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How Much Does It Cost to Make an App in 2021?

09 Jan 2021

17 Min

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How much does it cost to make an app? You have just read the number top-one question in our chart of the most frequently asked questions. So let's be honest, everything has its price tag. 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 answers.

You probably have two questions mind: 'How much money does it cost to make an app?' and 'What does the price depend on?' and search for the answers on the internet. On the web you may come across a few different websites aimed at estimating mobile app development costs, but they are nothing more than a marketing move to attract your attention with brief questions about your requirements. The estimation you receive will not show you the real picture.

In a nutshell, prices of a product can vary from $20,000-$250,000. Quite a gap, isn't it?

That's because mobile app development costs depend on a bunch of factors. We’re going to focus on them in this article.

Learn the price of your app

Contact us to get a free consultation and project cost estimation

How Much Does It Cost to Create an App Worldwide?

The recent research from GoodFirms shows that the average price of a simple app is between $38,000 to $91,000. The medium complexity app cost is between $55,550 and $131,000. A complex app may cost from $91,550 to $211,000.

So, giving a rough answer to how much it costs to create an app (we take the rate of $40 an hour as average): a basic application will cost around $90,000. Medium complexity apps will cost between ~$160,000. The cost of complex apps usually goes beyond $240,000.

Average cost to create an app at in Ukraine

Type of appTime to developCost

Simple

3-6 months

$70,000-$100,000

Medium

6-10 months

$120,000-$170,000

Complex

10+ months

$200,000-$250,000+

Thousands of companies around the world claim to be the best app developers and guarantee they can deliver the best solution. Well-established or recently founded companies, experienced or ambitious, local or foreign, large or small, high-priced or cheap so many parameters to consider. No wonder that such an enormous selection may confuse not only startupers, but also experienced entrepreneurs.

The most common misunderstandings, such as 'high price equals to good quality' or 'young companies are not experienced enough to deliver high-quality product', may lead to failure or unnecessary expenses. Keeping that in mind, let's return to unbiased analysis of app's building costs. Our first stop is looking at the cost of building an app from the standpoint of hourly fees.

It's not a secret that the average cost of app development varies depending on geographical location so let's have a brief look at the table:

How much does it cost to make an app: hourly rates worldwide

RegioniOS ($/hour)Android ($/hour)

North America

150

150

Australia

92

92

UK

71

71

South America

43

37

Eastern Europe

40

40

India

25

26

Indonesia

35

35

  • North America (US and Canada). This region is considered to be the most expensive one. Android / iOS development charge from $50 to $150 per hour.
  • Australian hackers develop mobile apps at a rate of $35-150 per hour. 
  • South American regional app development service rates are from $22 to $55/h. 
  • UK developers tend to charge from $71 an hour. 
  • Eastern European developers' rates start from $25 up to $50 per hour. 
  • Developers in India are quite satisfied to get $25, while in Indonesia the highest cost of app development is $35 an hour.
how much money to create an app worldwide

How much does it cost to create an app around the globe

It is weird to realise that the highest-priced app developer in the US charges $150 an hour, while the best one in India is 6x cheaper.

How Much Does an App Cost to Create: Time and Money Issues

To answer this question we need to know that not all mobile apps are equal. And the inequality is not only in the platform that it is developed for. The lowdown of iOS application development as well as an Android one is counted with the time needed to implement certain app features. So let's create a classification based on the moderate time needs.

  • A basic app with simple functionality requires approximately 500-800 development hours. Timeline: 3-6 months.
  • A medium complexity app takes from 800-1200 hours. Timeline 5-9 months.
  • A complex time-consuming app in most cases exceeds 1200 hours. Timeline: 8+ months.

What Affects Mobile Application Costs?

When you set out to develop an app, you cannot expect your software development company to inform you about the development costs right off the bat. They need to analyze your initial requirements first. Surely before you will be sent a quote, the team of developers will estimate how many hours were required to implement your specifications.

The most significant factors that affect development costs are:

  • Project type (CRM, marketplace, LMS, EHR, etc.)
  • Features and functionality
  • Customization of visual design (template or custom)
  • Platforms (iOS, Android)
  • Backend infrastructure and app administration
  • Location and structure of a development team / type of developers
  • App maintenance costs and additional services
  • In-house or outsoursed development team
  • Vendor's hourly rates

Based on this information, any vendor can make a rough estimate of your project.

what influences the cost to create an app

What affects mobile application costs

Now, let’s focus on some of these aspects.

Features and Functionality

To know the answer to the question: 'What does it cost to create an app?', you should find out how complex the application you are about to build is. Functionality, as well as number and the complexity of implemented features are the biggest cost drivers in app development. Screens, buttons, fields involved, the amount of logic required matter a lot.

It's really an important thing to estimate the project precisely. Here is our way to do it.

Well then, it's time to discover what features influence the complexity of the whole app. As we mentioned before, implementation of some features can be significantly lengthy, while others are relatively short and simple. Depending on the complexity of solutions, developers need to use third-party API or code from scratch. Simpler solutions, in turn, require standard instruments and engage native features.

Let’s take a look at the approximate development time and cost required for basic features and then move forward to more complex ones.

All the prices you’re going to see in this article are approximate and based on one platform. You can contact our managers to get a consultation and request more precise project cost estimation.

How much does it cost to build a mobile app: Breakdown by basic features

FeatureDescriptionApprox timeApprox cost with back-end, $ (based on $40/h)

Login

  • Login with email
  • Login with social media
  • Forgot password option
  • Log out

28 - 42 hours

1,120-1,680

File uploading

  • Upload photo
  • Upload video
  • Video playback
  • Photo view

20 - 30 hours

800-1,200

Profile completion

  • Set region
  • Add info
  • Add photo

23 - 29 hours

920-1,160

Profile editings

  • Edit profile
  • Change password
  • Change email
  • Add/remove credit card

47 - 62 hours

1,880-2,480

Search

  • Basic search with suggestions

13 - 18 hours

520-729

Basic messaging

  • Conversation details
  • Online/offline status
  • Typing status
  • Read/sent status
  • Send media files and documents

160 - 170 hours

6,400-6,800

Push notifications

  • Users can receive push notifications

25 - 32 hours

1,000-1,280

Basic admin panel: User management

  • See list of users
  • Edit user
  • Delete/block user
  • Create user

66 - 90 hours

2,640-3,600

Basic admin panel: Payment management

  • See payments
  • Refund payments

23 - 44 hours

920-1,760

Basic admin panel: Push notifications

  • Send custom push notifications

8 - 14 hours

320-560

User and social involvement

User engagement may take place in any aspect of an app performing authorisation, networking, notifications and many more. User authorisation, for instance, can be either simple or complex. Adding such functionality as password recovery, storing passwords, sophisticated visual design or login via social networks results in cost increase. Involvement tools, as emails, push notifications, social sharing are commonly used in consumer apps. An app integration with social networks: commenting, sharing, liking, etc. is obviously a bonus for modern apps. So is adding such functionality as social media ons, payment features or chats, demands integration with third-party frameworks or libraries.

In-App purchases support and location based services

PayPal, Google Wallet, credit cards are extremely widespread forms of payment within apps. Every payment processing method demands extra time for implementation into an app. If you would like to use location data, simple detecting and mapping is get-at-able, but implementing emerging technology, like iBeacon and geofencing, is rather time-consuming. Anyway, integrating any or all of these options drive up the cost of an app.

Using native device features

The development of the use of device facilities is becoming more and more obscure. A few years ago, app software that reached out to device hardware was confined to dialing, network running, low energy Bluetooth, accelerometer, camera and location information. Presently we deal with multiple NFC (near field communication) chips, payment systems and innovations are moving on. Normally, for creating apps with access to mobile device features we use platform-specific APIs. With the emergence of new features, there is a need of introducing new APIs, against which the developers haven't yet developed. Thus, developing time increases, which affects the total cost.

Note: Prices below are based on one platform.

Mobile app cost estimate: Breakdown by complex features

FeatureDescriptionApprox timeApprox cost with back-end (based on $40/h)

Map

  • Detect user's location
  • Search on the map
  • Set pickup point on the map

75 - 111 hours

3,000-4,440

Payments

  • See balance
  • List of transactions
  • Add card Add PayPal

60 - 78 hours

2,400-3,120

Streaming

  • Start/stop broadcast
  • View broadcast
  • Switch between broadcasts

90 - 140 hours

3,600-5,600

Calls

  • Audio calls
  • Video calls
  • List of contacts

257 - 365 hours

10,280-14,600

Additionally, quite often you may introduce some unexpected changes during the development process. That's why you need to take such costs into account and plan the budget with an added expense line. How much is it to create an app with these features? Here is a rough amount of time needed to implement the listed above features.

Customization of Visual Design

Creating a unique user interface design is a complicated deed that provides additional expenses to your project. The cheaper variant suggests using OS-supplied items and building screens of standard elements. The quantity of screens is also a determining factor.

Platforms

Are you thinking of creating an iOS app? Maybe your app is meant to work on Android OS as well? So, you should know the cost to create an Android and iPhone apps. Making a decision on which platform to start from, app owners try to take into consideration such factors as iOS and Android market share, device fragmentation and prevalence, but the most meaningful is that developing mobile applications for these platforms differs greatly. These platforms take over different programming languages, have different SDKs and utilize different development tools.

Let us share our insights on one of the most controversial questions: iOS or Android - what to start from?

The question comes up: is there any price difference in developing apps for iOS or Android? Actually, no. In case you are creating an app for a single platform, there is no significant price discrepancy in the costs of creating Android and iOS apps. But if you want your application to support two or more platforms, get ready to pay more money for development.

If you aim is to have both iOS and Android apps, cross-platform or a hybrid app development is a good choice. The problem is that usually you need to have a separate team for any particular platform and the app creation cost is doubled.

Flutter, a cross-platform framework, solves this problem. It allows developers to write code once and then run it on both Android and iOS devices. By choosing Flutter app development, you can lower the cost to make an app up to 30-40%.

Backend Infrastructure and App Administration

In mobile application development, backend is normally an OS that provides developers with APIs to provide data exchange between an app and a database. In order to track user activity and assess the performance of your consumer app, it is equipped with analytics. Depending on the number of parameters you are going to track and how detailed and specific the tracking will be, costs vary.

The administration panel is surely a very useful tool for managing an app content, users and statistics. There are options to adopt existing admin panel templates for your needs, but finding a good one is a problem. So it makes sense to create an adequate panel to meet your business requirements.

Location and Structure of a Development Team

As mentioned earlier, the location of your app development team is a vital factor influencing the product’s final price. The cost of creating an app in the UK will differ from the cost of app development in the US and other regions.

Hourly rates of specialists according to Accelerance

Title of EmployeeUnited StatesLatin AmericaEastern EuropeAsia

Business Analyst

$110 - $205

$45 - $55

$40 - $63

$30 - $42

Architect

$198 - $292

$60 - $72

$50 - $77

$35 - $48

Project Manager

$133 - $233

$55 - $66

$45 - $70

$35 - $48

Jr. Developer

$105 - $111

$35 - $44

$25 - $42

$18 - $24

Mid-Level Developer

$132 - $140

$30 - $52

$35 - $56

$24 - $35

Sr. Developer

$154 - $163

$45 - $55

$45 - $70

$30 - $42

Lead Developer

$176 - $187

$50 - $61

$45 - $70

$30 - $42

Junior QA

$77 - $81

$30 - $39

$25 - $42

$15 - $24

Mid-Level QA

$99 - $105

$35 - $44

$30 - $49

$20 - $30

Senior QA

$143 - $169

$40 - $50

$40 - $63

$25 - $36

Graphic Designer

$79 - $163

$40 - $50

$35 - $56

$25 - $36

Now, let’s find out who are the members of the development team.

Business Analyst

If you work with an outsourcing agency, business analysis is an essential step to identify tech and business requirements before proceeding with development costs.

A Business Analyst is a person responsible for the following:

  • Gathering requirements
  • Identifying tech and business problems
  • Analyzing competitors
  • Defining project value
  • Writing project specification

All this is a frame of the planning phase. Thorough planning is key to avoiding costly changes to the scope and misunderstandings during the development.

In other words, the work of Business Analysts influences the cost of developing an app.

UI/UX designer

Beautiful design is everything to users these days. And it’s barely possible to build a great product without an experienced designer who’d offer UI/UX design services.

The designer’s responsibilities include:

  • Analysis of similar applications
  • Analysis of user preferences and pains
  • Creation of wireframes
  • Creation of final design

So, you should also include rates of UI/UX designers in the app cost breakdown.

Mobile app engineer

Depending on what platforms you’re going to release the app on, you’ll need from one to several iOS and/or Android developers. Their main task is to build and publish the application considering all the tech and business peculiarities described in the specification.

QA engineer

Quality Assurance engineers check the application’s stability performing regression, load, smoke, and other types of tests. They also check the UI and other app components for compliance with the specification.

Project Manager

Project Managers coordinate the work of the entire team and make sure the product will be ready in time and comply with all the requirements. In turn, the right management approach has a great impact on mobile application development costs.

Outsourcing or Local Development: What to Choose

When you are planning on creating a mobile application, not only the average cost of developing an app matters. If you don't have a team to make it happen, you are probably thinking to hire someone to make an app. So the question comes up about what to choose: outsourcing or in-house development.

The only argument in favor of in-house development is physical proximity to the development team which means faster and simpler communication.

Looking at the current situation, it's not an argument at all. Because of the pandemic, people used to working from home. And lots of IT companies ask their employees to work remotely anyway.

There won't be much difference if your remote team is working from the USA, Western, or Eastern Europe. As long as they have the right skills and speak English well.

With outsourcing, you can get the right specialists in a couple of weeks, not months.

The traditional hiring process takes far more time, especially if you need to find senior developers. Even if not, searching, interviewing, onboarding, and training the right candidates won't happen in two weeks.

So, outsourcing your app development is not as troublesome as it may seem. Communication with your team overseas may seem hard but not impossible. Even if you live in different time zones and there's 10-12 hour gap, remote teams eagerly make advances and try to meet any organizational requirements.

Take a look at this extensive guide on how to hire iOS developers

Having a higher level of expertise at reasonable costs, foreign developers are able to perform a lot better comparatively to local ones.

Finding the right tech vendor also takes time and effort. The general steps are:

  1. Research tech vendors.
  2. Find a company with affordable rates, appropriate size, and specialization.
  3. Look through their portfolio of released apps.
  4. Gather feedback.
  5. Schedule a meeting with their managers to find out the details of their development process and methodology.

You can gather feedback by contacting their previous clients or checking verified reviews on platforms like Clutch or GoodFirms.

Which is better: in-house or outsourced app development?

Outsourcing and in-house development comparison

Because we've already indicated the costs of making an app in accordance with the region, you have the opportunity to make an informed decision. The quality of development services depends on it.

Cost of Maintaining an App

One of the last points to consider is how much does it cost to maintain an app. It's a common practice to allocate from 15% to 20% of the initial app development cost on maintenance each year. App maintenance costs usually include bug fixing, new features, getting ready for new OS version, and so on. It also depends on how many featured you'd like to add per year and how complex they are.

App maintenance is a must-have service even if you have no plans scaling up and adding new features into the application. These costs will rise over time as your app gets more complex.

Maintenance includes the following:

  • Continuous bug fixing
  • Improving stability and performance
  • Code optimization
  • Adding support for latest OS versions
  • Developing new features
  • Supporting the latest versions of third-party services

That’s why the cooperation with your tech partner or development team doesn’t stop right after the product readiness. It’s a continuous process, and every software development company has it's terms of post-release support.

Costs to maintain an app

App maintenance costs

How Much Does It Cost to Create an App: Total Cost

How much do apps cost to make at Cleveroad? We provide full-cycle development services. Therefore, the process of mobile apps development follows through these stages:

  • planning
  • design 
  • development 
  • testing 
  • deployment 

Depending on the requirements for any specific project, the development stage may include implementing features, customized app infrastructure and app administration mechanisms. Additionally, post-release services, like app promoting and maintenance, can also be provided. Check out our average time share estimate of each development stage.

According to the complexity of your project, the team structure can also vary. The number of developers and designers, the presence of admin panel designers and backend developers is very flexible and negotiable. However, a project manager to coordinate the workflow and perform smooth communication is essential.

When we start our cooperation, we make a rough estimate according to your requirements and the description of your idea. We determine the approximate number of hours required to develop the application. Having received your approval we move on to detailed estimation, building app logic, wireframes and creating detailed project documentation.

Here is the final cost breakdown. It’s approximate and based on average hourly rate in Ukraine ($40/h).

Note: The prices below are based on one platform: Android or iOS.

App costs breakdown

TypeSimple appMedium appComplex app

Development time

4 months

6 months

10 months

Developers

$39,200

$67,200

$112,000

UI/UX Designer

$4,200

$7,200

$12,000

Project Manager

$7,350

$12,600

$21,000

Business analyst

$3,500

$6,000

$10,000

QA Specialist

$10,500

$18,000

$30,000

Solution Architect

$3,150

$5,400

$9,000

DevOps

$2,450

$4,200

$7,000

Total

$70,350

$120,600

$201,000

We tried to give a detailed answer to the question: 'What do I need to develop an app for my business?' as possible. Finally, experience shows that the best-proven way to look at the money paid for mobile app development is as an invested money and subsequently returned investments. Just to arrange the information we provided you with, check out our infographic!

How much does it cost to create a app infographic

Infographic - How much does it cost to create an app

Development Cost of Famous Startups [Bonus]

I’ve selected several well-known startups that got funding in a seed round to continue developing their products. These real-life examples may give you more understanding of mobile app development prices.

  • Uber. The company received $200K in seed funding for implementing their ideas.
  • Instagram. This photo-sharing application got $500K in seed funding for further development.
  • Tinder. This dating application raised $485K in the seed round in 2012.
  • Postmates. This company raised $750K in the seed round.
  • Snapchat. This large social media network raised $485K in 2012, which is a drop in the ocean reviewing the total funding in over $3B.

If your startup business model is similar to the models of popular apps, check out the compilation below. In these guides, we explain how to build an MVP version of popular apps. Including the costs, features, and challenges you may face:

As always, if you have an idea and can't wait to bring it to life, we'd be glad to help you. Just drop us a word here.

Frequently Asked Questions

App development cost is based on a bunch of factors. They are: app complexity, number of platforms, expenses on a development team, maintenance, and some more. You can find more details in this research.

Though it’s impossible to figure out the exact app development price, here are the approximate ones:

  • $90,000 for a simple app with basic features on average
  • $160,000 for a medium complexity app on average
  • $240,000 and over for a complex, feature-rich app

It heavily depends on what type of business you’re running and what features you need in the app. For example, the average cost to build an application like Uber is $91,000 and $72,000 for an app like WhatsApp according to GoodFirms’ report.

Check this research to learn more about how the app development cost is estimated and discover more accurate prices.

The app development time depends on its complexity.

  • A simple mobile app with basic features takes 500-800 development hours on average.
  • For an app of medium complexity, it takes 800-1200 development hours on average.
  • Regarding complex feature-rich apps, the development time for them may be from 1200 hours and above.

The app maintenance costs may range from 15% to 20% of their initial development cost. In other words, if you paid $40,000 for a basic application, then you should be ready to invest from $6,000 to $8,000 for maintenance.

App development cost is based on a bunch of factors. They are: app complexity, number of platforms, expenses on a development team, maintenance, and some more. You can find more details in this research.

Though it’s impossible to figure out the exact app development price, here are the approximate ones:

  • $90,000 for a simple app with basic features on average
  • $160,000 for a medium complexity app on average
  • $240,000 and over for a complex, feature-rich app

App development cost is based on a bunch of factors. They are: app complexity, number of platforms, expenses on a development team, maintenance, and some more. You can find more details in this research.

Though it’s impossible to figure out the exact app development price, here are the approximate ones:

  • $90,000 for a simple app with basic features on average
  • $160,000 for a medium complexity app on average
  • $240,000 and over for a complex, feature-rich app

App development cost in 2021 is based on a bunch of factors. They are: app complexity, number of platforms, expenses on a development team, maintenance, and some more. You can find more details in this research.

Though it’s impossible to figure out the exact app development price, here are the approximate ones:

  • $90,000 for a simple app with basic features on average
  • $160,000 for a medium complexity app on average
  • $240,000 and over for a complex, feature-rich app
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Comments

11 comments
N
NectarBits
02.03.2020 at 08:23

Nice content sharing for mobile app development, it's too clear and easy to understand for a new startup company and business owner.

OM
Oliver Milton
18.05.2020 at 01:44

Great article - Thank you!

MT
Munevver Tursun
03.07.2020 at 06:25

Thank you for the information. Every step was Crystal clear.

avatar
Vitaly Kuprenko
07.07.2020 at 01:15

Thanks for you feedback!

JM
Joaquim Mussassa
13.07.2020 at 07:04

Hello. When you say cost of maintenance is 15% - 20%, do you mean is charged monthly that amount?

avatar
Vitaly Kuprenko
14.07.2020 at 09:32

Hi, Joaquim! Thanks for your comment. The maintenance cost is approximately 15%-20% of the original app development cost. Meaning that if your initial app development cost is $120,000, you can expect the maintenance expenses to be around $24,000 per year or $2,000 per month.

JL
James Lambert
23.07.2020 at 09:52

Yeah that's just way too much I would just like to make app TV you know for your internet box but that just sounds too much money

avatar
Vitaly Kuprenko
27.07.2020 at 10:54

Hi, James! It's really hard to say how much money would your app cost without project details. Feel free to [contact us](internal:https://www.cleveroad.com/contact) and get consulted free of charge.

GO
Gibson Ogaga
06.08.2020 at 04:44

Nice article, have an idea for a app but the cost I am getting to know will require a lot of funds, I won't give up. Keep up with the good work

MJ
Millie Jack
22.09.2020 at 12:43

After reading this all my points are cleared now. I appreciate you for sharing best article.

avatar
Vitaly Kuprenko
29.09.2020 at 01:35

I'm glad you find it useful! Appreciate the feedback.

ON
Oliver Nshom
03.11.2020 at 02:40

Slpendid. Thank you for this explicit research work. It has direly help me. Job well done team Cleveroad

T
Tim
19.11.2020 at 11:42

Clear explanation ..but how about to develop clone apps? is it the same cost/time consuming?

avatar
Vitaly Kuprenko
23.11.2020 at 07:47

Hi, Tim! Clone apps with full functionality of original software are likely to cost more and take more time. It all depends on the app and your requirements.

T
thomas
03.03.2021 at 07:57

app cost is very well analyzed. great article

MS
MAndisa Sekharume
07.04.2021 at 08:28

It's a beautiful article with so much information but the cost of creating an app is too high

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