How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?

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How Much Does Mobile App Development Cost?

Time frame & Average Cost To Create An App

The first question arises in everyone’s mind when thinking of taking their business to next level is by having a mobile app built. Then kicks-in is the reality what the app should focus upon, how it should look, what platform should we cover. Most of the time all of these question get answered with one statement of how much will it cost to develop a mobile app. The mobile app development cost ranges like buying smartphones from local market to branded smart mobile. In simple terms cost to develop an app increases with the number of features needed by your business. If you wish to know the cost for each and every feature in detail, you can fill up our quote request form or go to our contact us page. We will help you out to know the cost of each feature so that you can decide on important items that needs to be developed first according to your budget.

Although there have been a huge number of agencies available for website development, not at all take up mobile app development projects as developing of mobile app require some actual coding knowledge which are not needed in designing a website using templates. This is also one of the main reasons the firms having a mobile app are considered to be the trusted ones for creating your own app.

Well, are you looking out for app development experts to know the cost for developing an application? We bring to you app cost calculator. A simple way and considerations brief to know the exact cost for developing an app.

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Alex Ahlund, the former CEO of AppVee and AndroidApps, and later an advisor to Appolicious,  wrote a guest blog article about app sales on TechCrunch. According to that article, a survey of 96 mobile app developers showed the average cost to develop an app was $6,453. An article on OS X Daily about iPhone Development Costs reported that the development cost range for “small apps” is $100 to $8,000 and that “more complex or recognized brand apps” can cost $50,000 to $150,000. A well-written article on explored The Cost of Building an iPad App and suggested the development costs (as compared to design and other costs) range from $12,000 to $150,000 or more.

Let’s take a look at some, if not all, of the key factors that actively influence the cost in a typical app development project:

Types of App

  • Which kind of application do you think your business can rely on?
  • A simple informative app or an interactive business app or a gaming app to promote something for a short term?
  • Are you planning to make the app public or limited to internal users?

What is an App cost calculator?

App cost calculator is a simple tool that takes in all the inputs as in requirements and specifications of your project or the app you have in mind. This data is received by our app development expert teams, who analyze your specific requirement and will contact you shortly with an exact price quote as in the cost for developing the application.

What goes in to decide the cost to make an app?

On average with the industry terms and standards, most online application cost calculators show between $200,000 and $350,000. A firm backed by years of experience in building app charges between $100,000 and $500,000 based upon the dozens of features one may need. If cost is the factor that worries you, we can assure you to use our app cost calculator to get a realistic costing to develop an app. We as an application developing agency based out of USA are keener on the requirement based costing. So a small app with basic feature will cost you between $10,000 and $50,000; which is an opportunity for all type of business.

App Cost Factors – Functionality & Purpose

It is important to decide what functionality and features you are going to provide to the end users of the app.

  • A simple informative app with the goal of educating users will certainly cost less than an interactive app which requires to communicate with the users real-time and provide results.
  • There are other different types of functionalities and features, which can be added to an app based on the requirement but you need to be judicious about having them while looking at the balance sheet.

All these factors may seem trivial at first but are actually the ones that drive the finances both in and out. Knowing the purpose of having an app beforehand is very important as based on the purpose, a good developer can figure out the functionality for you. Also, read – whatever you do, Don’t Pay to Train an App Developer. For help in finding a developer, see our post on Finding a Developer for Your App Idea.

App Cost Dependency – Platform and Devices

Mobile platforms have come a long way from the monopoly of Symbian OSes of early 2000 to polished contenders like Android, iOS, and Windows. Following graph tells the story better:

Global market share held by leading smartphone operating systems in sales to end users from 1st quarter 2009 to 1st quarter 2017

Android has seen an exponential growth since the early age of mobile revolution with around 82% of market share of smartphones with iOS (Apple) having around 18% of devices with other platforms having negligible presence distributed evenly across themselves.

  • Amongst the topmost losers in the customer base were Symbian, Windows and RIM (Blackberry phones), that virtually eroded themselves out of the market. (Source: Gartner, 2017)

Operating System4Q16 Units4Q16 Market Share(%)4Q15 Units4Q15 Market Share(%)
Other OS530.40.1887.30.2

As apparent from the above graphic, an app having existence on both iOS and Android platform will get the maximum traction in the market but will also require an increased cost of app development and maintenance on both platforms.

App Development Cost: Android Vs iPhone

According to studies, an Android app development process costs 30% more than that of an iPhone app. This is huge because a lot more time is required in the former case. Stats show that iPhone apps are built 28% faster than the Android counterparts. This may be attributed to longer codes and slower emulators.

Overall, app development is a highly relative process where the pricing varies from one system to another. If you opt for the smaller developers, you are likely to get it done within $100,000. However, the high-end developers can charge bigger amounts, starting from $150,000 extending up to $700,000 or even more in certain cases. The idea is simple: when you opt for a more complex setup, you will be paying a lot more!

Devices configuration

“Maximum market share also means increased considerations and pre-requisites.”

Android being an open source platform – meaning anyone can modify the kernel source code and can make the device function as per their own codes – carries the maximum onus of being dealt according to configuration to perform as per the requirement and not get affected or simply get locked out in case of any tampering attempts.

  • There are around 2 billion Android devices on earth with uniformity factor of 1.6.
  • It means for every fourth Android device, the configuration will change rapidly – from different architecture to screen resolution, RAM, internal memory, configuration to even different aspect ratio.
  • Change in hardware aspects, add the customized OS skins supplied by each of the phone manufacturers over the factory android configuration – all these factors become quite a thing to manage while app development and can get overwhelming to handle in case of an app that deals in critical data.
  • Issues like incompatibility and performance plague the platform so much that even the top flagship products are not left untouched by hampering performance issues.
  • In case of Apple, however, the aim is limited to catering to few of the devices in the market and their configuration and whole focus sets down to development and functionalities.
  • A 5-year-old Apple device works well with latest store based apps and software upgrades, a thing which cannot be said for a 5-year-old android device – which speaks volumes about the developmental efforts invested.

What goes in deciding the cost to develop an app varies on the following parameters:

  • Based on Screen size
  • Based on Device Platform
  • Based on UI Design
  • Based on Size of the business
  • Based on Usage of App
  • Based on Functionality

In simple words answer to this inquiry of cost to develop an app is not that simple. There are even more parameters like developers rate per hour, project complexity, time span taken to build the app and the number of screens.

To simply the mobile app building cost, we can segment apps into 3 categories based on complexity:

  • Simple
  • Moderate
  • Complex

App type

App specificationTime (hrs)Cost at $50/hour

Cost at $100/hour

  • Standard UI
  • No API
  • No Backend
  • Custom UI
  • API Integration
  • Payment features
  • Phones and tablet adaptations.
480 – 100050,000100,000
  • Multi-language
  • Custom animations
  • Backend and design
  • 3rd party integration
1000 – 2000100,000


Time in hours for completing an application. Minimum developer cost per hour as $50 and maximum cost per hour at $100. We give you an estimate on how much it costs to develop an app approximately:

The above is just acts as an indication to how much funding and time span one needs to mobile app building cost types in usa

The factors mentioned above are directly related in estimating the cost to build an app. So one can easily see the cost of the app is directly proportional to its features. Does this mean there can be hidden cost to fully complete an app? Well, yes! In many cases there are other indirect expenses that add to the total value of building an application.

Cost of User Interface – Design & Development

  • An eye catchy cool user interface can definitely earn you good recommendations from the market but again it should be business oriented.
  • For example, while developing a simply marketing based app, you need not use excess graphical or visual elements which need to be present with games and other simulation or interactive apps.

Cost of Maintenance, enhancements, and support for an App

Mobile app development costs don’t stop after deployment. The user feedback is almost immediate and includes suggestions, bug reports and feature enhancement requests.

It is always recommended to have the development team looped in on maintenance plans until a perfectly stable version is out. After which, you can call the team on a periodic basis to look after.

Calculative returns on investment

Now we have known over platforms and costs involved, let’s take an example to understand the overall return on investment involved in the development of an app.:

  • Steve, an entrepreneur, chose iOS for his real estate based app whereas Mark chose Android to extend the reach of his supercar dealership. You need to be smart with your business decisions. Real estate business requires more footfall which is limited in case of Apple.
  • However, having a dual platform presence will give Steve the much-needed boost for his business. To have a brief idea of the app development cost, you can take a look at App Development Calculator.
    • An App Development Calculator is an easy to use and near accurate simulated cost estimator which shows you the cost involved in getting an app developed which you should least expect.
    • It considers all the factors such as the type of platform, UI style, user profile types (social media or indigenous), access controls, app monetization (if you want some earnings) and whole lot of other features and evaluates the prevailing market rates of development of individual modules geography wise.
    • It also keeps on updating the real-time prices based on the recent project costs incurred as available on its internal project allocation database.
    • At the end, gives out a near accurate figure which you can easily rely on to plan well in ahead for the development charges.

Must ReadHow Much You Should Charge for App Development

Cost of developing an app is indirectly associated with the following criteria:

  1. APP Distribution platform Fee
  2. Data Storage
  3. Quality Testing
  4. Maintenance
  5. Changes in project

Let’s see how developers decide on the cost to build an app:

As a developer of an application, one categorizes apps into multiple types. Average cost to develop an app depends upon the type of app you choose to develop.

Basic Functionality apps:

As the name suggests, this type of app has minimum or basic features. They are developed fast and are mostly for personal use. Basic functionality app example would be a biography app which has list of topics and when clicked upon, one can view info about it. This type of app would cost anything from $5000 to $2000.

Mobile games also known as game apps:

Games can be simple as well as advanced based upon the requirement. The more advanced features like 3D graphics and physics, global ratings, AR support, social media integrated; higher would be the cost to make an app. This is one of the most profit making application when compared with others in app segments.

Firmware based apps:

Did u ever use an app that enhanced your phone performance? This is that type of app that is built to enhance the performance of the devices operated within. Basic examples of this type of apps are sound booster, display torch, etc.

Database driven apps:

These apps operate on complex data to be operated and stored directly into the server or the operating device memory. This type of app needs multi-level device access to operate like internet connection, access to gallery, phone contacts, camera etc. Mobile directory is one good example of database driven application.

Native apps:

This type of device use various API’s possessing wide range of features. With heavy features, the overall app size is huge aiming at best user experiences and quick functioning. Native apps usually are business apps, entertainment apps, education apps. With this entire setting, the cost of developing such app is high.

Hybrid apps:

Hybrid app build with a single code working on all platform costs less in development and maintenance. Hybrid apps are built to reach bigger audience with less API’s optimized. More precisely built for small and medium enterprise like communication apps, lifestyle apps and game apps.

“Android’s app store, Google Play, had nearly 3 million apps (link is external) in March 2017, while Apple’s App Store had 2.2 million. These numbers continue to grow, showing that more businesses are investing in apps to engage their customers.”Tweet this

Cost to development by key app features:

The cost of an app is fully based on the key app features. More API the app uses, more will be the work of the team and thus end result of high cost. The State of Application Development, 2018 said almost 47% of respondents said the average time to deliver a web or mobile application is five months or more.

Twenty-eight percent described their organization as unhappy or somewhat unhappy with the speed of application delivery. App development time and cost is based mainly dictated by set of features plus design. Here, let’s see some of the common app development features in terms of time and cost. The pricing shown by us are minimum $25 and maximum $50 hourly for estimating the cost. This will vary based upon number of factors like experience, location and more.

  • Customization

Customization in term of better user control and change in look. Eg: Full screen, switching from list to tiles, local language adaptation. The average time of work per screen for such customization is 20 to 25 hours. This can cost nearly $1000 to $1500.

  • Search bar

Android and iOS smartphones have their own search, which can be enhanced and made unique. Having such custom search functionality can help scale up user engagement significantly. The overall costing to develop such search functionality start between anything from $250- $500 with at least 10 hours of development time.

  • Cross-platform development

If you want your single app to be displayed for various screen sizes like mobile, tablets, kiosk, there cross-platform development costs will be applied. Mobile web apps are the only design which can’t be affected by these cross platform as they are responsive to all platforms.

  • User login

This functionality is required for many apps where users have to register and login to use it. Such registrations are done via email or phone number, even social media signing is one popular option. It takes a standard time of 20 hours which in terms of cost resembles to around $500-$1,000.

  • Development Tool

Integrated development environment is a software application which integrates visual programming, language support and Attitudes across different computing platforms. Usage of IDEs are necessary because of the debugger and code editor features. There are many open source development tools are available which are like boon to developers since many of them are available at free of cost. Although, we have to buy commercial license for some development tools like Accelerator, Basic4android, Smartface which is the most rated development tools which can be used over all device platforms.

  • Navigation

Navigation is all about the flow through-out the application. This is to be envisioned and designed before the development phase. Envisioning it means designing it how the user will scroll back and forth through-out the app. Scrolling, swiping, action buttons, arrows, icons and more forming an basic UX/UI architecture for a app to be built. Basic need is around 10+ hours, costing around $250-$500.

  • Media content

Navigation may be one part, media content is what an user will see by default. Some apps need images, videos, some apps need audio files support and most of the social networking and messaging apps needs all of it. Basic time needed is around 20+ hours costing around $1000-$1500.

  • Push notifications

One features that application in almost most of the apps. Push notifications are the real time updates that the user is kept updated about the apps. There are multiple types of notifications like simple text, the one with images, another with action buttons and also the time of such notifications sent. Basic time is around 20 to 200 hours costing around $1,000 to $10,000.

  • Chat/ messaging

This is one essential feature of many apps where the costing varies based on the kind of chat one needs. Type of chat by means, direct person to person or group chat, does it require media files to be sent, how about some smileys, what about notification about messages been delivered and things like that. Basic time needed is around 80+ hours to develop a chat, costing around $2000-$4000.

  • Payment integrations

Thinking about having in app purchases, there is a need for payment system integration. Multiple payment system options are available to choose from like Android Pay, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Stripe, PayPal, Intuit, Square, Braintree and many others which can be integrated through gateway APIs. Basic time is around 50+ hours costing around $2500-$5000.

  • Geo-location

One feature that is crucial for taxi apps, dating apps, restaurant apps, business apps, traveling apps and many more. This is more likely based on real time user locations based on geo-location service accuracy. Basic time needed is around 50+ hours costing around $2500-$5000.

  • Streaming

These are those video streaming apps like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now and more. The logic goes like data is sent to the server and transmitted in real time via record and send through a local file. Basic time needed is around 30+ hours costing around $1000-$1500.

  • Design

App Developer is only responsible for developing the source code and integrating. UX/UI designers are the ones responsible for the eye catching framework. It is important for an app to make it easy to access and designers play a vital role in making it user friendly.

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Where can I get my mobile app developed?

One has multiple options to choose from when it comes to mobile app development after deciding upon the cost to develop the application. Hiring a professional agency may seem costly, yet think what an expert app building agency can do for you. Designers, programmers, developers all working as a team to build an app. So make the concept clear, have an understanding and realistic strategy, decide upon with whom you want to build the app and start building.

  1. Do it Yourself building platforms

Many free platforms with drag and drop features to build app software’s are available online. They can be used for small size minimum viable app. You can’t expect security updates, bug fixes, and there’ll be many problem rises with integrating third party app. If you want a decent app never go for these.

  1. Freelancers

The cost of freelance app developers may depend on many factors however, maintaining communication with the team member becomes a difficult task on the long run. And also no guarantee future support. It will be tough for a freelancer to work with the source code of another freelancer. Most of the projects are not completed within the time slot.

  1. Agencies (Recommmended)

They are suitable for startups and small, and medium sized companies. Their cost range varies from 30K to 350k based on the complexity and duration of the app. It is a huge responsibility to select a good agency as there are many fake websites and persons available. Usually connect with personal social account of the people if you want to make a deal online.

  1. IT Companies

They never fail to make your dream realistic but however the cost is so high that only big fish and corporates can claim a valuable quotation.

“Ultimately, you cannot assign features a set price and expect the price to be the same across every project – Riley Panko, Clutch”Tweet this

What if I decide to build my own developer team to create an app?

Firstly, it’s a team effort more than a individuals work. This is necessary to provide a better interface and experience. Team work helps to split up the work based upon expertise, resulting in quick and quality work. Development team members would be based upon the type of app. More complex the app, higher will be the number of members.

Minimum basic app development team should have:

  • Project manager
  • Programmer
  • UI/UX designer
  • QA engineer

More complex app development team should have:

  • 1 project manager:

Minimum cost to hire a project manager would be $20/hrs, which varies based on experience and location. Project manager is one important member to prevent miscommunication and misconduct within the team. He is the one to make sure the projects sticks to the timeline and is completed within the time-frame.

  • 2-4 app developers:

Minimum cost to hire an app developer would be $30/hrs, which varies based on experience and location. App developers are the source code writers of the app to integrate it with the data source and fix bugs.

  • 1 back-end developer:

Minimum cost to hire a back-end developer would be $25/hrs, which varies based on experience and location. Ensure the functioning of the app correctly by solving database and server communication errors.

  • 1-2 UI/UX designers

Minimum cost to hire an UI/UX designer would be $15/hrs, which varies based on experience and location. Build the user interface and interaction. Solve different optimization tasks.

  • 1 QA engineer

Minimum cost to hire a QA engineer would be $20/hrs, which varies based on experience and location. The one who monitors the app- controls code and design quality ensuring the end-product meets all project requirements.

As an inceptor of an app who is having budget to build own developer team can surely go ahead with their plan. However the above costing is based on average standard of the industry. Over and above the mentioned cost, there are multiple additional costs like infrastructure, recruitment, stationary, office equipment and more.

Well that’s a long list of things one needs to consider before thinking upon why my app cost so much. Like we were trying to explain – “Cost to develop an app” depends on various factors like Development charges, application size and complexity, more and more factors. Just keep in mind that we are always here to guide you better and help you out to get your mobile app developed with top level of mobile app development companies, when it comes to estimating the cost to develop an app and take your idea to the next level.

Summary and Conclusion:

The overall summary of the entire article can be summed up in the graph below:

Key drivers that determine the cost of a mobile application

That sounds like a lot.  And it is.  But if you consider that the average app developer in the US charges around $100 per hour, the time required to code even a “simple” app quickly pushes the cost up.  Could you go offshore and get a developer for a much lower hourly rate?  Sure.  The problem is, like most things in life, you get what you pay for.  We get several requests a month from people wanting a US-based developer to “fix” cheap code.  We call these “shattered projects.”  Others call them “distressed projects.”  Whatever you call them, “saving” money on the front end could end up costing you more in the end Our set of an experienced network of app development companies can help you in getting the best quote for your iPhone, iPad and Android apps. All you need to do is to fill our quote request form and 3 best mobile apps companies will contact you as per your budget that fits your needs or visits our contact us page.

The only sure way to find out what it will cost to get your app idea developed is to get some quotes from experienced app developers.  They can discuss the details of your idea with you and give you a pretty good idea of what it will cost.  Getting three quotes is helpful as it will give you an idea if a quote is too high (or too low, which can be just as bad).  Appmuse will help you in getting ballpark quotes from 3 highly experienced top rated app development companies from our wide range of network through filling our Quote Request Form.



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