Everything in this world comes for a price, and so do mobile applications. The evolution of technology has carved a path for several new applications in the Play Store and App Store.
People have become highly dependent on apps for almost everything and the latter has in return not only made things easy for them but has proven these to be one of the most beneficial on everyone’s devices.
Almost all brands and companies are going in for the development of their mobile apps and have in certain ways benefitted from them.
From offering products of their brands to customers through their mobile apps to displaying their brand products on aggregator apps and offering help in the form of chargeable services, there is a lot that one can do with the help of mobile apps.
So how much do these mobile apps cost? Have you ever thought about the time and effort that goes into making these applications?
Well, if you think that an app development company or an agency can help you figure out the budget or the exact amount of money that you will have to spend on the development of the app, then you need to rethink that.
The cost of developing a mobile application can vary from the amount told to you initially as there might be additional features that would cost you more while the development phase.
So, if you are told that the cost of developing an app will be around $ 1000, you shouldn’t be surprised if it goes up to $ 30,000 or more after the completion of the development process.
Ways to estimate the cost of an app development
While concluding about the price of an app is quite a task, you can figure out an estimate that you might have to spend on the mobile app development phase.
Here are a few steps to analyze how much the app will cost to an app owner:
- The first and foremost step for any brand or person who wants to get an app developed is to get in touch with an efficient app development agency. They should then be able to explain the kind of app they want to get made and of what genre it should be. The app developers can then quote them a price for the same. This is just the very initial price quoted by the app developers which might go up later on.
- Secondly, you have to decide which platform to launch your mobile app on. This can either be a single platform app or a cross-platform functioning app, which will be compatible with all platforms. The price quoted for a single platform app might vary from a cross-platform app. Another thing that contributes to varying prices is the kind of platform it is being launched for. For instance, an app being developed for iOS will have a different price structure than that of an Android app.
- Now that you have your priorities set about the platforms, you should let your business analysts and app developers do some homework on the features that need to be integrated into the app. A list of all the features and functionalities will help you highlight the ones you want to keep and the ones you might want to give a miss.
- After this, you have to figure out if you want to save on cost and develop an MVP rather than spending a lot of money on developing a fully feature-loaded app. For this, you will have to go minimal on the features and integrate only those features that are necessary and required for a new app.
- Lastly, ask the app development team about the features that are necessary or the app to function properly and get only those features implemented. Based on these selective features, you will get a rough estimate of how much the app will cost.
Even after all these steps, the amount that will be charged from you will only be an estimate and you cannot be sure of it. Therefore, you should keep an extra buck aside if there is a need in the future.
Essential features in an app
While the need for each app varies when it comes to integrating features, some of them will stay constant in almost all apps no matter what.
You will have to invest your money in these no matter what and you might want to see them on your home page. Below is a list of these features:
One of the most important and basic features that need to be integrated into all mobile apps, thus allowing the users to register themselves with the app and be a part of it by saving all the details.
If the users do not want to enter all their details, they can use any one of their social media accounts to register themselves.
The signup page should also have a forgot password option allowing them to change their passwords. The login process should be easy and quick.
It takes the developers around 28 – 42 hours to develop this feature which might cost the app owners somewhere between $ 1400 to $ 2100 approximately (based on $ 50/hour in each case mentioned in the below features as well).
Competition of the profile:
After signing up for an app, the users should be able to complete their profiles by entering all their necessary details such as their address, geographical location, brief information, and a photo upload in certain cases.
It costs between 23 to 29 hours and costs around $ 1150 to $ 1450.
Uploading the profile:
Next is uploading any sort of file on the app such as a video, file, photo, or playback audio. This feature is essential in service profiles and sometimes in those which are integrated with VFX and UI/UX that allows users to try on apparel online in the virtual trial rooms.
This feature takes the app developers around 20 to 30 hours and is made on a budget of around $ 1,000 to $ 1,500.
Editing the profile:
The users might want to make changes to their profiles now and then, therefore, this option should be available for them. They can either edit their information, change their photo or change their user ID or password whenever they require.
This is also one of the most basic features required in almost all apps. The price of this app will cost you around $ 2,350 to $ 3,100 and the time taken to develop this feature is around 47 to 62 hours.
An app is incomplete without a chat or a messaging bar. Be it a service app or an e-Commerce app, all of them should give access to the users for a chat with other users or the admin himself.
The basic messaging includes details of the conversation held between the users and the admin, something to display the online and offline status of the users, the status of them typing while online, status if the messages have been read or sent, and above all, the users should be able to share a file via the chat features.
This feature might take longer for the developers to be integrated into the app than the regular features. The time spent on this might be somewhere between 160 to 170 hours and the feature carries a price tag between $ 8,000 to $ 8,500.
This feature makes it easy for the users to look up suggestions and things easily, without having to indulge in clicking all categories and checking each one of them.
This saves them a lot of time; therefore, it makes for an important feature even in the MVPs. This is a comparatively easy feature to integrate and takes the developers around 13 – 18 hours of their time and costs between $ 650 to $ 900.
All app owners should be able to send personalized messages to their users and customers. This is helpful in case they want to send out information regarding the new addition to their stocks, any special discounts and offers being run by them, or maybe just something special for their loyal customers.
To integrate this feature in an app, the developers might take around 25 – 32 hours and it must cost the app owners somewhere between $ 1,250 to $ 1,600.
This feature falls under the admin panel and is for the needs of the app admin. With the integration of this feature, the admin can see the entire list of the users on their app, edit them according to their requirements, delete or block any one of them if they want, and create a new user.
The cost of this feature is from $ 3,300 to $ 4,500 and it might take the developers 66 to 90 hours.
This one is again for the admin to handle all the payment-related things on the app. Since they have the access to all payments made by the users of their app, this feature allows them to see each payment and each invoice in detail, also they have the authority to send a refund request for any transaction if a user has asked for the same.
The integration of the payment management feature takes 8 to 14 hours of development time and costs between $ 1,150 to $ 2,200.
There are certain delivery sites, food ordering sites, or any on-demand service apps that might want to access the location of the user to deliver the product to him.
It does not only help in navigation but is also a beneficial tool for quick transactions. It might take the app developers more than 75 hours to include this feature in the app and can cost up to $ 5,550.
Team Structure required to Build a mobile app
The team selection of app developers for the development of any mobile app can be a crucial thing for the brands. They might have to contact the app development agencies and ask them if they have adequate and experienced staff to work on the app development.
The final price of the app is decided only after deciding about the team that will work on the same.
The team can either be hired on an hourly basis or as full-time employees according to the budget of the app owners.
In the case of full-time employees, they might have to incur a lot of money as they would have to give monthly and regular salaries to them. However, in the case of a part-time or hourly-based app development team, they will pay them for the time they spend on the development of the app.
Take a look at the team required for developing an app and their wages. These are the hourly rates of each one of them.
Take a look at the hourly rates of the staff required to build an app according to Accelerance:
Take a look at the details of the personnel that works on developing an app:
He is the overall authority who looks into each aspect of the development phase in detail and assists the entire team throughout.
He is the one who makes sure that the app complies with the app regulations and is answerable about the impact the app will have on the users.
He is a very important person on the team in case you are hiring app developers from an agency. Along with influencing the total cost that you are going to spend on the development he performs some other important functions such as:
- Preparing a report on competitors with similar apps and analyzing them.
- Making a collection of all the things required in developing the app.
- They take keen participation in the identification of any business problems or tech issues if any.
- They are responsible for clearly defining the value of the project you are working on.
- Lastly, the business analysts specify each detail of your project by listing them down.
Everyone knows how important an app designer is and the importance of having a clear and appealing app design. It is the design of any app that attracts the users and gives them a sense of belonging.
Therefore, the app development team is quite specific about having UX/UI designers who have prior experience and great knowledge in their field.
These designers should be able to compare their designs with the leading competitors to reach the right audience for their product. Take a quick look at the duties of these designers:
- Understanding the requirements of the clients and making note of what they are looking for in their app.
- Understanding the users and their preferences in terms of design and the app’s physical structure.
- Comparing your app with the apps that are built on similar grounds. Take some learning from them and then design a layout for your app.
- Creating the wireframes for the development of the app.
- Creating a final outlay and sharing them with the client. Get it checked by them and then make changes accordingly.
Quality Assurance Engineer:
It is very important to test each component of the app before launching it in the app store. Therefore, these QA engineers are hired who inspect if the app is performing well and if the design and all features are in place.
They have to inspect everything in detail and submit the final report to the app owner.
These can be either Android engineers or iOS engineers, or both.
After the app developers are done deciding about what platform to launch the mobile applications, they have to get mobile engineers of that particular platform on board for the creation of the app. They handle all the tech work thereon.
The development cost of Hybrid apps vs Native apps
Native apps are the most preferred amongst the big business companies as they can afford to develop a separate app for both Android and iOS. A native app is made for a particular platform and can access the internal features of the app such as the GPS, contact list, and camera.
However, to develop a native app you might have to shed a lot of money during the development phase. So, if you have kept a budget of $ 20,000 for the development of a native app, you might expect it to go up to $ 80,000 or so.
However, in the case of hybrid apps that are more economical and cheaper than native apps, there is a single code that works for all platforms. Therefore, the cost of developing a hybrid is going to cost lesser than native apps. Although the user experience is better in the case of native apps, it is quick to make a Hybrid app at minimum cost.
Maintenance cost of the apps
While we stress a lot about the development phase of the app, you must make sure to keep the show running by getting people on board to manage the app from time to time. Everything needs refueling, and mobile applications are no different in this case.
It is extremely important to keep the app healthy by maintaining the app and working on it constantly even after launching it. Each year, the app owners might have to spend 15 percent to 20 percent of the total budget spent on the development phase of the app.
Frequent app updates are also very important. Here is why you need to update the app once in a while:
- To add new features
- To fix any bug
- For changing the platform
- Stability improvement of the app along with enhancing the performance of the same.
- Fixing any technical issues if any
- Optimization of the code
- If you have any third-party integration, then you might need to update your app each time the third party introduces anything new or any change.
Factors that contribute to calculating the cost of an app
All apps cost differently according to the features included in each and the time spent on them during the development phase. No two apps are the same and all of them are integrated with different features. Several factors contribute to the cost calculation of the app.
Take a look:
- The geographical location of the developers: The app developers of different countries have different charges. A person from the U.S. might charge more amount for working an hour on the project than a developer in Europe or Asia. Take a look at how these charges vary from each other according to their locations:
- Developers based in Australia: $ 50 to $ 150 per hour
- Developers based in the U.S.: $ 50 to $ 250 per hour
- Developers based in Western Europe: $ 35 to $ 175 per hour
- Developers based in Eastern Europe: $ 20 to $ 150 per hour
- Developers based in India: $ 10 to $ 80 per hour
- Full time vs part-time: If you hire full-time employees for your project, you might have to incur high costs than hiring freelancers who work on your app on an hourly basis.
- Features: The number of features to be integrated into your app also affect the cost of an app. An app with more features would cost more than a mobile application with limited features. Secondly, adding premium features will also increase the cost. Also, there are start-ups that prefer getting MVPs developed, which will be the most reasonable.
- Design: If an organization is looking forward to getting an app featuring a complex design developed, they might have to spend an extra buck than those with simple designs. However, it is recommended not to compromise on the design as it can attract a lot of users.
- Platform: The platforms for which your app is being developed. Developing an app for Android will cost differently from those being developed for iOS or a cross-platform app. As we mentioned earlier, a native app that is developed separately for each platform will cost more than a hybrid app, that can be made with one single code for all platforms.
- Developing team: The number of people working in the development process also affects the cost of the app development. If you have a team of more than 10 people, you might have to pay them a handsome amount than a team of 5 or so employees.
App development is not as simple as it seems and might be a tedious and monotonous job if not done properly. It might take an app development agency some time to build an app for your company, therefore, you must get in touch with them as soon as possible so that they start working on your project at the earliest.
The most important thing to take care of in the initial phase of app development is to get the right people on board. Since app development includes a lot of technicalities, you must ensure hiring experienced personnel to work on your project.
Also, you cannot calculate the budget in the beginning, but get an estimate of how much would you have to spend going forward.