Mobile App Development

The Complete App Development Cost Guide

The Complete App Development Cost Guide_1161746551

When a business plans to create an app, their motivation behind it is to attract more users. Most people prefer shopping, ordering food, booking a ticket and much more on mobiles these days. It is convenient for them, and if you want your business to thrive, you need to have an app.

Business owners want an app that has low development cost but provides high ROI. Now, developing an app like that requires a team, technology, designing and so on. The hours taken by all these features plus the rate of mobile app developers are the final price of your app.

Now, when building your app, the first question you will ask what is the app development cost? In this blog, we will find the answer to this question.

Some amazing mobile app statistics

Some amazing mobile app statistics

How much does it cost to build an app?

Here are the Factors that influence the cost to build a mobile app

1. Discovering your app

When you have an app idea, you need to validate it before you can start your development process. App development companies have different methods for the same. The methods include analyzing the competitors, monitoring the user-persona and market capitalization.

Researching the market: In this stage, you research what the app users like. The device they use the feature they want and love on the apps that are similar to the client’s app. Market research about the competitors also takes place at this stage.

User Personas: Development cost of the app depends on size, app design, features and so on. And all this depends on user demographics. That is why it is crucial to have knowledge about the same.

Market Capitalization: Here you measure the worth of the app in terms of user and revenue generation.

The agenda behind discovering an app is to validate the idea and create a rough plan to make it unique.

The approximate time needed for this is between 40 – 80 hours.

2. Analyzing and documenting

Now it’s time to prepare the document having details about the app technology, design and so on.

  • The complexity of the app: The number of features an app has defines its complexities. There are 5 things that affect the cost here:

Deployment Architecture Model – It deals with a backend that takes user information and uses it to solve the user’s problem. For this, you have two options- Custom or BaaS. In Custom, clients have the architecture of their own while in BaaS, clients get readymade backend architecture.

Admin Panel Development – Admin panel is the part of the app monitors and manages the whole app. For this, they don’t need the help of mobile app developers.

Third Party Integration – For when your app needs to access features of some other app. For instance, using PayPal or Social media log-in, in your app.

In-App Purchase – As most apps let the user pay online, this is a great feature to have.

Device’s Hardware – Smartphones and tablets come with a lot of features like Bluetooth, GPS and so on. It also increases the complexity of the app development process.

Now, depending on the features the app complexities increases. It will increase the price too. Types of apps and their cost based on complexities are:

Simple Apps –Simple apps have basic features, standard UI components, and the simplest backend. Time- The development time is around 600 – 900 hours.

Mid Level Apps –Advance features like API Integration, custom UI, messaging in real time with the simple backend is a mid-level app.

Time– The development time is somewhere between 900 – 1600 hours.

Complex Apps –Apps with high functionalities like – animation, media processing, real-time data sync and so on. They have complex backend and a different database type. Time- The development time is more than 1600 hours.

  • App Category

How much does it cost to build a mobile App also depends on app category. Different app category defines the users, features, functionalities that they will have. All this adds to the cost of app development.

Stand Alone Apps – don’t require a network to run. Also, they are not dependent on any device features. Standalone apps have low data and development cost.  Example- Clock and calendar.

The development time of independent apps with minimal features is around 600 – 900 hours

Social Networking Apps –A social networking app like Facebook is quite popular these days. They have a number of features like third-party app integration, using device’s media files and camera, messaging, geo-location integration and so on.

It serves millions of users and needs to develop in a secure ecosystem. It means that the cost of such an app will be high.

To develop social media app, the cost will be 1800 – 2500 hours

develop social media app

As you can see m-commerce apps are getting popular day by day. It is a good idea to have an app for your clothing store.

mCommerce Apps –Online retail market continues to grow as a user prefer to shop on mobile apps. They prefer it both websites and physical store.

Such apps perform in real time and cater to millions of users. They need strong security against hackers and require powerful backend. The backend should be strong enough to handle constant page update and maintenance. They have more features than a social networking site and their cost is even higher.

mCommerce Apps like Alibaba or eBay will cost around 2000 hours and above.

On-Demand Apps –An on-demand app means developing there apps. It caters to three people- user, delivery service and the business. The UI and app design is different for all three adding to the cost.

It has a number of features and functionalities like in-app payment, GPS tracking and so on. All this and the fact that it’s three apps makes it a huge investment.

On-Demand Apps cost around 2000 hours and above.

Enterprise Mobile AppsEnterprise Mobile Apps are more precise to ease the work of the employee. It aids them to make their work smooth and help the business to grow. It means that the efforts will be more meaning the development cost of the app will definitely be high.

Developing Enterprise Mobile Apps will cost you around $50,000 to $1,75,000.

  • Hardware

Depending on the hardware an app use, the cost of the app increases. For an IoT app, the cost will be high as they require collaboration with the hardware to let the user pull data and send commands.

An app that depends a lot on hardware will cost somewhere around $30,000 – $ 40,000

3. App Design

App design is the next factor that influences the app development cost. If you want to attract and engage more users on your app, focusing on its design is imperative. The most important decision regarding this is custom or standard UI. Custom UI is more expensive than standard one.

app development cost

  • Wireframing

The user experience map and features are integrated into the app using Wireframing. If the app development company develops it, you will pay for it.  If the client has a ready wireframing, there will be no cost.

  • Designing the User-Interface

Depending on your OS, you can choose the UI platform. For Android, Material Design is best and for iOS apps, you can use Flat Design. Make sure that the UI is simple to use and navigate.

  • Animation

An animation is essential in apps like gaming and SnapChat (Social media app). Integrating animation makes the app more attractive, but it also complicates the development process. Thus, the price of the app will be on the high side.

The cost of app design varies depending on the factors that we read above. For a simple design, the cost will be around 150 hours while, for complex app design, the cost will be around 400 hours.

4. The platform of the app

The platform of the app and the number of OS, the app will launch to also influence the cost of the app.

Native apps For Android and iOS– The difference between the cost of developing a native app for Android and iOS is not much. With Android, the price can get a bit high when you develop an app for multiple devices with different OS versions. Apple uses swift for coding while Android uses Java.

Web App– Web apps like progressive web apps and others are cost effective. Their cost is somewhere around $15,000 to $ 30,000.

Cross-Platform App Development– Many businesses hire app development companies that can develop a cross-platform app. The reason- developing app for Android and iOS simultaneously is much cheaper. Using cross-platform app development, you have various benefits like-reusing code, less time and effort. For this, you can either user Flutter or React Native platforms.

  • Flutter

It is a new entrant in the market with many benefits. It provides complete native experience, has support in terms of detailed documentation and its running time is 60 FPS. The one drawback is that it is fairly new and dart programmers are rare. Due to this, using it will increase your cost of cross-platform app development. Using flutter the cost of app development will be around $15,000 to $40,000

  • React Native

React Native is the first choice for Cross-Platform App Development. Many developers use this framework for Android and iOS app development. It is cost effective app development using React Native cost around $15,000 to $50,000

  • Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps are a mixture of both web and native apps. You install them like a native app, but it works like a web app.

With PhoneGap, Ionic, and Sencha Touch, you can develop Hybrid apps, but they are not so popular anymore. The cost of development of Hybrid app is exactly half of the Native apps. It makes it a desirable option for low-budget companies.

  • Blockchain Apps

The latest trend is of developing an app that uses the blockchain technology.

The lack of knowledge of blockchain technology and developers are the reason the cost is high for this.

There are two types of blockchain development platforms – Permissioned and Public.

Permission Blockchain development cost is higher because it provides advanced security than Public.

The cost of Blockchain app development is around $30,000 to $1, 80,000.

5. Deploying the app

Your app development process was a long one with lots of efforts involved. That is why, before deploying the app makes sure that it adheres to guidelines which are specific to both the App Store and Play Store.

App store and play store rejects a number of apps because they don’t fulfill some criteria. It is the responsibility of the app development companies to check whether the app fulfills every criterion.

Deploying the app on store needs a small one-time fee. For Google, it is $25 while Apple charges $99/ year.

6. Maintaining the app

The expenses for an app development don’t end with its launch. Through the app’s life, it changes.  The changes are due to bug fix or due to modifying the app due to OS updating or launch of the new device. The maintenance support of the app cost a lot too.

Updating the app: The app needs to upgrade to fit the new device or OS. Also, developers keep adding new features and all in the app. For updating, you require wireframe which the clients approve.

Fixing the bugs in the app: Every app has a bug, and some apps show bugs only after publishing. So, keep a look out for them.

Changes in app designs: App designs get boring and old, and ultimately it stops appealing to the users. So, you need to keep changing the look of your app. It should be not too often, but minute changes are welcomed.

Maintenance support cost of the app is calculated yearly. The valuation is 20% on the cost of app development.

7. Reusing the code

The biggest cost reducing factor is code reuse. When a mobile app developer reuses the code of an existing app in your app, the price decreases a lot. But if you are not careful about reusing code of only common features like contact us, your app will not have a unique brand.

The cost of the app that uses existing codes is 20-30% lesser than the apps that don’t reuse codes.

8. The team developing the app

Whether you hire a freelancer to develop your app or contact the top mobile app development companies will influence the cost.

A freelancer, startup (max 50 people) or a small team of 4-5 developers would charge you less. Some parts of the app development are outsourced too. The Apps Developed by them will cost you around $2000 to $25,000.

A big app development company with thousands of employee will charge you more.  They have experts too. Also, such companies work with clients who have a good idea and can pay for that. They charge around cost $450,000 to $1,500,000 for developing your apps.

An app development company that has 500-1000 employees with experts will charge a moderate sum. The cost of hiring them will be around $25,000 to $2,00,000.

The last two types of development companies have a huge team for app development that includes:

  • Project Manager
  • Technology Expert (Blockchain, AI, IOT)
  • Business Analyst
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Technical Lead
  • iOS/Android Developer
  • Analyst for quality check

Note: The above estimation of cost is done keeping in mind mid-complex app. If you go for highly complex apps with enhanced features, the cost will increase. It is because sometimes the companies have to hire experts for the same.

9. Location of the mobile app developer

Location of the developer and the app development companies also influence the price. If you compare the hours from east to west, there is a huge difference which in turns, affects the cost of app development.

Location of the mobile app developer

North America $100 – $150

Russia $25 – $45

South America $50 – $60

India 10-$80 and so on


As we read above app development cost depends on various factors. From design to types of apps, maintenance cost and developers rate everything influences the cost of your app.

Also, the location of the developer plays a huge role in deciding the cost. If you hire an Indian based company, the cost will be $25-$80 per hour. While in the western region, the cost will be about $100-$350 per hour.

Ajay Goyal
About author

Ajay Goyal is the founder of Endive Software, is the leading IT Company based on India. He works dedicatedly with the clients to give industry-based results. His passion for learning the trending technology aids the team members to introduce unique and brainstorming. He runs development services like mobile app development and web development for enterprises and startups.
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