4 Essential Factors that Determine the Cost of Mobile App Development


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Guess what?

We have been asked this question a hell lot of times: How much does it cost to develop an app?

And, as you know, it’s not that easy an answer to give. By all means, we could spew out all sorts of gibberish figures and stats out of the air.

However, the fact is, one cannot throw up numbers in the air. There are dozens of things to take into consideration when it comes to app development. For one, the scope of your business; another thing being the app’s features and functionalities; not to mention, the target audience, budget, platform, and things like that.

Given the parameters involved, it’s always good to consult an app development company when it comes to finding out the app cost because they could recommend ways on how to optimize the app development budget.

Here’s the app development cost estimate for different types of mobile apps as per review and research company GoodFirms:

1. A highly complex app with many features such as Instagram or Uber could cost somewhere in between $70,000 to $100,000.

2. Apps with medium complexity such as WhatsApp or QuizUp are likely to cost in between $61,000 to $69,000.

3. Apps with least -functionalities such as Tinder or Periscope could cost anywhere in between $40,000 to $60,000.

This is just a rough breakdown. If you are all geared toward app development, you’ll have to choose whether you’d like to go the native way or the hybrid way? Whether to go for iOS or Android development?

Further, you need to consider whether your app will be consumer-oriented or business-oriented. This is important because the cost will vary for each type.

Additionally, you’ll have to consider different phases of app development. Each phase will add up to app development budget. And these phases include Business Analysis, UI/UX, Development, Coding and Project Management.

#1. Business Analysis Cost

Having a brilliant business analyst on board will ensure that your app idea is thoroughly verified and then he/she will have the entire verification process and market analysis documented as well.

If a seasoned mobile development team is working on your app, then be prepared to field a volley of questions from them, which, in turn, will help them come up with a fair app development quote.

Anyway, be prepared to spend almost 10% of your app development budget during the business analysis phase. And, it’s essential to consider the fact that business analyst will be involved in every stage of the app development project.

Their job is to work out whether your app request:

1. Is doable or not?

2. Understandable to the coders or not?

3. Complies App Stores’ Guidelines or not?

4.Type of technology stack to be used

Tips to trim the business analysis cost: 

1.Scanning the market for similar apps and finding features you wish to duplicate in your app.

2. Supply UML diagrams to the development team

#2. Design Cost

Once the required documents are ready, you can start working on the user interface. Like it or not, perfecting the UI and UX are critical in today’s apps. So, you should be ready to make the most of the design.

The design part usually consists of 10-15% of the mobile app cost. So, make it a point to get a clickable prototype as part of the project.

A clickable prototype helps you check out the UX before the app coding phase starts.

The following tools could be used to create click-thru prototypes:

1. Invision

2. Adobe XD

3. Proto.io

Tips to trim the app design budget:

1. Copy screenshots from the apps you like and request your developers to create similar themes

2. Take advantage of UI elements offered by Apple and Google

3. Use free UI kits for iOS and Android

Related Topic: Planning to build an app like uber rad this one

#3. App Coding Cost

As it turns out, the majority of app development cost is siphoned off to the coding phase. Given that it’s a collaborative process, even for developing a small app, you will need a small team comprising the project manager and other team members.

Tips to trim the app coding budget:

1. Leverage cross-platform development frameworks such as PhoneGap and Xamarin. These frameworks save 30% of the budget.
2. Choose your app developers with the utmost care. As to whether you want to go with the agency or freelancer?  Switching developers in the middle of the development process will cost you more.
3. Use off-the-shelf mobile SDKs for simple functionalities such as Chat SDK, Voice, and Video chatting SDK, Push Notifications SDK, and so forth.
4. Never opt for off-the-shelf app code templates if there’s limited scope for customization.
5. Release an MVP version of the app using an online app building tool, to test the app idea.
6. Have a complete idea of your app’s functionalities before the coding begins. Adding new features on an ongoing basis will lead to additional cost.

#4. Project Management Cost

No matter what, you cannot cancel out project Management cost when it comes to the mobile app development process.  Given that the project is under the absolute control of the project manager, from start to finish, it takes up 10-15% of the total app budget.

Tips to trim the project management budget

1. No matter what project management cost shouldn’t be cut down.

2. A project manager should respond within 10-24 hours. Otherwise, he is not worth the cost.

Wrap Up

The mobile app space is expanding. Both the app stores are adding 300 apps per day, and the future looks even brighter. And according to App Annie, the worldwide gross consumer spend will surpass $139 billion in 2021.

So, if you are planning to create a mobile app for your business, follow the above cost guidelines, which will help you come up with an approximate cost and time to develop an app in 2019.

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