Cross-platform projects are slowly taking over the native app development. The cross-platform approach is much more time-efficient and cost-saving. Recently, the main advantage of native apps was their performance. But it's no longer their strong side as new cross-platform frameworks bring more power to developers.
Flutter App Development Cost: How to Estimate the Budget and Reduce Expenses?
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One of them is Flutter. This framework was released in 2017 and became one of the most admired frameworks among the cross-platform community. Statista claims that Flutter is among the ten most popular frameworks of 2020 and holds second place among cross-platform frameworks. Quite a good result for such a new technology.
In this post, we’re going to talk about the Flutter app development cost and how to cut project expenses with this framework.
Average Flutter App Development Cost
An app development cost is a complex number that depends on various factors — complexity of features, location of developers, supported platforms, and more. It’s impossible to find out the price for your project without conducting research and knowing all the requirements. In Cleveroad, we conduct a discovery phase to figure out our clients’ wishes and requirements.
Still, you can take a look at our estimates sorted by the project complexity.
- A software with simple features, like a fitness app with workout suggestions, meal plans, personal profile, and weight diary costs from $26,000 to $34,800.
- Flutter app development cost of a middle complexity software, like a messenger with voice calls, will be from $34,950 to $48,850.
- The development process of an app with complex features, like Instagram, will cost you from $41,500 to $55,000.
Factors Affecting the Price
To clarify all the components of the Flutter app development cost, we will single out each factor and analyze its impact on the price.
Native app development vs. Flutter
When we’re estimating a native project, we’re taking into account the development time for both platforms. Flutter is a cross-platform framework that lets developers write a single codebase for Android and iOS. This feature halves the development time making Flutter app development cost lower compared to native ones.
What’s remarkable about Flutter is that it has optimized code and no performance issues. Flutter delivers steady 60 FPS on all devices and even 120 FPS if the device supports it.
However, Flutter has some drawbacks. If your project requires a Wear OS version or a Smart TV app, you’ll face some troubles. Technically, you can build a Flutter app for these platforms. But, a lot of Flutter’s development features aren’t supported by Wear OS. In the case of an Android TV, you’ll have to build the control logic from scratch. The reason is that Android TV reads remote control input only, while Flutter works with touchscreens and mouse movements. This fact can slow down the development process, cause troubles for developers, and increase the Flutter app development cost. That’s why it’s better to go for native development if you’re aiming at specific platforms.
Complexity of features
Features are the main component of the app. They are also the main factor that influences the Flutter app development cost. Simple features (e.g. login) take minimal efforts, while the integration of video calls may take up to 2-3 weeks of the development time.
Let’s imagine that you’re going to build an Instagram-like app. The photo upload feature takes around 6 hours of development time. With an average rate of $50/hour, it will cost you $300. However, to apply a filter to this photo, your development team will have to spend additional 80 hours. A software development company will charge $4,000 for this feature.
|Feature||Description||Approx time (hour)||Approx cost ($50/h)|
Location map development - applying beacons
Video calls - audio calls - text chat
Integration with PayPal - adding credit cards - withdrawing/sending funds
Location of developers
The location of your development team may influence the Flutter app development cost a lot. In different regions, developers have different rates. In the USA, the average developer’s rate is $150-$200/hour, while in Ukraine it’s only $25-$50/hour.
In the table below, you can find hourly rates of developers and compare them with each other.
|Location||Hourly rate ($)|
If you’re thinking of outsourcing your project, we recommend you taking a closer look at Ukraine. This country is a popular outsourcing destination because of the affordable rates and high level of customer service. Ukraine has a vast talent pool, so the quality of the final product will fulfill your expectations.
Read this article to learn more advantages of outsourcing software development to Ukraine.
How to Calculate Flutter App Development Cost
As it was mentioned earlier, features impact Flutter app development cost the most. Flutter is good for projects that don’t include native features. But when it comes to mapping, streaming, AR, and background processes, developers have to build these features separately for iOS and Android and then combine it with Flutter.
Let’s get back to our examples. In case of native development, you will need around 12 hours to implement AR filters in your app. Flutter development will take around 20 hours because AR is a native feature. Keeping in mind the rate of $50/hour we should multiply it by the development time. This formula can be used to figure out the final Flutter app development cost.
Except for this formula, there’s another thing that matters on the initial stage.
A badly held discovery phase may result in a collapse of a whole project. But why is this phase so important? During the discovery phase, business analysts and project managers conduct meetings with you to find out possible risks and come up with solutions to eliminate them.
5 main stages in discovery phase
Here, in Cleveroad, we make a rough estimate according to the feature list you give us. Rough estimate is a minimum and maximum time required to finish the project. It should help you understand the project’s budget and make the decision to continue the project or suspend it. It’s free of charge.
When all the issues are settled, we proceed to the discovery stage and create a project specification. You have to take active participation here because we build project specifications based on the data you provide. On the next stage, we create wireframes of your app. That’s a schematic placement of User Interface elements on screens.
We’ve revealed all the essential steps and benefits of the discovery phase in this article.
Then, our developers and business analysts come up with a detailed estimate of your Flutter app development cost. With an accurate budget, project requirements, and wireframes, we’re ready to sign the contract and begin the development stage.
As you see, the discovery phase is a crucial part of any project. Without this stage, you can’t know the price and time needed for the development, because there will be too many variables. If something goes wrong on any stage, the whole project can go wrong with the plan. That’s why you have to cooperate with the software development company, so they can build the project you need.
Just like any other product, your app needs to be maintained and updated to stay successful on the market. This leads to additional expenses that influence the Flutter app development cost.
It’s time to talk about these expenses.
4 additional factors that influence Flutter app development cost
If you’re going to process and store the user-generated data, you have to take care of server concerns. Weak servers lead to low performance and high response time on the user side. Besides, unreliable servers with a vulnerable protection system can cause personal data leaks of your users.
To minimize risks, our team trusts only reliable providers, like Amazon EC2. According to the AWS Price Calculator, a 24/7 working server with an 8-core CPU and 32 GiBs of RAM will cost you around $1650/year. Keep this expense in mind when calculating the overall Flutter app development cost.
Mobile app navigation, typography, and color schemes are the main issues that UI/UX designers should pay attention to. They should also provide you with a prototype of your app. Depending on the complexity of your app, design may take from 20 to 300+ hours. This line of expenses will raise the Flutter app development cost for $1000-$15000.
Release to App Stores
When you already have a finished product, you have to launch it somewhere. Google Play and the App Store are major players among the app distributing platforms. That’s why you definitely should place your app there. However, these platforms charge fees before the app release:
- Google Play charges a one-time fee of $25
- Apple Store charges $99, annually
If you’re releasing an app for internal use within your organization, the App Store will charge you $299/year. Google Play leaves the fee unchanged.
On top of that, both platforms have a 30% fee for every in-app purchase. If you’re distributing your app via a subscription model, you’ll get only 70% of the initial price. However, recently Google Play and the App Store have softened their policies. For now, they charge only 15% for every subscription from an account that purchased a subscription for twelve months.
Less popular app distributing platforms
We’ve released hundreds of applications, and according to our estimates, the release stage takes 4-5 hours. With the rate of $50, that’s $200-$250 for a release. A modest sum in terms of the whole Flutter app development cost, but still worth mentioning.
App Maintenance and Updates
Applications from the top charts of app stores hold their positions for a reason. They engage clients with constant upgrades and brand new features. Even if your app is perfect, the absence of updates will lead to stagnation and users abandoning your app.
In the perfect world, you should hire a company that developed your app. They’ve worked on your project from the very beginning and know how their code works. If it’s not an option, make sure you have detailed documentation of your app. It’ll simplify the lives of other developers and reduce development time.
Mind that the app maintenance costs rise over the app’s lifetime. Companies usually include 15-20% of the Flutter app development cost into the budget for app maintenance. However, the longer your app has a stable audience, the more money you have to invest in updates. It’s not surprising that you’ll spend more money on updating within a certain time than on the actual development. Still, while your app generates more revenue than losses, it’s a worthy investment.
Unfortunately, with new features appear new bugs and vulnerabilities. You can’t just turn a blind eye to this issue, because it makes user experience worse and opens new loopholes for fraudsters. A number of software development companies offer post-release support that includes the development of new features, testing, and fixing bugs.
By the way, we explained the steps we take during QA testing in this article!
Here, At Cleveroad, we have expertise in both post-release support and working with projects developed by other companies. From our experience, it’s much easier to work on a project you made on your own than to search for bugs in someone else’s code. Besides, the cooperation with the same team lowers the Flutter app development cost.
Development Cost by Types
As you already know the major and minor factors that influence the price, it’s high time to make an overview of the Flutter app development cost for different apps. To make it useful for you, we’ve estimated the development costs of several existing apps from various industries and different levels of complexity.
We’re going to talk about:
- Social media
Flutter App Development Cost: Transport
- Examples: BlaBlaCar
- Time: 462 - 632 hours
- Cost: $23,100 - $31,600
Transport apps require user profile, driver’s and passenger’s roles, payment gateway, and GPS support. Mind that if you use Flutter to build native features like geolocation, the overall project development time may rise.
Mind that the estimates below don't include time for code documentation, frameworks integration, project management, and more. That’s a rough estimate for features exclusively.
Here’s a rough estimate of the essential features for a BlaBlaCar-like app:
|Feature||Development time (hour)||Approximate cost ($)|
Sign in (by email and Facebook)
Ride payment + coupons
Flutter App Development Cost: Streaming
- Examples: Twitch, Periscope, YouTube Live
- Time: 760 - 914 hours
- Cost: $38,000 - $45,700
Streaming app is a complicated piece of software. It requires your development team to use streaming protocols (which aren’t Flutter’s strong side), develop a text chat for communication with the audience, push notifications, use smartphone’s cameras, and more. Some of them have donation systems, multiple integrations with third-parties, and even paid emojis.
Here’s a rough estimate of the essential features for a Twitch-like app:
|Feature||Development time (hour)||Approximate cost ($)|
Sign in (by email and Facebook)
Stream management (launch/shutdown, set bitrate)
Flutter App Development Cost: Messenger
- Examples: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram
- Time: 699 - 950 hours
- Cost: $34,950 - $47,500
Messengers have simple features, at first glance, but a detailed analysis proves the opposite. Integration of chat with various statuses (typing, online/offline, reading), file transfers, voice messages require a significant amount of time. If you add voice calls and group chats, things will get even more complicated.
Let’s single out each feature and its cost.
|Feature||Development time (hour)||Approximate cost ($)|
Sending media files
Wrapping Up: How to Calculate the Flutter App Development Cost
Now, after reading this guide, you should understand the main concept of calculating the Flutter app development cost.
Let’s remember the main statements one more time.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question “How Much Does it Cost to Make a Flutter App?”. Every project has different features and unique requirements, so it’s possible to figure out the exact price only after the discovery phase.
Factors that influence Flutter app development cost:
- Complexity of features
- The number of native features
- Team’s location
- The rate of your software development company
Don’t forget about additional expenses:
- Server rent
- App release price
- Support and maintenance costs
Bearing these factors in mind, there are two things left to do. Build a comprehensive and informative feature list to help developers understand project requirements. Then, find a reliable software development company with many positive reviews. By the way, Clutch provides ranks and reviews about vendors and helps clients to make the right decision.
We’ve worked with Flutter during our recent project Travel Time.
Travel Time is a guidebook for tourists who are thinking over their destination. Users can sort countries by different criteria to find the most interesting one. They can read reviews written by experienced travelers to make the decision where to go next. Our app has a Facebook-sign in, so users can go straight forward without wasting time on registration.