How Much Does it Cost to Develop An App?

Published On: December 31, 2019
Last Updated: December 8, 2023
How Much Does it Cost to Develop An App?

Mobile apps are ruling the digital space. We are using mobile apps to perform a wide number of tasks, from ordering food to booking a cab; we use apps for almost everything. Therefore, various businesses & brands look forward to taking their business to the next level with the help of mobile apps.

If you are also one of them, the first question that might arise is, “how much does it cost to develop an app?

A basic understanding of cost can help you make informed decisions about your app development, and you can plan your budget accordingly.

In this guide, we will discuss the costs involved in developing a mobile app. Let’s go through it in detail.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?

The average cost to build a mobile app is 40,000 to $200,000 or more. However, it depends on several factors, such as the type of app, the complexity of features and functionalities, the platform you choose, the location of the development team, and more.

For example, the average cost of developing an app based on its types are:

  • Simple App Development: $40,000 to $60,000
  • Average App Development: $60,000 to $150,000
  • Complex App Development: from $200,000

Whom to Choose When It Comes to App Development?

Choosing the right team for your app development project can be a critical decision that can impact the success of your app. Here are the common options when it comes to app development:

It is a crucial decision to choose the right team for your app development as it can impact the success of your app. Here are few options when it comes to hiring:

Hire a Local Agency

Hiring a local agency can be beneficial if you want constant communication with developers. It is easy to make changes as you can have face-to-face interaction which gets you high-quality outcomes. They have a team of developers, designers, and a project manager who work together to build your app.

However, the development cost of a local agency is quite high, ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 or more depending on the type of app, agency location, experience & expertise.

For example, the hourly rate of the development & design team is $120 to $150 per hour. If the work is for around 500 hours, then the average price is $120 * 500 = $60,000. You need to consider maintenance and operational costs too.

Hire Freelancers

Hiring freelancers is a cost-effective option for businesses & individuals who have a limited budget, as they offer services remotely. You can hire dedicated developers on a contract or hourly basis.

However, working with freelancers is risky as they might lack the expertise and experience required to develop a high-quality app. The cost of hiring freelancers starts from $5,000 to $50,000, depending on the complexity of the app and the freelancer’s experience and location.

You can find freelancers for app development on websites like Upwork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Toptal, and so on.

Hire In-House Development Team

Building an in-house team for app development will give you complete control over the development process. You have a dedicated team working exclusively on your project.

All the team members will have close contact and seamless communication. You can rest assured that your team has the necessary skills and experience to deliver a high-quality app. But it is an expensive option to hire a group of people to complete the task.

The average cost of application development is around $16,000 to $48,000. However, building an in-house team will cost you around $500,000 annually, and it differs depending on the size of the team and every new employee you hire.

You also need to maintain the team’s salary, taxes, accounting costs, office space, and maintenance.

Outsource App Development Company

Outsourcing a third-party company can be a viable option for many businesses when it comes to app development. It provides access to a larger pool of talent and at a lower cost than building an in-house team.

The average cost for application development ranges from $10,000 to $150,000. However, the cost of outsourcing app development can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the app, the location of the outsourcing company, and the experience and expertise of the development team.

However, it’s important that you choose a reputable mobile app development company that aligns with your business goals.

Top 7 Factors That Impact Mobile App Development Cost

Here are the essential factors to consider when deciding the mobile app development cost. Let’s review each of them in detail.

1. Types of App Platform

You can choose to develop an iOS, Android, web, or cross-platform application, depending on your target audience. Here are the different options for choosing the platform:

Native App Platform (Android & iOS): You might want to build a native app for one of the platforms, Android or iOS. Android app development involves Java or Kotlin, while iOS development includes Swift and Objective C. The cost of application development ranges from $50,000 to $100,000. The prices for both platforms don’t vary much, as the timeline is the same for both types of development.

Web App Platform: It is quite a cost-efficient option compared to native apps to develop Progressive Web Apps and other forms of web apps. The cost ranges from $15,000 to $50,000.

Hybrid/Cross Platform: It is a new trend to save costs by getting developed for both iOS and Android through a cross-platform framework. Flutter, Xamarin, and React Native speed up your mobile app development as developers need to write single code, and it works on multiple operating systems.

The cost of developing a cross-platform app ranges from $25,000 to $60,000. It saves approximately 10-30% of your budget compared to native app development.

Types of App Estimated Cost
Native App (Android & iOS) $50,000 to $100,000
Web App $15,000 to $50,000
Hybrid/Cross Platform App $25,000 to $60,000

2. Types of Mobile App Complexity

The complexity level of an application depends on the features & integrations you choose and the app development process. Here, we have classified it into three types, simple, medium & complex.

Simple Mobile Applications: A simple app comprises basic user features with MVP functionality & UI solutions. The cost is low as it takes less development time. The average cost of simple app development is $5,000 – $30,000.

Example: Calendar App, Calculator

Medium Mobile Applications: Developing a medium complex app includes multiple features for user engagement and monetization. These apps include API integration payment gateway along with basic features & custom UI. The average cost of a medium-complexity app is $50,000- $100,000.

Example: Uber, Google Drive

Complex Mobile Applications: Highly complex apps are integrated with highly advanced features, UI animation, the latest technology & heavy usability. Such apps also include features like multi-language support, high-end data logic & many more. A complex app could cost $100,000 to $200,000 and above.

Example: Facebook, Amazon

App Complexity Timeline Estimated Cost
Simple 2-3 months $5,000 – $30,000
Medium 3-9 months $50,000- $100,000
High 10+ months $100,000 to $200,000

3. App Features and Functionalities

The overall mobile app development cost depends on the features and functionalities you want to incorporate into the app. If you need advanced and more complex features, it will lead to an increase in development cost and more time & effort to execute them.

The cost of developing an app with basic features ranges between $5,000 and $10,000. It includes features like login, registration, profile management, and push notifications.

In integrating advanced features the cost ranges between $10,000 and $50,000. It includes
social media integration, geolocation, & in-app purchase.

Integrating third-party services will cost you $2,000 and $10,000, depending on the complexity of the integration. It includes payment gateways, SMS gateways, and cloud services.

Make sure to estimate the cost of developing your app better by understanding these factors and getting the best out of your investment.

4. Location of Development Team

The location of app developers is another factor that decides the overall app development pricing. Below is the table with the different geographical locations and the hourly rate of app developers.

Region Cost (Hourly Rate)
United States (USA) $120-150
United Kingdom (UK) $100-120
Australia $100-120
Western Europe $80-100
Eastern Europe $30-50
India $20-30

The hourly rate of the development team varies based on the different locations you choose. The hourly cost in the US is $120-150, which is more than in any other country. India is a preferred country for outsourcing IT projects due to the availability of highly skilled & talented resources and hiring a developer that costs $20-30.

Looking for a Development Team to Build a Mobile App?

Look no further than Guru TechnoLabs! We have successfully delivered hundreds
of mobile apps for businesses across multiple industries.

5. App Design & Animation

The application design stage is integral to the development stage as it ensures that users invest their time in your app. When designing, we usually have two options – custom and standard UI. Similarly, like development, more customizations in your app design lead to higher costs.

For a detailed overview, you must look at the following aspects:

User Experience: The UX goal is to make the application work easy for the end user. The cost of an app design is around $2000 to $8000, which will vary as it depends on engagement levels and complexities of user experience. It includes button placement, color psychology, and the user’s eye pattern.

User Interface: Designing an application starts with creating mockups that provide a visual hint of the solution depending on your goals. Different applications need different design solutions. The optimal cost for UI is $10,000-$40,000 as it relies on the visual elements used. Visual elements that impact mobile app cost are layout, screen, color, and typography.

Branding: Branding is a part of your business model. Brands like Apple and McDonald’s have invested in branding as their icons and names stand out from thousands of similar brands. So to create a brand identity, you need to create a unique icon and include marketing efforts. The cost will be around $5,000-$20,000.

Animations & Illustrations: Animations make any application interesting and intuitive. It enhances the user experience and improves the app’s usability. Depending on your needs, the cost starts from $1000-$20,000 or more. Gaming and social media applications take usage of animations to a great extent.

6. Different App Types

The cost of an app varies from category to category. Several things change, like functionality, number of users, & more, leading to changes in the cost to develop an app. Let’s take a glance at different types of mobile app development.

eCommerce App: Ecommerce applications are filled with abundant features such as shopping cart integration, product catalogue, order tracking & more. The cost of developing an Ecommerce app ranges from $20,000 to $100,000, or even more. Popular examples are Amazon and Wayfair.

Social Media App: Social media apps include complex functionality like user profiles, notifications, messaging & more. It is developed with third-party integration. The cost of developing a social media app can range between $30,000 to $200,000. Popular examples are Facebook and Instagram.

On-demand App: On-demand apps satisfy specific needs. The product consists of two different sector apps with totally different experiences. Their functionality also differs, for e.g. rider and client app in Uber. The on-demand sector relates to transportation and travel apps, food & grocery delivery services, laundry or salon services, etc. On average, the cost of developing an on-demand app ranges from $70,000 to $100,000.

There are many such categories like apps available & every category is unique. Here is an estimated cost of app development based on its type.

App Types Average Cost
eCommerce App $20,000 to $100,000
Social Media App $30,000 to $200,000
On-demand App $70,000 to $100,000

7. Backend or Backendless Architecture

If your app is going to work offline, then backendless architecture will work. Here, data gets exchanged between the users through an offline database.

However, if your purpose is to build an app that reaches millions of users, allows them to exchange data, and sync data across devices & on the cloud, you will require a backend to manage app operations.

To monitor user activity & check the performance of the application, a backend supported by analytics. Depending on the number of benchmarks and the type of tracking you want, the cost will vary.

Developers have to put extra effort into designing and developing a backend along with APIs that work in various conditions. Hence, this will undoubtedly increase the cost of creating an application.

Nowadays, you can also create an application without a backend. However, it still uses the cloud with the help of cloud servers like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, etc.

Biggest Hidden Cost to Develop an App

While estimating the cost of mobile application development, a few costs are overlooked that can impact the success of your business. Understanding these factors helps you reduce risks and save time & money. The most important are: Marketing & Maintenance.

Let’s discuss what each entails.

App Maintenance

After an app’s initial development, ongoing costs are associated with app maintenance. This can include bug fixes, security updates, and compatibility updates for new device operating systems.

The cost of maintaining a mobile app is generally 10-20% of the total app development cost. If the cost of building an app is $30,000, then the cost of maintaining the same app would be $3,000 to $6,000, based on the requirements.

The cost of app maintenance depends on various factors. To know in detail, check out this extensive guide on the app maintenance cost.

App Marketing

Without proper marketing, an application may not be successful even if it is well-designed and functional. App marketing involves paid advertising, social media campaigns, and other promotional efforts to get it in front of users. The cost would be 50% per year of the original development cost.

Other potential hidden costs to consider may include licensing fees for third-party software, hardware costs for device testing, and legal fees for app store compliance and intellectual property protection.

It’s important to consider all potential costs when budgeting for app development to avoid unexpected costs down the road.

How Can You Reduce Your Cost of Developing an App?

Mobile app development has become an essential aspect of business growth in today’s digital world. However, the primary concern for businesses is the cost of developing a mobile app. Fortunately, they can reduce costs by following a few industry practices.

Here are some tips on how to reduce overall custom app development costs.

Early Feature Prioritization

When creating an app, it’s important to prioritize necessary features early to ensure you are not overspending. Identify the important features of your app that start driving business value as quickly as possible. Keep the nice-to-have elements for the later stages of development.

It helps you save money on development and ensure you deliver an app that meets your user’s needs.

Quality Assurance From the Start

Any application is prone to bugs and errors, so you need to address them early before they become a huge issue. Involving QA professionals right from the start is cost-effective as they can identify serious problems. It saves a lot of money and time in the long run. A well-functioning app with few bugs is important to make an app successful, and it should satisfy users.

Future-Proofing of App Development

The application developed today might look totally different in the future. For example, you have started by developing an MVP and now want to change a few features on the basis of customer feedback. So it’s important to plan for the future when building an app.

Think about the scaling of your app, traffic increased, and new features added over time. As time passes, your target market evolves in a new direction, forcing you to change your product as well.

Plan short-term and long-term goals, so you can save money on development costs by building a scalable app that can grow with your business.

Cross-Platform Compatibility Considerations

Creating native apps for Android & iOS is not cost-effective. But if you create an app for one platform only, you might miss out on a huge audience base on other platforms. Consider cross-platform development so you can save money by developing an app that runs on both platforms.

Popular technologies for developing cross-platform apps, including Flutter, React Native, & more, help you reduce development costs and time.

Create MVP

Developing a minimum viable product (MVP) that involves publishing a product with the minimum features is wise. You can test your market potential and the satisfaction of users while keeping development costs low. Once you have finally tested your app, add more advanced features at a later stage based on user feedback.

Bottom Line

We hope you have now understood that different factors contribute to the cost of app development. It is a complex topic that needs careful consideration of several factors. If you are still confused, you can contact us.

We provide you with an estimate of your app development. It is good to work with an experienced development team, as you can ensure that your app will be delivered with the highest quality standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

The timeline to develop a basic app can be developed in as little as 2-3 months, while a more complex app can take 6-12 months or longer. It varies depending on the complexity and structure of the app. The advanced features, integration of third-party, and uniqueness of design can cost you more. To know more details, check out here: How long does it take to build an app.

The average cost to develop a mobile app for a small business with essential features will cost somewhere between $3,000 and $10,000.

For an accurate estimate of your app development, consult with an experienced development company. They will provide detailed information about the project's features, functionality & design requirements.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.