How much does it cost to develop an app?

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 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 which consist of app development cost calculator; however, you don’t get a 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 which affect the estimated hours of a project. Without waiting much, let’s get started:

Factors That Affect the Estimated Hours of a Mobile App Development Project

These are the 5 main factors which are directly affecting the cost of app. Now, we will understand each factor in detail.

Platform – Android or iOS or both?

The platform on which you want to develop your app will have a direct impact on the application development cost. The most essential thing that will help you to determine whether to build an Android or iOS application is the target audience.

Moreover, Android app development takes less time as compared to an iOS Application. Also, there are certainly 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 app for iPhone or Android? Unfortunately, No. If you want to build an app for just 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 have to select a perfect framework for your app development project.

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

Framework - Native or Cross-Platform(hybrid)?

Native App Development Frameworks

A native app refers to a mobile application that is developed for a specific platform such as Android or iOS.

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, which can be shared across multiple platforms. In short, it allows developing 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 awesome user experience along with reliability and security, then you can go with native app development.

However, the cost of Android or iPhone app development increases as you are developing an application for both platforms.

In case you have limited resources & budget, but you want to target audience on both platforms, then 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 is exchanged between the users through an offline database.

But, if your goal is to build an application that reaches millions of users, who can exchange data with each other in real-time, and want their data to be synchronized across various devices & keep it secure on cloud, then you will require a backend to manage application operations.

To monitor user activity & check the performance of the application, a backend is backed up by analytics. Based 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 which work in various conditions; this will certainly increase the cost of creating an application.

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

Whom to hire – Freelancer or Outsource Development Company or In-house Development Team ?


If you choose to go with a freelancer to develop a mobile app, then you will get the following benefit only:

  • Low development cost

However, you will face the following 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

If you choose to work with an outsource development company, then you will get the following 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

You will have the following drawback:

  • Expensive as compared to freelancer

By developing your 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 dedicated team of developers that knows how to design, develop, launch, and maintain your app.

In-House Development Team

If your plan is to hire an in-house development team, then you will get the following benefits:

  • Ease of Communication
  • Enhanced Participation

You have to face the following challenges:

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

If you choose this option, then it will consume your 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 of easy and less number of features. Apps that fall in this category are described below:

Basic App

Basic app mainly consists of 4-6 screens, and they don’t need any kind of 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 the majority of 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.

The majority of these apps are either a part of a big software or, they consist of some extra features.

Other apps that fall in this category include weather & calendar. Please keep in mind that these apps might involve back-end work, hence the cost to develop app increases.

Examples: Calendar, Stocks, Weather, etc.

Estimated Time: Less than 2 month

Medium Mobile Applications

A Medium application comprises of more number of 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 connects 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.

To build this type of app, the device must be completely configured as per the documentation because your 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 of advanced level features, technologies, and heavy usability. Apps that fall under this category are given below:

Social Networking App

Social networking apps mainly consists of chats, information, & social interactions. Hence, a robust back-end should be formed to handle all the data.

Various other apps which can be part of social apps include dating apps, multimedia sharing, reviews 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 as well as an on-demand app as it a superior version of these apps. Here, UI/UX of the app should be perfect. It requires a lot of time as well as effort to develop this type of app.

Examples: TripAdvisor, FourSquare, TripCase, etc.

Estimated Time: 10-12 months & beyond

We hope that you have clearly understood the factors which directly affects the estimated hours of an application.

Now, we will see 2nd part of 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 most preferable country for outsourcing IT projects due to economic cost and highly skilled & talented resources availability. however, in South America, costs lies 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 listed countries, there are various other countries which provide mobile app development services, but they are not so 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.


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 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 check an exact cost for your app development project. We will not only provide you the estimate of your app but also help you with design, development, launch and maintenance of your application.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

An entrepreneur, an IT professional. Tech geek. Founder & CEO at Guru Technolabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. Loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in IT field.

Let's Connect!