How Much Does a Custom Application Development Cost? Top Factors to Take Into Consideration

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Written By Sergio Peixoto

Sergio is the Global Editor in Chief of TrendingWoke. He has worked for the company for over a decade and has published over 200 articles. He is a tech, cryptocurrency, and programming enthusiast who can bore anyone about task management, tracking, and the latest AI innovations.

How much does it cost to build an application?

First, let’s look at the problem we’re trying to solve

Developing a mobile application can range from $10,000 to $300,000.

Resources, technology, and labor all play a role in a custom application development cost.

If you want a more specific answer, read on. We’ll go through everything, define the costs associated with developing an app, and give you some budgeting tips.

We will cover:

  • How is the price of an app estimated?
  • Other factors to take into consideration.

Approximate App Development Cost

Over the past decade, we have developed more than 200 applications for companies of all sizes. We have found that three main factors determine the price of an app: Technology, functionality, and labor costs.

These three factors can contribute to an app’s price ranging from $10,000 to $300,000. However, the best way to determine the exact price is to provide the software vendor with more details about your project.

You may be wondering why I wrote this.

Most companies do not need a product that costs $300,000. However, some companies can justify paying that money for a needed product.

We have found that budgets between $10,000 and $50,000 are usually sufficient for small and medium-sized businesses. Even within these limits, you can get an application that meets your needs.

Below is an overview of the costs associated with developing mobile applications of varying complexity. 

App Development Cost Statistics

App Development Cost Statistics
App Development Cost Statistics

By 2020, the total number of cell phones will reach 3 billion.

There are several factors influencing the growth of smartphone usage. These include the cost of hardware and software, the affordability of smartphones, increasing Internet access, and the volume of data used.

According to Statista, the global mobile app store market was worth $40 billion in 2017. By 2020, it is estimated to be worth $100 billion.

According to research firm VisionMobile, the total market value of the app economy reached $50 billion in 2016. In 2018, it grew to $75 billion and was expected to reach $150 billion by 2021.

By 2020, there will be twice as many monthly active mobile app users as people using desktops.

We looked at the cost of developing an app for the Android and iOS platforms. The average cost per app is between $300 and $500 for Android apps and between $400 and $800 for iOS apps.

If you are working on a project that requires a lot of time and effort, the cost will increase significantly. But if you think about the ROI (return on investment) that matters, you can see if it makes sense for you.

Cost of App Development by Region

As far as software development is concerned, a high price does not necessarily mean a high-quality application. Many factors influence the final cost of developing an application. Some examples are:

  • Labor costs: if you want to outsource programming services from another country, you will pay much less than hiring someone locally. However, the quality may vary.
  • Equipment costs: most of the equipment you need for your business is easy to obtain in the United States, but not elsewhere. That is why prices vary so much.
  • Different time zones: Developers who work in different parts of the world work in different time zones, meaning their work hours depending on where they live. For example, developers in the UK usually start their shift at 9 am local time, while in North America, they start around 2 pm.
  • Language barriers: Even though English is the global language of communication, this is not always true for programming. Although programmers usually speak English, they may not be able to communicate effectively with you if they cannot program.
  • Location: Depending on where you live, taxes can be as high as 10% or 15%.

Examples of App Development Cost

Here is a list of some popular applications used around the world.

We have listed both free and paid versions for each application.

Example #1: Tinder

Tinder
Tinder

Tinder is an online dating app that allows users to browse the profiles of potential partners. Once they find someone they like, they can send them a message. Both parties must agree to a date before a match is made.

This application costs between $70,000 and $100,000 to develop and requires about 1,000 hours of work.

Example #2: Ikea

Ikea
Ikea

Ikea is a leading global home furnishings company with over 20 million customers worldwide. In 2017, the company launched a digital version of its catalog. Using this method allows customers to browse the catalog online without buying anything.

They can see pictures of the items and read more about them. The company has used augmented reality technology to enhance the experience. With this technology, you can see how the item looks on your phone.

You can rotate the article 360 degrees and view it from any angle. Although the app is free, some additional features are included in an annual subscription.

These features include:

  • Customer support
  • New releases
  • Product recommendations
  • Price comparison
  • Loyalty program

Example #3: Uber

Uber
Uber

Uber is an example of the app world. It was founded in 2009 and now operates worldwide.

You can use the app to book cabs, cars, or bicycles. There is no limit to the number of daily rides you can take. All you have to do is download the app and sign up.

While there are many examples of successful apps, there are also many examples of unsuccessful apps. One of the most famous is AirBnB. It is a worldwide service that allows people to rent out rooms in their homes. However, according to some experts, AirBnB is facing a big problem.

Besides financial problems, Airbnb is also facing some serious technical difficulties. Airbnb’s highly complex server and database system complicates the company’s work.

It makes it difficult for the company to adapt to changing markets. For example, Airbnb has had to change its pricing model several times because of fierce competition.

Also, the company does not provide enough information about its customers, making it impossible to determine if they are satisfied with the service.

Therefore, we recommend you think twice before launching an application. If you do not, you can lose money.

Example #4: TikTok

TikTok
TikTok

TikTok is an app that allows people to create short videos and add music. It was launched in 2017 and had over 800 million monthly users. The app requires only about 20 lines of code and costs about $70,000 to $80,000 to develop.

The cost of app development varies depending on the features they offer. An app like TikTok requires certain features like online messaging, video calling, etc., which are very expensive. Features like online messaging can cost up to $20,000. Video calling also requires special equipment and software for up to $30,000. These costs are added to the development fees.

Example #5: Airbnb

Airbnb
Airbnb

Airbnb is an example of a thriving marketplace app. TripAdvisor acquired it in 2017 for $1 billion.

Typically, a marketplace offers an on-demand service and an online store to sell products. Because of this, development costs and times are higher.

For this reason, app development costs can start at $75,000 and take up to 1,000 hours. It will include some advanced features such as:

Find available live units and book them online.

Factors that Affect Application Costs

What factors affect the cost of developing a mobile application? These include the type of technology you use, the number of features you need, the level of complexity of your app, and the platform you choose.

Certain things contribute to the overall cost of developing an app regardless of your app. 

Cost of Creating an App: 5 Factors

Let’s look at what goes into the cost of application development.

Features, aka complexity

More features mean more cost.

However, that does not mean you can not build a great application on a limited budget; you can limit your spending by choosing the essential features.

Let us look at some examples of different functions.

You have seen three primary functions, medium complexity and complex functions. Each of them has its own set of functions.

The main application will contain these functions:

  • Newsfeed
  • Geolocation
  • User profiles
  • Search function
  • Payment options
  • In-app notifications

Simple apps include apps for notes, news readers, fitness trackers, books, and podcasts.

Moving from simple apps to apps of medium complexity

You can also have these additional features:

  • Social media integrations
  • Effective cybersecurity
  • Customized enterprise features
  • In-app messaging
  • Location tracking
  • More complex payment portals

A medium-sized app has most of the features needed for many different apps. For example, you can create an app for grocery delivery, an e-commerce store, or even an app for a concert promoter.

The next level: Complex Apps.

You can have these additional features:

  • Video chat
  • Third-party integrations for live streams
  • Analytics and reports
  • Synchronization with existing software
  • Complex cybersecurity tools
  • Almost all business functions
  • Native functions

With this technology, you can create any application you want.

How long does it usually take to create it?

You can develop a simple application in 30 working hours. A medium-sized application requires between 50 and 100 hours. And a complex application requires between 150 and 200 hours of development time due to its many functions.

Point 1. User Experience

User Experience
User Experience

User experience (UX) refers to the overall quality of an interface between people and technology. It includes things like usability, accessibility, and aesthetics. User experience (UX) is about how an application works.

It includes everything from the screens you draw on paper or with a design tool to ensuring the application does what you want it to while being easy to use. User experience (UX) is about designing the screens on paper or using tools like Axure RP to prototype them. It’s about figuring out how the application will work for end users.

Once this is known, you can start thinking about the cost of the application.

Point 2: User Interface and Visuals

User Interface and Visuals
User Interface and Visuals

The first step in developing an application is to figure out what problems you want and how best to solve them. You need to understand what purpose the product will serve, who will use it, and what kind of functionality they will need. Based on this information, you can decide whether you want to develop something simple or something complex. In addition, you should also think about monetization strategies. Will you sell premium features or offer them for free? How much will each feature cost? Do you plan to charge for monthly or annual subscriptions? These questions will help determine your overall budget.

Once you know what you want to accomplish, you must think about how. Do you need to create something new? Or can you leverage existing code? How much work will it take? And if you decide to develop something yourself, where should you start? Sketching out ideas is an excellent place to start. You may have too many ideas, so you should narrow your focus before you begin.

Point 3. Branding

Branding
Branding

You may not be aware of it, but everything you see around you was made by someone else, at least in part. Everything you own was made elsewhere, from your clothes to the food you eat. Energy is condensed into matter to create the entire universe. And what does that mean for us? If you think about it, we are just a bunch of atoms held together by chemical bonds. And those atoms were once part of something else, maybe an elephant, a star, maybe a human being. So who cares? We are all going to die someday anyway.

1. Brands are powerful tools that every marketer should know. Some marketers believe that if a brand is too strong, it does not exist. However, some brands are stronger than others. We have identified three types of brands, depending on how well known they are.

2. trending brands: These are popular for a short period but go out of style. Examples include the “hipster” trend of the late 2000s and early 2010s.

3. Iconic Branding: These brands become iconic through consistent branding. Think of the Coca-Cola logo. Or the Apple Iphone.

4. Well-known brands – Many people know these brands. Take Nike, for example. Although you may not know what Nike means, you probably recognize Nike swoOSH.

Point 4. UX Writing

UX Writing
UX Writing

When developing a user application, there are several things to think about:

  1. Make sure the user interface is easy to use. Otherwise, people won’t stick around long enough to find out what your product can do.
  2. Make sure the user interface is intuitive. Otherwise, users will quickly forget it.
  3. Make sure everything works properly. Otherwise, users may get frustrated and abandon the product.
  4. Make sure everything works properly. If it doesn’t, people will complain.
  5. Make sure everything is working perfectly. If not, people might get angry.
  6. Make sure everything is working perfectly. If not, people might be angry.
  7. Make sure everything works perfectly. If not, people will be disappointed.
  8. Ensure everything works as it should.

You must ensure the user experience is excellent, but you must also consider the copywriting aspect. A good copywriter knows how to write compelling stories that encourage readers to keep reading. They know how to tell compelling stories that make you want to read more.

However, it would be best if you did not underestimate the value of writers’ creativity. Good writers know that well-crafted copy can sell any product. But like anything else, a good article costs money. That’s why today we will talk about the different ways to make money online. 

Operation System

The platform chosen affects the final cost. For example, developing for Android is cheaper than for iOS, but it is also more expensive to develop for both. Android development is easier because it is an open-source platform.

Android app development takes less time than iOS app development. And Android is the market leader among mobile operating systems. But that does not mean you have to focus exclusively on Android devices.

If you are developing an e-commerce app, iOS should be your first choice. Business Insider says the average transaction on an Apple device is 26% higher than on an Android device. With Java or Objective C, you can build apps for both Android and iOS devices.

A cross-platform application works across multiple operating systems. Creating a hybrid application is less expensive than creating two separate applications for Android and iOS. Also, this type of application is easier to maintain and scale.

In turn, cross-platform apps outperform native apps in terms of performance and usability.

Option 1. Develop a Hybrid or Cross-Platform App

Develop a Hybrid or Cross Platform App
Develop a Hybrid or Cross Platform App

The world is increasingly moving toward hybrid applications. There are two types of mobile application development: native and cross-platform. Native applications are designed for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone devices.

However, these applications have limitations such as poor performance, lack of features, high cost, etc. Cross-platform applications, on the other hand, can run on multiple devices. Adobe XD, Sketch, InVisionapp, and other applications are examples.

These applications provide similar features as native applications while being of high quality. Both applications have advantages and disadvantages, so developers must decide which to use depending on their requirements. Now let’s examine what makes a good hybrid application and why you should create one.

Option 2. Develop a Native App

Develop a Native App
Develop a Native App

In 2017, Apple released iOS 11, which included an app sandbox feature. That allowed users to install apps without fear of security issues. However, this caused problems for developers who could not create apps compatible with the new software.

Even worse, the company was forced to stop supporting 32-bit apps. While this change will not affect your personal life, it can cause severe problems if you work in a large enterprise. You should consider upgrading to the latest version if you still use an older Mac version.

However, there are some limitations to doing so. You can not install third-party programs on macOS Mojave, so ensure you have the operating system’s latest version. On the other hand, there are benefits to updating your smartphone or tablet to a newer OS version.

For example, Apple released ARKit 2 in September 2018. Apple’s augmented reality platform received several new features with iOS 11. These include object recognition and distance measurement. 

Development Team Size

A project manager, a software engineer, a user interface (UI) or user experience (UX) designer, and a quality assurance (QA) engineer are needed for an essential team. You can hire a project manager, several programmers, a back-end developer, several UI /UX designers, a QA engineer, and a system administrator to expand a project further. Everyone has a role to play.

Project Manager

Develops applications to application development standards, manages production, and creates project scope after thoroughly analyzing all risks and potential pitfalls. Serves as a liaison between the team and the client.

Software Developer

A programmer writes the code for an application, suggests future updates, fixes bugs, and documents his development process for future work.

Back-End Developer

Creates server-side logic for applications. Collaboration with software engineers is required to integrate your code into the application.

UI/UX designer

It establishes the design for a future application and describes how users will interact with it.

QA Engineer

It ensures that an application performs smoothly and consistently throughout the development cycle.

In-house or offshore development?

There are two ways to develop an application:

Hire an internal team or outsource this task to an external team.

How much can the cost of developing an application be reduced by choosing the second option?

Check out these hourly rates:

$20-$250 per hour in North America. In Australia, the hourly rate is between $35 and $150. between $25 and $150 per hour. Eastern Europe: $20-$110/hour. Ukraine and Poland are the two most popular locations, with hourly rates ranging from $34-$64 and $40-$77, respectively. Work in Indonesia ranges from $10 to $75 per hour. Indian app developers, on the other hand, charge $20 at most.

Maintenance

Maintenance
Maintenance

Consider these considerations when budgeting for the cost of developing an application. To meet user expectations, developers must patch their applications after release. You must develop your application regardless of platform, team size, or features.

  • Troubleshooting
  • Development of new functions
  • Stability improvements

Application updates to adapt to new operating system versions. No matter how thoroughly the QA testers test the application, they cannot detect bugs before releasing it to the public. Therefore, we advise you to release a trial version of the application first to eliminate potential risks. 

Hidden App Development Costs You Need to Know

Depending on the functionality you want your application to provide, application development can cost anywhere from $5,000 to over $100,000. Some developers charge per functionality, while others charge based on the total project budget.

Regardless of the pricing structure, there are many hidden costs associated with application development.

Here are four application development facts that may surprise you. 

Your Options When It Comes to App Development

Think about who you will work with before you start your project. You should find someone to help you get the best possible result for your project. It’s essential to find people who know how to do it right.

If applicable, they should be able to provide references. There are different types of teams. Some are salaried; others work on a freelance basis.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The most common form, however, is outsourcing. According to Gartner, about 80% of companies use external resources.

You can focus on your core competencies while outsourcing tasks to experts. You do not have to worry about technical details; the experts know what they are doing. That saves you both time and money.

Outsourcing is not without risk, however. There are many factors to consider when deciding between freelancers and employees. Here are a few examples. 

Option #1: Hire a local agency

Hire a local agency
Hire a local agency

You are aware of what it takes to make a request. And you want to avoid hiring a promoter because it is too expensive.

But how do you find someone you can rely on?

The answer is simple: You do not. Instead, you rely on recommendations.

Here are some pointers for finding reputable developers in your area:

  • Ask friends and relatives for suggestions. They probably know people in the industry.
  • Search company websites for job openings. They may already have them posted there.
  • Research your local communities. Start some if there are not any in your area.
  • Ask potential developers for references.
  • Ask for their contact information so you can talk to them directly.
  • Do not forget to enter the contest. Many applications have the same look.

Finally, make sure that you fully comprehend the project’s scope. That includes things like the timeline, payment schedule, project management, and so on. 

Option #2: Build an in-house team

Build an in house team
Build an in house team

Before starting an internal application development project, you must clearly define your goals. Then it would be best if you devised a strategy for achieving those goals. Hiring programmers, designers, testers, and marketers are part of the process.

It may take months for your efforts to bear fruit. Developing an app in-house comes with its own set of challenges. You may not get the same level of support as when you work with an external developer.

But in return, you have full control over all aspects of your product. You can make changes whenever you want. Plus, there are no issues with cross-platform compatibility.

Working with an agency has some advantages but also some disadvantages. Smaller in-house teams may require more time to train new employees and may not have the experience of larger agencies. They also require more time and effort for each member.

There are two major differences between outsourcing and building an internal team. The first is the initial cost, and the second is the ability to control the project.

Option #3: Work with freelancers

Work with freelancers
Work with freelancers

If you’re looking for a quick fix, hire freelancers. You don’t even have to hire someone full-time; post your project on one of the many online platforms and contact a potential freelancer. Once you’ve found suitable candidates, you can inquire about their experience, how much they charge per hour, what kind of tasks they usually do, and whether they’d be interested in doing additional work for you.

If you want to continue the collaboration, you can decide whether you want to keep the freelancer on board or not.

Option #4: Outsource app development

Outsource app development
Outsource app development

Building applications for small businesses can be challenging. Budget constraints, tight deadlines, and language barriers can make creating an effective mobile app difficult. Fortunately, there are solutions to help small businesses overcome these challenges.

If you have a large, complex project with multiple phases and money to spend on app development, hire a team of experts. Then you can focus on what matters most: running your business.

What to Pay Attention to When Choosing an App Development Company? [Checklist]

There are several factors to consider when looking for an IT outsourcing company. You must decide which software development you want to outsource to an experienced company.

You should also check whether the selected company offers the following services:

  • Mobile applications
  • Web applications
  • Cloud solutions
  • Software maintenance
  • Support
  • Training

Tip #1: Decide on the requirements for your application

You plan to develop an application.

But how do you get started?

First, you must figure out what you want to accomplish with the application.

  1. What exactly do you want to create?
  2. How much functionality do your users need?
  3. Which group of people would benefit from your application?

These questions will help you define the project requirements.

They will also help you estimate the effort required to complete the task.

Next, you must decide whether to hire a team of programmers or use an online tool. If you hire a programmer, ensure he has the industry experience and uses proven methods to create high-quality applications.

Make sure the online tool you choose has features that meet your specific needs and provides sufficient support to integrate with your existing systems. You can also check if the service offers a free trial period, during which you can try out its features before committing to pay.

Before looking for developers, you should determine what kind of project you want to create.

For example, if you are creating an e-commerce website, you’ll probably want to hire a programmer specializing in PHP. On the other hand, if you are creating a blog, you may want to work with a designer who knows HTML5 and CSS3.

Once you have determined what type of project you want to create, you can start looking for potential programmers.

Look for people who specialize in the same technology as you do. Also, make sure they have previous experience developing websites like yours.

Finally, get a written estimate to know how much you will spend.

Tip #2: Try to choose full-service companies

Choosing a software development company that offers basic and comprehensive solutions is essential. You can then find out how many phases are involved, what tools are used (if any), and whether the project is manual or automated.

Suppose no one is responsible for the entire process from start to finish. In that case, you should also inquire about the quality of the work, the skill level of the programmers, and the number of successful projects they have completed.

Tip #3: Interview the developers personally

Once you have found an app development company that meets your needs, ask them a few questions. Ask them if they think your idea makes sense and if they see any potential obstacles.

It would be best if you talked to them about their experience working with clients like yours. They will be able to tell you if they have worked with companies like yours before. And if there’s something specific you want to know, such as mobile devices, be sure to ask.

They can give you insights into the market and your competition.

Tip #4: Research the company’s portfolio

When you talk to a company representative, ask them to name some of their best applications. This way, you can find out what types of applications the company does best.

You can ask questions like, “What kind of products does this company specialize in?” or “How many different types of applications do you develop?” If several applications stand out from the others, the company may have experience developing certain types of applications.

Consider whether you like the design of these applications, whether they are functional and user-friendly, and whether you think they look unique. Sometimes developers use

Do you notice anything unusual about these applications? Are there features that stand out from the rest? Do you feel familiar with them? If so, then you should consider working with this company. They may not be perfect, but they are worth considering if you think you can improve them.

You can always check out their portfolio if you do not know much about the company but still think they have cool apps.

The app types and appearances of the apps are helpful as well. If you notice that the same app keeps popping up, you can assume that the provider does not have any unique ideas. On the other hand, if they have developed many different apps, they must have a lot of creativity and variety.

Tip #5: Learn about the company’s privacy and data security policy

Mobile application developers are lawfully required to protect sensitive data and comply with applicable laws and regulations throughout an application’s lifecycle.

From the app’s development to the day it is released to users, mobile app developers must ensure they follow best practices and comply with industry standards. Failure to do so can have severe consequences and even result in legal action against them.

Developers should carefully consider the type and amount of data collected by their app and whether certain data collection practices are legal or ethical.

They should also be aware that state laws and industry standards may prohibit certain data collection practices. For example, most mobile apps collect location data from users, but some jurisdictions prohibit using such data unless the user has explicitly consented to its collection.

The developer should also ensure that it does not store sensitive data such as passwords or credit card numbers in the app. You can use encryption to ensure no one can read your private information. Restricting network traffic can prevent someone from accessing your data if they gain physical control of your phone.

Promoters should be aware of the laws governing personal data storage. Companies must obtain specific permissions in some countries before storing personal data locally. In other countries, there are strict regulations about how much time companies must retain personal data.

Project sponsors must ensure that they comply with NDAs, or non-disclosure agreements they enter into when working with third parties. These agreements usually stipulate that you must disclose confidential information in the event of a breach of contract.

Summary

We hope that this article has helped you understand what is behind the cost of developing an application. It may seem not very easy initially, but we promise that it will become much easier if you choose a professional software provider.

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