Determining How Much Your App Will Cost to Develop Is Quite Essential

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If you’re developing or getting developed a new mobile app, you might be curious about app costs. For anyone, it’s the most important metrics to understand. Depending on the functionality of the app, apps can cost anywhere from $10,000 (offline standalone) to $500,000 or more (enterprise). 

Some apps are meant to work offline as standalone apps. And, if you’re a power user, you might have a few apps on your phone that serve one purpose or help with a specific task. While there are apps that are designed to work with push notifications, many apps have 3D graphics and work with your camera. These are a lot more expensive to design. 

While there are over 5 millions unique apps for over 3.7 billion smartphone users worldwide to choose from, it’s really difficult to understand the actual development cost of any app listed on any app store. There are, however, certain processes designed to help developers to estimate the approximate cost of an app they wish to develop.


Here are a few ways to help you determine your app costs so you can set up a realistic budget. 

Consider the Business Analysis Costs

Before you create your app, we recommend working on your market analysis. It needs to be verified and you will need documentation. You have to decide if the app will run on iOS, Android or both so decide which your target audience prefers. When setting up your budget, you might want to set aside 10% for the business analysis stage. Costs can range typically from $1,200 to $11,000. 

To lower costs at this stage,  we suggest researching the apps that already exist and have similar or the same features. Give the unified modelling language (UML) diagrams to your developers and work on establishing your best practices.

Cost Of Coding, Architecture and Functionality Development

Coding is one of the most expensive stages in app development. We know you’re likely envisioning a project manager, UI/UX engineer, QA engineer and mobile developers. And, that’s ideal for a SMALL team. Larger teams can include the aforementioned PLUS backend developers and business analysts. Yes, you will need the expertise of ALL of them. Estimate between $2,000 to $60,000 for projected costs.

Factor in Project Management Costs

Project management and the PM you hire will take about 15% of your total budget. And, there’s a lot they cover. PMs help with clients, account management and business analysis. They also focus on QA, concepts and designs and digital project management.


Other aspects are UI/UX and development. An impressive UI/UX design is the result of work upon competitive and creative analysis done during research by the designer and solution architecture. UI/UX plays a vital role in the success of any app and that’s why companies are spending a sizeable share of their total app development cost on UI/UX. Hiring

“Don’t think that that investing in good design is an expensive affair. And, if you think so, be prepared to pay the price of having a bad design”, says Bala Sukumaran, Co-Founder of Originux, one of the leading UI/UX design company in Bangalore, India.

Allocate from $1,200 to $12,000 for development of UI/UX. 

Include Updates for the App and Maintenance Costs

An aspect that’s sometimes overlooked is the updates and maintenance. It’s recommended that 10 to 20% of your budget should go here. And, why? It’s been suggested that maintenance alone can run $10,000 to $14,000 annually. You’ll also have to maintain updates for the latest Android or iOS versions.  

Factor in Costs That Vary With the Type of App You Have

Typically, in the development phase, you’ll set aside 60% for development and QA, 10% for business analytics, 15% for UI/UX and 15% for project management. While you include labour, materials and app features, there are a few areas where costs can vary. These should be factored into your budget and discussed with your app developers and designers. 

They can include

  • Server component costs to work with a mobile app through APIs. These can range from $6,500 to $30,000.
  • Features like QR codes, integrated payments and navigation can run just under $2,500 for each feature.
  • Using analytics that measures payments, revenue, or user actions and characteristics can run about $2,500. 
  • Third-party chats through SDKs can run $3,000 while custom chats set up as modules can cost $15,000 or more.

Look for Ways to Lower Costs

One area that can help is to look for cross-platform development. This can sometimes save you up to 30% off your budget. Another cost-saving approach is to use a minimum viable product (MVP) app to demo your app design with actual users. You can gather feedback and work on enhancing features users need. Next, look for app development from companies that offer designers and developers under the same parent company. This is an effective way to calculate app development costs.

Lastly, don’t take shortcuts. You might be tempted to buy code snippets, but don’t. These are not mobile software development kits (SDKs) that come with their own support. Snippets are sold “as is” and your development team might not be able to use them. You also want to steer clear of device models and legacy operating systems (OS). Only support versions that are up-to-date for Android and iOS and use device models that are the most recent. 

Ultimately, costs may vary for your app, by putting together a budget will help. Talk with your developers and designers and look for ways to lower costs while not taking shortcuts. That way you can set a realistic budget that can help with the success of your app. 


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