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I can tell you without numbers that today's tech world is the smartphone world. But the statistics show a bit more. Today almost half of the world's population has smartphones. Just think about it, one in two people uses a phone every day. So if you're starting a tech startup, chances are, you'll build an app. And the question “How much does it cost to make an app?” will definitely arise.
There isn't a clear-cut answer to determine the cost of creating an app. Each app is unique. Creating a food-delivery app for the UAE market and a real estate app for the U.S – are two different apps. The processes vary, as do app development costs.
The variation gap could be up to $200,000. "But I still need to plan my budget," you may say. So instead of predicting the exact numbers, you should better ask “What goes into the costs of creating an app?”
This is what I’m going to tell you about in this article. I’ll dive into the app development process, then we’ll move directly to the price. I'll show you how to calculate the cost to make an app for your business, what the app development cost includes, and how to optimize it.
Get yourself comfortable and enjoy the read.
What Affects App Development Cost?
Think of app development as building a house. There are some default things like the foundation, walls, windows, etc. And optional such as a fireplace, garden near the house. The more you want, the more you pay. The material's quality and complexity also matter.
The same with app development. There are a few factors that go into estimating the mobile app development cost:
- Number of platforms
- Technical complexity
- Number of features
- Custom Design
- Location of Development Company
Let's focus on each aspect.
Number of platforms
First, if you choose between the iOS or Android platform for your app, there's no significant cost difference. What is critical here? If you need both, only then the app development cost will rise.
These platforms take over different programming languages, have different SDKs, and use different development tools. It also means that you need a separate team for each platform, and the average cost of app development is doubled.
At first glance, the app is a simple and beautiful tool that solves peoples' problems. But behind the scenes, it's tons of raw data turned into the logical flow, intuitive design, and useful features. And this is what I mean by technical complexity.
If you need an MVP or prototype to test the idea quickly, we will not build a rocket. We'll create an app with basic functionality that helps you check key hypotheses and solves the most crucial pains. The cost of building an app with basic complexity will be nearly $45K.
In another case, if you want to build a compound app, like Slack, we propose a more complex solution. We don't believe in templates and adapt to each client and his/her goals. But complex solutions demand more investments, and it will cost you approximately $120-150K.
Number of Features
Though I put it in the 3rd place, the number of features is what helps you find the answer to the question: 'How much does it cost to build an app?'. Features implemented, as well as technical complexity, are the most significant cost drivers in app development.
By features, I mean all screens, buttons, pages.
The thing here is that the implementation of some features can be significantly lengthy, while others are relatively short. It means each feature affects the final cost of creating an app and the timeline. Here's a list of the most common app features, implementation time needed, and the approximate cost.
So we're moving forward, and the next deed that can add dollars to your check is design. From my experience, astonishing design is what most clients want to stand out with. The times when poorly designed but working app can be accepted by people have gone. Today investors won't consider your product idea if they don't like how it's designed.
App design consists of UI and UX components. Being the two sides of the same coin, UX and UI refer to different aspects of design development.
UX design stands for “user experience.” It’s all about researching, testing how an individual interacts with an app and making the product useful and enjoyable. UX Designer is a separate role in app development so take it into account while estimating the cost of making an app.
UI design is everything you see on the app interface, including icons, spacing, typography, color schemes, etc. All the illustrations and animations also count as the UI design. It is usually pricey to create a custom UI design.
The more advanced and time-consuming design is, the higher the app development cost will be. The cheaper variant suggests using standard and template elements. The quantity of screens is a determining factor too.
Location of Development Company
If you're new to app development or lack the human resources to launch a new app – outsourcing app development could be the way to go. It'll definitely help you cut costs and reach top talents. But rates are different in different countries. For example, hiring a Developer from Canada will cost you nearly $160, while in Ukraine, it'd be $60. So choosing an outsourcing partner is like drafting a sports team. You need the best player for the best price.
In the table below, you can see that Eastern Europe, and in Uptech's case – Ukraine – is the best go-to when it comes to the value vs price ratio.
How to Calculate the App Development Cost?
Let's say you have an idea to build a social app. I broke it down into app features you need and calculated the approximate cost. Check it out.
- Log in – $5000
- In-app onboarding – $4000
- Home page with content – $6000
- User profile – $6000
- Chat – $5000
- Reviews & Likes - $5000
- Search – $4000
- Content filters – $4000
- App settings – $4000
- Content creation (uploading photos, videos) – $5500
- Video player and photo viewer – $4800
- Notifications, alerts – $4000
- Design – $15000
The final sum will be: $72,300.
Average App Development Cost
I mentioned it before and repeated it one more time, each app is unique, and the cost varies depending on each ingredient you put in your app.
The more user roles, screens, logic your app demands, the higher the average price will be. Below, I gathered the most realistic but still average app development cost by app type.
How to Reduce App Development Cost?
Well, $72K can exceed the budget. The good news is that it's not a verdict. There are always options to cut the final cost of developing an app. Here are two tips from me:
- Cut the features set. In the case of the eCommerce app, you can skip user profiles in the first stages. Implement only the necessary features and test the key hypotheses. That's ok to add the rest in the next app version.
- Use template solutions. Instead of custom illustrations and buttons, use UI kits. They cut the designer's resources and the final app development cost as a result.
It's easy to get inspired by the idea but what helps you turn it into reality is – clear mind and good preparations. Calculating the approximate cost of building an app is a part of that preparation. If you're afraid to do something wrong, drop us a line. We'll be happy to hear about your project, help you with estimations, and collaborate.
"It's easy to get inspired by the idea, but what helps you turn it into reality is – clear mind and good preparations."
How Much Does it Cost to Build An App With Uptech?
Before signing the contract with a client, we, of course, make a cost estimation. This is how it looks:
- First, we talk a lot with a client about the product and ask the following:
What should the product look like?
Do you have the design references for the product?
Are there any features that should be in the app?
- Then, we make our own market research, and our team came up with a list of product features;
- Our Solution Architect proposes the best technical solution for the app;
- Our Product Designer prepares mockups of the app;
- Our Business Development Manager thinks of the team size and approximate time estimation of the project based on the information above.
We all know that there are always details affecting the final price, and unexpected things may happen, that’s why we make 3 scenarios: negative, positive, and neutral. Having all these at hand, you feel more confident about the decision, and we’re fully transparent and open with you.
It seems like a lot of work to do. And it's so, but it helps us ensure that the resulting app matches your requirements and, more importantly, is completed within your budget.
To bring you closer to real life, here’s how it works in practice. Usually, the team involved in the app development consists of Product Managers, Developers, Designers, and QA Engineers. The average cost of each specialist is $50/hour. So, if you want to build a medium complexity app that takes 4 - 5 months to complete, the approximate cost would be $100,000 - 120,000.
I tried to give a detailed answer to the question: 'How much does it cost to develop an app?' The key thing is that developing a mobile app is a complicated process and its cost differs depending on the components and professionals involved. Understanding the essential and optional components of the app and the team structure behind the company you'll be hiring will increase your chances of building a savvy yet great product that fits the budget.
If you still have doubts about how much your app idea will cost, drop us a line. We’ll make a rough estimate according to your requirements and the idea description. It could be the beginning of the exciting collaboration!