How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?
You must have encountered this question once or twice, especially if you are interested in app development. As per the latest industry reports, the cost for creating an app lies somewhere between $20,000 and $250,000. The average cost of creating an app is approximately $172,000. Remember that the above-mentioned figures are just estimates, and the final cost of an app project can vary more or less per the requirements.
But the answer to the question of how is app development cost calculated is here. This article discusses an in-depth overview of the global software development market state. Along with this, you will also learn how much it cost to build an app, what all factors influence the cost and how to effectively manage app development costs to avoid unexpected expenses in the future. Let’s get started right away with the cost calculation.
The final cost of an application depends on dozens of factors, but if you want to know the sum in a few sentences, find it below, as per Goodfirm’s extensive survey.
- The cost to create a basic or simple app in 2023 may range from $30,000 to $50,000. A basic app will have features such as a user interface, user registration and login, and basic functionality and developed in 6-12 weeks. Simple apps, for instance, are flashlight apps, calculator apps, and weather apps.
- The cost to create a complex app may range from $100,000 to $ 300,000 and above. In this category of app, more features are involved, such as third-party integrations, real-time updates, push notifications, and advanced user interface, and developed in 8-16 weeks. For instance, social media apps, e-commerce apps and gaming apps.
- Building an advanced app may range from $250,000 to $900,000 and above. The app typically has highly complex features, that use Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality and takes 12-17 weeks to develop. Examples of advanced applications include healthcare apps, financial apps, and enterprise-level apps.
How Much Does It Cost to Build an App on Your Own?
Firstly, building a mobile app by yourself is quite not possible and if it is than it’s not as easy as it might look to you. You can make an app with enough technical knowledge and expertise, but it’s not one person’s job. App development is a process that needs a whole team of developers, designers, project managers, and quality assurance engineers for a successful launch of an app. The combined work of all teams on the project turns the app idea into a full-fledged app in a span of 3-6 months, depending on the number and complexity of features.
Read the article further to know what all factors are responsible when creating an app, and how they affect the cost to make an app. And finally, you will know the answer to the question, “how much does it cost to build an app?”
Cost to Build a Mobile App Depending on the App Type
Developing an app is really not a piece of cake. This requires a lot of team effort and proper planning within the requested timelines. From analysing the customer’s need to marketing it right, this all has to be done in the right manner. Study the table below to get a general idea of the cost for creating an app depending on the complexity of the app.
|Type of App||Time Duration to Build an App||Estimated Cost|
|Simple App||3-6 Months||$5000-$10,000|
|Medium App||6-10 Months||$10,000-$20,000|
|Complex App||10+ Months||$25,000+|
Cost of App Development by Region
A high cost does not always indicate a high-quality product. It only shows the salary variations of programmers in different countries:
Study the table below and know the programmer’s rates in different countries:
|United States (USA)||110-220|
|United Kingdom (UK)||100-130|
As you can see, the cost difference is notable.
At an hourly rate of $110-$220 it cost more to develop in the US than in any other country.
Hiring a developer with the same set of skill set in India is cost-effective, say near about $20-$30.
However, India is a country for top-notch cost-effectiveness. It’s best to opt for Indian developers as they mainly adopt a mathematical approach to their coding process, thereby making the mobile app more scalable, resilient and secure. Also note the hourly rate will differ depending on the:
- The complexity of the project, the specialist involved (Programmers, QA, Business Analyst, Project Manager)
- Their qualifications (senior, middle or junior)
Enough information you have, the better you will prepare yourself to evaluate the proposal. These key cost factors for a mobile app will help you get an initial design for an application that meets your needs and requirements.
Factors Affecting the Cost to Build an App:
The answer to the question of how much does it cost to build an app is a complex one, as several factors influence the final cost of developing an app. Continue the read on some of the factors that affect the cost to make an app are listed below:
Mobile App Features and Functionality
Trying to get an answer for how much it cost to build a mobile app can only be attained with an understanding of which features you are going to include in your app. This is the most significant cost driver factor, as some can take months to implement. On average, the cost of developing a mobile app can shift in either direction depending on the number and complexity of features you want to implement. A few of them are push notifications, which can eat up half of your app budget and reach hundreds of thousands of dollars in implementation. Based on the features you want to implement, know how much it cost to build an app.
- Hardware Features: also known as native device features, as they involve the use of device hardware. The latest smartphones have a lot of built-in capabilities such as internet connection, NFC, Bluetooth, etc. A lot of time, say 30 hours to 100 hours, and money is involved to develop such features.
- User Login: For most people in modern applications, user login is a crucial feature. Depending on the logic and complexity, like the ability to remind a password, it might take 10 to 70 hours to implement them.
- User Engagement: The features of this type include SMS, social media sharing, push notifications, email and more- everything and anything that helps you interact with users. Some features can be implemented with the aid of APIs while needing to be developed from scratch. As per the user requirements, implementing such functionalities might take 25 to 145 hours.
- Geolocation: This feature is popular among apps such as food delivery apps, maps etc. They can be implemented with the help of GPS and iBeacons, which can take up to 10 to 150 hours of development time.
- Payment Gateway: A lot of available payment gateway that you can use in your app for in-app payment such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Stripe, PayPal, Credit cards, etc. Depending on the complexity and customization, you might need to spend 20 to 200 hours on such a feature.
- Data Encryption: Another feature that is highly in demand in many countries. If you are looking for a smooth flow of the app with GDPR and other regulations, consider adding functionality to your application for which the development time will be 10 to 80 hours based on used protocols, level of protection and your personal requirements.
Designing of an App
The UI/UX stage of the mobile app development is fully detailed to create user flows, defining how users will interact with the application and how the interface will look. The feature is important to make the app user-friendly. Some of us appreciate and like the minimalist look of the app, but many are also there who like the vibrant look of an app. The look and feel of the app also depend on type of business you have. No matter the business idea the primary focus should be the app looks are sorted and easy for customers to access. If the user finds the app simple and easy to use, irrespective of many features, you have already made it.
Good user experience increases customer engagement and loyalty. A friendly piece of advice for you is before you hire a UI/UX designer, explore their profile and portfolio, as it will give you clarity in terms of the work they have done in the past. Hiring a good UI/UX designer will definitely increase the chances of average app cost. The cost to design an app starts at $5000 and can go beyond $50,000. The cost you need to pay depends on the number of screens that should be designed and the overall complexity of the application.
The cost of developing an app also depends on which Operating System you are planning to launch the app. As per the current stats, android is ruling the market holding 72.83% of the market share in the mobile app industry, whereas iOS has 26.35% of the market share. Therefore, it is important to decide on your audience before launching the app. The development of the android app is relatively more expensive than the iOS because the development time of an Android app is more than iOS. Make yourself aware of how much it cost to build an iOS app and then observe the difference on your own. The Android app already has many in-built libraries depending on the features and their case studies. Hence this consolidation of proper libraries takes a lot of time for the android app development.
A strong backend increases the average cost of developing an app. The backend holds the empowerment of an app. Hence it is very important to have a great backend involved while developing an app. Backend offers things such as a cloud server, customer server and MBaaS(Mobile backend as a service) that float your data on the cloud to provide quick results. These hold functions such as encryption, security, database, storage and crucial and significant information. The app scalability and snappiness depend completely on how scalable your backend is. There are various tools and platforms which offer great backend services and have a great cost associated with them. The backend has to be robust and dynamic. While hiring a backend developer, ensure they are analytical, logical, data-driven, organized and semantic. As the backend involves many glitches that must be handled in real-time.
Types of Mobile App Development
The technology tree you might choose as the base for your mobile app development project will ultimately determine who you hire to make the app. Overall this will have a major impact on the overall cost of your app.
- Web App: not technically a mobile app but rather a mobile-friendly website that uses responsive design to make sure the app gives users the best experience across a variety of screen sizes, from tablets to smartphones. This is by far the cost-effective option for most small businesses.
- Native App: these apps are built to function on specific devices using selective programming languages. Native apps are fast, and specifically designed to function on a particular device. Native apps often have accessibility to your mobile devices, which makes the touch on the camera, microphone, gallery, contact and swipe-up gestures easy. Native apps UI/UX are user-friendly and work offline as well. The drawback native apps have is you won’t be able to run on both OS. It requires two different iOS and Android developers separately, increasing the cost.
- Hybrid/Cross-Platform App: Hybrid apps are designed so that it can function on all platforms. A common base code is built using frameworks such as ReactJS and Flutter. Further additional modifications are done as per the devices and OS. As there is only one base code so, here you can save lots of energy, time and money. This completely relies on your strategy when you want to launch an app for both iOS and Android. Hybrid apps can be scaled up depending on the requirements. The biggest flaw that comes with this platform app is the performance of the app can be slow sometimes. The cost of making a hybrid app ranges between $5000-$100,000.
Geographical Location of the Development Team
The success of the app largely depends upon how well the app development team works on the application. A well-known fact that experience holders and talented developers charge more money for what they are capable of doing when it comes to developing a mobile app. The cost to build a mobile app depends upon the domains where they are located. For instance, the average cost in the USA will be more than as compared to Asian countries offering the same service at different prices. Therefore, when you decide to outsource app development, you must choose your options carefully regarding where you want to acquire the development services.
- Nearshore outsourcing– the advantage of outsourcing within own country or a nearby is the time difference will be at most 2-4 hours.
- Offshore outsourcing– whereas working with an agency outside your country will have a different time zone as a major challenge for you.
Development Team and Their Hourly Rates
The outbreak of development team as it comprises of various professionals such as:
- Business Analysts: They are responsible for analyzing the business domains, matching requirements, documenting the process, looking at the budget and providing the software business model.
- Project Manager: Once the software model is decided, the project manager then assembles the team, assigns the work, makes sure the deadlines are managed and met in time and provides essential resources to complete the project efficiently.
- Architect: Usually, the architect determines the prototype, integrates the user feedback, and supervises the design, testing and modifying every stage to perfection.
- UI/UX: They are responsible for making the app look marvelous and eye-catchy, making the app visuals look appealing to the users.
- QA: Once the app is ready from developers, the next important step is to test the app in terms of its usability and functionality. The QA team ensures the app is running smoothly as they will catch every bug and report it to developers.
Get better clarity on the hourly rate by studying the below table that talks about the hourly rate of the professionals based on their domains:
|Architect||$45 – $95||$65 – $120||$45 – $75||$85 – $175|
|Project Manager||$35 – $65||$50 – $75||$25 – $50||$70 – $125|
|Business Analyst||$40 – $88||$50 – $90||$29 – $50||$95 – $160|
|Lead Developer||$40 – $75||$55 – $90||$45 – $75||$80 – $175|
|Intermediate Developer||$40 – $71||$48 – $65||$35 – $60||$65 – $130|
|Junior Developer||$29 – $55||$45 – $55||$26 – $60||$96- $160|
|DevOps||$45 – $76||$70 – $95||$28 – $60||$80 – $150|
|Senior QA||$33 -$66||$40 – $75||$25 – $50||$60 – $95|
|Intermediate QA||$28 – $59||$35 – $60||$22 -$40||$45 – $85|
|Junior QA||$25- $50||$22 – $40||$18 – $40||$43 – $85|
|Graphic Designer||$25 – $50||$40 – $75||$18 -$41||$95 – $140|
Cost of Outsourcing Mobile App Development: In-house vs. Agencies
You need to decide whether to develop an app in-house or outsource the process to a third-party development company. Both have their pros and cons. When working with an in-house development team, the major advantage is direct communication, deep involvement, face-to-face meetings and complete control over the team. Another side of the coin is the lack of talent, the need for huge initial investments and dealing with hiring and procedural problems.
Whereas working with an outsourcing company or agency has its advantages; therefore, many individuals prefer outsourcing over in-house. It’s major benefits are far greater than the issues. The benefit of outsourcing the app development team is an unlimited pool of talent, a high level of expertise, cost-deduction, flexibility and no need for any kind of initial investments. The disadvantages with the outsourcing companies or agencies are time zone differences and lack of personal control.
To make the right decision, you need to thoroughly analyze the two sides of the development process. Whether you hire an in-house team or outsource the app development team, the question “how much does it cost to build an app?” still exists.
Publishing the App
After the app has been successfully developed by the developers, and the QA team has also assured the app’s quality as it is free of bugs. Now is the time, your app is ready for the next big step i.e. deployment of the app on either of the store App store or Google Play Store or both as per need. If you are adding process steps for estimating the cost of developing an app, count this process in. This process involves many documentation and protocols involved at places related to security purposes.
From generating a signed APK to creating a developer’s Google Play Store Account, from creating the app forms to adding the description of your app, from selecting the pricing tab to maintaining the reviews and rating, this process has a lot of work to do. Also, the backend servers need to be deployed and run for the app to work properly, along with adding a few more dollars to the final cost to build an app.
Marketing the App
Once the app is developed and deployed on the app store, it’s time to create a lot of buzz. Many marketers treat the launch of an app as a big event and, with the right approach, make it a huge success that results in downloads and usability from the users. Even though the app marketing budget is a separate thing, but it is advised you must include it within the total app budget.
Gone are the days when applications didn’t need any kind of marketing and were so powerful in themselves that they used to sell out on their own. With so many apps in the app store, marketing is an important part of the app’s success. The few channels that you can include in your marketing activities are paid ads, content marketing and guest publications, social media marketing, E-mail marketing, and influencer marketing. As per the business of apps as well as putting aside $10,000 to plan a go-to-market strategy for your app.
App Maintenance Cost
If you think you are just concerned about the cost of making an app and you don’t know that only building an app will not mark your work as done. Revamping and maintaining the app requires double the cost of creating an app. The app maintenance cost includes the following types of work:
- Bug fixation and quality assurance.
- Stability and performance improvements.
- Code Optimization.
- Upgrade to the latest OS version.
- Implementation of new features.
- Support of the latest version of 3rd party services.
Therefore it is important when planning your budget on how much does it cost to build a mobile app, to include the app maintenance cost as well.
Deciding on which project type to opt for while developing an app is a real bull’s eye to hit on. There are three types of major methodologies on which the app can be developed:
- Waterfall: As the name signifies, once you start the project, you can’t go back and mend things. The plan has to be clear from day one. This method should be the ideal choice for a big project which has each and every step clear. Previous experiences play a vital role here. You also need to be clear on the budget.
- RAD: RAD stands for Rapid App Development. This model relies mostly on the prototype of the app and is best suited when you focus on the quick development of an app and keep reiterating the changes unless all the requirements are met. This is a very quick and flexible method of developing an app. As this method welcomes a lot of changes, constant feedback from the customers acts as the ice on the cake.
- Agile: Agile is very much similar to the RAD process regarding flexibility. But it does not depend much on the prototype, and once a feature is developed at a time with sufficient time. In an agile methodology, you can work along with the UX designer, QA, Project Manager and Technical Writers. Still, in the above-stated two methods, one has to wait unless a subsequent team finishes the work.
How Does Agicent Estimate the Cost to Build An App?
As you have gone through the answer of how much does it cost to make an app. Now that you have a clear idea of the factors driving the cost to build an app. As mentioned above, the cost of outsourcing mobile app development, hiring an in-house team for app development will definitely cost you more as compared to hiring the best mobile app development company. Worry no longer, as Agicent has got it all covered for you. You may use the Agicent app cost calculator to get an estimate on how much it cost to build an app from scratch. The 9-step guide gives you a fair idea of how much budget is needed for your app idea. Another way that is followed at Agicent is considering the following approach to ensure that the budget is met and an app is delivered on time:
- Deep Market Research– Before the development process begins, we help our clients conduct comprehensive market research, analyze the popular apps, define the target audience and hereby execute your unique idea. We highly recommend not to have clones of the popular apps but finding a unique way to make your solution stand out.
- Begin with the first app version– It’s advised to start the development of the app with a basic and simple version to test your app idea.
- Ensure smooth ongoing development– After you have successfully tested the app idea, plan further improvements and additional features. There is always a need for app improvements, security updates, etc.
You can also check out our successful work done so far and read the testimonials. How to create an app from scratch can turn into the biggest challenge for you if you don’t hire a reliable companion. So, in order to keep yourself on the safer side, connect with Agicent. Where we are happy to help you in your journey to develop an app with your unique idea and major functionality. We give our best to deliver exceptional user experience and engagement. We work with our clients as a team and not as a vendor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the major factors that affect the cost to make an app are complexity, features and functionalities, platform for which you are developing the app, location of the developers, development time, and the hourly rates of developers at different regions.
Approximately in 80% of the app cases, the average time is 3-6 months to develop an app. The final timeline of the app depends on the number of features and supported Operating System.
In order to reduce the cost of developing an app, you may consider using an pre-built components and templates, limiting the number of features, outsourcing the well-qualified development team and asking the developers to opt for a cross-platform development approach. Make sure with reducing the app cost, you are not compromising with the app quality and functionality.
The cost of maintaining an app in the initial phase i.e. after the launch in the first year can be approximately 50% of the cost of developing it. As the year passes, the budget for maintaining the app can lie between 15%-20% per year.
In order to choose a reliable app development company you need to carefully consider various factors such as their experience, portfolio, testimonials, pricing and communication skills. By conducting thorough and deep research and due diligence, you can identify a reliable app development company that can meet your requirements and deliver the high-quality output within your timeline.