Around 51% of people use mobile phones to purchase products online in today’s digital world, making mobility a digital reality. Therefore, mobile apps continue to be a significant priority for businesses to attract, engage, and delight target consumers. However, the first question that would come into the mind of business owners and aspiring app entrepreneurs is – “how much does it cost to build an app?”.
It’s been said that everything comes with a price tag, but it’s not always the case with mobile app development. There is no fixed price to create a fully functional custom-made mobile application. Think about any service or product that you have recently purchased. Whether it’s a smartphone, a car, or a smart TV, it includes several things that determine the final price. The same applies to mobile applications.
So the answer to “how much does it cost to create an app?” depends on several factors. The discrepancy in app development cost is due to app type, the complexity of features and functionality, design exceptionality, location and rates of mobile app development company you choose, marketing expenditures, QA, etc.
So, how do you evaluate the cost of creating an app, especially when it is your first time? This blog will discuss the different factors you need to consider while assessing the mobile app development cost.
How Much Does It Cost To Build An App?
As per a recent study, people spend an average of more than three hours on their phones every day. The numbers are not so surprising when you consider the extent to which smartphones have penetrated our daily lives. This mobile app development trend indicates no signs of slowing down, and if you want to take your business to new heights, mobile app development is your pass to the fast lane. The cost of making an app depends upon several factors:
In a competitive digital world where we embrace an excess of mobile applications every day, having a business model is crucial for the mobile app development process, which ultimately plays a vital role in determining the cost to build an app. Before starting the process to estimate the average cost to develop an app, you must first evaluate where it will be included in your business model.
So, what precisely is the Business model?
It is a group of factors that define the target audience and their pain points, offer better solutions, make it a direct source of revenue through sales, etc. But, most importantly, recognizing that your customer is the most critical factor in your business model, prioritizing their demands. All the factors of the business model combine to directly consider the overall cost of the mobile app development project and drive the kind of app you plan to build.
An excellent idea for your product or service is one thing, but making it accessible to mobile users is another. Therefore, after developing a robust business model, you will encounter several technologies you will have to research for the project. Next, your app development partner will have to choose the proper application carefully since it will impact the overall mobile app cost. Depending on the level of complexity, an application can be classified as follows:
Not exactly a mobile app; it is instead a mobile version of a website. It uses a responsive design to ensure a smooth user interface across different screen sizes. Due to limited functionality and lower performance than native apps, 85% of smartphone users prefer mobile apps over mobile websites. This is considerably the inexpensive and less complex of all the options.
Several applications aim to balance good user experience and performance perfectly and are built with language native to the operating system of a given device such as Android, iOS, Windows. Native apps are the most complex, but as they are developed and optimized for a specific platform, they give rise to high performance. Hence, native apps also turn out to be expensive.
Keep Reading: Mobile Apps Vs Web Apps
Hybrid apps are built using the combination of web and native technologies. This approach is best suited to indulge the requirements of a large audience. Moreover, development and maintenance cost is low as compared to other practices. Still, they are not considered best in terms of competencies due to limited access to smartphone hardware compared to native apps.
Therefore, to understand how much it costs to develop an app, it is crucial to compare Web vs. Native vs. Hybrid mobile app development according to your business needs.
For the mobile app development process, whether iOS or Android app development, it is essential to follow a Stair-Step Approach – where a compelling journey begins with a single and more straightforward step. Indeed, the best mobile app strategy appears to build an app for both platforms simultaneously. However, that turns out to be a costly and unsafe mobile app strategy.
So the question that occurs at this point is – Which platform to choose? The answer to this question can be found in the following iOS and Android comparison:
In 2012, iOS would seem to beat Android in the global mobile share market with 61% share. However, the situation has changed significantly. By 2022 Android is expected to own 86.2% of the world’s mobile market, nearly six times higher than iOS (13.8%). Having three potential users rather than 1 is a significant difference to consider while picking a platform to build your app.
The fragmentation issue plays a crucial role in considering which platform to proceed with and finding out how much does it cost to develop an app. On the one hand, Apple has limited devices that run on the iOS platform (iPhone, iPad, and iPod). On the other hand, there is an overabundance of smartphones and tablets that run on the Android platform with different screen sizes and aspect ratios. It means that your app should be compatible with all of them. Furthermore, in the Android platform, you can’t find any operating system used by over 50% of Android device users.
It can be inferred that iOS apps are faster and economical to design. However, after completing your app, when it is all set to hit the market users worldwide, one vital step to pass is to submit the app to the play store, which adds to the app development cost.
Google Play Store charges a $25 payment to upload your app without a lengthy and strict approval process. In addition, Google Play Store takes a cut of 30% of purchases made through the app once it’s accessible.
In contrast, the iOS apps goes through a rigorous approval procedure in the Apple App Store that charges a $99 annual fee. In addition, also incur a 30% cut regarding purchases made through the apps. Hence, Android is an obvious winner in the publishing process.
When compared the time to develop an app for Android OS, iOS app development time is around 40% faster. And the reason once again is – fragmentation. Hence, the average cost of developing an iOS app is less than building an Android app. So, choosing a platform boils down to your app’s primary function and the anticipated target audience. You’ve got to have a strong marketing strategy as the first factor to succeed.
Backend Infrastructure and App Administration
Backend is usually an OS in mobile application development that provides mobile app developers with APIs to exchange data between an app and a database. In addition, it is equipped with analytics to track user activity and evaluate app performance. The cost varies depending on the number of parameters you follow and how detailed and specific the tracking will be.
An administration panel is undoubtedly a handy tool for managing an app’s content, users, and statistics. There are options to adapt existing admin panel templates for your requirements, but finding a good one is a problem. So it makes sense to build a suitable panel to meet your business needs.
Keep reading about How to improve Mobile App Performance
To know “how much does it cost to make an app?” you need to determine the complexity of the application you are about to build. Functionality, number, and complexity of implemented features are the most significant cost drivers in app development. Screens, fields involved, buttons, the amount of logic needed matter greatly.
Estimating the cost of making an app is like planning a home. The base price for the type of app you expect to develop keeps on growing with the addition of new features. Furthermore, with mobile apps becoming more advanced and innovative, there is virtually no limit to what an application can do. Hence, there is no fixed figure for the app development cost.
Well then, it’s time to find out what features affect the complexity of the application. As we mentioned before, the implementation of some features can be significantly longer, while others are comparatively short and easy. As a result, mobile app developers need to use third-party API or code from scratch depending on the complexity of solutions. More straightforward solutions, in sequence, require standard instruments and involve native features.
Some other factors responsible for finding out “how much it costs to make an app?“
This is just a break-up of some standard features that combine to build simple mobile apps. Obviously, other factors affect the complexity and cost of building an app. Here are some of them:
- Whether the application will depend on an internet connection.
- The app’s pricing model (e.g., free vs. subscription-based payment vs. single-purchase model)
- Whether the app will need backend support.
Design and Development
Another essential factor that plays a significant role in determining “how much does it cost to build an app” is – who are you hiring! While hiring freelancers and newbies seems a feasible and reasonable option, it may cost you more in the long run. You can find many freelancers out there, but it will be a big question mark on their skill-set and dependability.
Alternatively, mobile app development companies with experienced and skilled developers charge more than freelancers. They bring their experience and guarantee to the table, which is vital for a successful mobile app. Such companies are well-equipped to address all your requirements associated with the mobile app. At the same time, they can get familiarized with the business model thoroughly.
Developing an application and releasing it on Google Play Store and App Store doesn’t signify your expenditures are ended. It is crucial to consider the cost of maintaining your mobile application in the total cost of developing the application. Your app should be available so that users can download and use it as often as they want.
Although you have not planned to add new features at any time, you must have a maintenance plan for the application and a financial plan to maintain an advanced application. App maintenance costs generally involve bug fixing, new features support, getting ready for a new OS version, etc. It also depends on how many features you would like to include per year and their complexity level.
Mobile app maintenance and support is a must-have service that you should have, even though you have no plans to upgrade and add new features to the application. These costs will increase over time as your application becomes more complex.
Mobile app maintenance service usually includes:
- Bug fixing.
- Updating your app to the latest OS versions.
- Upgrading the app to make it compatible with the latest technologies.
- Code optimization.
- Improving app stability.
- Upgrade the server infrastructure as the number of users increases.
Mobile app development is an ongoing process, and you should keep upgrading your app to gain the benefits of cutting-edge technologies.
Outsourcing or In-House Development: What to Choose?
When you are planning to develop a mobile application, not only does the average cost to develop an app matter, if you don’t have a team to make it happen, you are probably hiring someone to create an app. So the question arises – what to choose: outsourcing or in-house development.
The only reason to foster internal development is physical proximity to the development team, which means faster and more direct communication. However, looking at the current situation, it’s not an argument at all. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are used to working from home. And many mobile app development companies ask their employees to work remotely anyway.
It doesn’t matter if your remote team works from the USA, Western, or Eastern Europe. On the condition that they have the right skills. You can get the right professionals in a few weeks, not months, with outsourcing. The traditional hiring process takes more time, especially if you need to find experienced developers.
However, outsourcing your app development is not as difficult as it may seem. Even if you live in different time zones and there’s a 10-12 hour gap, remote teams eagerly make improvements and meet any organizational requirements. In addition, having a higher level of expertise at reasonable costs, foreign developers can perform better than local ones.
It takes a specialized skill-set and experience to build a successful mobile application, and evaluating this cost is also essential since it impacts the overall business. When businesses estimate the development cost of their future app, they first need to factor in app complexity which implies a significant impact on a total development cost.
Given that both iOS and Android platforms have a high adoption rate, it is a smart strategy for mobile businesses to simultaneously develop an app for both platforms. Furthermore, since the infrastructure is the major contributor to an app development cost, it’s logical for companies to do their best to save on things like data storage and scalability, mobile app security, third-party API integration, etc.
How much time does it take to build an app from scratch?
Сomplexity and the functionality you need to add matters a lot in the app development timeline. It is required to devote 3-5 months to build an app with a core-feature set such as simple login, email subscription ad with simple design elements for one platform. If you want to develop a more complex app, this timeline will expand to 10-12+ months.
For which platform should I develop my app first – Android or iOS?
To choose which operating system to target, you must clarify what audience you would like to reach or your target audiences. Thus, consider conducting solid market research to determine what devices and platforms your target audience uses the most.
Freelancers vs. App development company
The advantages of working with freelancers are comparatively low app development costs. Alternatively, this cooperation has many connected risks like lower service quality, management of the process on your side, and limited accountability and transparency. When working with a software development company, you can remove these risks and use benefits like project management, responsibility, and discipline.