How Much Does It Cost to Make an App?

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been only 25 years since the first simple mobile app was invented, only 11 years since Apple opened its App Store. 

Today, the market is flooded with apps for smartphones, tablets and smart watches — literally there is an app for any aсtivity you can imagine, from accomplishing daily routines like watering your plants, to strange cases like Nothing. This mobile app does absolutely nothing and already has 1 million installs. See what I’m talking about?

Businesses of every scale and any industry are developing mobile apps, from small retail shops to large-cap corporations.

Developing an app for your business is a great idea, considering the wide range of ways you can utilize it. But the main question remains: How much will it cost?

In this article, we will review elements of development that will affect the price of an app.

How much does it cost to build an app? Affecting factors

Many people, factors, activities will play a role in the cost of your app. Here’s a quick review.

Unavoidable factors in the cost of an app

No matter what kind of an app you want to develop, these are unavoidable:

  • Development path. You may want to accomplish your project with the help of internal staff, or hire an outsourcer. This choice will strongly affect the cost.
  • MVP development. Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, refers to a mobile application that has only the essential features. Developing an MVP will give you an understanding of whether you need this app at all, what features it lacks, how it could evolve, and what value it has for its users. It is better to not skip this stage.
  • Mobile platforms. Do you need both Android and iOS applications? If you choose both, then you’ll need to pick between hybrid and native development. Native development means creating two separate apps for each platform using only platform-dependent technologies and languages. Hybrid development is creating one app that works perfectly on both Android and iOS.

How much does it cost to make an iOS app?

Searching for "how much does it cost to make iOS application" on Google will result in a lot of answers. We’ll discuss it briefly here.

Apple has strict requirements for applications to be published on App Store. It demands particular languages and formatting in the iOS development toolkit, and a broad set of other demands; take a look below.

AppStore Requirements - Review Guidelines.png

Source: App Store Review Guidelines

So, if you’re opting for a native iOS application, it is better to find a reliable partner experienced in iOS development.

How much does it cost to make an Android application?

This question is less popular on Google, despite Android being the most widespread platform.

How much will it cost to make an Android app? While the Android app market Google Play has less strict requirements than App Store, it still demands a high level of quality. For this, you will still need all-around Android development expertise.

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Note that some mobile phones run on custom operating systems built on top of Android. While developing applications, it is important to keep in mind the peculiarities of this OS.

These factors demand your attention first, because they affect the cost of the app at the earliest stages of planning and development.

Your budget still looks blurry at this point, but  it will become clearer after we determine the next factors.

Quality and complexity factors of the app

The following factors affect the price dramatically, too. It’s better to keep a balance between all the factors to get a great app on a reasonable budget. This is your main objective.

The quality of any app will be directly related to the experience and professionalism of the team that works on your project.

A simple app can be developed by a relatively young software development vendor, or your in-house specialists.

In this case, the cost can start at $3,000.

More complex applications delivered by experienced software development partners will cost much more. Costs typically start at $200,000, depending on the features you want to implement, the expertise of the team, and the number of specialists involved.

How much does it cost to make an app for your particular business?

To answer this question, first consider:

  • What is the size of your business?
  • What type of app do you need?

If your business is a one-person company or a small organization, you can create a simple, cheap application that will cater to your needs. Answer the questions in the earlier section and you are almost ready to go.

The demands of a large-scale corporation will definitely differ from those of a small company, requiring much more than a simple user-friendly app for communication or marketing.

Large enterprise-level solutions will take more time to develop and test, and will be much more expensive. Such applications always incorporate lots of features, have strong security requirements, and demand enhancements through time.

Cost to build an app: counting the hours spent on development

Working with software development partners, you will learn that one of the parameters for calculating the cost of the app is the developers' rate.

Rate refers to the amount paid per hour the specialist works for you. Rates differ depending on the partner's location, expertise level, staff experience, and more.

Location is the most likely factor in determining whether your app feels like a light-on-the-wallet project or highway robbery.

For example, developers from the USA typically earn between $49k and $100k.

Screenshot_2 usa.png

Source: PayScale

Software developers in Estonia earn half as much as their colleagues from the USA — about $32k.

 salary estonia.png

Source: PayScale

Countries such as Estonia and Belarus offer the best price-quality ratio compared with the North American and Asian regions, without a loss of quality work. Approximately 7 out of 10 top software development companies are in Eastern European countries.

Outsourcing your app development project to a distant country, however, brings up questions: How will these people communicate in your language, and will they work during hours that suit you while based in a very different time zone?

However, neither of these is an issue for outsourcers from this region: they all speak English and will adapt to your timezone. So, it’s better, and much easier on the budget, to pick a partner from Belarus, Estonia, or  similar countries.

Final Thoughts on How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App

The final cost of a mobile application for a business depends on a wide range of factors. It’s crucial to balance your priorities to keep your development budget reasonable.

Finding the right partner — a top app development services company — is the path to success. The company will handle all issues and deliver a quality product.