How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Mobile App?

In a Nutshell

Mobile apps are a crucial part for any business’s growth strategy. In this article we will discuss how much does it cost to develop a mobile app, all factors that play a part in impacting the cost of development and strategies that can help you optimise the costs. 

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Table of Contents

Getting a mobile app created for your organisation is crucial and businesses all around the world are investing in these applications. According to a study conducted by Statista, the mobile app revenue is set to increase from $318 billion in 2020 to over $600 billion in 2025. 

Businesses understand the importance of developing an app which is evident to see if you look at the third quarter of 2022 and how users spent $21.2 billion on the Apple store alone. These stats make it obvious that investing in mobile application development is essential, but how much will this investment be and what goes into the development of a mobile application? 

The cost of building an app depends on the app’s complexity. 

App Type 

Estimate Cost 

Development Time 

Simple App Development 

$10,000 to $60,000 

1-3 months 

Mid-Level App Development  

$60,000 to $150,000 

3-6 months 

Complex App Development 

From $300,000 onwards 

9+ months 

In this article we will discuss how much does it cost to develop a mobile app, all the aspects of mobile development costs and the factors that can take the prices up. Keep reading to get a semblance of how much you might need to spend on a mobile application if you do it in house or opt for an app development company. 

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Mobile App: An Insider’s Guide 

There is no fixed amount when trying to figure out how much does it cost to develop a mobile app. A number of factors come into play when trying to decode mobile app development costs. Let’s take a deep dive into each of these factors and how much it can cost an organisation. 

The Anatomy of Cost: Factors That Influence Mobile App Development Expenses 

There are 4 major factors that can impact the cost of a mobile application. These factors include the type, region, design, and the platform used to develop the application. Each of these factors are then broken down into sub-categories which can impact the price accordingly. The following chart will show you an example of these sub-categories. 

Platform Predicament: Navigating the iOS vs. Android Dilemma 

The first step to mobile app development is deciding whether you want an iOS application or an android application, or maybe even both. IOS, Android and Hybrid app developers will have different timelines and costs associated and it all boils down to the type of application that would benefit your business the most. 

Native applications offer better performance and access to device features, as well as offering a seamless user experience. On the other hand, hybrid apps might not have the same level of functionality, but this method offers faster development times and lower costs as only one resource is required to create the application for all platforms. 

Depending on the organisational requirements and priorities, you can choose one of the two options to make a choice and start developing. You can either opt for the best hybrid app development, hire an iOS developer or hire an android developer. 

Cracking Complexity: Understanding How Features Shape Costs 

An application is based on the features it offers. The more features an application has, the more costly it potentially is. Features and functionalities can include payment gateways to API integrations. To summarise, there are 3 levels of features that an application can have, these include; simple apps, mid-level apps and complex apps. 

Simple Apps: 

These apps include the bare minimum that any application needs to function. They have low tech screens and necessary UI solutions without any added benefit. 

Mid-Level Apps: 

Taking it a step further we get to mid-level applications. These apps have API integration functionality, with more screens, a custom UI and better features such as real-time messaging. 

Complex Apps: 

These are known as multi-function applications. They offer advanced features and real-time synchronisation. Complex apps can incorporate chatbots, media processing and enhanced UI animations. This is usually seen in custom android app development. 

Choosing a type of application depends on the business requirements. Bear in mind, each increased level of application can have a substantial impact on the cost of development and the time to develop. 

Design Matters: Investing in User Experience 

Design plays a pivotal role in app development, influencing both user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. A poorly designed application can leave a negative impression on your user, especially if it is a customer-facing application. Some businesses might not take design into consideration when evaluating cost, but design is essential for a successful app. 

Within design there are several sub-categories that each cater to a different level of design, these are UI, UX, and responsive design. 

User Experience (UX) Design: 

A well-designed UX focuses on understanding user needs, behaviours, and preferences to create intuitive and engaging experiences. Investing in UX design upfront can help identify user pain points, streamline workflows, and optimise navigation, resulting in higher user satisfaction and retention. However, conducting user research, prototyping, and usability testing to iterate on UX designs can add to development costs. 

User Interface (UI) Design: 

UI design encompasses visual elements such as layout, typography, colour schemes, and interactive components that enhance the app’s aesthetic appeal and usability. A visually appealing and consistent UI contributes to brand identity, builds trust with users, and improves overall user engagement. Crafting custom UI designs and animations tailored to the app’s branding and target audience may require additional design resources and increase development costs. 

Responsive Design:  

With the proliferation of mobile devices and screen sizes, ensuring a seamless experience across various devices and resolutions is essential. Responsive design adapts the app’s layout and content dynamically to fit different screen sizes, orientations, and devices, providing a consistent experience for users. Implementing responsive design principles may involve additional design work to create adaptable layouts and optimise content for different viewports, potentially impacting development costs. 

Building Blocks: Assembling Your Dream Development Team 

Once you have decided on the type of application you want and the design you are looking to get, the next step is to assemble a team of professionals. There are a number of options that can be taken when hiring a team. You can either hire a local agency to outsource your development tasks, hire an in-house team or recruit the help of freelancers. Each of these options have their own set of merits. 

The following table discusses the pros of each option and how they have an impact on the cost of development. 

Aspect 

Local Agency 

In-House Team 

Freelancers 

Expertise and Experience 

Experienced professionals 

Deep domain knowledge 

Specialised talent as needed 

Communication 

Seamless collaboration 

Direct oversight and management 

Flexibility in project scope 

Services Offered 

Comprehensive services 

Full control over development process 

Task-specific expertise 

Cost 

Higher cost due to overhead expenses 

Long-term investment 

Lower hourly rates 

Risk 

Reliance on external resources 

Initial investment in hiring/training 

Dependency on individual availability 

Beyond Development: Navigating Maintenance and Support Costs 

Maintenance and support are the fuel that keeps your app going and is often seen as a hidden cost of application development. Maintenance and support involve ongoing tasks such as bug fixes, performance optimisations, feature updates, security patches, and compatibility enhancements. These maintenance services can range from working for mobile web development and custom apps. Here’s how maintenance can impact costs in app development: 

Bug Fixes: 

As users interact with the app, they may encounter bugs or issues that need to be addressed promptly. Fixing bugs requires developer time and effort, which adds to the overall maintenance costs. 

Performance Optimisations: 

Over time, as the app’s user base grows or new features are added, performance issues may arise. Optimising the app’s performance to ensure smooth operation on various devices and network conditions can require significant development resources and thus increase maintenance costs. 

Feature Updates: 

To remain competitive and meet user expectations, app developers often need to introduce new features or enhancements. Planning, developing, and integrating these updates into the app requires both time and resources, impacting maintenance costs. 

Security Patches: 

With the ever-evolving threat landscape, ensuring the security of the app is paramount. Regularly issuing security patches and updates to address vulnerabilities or emerging threats is essential but can add to maintenance costs, especially if urgent fixes are needed. 

Compatibility Enhancements: 

As new operating system versions, devices, or third-party services are released, app compatibility may become an issue. Ensuring that the app remains compatible with the latest technologies and platforms may require modifications or updates, contributing to maintenance costs. 

User Support: 

Providing ongoing user support, addressing user inquiries, feedback, and complaints, is part of the maintenance process. Allocating resources to handle user support inquiries and ensuring a positive user experience can impact overall maintenance costs. 

Infrastructure Costs: 

Depending on the app’s architecture, there may be ongoing infrastructure costs associated with hosting, server maintenance, data storage, and bandwidth usage. These infrastructure costs contribute to the overall maintenance expenses. 

Estimation Essentials: Tools and Techniques for Cost Projections 

Once you have decided all the aspects of your mobile app, it is best to start creating an estimation of your project. This can be done by using a number of different tools. These include: 

Estimation Templates: 

Utilise pre-designed estimation templates or spreadsheets tailored for mobile app development. These templates often include predefined categories such as design, development, testing, and deployment, making it easier to itemise costs and calculate estimates. 

Function Point Analysis (FPA): 

FPA is a technique used to measure the functionality provided by a software application. By quantifying the features and functionality of the mobile app, FPA helps estimate the effort and cost required for development. Various online tools and calculators are available to perform FPA quickly and accurately. 

Feature-Based Estimation: 

Break down the mobile app’s features and functionalities into granular components and estimate the cost for each feature individually. This approach allows for more accurate cost projections by considering the complexity and effort required for each feature. 

Benchmarking: 

Compare the proposed mobile app with similar apps in the market to gauge the level of effort and cost required for development. Analyse competitor apps in terms of features, complexity, user experience, and technology stack to derive comparative cost projections. 

Risk Analysis: 

Conduct a risk analysis to identify potential risks and uncertainties that may impact the project’s cost. Factor in contingencies and risk mitigation strategies when estimating costs to account for unforeseen challenges or scope changes. 

Project Management Tools: 

Use project management tools like Jira, Trello, or Asana to track project tasks, milestones, and expenses. These tools provide visibility into project progress and help manage costs effectively throughout the development lifecycle. 

Optimising Costs: Strategies for Maximising Value 

Mobile app development can be a costly process, but certain strategies can be employed to optimise the costs during the development process. These strategies include: 

Prioritise Features 

Identify and prioritise essential features that align with the app’s core objectives and user needs. Focus on developing minimum viable product (MVP) features first and consider adding additional features in future updates based on user feedback and analytics. 

Iterative Development 

Embrace an iterative development approach where the app is developed and released in small, incremental stages. This allows for continuous feedback and refinement, reducing the risk of costly rework and ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently. 

Use Open-Source Technologies 

Leverage open-source frameworks, libraries, and tools to reduce development costs. Open-source technologies offer robust functionality and community support without the licensing fees associated with proprietary software. 

Cross-Platform Development 

Consider cross-platform development frameworks like React Native, Flutter, or Xamarin to build mobile apps that can run on multiple platforms (iOS and Android) with a single codebase. Cross-platform development reduces development time and costs compared to building separate native apps for each platform. 

Outsource Non-Core Activities 

Outsource non-core activities such as UI/UX design, quality assurance testing, or backend development to specialised vendors or freelancers. Outsourcing allows you to tap into expertise on an as-needed basis while avoiding the overhead costs of hiring full-time employees. 

Cloud Services 

Utilise cloud services for hosting, storage, and backend infrastructure instead of building and maintaining on-premises servers. Cloud services offer scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness, allowing you to pay only for the resources you use. 

Optimise Resource Utilisation 

Monitor and optimise resource utilisation throughout the development process to avoid waste and inefficiency. This includes managing developer time effectively, minimising idle time, and optimising infrastructure usage to reduce costs. 

Automate Development Processes 

Implement automation tools and practices for repetitive tasks such as code deployment, testing, and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD). Automation reduces manual effort, accelerates development cycles, and minimises errors, resulting in cost savings over time. 

Negotiate Vendor Contracts 

Negotiate favourable terms and pricing with vendors, suppliers, and service providers. Explore bulk discounts, volume-based pricing, or long-term contracts to secure cost savings on essential services and resources. 

Monitor and Track Costs 

Implement robust cost monitoring and tracking mechanisms to keep a close eye on project expenditures. Regularly review budgets, expenses, and resource allocations to identify cost overruns, inefficiencies, or areas for optimisation. 

Conclusion 

Mobile app development can be a costly process if done without prior planning. Following this guide, you can optimise your spending and get an idea of how much does it cost to develop a mobile app. 

If you are looking for mobile app development services from a team of experts, FuturByte has got you covered.  Our team of mobile app developers will help you create a mobile application based on your business needs while staying within budget. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

What factors influence the cost of mobile app development?

Several factors influence the cost of mobile app development, including app complexity, features and functionalities, platform compatibility (iOS, Android, or both), design complexity, development time, location of the development team, and ongoing maintenance and support requirements. 

How is the cost of mobile app development estimated?

The cost of mobile app development is typically estimated based on project requirements, including feature set, design specifications, and technical complexity. Development companies may provide cost estimates based on hourly rates, fixed-price quotes, or project-based pricing models after analysing project requirements. 

What is the average cost of developing a mobile app?

The average cost of developing a mobile app varies widely depending on the project scope and complexity. Simple apps with basic features may cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars, while complex, enterprise-level apps can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to develop. 

Are there any hidden costs associated with mobile app development?

While most development companies provide transparent pricing, there may be additional costs associated with app maintenance, updates, hosting, and backend infrastructure. It’s essential to discuss these potential costs upfront with your development partner to avoid surprises later in the project. 

How can I reduce the cost of mobile app development?

Cost-saving strategies for mobile app development include prioritising essential features, leveraging cross-platform development frameworks, outsourcing non-core activities, utilising open-source technologies, optimising resource utilisation, and implementing automation tools and practices. 

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