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Natalya Brinza Project Manager
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How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Mobile App

It has already become official that applications are now are the integral parts of people's lives. It is the so called millennium phenomenon, that the cyber industry is considered to be the way of the future. The majority of the beginning developers are curious on how much does it cost to build an app? It should come as no surprise that there are a lot of people wishing to bring their ideas in the sphere of smartphone development. But only few of them know the real cost of developing an app.

The main point here is that not all the programmers understand, that the key foundation of prices is the cost of labour and that's why he doesn't consider it worth paying. Because of various reasons the cost of the project can range from $2 000 - $5 000 to $500 000 and even $1 million, a client should be ready for a heavy investment, both in money and time. But don't be so afraid. Today we’re giving insight into key factors that help to determine the appropriate mobile app development budget personally for you and ways to save more money. Be ready to calculate the cost of creating an app by the end of this article.

How much does it cost to make a mobile app

Considering the importance of such an issue as the development of the budget, mobile app development pricing and the creation of a proper financial plan, we decided to introduce the main calculation data as the very first paragraph. Here are the approximate calculation of the Artjoker team:

  • nearly $7 500 for small app (an on-demand) - approximately 100-150 hours;

  • nearly $15 000 for middling app (a messaging app) - approximately 200-250 hours;

  • nearly $20 000 for complex app (a shopping app) - approximately 400 hours.

Those small numbers are not for every company. As Artjoker is small-to-middle company, the cost of development is really lower, than in big companies of US, Canada ($150 per hour and higher) or Eastern Europe ($130 per hour and higher). The prices there starts from $50 000 and goes up to $1 million, depends on size, popularity and presentability of the company. But cost of hiring Indian developers are usually $1 500 - $6 000 for an app (nearly $20 - $50 per hour), though the quality may be really poor.  For better visibility, we’ve designed infographics for you. Follow it, while reading this article. However, it is pretty complicated to get an average cost to develop an app.

how much does it cost to develop a mobile app

On What The Cost of an app is Truly Based?

Down below, we will explain each point of how much does an app cost in details, but here is a quick overview of them:

  • Your priorities
  • Development team
  • App development methods
  • App  development tools used in work
  • Workflow, time and variations of payment

1 Attach your priorities in app developing triangle

To be honest there is a golden rule of any programmer, which is depicted in the image below, which has a straightforward link to the issue of prices. As a dog that puts up many hares kills none, you can't find a development team that within a short period of time creates great-quality applications with a low budget. Be serious-minded and honest with yourself in picking attributes – you must understand that are going to get back as much as you have payed. You have to remember, that in order to get a top-notch application it worths paying more, than you have been expecting. Otherwise, there is a great risk of collapse of the whole project.

Read alsoHow Much Does It Cost To Develop a Chat App like WhatsApp?

2 Be sure in developers' competency means you will be sure in how much to create an app will cost you

Sure thing that app development cost depends on qualification of specialists working on project, but don't you think that it is worth paying double for an app to be developed in a not so simplistic way? Reach out to agencies that have already won awards or have been mentioned on tech-related news sites. Also pay attention on the portfolio of agency and its experience of developing specific components that your app might need — you shouldn't go after agencies that develop elementary apps even if they use the best mobile app development platform.

3 Choose the right method of app development

There are three prominent, but really different, methods of app development.

  • Economical “Waterfall”

Development comes at having a documentarily approved layout – when the process of app creation begins, developers should closely follow a set of instructions.

  • Reasonable “Iterative”

So called hybrid approach. It means, there are wireframes and mockups for key functionalities, but details are handled by the team during the development process. It starts with producing software of only the product’s part, so there is an availability to reconsider future requirements.

  • Pricey “Agile”

“Agile” development begins without any documentation - developers works on code as they go on approved with a client. However, it is vital again to keep in mind, that average cost to create an app can vary depending on various issues. Moreover, we are going also to discuss the main aspects, which play the key role in the fluctuation of the prices a bit later.

Read alsoAgile Communication Tools for Working With Remote Teams

make a Mobile App

4 Fixed fee or time and materials payment on how much to build an app?

So, how much does it cost to make an app with those methods? Thanks to a waterfall method, you are able to pay a fixed price to each of the developers. However, in case if there are going to be any changes and improvements, it will be much harder to change the contract. Despite of the fact, that the usage of the fixed payment is the safest and one of the most comfortable methods of making business, there is also another site of the coin. I am not sure, that you will know exactly the final price in case if there are several future improvements and changes. Thus iterative and agile methods make it possible to pay for an amount of done work but not according to the fixed rates. Yes, it may sounds pretty costly, but for the both sides it is a fair deal. Remember, that in order to operate with prices and rates in the best way, it is important to monitor a time tracking software all the time during the designing process.

5 Estimation - is the key for reducing risks and app development price

If you do not want the whole project to collapse, you have to be deeply sure, that the whole idea and each part of it are in safe hands. While hiring a manager, you have to give him as many tasks as needed and try to talk to him in a mild manner on various professional topics in order to understand, that is the actual level of his or her skills. From these steps may depend  the future fate of your project. Ask if they have any experience with creating similar apps, because if they don't, be ready for misestimated results and probably spending extra. If you already know, what is the approximate price of the whole process, you have to keep in mind, that the final costs may go 20% higher, than you thought in the beginning. Like if you planned to spent $10 000, be ready for $12 000 expenses. It is absolutely normal for any industry and it is a great mistake to accept it like a drama. In business it is impossible to predict all the spenings.

6 The tools may change the mobile application development cost

To be honest, there are several tricks, which may allow you to decrease the pricing level for the developmental process of your project. These ticks are special technical tools, engines and softwares. However, you have to remember, that some of them may as decrease as skyrocket the final price. So, be careful. For sure, the choice depends on your, your aims and the actual tem. However, there are several variants:

  • For developmental purposes: Nodejs, Java, Rx Java, Swift, Objective C, Webkit, HTML5, HTML5 Boilerplate, Responsive, Angular, Reactjs; iQuery, Blink engine; MySQL, ZURB Foundation; Ember; and etc.

  • For designing purposes:  Apple motion, Principal, Invision, Affinity Designer, Affinity photo, Principal, Flinto, Origami, Form, Scetch, Affinity photo, After Affects.

List of advices to reduce the end cost of developing mobile app

1. Trust the development only to experts

It is an often mistake to try to save money on hiring cheap development teams. But frequently after the work on app is complete turns out, that it has a lot of mistakes and bugs. So there is a need to hire another team (more professional, of course), that will do a lot of rebuilding and bug fixing. Remember the proverb “Cheapest is the dearest”, while hiring a team and trust your money only to specialists, like Artjoker crew.

mobile app development cost

2. Make a good business plan

Business plan except all regular items should also include a List of requirements. It is vital to have a detailed description of all the functionality that you want to have in your application. Understanding and detailing the list will  make you evaluate your application as a whole. Just write down everything you want from the app: one sentence at a time. This process is called the specification of software requirements. With it you will be able to explain to Project Manager everything you want to be created much better.

3. Be involved in development process as much as you can

Not letting the development team to do all of the work will help you save the money. Because as more you are mixed with creating process, the more there won’t  be misunderstandings and occasional work. Different methodologies of development assume different levels of your implication. For example, in Waterfall the work usually goes in due course, without your presence or advices, but it may cause a lot of adaptations and re-do’s after. Agile (what Artjoker uses) and Iterative allows the client (you) to be as much catched up, as he wants. Consider this information, while deciding which team to hire.

Summary of the cost of app development

To get a better understanding of how much does it cost to create an app you should not depend only upon experts' recommendations, but also upon your own desires to build your own and successful app. This mobile app development cost breakdown in 6 factors prove that the high-quality app development will not be cheap, but keep in mind, the result is worth paying for. Finally, I real want to believe, that we were able to answer the question on “how much to make an app?” and gave several tips, that may help you in the future.

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author Roman Katerinchik Roman Katerinchik
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