Whether it’s a passion you are following or a digital upgrade for your enterprise - the moment you feel it’s about time you’re ready to get an app built, the first thing that you think of is ‘How much does an app cost?”. Let’s face it - be it an apple or an app, the price is dependent on the quality. On that note - there are two things of which one you must have in your mind while thinking of developing an app -
Either you’re looking for the cheapest development even if it means somewhere between a little to a lot of compromise on the quality.
An app which is value for money i.e. the focus is not on the price tag but more on the ‘how good at what price’ balance.
In case your mindset is aligned with the ‘value for money’ expectation from app development then this article is the goldmine for you.
In a nutshell, in this article we’re discussing all things app development cost.
FYI : We’re skipping the guidelines for how to hire app developers in this article as we’ve discussed that already !
Let’s start with a quick disclaimer - the cost of app development varies greatly across the world and thus the range isn’t as streamlined as you were probably expecting. Statista reports that the hourly app development cost starts from somewhere around 14 USD and goes upto 150 USD based on the country. Your immediate next question probably is ‘What’s the average time required for developing an app?’. We have an answer for that too. Based on our experience of developing a diverse spectrum of apps for companies of all sizes we can say creating an app from scratch can take as less as 1 month (think of really simple ones) and can go up to around 12 months based on several factors (we’ll discuss that in a while!).
The truth of the app world is that every app is unique from several aspects - be it their complexity or number of features & functionalities and that implies, their requirements in terms of development hours differ along with their specs. There’s no such thing as for A, B & C features it will take 6 months as the time has high reliance on the number of developers working on the app development process. On that note, it’s needless to say how a development team can get your app developed faster than a freelancer working on it (as long as your budget permits!).
After mentioning about ‘several factors’ impacting app development cost multiple times already, finally it’s time to talk about them up close. Here’s a list!
It’s quite a no brainer that the cost to build a basic loan calculator will be much less than the cost to build a personal investment management app that compares returns in real time and recommends the most beneficial one according to the user's financial goals. The differentiation is clearly because of the features involved and user flow of both the apps.
That’s how features and functionalities, and the complexity of their functional logic influence the cost of an app. Features like user authorization, in-app purchase, gamification, geolocation, chat, API integrations, complex CMS, push notifications, etc make the cost of your app soar higher.
Clearly more features mean more development effort and time requirement that straight away adds up to the cost. Along with that, business analysis and project management time also take a hike. A change or modification asked midway over the initially decided featureset means a higher pocketpinch. Pro-tip : A thorough market research will help you identify features that you strictly need to meet your business goal. Top it with your USP features and that’s the plan you need to build an app of your dreams.
‘Spoilt for choices’ sounds nice and all..unless it comes to planning your app development! iOS, Android, hybrid, non-hybrid..the options are many and each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages and amidst all that, the real challenge is to tally those against your goal. The cost would not vary too much if you decide to build native apps ( apps designed exclusively for a particular mobile operating system).
Let’s start answering that with a question that many of our clients asked us at the first meeting - “Is iOS or android cheaper as an app platform?”. The clear answer is both cost almost the same! However, if you want to develop both iOS and Android native apps, then your budget will increase.
If you want to develop hybrid apps or cross-platform apps ( apps designed and coded in such a way that the app can be used on multiple platforms), your budget will be lower than developing native apps for both platforms individually. As hybrid apps mean you can launch on both Android and Apple platforms simultaneously. This results in lower development time and hence lower costs.
But, hybrid loads in webView and hasn’t reached the native performance yet - keep that in mind before making a decision. Of course, if a hybrid app is exceptionally well built, the performance can be equal to that of native apps.
Design is another factor. The more complicated your app design is, the costlier it is to build. It starts with prototyping and wireframing. Then there is the visual design, UI and UX, logo, and icons.
A few things to note here: The design should be responsive, i.e. your app should be compatible with a large range of devices. Also, follow KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). A simple, user-friendly, interactive design is all you need. Keep your customers in mind and make an app w.r.t that. Even someone who’s not as tech-savvy as you are, should be able to operate the app without a learning curve.
If you build an app keeping millions of users in mind who are supposed to simultaneously use the app and share information. This huge amount of data needs to be synchronized and saved in the cloud, thus translating to a scalable app backend.
A backend generally consists of an application server, web server, and a database. When scalability is the focus, there will be load balancers too. Development for emails and push notification also needs to be included here.
If your mobile app needs backend development, your cost will increase.
There’s more to this list..business needs analysis, project management, app maintenance and the type of testing you want (automated / manual)the apps will add to the total cost of developing a mobile app.
This could go as another factor in the above segment but there’s so many things to discuss here. Collaborating with external development is the new trend and it’s clearly not a fad - come on, you can’t deny after knowing about these 7 success stories. While there’s not much question left on the benefits of handing the development responsibilities over to an external team over inhouse team, the question that stays is whether to opt for nearshore or offshore.
Nearshoring is when you hire someone in your time zone to help you build a mobile app. It could be someone local, someone within your country or someone in the neighboring countries. On the other hand, offshoring refers to hiring a development team who’s located in a geographically distant space. While that’s the basic literal difference, physical distance isn’t the only point. Let’s get to the prime practical reason i.e. development fee - here’s an idea about the development budget around the globe!
Disclaimer : What the development fees are now, will probably not be exactly the same in a month considering the frequent socio-economic highs and lows courtesy the pandemic - so please note even though these figures are researched and well align with standard stats, there may be up to 20% up & down in pricing at a given point in time.
So, if you are a resident of the USA and decide to nearshore, you will incur a minimum of $60-$80 per hour. If you offshore it to Aisa, you will incur an hourly expense of $35-$40 per hour for experienced developers.
This reduction in costs comes from the wages because in India, the wages are much lower than it’s US or European counterparts. But that doesn’t mean any compromise with the software quality. Asia has a huge talent pool and that helps with the quality. India has the highest ISO certified firms and has become one of the top software destinations in the IT industry with a 55% share in outsourcing.
Keep this in mind while you hire a software development company. Your costs will largely depend on which company you choose. I guess our rate cards for different software destinations will help you make an informed decision.
Like app development cost, the maintenance cost also has a fair dependence on multiple factors and that’s pretty understandable keeping in mind the just-discussed factors that development varies with. Such factors include the complexity of the app, the technology, the platform of choice, and many such. While servers, push notifications charge a nominal fee monthly / yearly (based on the provider’s subscription plans) while feature modification costs a comparatively higher amount. Besides, a consistent performance metrics analysis & working on improvement by fixing the glitches & bugs from time to time also comes at a significant price, which, however, depends upon the nature & complexity of the bug i.e. how much code optimization effort goes into fixing it. On an average, yearly app maintenance costs somewhere around 10-20% of the initial app development cost. At BinaryFolks, we provide free maintenance for three months from the day of software release!
While it’s true that the cost of making an app is dependent on a wide variety of factors, the ballpark range for app development cost can hover somewhere between USD 5K to USD 50K+.
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Imagine asking to build a Facebook-like platform under $1000 - by now you know, what’s worth $1000 will practically be FAR from Facebook-like and closer to a mere sign up page! So the bottomline is, the answer to “how much does it cost to make an app” doesn’t come as a fixed figure. Share your app idea and after an in-depth analysis of your requirements paired with complementary app consultation from ex-Google, ex-Amazon and ex-Salesforce engineers !
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