How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mobile App?

October 10, 2022

Posted by: DevDigital

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mobile App?

This must be one of the most common questions that mobile application developers encounter. Potential clients understandably want to know how much of an investment they must make before they commit to creating and launching an app. The reality of software development is that the true development cost can be impossible to know without understanding the details of a project. What does the app do? How sophisticated does the user interface need to be? How many functions does the app perform? Those questions that will be on a developer’s mind get at the variables that influence development time. Of course, development time is the main factor in the development cost.

Variables That Influence Cost

A variety of factors influence the final cost of a mobile app.

  • Features – The less the app does and the less complicated each feature is, the lower the cost. Bear in mind that the cost to implement a feature can vary tremendously and a simple feature may take a good deal of coding to implement. Just because a feature is super easy to explain, that does not mean it will be easy to create the feature.
  • Complexity – The number of design elements it takes to complete the user interface (UI) will add to the cost. A UI that includes sound effects and multiple animated graphics is going to be far more expensive than a simple menu on a two-color screen with the company logo.
  • Platform – Development for either Android or iOS “native” should cost about the same. Doing both, creating a “cross-platform” app that can run on both operating systems will cost more because the two operating systems differ in numerous ways. A hybrid app is a web app wrapped up to run on either Android or iOS devices.
  • Maintenance and Support – Any app with become outdated or vulnerable to hacking over time. Game developers need to roll out new features to keep players engaged. Business-oriented apps also need regular attention to keep customers engaged. In the app store, it might not look good if the app has not been updated in two years.

In summary, scoping a project is not always simple and without a scope, there is no way to offer a useful cost estimate. A good app developer will ask questions about the features and functions that a customer needs in order to accurately calculate labor hours and the cost.

Estimated Price Ranges for App Development

Various online sources offer different cost estimates based on what the app does or how complicated it is. Logically, they all agree that a simple app with one main function and a straightforward interface might only cost $10,000. Think of an app that saves a shopping list. A fitness tracker that stores data and shows the user’s progress or achievements over time may be double the cost. An eCommerce app with a shopping cart, personalized recommendations, a shopping list function, different payment options, and other shopping functions will come at the high end of the range. Games can end up costing from $10,000 to $200,000-plus depending on the game’s complexity.

The difference between “simple” and “complex” is not straightforward. A simple data app that tells you if another app user is nearby would be very expensive. The app needs to collect and share data from each user, which is easy enough. But it also needs to constantly track your location and other online users’ locations, then send an alert when two users get within, say, 25 yards of each other.

How We Scope a Mobile App Project

We cannot provide a good cost estimate without taking some time to scope the project, which is another way of saying we need to evaluate the features and functions the app requires. As with any experienced development shop, DevDigital has historical data on how much labor different development tasks require. This makes it easier to generate an estimate that will be close to the final cost.

A project manager will have plenty of questions related to the design and other requirements. This includes the user interface, as the more complex that has to be, the more the app will cost. The other key cost factor at this point is whether the app will be for iOS or Android, or both. The project manager may also have a sense of what you need and how difficult it will be. They can provide a ballpark estimate and suggest an alternate way to achieve a similar result for the customer’s ultimate buyers.

Mobile App Costs Are Highly Variable

Mobile application development costs vary widely based on functions, complexity, platform, and UI requirements. You could spend anywhere from $10,000 to north of $300,000. Whether you have a simple game in mind or a complex e-commerce app, DevDigital’s experience creating over 100 iOS and Android apps provides us with the experience it takes to get it done. Contact us to set up a short discovery call.

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