How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mobile App?

We all know what are the prices on food, costs of traveling, train tickets values and all the rest of what we encounter on a fairly regular basis. However, what about mobile app development cost? How much does it cost to make a mobile app? What are the components that affect on project price?

First of all, no one will give you a clear budget framework for a mobile development. Application development is something like buying a car. You get what you pay for, which means that a well-designed and high-quality custom product will cost more.

To figure out why “this or that” offer has costs of some funds we need to understand the nature of mobile app development pricing. An app development price always consists of such components as:

  • Programmers wage;

  • Designer's wage;

  • Project manager wage;

  • Payment for rent, Internet, etc;

  • Social taxes.

All these components, in turn, depend on the working time of each specialist: the more difficult task is, the more time will be spent to complete it and higher price will be.


Let’s look at the simple example – flowers delivery service app. What functionality this app need to be granted with?

  1. A catalog with images and prices which is stored on a server;

  2. Payment system;

  3. Communication system with the operator;

  4. The application must provide choice mechanics – basket.


Total development time (drawing up a tech documentation, graphics preparation, programming, testing and publication release) will take about two weeks. This is a good pace that takes into account prompt coordination on all arising issues.


To develop a mobile app we need: two full-time mobile application developers(project manager and one-platform programmer) plus one part-time (designer). If we multiply the number of specialists by two weeks of work and we will approximately get $ 2,000-3,000. Operating costs, in this case, will add another 15-25% fee to the final cost of the project. As a result, with the 5-10% margin, the average cost to develop an app for one platform will be about  $ 4,000.


Android and iOs App Development Cost. Minimum Value


Is it possible to somehow reduce the price? How to create an app on a budget? There are certain solutions for it.


  • App functionality minimization. In most cases (almost always) the application has functions, that aren’t connected with its main objectives and don’t affect on its success at all. Remove all unnecessary features and you can focus on the essentials, saving time and money. You can always do an update which will be based not on the guesswork but on real experience.

  • Make a cross platform application. Cross platform mobile app development is really great deal for those who want to reduce app development cost.

  • Try to find an outsourcing company that deals with the multi platform mobile app development. One of the great advantages of working with such companies is that there is no need to cover operating costs (no office, no social benefits, no taxes), thereby the cost of the work significantly decreases.


iOs and Android App Development Cost. Maximum Value


We’ve discussed the minimal expenses but what about the maximum costs of a mobile app development? They are always influenced by two factors: the law of supply / demand, and common sense. These factors aren’t always come as a single whole. Why?


On the one hand, large studios can inflate the costs of project development, establishing a margin of 50-400% or more. With no doubts, a client will get a quality product, but most of the budget is just presence of brand products in the portfolio. It means that you buy not only project itself but also a name.


It’s important to understand that any well-known studio will make its job very professionally, but the client can get the same quality from any other studio that made 10-15 good projects. But yes, presence of an Apple projects in the portfolio has a calming effect on a client. This is just a psychology.


On the other hand, competition between studios leads project costs to a break-even point. But how to determine the threshold and how to understand whether the project price is too high? Common sense comes here. We need to figure out the dependence of a budget on the total amount of man hours.


Let us imagine that you call to a development company to talk about the new game app for iphone and they give you an answer: “$600,000, 3 months of work and 3 developers”. 3 professionals who need 3 months to complete the project, then 1440 man hours may not be worth the $600,000. Don’t you think so? In this case, cost of man hour should be about $140. Well, you are hiring developers who create one Facebook each day. Another suggestion is that they will need not 3 but 45 programmers.


As you see both scenarios are not realistic, but they are giving us an understanding of overestimation. To figure out if the price is real or not, multiply number of employees (programmers who will work on a project) on a number of working hours on a rate $20-30 (one man hour rate) and analyze the received result. If you see that it is 3-5 times lower than claimed, be sure that you can find the same quality but for less money. Therefore, always check and estimate claimed costs to understand the real budget.



True Cost Assessment


So how much does it cost to build an app at the Archer Software? Let us, firstly, describe cost assessment process. For example, you need to create app for android phone or iphone, which uses quadrocopters to deliver pizza. This is a great startup idea for business, by the way. On the first stage, we determine platforms on which app will run – iOS, Android and Windows phone(Optionally. It may boost app demand a little). We are assuming that tablets adaptation isn’t necessary for us and the design should be minimal (we won’t create unique interface elements for this application).


After that we determine all necessary features app need to have:

  • User registration;

  • User profile fields confirmation (phone);

  • Connection to the server-side, from which application will receive catalogs of pizzas and a list of free quadrocopters;

  • Generated orders sending and ability to leave feedback after their implementation.


After analyzing of all necessary app tasks and detailed tech specifications we compose a list with cost estimations for mobile application design and give it to the client. Client is always free to refuse and provide a ready-made design of the mobile app. Then programming costs are assessed, based on the number of developers working hours to be spent for creating mobile application for iOS and Android versions.


Rare kind of work is predetermined. There are always appear situations that require some adjustments of work volume and project cost.


What Else Can Affect the Budget


Seemingly insignificant moments. For example, if the client insists on some designing solution, which can not be realized with a standard mobile operating system, the amount of work for its implementation (even if it’s a simple dialog window) can be increased several times.


Another factor - complexity of the design elements. For example, if you try to calculate the cost of your project using one of the online calculators you may wonder that cost of the application icon can amount to $ 1000-1500. At first glance, it seems that the one single icon should require a smaller amount of time and cost, but in this case the actual drawing - is only a small part of all design process.


It will take time to make about 10 different examples of the same icon to test them on the target audience, check how icon stands out from the line, etc.  In this case icon development also includes accompanying research and market study.


Budget also can affect development time. The application does not exist by itself, it is intended to create some part of the information infrastructure. New version of mobile operating system can be announced, which brings developers to a revision of technical assignment, or competitors will release a product that is already known to be superior to your idea and you will need to add some new elements to the mobile app.


Of course, all these factors do not mean that the budget will change 2-3 times since the start of the work, but you should understand that risks which are independent of both sides need to be taken into account too.


Make app for iOs and Android at Archer Software


If you plan to get not a one-time application, but quality and competitive project, you need to plan budget and costs needed for its support. Of course, almost every studio gives a guarantee of its code to work: an error that was made by developers will always be corrected for free.

The main goal of the Archer Software is to make high-quality mobile application that will help a client in his business and will bring the desired result. We are dealing with a great number of IT products, some of them are business and enterprise apps. Our company develops native apps, HTML5, hybrid apps, etc. Archer Software is committed to a long and productive collaboration, and we are always open to discuss the details of the work, tech specifications and estimate costs. And yes, we are ready to meet in a halfway. Contact us and you will get a comprehensive response about pricing and all terms of development.