How Much does a mobile app cost really?

How much does it cost to make an app?

Generally, the cost of making a mobile app ranges extremely: from total zero to unbelievably expensive price that could reach millions. Although, frankly there is no simple answer to this inquiry due to multiple factors at play. Different developer rates, project complexity and time it takes to build an app impact the cost of making a mobile application. The price to make an app depends on the following aspects:

  • type (mobile game, business, social networking, lifestyle. etc.)
  • platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc.)
  • design (basic, individual, custom)
  • number of pages
  • features & infrastructure

If we split mobile apps into 3 categories in regards to complexity (simple, moderate, complex), and take 2 kinds of hourly rates into account, this is how much app costs to make approximately:

Complexity Notes Time, h Cost at $50 rate Cost at $100 rate
Simple No API integration, no back-end, standard UI components, simple features like email subscription, social login, calendar, etc. 400 20,000 40,000
Moderate Custom UI features, payment features, API integration, headsets and tablets adaptation, back-end server. 500-800 40,000 80,000
Complex Multi-language support, 3rd-party integrations, custom animations, complicated back-end, professional design, real-time features. 800-1500 75,000 150,000

Cost of developer team to create an app

Even a small application should be done by a team, not by one person, so it will provide a better user experience. It would be much faster and much more qualitative in the end, because everyone is engaged and responsible for their own part of the project. Surely, complex applications require more people to be involved in the development process.

A basic development team may include:

  • Project manager
  • Programmer
  • UI/UX designer
  • QA engineer

Extended development team:

  • 1 project manager
  • 2-4 app developers
  • 1 back-end developer
  • 1-2 UI/UX designers
  • 1 QA engineer
  • 1 system administrator

Duties and cost are represented in the table below.

Team member Duties Hourly cost
Project manager Prevents any miscommunication and misconduct within the team to avoid pitfalls and abide by deadlines. $20+
Developer Writes the code of an app, integrates it with the data source and fixes bugs. $30+
Back-end developer Ensures that the application, the database and the server communicate with each other in a right way and the whole app works correctly. $25+
Designer Works on how an app interface would be laid out and how it would be felt by users. Solves different optimization tasks. $15+
Tester Monitors each part of the app,  controls code and design quality, ensures the end-product meets all project requirements. $20+

Skipping all the factors in cost breakdown, a median price to create an app is $171,450, according to a Clutch survey. Online app cost calculators name a price tag between $200,000 and $350,000 for an app with dozens of features. While typical cost range stated by app development companies is $100,000 – $500,000. But no need to panic – small apps with few basic features could cost between $10,000 and $50,000, so there’s an opportunity for any type of business.

The cost of app design

Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object, system or measurable human interaction – this is what we find in Wikipedia. A famous quote from Steve Jobs adds that design is not just what it looks like and feels like, design is how it works. In mobile app development design implies aspects like visual design, user interfaces and UX, logos, icons, branding, wireframes, etc.

 

App design is an integral part of the cost to make an app. What are the factors impacting it?

  • Designer
    If you want to hire a professional senior designer,  be ready to pay up to $150 per hour or even more. At the same time, a less experienced designer can take only $45/hour.
  • Geography
    The cost of designers for hire in different parts of the world varies: USA & Canada – $50-250 per hour, Australia – $50-$150, Western Europe &UK – $35-170, Eastern Europe – $25-150, Asia – $10-80.
  • Complexity
    Simple app design cost starts from $5,000 (examples Pomodoro Timer, Flashlight), medium complexity app design starts from $10,000 (e.g. Journey, WhatsApp), complex app design from $25,000 (e.g. Facebook, Evernote).
  • iOS or Android
    iPhone varies from only $3,000 to $10,000, while design for Android phones may cost about $4,000 to $12,500.

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