One of the very first questions to pop up in your head, when you think of getting an app built for your business idea is: How much will it cost?
You can use any of the online app development cost calculators online, which give you a vague idea of the budget you need to have for your app. This range may be anywhere between USD 10,000-USD to 300,000. And is quite difficult to figure out what your particular app requirement will be costing.
If you ask an app development studio, without any documentation sign-ups with them that confirms the project handover to them, they may only provide you with a cut-out estimated cost & time for your app definition depending upon the references you share.
Here’s what, the app development cost must consist of the price break-down for the following:
⦁ Project type
⦁ The complexity of the app design and the number of screens
⦁ Functions and features of the app
⦁ Database complexity
⦁ Integration requirements
⦁ Admin console functionalities
⦁ Security parameters and third-party integrations
⦁ Development team size
⦁ Development requirements
⦁ Quality parameter checks
Seems like too much? Don’t worry, this article has defined all the factors that influence your budget for app development. With consideration given to regional cost, special features, hidden costs, and some app examples that are commonly taken as references to build new applications
What type of app do you want to build?
Before counting a single dollar for the budget you would need to have for app development, you must understand what app type category your app falls into. For this, you need to consider the services you want to provide to your users and how you can provide them with the app.
Your app can be an interactive medium between your company’s employees/ customers or used for meeting with your clients or for maintaining your business resource management. It may be a Social media app (Messaging, sharing, profile building), an Entertainment app (Video/Music/ Podcasts/Games), an educative app (interactive two way/one-way teaching & learning platform), an online shopping app/eCommerce (Fashion, Food, Groceries, services, etc), many more.
The prices completely depend on the region and the qualifications of the app development team.
The developer working on one side of the globe can build you an app for early nothing, whereas the developer at the other end may charge you a fortune to get your app assembled and deployed. Thus, you should also consider where and with whom you want to have your App development project done.
Depending on your business nitty-gritty, you may choose a dedicated development team or an offshore App development company, to build your own Dev Team.
Where to have your app built and at what price?
The cost differences are substantial, the app which takes about $120-150 per hour to be built in the USA may only cost you $20-30 an hour in India.
Also, the app development team is not only made up of developers but have programmers, QA & testers, scrum masters, business analysts, and project managers. These resources can be hired from local, nearshore, or offshore providers based on your decision.
However, the most preferred destinations for the offshore development team are India, Ukraine, the USA, and Australia can trim down the overall cost of the project and yet build you a high-quality app.
What factors influence your budget?
Typically the below five factors define the overall range of the budget margins:
⦁ App features and functions
⦁ Mobile (OS) operating systems and app types
⦁ Backend infrastructure and admin functionalities
⦁ Location and App developers
1) App features and functions
With millions of applications available on the app store, the only thing that makes you stand out is how unique your app’s features are and how easy to use they are. Thus, features are one of the key focuses of custom app development.
Deciding what features to build and provide on the app is crucial, it adds value to how your users are going to engage with your services and keep coming back to your app. To can make a good choice of the app functions, you need to be in the shoes of your user and understand what the user would require to make maximum use of your service app.
♦ Some Key features
The main features that will help you create the USP for the app and to understand what will it be, you can consider the following questions.
⇒ Log in:
Some application home screen starts with a login page, this is best for when the app support user accounts for chats, sharing, payments, etc. These mostly take a developer about 10-16 hours to design & build.
Question to consider:
⦁ Does your application require a log-in point?
⦁ How can they create their account or login IDs? With Email? Number? A social account like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter?
⇒ User’s profile types:
Some applications have basic & premium accounts or users’ profiles based on the subscription or memberships. That gives some premium accessibility of features with upgraded memberships. The developers can take about 24-40 hours with the types and complexity of the user profile requirements.
Question to consider:
⦁ What information needs to be added to the profile page?
⦁ How many types of profile accounts are possible to be made? What different features are provided for each of them?
⦁ Can the data be auto pulled from other existing social accounts or tied to?
⦁ What profile details can be viewed by other users and the privacy controls are available for the user?
⦁ How authentication of profile will be done? ( The last thing you would is a fake profile created by an users)
⇒ Payment integrations:
To monetize your application and earn from it, you need to have some kind of money flow happening on the application or because of the app. If your app is free to download but has subscription-based services or any eCommerce services you need to have a payment system integrated with the app.
The choice of payment method directly depends on your target market and location. The time for the integration depends on what payment gateway you choose and what are their requirements to let you use their services. Thus, on average the hours can be 36-100 to add it to your app.
Question to consider:
⦁ Do you need to have a payment option on the app? Why?
⦁ What payment gateways do you need to add as options?
⇒ Other app integrations:
The app has much more to offer like live chats, real-time sharing of data, reviews on products, and many other proactive actions with the interactive response from the user’s community.
Will it be a live chat? Or only a fixed hours accessibility? What is the number of characters for the text length?
⇒ Comments and like/ratings or business feedback and ratings:
Who can comment? on what posts? Where the rating and feedback will be reflected? Will be showcased on other integrated applications?
What data can be shared on the app? What size and type of data? Image? Document? Audio? Videos? Other information in-app or from another app? Will the shared data will need to be reviewed by the admin?
⇒ Special functions:
Functions that lets the user do more than what they expected from the application. For instance, the simple feature of a scheduling app to set a reminder and send a push notification at the time of task to be carried out with an alarming buzz of the device, helps you be more productive by completing the task on time.
Below are some special features that you can add to your app:
A Simple search icon with a little magnification glass icon at the top or end of the screen of your app can do more for app UX than what you anticipated. The user can streamline exactly what they are looking for on the app, making them complete their desired task in less time
Providing tools to create a set of like products/ services and adding a tag to make services easier to search. Also, categories are easier to rate and improve.
Everyone finds it good to know where exactly they are located and from where are others interacting with them. Also, for your services to reach the user, you need to have access to their location. For applications such as Uber, the complete app is dependent upon the map integrations and how precise your location can be viewed. Making location a must-have function.
It is good to have an option to add a note or a reminder for an event on your calendar while staying inside the app. For applications for travel, appointments with doctors/ banks, to-do lists, Work meetings, and so on.
⦁ Audio & video:
Currently, most of the trending apps have the functions of calling or video chatting with their in-app connections. Moreover, coming through the Pandemic era the world is shifting more than ever before to remote communication gadgets for personal and professional roles.
⦁ Push notifications:
They are a huge help for a business to stay a step closer to their customers and get their attention toward their offered services. You can check the blog: What are Mobile Push notifications and How Do They Work? For a better understanding. And why it can be a game-changer for your application if used strategically.
2) Operating systems and app types
Application cost also depends on what platforms you are building the app on. Mostly they fall into two categories Native and Cross-Platform. The choice for the right platform will be where your customers will be able to use the best app features & services.
⇒ App types
Native applications are specifically built on one Operating system either Android or iOS, Web, or Windows. The native app has high-performance capabilities and accessibility with a camera, audio, GPS, touchpad, and more. They are the best choice for complex application development with lots of features and ever-updating new features.
You must have guessed it right, native app development is costlier as you need to build two applications for the different platforms you want the app to work on.
However, the time to build the two native apps does not have a major gap for Cross-platform app development.
As the name suggests the cross-platform app is compatible to run on multiple devices android, iOS, Windows, etc with the same code built. And are great for building applications with no complex features or any platform-based functionalities requirements.
⇒ Platforms/ Operating System:
After deciding to go with a Native app solution, for instance, you will have to choose if you want to have two apps for both systems or pick only one out of two.
Provided by Google, it takes up about 70% of the App market.
Global tech giant Apple offers an iOS platform and has a dominance of 30% of the app market.
However, the user preferences are different from place to place. For Asian countries like China, India, South Korea, and Japan; though there must be a great preference for iPhone socially, however, most of the active handsets are Android. With 80% of Android users and 20% of iPhone users.
3) Backend infrastructure and admin functionalities:
Most application requires a backend section with an admin console and APIs connections between database and app for the overall function of the application.
Majorly it consists of the following:
⦁ User admin panel
⦁ Data management & moderation
⦁ User analytics
⦁ Features performance monitoring
⦁ App error or crash reporting
⦁ Other support and management
The design aspect of the application is the most critical one as this part includes the first step of revealing your basic app ideas to a physical form. And then further brushing the same to get a better User experience, UI design, and development. Followed by the design mock-ups till the final design is made. This takes about 50-200 hours and can cost up to $2000 to $5000.
The basic design flow is:
5) Location and App developers:
From the above discussion about where to get your app built, you can get a brief idea of the cost of developers. However, you should consider a number of factors and decide to select remote or near/same shore resources for your app development team. You can get a much clear idea from the previous article: Dedicated developers VS In-house developers.
Below is the average indication of cost per hour for an App developer at different locations:
⦁ USA & Australia has an average cost of $50 per hour for mobile app development with about $15,000 for a simple app to be developed
⦁ In great Britain, the developers earn an average of $70/hour and the total cost of simple app development is $21,000
⦁ The cost goes up to $80 an hour for app development in Italy. And a simple app costs $24,000 with development charges.
⦁ In Ukraine, the developers’ cost on average is $30/ hour. With a basic app development starting at $9000
⦁ India provides qualified developers starting from $20 an hour and a basic app development cost of $6000.
Other costs that you should include in your overall budget
⇒ Paid Promotion and marketing
After going through and completing all the daunting tasks of the App development process, how will the people know when you launch your app if there is no announcement made?
Thus, marketing is an important catalyst to get a streaming download for your application.
You can hire digital marketing experts and run paid advertisements on social channels to get the attention of the users and get them interested to use your app and buy/subscribing to your services.
⇒ Hosting costs
If your application requires cloud space for saving data, you have to pay for your hosting cloud server. And based on the size of data you need to store you can choose an account from the provider.
⇒ Third-party service costs
Most applications these days have live chat, online payments, GPS, etc. These functionalities require third-party integrations from service providers like Twilio, Google, Meta, Twitter, and Crashlytics. Some solution like Mixpanel provides free trials for third-party integration and some like Google Analytics do not charge until your application has 10M hits/month.
⇒ Support & maintenance
App development is not a one-time process, but it’s an ongoing process with time to time updates. Also, keeping your app updated with the latest tweaks as per the app market trend is the key to staying forever on your user’s devices. And continuously fixing the bugs, adding new richer features & functions, providing security resolve and solutions, expanding over the new operating system, and more.
Brief of the overall costing considerations: Time & functionalities
With the functional definition of application type, they can be divided into three:
⦁ Basic app
⦁ Mid-range complex app
⦁ Complex app
And with the recent research carried out by GoodFirms, they have determined the average price range for the development of a Basic/simple app is about $40,000 to $90,000, for Mid-range complex applications is $60,000 to $130,000 and from $90,00 to $300,000 for Complex applications with $40 an hour as the average rate.