How Much Does It Really Cost To Build An App?

Seems like everyone has a mobile app no matter what size of business they are running. Since they are so popular, and becoming so necessary they must be inexpensive, right? Some apps are free or nearly free to download even if you have to put up with annoying ads. However, a mobile app developer does more than simply plug in a little code and send you on your way. A solid, useful app requires good planning, a strong conceptual foundation, top-notch talent and an exceptional ecosystem. Skimp on any one of these and the app will have no value which negatively affects your ROI of the finished product. So, how much does a good, usable, sharable app really cost?

What kind of app are you building?

A large part of the costs associated with building a mobile app will depend on the type of application you need and the level of functionality it will provide. A business app will have to cater to the needs of their clientele. Some of the types of app a mobile app developer may create include:

  • Basic functions to improve the mobile device
  • Database driving functions to organize programs or files
  • Games which are complex
  • Enhancement to improve a specific function of mobile devices
  • Dynamic which are data driven but rely on external information
  • Customized which allow users to format content in specific ways

Stages of Developing Mobile Apps

Developing an app occurs in four stages:

  1. Starts with an idea then shifts to developing the concept further.
  2. Laying out the functionality of the app like determining what the app will do, where will it get inputs and how will it be useable in the market.
  3. Designing the backend and frontend of the app focusing on customizing the user experience, integrating, caching and synchronizing data, UI design and scheduling tests.
  4. Taking it live.

Estimated costs of Building an App

Building an app isn’t usually done by a single mobile app developer, it’s a team which is purposefully built. A mobile app development team usually consists of at least four people, all of which are trying to make a living. These include:

  • A project manager who will oversee the mobile app development process
  • A UI or UX designer to concentrate on the user experience and how well the app can benefit users
  • A coder who oversees the code or hidden structure that makes the app work
  • A QA engineer who oversees app testing protocol

The cost will depend largely on how complex the app is going to be and how long it takes to build it. A simple app may be done in about 10 weeks. From an idea to a design to the backend development can take as many as 800 total hours. Complex apps take more like 28 weeks to develop. Designing it takes about 370 hours and the end development can take as many as 2200 hours. Another factor to consider is if the app is for an Android or Apple device.

Android and iPhone App Development Costs

Android apps are more expensive to build than iOS apps. For Androids, a basic app can be as low as $25,000 and a high-tech app can be as high as $150,000. Estimated costs to develop apps for iOS, or Apple can range between$1000 and $4000 for a basic or simple app. Database apps run between $8,000 and $50,000 on average; and games for iOS range from $10,000 to $25,000. Remember that adding other features like web services, in-app purchase capability, share capabilities and other features will only drive the cost of app development up.