One of the most popular questions web developers have to answer is how much it costs to develop a mobile app. The point is there is no exact answer to this question, as the final cost always depends on a great number of variables. At a very rough estimate, specialists name the price range of $20 000-$250 000. To get a more precise figure, you must consider many parameters. In our guide, we’ll try to review these parameters.
The Cost of App Development in Different Countries of the World
Probably, the first thing you should know about app development cost is that it varies greatly from one region to another. Sometimes, it is cheaper to outsource the development; moreover, “expensive” is not always a synonym for “good.” Traditionally, the highest development costs can be found in the North American region – up to $150 per hour. The lowest prices of up to $25-$35 per hour are typical for South Asia, including India and Indonesia. We, in our review, will rely upon the average cost of $40 per hour, which is offered by developers from Eastern Europe, namely – Ukraine.
How Long Does It Take to Develop a Mobile App?
When you know an approximate cost per hour, you need to find out how long the development process takes to know the final cost. Quite logically, the time required for making an app depends on its complexity. Roughly, there are three groups.
- Simple (basic) apps – 500 through 800 hours.
- Medium complexity apps – 800 through 1200 hours.
- Complex apps – over 1200 hours.
All in all, it can take from 3 months to over 8 months to develop a mobile application from scratch.
What the Cost of App Development Is Made of
The total cost of creating a mobile app depends on the range of variables. For example, the cost of a dating app like Tinder will be different from the cost of an e-commerce mobile app. The key aspects you need to consider are the following:
- Type of app and its complexity;
- Platforms (iOS/Android/both);
- Backend infrastructure/administration;
- Functionality/extra features;
- Visual design (template/custom);
- Location of developers/their hourly rates;
- Maintenance costs, etc.
Now, let’s review some of these aspects in finer detail.
When it comes to estimating the total app development cost, the number and complexity of features are of primary importance. While some basic features are easy to create using standard templates, some unique solutions are to be coded from scratch. We’ve prepared an approximate list of frequently demanded features and specified the cost of each option (based on the rate of $40/hour).
Additional features may include integration with social media sites, various types of authorization, payment options, in-app purchases, integration with native apps (camera, Bluetooth, etc.), and many others. Here is an approximate list of complex features and their average costs.
Custom or Template Design
Needless to say, standard design templates are much faster and easier to implement if compared to developing unique custom solutions. The number of screens also influences the cost.
You need to decide whether you want to create an app for iOS or Android only, two apps for two platforms, or a cross-platform/hybrid app. If you are going to cover both platforms from a long-term perspective, it makes sense to try the latter option. Creating a cross-platform app is 30-40% cheaper than making two separate apps.
Backend Structure and Administration
The complexity (and cost) of backend infrastructure depends on the number of the app’s parameters you need to track and analyze by yourself. As for the admin panel, you may opt for a cheaper ready-made template or develop a custom version from scratch.
As we have already mentioned, the total cost depends on the location of the development team to a large extent. But it also depends on the number and qualification of specialists involved. For example, the hourly rate of a junior developer is lower than the hourly rate of a senior developer or a project manager. We’ve prepared a summary table to find the average rates of various specialists in different regions.
Outsourcing vs. In-House Development: What to Choose
You see that development costs vary significantly from one region to another. That said, this is not the only criterion to be considered when you choose between local and in-house development.
On the one hand, hiring developers in your region can be beneficial just because of the possibility of direct personal communication. Also, it is easier to control the whole process. When the developer team is physically located overseas, you may lack personal control. Finally, you can face the problems of different time zones and language barriers.
On the other hand, high rates of local specialists are not always justified, so check how much it costs to hire a developer at home and abroad. Remote developers may have similar qualifications (and even higher) and do the same job for less money. In many cases, there is no need for constant personal contact in the sphere of web development. It is why more and more businesses entrust app development to outsourced specialists.
App Maintenance Cost
When planning an app development budget, don’t forget to include maintenance costs in it. As a rule, it is somewhat about 15-20% of the development cost per year. App maintenance usually includes upgrading, bug fixing, adding new features, optimization, testing and improving performance, etc.
To Sum It Up
It’s impossible to give a precise answer to the question about app development cost without knowing all the details. Usually, it is somewhere in the middle between $30 000 and $200 000. We hope our guide will help you make a more precise estimate easier before hiring a development team.