How Much Does It Cost to Make an App in 2020?
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 $2,000-$250,000. Quite a significant gap, isn't it?
Here we will try to identify the main drivers of mobile app development:
Table of contents
How Much Does It Cost to Create an App Worldwide?
The recent research fromshows that the average price of a simple app is between $40,000 to $60,000. The medium complexity app cost is between $61,000 and $69,000. A complex app may cost from $70,000 to $100,000.
So, giving a rough answer to how much it costs to create an app (we take the rate of $50 an hour as average): a basic application will cost around $25,000. Medium complexity apps will cost between $40,000 and $70,000. The cost of complex apps usually goes beyond $70,000.
Thousands of companies around the world claim to be the best app developers and guarantee they can deliver the best solution. Well-established or recently founded companies, experienced or ambitious, local or foreign, large or small, high-priced or cheap so many parameters to consider. No wonder that such an enormous selection may confuse not only startupers, but also experienced entrepreneurs.
The most common misunderstandings, such as 'high price equals to good quality' or 'young companies are not experienced enough to deliver high-quality product', may lead to failure or unnecessary expenses. Keeping that in mind, let's return to unbiased analysis of app's building costs. Our first stop is looking at the cost of building an app from the standpoint of hourly fees.
It's not a secret that the average cost of app development varies depending on geographical location so let's have a brief look at the table:
|Region||iOS ($/hour)||Android ($/hour)|
- North America (US and Canada). This region is considered to be the most expensive one. Android / iOS development charge from $20 to $250 per hour.
- Australian hackers develop mobile apps at a rate of $35-150 per hour.
- South American regional app development service rates are from $25 to $120.
- UK developers tend to charge from $35 to $175 an hour.
- Eastern European developers' rates start from $20 up to $110 per hour.
- Developers in India are quite satisfied to get $10-75, while in Indonesia the highest cost of app development is $20 an hour.
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 $250 an hour, while the best one in Indonesia is 12.5x cheaper. Still despite the rational reasons, such cost discrepancy doesn't seem to be sustainable.
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 local development.
The only meaningful argument in favor of local development is physical proximity to the development team, which presumably simplifies communication. Undoubtedly it is easier to explain your requirements face to face and feel the product before paying for it. On the other hand, outsourcing your app development is not as troublesome as it may seem. Communication with your team overseas seems hard, but not impossible. 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. In case you doubt if you can find a trustworthy development team outside your local area, be sure you will. The matter of finding a suitable international team is even easier there's a great choice. Much greater than in your local area.
Outsourcing and Local 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.
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 an application with simple functionality that requires approximately 500-700 hours on development.
- A medium complexity app takes from 700 to 1000 hours.
- A complex time-consuming app in most cases exceeds 1200 hours on development.
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. There is no rate list for the applications' development and everything depends on various factors. Surely before you will be sent a bill, the team of developers will estimate how many hours were required to implement your specifications. Still, the most significant factors influencing average development costs are:
- Features and functionality
- Customization of visual design
- Backend infrastructure and app administration
- Location and structure of a development team
- App maintenance costs
What affects mobile application costs
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. You can undefined to get a consultation and request more precise project cost estimation.
|Feature||Description||Approx time||Approx cost with back-end (based on $50/h)|
28 - 42 hours
$1400 - $2100
20 - 30 hours
$1000 - $1500
23 - 29 hours
$1150 - $1450
47 - 62 hours
$2350 - $3100
13 - 18 hours
$650 - $900
160 - 170 hours
$8000 - $8500
25 - 32 hours
$1250 - $1600
Basic admin panel: User management
66 - 90 hours
$3300 - $4500
Basic admin panel: Payment management
23 - 44 hours
$1150 - $2200
Basic admin panel: Push notifications
8 - 14 hours
$400 - $800
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.
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.
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.
|Feature||Description||Approx time||Approx cost with back-end (based on $50/h)|
75 - 111 hours
$3750 - $5550
60 - 78 hours
$3000 - $3900
90 - 140 hours
$4500 - $7000
257 - 365 hours
$12850 - $18250
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.
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.
However, if your 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. If an app is hybrid, you have one team working on it.
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.
|Title of Employee||United States||Latin America||Eastern Europe||Asia|
$110 - $205
$45 - $55
$40 - $63
$30 - $42
$198 - $292
$60 - $72
$50 - $77
$35 - $48
$133 - $233
$55 - $66
$45 - $70
$35 - $48
$105 - $111
$35 - $44
$25 - $42
$18 - $24
$132 - $140
$30 - $52
$35 - $56
$24 - $35
$154 - $163
$45 - $55
$45 - $70
$30 - $42
$176 - $187
$50 - $61
$45 - $70
$30 - $42
$77 - $81
$30 - $39
$25 - $42
$15 - $24
$99 - $105
$35 - $44
$30 - $49
$20 - $30
$143 - $169
$40 - $50
$40 - $63
$25 - $36
$79 - $163
$40 - $50
$35 - $56
$25 - $36
Now, let’s find out who are the members of the development team.
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.
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.
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 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.
Cost of Maintaining an App
One of the last points to consider is how much does it cost to maintain an app. In many cases, the app maintenance cost may account for 15% to 20% of the original price of development.
App maintenance is a must-have service even if you have no plans scaling up and adding new features into the application.
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 its terms of post-release support.
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:
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 ($50/h). The price is for two platforms: Android and iOS.
|Work||Basic app||Medium app||Complex app|
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!
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.
By the way, our Software Engineers and Business Analysts have already estimated the development cost of those apps. You can find them following these links:
A properly created app is able to produce a great return on your investment. If you have an idea and can't wait to bring it to life, let us know right away.