The app development cost is what everybody is interested in—from a beginner to an experienced businessman. Why is there so much fuss about it? Well, that’s because there is no strict price on it. It’s different from a loaf of bread. You can’t just calculate the ingredients price. Your application should be unique. Sometimes to get this you need to change the estimation made before development and search for other solutions. It’s quite a complex task. But you are in the right place! Here you will find out what goes into the cost and how to create a perfect app at a reasonable price.
We have already mentioned that the audience of mobile devices users exceeded desktop users. This means that creating mobile applications is way better than desktop ones. Market grows constantly, so it’s impossible to ignore such a tendency. If you wish to take the leading place on the market, you not only need to create a technically equipped application but what’s more important—satisfy the needs and solve the problems of potential customers.
You need to be prepared—mobile app development cost varies widely. So in order not to shock you we will move forward step by step. First let’s check what influences it, then how much developers get from it and at last, the average cost of app development. Hope you’ll enjoy our journey.
#1. Factors affecting the price
It’s a complex question, as you need to count several factors that directly influence the cost:
- The complexity of the app;
- Design of mobile app;
- Experience and location of developers.
Let’s take a closer look at all of that.
The complexity of the app
Wondering how much does it cost to create a mobile application, do not forget about the business concept. If the service has to solve several tasks and perform many functions, its price will be much more expensive. For example, to store data of simple applications you need a cloud server and for a complex app, you need to develop a full server part. This also affects the cost.
The cost of your future application will depend not only on the amount of work the development team is doing, but also on their talent, type, and complexity of the application. Parameters that affect the scope of work and, accordingly, the mobile development budget:
- Number of screens;
- Custom controls;
- Types of devices (smartphone, tablet or both, and others);
- Screen orientation modes;
- Supported OS versions;
- Number of languages supported;
- How the application will progress.
We’re not gonna focus on the above, but there are two factors that may influence the final price a lot: whether the app is client-server and what platform it is based on.
Is the app client-server?
One of the decisive aspects in determining the price is whether you need a server; most mobile applications to date are client interfaces that can interact with servers: retrieve and store information on the server, synchronize all changes and personal data on various users’ devices.
If the application has a backend (server), you will have to pay for the development of not only the mobile part but also the server one. If your application is client-server, you definitely need to think about hiring a multifunctional team in which the developers who are dealing with the client part have already worked well and can communicate effectively with those who deal with the server part. Hire two different teams (one from Poland, the other from Ukraine, for example) and instruct each to do their part of the work—an idea that can end in failure.
What platform is the app based on?
Depending on the classification, applications can be divided into:
- Native—that is, written in this way as conceived by the creators of the platform;
- Web applications—this is the same site with a mobile layout that works in a mobile browser;
- Cross-platform—a cross between the web and native technologies, works on Android and iOS, cut costs almost in half.
As for the choice of operating system—it’s no secret that Android and iOS are the most popular now. And what if applications for Apple, as a rule, are more expensive on the Play Market, then mobile applications for Android are in demand for a much larger number of users. According to statistics, Android is now the most widely used OS in the world.
Before deciding which platform your application will be designed for, it is worthwhile to understand how much time you have, what quality you expect and how difficult the product will be.
If you need a quick solution that many users will be able to use, you should agree to a cross-platform application. It will cost you 30% less than developing two native applications and its development will take less time.
Nevertheless, do not forget that this solution shouldn’t be used for a complex and/or advanced application; the best option is to choose cross-platform development for simple applications that do not use hardware interfaces that have their own features for different platforms.
The choice is between developing for Android, iOS or just for two OSes?
It is necessary to strive to reach as much of the audience as possible. Nevertheless, if you plan to test the workability of the idea, at the first stage it is better to concentrate on the client application for one mobile OS. In order to determine which OS to choose for MVP, it is necessary to take into account a lot of arguments, here are some of them:
- the ready-made solution on iOS usually takes up to 30% less time. This is due to a large number of devices running Android, which greatly complicates the testing and debugging process;
- the number of Android devices in the global market. In the first quarter of 2017 86.1% of mobile device buyers preferred Android, and only 12.8%—iOS devices;
- the capacity to pay is much higher among iOS users;
- the popularity of operating systems has different indicators for different geographic regions;
- preferences among users of different professions.
This is just a brief overview—the harder your application becomes, the more functionality you want to add, the more time and money it will require to develop it. What’s important is that the more accurately you describe the functionality of your future application, the more precise price the developer company will be able to indicate for you.
Design of mobile app
The design of a mobile application is another extremely important part of app development, this is what your users will see. Nobody wants to use an app that looks awful, but to look good—these days this pleasure isn’t cheap. Its main task is to make the application as clear and pleasant as possible for visual perception. A well-developed design is an intuitive instruction to solve a user’s problem. For this, you can follow the top design trends.
The cost of custom design also depends on the number of screens and image orientations (portrait, landscape). The design is usually about 20% of the cost of developing a mobile application. Prices for UI / UX-design can range from $10 to $150 per hour of development. Everything depends on the location of the team and its competence. More about it in our next article.
Experience and location of developers
The next block of factors is that a good application cannot be done on its own. You need a team. Accordingly, its services are included in the financial costs.
Mobile application development takes on the largest part of the project budget since it includes the work of various specialists and directly depends on the time they spent.
So who is in the mobile application development team?
- Project manager
Coordinates the workflow, connects you and the development team, communicates the application’s visions. The project manager is the first person you need.
- Designers (UI / UX)
The work includes drawing graphics: menus, navigation, buttons, backgrounds. All this should correspond to user experience, be usable and meet modern trends.
- IOS / Android programmers
Those who directly write the code collect the layouts into a single whole.
- Testers (QA)
They check the application for full and adequate work. Since the development consists of several iterations, a tester is required on each of them. You do not want customers to get the application with bugs, right? Creating applications for iOS means QA on most iPhone models of different versions, as well as tests on a large number of Android models.
As you can see, the cost of developing an application consists of several factors plus the scope of the team.
They all will be a part of the development team and become participants in the application development process. Depending on the location of your team and its experience, the cost of development can vary considerably.
#2. What hourly rates of development teams around the world?
There are many developers around the world, most of them are positioning themselves as the best. But you need to choose the real “best” ones. You need to find those who will be able to do in the shortest time and cost-effectively. But how to do it? Not always expensive developers can create the perfect app. There are many factors that influence in this way. Geography is one of the most important.
The average hourly rates charged by development teams we can see in the following picture:
- US and Canadian-based companies: $50 – $250 per hour
- Australian agencies: $50 – $150
- Western European and UK-based developers: $35 – $170
- Eastern Europeans (that’s where we are): $20 – $150
- Indian rates: $10 – $80 per hour
As you can see, the range of development prices is quite large even within one region, but still, it is highly advisable not to choose a company just based on a low price. On a mandatory basis, pay attention to the experience of the team, projects in its portfolio, and also whether it specializes in solutions for your business. If developers have good experience in implementing projects for a particular industry, the process of cooperation will be much easier and more efficient.
#3. How much does an app cost?
There is no such thing as a ready price tag on some application. It is rather unique for each one.
In general, the total cost of the application will be directly dependent on the time spent on creating it. There are three main classifications of complexity, which will depend on how much it costs to develop applications:
- Mobile application of the basic configuration and don’t require integration with any third-party APIs, or any backend infrastructure, which can be fully prepared in 300 hours;
- Develop an application of the average level of costs, which will take about 500-600 hours. It may include custom UI features, real-time chats, payment features, tablet and handset adaptation, integration with APIs, and a simple backend server;
- The application with a high functional set, to develop which you need more than 600 hours. It should include advanced functionality, such as audio/video processing, real-time synchronization, custom animations, integrations with third-party services, complex backend with several types of database relationships, and more.
So you only have to calculate these numbers with the cost of development teams from the desired country and here you go—you have an approximate cost of the app.
Popular apps cost
It’s time to take a look at the approximate prices for some popular applications.
If you wanted to create an application similar to Uber, the famous taxi order service, it would take about 700 hours for the version of the client application (this includes iOS and Android versions). As for the driver’s version of the application, it would take 410 hours of development. Both estimations include interface design. Backend (server) would take 750 hours.
Let’s see what you’ll need to pay developers from different locations.
As you can see from the table, the most expensive developers are in US and Canada. The cheapest are Indian developers. The golden mean is Eastern Europe, it is 2-3 times cheaper, but the quality is very high and can compete with the most expensive developers in the West.
A popular travel organizer Kayak helps its users find the best deals on airfares, car rental, and hotel booking. Can you imagine how much information Kayak receives and processes in the search for profitable offers? This clearly requires a complex server side. It can take up to 450 hours to develop such an application (this includes iOS and Android versions), including interface design. The backend will take approximately 425 hours.
Let’s check the price in different regions.
Once again the tendency is the same.
#4. How do we estimate?
Evaluation of projects is a creative process. Each project is unique in its own way, even if it copies some business logic from already existing projects, the implementation of this functionality always has several possible options. Our specialists, based on the experience gained, can give an approximate assessment of the project budget framework. But it is possible to speak about high accuracy only for a few weeks of development ahead.
For a better understanding and simplification of the evaluation process, the project is proposed to be divided into stages, which will include the development of a predetermined functionality.
At each stage the following actions are carried out:
- Analysis and specification of requirements and tasks;
- Estimate the cost of prototypes development;
- Evaluation of the design development cost;
- Estimate the cost of project development;
- Evaluation of the testing cost;
- Risk assessment
We use our experience and expertise in specific areas, we give recommendations, which allows us to use the project budget more effectively.
Our bunch of advice
How to develop a successful mobile application for a reasonable amount of money?
- The first and most important—to be popular, your future mobile application must meet the needs of your target audience; even with perfectly written code and an excellent custom design, if your customers do not get a solution to their problem, the application is unlikely to bring you benefits. So the customer comes first.
- Responsibly consider the selection of the outsourcing team of developers. Evaluate the price offers in the selected region, pay attention to projects from the portfolio of selected companies. Try to find the best combination of price and experience.
- Discuss to the possible extent all the details of the future project with the chosen team of developers: business logic and functionality, the region in which you plan to launch the product, monetization, analytics.
- Decide on your preferences regarding the design of your mobile application.
- After all the above points are resolved and approved—go ahead to success!
As you might have noticed, if you are carefully planning to develop your application, you do not have to pay exorbitantly to get the desired result.
From our side, we act as a technical partner for our customers. This means that we will help to analyze the markets and select the optimal technical solution. You can check our case studies to see our expertise and imagine how your future mobile app will look like.