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How much does it cost to make an App

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How much does it cost to make an App in 2019?

List describing approximate time to develop each app feature


‘How much does it cost to make an app?’ Every entrepreneurs who aspire to transform their business into mobility often wonders. This is indeed a million dollar question! Well, you may not find a straightforward answer to this question.  But understanding certain vital elements will help you come close to answering how much does it cost to make an app.


From hospitality, transportation, communication, lifestyle, grocery and online marketplaces, in this era of digitalization, well-designed mobile applications have become an inevitable aspect of every business.   Eventually, cost always comes down to how long does it take to build your app and what kind of skill set does your project need.  Statista shows median hourly rate for multiple development services in USA and Canada. Basic formula for app development cost is:


App Development Cost = (management/stretegy hours x hourly rate) + (UI/UX design hours x hourly rate) + (coding & development hours x hourly rate) + (QA testing hours x hourly rate)


This article provides a detailed overview of the various factors that influence the cost of developing an app.


  • How your business model leaves a dramatic impact on the process of development?
  • What is the role of an app development platform in evaluating the costs?
  • Why does the app cost varies from the actual estimate


Hence, read ahead to find out more about how much does it cost to build an app!

Hourly cost of various mobile app development may help you answer ‘how much does it cost to make an app’


Hourly cost of mobile app developer effects how much does it cost to make an app



On an average, the cost of mobile app development ranges from $10,000 to over $250,000.  In addition to the kind of app that you want to have:


  • Simple Apps:  

    These apps are usually for a single platform and have fewer screens with limited functionality. Mostly, they do not require any form of user authentication or login. An example of such an app is a weather app or similar apps that are preloaded in your smartphones. Cost can be anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000.

  • Medium-sized Apps:  

    These apps are for a single platform with good number of features or multiple platforms with simple functionality. The cost of a medium-sized app can be somewhere between: $15,000 to $100,000.

  • Large Apps:  

    These are complex apps that demand extensive backend development and offer tons of features. E-commerce apps usually fall into this category of apps, as they need two separate interfaces for customers and employees. Large on-demand service apps are a perfect example and they cost about $50,000 to $250,000.

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Impact of Your Business Model on How Much Does It Cost to Make an App


Each mobile app development begins with a strong revenue plan. At the end of the day, businesses create apps to generate money. The business model or revenue is one of the most critical factors that affect the cost of an app.


In order to analyze this, there are specific questions that must be answered:


  • What problem is this app solving for your business?
  • How does this app make user’s life easier?
  • What are customers suppose to do after downloading an app?
  • Is your app going to save any user data? If yes, how much and how are you planning on using it?
  • Which platform do your customers prefer?
  • What product or service are you trying to sell?
  • Is there any sort of devices requirements for making the app responsive?
  • Will the app be free or paid?
  • Do you want to have in-app purchases?
  • Do you want the app to provide advertisements?


These questions will lead you a step closer to getting an answer for ‘How much does it cost to make an app’.  The needs of your business usually dictate the final cost of the app.  For instance, in-app purchase enabled apps take more time to develop in comparison to paid apps.  Further e-commerce apps call for more investment of money and time.

Cost to hire app developers to build mobile app


App developers salary answering how much does it cost to make an app


You should also consider how much does it cost to make an app if you were to hire mobile app developers temporarily.  Let’s consider this scenario and run some numbers.  This may be right option for some medium to large sized businesses to build their mobile apps.  Average Mobile App Developers make over $100,000 a year as you see in the image above.  That translates to approximately $50/hour without adding any benefits or tax.  If your business needs to make changes to your app frequently, then you should consider creating in-house team.


So quick way to get to final app development cost is, if you need 2 developers for 4 months each, one for iOS and another for Android app development.  In this case you’ll manage and test everything else, so no cost for testers or managers.  You’re looking 8 months of work combined.  In other words, if you hire them for $50/hour then it’ll cost you around $70,000 without providing any benefits to those developers.  You still need to add cost of graphic designer to create beautiful interface for your mobile app, add licensing fees for many softwares your app developers need, etc.


Again, these are just numbers we are discussing here.  It is close to impossible to find good developers who will only work on 4 months contract while there is other full time work available that offers benefits and longer employment.  For most small to medium sized business, best option is to hire a professional app development company who can help them create and maintain successful mobile app.



Versions within the Operating System


Availability of the app within different versions of the OS is another element that should be considered.  If you’re building app for multiple versions on multiple operating systems, it’ll likely add more cost.   So make sure to discuss versions and operating systems of the mobile devices and software while you ask them how much does it cost to make an app.


This is connected with technical requirements and can be utilized as a form of filter. Let’s say if you want the app to be more technical that works best with advanced OS versions.  In that case, a good step is to restrict its availability to specific versions and keep the cost of development low.


Similarly, iOS might appear to be a single platform, yet there are various versions and updates that must be considered. You can opt for the latest version only to keep development cost and time low.


In addition to this, you can consider choosing both Android and iOS.  However, if you are strict with the budget then you may have to select one out of the two.

Android Application Development Cost Factors


  • The total number of Android users exceeds iOS users by approximately 10% (55% vs 45%).  Thus it’s the safest option for any business if native application for one platform is the only option.
  • The cost per download of Android apps is usually less than iOS apps.
  • The Android apps require less maintenance.  They don’t require as many updates as iOS apps.
  • The guidelines for Android app are lenient which ultimately decreases the cost of development and hosting in the market.
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iOS Application Development Cost Factors


  • iPhone app development cost is slightly less than Android apps, as these are easier and quicker to build.
  • iOS comprises of affluent audiences willing to spend money.  Meaning paid apps are more likely to succeed with iOS platform compare to Android.
  • Apple adheres to the highest quality guidelines, ensuring only the premium range of apps are available on the store.
  • In general, iOS is an easier and interactive platform that can be profitable for diverse businesses.


Therefore, to select the ideal OS platform, you have to pay attention to your targeted audience and their behavior.  Communicate the platforms you like your app to be built for while you’re asking app development company about how much does it cost to make an app. Apart from this, you should also make a note of the type of application that you want to incorporate.

How much do businesses spend on app development


Survey describing how much does it cost to make an app


When you look at how much do businesses spend for developing their app?  Here are the results.  With average cost per app being $270k, app development is definitely not cheap.  It is not for all businesses and individuals.  When we look at lower end of the cost, we’re looking at start ups and small businesses.  They’re building app for the first time, with minimal intonations with external databases.


Middle of the chart describes probably medium sized app that already has some software infrastructure in their system.   And finally, towards the end of the chart, we’re looking at large enterprise sized apps that has tens of thousands of users.  They likely have multiple in-house teams working on a simple app.

Types of Applications and Design Defines How Much Does It Cost to Build an App


When it comes to the finest applications, you’ve two incredible options: native application and hybrid application.  You can also create a web app, which is basically a website that looks like an app.  You can compare similarities and differences between native, hybrid and web app development.  Choosing type of development makes difference in how your app will work on mobile phones as well as how much does it cost to make an app.


Native Applications


Native apps are developed for a particular operating system, iOS or Android. They are more reliable and faster and have access to the features of the phone hardwares. Developing apps natively on the platform assures sharper and better user experience (UX). However, these apps are a bit more expensive than hybrid apps.  If your application contains significant functionalities from device’s hardware, native app development may be the best choice.  These examples are graphics heavy games, animations, instant controls, etc.


Hybrid Apps


Hybrid applications are the next generation of apps – for both iOS and Android platforms. The functioning is almost similar to native apps.  Both native and web technologies create a hybrid app.  These technologies are distributed across the native store.


Though these apps operate on both the platforms, they may not have access to the some of phone’s hardware feature.  These apps can be extremely complex to design, as conventions of both the platforms are far different from each other technologically.


The next element that comes into the picture is the design that you want to have for your mobile apps. If the app requires minimal design, which can be effortlessly templated, then it would cost less.  But then if you want to customize various components then the same would affect the average price of app development too. If your application is data driven that has minimal phone’s hardware requirements, then hybrid app is the best option.


Here, there are three quintessential design parameters that you need to focus on:


  • Visual Design:  

    The visual design instantly connects with the user. This is the reason why it requires meticulous planning in accordance with what you have to offer to your customers.

  • UX Design:  

    The user experience (UX) design is related to how the various parts of the app function. It basically studies the behavior of the audience.  By using this to create an experience that would boost engagement and ensure successful on-boarding.  If you’re keen about User Experience (UX) design, make sure to let app development firm know when you ask them about how much does it cost to make an app.

  • Branding & Logo:  

    Branding is an essential asset, while the logo is something that gives you an identity, allowing your apps to be noticed in the stores. Thus, they do affect the user’s decision of whether to download the app or not.


The visual design, logo & branding would cost around 15-20% of total development cost. For UX designs you would probably have to pay more. App development companies have their own professional design team.  It allows you to make the most of everything in a one destination.

Features that lead to Additional Cost for App Development


In addition to the basic functionality of the app, there are certain features that cause escalating the cost of development:


  • Social Media Login Integration:  Integrating social networking accounts like Google, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. This is an invaluable feature, as these logins provide a wide range of data.  This data is useful for marketing your business, and in turn provide a wider reach and brand engagement.
  • In-App Purchases:  To charge the users for additional services, downloads or premium features within your app, you will need the in-app purchase system.
  • Rating System:  Be it a five-star rating or a thumbs up or down.  For providing feedback through rating metrics you will require this feature. It’s the best fit for review apps, restaurants or e-commerce stores.
  • Geo-Location:  This is ideal to collect data or locate your users and make their experience more relevant.  There are many ways to add geo-location, specially if your app has map or search feature.  You definitely want to ask about geo-location feature when asking about how much does it cost to make an app.


For simple features, the charges would be $3000 to $8000 per platform per feature.  But the cost will add up in case of advanced options such as geo-location or in-app purchase.

Situations when the cost of App moves beyond estimate


Often people complain about their cost of development being higher than the initial estimate.  This is not an ideal situation for either an app development firm or a client.    This primarily occurs due to


  • Incompetent companies offering a lower estimate to get you onboard.  Then revealing the final price only when they’re close to completion of the project.  So first they’ll tell you one number when you ask them about how much does it cost to make an app, and then they’ll keep adding to that number.  If you reach out to 5 different app development companies to get quote and one of them offers significantly lower price than others, then be cautious.
  • The scope of your app increases as the project develops.  This happens a lot in app development.  This may be due to change in business requirements.  Many time, when you start getting opinion from your beta users, they may recommend some updates that may be necessary that you never thought of while planning for your mobile app development.


Professional companies maintain 100% transparency and follow app development cost breakdown, that is simple and easy to understand. So, when you hire a reliable company you’ll never have to worry about the first situation.


Coming to the second situation, development breathes life into an app, and as it grows, its scope also improves. This is perhaps one of the most amazing and expensive parts of development.  The continuous ideation that creates an exceptional mobile application.

Summing it Up – What Should Be Your App Development Budget?


We hope that with this article, we answered your question about how much does it cost to make an app.  With the use of app development cost calculator, you can get a good idea about project’s final cost. However, these calculations must be made on the premise of specific standards.  This tends to differ from one project to another.  Uninformed input would provide an incorrect figure, causing confusion and misunderstanding about the expenses involved.  This is the reason why prior to using a calculator, understand the operations and features of the app properly.


Now, what should be your budget for mobile app development?  This depends on what you expect to have in your app, the total number of hours experts need to work for its development and how much do you want to invest.