How much does developing a mobile app cost? This is one of the biggest questions startups have when they venture out to get a mobile app for their business.
How much budget do I need to allocate for mobile app development?
I have a fixed budget. What can I do?
Am I getting my money’s worth?
In what cases should I increase the budget?
Is it worth the money for mobile app development?
We would have loved to give you a one-shot answer, but we are afraid we can not. There are so many things to consider before the mobile app cost is decided.
A mobile app can be developed for anywhere between $20k and $500k, depending on various factors.
Sit back as we tell you what all goes into deciding a mobile app’s cost.
Factors Influencing Mobile App Cost
Whenever mobile app cost is decided, there is a detailed discussion with the client to understand the objectives and requirements. All the information required to develop a mobile app is extracted from the client.
At WDI, we decide the development cost based on various factors after a discussion with our client. Here are those:
1: Time Required for Development
Time is a big factor in mobile app development. As the development time increases, even the mobile app cost goes up.
With increased time, mobile app developers have to work longer. This means you have to hire them for a longer time, and if you hire them on a weekly basis, the cost will go up.
Based on the client’s requirements, we figure out how much time will be required for the development process.
Our mobile app developers have a weekly cost which we multiply by the number of weeks required for developing your mobile app and give the cost.
Development time is just one of the factors we have when determining your mobile app cost.
2: App Complexity
Depending on the complexity, apps can be divided into three categories.
The development cost changes based on the type of app you are trying to make.
Let’s look at each of these categories in detail and see what features come under them.
1: Simple App
A simple app is basically for those who have a small business they want to expand with a mobile app. It contains enough functionality that makes it usable without any advanced features, innovations, or out-of-the-box elements.
The user can create an account and navigate through the app to explore its functionalities. It might contain a search option and a messaging system.
You can check the user accounts and manage them as an administrator. You can edit the app content and handle business operations. You can also respond to feedback and send push notifications.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $20,000 – $70,000 for a simple app.
2: Complex App
If your app requires a lot of additional features, it will fall under the complex app category.
Along with the basic features, a complex app contains e-commerce, payment options, video playback, etc. The app can also use the device’s features like GPS, camera, microphone, etc.
If you want an e-commerce app or something with social media integrations, it will be categorized as a complex app.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $40,000 – $140,000 for a complex app.
3: Advanced App
This is where innovations come in. If you want to integrate the latest technologies in your mobile app, it will fall under the advanced app category.
What you can expect in an advanced app are features like augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and multi-language support.
Depending on what you want to innovate, the development time and the mobile app cost will increase. You will be required to have multiple meetings with your mobile app developers to fully understand the scope and plan the next steps.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $60,000 – $500,000 for an advanced app.
3: Features to Be Implemented
When it comes to electronics, the ones with high-end features usually cost more. The same goes for mobile app development.
In today’s time, it is important to provide next-gen functionalities to zoom ahead of your competition and make your app stand out. Users download apps based on the features they offer, making it a big selling point.
High-end features require more time to develop, along with more experienced and skilled developers who can bring innovations to the table. This results in an increase in the mobile app development cost.
If you want to create something out of the box or something that has never been done before, it will require a ton of brainstorming.
Creating something new is not an easy task. It needs special technology and qualified mobile app developers who can pull it off. Even that will increase the cost of the mobile app.
If we just stick with already invented features, the mobile app cost fluctuates depending on the number of features to be implemented.
Here are some of the features along with their expected price
This feature is necessary for your clients to create an account. Unless you want a free-to-use app, login would be required. It gives you an idea of how many people are registered with your app.
Under “simple app,” you can get options to log in with social media, email, or phone number. You will also get the “log out” and “forgot password” options.
All of this will require 30-40 hours and cost roughly $1000 – $2000 to develop.
2: User Profile
Once the user logs in, he should get the option to create his profile. This includes adding a profile photo, a short bio, and other information based on your app requirements.
This information allows you to segregate your users and also keep bots under check.
This will require roughly 20-30 hours and cost around $1000.
3: Profile Editing
Having a locked profile is never a good idea. The ability to edit your profile is a must-have. In many cases, the user will be required to edit details, and not being able to do so will compel him to quit your app.
The user should be able to edit every single detail entered. Complexities arise when editing passwords, emails, and credit card details. These require more coding to develop.
It will require roughly 40-60 hours and cost around $2,000.
A search bar is crucial for fintech or e-commerce apps. It is a small feature that makes all the difference.
It will take 10-20 hours and cost $500-$1000 to develop.
5: Push Notifications
Push notifications are the key to retaining your users. You can notify your users about the latest update and improve your conversions.
These can also be automated so that the users receive notifications whenever some activity takes place.
It can take 25-35 hours and cost around $1200 to develop.
6: File Upload
This is the heart and soul of social media and photo-sharing mobile apps. Ensuring that your users are able to upload the images they want as quickly and hassle-free as possible is required for successful photo-sharing apps.
Some apps require users to upload a document or a zip file. That requires a different set of coding to get it done right.
This will require 20-30 hours and cost around $1000 to develop.
7: Admin Panel
As a business owner, the admin panel allows you to control everything within your app, especially the users.
You get to see how many users have created their accounts in your app along with their profile details. You get a clear understanding of what kind of people are using your app.
If you want to block a user from doing any activity or remove someone from your app, the admin panel is where you can do that.
It takes around 60-100 hours and costs $4000 – $5000 to develop.
8: Video/audio Streaming
If your app requires video or audio playback, you must ensure that it supports videos of all qualities and break-free playback.
This one is an advanced feature as it requires a lot of storage to host the videos without the app crashing.
It further includes features like downloads, pausing the video, changing playback speed, background playback, adding to the watchlist, continuing from the last played point if the app closes, etc.
This can take 100-150 hours and cost $4,000 – $6,000 to develop.
The map is the core of ride-sharing and carpool apps.
Features like GPS, searching on the map, location sharing, and selecting destinations are some that can be implemented.
It can take 70-130 hours and $3000 – $5000 to implement.
This is the end goal of most startups with their mobile apps. There are many smaller features that are required to make sure that payment is smooth and safe.
The most important one is having multiple payment gateways to not lose out on potential clients.
Other smaller features like showing balance and transaction history enhance the user experience.
It can take 60-80 hours and $3,000 – $5,000 to develop.
11: Communication Tools
Some apps require communication tools like voice calls or video calls. These take longer to implement due to the end-to-end encryption they require for maximum security. User privacy is our topmost priority.
It can take 200-400 hours and cost $10,000 – $20,000 to develop.
Other advanced features, like augmented reality and virtual reality, can take a lot more to develop and also a long time to implement.
Usually, the cost of developing for iOS and Android is almost similar. If you want to develop an app for both of them, the cost increases substantially.
There are multiple types of apps, and all of them have different relationships with platforms.
1: Native Apps
Both Android and iOS cost almost similar amounts, with Android costing slightly higher. This is thanks to the insane number of Android smartphones out there. While developing an app, you need to consider that the app is able to run perfectly on most popular Android smartphones.
This increases the development cost slightly as the app has to be developed to cater to all Android smartphone specifications.
If you want to develop for both platforms, you will have to pay for two native apps. This is because native apps are designed according to the platforms and this cannot be done using a single code. Both have to be coded separately.
2: Progressive Web App (PWA)
A PWA is basically a website turned into an application. It can run on all devices regardless of compatibility, but offers limited functionality due to being only a website.
Separate coding is not required to make it run across various devices. Once the PWA is launched, the user can simply add the page to their home screen and continue using it.
This reduces coding work to a great extent, and the app can be developed much faster.
The development cost ranges from $20,000 – $60,000 depending on the functionalities you want to implement.
3: Flutter Apps
Flutter is a framework developed by Google and runs on the Dart coding language. It allows you to create an app for both Android and iOS using a single code base. You do not have to develop separate apps, and this reduces the mobile app cost substantially.
Flutter also allows you to implement high-end features like high FPS and use device functionalities, which is difficult with PWAs.
To know more about their differences, read our detailed comparison between Flutter and PWA here: ADD LINK
The development cost is reduced as you can develop two apps with a single codebase. You can expect to pay anywhere between $20,000 – $100,000 for a Flutter app.
4: React Native
With React Native, you can use the device’s native features like the camera, microphone, GPS, etc.
At first glance, both Flutter and React Native may seem similar, but there is more to them than meets the eye. Read our detailed comparison between Flutter and React Native here:
A React Native app also costs anywhere from $20,000 – $100,000 to develop.
5: Hybrid App
A Hybrid app is basically a web app put inside the skeleton of a native app. The user can install the app from the App Store, but the app will run like a website.
Due to the less time required for development, it can cost approximately half the cost of a Native app.
So, these are the types of apps you can develop and they run on various platforms
After launching an app, it needs to be optimized for bugs and for newly launched smartphones. This is a crucial part of audience retention. If you are not providing consistent updates and building upon feedback, your users are most likely to quit your app.
From your total app budget, you must allocate 15% to 20% for yearly maintenance.
This includes optimizations like bug fixing, changing code to make it run on newer OS updates, improving performance and speed, and ensuring it supports the latest versions of third-party services.
If you want to add new features to your app, it will cost according to the complexity of the feature.
A design change might be the solution if your users are getting bored of using your app. It will help to keep your app up to date with the latest trends.
For best results, you should be ready to allocate 20% of the total app cost every year for maintenance.
6: Development Team
Depending on the number and type of professionals you are hiring, the mobile app cost varies.
At WDI, we offer a wide cadre of professionals who handle every small part of your mobile app development process.
Here are some of the professionals we offer to our clients:
1: Business Analyst
Before creating an app, you need to know where it will stand in the market. This is exactly what a business analyst does.
Our business analyst will understand your idea, suggest improvements, and check for any issues it may face in the market. He will analyze your competitors and advise you on what steps you should take so that your app stands out in the market.
He defines the product specification document and decides the total mobile app cost.
2: UI/UX Design Team
Once the concept of the app is ready, the UI/UX designers create wireframes for your app.
Based on the suggestions, a fully functioning prototype of your app is created. This is the final design of your app.
The developers start coding for the app based on the prototype. Depending on the type of app, we have dedicated developers for Flutter, React Native, Hybrid, Android, and iOS.
Once the app is ready, our team of testers scrutinizes it from top to bottom, ensuring that everything is functioning perfectly.
Once everything is fine, the app is launched on the required platforms.
5: Project Manager
The project manager handles the entire project, ensuring that it is completed at the intended time and meets the client’s expectations.
With WDI, you get a full-stacked mobile app development team to create an app your users will love.
There are many complex factors influencing the mobile app cost, making it impossible to give a final price.
We have done our best to provide you with ranges that can help you make a rough estimate based on your requirements.
Even though you can create an app for as low as $20,000, we have never seen a successful app made for less than $50,000. High-end features require a high investment, but they also lead to high returns.
If you want to create an app, we will provide you with speedy MVP delivery, a transparent development process, and a dedicated support team for all your queries.
Let us create something magical!