How do you find a preferable compromise on expenses that are necessary for developing a mobile app? What features can you go without in the first iteration which doesn't affect functionality? Let's get into that. When it comes to mobile app development, it can have countless variables and similarly, its price can range from $5,000 to $500,000. It's not an easy task to calculate app development costs for Android and iOS. We aim to help you with a mobile app estimation of necessary expenses for your mobile app. Meanwhile, you can estimate app development costs in India using our app cost calculator by answering some questions about your app.
In 2020, the total number of global mobile app downloads amounted to 218 billion. Last year, consumer spending on mobile apps exceeded $83.5 billion, a 17% growth from 2019. Apps have become fundamental to the user experience on mobile devices like smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets. Many businesses take up the opportunity of investing in the development of a mobile app to transform their business idea into reality. Companies turn to customer-facing apps and internal communication apps to address the growing demand for versatility and reach their audience on every platform.
If you are also toying with the idea of developing a mobile app to create new revenue opportunities or discover operational efficiencies. You’re probably wondering about what kind of budget you need to realize your idea and what factors impact the final price. Calculating enterprise app development costs can be complicated, but with some preparation and study, you'll be on your way to creating a practical estimate for your project. This article takes you through the process of calculating an estimate for your mobile app development step by step, getting into all the variables that come into play when planning a budget for a mobile application. But before doing that, let’s check out some key points that estimate the average mobile app personalization cost.
How much does the app development cost?
“How much does it cost to build an app” is the number one question we receive from business owners and newbie entrepreneurs who want to start with an app. Our usual response to this question is pretty straightforward – “It depends.” Why? You see everything comes with a price tag, but it’s never the case with mobile app development. There’s no set price when it comes to developing a fully functional mobile app. Take any product or service that you’ve recently bought. Whether it’s a TV, a cell phone, or a car, several factors decide its final price. The same goes for mobile apps.
The answer to the big question depends on a great number of factors. But in general, the rule of thumb is - you get what you pay for. It's not fair to expect to have an excellent app for a couple of hundred dollars. At the same time, spending thousands of dollars on business application development doesn’t guarantee you the ultimate success.
App Development Cost for each phase
An app development life cycle is composed of defined six work phases. Regardless of the size and scope of the mobile app project, the stages remain the same.
- Business Analysis
You may have a killer mobile app idea. But the idea needs to go through market analysis (competitor analysis), the app needs verification, and requirements documentation. An experienced app development team will consider various aspects at this stage before deep diving into development. The team will rely on asking countless questions to get exact app development quotes. Typically, the business analysis phase could cost anything from $1,200 to $11,000 and may take 2-4 weeks. Experienced businesses allocate around 10% of the whole app development cost to the business analysis phase.
- Prototyping and UI/UX Design
When it comes to your app, you want a flawless UI/UX design to create that excellent first impression on your customers. The design should be appealing to users, getting them hooked at first glance. Getting a clickable prototype once your app requirements specifications are in place is a better move. The prototyping tools are based on a subscription model and they can fit right in your team’s workflow. You can get your click-through prototype with tools, such as Adobe XD, Marvel, InVision, and Proto.io. The design costs in mobile app development can range from $2,500 to $10,000.
- App Coding
The costs associated with programming and coding are always more than all other mobile app development phases. There are usually two or three members of the coding team as the stage needs a more number of coders who work in collaboration. The app-building and functionality development can cost somewhere between $2,000 to $60,000.
- Project Management
Another significant phase in the app development process is project management. Looking at it closely, you will realize that a project manager controls the development process from start to finish. Therefore, the manager’s efforts take up to 10-15% of the total app budget. The project management stage cost ranges from $1,200 to $12,000.
- App Testing and Deployment
Testing is a crucial phase of your app development, as it validates the quality of your product. You will need to implement specific testing protocols throughout your app development process. Once your app is built you will need to test it again to determine if it’s ready to be live or not. A strict testing stage ensures that your users face minimal issues in terms of bugs or glitches. According to Clutch’s survey, the combined cost for the app testing and deployment phase will run you between $5,000 to $10, 000.
- App Maintenance
Developing and releasing your app on Google Play Store and App Store doesn’t mean that you're done with the expenses. It’s imperative to weigh the cost of maintaining your mobile application in the overall development cost. Your app should be available to users for downloading and using as many times as they want. Even though you don’t plan on adding new features anytime soon, you should have a maintenance plan and budget handy to keep your app up to date. With our experience of developing and maintaining mobile apps for several businesses, we have learned that the app maintenance cost is usually 10-20% of the development cost.
You can find out more details about Indian app development companies helping startups.
According to various surveys, the average cost of building a mobile app often ranges from $100,000 to $500,000, sometimes more, sometimes less. A completely custom, feature-rich mobile app can cost more than half a million dollars.
- According to the survey of app development agencies done by Clutch estimated $171,450 as an average price for app development.
- A survey of CIOs done by Kinvey estimated the average cost to be $270,000
- A VDC survey of enterprise app developers estimated the average cost of mobile app development to be $140,000
So, how do you estimate the exact cost of developing your mobile app, particularly when you’re doing it for the first time? We are going to discuss the various factors you need to consider that make up the mobile app development cost.
A single mobile app developer is not sufficient to maintain a more substantial project. To pull off the development of a fully functional, user-oriented mobile application, you need a team that consists of a project manager, programmer, UX/UI designer, and QA specialist. Depending on your engagement model with these experts in your team whether it is in-house, freelance or external, as well as their location, the cost of their labor will vary significantly.
App functionalities and purpose
Compare a single app with two or three screens, fewer integrations, basic backend and UI features, and a fully-featured business application with custom animations, advanced interaction patterns, AI integration, and user authentication. Data-driven or custom utility apps like these are way more expensive to build than plain apps with basic functionalities. They may need advanced mobile app development skills and much more time, both of which results in higher development costs.
Support and maintenance
Every application needs post-deployment upgrades and improvements to guarantee seamless and bug-free performance. The extent of this support also defines the real cost of the app’s development.
Mobile technologies are spread throughout all industries. Some of them include healthcare or accounting, which impose strong security and regulatory requirements on software to protect users and their data completely. As a result, this drives more advanced development and calls for higher costs of implementation.
A notable part of the total development budget associated with developing custom business apps comes from integration. Integrating third-party libraries, frameworks, and services makes the app perform faster. Besides, using a ready-made solution is cheaper than developing a custom solution. Integrations such as in-app purchases let you sell items from the app. In-app purchases usually add technical complexity to a project, thus the cost goes up. If your app needs to integrate with third-party solutions such as CRMs, social media platforms, online project management tools, etc., the final pricing is going to be affected largely.
Number of Platforms and Devices
The complexity of your project is the main factor that drives the final estimated app cost.
- Apple iOS app development is a better choice when you intend to reach more solvent users. An iOS app should support all the latest and previous versions of iPhone devices and iOS versions as well.
- The Android platform on the other hand has a broader reach among middle-income users and the world of Android devices is much more manifold.
- A hybrid app built with cross-platform app development tools will help you to reach more users since it works on both iOS and Android. The bottom line is, the more devices you choose, the more time your app development team needs to adapt for various screen sizes.
According to our experience with app development, Android development usually takes 20% longer than iOS development. Why is that? Because Android powers a broad range of different devices with different screen sizes. At the same time, iOS powers only Apple devices and follows the same build for every app, so it’s less time-consuming. If you multiply that by the hourly rate of developers, Android apps turn out to be more expensive. Businesses in countries like the USA usually choose to develop iOS apps first as they have more iOS users and once they validate their business idea, they move to the Android market.
Note: We have tried our best to keep all information on pricing accurate for small to medium-sized enterprises, but based on the company size and app requirements, one might need to make changes in the cost of their services.
In a Nutshell
Like we mentioned at the starting of the article, nowadays mobile app development expenses may vary from $5,000 to $500,000. The cost of app development depends on a number of factors like the app's complexity, number of integrations, team location, and the number of platforms. Developing a mobile app is an exorbitant process and you must know that it takes specific skills and expertise to build a successful mobile application. To receive a precise estimation, you need to tell your intended app's functions and business goals to an experienced technology partner. Only then can a company provide you with custom app development solutions and exact costs.