How much does App Development Cost?


App Development Cost breakdown

So how much does it cost to develop an app? You have that awesome idea, and you are looking to hire someone to turn it into a reality. This question has been lingering in your mind since you first came up with that idea. If this describes you, and you have been doing tons of research on app development costs and timelines and what is generally involved when it comes to app design, then your search has brought you to the right place. You can rest easy because, in this article, you are going to learn everything you need to know about costs and timelines when it comes to mobile app development.

App development is a multifaceted venture. When building an app, several factors come into play. Each of these factors has a bearing on other factors, and they all impact one another like a domino effect until the design and development process of the app comes to completion. Although one would argue that an app is never fully finished and the development process never really ends because as long as there are new advances in the mobile devices industry, your app will need to be tweaked to cater to these new capabilities, requirements and functionality.

Factors to App Development Cost:

  1. App purpose and functionality: What is the app built to do? What will it do for its users?
  2. Supported platforms and devices: There are several popular platforms that your app can operate on. You have to decide which one of them you want, which ones you do not want, or whether you want your app to work with all of them. Each of these decisions comes with its own pros and cons. Similarly, you have to decide which devices can support your app.
  3. Integration: Will your app be integrated with other apps? For example, does it require third-party apps to be the source of its content?
  4. Visual objects: Does your app use visual objects? The more complex the visuals of your app, the more expensive it will be and the longer it will take to make.
  5. Smartphone hardware features: Does your app need to use the inbuilt functionality of smartphone features? Will it need to use the phone’s camera, GPS navigation, etc?
  6. Maintenance plan: How tasking is the maintenance that your app will need?

Also, in the app development world, every app is different. There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to the creation of an app. Here is an overall look at average figures:

  • Average app development cost of a simple iOS app- $28k
  • Average app development cost of a simple Android app- $23k
  • Average app development cost of a simple Windows Phone app- $18k

Cost of hiring 1 US App Developer- $117k per year

These figures represent the lowest ballparks, the minimum amount of money you would need to pay to get a working app. However, every developer has their own approach to app creation, and their costing and timelines vary just as much. However, every good developer should have a few essential steps in their design process if they want to come up with a high-quality app. This article shall highlight these steps and quantify them in terms of cost and time required for each one.

App Development Cost Breakdown:

  1. Research and Development and User Experience Design

Before the actual design starts, you need to think through what your app does. This will streamline the design and development process. Furthermore, the user experience design is what determines how the app will work. This is done through the use of wireframes.

The time and cost of this step depend on several factors. Is there a web component to your app? Are there several sets of users involved? User sets could be customer vs vendor, administrator vs contributor, among other two or more sets of users. Each set of users usually requires their own set of functions designed for them, and this may drive the cost and time up.

Average cost:

  • Less than $5k = 51% of Apps
  • $5k-$10k = 22% of Apps
  • $10k- $15k = 7% of Apps
  • $15k+ = 20% of Apps

Time: 4-7 weeks

  1. User Interface Design and Interactive Prototype Creation

This is how the app looks and feels. A working user interface model called an interactive prototype is also created at this stage. The time and cost of everything depend on the number of screens required and if the app is a multi-platform app or not. A multi-platform app is one that can work across several operating systems, such as iOS and Android.

Average Cost:

  • Less than $5k = 32% of Apps
  • $5k-$10k = 17% of Apps
  • $10k- $15k = 14% of Apps
  • $15k+ = 37% of Apps

Time: 4-5 weeks

  1. Project Development and Management

This is the stage where the actual app is developed. All the research and prototypes are compiled and the lessons learned used to go a long way in coming up with exactly what you visualized.

Cost and time will increase with increasing complexity of the app. The more complex it is, the longer an app design agency will take to make and the more it will cost.

Average Cost:

  • Less than $5k = 9% of Apps
  • $5k-$10k = 33% of Apps
  • $10k- $15k = 25% of Apps
  • $15k+ = 32% of Apps

Time: 10-40 weeks

  1. Marketing

Once the functioning app has been made, it needs to be marketed. This can be done in several ways. The most common is using a soft launch to get the word out there. For a soft launch, you would need a product website, a blog, ten content articles on the product, social media channels, SEO, a video and a help center. More marketing activities are more costly and time-consuming than fewer ones.

Average Cost:

  • Less than $5k = 32% of Apps
  • $5k-$10k = 31% of Apps
  • $10k- $15k = 14% of Apps
  • $15k+ = 23% of Apps

Time: 5-20 weeks

  1. Updates and Maintenance

Once your app gets to the consumers, it is inevitable that there will be bugs that need to be fixed and updates that need to be carried out. The app needs to run as smoothly as possible to guarantee your user base a pleasant experience, otherwise, your app will lose ratings and ranking. How much maintenance is required determines what the price will be and how much time it will take?

Average Cost: $2k-$6k per month

Time: Monthly


Cost Of Hiring An App Developer

Some companies opt to hire an in-house developer instead of outsourcing the job. If you do decide to go down this road, keep in mind not just what it would cost you, but also previous track record, feedback from clients, expertise in a specific area among others. These factors will have a huge impact on the overall app development cost you will incur.

That being said, it costs an average of $117,000 per year to hire an in-house developer in the US. It costs around $90,000 to hire the same developer in Canada or Australia. In India, it only costs $4,400 per year to hire an in-house developer.

Furthermore, if an app design makes use of a technology for which the developer needs to pay a license, it can also have a major effect on the overall app development cost of the app. License fees usually depend on the number of devices and annual fees required. This can sometimes go as high as $120k per year for 50 devices.

If you are passionate about your idea, you need to team up with a professional company that will treat it with the care and attention it deserves. For your idea to become a fully functional solution, the right development partner is the key to your success.