What is the cost of developing a mobile app? This is one of the most common queries for anyone to consider before building a mobile app. Since people normally consider price as a primary consideration, let us remember that building a quality app involves a considerable investment. Quality is something you cannot compromise just for the sake of a cheaper price tag.
According to a top custom mobile app development company, app development costs tremendously vary depending upon various factors. So, at best, you can make an assessment instead of figuring out the mobile app development cost. Here we will explain these cost factors one by one. But let us start by defining some development cost benchmarks first.
Cost Benchmarks for App Projects
From the beginning of the proliferation and growth of mobile apps, the cost of building iOS and Android apps has been considerably different. The development cost differs between Android & iOS platforms mainly because of the diversification of the Android ecosystem as opposed to the much more unified and integrated iOS platform as per worldwide research carried about by a leading app development studio.
The mobile app development cost also varies as per the mobile app project’s complexity, feature set, and sophistication. Based on these factors, apps can be segmented into three broad categories Simple and small, Medium and Large or complex.
As per the average time quoted by leading mobile app development companies, a small or simple app takes 4 to 6 months of development time, while the same goes up to 10 months to a year for a large and complicated app. The development time also depends upon the expertise, skills, and coordination quality of the developers in the team.
The average hourly rate charged by app developers varies from one country to another. It ranges between $25 / hour to $50 / hour based upon the country your developers are hailing from. Based upon this rate, a simple app project may cost between $10,000 to $20,000, an app with medium size and complexity may cost between $20,000 to $40,000 and a large and Complex app project is likely to cost $60,000 to $100,000 of investment.
In this respect, it is necessary to remember that all the above numbers refer to an essential estimation since the actual number of hours and the hourly rate may vary. But based on this estimation, you can keep aside the required investment you need to build an app.
Key Factors Impacting the Cost of Mobile App Development
Now, we will explain some of the most important factors that influence the cost of mobile app development. Let’s explain them one by one.
Mobile App Features and Their Complexity
What sort of mobile app you are developing impacts the cost figure primarily? The man-hours will increase when the app features and complexity increase. Features apart, the target platforms, custom visual design, the backend infrastructure, and app updates all ultimately influence the development cost to a great extent. Simple app features that can be developed with easy integration of components may take less time, but building an app from scratch may involve considerable time.
User Engagement Attributes
Some of the most crucial app features that intensely engage users, such as push notifications, authorization, networking, etc., involve rigorous engagement resulting in more significant development costs. Other engagement attributes and features include social login requiring integration of third-party APIs, which will further increase the cost.
These are the key features that help users to make purchases or engage with third-party businesses. All e-wallets, mobile wallets, credit cards, etc., come under this category.
Location detection or location mapping features are now part and parcel of most apps catering to customers with business offerings. For integrating simple GPS, you may need no high cost, but for innovative location technologies like beacons and geofencing, you may need to bear a greater cost. Apart from time-intensive development, handling these technologies in the context of a particular mobile app project needs great experience and expertise.
Integrating Platform-Specific and Device Features
Every mobile app, at least to a certain extent, needs to use the platform-specific and local device features for activities such as making calls, text messaging, camera, a location sensor, etc. App developers can now integrate several other device-centric features like payment gateway detection, detection of nearby devices, near communication field (NFC) chips, etc. For these features, app developers requiring to use platform-specific APIs need a higher budget.
Engaging the Right Developer Resources
Finally, who the developers are and how you are organizing them into a neat team of app developers will also influence the cost of app development to a great extent. The size of the development team and how it is organized will always vary based on the requirements. Typically, an app development team comprises the iOS or Android developers, the app’s owner, a QA engineer, and sometimes a scrum master. There is also the provision of business analysts that most customer-focused app projects find essential.
Another crucial factor is the chosen OS platform for the app project. Building two native apps for both iOS and Android will cost higher than targeting one OS platform at a time. Now give priority based upon the market share of the respective platform for your app niche, where your target audience is mostly located, etc. Because of its fragmented device ecosystem, Android is a less expensive platform than iOS.
Let’s Figure Out the Actual App Development Cost
Now that you have a comprehensive idea of the various cost factors for mobile app projects, it is time to make a breakup of the development cost across various stages. When you have cost estimation for different stages of app development, it becomes easier for you to raise money while still developing continuously. These stages remain constant across the vast majority of app projects. Some key stages in a project include Discovery, Design, Development, Testing, and Deployment.
In most professionally run app projects nowadays, carrying out research in advance is also done quite religiously. Finding the mobile app idea is what the discovery stage meant for and plays a mission-critical role in shaping the app’s success. After all, it’s the app idea that will make unique value propositions when executed correctly.
More than half of the companies all around the globe like to start with this discovery stage to find the app idea and validate it. Most companies for the discovery stage have a flimsy budget of just $5,000, and many companies spend more for this initial research. Making the discovery stage successful with a solid investment and team engagement is important for many reasons.
UI Design Stage
When the app development team reaches the stage of UI design, nearly one-third of them spend lower than what they spent in the discovery stage. The vast majority of app projects end up spending $5,000 to $20,000 on UI design.
Finally, coding the app is the core activity in the mobile app development process upon which the entire feature set and functional aspects of the project depend. This involves a greater part of the app budget in most cases. Companies spend more than 60% of their budget on core app development.
Testing and Deployment Stage
Following the conclusion of the app development process, the app project will be subjected to rigorous testing before the app is deployed. For many app projects, testing and deployment still take the least effort and budget. But the more you ignore these two stages, the more the success potential of the app will be compromised.
Variable Costs in Different Parts of the World
The hourly rate developers charge for app projects also depends on where you are hiring the app developers. The development cost largely varies based on the hourly rate of the developers. Some countries are traditionally cheaper with a large pool of talents, while several others have skyrocketing hourly rates.
As of now, India has the most competitive hourly rate for app development which ranges between $25 to $30 per hour. On the other hand, the same in the US stands very close to $50. So, when choosing the developers for your project, hiring offshore developers with great skills and rate is always a great option.
Finally, it is time to wrap up with a sweeping look at the whole mobile app development cost factor. Let’s be precise that nothing dominates the app development cost more than the app complexity, features and size. The second big cost factor is the infrastructure for the app project. And the third is the development app development team. All the third-party tool support and APIs further boost the cost category. The last but not the least cost factor is how rigorous it is to test and deploy the app across platforms.
Juned Ghanchi is the Co-Founder and CMO at IndianAppDevelopers, a mobile app development company that have a specialized team of app developers in India who provides Android and iOS application development for all business domains. Juned is always looking for new mobile technologies ideas and share with others through blogs.