How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?
Article by DesignRush DesignRush
Last Updated: October 26, 2022

Mobile’s share of digital media time continues growing, accounting for 53.5% of time spent online by working-age internet users. This pushes desktop down as a secondary touchpoint. The total mobile app global revenue is also expected to reach $613 billion by 2025.

Entrepreneurs who intend to build a business around app development look for an answer to the vital question: How much does it cost to build an app?

Several factors contribute to the app development cost. App developers can create a subpar application for a lower price tag or bill you five times higher for an ideally high-quality app.

As business owners, you prefer a realistic depiction of how much it costs to make an app.

In this guide, you will find a breakdown of the costs of launching an app, including:

  • The average app development cost based on standard factors
  • The application platform’s critical role in the final app-making costs
  • How the application development process will affect the cost structure
  • Why the app development cost changes and how you can keep it stable from the original upfront estimate
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How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?

The average app development cost ranges from $80,000 to over $250,000. It will depend on the application type you want to create.

Here is an overview:

  • A simple application costs up to $80,000.
  • A basic database app development cost is between $100,000 and $150,000.
  • An advanced application with multiple complex features and functionalities can cost from $150,000 to $250,000.
  • Gaming apps are priced anywhere from $100,000 to more than $250,000. The pricing will be based on detail and quality.

The delivery time will depend on your choice of app development agency. The dev phase can last for a few weeks to one month for a simple app.

You can expect a database app to be completed in a little over three months, while a more intricate multi-feature application can take three to 10 months to develop.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App: The Determining Factors

These are the three high-level considerations when computing how much it costs to make an app:

1. Number of Platforms

Native Application

A native app is written using the same programming language across the platform for which it is designed. For instance, native apps on iOS use Swift coding language, while Android apps use Java.

Native applications are usually faster and more reliable. These can access a mobile device’s settings and features, such as the address book and camera.

Native app development typically results in a sharper and better overall user experience (UX). And the process can be more expensive than developing other apps.

Cross-Platform or Hybrid Application

Cross-platform or hybrid means the application run on both iOS and Android platforms.

These apps utilize a mix of native technologies and web functionalities distributed via an app store.

2. Design Requirements

If your application design requirements can use a template, the creation will take less time. You also get to save on the app development cost.

Generally, the more customization requirements you have, the higher the app-making costs will be.

These are the standard design requirements to consider:

Visual Design

Visuals give your product its look and feel. The application’s aesthetic quality is vital to its performance. The execution of its appearance also influences the users’ reception of and interaction with the app.

UX Design

The user experience design refers to how the app functions. It is a design requirement and discipline that evaluates user behavior through data to provide specific results. These results include:

  • User engagement
  • Successful subscriptions
  • Everyday usage as an essential part of a user’s life

Keep in mind that the UX design is an ongoing project. It requires regular testing, updating, and improving.

Branding, Icon and Logo

A truly powerful asset, your branding can make or break your venture in the app development market.

It is imperative to invest in creating a solid and memorable icon and logo design. These will make you stand out in the App Store and Play Store, inviting online users to notice you. They impact people’s decision to download your application.

Remember that your app’s icon design needs redoing every few years.

Copywriting Materials

An exciting and compelling copy creates an exceptional UX.

It takes time and effort to find your brand’s tone and style of voice. Identify and get them right by using a persuasive copy motivating users to explore your product.

69% of online consumers say that the timing, quality, and relevance of brand messaging influence their perception of a product. That is why your copy should express the app’s benefits clearly. It should assist users in their navigation, allowing them to maximize their use of the app’s features.

The copy, logo, and icon are valued at $500 to $2,000 each.

You will need to pay more for the visual and UX design. A professional design company can charge up to $20,000 per project.

Most development firms will provide you with a dedicated design team to get it all done for you—from the logo, icons, and graphics to UX design.

If you are looking to hire an in-house design specialist, you can expect an hourly rate of at least $50 for a junior designer. A senior UX designer’s asking rate can go as high as $250 per hour.

3. Complexity

Integrating complex features into an app can make the design, development, and quality assurance (QA) processes more intensive.

These intricacies can include:

  • Email login: Beneficial for data gathering and marketing.
  • Social page login: It allows a quick login for users via Facebook, Instagram, or Google. This is also important for user data collection.
  • User profiles: Should come with the login credentials.
  • Social page integration: This feature allows an app to post on an individual’s social media account. You can leverage this functionality to increase brand awareness and recognition through social sharing and virality.
  • Rating and review system: You can use thumbs up or down. Stars are also effective. You have the option to let users add text to support their rating.
  • In-app purchases: This will let your charge your customers for any additional download or service they wish to utilize within the application.
  • Geolocation: You can collect geographical site information and find users’ location. Besides leveraging valuable data for area-focused marketing, it will make the user experience more relevant and personalized.
  • Data synchronization: This setup will enable users to store and sync data across different devices. This is an excellent feature for applications available on mobile, desktop, and web.

Simpler features, like social integration and login, can add $3,000 to $15,000 to the app development cost. More advanced complexities, such as geolocation and user profiles, can add $7,500 and up to your base app-making cost.

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App Development Pricing Models

App developers will provide you with an initial estimate charged hourly following a pay-as-you-go model. It will be based on the anticipated scope of work.

These are the two most common payment schemes for developing an app:

Fixed Rate

Your app development firm will put together an estimate according to the concept. App development cost paid at a fixed rate is a predictable app pricing form. You will only make deviations and changes when the scope is modified as the project evolves.

Monthly Payments

An upfront estimate will be the basis on your monthly payments. This pricing scheme is most fitting for projects with a more open-ended scope that can be determined further during the development course. You also have the option to pay the app-making costs on a weekly basis.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App: Arriving at an Estimate

Considerations for the app development cost can be broken down into these three factors:

  • Concept: All features and functionalities you want to incorporate into your application
  • Stories: All requirements to be completed to realize the concept
  • Speed: The time it will take to build the app

Understanding the application’s concept and how it matches the features you intend to integrate will help your developers break down the workflow into stories. In turn, these stories will be measured against the expected app creation speed.

These will tell the duration and resources necessary to fulfill the project. The requirements will represent the app development cost.

What To Do When the Initial App Cost Estimate Changes

Ensure your transaction with your development agency is anchored on transparency. Clarify what you expect them to produce.

The app-making costs increase as the product develops typically because its scope also increases. As business owners, you want to offer your target market the best product. You may come up with new ideas, tinker with additional concepts, and expand your visions for the app. Thus, this changes the scope along the way.

When this happens, you can take one of the following steps:

Swap the New Features in Mind

When you get a new idea, ask yourself if it is reasonable and practical to replace a previous one. Or if there is a more feasible and affordable alternative to the new concept. This can help keep you with the same scope and app development cost.

Pay More

Get what you pay for and be willing to shell out extra cash for great adjustments to your app.

Drop the Idea

Revisit the entire scope of the product. Decide on how important it is to integrate your new idea or if it is truly worthwhile to make the modification.

Think through the pros and cons. If it does not add any critical value to the application, it may be best not to pursue it. Or you can push back the idea at this phase and reexamine it at a later stage.

Average App Development Process Period Length

Building a good quality minimum-viable product (MVP) may take 20 weeks or four to five months.

Making simpler apps may need a shorter period, around three months. And creating a high-end complex-scale application may go on for as long as over six months.

4 Ways to Make an App

The app development cost will be affected significantly by who will work on it. The team you will hire is as important a differentiator as the idea and functionalities your app will have.

While opting for inexpensive services for the application design may work great, selecting your developers will require more meticulous decision-making.

Below are the four options available for who will build your app, plus their advantages and disadvantages:

1. Offshore Teams

Hiring the services of a remote team of developers may be your most affordable choice.

The risk involves compromising the final output’s quality. You can request a portfolio to at least see their previous work.

When outsourcing app development to offshore specialists, you get a team at the minimum to create simpler products. But you do not get a full-fledged team of designers, product managers, and senior developers.

2. Freelancer Developers

Similar to remote developers, employing freelancers will cost you less. Besides that, there are not many advantages to onboarding freelancers.

They can be a friend, a student or a professional looking for opportunities on freelancers’ websites.

The disadvantages involve the absence of quality communication. And the process may move slower as junior freelancers may show lack of adequate experience in the field.

3. Technical Co-Founders

Your technical co-founders are an excellent option and will make an incredible asset.

They are established entrepreneurs with a proven track record in software creation. Since they are paid in equity and usually have a large share in your company, they will be committed to software development’s long-term success.

4. An Established App Development Agency

Look through several app development firms. Read client reviews and research on their reputation and accolades.

Once you shortlist a number of agencies, you can meet them to learn more about their specializations. Ask for references or clients they previously worked with to vouch for their credibility and work quality.

Ultimately, choose the company with the ability to fulfill.

An app development company may be the most expensive option but choosing this route is your most guaranteed way to create an excellent product.

3 Things to Note When Hiring Developers

1. Your Product Is the Priority.

You have to be prepared for how much it costs to build an app.

When developing a great software product, choose to spend wisely. While funds matter, product quality should be on top of mind.

For instance, Instagram, a visibly successful mobile application, spent around $250,000 for its prototype alone. And in less than one year after its launch, the social media platform was priced at more than one billion dollars.

The final output’s success will speak for its quality. You may save a few thousands but end up making an inferior product. This would not justify the savings and only highlight the loss.

2. A Good UX/UI Design Is Essential.

You can produce great technology. But if it is designed poorly, barely anyone will interact with your software.

The role of this aspect is equally important as the technical one. A well-designed app will be profitable because it is an easy-to-navigate and user-friendly tool with a clear interface.

3. Marketing Is a Must.

Even a well-executed application needs proper sales and marketing activities to sell. You will get your targeted return on investment (ROI) on time when you invest in app marketing.

Test different channels and compare insights. It is recommended to start early to ensure you have users waiting in line for your app’s release.

Top App Development Agencies in 2022

1. MindK

  • Location: 1630 Clay Street, San Francisco, California 94109, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $50/hr
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Website Development, Software Development, IT...

Be it an iOS app, Android app, progressive web app or cross-platform application — MindK is a custom software development company that can turn your vision into a real, tangible solution.

Aside from app and software development, MindK provides application testing and quality assurance services to ensure your product’s success. These include UI, requirements, functionality, automation and regression testing.

MindK has worked with clients in the eLearning, finance, HR and recruitment, real estate and energy sectors, among others.

2. Techvantage Innovations

  • Location: No13 Daniel Amokachi Street, 69 Road Behind Cocin Church, Abuja, 900108, Nigeria
  • Average Hourly Rate: $30/hr
  • Expertise: Web Design, Mobile App Development, Website Development, UI/UX Design...

With over five years of industry experience, TechVantage Innovations is a leading Nigerian agency that leverages the latest technologies to deliver one-stop ICT solutions.

The agency has highly qualified development teams that can create custom software and mobile apps tailored to your business goals and requirements. They also offer web development, UI/UX design, big data development and SEO.

Their clients include Tybitx, Joke Silva, Hapicom Books and DK Foundation.

3. Binariks

  • Location: 444 Alaska Avenue, Torrance, CA, USA, Torrance, California 90503, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $50/hr
  • Expertise: IT, Mobile App Development, Software Development, UI/UX Design...

With its headquarters in the US and delivery centers in Central and Eastern Europe, Binariks has built digital tech partnerships with clients worldwide. The agency has been in the industry for over 20 years.

For mobile development, Binariks works with innovative mobile technologies to build innovative apps for iOS and Android. The agency also offers web and AWS development, cloud solutions, UI/UX design and dedicated teams.

Binariks is geared toward the healthcare, insurance, education, delivery, automotive, and fintech industries.

4. Abto Software

  • Location: 303 Fifth Avenue, Ste 1101, New York City, New York 10016, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $49/hr
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Software Development, Software Testing, eCommerce Development...

Founded in 2007, Abto Software boasts a tech stack comprising most of the modern languages, focusing on Microsoft technologies (.NET framework) and specializing in enterprise-level software systems.

The agency has vast expertise in app development, covering various platforms and solutions. Aside from iOS, Android, Windows and rich mobile web app development, they are also experienced in IP telephony for mobile, VoIP/softphone development, mobile learning solutions and more.

The agency's clients include JustAnswer, Skybow, Ukrainian Railways, Lime-Tec and Metalogix.

5. Azmi Studio

  • Location: Dhanmondi 4a, Zigatola Post Office Road, Dhaka, 1209, Bangladesh
  • Average Hourly Rate: $30
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Outsourcing Software Development, Internet of Things, Software Development...

Azmi Studio are serving various industries with AR/VR/MR solutions across the globe with their enthusiastic teamwork which helped them to achieve a lot of milestones in a short span of time.

Azmi Studio is the fastest growing Mobile/PC Game & AR/VR/MR Company that is getting its footfalls across the globe with its quality deliverance with unique and custom-made solutions.

Clients include Awakeen Studio, Happy Tube, Targetoo...

6. Creative Tim

  • Location: Romania, Bucharest, Bucharest, 010281, Romania
  • Average Hourly Rate: $80
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, eCommerce App Development, eCommerce Web Design, B2B Website Design...

More than just a team, you get an ecosystem of tools, skills & know-how. You don't need to pay for powerful computers or search months for the right people. Start your development faster and scale at a fraction of the cost.

Clients include RCos Solutions, Paybilla, Melkior Professional etc.

7. Ein-des-ein

  • Location: Sichovykh Striltsiv St, 11 49000, Dnipro, 49000, Ukraine
  • Average Hourly Rate: $40
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android App Development, iPhone App Development, UI/UX Design...

Ein-des-ein provides a wide range of design and mobile/web app development services for companies with aspiration to build and develop great products. They operate in 10+ industries.

The ein-des-ein mission is to provide high-quality design & tech solutions that help businesses grow, boost revenues, and achieve ambitious goals.

Agency grew out of a one-person company and became a diverse team of professional designers and developers. 

Clients include Scholarcy, KyivPost, Apiway and The Motor Chain.

8. Master Of Code Global

  • Location: 541 Jefferson Ave, Suite 100, Redwood City, California 94063, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $99
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Enterprise Mobile App Development, eCommerce Development, Artificial Intelligence...

Master Of Code Global's AI projects include conversation design services from a dedicated designer. They use data to inform their design decisions ensuring your customer pain points are addressed and solved with automation, reducing your agent overhead costs.

Founded in 2004, with 6 offices around the world and now more than 250+ people, their team has the depth of experience to bring strategic technical perspective, as well as the breadth of resources necessary to execute those technical strategies.

Clients include Aveda Corporation, Luxury Escapes, T-Mobile - Mobile telecommunication company...

9. Presta

  • Location: Dobracina 30b, Belgrade, 11000, Serbia
  • Average Hourly Rate: $60
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, eCommerce App Development, Software Development, WooCommerce Development...

Presta's team includes experts from different fields and technologies and they try to maintain regular weekly lectures, which also contributes to their large dissemination of knowledge. 

Presta wants to gather talented and skilled experts and give them freedom to create amazing things without fear of failure. They are keeping our work environment relaxed and positive which makes us feel happy and we feel good about coming to work.

Clients include SCRATCHY, DECHKOTZAR, INTERNATIONAL WATER ASSOCIATION

10. Slingshot

  • Location: 700 N Hurstbourne Pkwy #120, Louisville, Kentucky 40222, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $149
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, UI/UX Design, Web Design, Software Development, AWS...

Slingshot is a software and app development company specializing in taking their clients' vision from idea to launch. Their unique blend of strategy, design, and development allows them to deliver solutions that are impactful, elegant, and built to last.

Whether you're a Fortune 50 company wanting to streamline your process or a small organization needing to create a mobile app, their daredevils would be happy to help. 

Clients include MetLife, PetFirst, Churchill Downs, University of Louisville...

11. DIGIEGGS LTD

  • Location: KAZIMDIRIK MAH. 296 SK. NO.8 IC KAPI NO.801 BORNOVA / IZMIR 35100, Izmir, 35100, Turkey
  • Average Hourly Rate: $40
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android App Development, UI/UX Design, AWS...

DIGIEGGS is a software and consultancy company specializing in new-generation software and project development. DIGIEGGS has developed many projects from comprehensive projects to company-specific projects and provides various consultancy supports to many companies.

The agency, with its 8 years of experience, currently provides support in designing and developing mobile applications, closely follows software trends in different specialities.

Clients include Qubit, Yasar, Karshare, Lineris etc.

12. iWebServices

  • Location: Ground Floor, Tower A, Stellar IT Park, Sector - 62, Noida, Noida, 201309, India
  • Average Hourly Rate: $25
  • Expertise: eCommerce Development, Mobile App Development, Website Development, UI/UX Design...

iWebServices aims to give their clients an edge by building high-performing and robust Web, Mobile Apps, SmartTV Apps, Wearable Apps & Progressive Web Applications.

With a skilled workforce of 100+ team members, they have an experienced team of UI/UX experts, full-stack frontend engineers, certified mobile app and backend developers, creative designers, and other professionals who help clients accomplish their project within the specified time-frame.

Clients include AirTel, Snag Pad, Nike, Hero...

13. AppZoro Technologies Inc.

  • Location: 3423 Piedmont Rd NE, STE 320, Atlanta, Georgia 30305, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $25
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android App Development, iPhone App Development, Website Development...

AppZoro Technologies is a mobile app development company that develops android apps, iOS apps, custom software, or websites.

They also provide UI/UX services, startup consultant services, hybrid application development services, game development services, IoT Services, and many more.

Clients include Fitness Bank, ImSafeNow, Spa Space, Guardian...

14. Cmile

  • Location: New Kalpatru Society, Timber Market Road, Pune, 411042, India
  • Average Hourly Rate: $20
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android App Development, iPhone App Development, Educational App Development...

Cmile are experts in App Development & Marketing that provide end-to-end solutions. They have a proper coordinating partnership between the company's intramural internal environments and emerging external IT surroundings.

The agency strives to deliver solution-oriented services. Our team handles every project with great diligence and provides the ideal solution with a transparent pricing model to boost business growth.

Clients include San Diego State University, Synkrama, KlomaCare...

15. Dogtown Media

  • Location: 228 Main Street, Suite 4, Venice, California 90291, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $140
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Boutique App Development, Healthcare Mobile App Development, iPhone App Development...

Dogtown Media analyzes and designs every aspect of your project to ensure that its engaging, stylish, and easy to use. Their coding Specialities include iPhone App Development, iPad Apps, NodeJS, Internet of Things (IoT), Connected Devices (BLE), User Experience (UX), User Interface Design (UI), API Development, Android App Development.

The agency also offers free consultation services.

Clients include Google, Red Bull, Lexus, Citi Bank etc.

16. Aspirity

  • Location: 1390 Market Street, Suite 200 San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, California 94104, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $50/hr
  • Expertise: Mobile App Development, Website Development, Software Development

Aspirity is a development agency composed of engineers, project managers and designers who develop IT and software solutions focused on user experience and top-performing code.

Development projects are assigned to a team of top engineers led by a senior tech lead and a project manager. Their expertise covers a wide array of technologies, including JavaScript, TypeScript, React.js and Node.js. Aside from mobile app development, Aspirity also offers front-end and back-end development, web design and product management.

Their clients include Schibsted Media Group, Arctic Group and Shoreline.io.

Wrap-Up: How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?

So, how much does it cost to build an app? It will depend on how you intend to create the software and what you want to achieve with it.

The answer can range from several hundred dollars to several thousands.

Before getting to a definitive app development cost, here are more guide questions you may want to look at:

  • Who will develop the application?
  • What applications have your developers created before?
  • How much time will your developers need to deliver the product?
  • Will they use a native or hybrid coding language?
  • What functionalities and features do you want to see in the final product?
  • Do you plan to build the app from the ground up? Or is it possible to use a prebuilt platform and premade templates and features?
  • Who will head the management, development, and engineering?
  • What are the bases for the app-making cost calculation?
  • Are there ways for you to cut down the costs?
  • How much will you spend on the app design?
  • How much will you need for the ongoing infrastructure?
  • Will there be app administration fees involved?
  • What will be the deployment costs?

The true app development costs may be so much more than you think, but they can also be so much less when you employ the right people who use the correct tools.

We’ll find qualified app development agencies for your project, for free.
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