Let’s face it: Just having a brilliant app idea is not enough. You also need money to execute it. Sooner or later, money would end up being a deciding factor for your app to calculate the cost of an app. Also, you wouldn’t want to go straight ahead with developing your app only to realize you have gone over budget. That’s why it’s essential to know the estimated cost of your app.
Yet, how much it costs to build an app is another hot discussion. Calculating the accurate cost of an app is not easy as every app is different. Still, there is a way to calculate the estimated cost of an app. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the process to calculate the cost of an app. Let’s begin:
How Much Does a Mobile App Cost?
Depending on the type of app you want to create, the average cost of a mobile app falls anywhere between $20,000 – $300,000. Here’s a simple table for a better understanding:
Type of App
Less than 1 Month
Calculators, Camera, Clock
Weather, Stocks, Calendar
Loyalty Program Apps
Social Networking app
$65,000 – $300,000
Up to 9 Months
Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook
$65,000 – $300,000
Up to 9 Months
$70,000 – $100,000+
(basic, per platform)*
Marketplace app (multilevel web platform)
IoT & Hardware App
Amazon Dash Buttons, Beacons
What Other Factors Drive the Cost of a Mobile App?
Type of the mobile app and the development time are not the only app development cost drivers. Here are a few other aspects that influence to calculate the cost of an app.
Features are the most significant cost drivers in mobile app development. The relationship is simple. The higher the number of features, the more time it will take for development, and the higher the cost.
Here’s a simple cost breakdown by an app’s basic features to calculate the cost of an app:
Estimated Cost (based on $40/hour)
28 – 42 Hours
$11,00 – $17,00
20 – 30 Hours
$800 – $1200
23 – 29 Hours
$900 – $1150
47 – 62 Hours
$1800 – $2450
13 – 18 Hours
$500 – $700
160 – 170 Hours
$6400 – $6800
25 – 32 Hours
$1000 – $1300
Basic Admin Panel: User Management
66 – 90 Hours
$2500 – $3500
Basic Admin Panel: Payment Management
23 – 44 Hours
$900 – $1700
Basic Admin Panel: Push Notifications
8 – 14 Hours
$300 – $600
The costs will further go up if you’re going for advanced features. Have a look at the cost breakdown by advanced features.
75 – 125 Hours
$3000 – 4500
60 – 75 Hours
$2500 – $3000
100 – 150 Hours
$3500 – $5500
250 – 350 Hours
$10,250 – $1500
There are also some other app features that your app may need depending on your requirements, such as, social media plugins and in-app purchases. The costs will further go up if you include them.
Note: Your app may need a few other features that you may anticipate in the beginning. So, make sure you keep in mind these unexpected expenses while calculating the budget of your app.
2. Application Platform
The application platform will also play a critical role in deciding the overall cost of your app. The development cost for the basic version of a mobile app for both platforms is almost the same.
However, prices differ as we dig deeper and the complexity increases and iOS apps tend to be slightly more expensive than Android ones.
Besides, here are a few things we have noticed:
- The average hourly rates for iOS developers are slightly higher than for Android developers.
- When it comes to Android and iOS app design, Android app designs are somewhat costlier than iOS app design.
- The average cost of iOS app development is lesser than Android development.
Keeping these factors in mind, we can calculate how much it will cost to build an app on iOS or Android.
However, if you don’t have enough budget to spare, Cross-platform app development is another brilliant option. By using a cross-platform development framework like Flutter – you can bring down costs by 30-40% as you don’t have to rewrite the code for each platform.
3. Location & Structure of Your Development Team
The development costs are also heavily influenced by the number of members in the app development team and the location they operate from. Here is an image showing how much app development teams charge based on location.
Figure 1: How Much App Development Teams Charge
4. Project Management Triangle
Time, Scope, and Cost are three essential project management constraints. Here’s how they’re related:
- An increased scope often increases the time and cost.
- Tight time constraint often leads to more cost and reduced scope.
- Tight budget reduces size and increases time.
You can also take into account finance, time, and human resources while deciding on the cost of your app. Here’s how they’re related:
- To finish a job quickly, you need more people and have to spend more money.
- To increase your project’s scope, you’ll have to spend more money.
- If you cut on your budget, quality will be affected.
Overall, as the famous proverb “Good, fast, cheap. Choose two” – you must sacrifice one thing for another.
5. App Maintenance
Just because we developed an app doesn’t mean the expenses will stop. Instead, they will begin after that. You need to spend some money from time to time to ensure your app keeps working efficiently. Here are a few such app maintenance costs:
- Bug fixing and quality assurance
- App maintenance to ensure high performance
- Code Optimization
- Adding new features in your app
- Upgrade to the latest operating system
- Offering support to latest versions of 3rd party services
Complexity also drives the cost of a mobile app. Let’s have a look how the app development cost differs as the complexity of the app arises:
Cost: 400+ hours
Cost: 500-800+ hours
Cost: 800-1500+ hours
Techniques for Calculating Mobile App Development Costs
Here’s a formula to calculate how much it will cost to build an app yourself.
Total Development Time * Hourly Rate = App Development Cost
Some companies will even give you a rough estimate before starting working on your project.
The mobile app development companies will charge you in two ways:
Companies use this approach when the scope of work and the timeline are clear. The upside of this approach is that you have clarity on how much you will have to spend right from the beginning.
Used for projects where deadlines are unclear, the project may stretch longer than expected.
Why do Mobile App Projects Go Over Budget?
- Your app development team overlooks the need for multi-platform support only to realize its importance later. As a result, the app needs re-development for other platforms, and your app development costs go up.
- The app development team concludes that your app needs integration with third-party APIs, CRMs, and other services. It increases the app development costs.
- Businesses often overlook marketing costs when setting up a budget for their mobile app. Only later, they realize its importance.
How to Ensure It Doesn’t Happen with You?
- Do thorough market research before building your app. Analyze other apps, define your target audience, and see what can cost you money.
- Hire a development team that offers complete app development services. Specialists like mobile app architects think through the entire app and save you from unexpected costs.
- While setting a budget for your mobile app, don’t forget to consider expenses like marketing and maintenance costs.
So, hopefully, the blog gave you an overview of how you can calculate the cost of an app. Now, let’s put the learning to action. Please let us know in the comments if you face any issues.