How Much Does an App Cost to Develop: Price Estimation for You Project

We have been engaged in software development for over seven years providing our client cutting-edge software solutions. And our experience tells us that the most frequently asked question about the app creation is the cost of this service. We would like to answer this question as explicit as it is possible uncovering all the factors that influence the price. Entrepreneurs with both big and small enterprises are puzzled with the question: How much does an app cost to develop? The cost can be surprising so let us first clarify the reasons to develop your own business software solution.
  • How app development can add value to the business

  • What affects the cost of the app

  • The development methodologies

How app development can add value to the business

The impact of information technologies can be hardly overestimated as they have penetrated in every aspect of our business activity and everyday life. The revenue growth caused by the adoption of web and mobile technologies results in the growing demand for the business app creation, but it is a heavy investment that is why it is necessary to consider carefully how to benefit from the software development. There are two major directions in custom software development: Mobile and Web software creation. Each of them can transform the way people do business helping to enhance customer service and optimizing the internal processes.

- Company accessibility. In this busy world where cities do not sleep at night. Every adult citizen of the US spends about three hours on the mobile devices and more than an hour of their free time on the computer per day. Business app development whether it is web or mobile gives them a chance to interact with the companies making them accessible 24/7.

- Brand promotion and global availability. A business app also helps to engage customers from all over the world developing strong relationships. No matter where the location of the company, it goes global incorporating a program in the business activity and helps to increase brand recognition with a branded icon and your brand name which starts sounding familiar.

- Functionality and usability. Software products can provide value both to the staff and to the customers. Modern information technologies can serve clients and employees offering a range of functionality from data storage and management, automated analysis and reporting, to order placement and processing, goods tracking and route making and many others.

- ROI. Finally, mobile software development can create a new source of income generating revenue via in-app advertising, in-app purchasing and other monetization ways, as well as it can become a new sales channel.

What affects the cost of the app

Application cost consists of the numerous aspects. The cost depends not only on the program constituents but also their compatibility. That is why any price calculator can give only an approximate cost of the project. As far as in the IT industry it is a common practice to estimate project cost by its development hours, even a small details such as one simple feature integration can cause numerous challenges increasing the development time and the cost. So what are the major factors that influence the development costs?

The development methodologies

Waterfall and Agile methodologies are the most frequently used one in the sphere of the custom software development as they have proven their efficiency. Each of them represents different approaches to the development introducing opposite values.

Waterfall model

The waterfall model is based on sequential design process which flows steadily from conception phase to the construction and deployment. This model implies strict documentation, fixed budget and time. This approach fits in case if you have a clear list of the project specifications and know what exact result you want to receive. The main drawback of this model is that it won’t allow bringing changes during the development.

Agile methods

Agile methodologies are based on the principles which let the requirements and solutions evolve throughout the collaboration of the development team and the customer. It implies adaptive planning, iterative development, and early delivery. Rapid and flexible response to changes allows continuous improvement, adjusting the product to the real customer’s needs. Such approach to the development helps people with a vague idea of the software to get an app that they need. The downside of this model is that the costs are not fixed, and they can significantly grow at the end of the development.
That is why, approaching the developers with a limited budget it is better to analyse the project carefully, create a clear idea, consider all the features and requirements, think of the monetization strategy, etc. If you can’t visualize the program, you should prepare yourself for the higher cost.

Type of software solution

The type of the software, its platform or combination of platforms will influence on how much does an app cost to develop. IT companies can offer software development for a variety of devices from mobile (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile) to desktop (Web apps) or even combine all this solutions in one providing you with a software that works on all of them due to blend of mobile and web technologies. The price of the development will vary depending on your needs and preferences and which operating system you choose.
  • What platform to choose?

  • Which platform costs less to develop

  • Features set

  • Design requirements

What platform to choose?

The best option is to embrace all the possible options enlarging the audience reach, but not everyone can afford this investment and have to choose the best possible platform depending on the purposes, functionality, and target audience. A web application can be the most appropriate solution for business work optimization, internal processes automation, and staff interaction. When it comes to the customer relationships, a mobile application will be the most engaging option. Usually, businesses choose between Android and Apple device. And here it depends on the target audience. For instance, people with higher income usually prefer iOS devices. But Android platform is common in the middle class and embrace 80% of the mobile market share. iOS is widely spread in the USA, West Europe and Japan, while Android dominate in all other parts of the world.

Which platform costs less to develop

There is an opinion that Android development takes more time to get developed and hence costs more. This point of view is based on the facts that Android has a larger variety of the devices with different screens. Building software for several devices, developers should make sure that it performs and looks well on each of them adjusting its design to each screen size and resolution. That is why it takes a lot of time to ensure bug-free user experience. Besides, Android is an open-source operating system which lets brand, such as Samsung, make changes in its code. These changes lead to challenges in writing a code for a mobile app so that it fitted all the devices considering changes made by brands. That is why companies have a tendency to realise iOS-first app and then expand to Android platform. Nevertheless, Java developers say that Android has improved in the last few years, and developers who work with both of these platforms don’t see the significant difference between them. The costs for the development for both platforms got a lot closer, with slightly higher costs in the Android case. Development for two platforms simultaneously will almost double the expenses.

Features set

Technical specifications of the program are the biggest factor that impacts on how much does an app cost to develop. Apps are becoming more dynamic pushing the boundaries of what can be created. People usually distinguish Table/List, Utility/Productivity, Database, Social Networking, Entertainment, Publishing, Education, Lifestyle apps and Games. The simplicity of the app depends on its functionality. They can present users the information, like in the case of the Table apps, or can store and manage a large volume of real-time data backed up with web service like Database apps. Finally, they can require APIs integration utilizing devices capabilities and provide geolocation, social media, camera and any other functionality. Every program’s feature will bring a corresponding cost. Even simple functionality may cost a lot due to difficulties related to its implementation, while some complex features can surprise you with their affordability. To find the cost of a particular features set in combination with the employed platforms you can ask a project quote from multiple developers. This procedure, as well as the IT consulting, are usually free in the reputable software development companies.

Design requirements

Custom design is as important as app functionality. A catchy icon, appealing user interface, pleasant visual elements - all these elements attract users attention making them want the app more. To engage users, you will need a lot of interactive elements and design features that entice users. But a unique and stunning design from designers with eye-catching portfolio comes at a cost. Here, you should prioritize according to your needs whether you need a high-end design or average will be fine. This conclusion should be made based on the target audience and the project budget. If you target a design-sensitive audience, then you should probably lower the expectations on the functionality. If your aim is to build a business-driven app for the UX- or info-driven audience make sure that the design is competitive with the market standard.

So how much does an app cost to develop?

Custom app development projects have a huge range of potential pricing due to individual requirements of the clients. Besides, different developers will estimate the same project at different rates because of different level of competence and hourly rates. Different information sources, such as Clutch or Kinvey claim that average app development takes about $170,000 - $270,000. On behalf of our development company, we can say that average MVP (minimum viable product), which presents a working program with its core functionality varies between $ 30,000 - $40,000. Of course, depending on its functionality the cost can starts from $10,000 for a simple iOS app and to hundreds of dollars for a complex native application for multiple platforms and with web service backup. Custom development depends on your requirements, but if you want to develop a business app for the company, you should consider all pros and cons and get ready to invest not only money, but your time to work in close cooperation with professional development team, as they will ask a lot of questions about industry and your product to provide the relevant solution for your target audience, based on your ideas. We will be happy to assist you in the identification of the app functionality and to design the app for your business project. Call us today!