How much does a mobile app cost? You have just read one of our, if not the most asked question we get on a weekly basis. If only it were a simple question to answer!
Costing a mobile app has, and never will be a straight-forward process. Unfortunately there are no tiers or set prices for developing a mobile app idea.
Truth is. this is always a difficult question to answer due to the variables and complexities involved. Many factors influence the price. All of which get taken into account when determining cost.
When it comes to creating mobile apps, the time-proven saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is fully justified. The response to this intriguing question is usually ‘It depends’, which raises more questions than it answers.
In a nutshell, prices of a bespoke product can vary from £10,000 – £100,000+. That’s quite a gap isn’t it?
That is because custom mobile app development costs depend on a whole host of factors. We are going to focus on the top 6 in this article.
But before we dive in, it’d be nice to also keep in mind the kind of revenues mobile apps generate.
In July of last year, Statista published a report on the Worldwide Mobile App Revenue Forecast. In 2021, global mobile app revenues amounted to 693 billion U.S. dollars. In 2023, mobile apps are projected to generate more than 935 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via paid downloads and in-app advertisments etc.
These numbers speak volumes of how profitable building a mobile ap could prove to be for a business. It is wise to keep things in perspective before you determine your mobile app development budget.
Now, let’s discover the important factors influencing mobile app development cost.
1. Mobile App Feature Complexity
The first major factor impacting the cost of building a mobile app is the feature set you want to add to it. If you are creating an app with basic features, your development team will require fewer hours to build them, hence why the cost of development will be less.
At the other end of the spectrum, complex features in a mobile app require much more build time. This, in turn, leads to higher development costs. Based on the number of features you include in your complex app, the costs will keep climbing higher.
Whilst you may have thought long and hard about what features and functionality your want your app to possess, there may be functionality that has been over looked that would prove integral to the success of your application.
It is our job to unearth the possibilities of your app (and therefore the cost associated with them)
2. Frameworks (i.e Native or Hybrid)
The building platform for mobile apps would be chosen based on the business model. Whilst frameworks may seem like the duck soup of factors, you do need to take certain considerations into account. For instance, does the service demand an app on major platforms such as Android and iOS? Nonetheless, for app development, there are two options, native and hybrid, to choose from.
Although a native framework means you can do more whilst not being restricted on functionality, it also means its more laborious work and doesn’t allow cross-platform distribution.
A hybrid framework works for both IOS and Android and welcomes plugins for functionality and design.
Notably, hybrid apps cost far less than native apps. (We tend to find a hybrid app does the job well and is much more efficient in terms of time and budget on a project.)
If you would like to learn more about Native vs. Hybrid apps, read our more in-depth blog post on the subject here.
3. Mobile App Design
The UI design is the face of your app. The UX design is how the user will interact with your app. Thus, app design is one of the most crucial elements of the success of a mobile app. Mobile app design is something that can be straight-forward, but dependant on the functionality of your app the design could drastically change the costing.
Visual design takes approximately 80-200+ hours. As mentioned previously, it depends on app complexity.
For example, the number of screens that will go into your app will directly impact the hours of work a designer will have to put into it. Secondly, what kind of screens do you want your app to have? Do you want to include modern graphic elements in your UI and enhance the UX with lots of animations?
If yes, then that would be add to your mobile app development cost.
When talking about design for a mobile app, consider its key components;
- UX & UI Design
- Icon, Logo and Branding
Design requires the use of several different software programs to execute the final design. All of the above contributes towards final cost.
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4. Maintenance & Update Costs
As long as your app is out there on the market, you will need to continually maintain and update it.
Software products can be capricious, no vendor can ever provide a solution that won’t encounter bugs at one stage or another in the future.
So, as an app owner, you will need regular technical assistance from professional developers to ensure the smooth running and functioning of your app. As the app platform transforms into advanced technologies, enterprises need to revamp the app integrations and functionalities. Hence, it extends the expenses even after launching the application.
When establishing mobile app development costs, you can count the expenses for the following standard maintenance costs:
- Upgrading the mobile app to the latest OS versions
- Upgrading the third-party integrations (used for app development) to their latest versions)
- Identifying and fixing bugs
Together with the above, you may also want to carry out the following advanced app maintenance tasks:
- Adding new features
- Updating the tech stack with the latest technologies
- Scaling the app architecture
- Switching to larger or better servers
5. Mobile App Security Requirements
Many companies undermine app security even though it is essential. A mobile app performs various functions that may include the collection and storage of user or admin data. Any breaches in the security of this data can result in permanent damage to the reputation of your business.
That is why security practices may make up a considerable chunk of your mobile app development cost.
Based on the scale of your app and the kind of user engagement it asks for, your app development partner can recommend the most important security best practices.
Ultimately, based on your app type and intended user interaction, you can choose the right set of security best practices for your app and optimise your development costs.
6. Specific Back-End & API Development Needs
Do you need an API? A scalable and powerful back-end for your app’s content and data?
And would a basic cloud-based server suit your needs or do you need a middleware layer developed, as well?
Start analysing all these variables and knowingly make your choices: all back-end and API requirements will finally bubble up to the mobile app development cost estimate…
It may not have been the answer you were looking for but it’s impossible to give an accurate cost without having specific requirements. So, if you’d like to get an idea of what your new app project could cost, get in touch now!
Our experts are on hand, we’d love to hear about what new project you have in mind and how we can help.