How Much Does it Cost to Build a Mobile App?

When you come up with an idea for a new product to support your business such as a mobile app, you ask the question how much does it actually cost? It is difficult to give a definite answer, because it depends on many factors. Key among them are:

  • Functionalities and their complexity
  • Type of application,
  • Manufacturing technology,
  • Custom graphic design,
  • Database complexity,
  • Number of external integrations,
  • Size of the team and time to create the application

These factors affect the final pricing of a mobile app. We will describe each of them below.

Mobile application functionalities

The cost of creating a mobile application depends on the amount of functionality it has and the time spent on its development. The more complicated the application, the more expensive it is. The price of a mobile application is also affected by whether it is to run only locally on the user’s device, which significantly reduces costs, or whether it will use an external database and server application (back-end). In the latter case, the cost of creating the application increases.

User involvement

Interaction with the user can take place in any area where the application performs the functions of authorization, sending alerts and connections. User authorization can be simple or complex. Consumer applications often use features such as email, push notifications and social media sharing. Costs go up when it comes to advanced graphic animations or downloading data from social networks.

Support for in-app purchases

Apple Pay and Google Pay are the most popular payment methods in mobile apps. Integration with payment processing tool providers requires additional time for the work of the development team creating the mobile application. In each case, the addition of one or all payment methods ultimately affects the cost of developing a mobile application.

Taking advantage of the native features of the mobile device

The device’s basic native features include integrations with the operating system in the form of network support, Bluetooth usage, accelerometer data, camera hook-up and geolocation data download. When more advanced features and their support, such as NFC technology, are needed, developers’ work takes longer.

Number of mobile application platforms

If you want your app to run on iOS and Android smartphones, consider the system’s share of your target user group. If you are developing a cross-platform app, you can either hire two teams of developers, which significantly affects the cost of creating a mobile app, or choose a team programming in cross-platform technologies such as React Native. The technology allows a single team to natively develop a mobile app for two platforms in real time. From a business perspective, this significantly reduces the cost of the entire project, shortens the time of project realisation and guarantees high application performance.

Types of mobile application

The type of application determines the choice of technology, which is the basis of the mobile application development project.

Native mobile app

When an application is developed using a language that is unique to a device’s platform or operating system, it is referred to as a native application. This involves the use of a programming language, for example:

  • Java or Kotlin for the Android platform,
  • Swift or Objective-C for iOS.

The main advantage of native applications is their better performance. The disadvantage, on the other hand, is that you have to hire two separate development teams to create an application for two operating systems. Consequently, this raises the cost of creating a mobile application.

Hybrid application

A hybrid mobile app allows you to build a mobile app using three core web technologies – HTML, CSS and JavaScript – with frameworks such as Ionic and Cordova. In fact, they are web apps, placed inside a mobile app. Choosing a hybrid app lowers the price of the mobile app at the cost of truncated expandability, lack of access to the device’s native solutions and performance.

Multi-platform application

A multi-platform mobile app is our recommended option. It enables the development of a native mobile application by one team, for two platforms in real time. From a business perspective, this significantly reduces the cost of the entire project, shortens the project time and guarantees high efficiency. One code base for two mobile platforms.

Cross-platform technologies allow an application to be built in a single language and automatically compile its structure into native code for Android and iOS platforms. An example of such a solution is a framework called React Native.

Custom graphic design of the mobile application

Dedicated graphic design provides target users with the best product experience. This is the basis for the success of the project. However, a less expensive option is to use paid graphic templates, duplicate common components or use objects provided by the operating system. The number of screens is a factor in determining how much it costs to develop a mobile app. Most often, the more functionality an application has, the more elaborate the graphic design it requires.

Complexity of the backend and database of the mobile application

A backend is colloquially the brain of an application. It processes and stores data, performs functionalities and takes care of infrastructure security. It synchronizes and exchanges data between devices, updates content and controls business application logic. The server application connects APIs to facilitate data exchange between the mobile application, database and third-party providers. The more complex the structure, the more expensive the valuation of the application.

Check the cost of your project!

Contact us and get a free estimate of your app project.

Selection of the contractor for the mobile application

The choice of the person or team responsible for the product affects the cost of developing a mobile application. Depending on the company’s choice, the hourly rates of programmers can be extremely different.

The standard team involved in mobile app development at CODEAGENCY consists of two React Native developers, a project manager (Scrum Master), a software quality tester (Quality Assurance Engineer), a User Experience and User Interface designer.

UX/UI Designer

It’s hard to create a great product without the help of an experienced mobile interface designer. It analyzes competing apps from a graphical perspective, researches the preferences of target consumers, creates app mockups, target graphic design and clickable app prototype.

QA Engineer

QA engineer identifies application performance issues. If necessary, he works with developers to create solutions. The result of the work is not only to ensure the quality of the application’s functioning, but also to assess its stability and confirm its compliance with the project documentation.

Scrum Master

Its role is to manage the software development process. The Scrum Master creates conditions to ensure that the development team works effectively. Sets and coordinates weekly goals, oversees performance increments, troubleshoots problems and ensures communication with the application owner.

React Native mobile app developer

A React Native mobile app developer creates, tests and develops applications for mobile devices using the JavaScript or TypeScript programming language. Writes applications as assigned by the Scrum Master, adapting them to the graphic template provided by the UX/UI (User Experience, User Interface) team.

Mobile app development by freenalcer as an alternative

For simple applications, consider the option of hiring a freelancer. This is a cheaper option due to lower rates. However, if you work with a freelancer, you have to expect less experience, which is often associated with poorer quality of the final product, as well as the fact that the functionalities will not work as you expected.

When working with a freelancer, you are the project manager, overseeing the progress and independently assessing the quality of the technical layer he creates. This type of collaboration may work well for simple projects, but for complex business applications it is worth considering and taking other options into account.

Mobile application – maintenance cost

Many potential mobile app developers ignore the topic, or take a cursory approach. Making the application is not the end of the cost. They need to maintain it and update it according to market changes or user requirements. The project must be ready for changing trends to remain attractive and competitive. For this reason, maintenance and updating are key elements of the application development process and also affect the as-built price.

Maintenance costs for mobile apps average between 5% and 20% of the initial price. Maintenance is a necessary service. Over time, as your application becomes more complex and the number of users increases, the fees will increase.

Maintenance of mobile applications includes the following:

  • Adding support for the latest operating system versions,
  • Develop and implement new features,
  • Support for the latest versions of third-party services,

So the cooperation with your technology partner does not end the day the mobile app is released to stores. Each software development company has its own rules regarding support after the first version is made. When working with CODEAGENCY, every mobile app we create comes with a one-year warranty, which can be extended.

How to reduce the cost of creating an application?

Opt for a choice of multi-platform technology. One team of developers will work on iOS and Android versions simultaneously. You don’t need to hire two separate teams, which will significantly affect the cost of developing the application.

Prioritize the application’s features. You don’t have to start by building an overall vision. We recommend that you start working on your digital product with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). This is the basic version of your application, which contains only the most important functionality from a business perspective. This means it is relatively inexpensive and quick to implement. Most technology projects (e.g., Spotify, Instagram) choose to go for MVPs because it is a reasonable path for developing a digital product. You don’t have to give up on your idea just because you can’t develop complex software at the moment.

How much does it cost to develop a mobile app – summary

We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of the topic related to the cost of creating a mobile app and its development.

If you are looking for an experienced software house that specializes in mobile and web application development, contact us. At each stage of cooperation, we will find the best possible solutions, advise on the choice of technology and help optimize the costs associated with software development.

Check the cost of your project!

Contact us and get a free estimate of your app project.

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