How much does it cost to develop an app?

Published On: December 31, 2019
Last Updated: July 8, 2022
How Much Does it Cost to Develop a mobile App?

Mobile apps are ruling the digital space. We are using mobile apps to perform a wide number of tasks. Therefore, various businesses & brands are looking forward to taking their business to the next level with the help of mobile apps. If you are also one of them, then the first question that might arise in your mind is, “how much does it cost to develop an app?”

When you search on the internet, “How much does it cost to develop an app?” or “On which factors mobile app development cost depends?” you may have come across websites that consist of an app development cost calculator. However, you don’t get complete information from these websites.

Then, you may have a question, how is app development cost estimated?

In general, the cost of an app is calculated based on the following formula:

Estimated Hours x Hourly rate of a resource = Total Cost of an App

Estimated Hours include app design, app development, and backend development hours.

There are various factors that affect the estimated hours of a project. Without waiting much, let’s get started.

Factors that Affect App Development Cost

These are the 5 main factors that directly affect the cost of an app. Now, we will understand each of these factors in detail.

Platform – Android or iOS or both?

The platform on which you develop your app will influence the application development cost. The most crucial thing that will help you determine whether to build an Android or iOS application is the target audience.

Moreover, Android app development takes less time than an iOS Application. Also, there are some other things to consider, such as market share & mobile fragmentation.

The main question that might arise in your mind is: Is there any difference in price for building an app for iPhone or Android?

Unfortunately, No. If you want to build an app for one platform: Android or iOS, then there is not much difference.

However, if you intend to develop an app for two or more platforms, then you should be ready to spend more on application development.

Framework – Native or Cross-Platform(hybrid)?

After choosing the platform on which you want to develop your application, you need to select a perfect framework for your app development project.

Mainly there are two types of framework which are listed below:

Framework - Native or Cross-Platform(hybrid)?

Native App Development Frameworks

A native app is a mobile application developed for a specific platform using a particular programming language. Developers follow the native app development process to create apps that run on particular devices and mobile app platforms like Android and iOS.

Here, Java or Kotlin is used to develop Android apps. On the other side, Swift or Objective-C is used to build iOS apps. One of the main benefits of native app development is that developers can leverage various smartphone hardware elements to create mobile apps that offer a great user experience.

Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

A Cross-Platform (hybrid) app refers to a combination of native & web components. Here, an app is developed on one code and shared across multiple platforms. In short, it allows building an app for Android & iOS using only one code.

There are many cross-platform frameworks for mobile app development.

If you intend to provide an excellent user experience with reliability and security, you can go with native app development. However, the cost of Android or iPhone app development increases as you build a separate application for both platforms.

If you have limited resources & budget but want to target an audience on both platforms, you can go with a Hybrid or Cross-Platform app development framework.

“Know the difference between Native and Hybrid App: Native App Development vs Hybrid App Development

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.

Whom to hire?

Freelancer

Here we would look at the benefits and challenges of choosing a freelancer to develop a mobile app.

Benefits

  • Low development cost

Challenges

  • Finding reliable freelancers
  • Adaptable working time of freelancers
  • Quality of work
  • Less accountability & transparency
  • Communicating with multiple freelancers to complete one project
  • Synchronizing different freelancers for one project
  • Effective project management
  • On-time project delivery

By deciding to work with a freelancer, you might have to spend less money & don’t have to sign any agreements, receipts, & any other paperwork; however, you will face issues of quality & deadlines.

Outsource Development Company

Here are some of the benefits and challenges of choosing a outsource app development company:

Benefits

  • Quality of Service
  • Effective project management
  • Accountability and transparency
  • Get all the services at one place
  • Timely delivery of project
  • Experienced team
  • Expert advice on technologies, useability, and scalability
  • Higher Profitability

Drawbacks

  • Expensive as compared to freelancer

When you choose to develop an app from a professional mobile development company, you have to deal with the paperwork. However, an expert development company provides a feeling of security & reliability, which is worth the cost.

Majority of companies provide a dedicated team of developers that knows how to design, develop, launch, and maintain your app.

In-House Development Team

Here, we will look after the benefits and challenges of hiring an in-house development team.

Benefits

  • Ease of Communication
  • Enhanced Participation

Challenges

  • Recruitment challenges
  • Higher & recurring costing
  • Hardware/Software expenses
  • Infrastructure Cost
  • Lower profitability

If you choose this option, then it will consume a lot of time & effort. Moreover, you may not be able to find experts in each field.

Type of Mobile App – Simple or Medium or Complex?

An app can be categorized into three types, simple, medium & complex. Here, we have divided various applications based on their complexity.

Simple Mobile Applications

A simple application comprises easy and fewer number features. Apps that fall in this category are as follows:

Basic App

The basic app mainly consists of 4-6 screens, and they don’t need any backend or internet connection.

These types of apps are not used more today. You should have a clear & concise idea for building this kind of app as most apps currently need the internet.

Examples: SMS app, Calculator, Notes, Calendar, etc.

Estimated Development Time: 1 month

Data-Driven App

Data-driven apps mainly require a particular type of information to work correctly. For example, the stocks app utilizes a third-party API.

Most of these apps are a small part of massive software or possess several extra features.

Other apps that fall in this category include weather & calendar. Please note that these apps might involve backend work. Hence, the cost to make an app increases.

Examples: Calendar, Stocks, Weather, etc.

Estimated Time: Less than 2 months

Medium Mobile Applications

A medium application comprises more features with moderate complexity. Apps that fall under this category are given below:

On-Demand App

As the name suggests, the on-demand app fulfills some of the needs of the consumers. The best example of this kind of app can be Lyft or Uber.

On-demand apps can have some features like social apps such as signup, chat, order, etc.

Just like eCommerce shopping apps, on-demand apps can also possess features like ordering, payment, delivery to buying food, goods & other facilities.

Examples: UberEats, Lyft, Uber, etc.

Estimated Time: 6-9 months

Authentication App

These apps need login to provide complete functionality. The cost of building such apps is generally higher, as the developer has to integrate various features in a loop.

To utilize this application, a user consists of an account that is synchronized across multiple devices. The app also needs an admin panel to handle user & content management.

Example: Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.

Estimated Time: max 4-5 months

IoT/Hardware App

Internet of Things apps connect specific objects or devices with the technology. After IoT is used, these devices are categorized as ‘smart.’ Smart devices can be anything like home devices, pet collars, etc.

IoT apps have to connect with the devices through WiFi or Bluetooth. It is required to send as well as receive data.

For developing an IoT app, the device needs to be configured as per the documentation. Otherwise, the app must work as per their criteria.

Examples: Skybell, Jasper, June Oven, etc.

Estimated Time: 5-7 months

Complex Mobile Applications

A complex app comprises advanced-level features, technologies, and heavy usability. Apps that fall under this category are given below:

Social Networking App

Social networking apps mainly consist of chats, information, & social interactions. Hence, a robust backend should be formed to handle all the data.

Various other apps which can be part of social apps include dating apps, multimedia sharing, review sharing, communities, live videos, etc.

Examples: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook
Estimated Time: 9-12 months or more

eCommerce App

These apps can have features like shopping, shipping, tracking, etc. They are backed up by a list of entire products, individual product pages, and a checkout service via different payment methods.

Also Read: The ultimate guide to build an eCommerce app

Lastly, they require a strong back-end as well as the admin panel to handle constant order requests, payments, inventory updates, user complaints, etc.

Examples: Amazon, BigBasket, Alibaba, etc

Estimated Time: 10-12 months or above

Marketplace App

Marketplace app has features of eCommerce and an on-demand app as it is a superior version of these apps. Here, the UI/UX of the app should be perfect. It requires a lot of time and effort to develop this type of app.

Examples: TripAdvisor, FourSquare, TripCase, etc.

Estimated Time: 10-12 months & beyond

We hope you have clearly understood the factors that directly impact the app development cost.

Now, we will see the 2nd part of the formula.

App development cost per hour

Hourly rate of development team differs based on the location you choose. Let’s have a look at the hourly rate of different roles in different areas of the world. All the below mentioned rates are in USD.

Employee Title Eastern Europe Western Europe Ukraine North America
Business Analyst $35-$45 $55-$80 $30-40 $60-$75
Architect $40-$70 $90-$120 $35-$45 $90-$130
Project Manager $35-$45 $55-$65 $30-$40 $90-$110
Jr. Developer $25-$35 $40-$50 $20-$30 $50-$70
Mid-level Developer $30-$40 $45-$65 $25-$35 $60-$80
Sr. Developer $40-$50 $65-$80 $35-$45 $75-$105
Lead Developer $40-$55 $70-$90 $35-$50 $90-$105
Junior QA $20-$30 $35-$45 $15-45 $45-$60
Mid-level QA $30-$40 $45-$55 $24-$35 $60-$75
Senior QA $35-$45 $50-$65 $30-$50 $70-$90

Mobile App development cost in countries in Asia lies between $10-$80; India is believed to be the preferable country for outsourcing IT projects due to economical cost and highly skilled & talented resources availability. However, in South America, costs lie between Eastern & Western European countries.

App development cost per hour

The above image displays the average cost per hour range of different positions in different countries. Apart from these, various other countries provide mobile app development services, but they are not popular.

Now, you have gained all the necessary information to calculate the cost of mobile application development. Based on our experience and knowledge, we will present more information to know the cost of your application.

Biggest Hidden Costs of Mobile App Development

The mobile app development process is very comprehensive. There are many things required to build a mobile app. Hence, there are various costs that businesses & startups don’t know but exist.

Here we will walk you through all the hidden costs involved in mobile app development. They are as follows:

  • App infrastructure costs such as CDN, server, hosting, etc.
  • Cost of API & third-party integrations, such as SMS, push notifications, payment gateways, etc. 
  • App administration or management costs. It includes a CMS (content management system).
  • Cost of storing data in the database.
  • Costs involved in modifying the app, fixing errors, and any future updates.
  • Encrypting and transferring data whenever required.
  • Cost of launching an app on the relevant store.
  • Various development tools & libraries utilized.

Cost of Maintaining an App

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.

Conclusion

Now, it’s time to know how much does it cost to make an app.

Here, we are assuming that you are outsourcing your application to India. Check the below table to know the cost for your application development project.

Type of App Estimated Hours Cost
Simple 200-300hours $3,000-$6,000
Medium 300-700hours $6,000-$20,000
Complex 800-900hours $20,000-$40,000

Finally, you would have got an idea of the cost to build an application. If you are still confused, you can contact us to know the exact cost for your app development project. We will provide you with an estimate of your app. Also, we will help you in the design, development, launch, and maintenance of your application.

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.