Developing an application is an exciting yet challenging endeavor. Especially, if you are new to this process and cannot even make an assumption as to how much does it cost to make an app for your business. The truth is, no one can give you an accurate estimate without learning about your company, your business goals, your app features, user flows, your budget, etc. Obviously, going into the development task without having a thorough plan is not going to bring you closer to success. This article will revolve around the app development cost and how to minimize it.

App development cost

 

How to estimate my app development cost

Mobile app development cost can dramatically vary depending on a number of factors. How much does an app cost to make? According to Clutch, the average cost of creating an app is $171,450, whereas you can build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for $10,000 to $20,000. This significant difference in costs of app development is contingent on the complexity of the product, the density of features, the location of the vendor, the operating system or platform, and several other factors. We will consider all the criteria in more detail to determine how the app development cost comes together.

Factors which determine the final cost

How much does it cost to develop a mobile app? Which features make the app development cost go up and how do you find the right vendor to save on the service provider charges?

Top apps cost

Application type

Let’s break down the application types and calculate their average cost.

 

Basic app

Basic apps like calculators, clocks, and small games are the cheapest applications to develop. These are solutions that do not require a network connection or backend development and take about a month to finish. Obviously, these kinds of apps are not very popular nowadays.

Basic app development cost: $10,000 – 15,000

Examples: A classic To-Do application where users can write down all the things they want to accomplish. A quiz app that allows users to practice and test their knowledge by answering questions.

 

Data-driven app

Data-driven apps are, for example, calendars, maps, weather solutions, etc., that receive a lot of information, analyze it, and share it with users. These kinds of applications have been losing their value in the last few years and are mostly launched as byproducts. How much does it cost to develop an app that processes data?

Data-driven app development cost: $15,000 – $20,000

Example: a simple calendar app

 

Apps with user authentication and personalized data

An example of an authentication app is a loyalty app where users have to log in to get access to the features. The application stores user data and shares information across devices. This is a more sophisticated and thus expensive project that will require user management.

Authentication app development cost: $40,000 – $80,000

Example: McDonald’s Loyalty app

 

Social network app

Social network apps are self-explanatory – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. They have to handle millions of interactions, chats and allow users to share information. All of this requires a solid backend infrastructure and a larger investment. How much does it cost to make an app for social networking?

Social network app development cost: $60,000 – $300,000.

Example: Facebook

 

eCommerce app

eCommerce apps include Amazon, Alibaba, and other marketplaces. They require an extended list of features like user registration, social interactions, catalogs, product pages and descriptions, payment options, etc. The cost estimate that we provide is for a small eCommerce application.

Simple eCommerce app development cost: $60,000 – $300,000.

Example: EastBay

 

On-demand service app

On-demand apps like Uber or Grubhub connect service providers with end-users and satisfy people’s immediate needs. These types of apps combine the features of social network solutions and eCommerce applications and require significant funding. How much does it cost to make an app for on-demand services?

On-demand service app development cost: $80,000 – $150,000.

Example: Uber

 

Marketplace app

Applications like TripAdvisor are referred to as marketplace platforms that incorporate the functionalities of eCommerce and on-demand apps. Unlike eCommerce apps, marketplace solutions offer a variety of different services and provide immediate access to the service provider of the user’s choice. How much does it cost to develop an app for a marketplace?

Marketplace app development cost: $150,000 – $300,000.

Example: Booking

 

Vendor type and location

An average app development cost is also contingent upon the location and type of the development service provider, as well as its size. Here we will talk about three main types of vendors: small independent firms, specialist companies, and large agencies. Small firms usually consist of freelancers who are fully capable of creating an application but might lack the in-depth knowledge when it comes to complex solutions. They offer the lowest mobile application development costs. Specialist companies focus on software development and will walk you through the entire process. Their services are usually more expensive than those of small firms, however, you will probably receive a much better result. Finally, large agencies will deliver a great product due to their experienced staff and their wide spectrum of services. On the other hand, they tend to have a less personalized approach, are usually less flexible, and charge the highest app development prices.

The app development cost will also differ depending on the type of service. If you know what product you are in need of, and require a team of developers to build you an application from scratch, you should consider end-to-end mobile development. In case your requirements and scopes are not fully defined yet and you want more flexibility in the process, take a closer look at dedicated development teams. These are professionals who compensate for the skill gaps in your in-house teams and become a part of these teams for the duration of the project.

The vendor’s location also plays a vital role in the mobile app development cost estimate. The average developer’s rate in the US ($100 – $150 USD/hour) or Western Europe ($65 – $100 per hour), will be much higher than in Ukraine ($40 – $60 per hour). This can be explained by the cost of living in these countries. If you decide to outsource, hiring a remote team from Eastern Europe or some Asian countries will save a big portion of the budget.

 

Complexity and the number of app features

The number of features itself drives up the cost of developing an app, however, the complexity of the features plays an even more important role. Basic features like login and subscription take 20 to 25 hours to develop, whereas more advanced functionalities such as payment systems integration and visual analytics require 150 to 250 hours, and come with a higher price tag.

API integrations drive up the cost of mobile app development, and advanced technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence put an additional burden on the budget. Even something users have gotten used to, such as geolocation for example, costs extra. Overall, you should assess the necessity and feasibility of a feature before spending valuable resources on it.

 

Complexity of UX/UI design

The entire software development market has shifted its focus to the users, their needs, and their user experience. With the abundance of applications, customers have the opportunity to choose and to go for a solution with a clear design, simple navigation, and high performance. This is why putting aside a good amount for building design is a vital step in the app development cost estimation. Custom app development cost includes personalized UI/UX design that involves buttons, icons, fonts, and other elements. UI/UX designers are expensive, but experienced design specialists will make your app look aesthetically pleasing and provide a great user experience.

 

Development approach

How much does it cost to create an app for both iOS and Android? Is the Android app development cost higher than iOS? You can also do both at the same time and build a cross-platform solution. Native mobile app development usually delivers a better user experience and overall performance, hence it comes with a higher price. But how much does it cost to build an app that will run on both operating systems?

The average cost of developing an app lies around $50,000-$170,000, regardless of the platform. Both native Android or iPhone app development costs are usually higher than cross-platform solutions development. It is simply because native app development requires having two separate source codebases for Android and iOS. On the other hand, native products give developers direct access to built-in functions like GPS and the camera, which allows them to build more complex applications. With cross-platform development, you need to use some extra libraries or coding for such function implementation.

The bottom line is that if you need a complex app with a number of sophisticated features, then native app development is your choice, but if you are aiming towards a product with basic functions, a hybrid solution will suffice.

 

Ongoing maintenance and support

The app development price does not end with the application launch. If you abandon the app right after the release and fail to continuously monitor it, you might end up with outdated software. Without constant maintenance, updates, bug fixing, and adding new features, your customers will lose interest and make a choice in favor of a newer and more innovative solution on the market. The average cost of app maintenance should be around 15% to 20% of the entire project app development budget.

4 steps to estimate your project cost

Nail estimation steps
How to figure out how much it costs to make an app for your business? Before you can determine the number, you need to prepare a mobile app development cost breakdown with individual tasks and project milestones.

 

Prepare a list of tasks and the resources necessary

The very first step in the app development cost estimation process is breaking down the entire project into small and manageable tasks, and then assigning team members to them, which is the duty of your IT partner. Estimate the duration of each task and the hourly rate of your potential team.

Capacity planning is also an important part of this step. You should make sure that your plan includes enough skilled people and resources to complete the tasks. This means that you might need to hire two or three developers and several QA specialists, depending on the requirements of your specific project. Consider using freelancers or hiring someone for the duration of the project, for example, try staff augmentation.

 

Choose an estimation method and make your calculations

Basically, there are three common methods of calculating your mobile app cost.

 

Ballpark

Ballpark estimation is a very rough average cost of app development based on previous experience and speculation. This is not a very specific and precise estimation, but it might give you an idea of the total cost for developing your app. At this stage, you can contact an experienced software development firm to receive a ballpark estimate.

 

Parameter-based

Parameter estimation includes historical data, but also involves actual calculations, as opposed to the ballpark estimation method. In this case, you should take the previously calculated duration of each task and multiply it by the team member’s hourly rate. This method is more time-consuming but delivers significantly more accurate results.

Three point estimate cost

 

Three-point

The three-point method goes even further and incorporates risk analysis. Basically, your IT partner should build three average mobile app development costs: optimistic, pessimistic, and realistic projections. The pessimistic value takes into account all the risks and uncertainties and gives you the worst-case scenario. The optimistic number is the lowest and reflects the best-case scenario where everything goes smoothly, whereas the realistic scenario is somewhere in the middle.

 

Track budgets

After the project starts, you need to make sure you are keeping your expenses within the app development budget. You may want to get the appropriate software to track your spending and use this data in your future endeavors. In the case in which you use the services of an A to Z mobile app development firm, your dedicated project manager will take care of this task.

Mobile App Development Cost of different app types

The app development cost depends on a wide range of factors, especially on the list of features. Let’s break it down to the cost of each and every functionality, and look at the examples of famous applications.

 

Mobile App Development Cost in 2021

We are calculating the average values using the hourly rates of developers in Eastern Europe, more specifically, in Ukraine – $40 per hour. The app development cost in the USA, Western Europe, Australia, etc., has much higher prices.

Feature Description Duration Cost
User registration allows users to get an account using their email addresses or social media accounts 20 hours $800 - $1,000
Payment gateways Lets users pay for their purchases with a credit or debit card 50 hours $2,000 - $2,600
Search engine allows users to search for a certain entity using a built-in filter 10 hours $500 - $600
Chat allows users to interact with each other and with service providers. It could include sending images, messages, and receiving push notifications. 80 hours $2,500 - $3,200
Geolocation provides tracking of vehicles and packages. 50 hours $1,500 - $2,000
Google Maps integration makes tracking visual and helps users discover new service providers near them. 20 hours $1,300 - $1,600
Offline mode allows customers to use the app even without an internet connection. 40 hours $3,500
Video/audio streaming provides users with video or audio content. 30 hours $2,300 - $3,000

App development cost of famous apps

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to launch an app such as Uber or Tinder?

Uber app cost

Uber application consists of the following features:

  • Geolocation - $2,000
  • Payment - $2,600
  • User registrations & profile - $3,000
  • Push notifications - $3,500
  • Ride cost estimation - $2,000
  • Ride scheduling - $5,500
  • Split a fare - $5,800
  • Back-end - $6,850
  • Framework and libraries integration for Android or iOS - $6,500
  • UI/UX design for Android or iOS - $6,000
  • QA team - $13,000
  • Project manager - $6,500

Total: $63,250 for an Android or iOS Uber-like app.

Tinder app cost

Tinder application entails the features like:

  • User registrations & profile - $3,000
  • Push notifications - $3,500
  • Geolocation - $2,000
  • Communication - $6,250
  • Settings - $3,000
  • Matching features - $4,500
  • Third-party integration - $1,500
  • QA team - $7,125
  • Project manager - $3,500
  • UI/UX designer - $4,500

Total: $38,875 for a basic Android or iOS Tinder-like app.

 

app development cost, mobile app development, how much does it cost to develop an app

How to decrease your app development cost

How do you make sure you will not exceed your budget and avoid the typical mistakes made during the Android and iOS app development cost estimation?

How to Build Your App on a Budget

How can you make sure that the average cost to build an app stays as low as possible, yet the quality does not suffer?

01

Discovery Phase

Conduct thorough research and do not skip the discovery phase. Learning the technologies, platforms, and knowing your competition and target audience will increase the chances of success and prevent you from making expensive mistakes.
02

Right Vendor

Be careful when selecting the right vendor. Visit their homepage, get familiar with their previous experience, learn the products they have built, and read the reviews. Professional software development companies will make sure you effectively and objectively calculate your budget and stay within it for the entirety of the project.
03

Outsourcing

Consider outsourcing to companies with cheaper rates, such as Ukraine or India-based firms.
04

MVP

Begin with functional features only, and build a basic version of the app first(an MVP). Do not reach for the stars from the very beginning and incorporate only the features that are necessary to solve the users’ needs. For example, getting a ride for an Uber-like app.
05

Simple Design

Keep the first draft simple and stick with basic concise design elements. In the case of a successful launch of the first version of the app, you can then move on to something more complex.
06

Cost Evaluation

Do not underestimate the importance of the app development cost evaluation. You may begin with a rough ballpark estimation, but conduct a more precise one after the discovery stage.
07

Plan the scope

Plan the applications’ scope and stick to it. You can increase the scope in the further phases and iterations, but for the first version, try to stay within the plan.

What can you take to help you decrease your app development cost

Keeping track of everything, especially for your first project, might seem a bit overwhelming. However, there are some key tips that will help you keep your mobile app development pricing under budget.

 

Communication

Ensure smooth and continuous communication among team members. The agile methodology makes this concept easier to grasp and implement.

 

Testing

Do not think you can handle testing yourself. It is a vital, yet very complicated part of the process that requires a separate team of QA specialists. Make sure they participate in daily meetings and remain on the same page with everyone else on the team.

 

Feedback

Begin collecting feedback as early as possible. Customer feedback will show you what users need and value, what they are ready to pay for, and which features should be removed. Without proper continuous feedback, you will not receive an objective opinion about your product, which would stop you from growing and improving.

 

Flexibility

It may seem like a contradiction because we have mentioned the importance of staying within the scope and budget. However, software development has to leave some room for flexibility, especially in today’s turbulent IT market. If you receive feedback from your customers that forces you to make changes to the initial plan, analyze it and try to implement some modifications to meet users’ needs.

 

Our approach to the cost estimation

Finally, choosing the right approach to selecting a vendor plays a major role in the app development cost estimation. DOIT Software is a software development company with years of experience. Our extended experience and diverse portfolio will help us establish cooperation and deliver a suitable product. We know how much hiring app developers costs, how to mitigate the risks, and take advantage of the opportunities available. We also offer several models of collaboration. You can outsource your project completely to our team, and we will take care of the entire process, or you can use a dedicated development team where you temporarily hire our best specialists, such as developers, QA experts, project managers, etc., for the duration of the project.

App development process

After iOS or Android app cost estimation, it is time to move on to the new stages. Which steps does the software development process entail?

 

Next steps

Create a clickable prototype

A clickable prototype is a quick and cheap, sometimes even free, way to test the user experience of your future application. Modern apps ought to be interactive and well-navigated, and a simple prototype is the best way of assessing the UX design. You can use one of the tools for prototyping online, such as Figma, InVision Studio, Adobe XD, Justinmind, etc.

Prototype is a convenient and cost-effective way to showcase your idea to early investors and raise more initial funds.

MVP cost

 

Build MVP

At this point, you have calculated the cost to create an app, come up with a strategy, and chosen the appropriate technologies. Now it is time to build the first version of the app to test your idea and prove its feasibility. MVP, or minimum viable product, is a draft version of the application that allows you to validate your concept and make any potential changes. It is hard to visualize the idea without having built an actual product, and MVP helps you to accomplish this.

 

Move on to additional features

As we have mentioned before, an MVP is only about functional features – the ones that are necessary to solve the users’ needs. After building a successful MVP, you can begin working on more advanced features that will help you stand out from the competition. Innovating and evolving are very important parts of the app development cycle, so you should always try to stay ahead of the competition and continue to experiment.

Every new feature goes through the following process:

01

Coding;

02

Pull request to let everyone know about the new parts of the code;

03

Quality Assurance;

04

Code review;

05

Deployment to clients and testers;

06

Manual tests based on the feedback after the deployment;

07

Release.

Release and ongoing maintenance

Even after you release your product to the market, make sure to provide ongoing support and maintenance to the application. Without regular updates, bug fixes, and innovative features, users will lose interest in your product.

 

Outsourcing vs in-house team

Nowadays, outsourcing and building an in-house team are the two most popular approaches when it comes to software development. Both models have their pros and cons, you just need to assess your demands and possibilities and choose the right one for your project. While outsourcing is definitely more cost-effective, it does take away some of your control. On the other hand, having an in-house team is quite an expensive luxury, but it also delivers better communication between team members. Now let’s take a closer look and establish the differences between these approaches and their benefits.

Outsourcing In-house hiring
More affordable option since you can outsource to any country, including cheaper ones like Ukraine or India. More expensive option, due to extra fees like taxes, office supplies, benefits, etc.
Outsourcing forces you to delegate the project thus losing some part of the control, which is why you must be careful and diligent when choosing an IT partner. You keep full control of the entire app development process.
Large pool of candidates from all over the world. Limited talent pool as you can hire only workers who are willing to live in your region.
Shorter time-to-market, since you don’t have to hire the entire team separately. Longer time-to-market, as it will take a longer time to find experts for each task.

There is no right option here as both approaches have their advantages and drawbacks. In-house workers will become a part of your team and are likely to be more invested in the success of the project. On the other hand, outsourcing will save you a huge portion of the budget and let you deploy your product faster.

Conclusion

We have talked about how much app development costs and how to minimize the expenses. The truth is that there are so many factors that go into the app creation cost, that without a trustworthy partner, you might get lost and overwhelmed. If you feel like you have a lack of expertise on your team, contact DOIT Software to get an average cost to develop an app that will reach your target users, accomplish your business goals, and bring your company to a new level of success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have an idea to build an app?

Transform your idea into a successful product with the DOIT Software team.
Contact us
Can I build an app for free?

A typical app development costs at least $10,000, even more, if you require more sophisticated functions. However, there are a number of app creators on the market that allow you to construct a basic app without writing a line of code. These types of apps are not as functional and customizable as coded ones, but they can be created for free or for a very small monthly fee.

How much does it cost to develop a mobile app?

Anywhere from $10,000 to $170,000, and even higher. Although there is not a big difference between Android and iOS app development costs, so many criteria come into play during the calculation of app development price, that it is simply impossible to give you one specific number without learning the requirements, technology, scope, type of application, and other factors that are necessary. Contact DOIT Software to receive an app development cost breakdown for your project.

How much does it cost to create a mobile app for a small business?

App startup costs for an application with a limited number of features will cost somewhere between $10,000 and $60,000.

How much does it cost to build an app in 2021?

Not a single app development company will give you an exact number without discussing your goals and possibilities first. For example, an Uber-like app would cost approximately $63,250 and a Tinder-like application – $38,875. You can also use one of the available app development cost estimators online.

What is the cost of developing an app for Android?

There is no clear answer as to how much it costs to make an Android app. For example, a Tinder-like Android app takes about 450 hours to develop and costs $38,875.

VITALY MAKHOV,
CEO @ DOIT SOFTWARE
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