality will help you decide the cost of developing a mobile app.

User Login

A login screen is included in the mobile app where users register their email address and log in to an app to use it. You can include options to collect the username, password, and email address of your users. It is a typical practice and can take anywhere around 17-20 hours.

Push Notifications

This feature is a must-have for almost 99% of apps in today’s world. Push Notifications provide real-time updates to keep the users informed about all activities related to the app. The development of this feature can take anywhere between 20-150 hours.

Navigation

How a user navigates through the mobile app should be designed and envisioned before its development. Navigation enables defining how the user will go from one screen to another, how will they take actions, exit the app, etc. The establishment of logic will take 10+ hours.

Portrait/Landscape View

The concept of an app’s interface is also its part. This defines how a list of items is depicted to the users. Depending on the design, developers take up to 20 hours to establish the view.

Media Content

Depending on the requirements, some apps may need images, videos, audio files, etc. Most of the social networking apps developed these days need it all, and they also require the capabilities of editing, smileys, filters, etc. Engineers may take 20+ hours to develop these.

Geolocation

This feature is crucial for dating, travel, and other similar apps. It is dependent on real-time user permission and GPS. Expect at least 50 hours in getting this feature developed.

Google Maps Integration

In addition to the geolocation, if you need to integrate google maps as well into your app, then the developers will need a minimum of 20 hours to implement it.

Chat/Messaging

This is one of the crucial features in numerous apps, though the cost is calculated considering several factors. The kind of chat and several other features specifies the cost. Developing a chat takes around 80+ hours.

Ads

Advertisements appear to users when they use an app. You can also develop custom Ads as well, though there prevail several networks and external services. This feature takes 20-50 hours.

In-app Purchases

Ads in apps imply options for purchasing from the smartphone of a user. It can include varied items or content. This feature takes a development time of about 30 hours.

Payment Integration

When a user purchases something from an app, the payment system is necessary. Developers can integrate several payment options through gateway APIs. However, the scope depends on numerous factors. Developers need around 50 hours to implement this process.

Streaming

This feature is meant for apps on which users can watch serials and movies. Such apps include Hotstar, Netflix, Twitch, etc. Setting this up hinges on numerous factors and it may take a minimum of 30 hours.

Multi-Language Support

This feature is necessary when you want to launch your app in different regions that speak distinct languages. The same versions of an app are created and the main one will require 15 hours.

Offline Mode

Offline capability is a great aspect of an app and offline data storage allows the user to store and access data. Developers need 40 hours and over to develop this feature.

Database

The offline mode of your app will require a database too. It allows the device to store data locally. An open-source solution is utilized to set up a database. This task will require 30 hours.

Phone Sensors Usage

Many apps are built to rely on the capabilities of a smartphone. For example, a digital compass, fingerprint sensor, light sensor, etc. Developers take 10 hours on average to develop app logic sensors.

Doze/Standby Mode Optimizing

In doze mode, even after a device is unplugged, apps can access the network. To adjust how an app carries out its job, networks and syncs, developers need over 50 hours.

Customization

It refers to the process when a user can control or change the outlook of an app as per preferences. It includes language change, full-width screen cards, switching displays, etc. Such tasks may take 20-25 hours.

Search

User engagement is driven up significantly by embedding custom search requests. You can enhance the search option to make it unique. It takes minimum 10 hours for its development.

Data Encryption

Data encryption is crucial to prevent unauthorized access. This feature is a must for any mobile app. For instance, WhatsApp sends every single message with its custom lock and key, and it is end-to-end encrypted. This takes around 20 hours of development.

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App Platform

The platform of your mobile app and the number of operating system versions you are planning to maintain for your app depicts the cost of getting one developed.

Native Apps

There are a few differences between iOS and Android Apps. However, the android app development cost is often higher when the developers need to create it for different OS versions.

Cross-Platform

It is a cost-efficient trend that developers utilize to develop an app for both Android and iOS simultaneously. This platform furnishes a series of benefits that include fewer development efforts and the use of a single code.

Flutter

A new platform in the market, flutter provides many benefits of developing an app. However, since the platform is new, and there are fewer developers, the app dev cost on Flutter is higher.

React Native

React Native has become synonymous with app development on cross-platform. Several brands have happily adopted this framework, as it is cost-effective as compared to Flutter and Native App development.

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid Apps are a combination of both Web Apps and Native Apps. They have lost their position to cross-platform native apps over time. Still, brands prefer developing Hybrid Apps since the cost is much less than the Native Apps.

IoT Apps

These apps interconnect specific physical objects or equipment with technology. These apps need Wo-Fi or Bluetooth connection and it is much more in trend these days.

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps and other similar applications are much cost-effective as compare to Native Apps.

Blockchain Apps

Blockchain Apps are one of the biggest trends that surround industries at a global level. The average cost of app development is slightly higher than its counterparts. It is because it considers advanced levels of security.

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UI/UX Design

User Interface(UI) and User Experience(UX) are the two most vital components of your mobile app. They play a major role in deciding the cost you will incur to develop a mobile app. If you want to have a unique UI/UX, you should know that it is a daunting task and requires you to incur additional expenses. Immersive UI/UX is significant to persuade users. For calculating the cost of developing a mobile app, keep in mind that the better UI/UX components you aim to use, the more you will have to spend.

Location

Your app development team’s location is also responsible for influencing mobile app development costs. It means that the cost of mobile app development in the UK is different from building an app in the USA. The development team comprises several members at different positions. It has designers, developers, analysts, testers, etc. The rate of specialists varies as per their skills and experience.

App Publishing

After your app is ready for installation by the potential users, it is now time to map out the best way to put your app on the shelf. Different app stores charge different amounts. For instance, the iOS store charges more than the Google Play Store to publish an app, and this is how they make money. App stores take money based on app purchases.

App Maintenance Costs

Needless to say, expenses do not end at the last stage of the development process. Businesses need to keep up with the latest trends and OS versions that come at a cost. Different kinds of app maintenance costs are incurred to keep your app running efficiently.

  • App Updates: The cost of making an app also depends on the user experience map structure and features are carried out through wireframing. The client approves every wireframe to create a Screenflow of the final app. Wireframes incur costs; if the client has a wireframe ready, the cost of developing is excluded.
  • App Bug Fixes: A mobile has a lot of bugs, and no application is free from bugs. If bugs are highlighted after the app is published, developers need to look forward to getting them fixed.
  • Design Changes: App designs get older with time, and they stop attracting consumers. Hence, a brand must keep its design updated if they want to attract more users.

Choosing the Right Mobile App Developer

There are two alternatives you can choose from when you want to build a mobile app. You can either hire an in-house team consisting of agile developers or outsource your requirements to remote developers.

Hiring Mobile App Developers

Hiring app developers add to the mobile app cost. When you don’t have the right people who can help you develop a mobile app, you will have to hire a proficient team of developers, thereby adding to your operational costs. However, hiring an in-house team can be super expensive, and it is not necessary that you will find the right talent. However, an in-house team ensures better communication and encompasses enhanced contribution.

Outsourcing Mobile App Development

Outsourcing mobile app development may seem troublesome initially and a little complicated, but you should know that it is a better alternative. With an outsourced development team, you get a bigger pool of talented developers at much lower rates. Also, outsourcing provides you with the flexibility of working conditions. However, there are a few challenges that you will have to tackle, such as the time zone. Hence, weigh your pros and cons before choosing the right set of developers.

Also read: The Essential Guide to Mobile App Development Outsourcing

Cost to Make an App

Different processes of mobile app development incur various costs. Let us see which option is more efficient.

  • Cost to Create an App: No person can build an entire app alone. It requires a sizable team to complete the development procedure. The entire team is responsible for their part. If you want the development of a complex app, you need to have a good number of developers working for the projects. A basic team includes a project manager, programmers, QA engineers, UI/UX designers, etc. When hiring an extended team, it may include more developers, designers, etc. Depending on the team size, you will have to estimate the mobile app cost or web app development cost.
  • The cost of app design: Design includes creating a plan or the construction of an object. Design is not only about the look and feel but also about how the app works. It implies several aspects that include user interfaces, visual design, and logos, UX, wireframes, branding, etc. Design plays an integral part in deciding the cost of an app. The total cost includes several factors such as complexity, geography, designers, operating system, etc.

Reduce the cost of App Development by 70%

The world is going mobile-first, and businesses are rapidly competing with one another to outbid their competitors. That said, developing a mobile app is an expensive affair, especially if you are a startup. But we strive to reduce the development costs to a great extent and offer quality services at affordable rates. The costs incurred should not stop your company from joining the bandwagon and reap a mobile app’s benefits. We utilize some best practices to make a mobile app affordable for you. Agile methodologies, open-source frameworks, Minimum Viable Product, and several other things help us deliver quality services at cost-effective rates.

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Hidden Costs to Mobile App Development

Hidden mobile app development costs are divided into different categories. Let us dive into different categories.

  • Functional Costs: It refers to the cost incurred in implementing the functionalities of an app. To build a specific functionality, you may need to subscribe to a service that offers a mechanism delivery. The services that an app utilizes vary, and sometimes the list is very big. Such services usually include Push Notifications, SMS Notifications, Emails, etc.
  • Administrative Costs: With administrative services, you have tons of data to manage and update your app’s content. The cost of such services is hard to estimate and mostly depends on the kind of app you are developing. Such services include dynamic updates, access controls, content management tools, data segmentation, etc.
  • Infrastructure Costs: Infrastructure costs are incurred on web hosting, data delivery, and data storage. Such services require load balances and redundancies for security servers and backups. Instances of Infrastructure items include data storage, servers, content delivery networks, etc.
  • IT Support Costs: It is not possible to develop a high-quality app without IT support services. Technical support is needed continuously and is an integral part of app maintenance. The cost of support increases over time. Such services include iOS and Android Updates, Bug Fixing, App Update Submissions, etc.

Maintenance costs add up to the overall cost of developing a mobile app.

How to Estimate the Average Cost of Creating an App in Five Steps?

  1. Ask a Mobile App Development Team for a Quote: A development team will give you a brief of the cost that you will have to incur for the development of the mobile app. To receive an estimate of the costs, get in touch with a development team and they will let you know the custom app development cost as per your requirements.
  2. Select the Number of Mobile Platforms: For the convenience of app developers in letting you know the cost of making an app, they should know which platform you want to use for mobile app development.
  3. Create a list with app functionality: To reflect your business’s idea, developers and analysts will jot down the features that you want to incorporate in your mobile app. These include all the features that are necessary for your mobile app.
  4. Prioritize Mobile App Features to Implement in MVP: Let mobile developers know the core features so that they can prioritize them. They will segregate them from the main list and focus on them to validate your business idea.
  5. Ask the Development Team to Estimate your App’s Main Features: Your mobile developers will evaluate a list of features that are must-haves so that they can implement them first. It will also enable them to get a precise cost of mobile app development.

Conclusion

That said, there is no single app development procedure or method that suits everyone. The entire cost and process depend on the type of app you’re building, budget, industry, and many other factors. For instance, if you are planning to build a gaming app or something similar along that line, native development is the best option. However, if you want to develop an app for personal use, a cookie-cutter app is your go-to option.

You need to consider application size, development charges, complexity, trending technologies. A little research will help you find your answers. Discuss with your team to quote the best price. That said, here is a detailed guide on how much it costs to make a mobile app.

We offer a dedicated team of mobile app developers specializing in Android, iOS, React Native, Flutter and more to meet your project demands related to skilled resources or new technologies expertise. Contact us with your needs.

Arjun Solanki

Arjun is a Business Growth Strategist at a Leading Software Development Company. Apart from working on a long-lasting relationship with customers and boosting business revenue, I am also interested in sharing my knowledge on various technologies through successful blog posts and article writing.

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