How Much Does It Cost To Develop An App?11 min read
When it comes to the digital technology era, digitizing the national economy means creating supporting tools, most notably mobile applications – one of the key factors supporting the company promotes its image as well as expands its international business.
Besides the issues of profitability and application quality, the cost of building an application is also concerned by many financial investors. How much does it cost to develop an app? All factors in cost analysis aside, the average price to create an app by expert agencies is $171,450, according to a Clutch survey.
Online application costs range from $200,000 to $350,000 for an application with dozens of features, while the typical cost range given by application developers is $100,000 – $500,000. But don’t worry – small apps with few basic features can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, so there’s the opportunity for any type of business. But how to reduce the initial construction cost without affecting the quality of the application. Through this article, we learn the factors that directly affect the cost of writing a mobile application.
1. App Development Cost – Benchmarks
These days, the majority of the population uses different mobile applications as part of their daily activities.
However, how much does it cost to develop a mobile application today?
In general, the costs of creating a mobile app can vary widely: from zero to an impossibly expensive price tag that can reach millions of dollars. To be honest, though, there is no simple answer to this question due to the many factors at work. The different developer ratios, project complexity, and time required to build an app affect the cost of creating a mobile app. The price to develop an application depends on the following aspects:
- Vendor type and location
- The complexity of UX / UI design
- Back-end infrastructure and connected APIs
- Platforms to be developed (iOS, Android, web,…)
- Development approach (native, mobile web, hybrid,…)
- Features & infrastructure
2. Mobile App Development cost in 2021
A detailed cost survey to build an application that lists estimates based on widely used application features, design complexity, and stages of software development. Accordingly, we have compiled an application with a core feature set that costs up to $60,000, while the cost of developing complex mobile applications starts at $300,000. The table below illustrates the cost range to build an application with the proper timeline.
Please be noted that the above metrics only serve as a guide to calculating the potential cost of creating a mobile app. Every application is different, and you cannot know the exact price without specifications. Additionally, the estimate is based on the minimum technical time and effort required to build an application.
Cost to develop an app: Understanding the basics
There are many factors that affect the cost of creating an application. You need to understand each in order to manage your app budget better and allocate resources wisely.
Native vs. Hybrid
The cost of building an application depends on the type of application you decide to create using either native or hybrid development techniques. Native apps are apps designed for a single platform, iOS or Android. Therefore, if you choose to target both groups of users, you will need to build two separate applications, which will increase application development costs.
On the other hand, hybrid applications can work on multiple operating systems. To a great extent, that means you will spend less money on application development since you need to build a single application.
However, many companies choose to build native applications, knowing that the cost of developing this type of application will be higher. They choose native apps for their technical superiority, smoother user experience, and higher performance than hybrid apps.
Android vs iOS
If you decide to build a native application, you will need to decide which platform to target first. You have a limited budget and don’t want to risk money, you can start with an app for a single platform, Android or iOS.
How much does it cost to build an app for iOS/ Android?
There is not much difference in the prices since the process is nearly the same for both types of development. If you have a larger budget, you can work on two apps simultaneously and roll them to the market at the same time.
Position and structure of the development group
Where your development team is located will greatly affect the final cost of developing an application. While there are regions like Vietnam where you can hire developers of low-cost mobile apps, it’s important to look for a reputable, scalable app provider with a reasonable price and high quality.
How is app development cost estimated?
How can you accurately estimate the cost of developing a mobile app?
The main driver of the cost of the app is the features of the app. You may not answer the question “How much does it cost to build an application?” If you don’t understand what features you will provide your users with. These are one of the most significant cost implications, as some of them can take months to implement.
It would help if you were prepared to find that your application needs a few other features once development has begun. That’s why it’s important to include such surprise expenses in your budget in the first place so that such surprises don’t get you off course.
The formula used to calculate application development costs is as follows:
Before you start developing apps, Groove Technology, as well as trusted software development companies, often provide you with a preliminary mobile app development cost estimate. Quotation based on your project description, business and technical requirements. This information is concluded in a preliminary list of features.
Typically, application development companies use two main charging approaches:
Fixed Charge – This approach is mainly used for small projects with very strict progression and predefined scope of work. The main advantage of this computational technique is clarity in the application development costs. You don’t have to wonder how much it costs to build an application since you know the final price even before development starts.
Timeframes and materials – this pricing method differs from the first in terms of flexibility. This is mainly used for complex projects that may have unexpected turns in the development process. Prices are usually based on rates of the hour and time spent developing. While you may feel anxious about this approach, it offers a lot of benefits. With the fixed price charge, you cannot change anything during the processing.
When working in timeframes & materials, you are free to change the scope of work, add features or remove some even while in development. Hence, you can build a highly customizable app that your users will love.
Remember to find out what price structure a company operates under before you sign the agreement, as it can significantly impact the final cost of developing an application and the overall development approach.
If your budget is limited to the first version of your app, you have two options:
Agree on specific features – set them up in advance and stick to the plan. If you follow this rule, you will keep the scope of work and application development costs will also remain the same.
Ditching functionality – along with your development team, you can prioritize application functionality. In this case, you can rearrange the scope of work so that it contains the features needed and fits in with the budget constraint. Reach compromises, so your application development costs are at the same level.
3. Cost to build an app based on Development stages
In many software development companies, the application development process is divided into five phases. Depending on the vendor, the names of each stage may vary:
- Analysis and planning
- User interface design and user interface
- Mobile application development
- App testing and deployment
- Ongoing support and maintenance
Let’s see how each stage affects the final cost of developing an application:
Analysis and planning
This stage, also known as discovery, is often the first step in the application development process for many companies. This stage typically involves the work of business analysts, UX / UI designers, software architects, and product owners who jointly perform the following tasks:
- Thorough market research and competitor analysis
- Identify the potential user’s difficulty points and how the application can address them
- Create the first prototypes that provide application visualization
- Set up all steps in the application development process and define the process
The cost of this stage can vary from $ 5,000 to $ 25,000 and even beyond. For most projects, planning and analysis take 2-5 weeks.
UX and user interface design
This mobile app development phase is entirely dedicated to user flow creation, defining how users will interact with your app, and what the interface will look like. This step is essential to creating a product that is user-friendly, easy to use and that fits their expectations.
Costs to design an application start at $5,000 and can exceed $50,000. The price you will pay depends on the number of monitors that need to be designed and the overall complexity of your application.
Mobile application development
How much does it cost to build an application? As you can see, there are a ton of influencing factors that can change the cost of building a mobile app in either direction.
The average cost to develop an application is usually $5,000- $10,000. This cost covers creating the first and simplest version of the application without backends. In most cases, companies pay $20,000- $30,000 to develop.
Test and deploy the application
The cost of building an application also covers this phase. Testing and quality assurance are essential in the app development process. This phase helps ensure that your app is ready for the customer, without any crashes, and provides a perfect user experience.
In most cases, you will have to pay $5,000- $10,000 to test the application.
Ongoing support and maintenance
Knowing how much it costs to build an application is not enough, as it is not just about launching the application to the market. You need to understand “how much it costs to maintain an application” and be willing to spend on application support. Such costs can vary from $5,000 to $10,000 annually (Clutch, 2018).
Another study found that 50% of application development costs will be spent on maintenance during the first year. In the second year, you will have to spend about 25% and 15% -25% for each subsequent year.
Therefore, when you plan your budget, it is important to divide that budget between two main forms of expenditure: the cost to develop an application and the maintenance of the application we already have mentioned in an earlier article.
4. Mobile App Development cost based on app types
5. Hidden app cost drivers
The application development process can be divided into the following phases:
Stage 1: Developing the first version of the application. This milestone includes design creation, feature coding, quality assurance, and more. In addition, the application architecture organized for subsequent project versions includes components such as storage, proper server capabilities, databases, various support libraries, etc.
Stage 2: Application development. This phase refers to the necessary application updates, implementation of new features, application maintenance, bug fixes, and more.
Some factors, especially those within the application architecture and development portfolios in progress, can sometimes be undervalued or simply obscured from the customer’s eye. This can cause confusion among customers, as these parts significantly affect the cost of building an application.
Below is a list of the potential factors that have the greatest impact on application cost:
- Application infrastructure services (server, hosting, domain)
- Assembling application architecture: monolithic vs microservices architecture (the latter architecture uses more technical resources, but is also more efficient in the long run)
- Databases are used to store data (user data, photo and video content, …)
- Assembling back-end infrastructure (especially to increase application scalability)
- Integration of third-party APIs and services (e.g. billing, mapping, analytics, etc.)
- Application Management (complex web portal or CMS for application management)
- Development tools and libraries used
- Data encryption for data transmission
- Video or audio streaming function
- Update the app regularly and fix bugs
Please also note: Software development vendors estimate the current cost of building an application, excluding application support and maintenance costs.
If you are planning on building a great application product, you should consider the ongoing application development costs that you will have to handle.
The cost of maintaining and supporting an application is significantly higher than the budget devoted to native application development.
So, how much does it cost to maintain an application?
Recent studies on the state of the ongoing application development cost:
Mobile application development typically accounts for about 35% of the total spending budget over the next two years (Computerworld, 2012)
After the launch of the application, it is expected that the cost of support and maintenance of the application will be around $ 5,000 – $ 10,000 annually as mentioned above.
Therefore, it makes sense to set two different mobile app development budgets; one for the first active product release and one for the continued support and development of the application.
So, how much does it cost to build an app? It depends on many factors. The development fee, application size, complexity, and novelty of the technology are included.
Let’s summarize the results of our application development cost analysis:
Application development costs per platform range from around $ 15,000 to $ 300,000 +.
Industry studies show that building an app costs between $10,000 and $ 500,000 +. This shows the fact that application development costs can be unpredictable.
Application development costs are based on factors such as the application development provider, number and complexity of features, design, development approach, and platform(s).
Accordingly, the progress to build an application varies from 1 to 9 months (project in progress).
It is very valuable to complete the Discovery stage. The theatrical price for the first version of the application is about $5,000 – $25,000 for 2-5 weeks of work. This cost can go up to $ 50,000 based on project specifics, complexity, number of platforms, etc.
We hope our little research will help you find your own answers. If not, at Groove Technology, we are here to help you estimate your application idea.