How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?

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Cost To Develop An App

We get a lot of questions about app development.  The question that gets repeated the most is “how much does it cost to develop an app?”  If I had a nickel for every time we’ve had that question … well, I wouldn’t quit my day job, but I would make the baristas at my local coffee shop at lot happier.

So, exactly how much does it cost to develop an app?  That’s a generalization like any other thing, like asking how much will a house cost to be built or how much will a car cost. It all needs bound requirements and criteria. A house may cost different based on several factors, for example, the locality you want to build into, the material and design, aesthetics and structure, landscaping and home automation features. Similarly, a full-fledged all-wheel drive SUV will cost more than a regular sedan but will take you places where average joe of cars can’t. Still, we can help ballpark the figure and expenses for you – contact us via quote request form or go to contact us page.

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?

Depending on the requirement, the developmental cost of each of these apps varies accordingly.

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:

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.

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.

You can Also Read Related Articles 

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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.

How Much You Should Charge for App Development


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

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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