App Development Cost Guide: How Much Does It Cost To Build A Mobile App?

April 22, 2021

An App development cost can be hard to decipher without understanding the complexity of the app one wants to create. Yet if we want to add a tentative price tag a simple app can cost up to 30,000 USD, a fairly moderate app would cost you up to 60,00 USD while a fully functional complex app can cost one somewhere around 120,000 USD or more.

The cost of creating an app is subjective to the technology, mobile app development company, and the total number of development hours that it takes to create your app. This blog offers you useful information on how an app development cost can be classified into various segments.

Evolution of Mobile Apps Over the Years

The trend of developing mobile applications has seen a surge due to the success observed by many of the new mobile applications hitting the market. The massive success observed by apps like Uber, Airbnb, and Clubhouse in recent times has given businesses a way to streamline their businesses online and increase their reach and recognition.
If you examine the last decade, a smartphone has become the greatest of the necessities for any consumer. Irrespective of which caste, creed, and social structure they belong to you will notice that smartphones have made their way to every small and large community. These smartphones have no value without the presence of mobile apps.

Impact of Mobile Apps on Businesses

Businesses all around the globe today have realized the power of mobile apps and are aiming for the same. Their target is to travel the world and make its way to your pocket as they know once they reach there, then there is no looking back. Such is the success observed by social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Once you get hooked, you’re on it 10 times a day without even noticing that it has become your go-to place to avail certain services.

The other app sector that has observed this astounding success is service-providing apps such as on-demand apps, navigation apps, healthcare apps, entertainment apps, and many more. Businesses in the early 2000s didn’t give enough importance to creating a dedicated app that acts as a live catalog for all their services and products that can be exercised from anywhere and anytime. But today, an app for your business can do wonders if made following the right practices.

Let’s start by examining some of the statistics related to mobile app development.

Statistics

  • In 2020, there were 218 billion mobile app downloads.
  • By the end of 2021, there will be around 7 billion mobile users in the world.
  • In 2020 the users paying for premium app services amounted up to 143 billion USD worldwide. That accounts for a 20 percent yearly increase in their spending.
  • If you observe Generation Z (age 6-24), Millennials (age 25-40), and Gen X/ Baby Boomers (age 41-75) they spend about 16 %, 18%, and 30% more time every year with their frequently used apps.
  • Users spend 92% of their time using mobile apps. Where communication and social networking apps account for 44% of their time.

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How to Make Your Mobile App?

How much does it cost to develop an app for my business? This is the primary question that arises in an entrepreneur’s mind when pitched with the idea of developing a mobile app for their business. But this question sits at the very bottom of a mobile app development project. The foremost pickle that a company owner finds themselves is finding the answer to two questions – should they hire an independent developer or a small, medium, or enterprise-level professional mobile app development company? Or should they develop an app by themselves?

All methods can yield fruitful results but are extremely different in their approach towards mobile app development.

A mobile app development company is a professional IT service provider that has worked on several mobile apps and projects. This helps them gather experience and develop expertise to create mobile applications for multiple platforms. An advanced app would also require the optimized use of industry 4.0 techs such as IoT, AI, AR, ML, and much more. A company that has a proven record of working with such projects has learned from their prior experience and can assist you by not committing the same mistakes again and by speeding up the app development process.

You can also opt for creating an app by yourself. This will save you a lot of money. A conventional app development process requires you to write code, design an engaging UI/UX, market the app, perform quality checks, and many other tasks that require specialized knowledge. If you don’t possess the preceding expertise, you won’t be able to create an app as per your expectations and all your hard work can go in vain.

Mobile App Development Cost Guide

So, how much does an app cost? The mobile app development process is indeed a cumbersome one. There is no fixed quotation as to how much can it cost to build an app because it all depends on the features and functionalities you choose to inculcate multiplied by the hourly rate charged by the mobile app development company you choose. In a nutshell, it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint a single number that would be the final amount for developing your mobile app.
No matter which professional IT service company you choose, they won’t give you a fixed price to develop your mobile app right from the go. They will study your business requirements, brainstorm ideas, calculate the hours it would take to develop the features for your mobile app, and then send you a quote for the same.

Average Cost to Develop a Mobile App

Type

Independent App Developer

Small Sized App Development Company

Medium Sized App Development Company

Enterprise Level App Development Company

Average Hourly Rate

35 USD – 150 USD

75 USD – 175 USD

125 USD – 175 USD

200 USD – 300 USD

Pros

Best suitable for small projects

Suitable for local & regional businesses.

Best suitable for startups & offer a balance in cost & quality.

Well known companies among software developers.

Cons

Programers can overpromise and under-deliver

Specialize only in specific development areas.

If not double-checked can prove to be risky for your project.

Too high cost that can’t be afforded by medium sized businesses.

Some prominent factors that can affect your app development cost.

  • Size of your app
  • Features
  • Device compatibility & platforms
  • Designing UI/UX
  • Backend Development

Let’s gain a brief understanding of some of these aspects.

Size & Purpose of your App

Small-Apps

Small Apps

These apps are designed for a single platform and to serve a single purpose. They are created making use of simple UI components and offer limited functionalities. Such apps don’t require third-party integrations and other complex backend development. For example, a calculator is an evident example of a small, simple but extremely useful mobile application.
Cost for creating a small or basic app: 10,000 USD – 30,000 USD (Calendar, Weather Report, Calculator Apps)
Moderate-Apps

Moderate Apps

Such apps can be designed for single or multiple platforms and consist of a custom UI and some advanced features. These apps are fairly easy to develop but offer more functionality than small-scale apps. Apple TV is a perfect example of a moderate app.
Cost for creating a medium or moderate-sized app: 30,000 USD – 60,000 USD (Domino’s & Pizza Hut like App)
Large-Apps

Large Apps

These apps are fully functional apps that require third-party integrations, custom themes, and templates, additional features such as location-tracking, advanced search with filters, complex frontend and backend development with a dedicated database, and much more. On-demand apps such as Uber, Zomato, and Robinhood are examples of the same.
Cost for creating a large or fully-functional app: 60,000 USD – 120,000 USD (Clubhouse, Uber, Airbnb like Apps)

Device Compatibility & Platforms

How many platforms you choose to develop your app for directly affects the development cost. If you develop an app for the Android platform and not for iOS it will surely cost you less than creating the same for both platforms. This is because developers would have to put in double working hours to develop an app with similar features for both platforms.

The price range for native app development

Here we will discuss platform-wise app development cost.

1) Progressive Web App Development Cost

At times it becomes necessary to create a web app to enhance your web presence and promote quick reach. A progressive web app development cost depends on the complexity & features of your app.

Progressive web app development cost: 1000 USD – 50,000 USD

In addition to this, if you want your app to be compatible with TV, PCs, and other devices, you would have to pay more for the same. App developers would also have to put in extra effort to make sure that your app is compatible with older mobile devices and offers a similar experience to those users. All these technicalities are essential to a successful app and hence add to the total cost.

2) Native App Development Cost

As users are more prone to using native apps, they intuitively learn the app flow. These apps also offer the added advantage of getting easily discovered on the app stores. Native apps offer seamless compatibility with other software/hardware of your device such as GPS, calendar, etc., and this results in a better user experience.

Android app development cost: 40,000 USD – 60,000 USD

iOS app development cost: 30,000 USD – 50,000 USD

3) Cross-Platform App Development Cost

One can develop apps quickly using hybrid techs as opposed to native platforms as they are developed using a single code base for both Android and iOS platforms. They have various plug-ins that can be used to create apps similar in experience and design to native apps. The development cost and time for hybrid apps are quite less as compared to native apps. The sole reason behind this being a native app would require coding two apps with different codebases, hence double the development time and effort. But the same can be achieved with a single code base while using hybrid technologies. Another added benefit is as the apps are quick to build there remains an ample amount of time for marketing them.

Simple hybrid App development cost: Upto 10,000 USD

Moderate complexity hybrid app development cost: 10,000 USD – 50,000 USD

Enterprise-level hybrid app development cost: 50,000 USD – 150,000 USD

Let’s discuss the cost of the most popular framework of Cross-Platform App Development in 2021.

React Native was the most popular framework till mid-2020, however now in 2021 Flutter has become more popular than React Native.

4) Flutter App Development cost

Flutter was released in 2017 and has become one of the most admired frameworks in the cross-platform development community. The Flutter app development cost can range anywhere between 31,000 USD to 55,000 USD.

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5) React Native App Development cost

React Native is empowering businesses all over the world by creating real and native-feel apps for its Android and iOS users.

The average cost for creating an app in React Native can cost anywhere between 20,000 USD to 50,000 USD.

6) Wearable App Development

Since the advent of wearable apps such as the Apple Watch & MI Smart Band, there has been a surge in the wearable app development market. These apps offer fitness, entertainment, and social features.

Wearable app development cost: 24,000 USD – 35,000 USD

Region & App Development Company you Choose

To develop an app you can outsource your project to a large software development company, an experienced IT service provider, or hire freelancer mobile app developers. Apart from this, an app development company offering its services from the US would charge you 250 – 300 USD per hour while a similar company from India would charge you way less for the same services.

If you choose an app development company, the type of app development team working on your project directly affects the cost of creating an app. A basic development team consists of a programmer, a QA engineer, a project manager, and a UI/UX designer. While if you want to hire an extended team it would consist of 1 back-end developer, 1 project manager, 2-4 developers, 1 or 2 UI/UX designers, 1 content specialist, and more. As the number of developers increases the development time decreases with an increase in the development rate.

Functionalities & Features

Choosing different technologies that would contribute to a successful app, backend infrastructure, third-party services, integrating relevant APIs, customizing themes and templates, and much more add to the cost of development.

Here are some of the most frequently used features relevant to mobile applications.

  • Push Notifications
  • Sign in/ Registration using social media or email
  • Payment gateways
  • Communication panel
  • In-app purchases
  • Real-time location sharing

Marketing & Maintenance

Your responsibility doesn’t end with the creation of an app but now begins the real challenge. The app created by you would require maintenance once it enters the market. Your app would need bug fixes along with other software up-gradation. This is referred to as post-project consultation which costs you money.

If you observe the Android and iOS app stores you will see that it is filled with millions of apps. For your targeted niche to know and start using your app, it should reach them using the right marketing techniques. If you don’t invest well into marketing your targeted users may never get to learn that an app like yours exists and all your hard work right from creating an app to launching it can go to waste.

UI/UX Design

Something that captivates your eyes and offers seamless transition is what can be called an engaging UI/UX design. No matter which app you’re using, today’s users want them to feel good in the eyes. Users don’t relate to a boring design with a confusing user interface. For your users to make the best of your services right from the go, you would have to design an intuitive app flow.

An experienced UI/UX designer can offer the following services to you:

  • Analyze intuitive designs from similar or worthy applications.
  • Learn user expectations and design UI/UX keeping their pains in mind.
  • Developing sketches, wireframes, and other design samples.
  • Finalizing your design after conducting proper trial and error.

Learn more about common UI/UX mistakes to avoid while developing a mobile app.

We learned how the preceding factors will affect your mobile app development cost. But the spending on your app doesn’t end here, maintaining your app after it has been launched is also a crucial task. Let’s have a brief look at how that works.

Formula to calculate your app development cost

Cost of creating an app = Average Hourly Rate * (Design Time + Development Time + Quality Check Time) + Startup Service (Marketing + Launch)

processApp

Cost of Maintaining an App post its Launch

The battle is half won with the launch of your app, but there are so many challenges that lie ahead. No one can predict that they’ve created a perfect app until and unless one learns the user’s response to the same. As per the industry standards, it’s a common practice to invest anywhere between 15-20% of your app creation cost into its maintenance post your app launch.

Your app development costs can be due to any of the following:

  • Upgrading your app with the latest OS version.
  • Bug fixing.
  • Adding new features & functionalities.
  • Paying for ongoing and newly added third-party services.
  • Code optimization to enhance performance and stability.

Apart from the app maintenance cost your app development cost also heavily relies on the technology you choose to create your app. To develop an Android and iOS app you can either choose native technologies such as Java and Swift or you can opt for hybrid techs such as React Native, Flutter, or Ionic. Let’s learn the underlying difference between the two.

Common Myth About App Development Process

The common myth about the mobile app development process is that it happens to be an extremely costly process. But it’s not so. As you’ve already learned the prominent factors that affect the app development cost, let’s know a bit more about how you can manage to start with the same using a minimal budget.

Professional IT service companies offer their clients the option of developing a Minimal Viable Product or MVP for their business. An MVP helps a business create an app offering its core services while allowing them to test the waters.

The aim behind creating an MVP isn’t to check if the app you’re creating is successful or not but to help you decide if an app for your business should be created or not. The limited features and functionality powered by the right UI/UX design can help you get started in the right direction. You can learn more about how to prioritize your mobile app MVP features through this blog. Choosing to develop an MVP is a great idea for entrepreneurs who think they have a business idea with immense potential but don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in the same.

Conclusion

Technource who is one of the top mobile app development companies in the USA has always encouraged our clients to go for developing a mobile app for their business to increase their reach and productivity in terms of business and consumers.

Our clients always ask us – how much does it cost to make an app? We always give them an answer that an app with minimalistic features or an MVP can also be created within 5000 – 10,000 USD and a complex app can also cost them 1,00,000. But no matter how much you invest, either you create an MVP or a fully functional app it doesn’t guarantee that your app would be a successful one. There are a lot of other factors starting from your business model to the revenue model to the marketing strategy you use that will decide the fate of your app.

Here’s a quick recap of the things we learned about mobile app development in this blog:

  • Pros and cons of developing an app by yourself vs hiring a professional IT service provider.
  • Reasons that affect the app development cost.
  • A brief insight into native and hybrid app development technologies.
  • Benefits of creating an MVP for your app.

Being a top mobile and web app development company we’ve worked with numerous clients. We have competently served their unique requirements. Many of our developed apps rank among the top apps in the USA and other countries of the world. Feel free to pick our brains with any queries you have about mobile app development. You can reach us by signing up for a free consultation on our website. Thank you for reading!

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Mr. Sanjay Singh Rajpurohit, An early-aged entrepreneur who always leads his team from the front and achieved success. As the founder & CEO of Technource, a top web, and mobile app development company, he made a global presence in a short time by offering custom software development, premium mobile apps and website development services.

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