How Much Does It Cost To Make an App in 2023? – A Comprehensive Guide

One of the common questions that arise in the mind of business owners before developing a mobile app design for their business needs is: how much does it cost to make an app?

As per the recent surveys, it has been estimated that the mobile app development cost may range from $100,000 to $500,000. To shed some light on how much it costs to create a mobile app for your business, we have come up with an article that will definitely clear all your doubts.

Key Takeaways

  • App complexity level, App design, and selecting appropriate platforms are primary factors that you need to take into consideration before creating a mobile application.
  • You need to define or be ready to deal with hidden costs before starting to create an app for your business.
  • To understand the overall cost of developing a mobile application, you need to consider server fees, account creation process, app maintenance services, and, most importantly, integrating third-party services.

Factors That Impact the Mobile App Development Cost

Generally, there are many factors that you need to take into consideration before creating a mobile application.

  • Analyze the target audience and business objectives
  • Understand how to develop an app
  • Select an appropriate base to code.

Your mobile application can efficiently become more unique, engaging, and convenient by adding attractive buttons, screens, and other elements. However, such additional parameter typically affects the overall app budget.

Therefore, it becomes mandatory for you, as a business owner, to pre-develop a prototype and think over the functionality to the smallest detail. This app functionality influences the following factors that affect the price.

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How much does it cost to build an app usually depends on three essential things:

  • The app’s complexity levels
  • Design and Structure
  • The platform on which the application will run

Let’s explore every parameter in detail to make your application more robust.

Factors That Affect Mobile App Development Cost

Factor: 1 – Complexity Level of App Development

You’ll require less development timeline for the mobile app development process if your application is smaller and simpler. When it comes to the timing of the application development, you need to decide on the scale of the upcoming work.

To understand the app’s complexity in detail, there are some questions that you need to ask yourself:

  • How many features do you want to implement in your mobile application?
  • How many types of screens, buttons, and functions do you want to include in your application?
  • How complex will the application’s business logic be?

The complexity level of the app depends on the features and integrations you choose and how to get an app developed. To simplify, below is the list of characteristics defined for simple, mid-level, and complex apps.

Simple Application Mid-Level Application Complex Application
Developed efficiently without any added benefits Includes more complicated things. Equipped with multiple functions.
Possess only the core features. Includes API integration support. Includes features such as real-time synchronization, chatbots, media processing, UI animation, and many more.
Include low-tech screens. It will have more screens and also a custom UI The scaling of the application is too much high.
Will have the necessary UI solutions. Involves features like real-time messaging. Takes more time as compared to other application types.

Who are the supporters for an entire mobile app development team?

  • A project manager
  • A UI/UX designer
  • An iOS or/and Android developer
  • A backend developer
  • A QA engineer

By considering the above mobile app development team, the terms of the app development process in every category goes something like this:

Application Type Approximate Time Required
Simple App 2 – 4 months.
Mid-Level App 6 – 10 months.
Complex App 8 – 1 year or more

The cost of making mobile apps is highly dependent on the level of complexity and the size of the project. Let’s go through every application type in detail to understand its working.

Type 1. Simple Complexity

The application with simple complexity typically covers basic and new features, approximately three to four screens, simple & ready-to-use functions, and, of course, no data storage. That’s a simple application.

In addition, a simple application will have the following features:

Simple Mobile App Features

The cost of such a simple application will be done by using the above or related new features.

Some of the best simple app projects are a calculator app, time tracking app, notes app, and even social networks.

Type 2: Basic Complexity

The basic complexity application is referred to as an application that includes database connectivity and API-based applications.

For developing a basic complexity application, you need to deal with adding more features, and obviously, the database will increase the application value.

Compared with basic complexity applications, these applications come up with additional features like

basic Complexity Application Features

As stated earlier, basic complexity applications include better accessibility and usage of robust infrastructure. Moreover, such applications require storage, retrieval from more than one database, and more synchronization.

If you are planning to develop such an app, it becomes essential for you to analyse in detail how large the customer base is. Furthermore, it is essential in determining the pricing and price range.

Therefore, the cost of the app will rise as complexity and feature count increase.

Type 3. High Complexity: Feature-Rich and Large-Scale Applications

Advanced and feature-rich apps are developed explicitly for large corporations.

In essence, the businesses either construct bespoke software without connectors or employ custom software to connect to already-existing systems.

Because complex apps tend to be legacy or custom software, their custom development expenses are usually bigger.

The overall cost of developing the app with a feature-rich app may be substantially higher than you might expect.

The following image depicts the type of app’s overall development cost variation.

high complexity Mobile Applications Features

Such applications require a pretty advanced development effort, detailed research, and preparation for the mobile app development project cost estimate.

Different infrastructure components are needed for developing dashboards and visualisations, the complexity of the development platform, and the number of servers and databases.

But on the other hand, the developers working with mobile app development agencies need not mention the demands for redundancy and high availability. These can need extensive modifications; the developers must code most of the functionalities.

It can be challenging to estimate the mobile app cost and scope, especially before holding extensive meetings.

Examples include trading platforms, CRM applications, gaming, and enterprise apps.

Factor: 2 – Application Design Complexity

Basic app design is the next crucial component of how much it costs to make an app. In simple words, we can say that it seems almost impossible to have a development step without considering the design phase.

Minor differences exist between these two essential parameters, which play an indispensable role in determining mobile app development costs.

The designing phase is similar to the development phase in that the cost rises proportionately as additional features are added. If you decide to create utilising templates, the price estimate will be limited as well; however, further changes will increase the cost and lengthen the process.

There are a few other issues that we must consider.

  1. User Experience (UX)

    UX is concerned with how the application functions. UX entails creating screens on paper or in a design base.

    Finally, it influences how much it costs to develop a mobile app. Again, the goal is to make the application as simple to use as possible for the end user.

    To create that experience, you must first understand the market, the user, and your goals and objectives. The cost of creating a mobile app from scratch will vary depending on the level of engagement and the app’s complexity of the design. It needs to consider the following parameters:

    • Button placement
    • Colour psychology
    • Observing the user’s eye movement
  2. User Interface and Visuals

    There are numerous intricacies to application design. However, it all starts with the basic user interface or how the application will appear to the viewer.

    You can estimate the cost based on the use of various visual elements. It has an impact on the cost of MVP design. The better design does not only imply a more positive outlook.

    After designing an application, mockups are created to represent the solution visually.

    Your objectives will also determine the design. So, it becomes essential to determine the factors that you need from your enterprise app. It can be in any form like:

    • Engagement
    • Sales
    • Information

    Furthermore, the type of application you are developing will influence app development costs.

    • The fundamental app
    • Authentication
    • Social media networking
    • On-demand
    • E-commerce
    • Marketplace
    • IoTB

    Different applications necessitate different design solutions.

    • Examples:
    • Layout
    • Screen
    • Colours
    • Typography
    • Shapes
    • Elements
    • Items
  3. Branding

    What thoughts do you have in mind when you consider:

    • Apple
    • Nike
    • Reebok
    • Volkswagen
    • McDonald
    • Dominos

    These are the leading firms that have brand equity. Their names and logos stand out among the thousands of other identical brands. What’s the reason behind it? It’s just because of the money spent on branding.

    Now that you are creating a mobile app, you might not be interested in brand promotion due to the expense. You incorporate branding into your business concept.

    Therefore, it is clear whether or not branding should be incorporated into the application development process.

    However, branding will ultimately determine how much it will cost to make an app, so you must keep initial development costs low.

  4. UX Writing

    When creating an app for a user, copywriting should be included in the overall cost.

    The target users must be persuaded to interact and engage more with your solution by compelling copy for other users too. Therefore, the combination of effective copy and striking design is essential for an app’s success.

    You cannot ignore the fact that a good copy costs good money when it comes to the price.

Factor: 3 – Selecting an Appropriate Platform on Which App Will Run

We move on to the base once we know how much it will cost to construct the app by considering complexity and design. Then, you must choose between two options: Hybrid App development/Cross-platform or Native App development.

Option 1. Hybrid or Cross-Platform App Development

The term “hybrid” denotes that the application can be used with iOS apps or Android smartphones. This inquiry is crucial during the discovery phase, which helps you to determine how much an app costs.

Think over the following three points before settling on one platform:

  • Market share
  • Mobile Device fragmentation
  • Prevalence

All of these are based on the original market you plan to target.

Knowing the market might help you determine how much it will cost to design an iOS app development. In addition, it would help if you comprehended the areas where the iPhone app is more common than the Android app; the same argument holds for Android smartphones.

Although the app creation costs differ for the two platforms, the process of developing an app is the same for both. As a result, cross-platform programmes can exploit platform-specific capabilities and benefit from easy integration and smooth functioning.

It improves the user experience and lowers an app’s “how much does it cost” response.

A native app value more productive than a hybrid one. And it makes sense why this would be. To start, it takes twice as much time and labour to simultaneously develop two apps.

Option 2. Native App Development

Compared with hybrid app development, a native application runs only on a single platform: iOS and Android apps.

For building Android and iOS applications using native frameworks and uploading it to respective Google Play Store or App Stores, you’ll need to hire mobile app developers.

One to create an Android version and another to create an iOS version that should be compatible with almost all iOS devices. You get the idea.

The pricing factor affects the principle on which different app users opt for other platforms. But, in this case, there are more chances of getting the double cost for any mobile app developer.

Now, the question arises: how much will an iPhone or Android app development cost for any business owner?

Generally, the price will be the same for both iOS and Android platforms. Yeah, the technologies, SDK, databases, frameworks, and quality assessment systems are completely different, but the price is the same.

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How Much Does It Cost to Make an App?

When developing an app, you shouldn’t just be thinking about design and development costs; there can be many hidden costs while deciding for the cost of app development. In addition, it becomes essential to understand other detailed costing parameters that you need to consider.
Some of them are

  1. Developer accounts;
  2. Data storage facilities;
  3. updates/maintenance costs;
  4. Sales & marketing and;
  5. Many others.

Such factors play a vital role in managing overall costs. Many times, it happens that a project may be derailed just because of insufficient funds. Moreover, it might happen if the business or app owners are not interested in such additional costs.

Let’s highlight the breakdown of the typical amount you could spend when developing an app:

  • Server Fees – $10 – $10, 0000
  • Apple and/or Android Developer Accounts –Google charges $USD25 (one-time payment) for Android developers’ accounts, and Apple charges $USD99/membership year to register for the Apple developer program.
  • App Maintenance– App Maintenance costs would depend on a host of factors like user feedback, Google or Apple OS updates, etc.
  • Third-party Services – For example, automated in-app chat services, collaborative tools, DNS services, etc. Usually, you could get some of these services sorted out with as low as $100 – it could be as high as $500 per month.

The final amount required for your project will depend on a variety of factors, and the expenses shown above may differ significantly;

For instance, the biggest banks in Australia do not spend $10,000 a year on hosting fees; they spend much more than that. The complexity and usefulness of your app, whether you need to support iOS or Android and iOS apps, if you need to keep adding basic features or need to “keep the lights on,” will all affect how different your Android or iOS app is.

What are the Hidden App Development Costs?

It’s time to explore some extra costs that you can add to determine how much it costs to develop an effective app:

  • Functional costs include the cost of third-party integrations like SMS or push notifications, geolocation, app maintenance, or payment gateways.
  • Admin or management costs like content manager salary.
  • Infrastructural costs like server, CDN, and integrations like Redis.
  • Support charges include additional costs that help to update an application, fix bugs or make future improvements.

Let’s look at the details. For example, developing a mobile app from scratch might cost you $75,000 approximately.

  • Depending on the number and load of integrations, they can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 per year.
  • Maintaining the application would cost 20% per year of the original development cost, i.e. $15,000.
  • App marketing would cost 50%-100% per year of the original development cost, i.e. $75,000-$150,000.

Selecting the Best Option For Your Mobile App Development

The team you select is the last factor to consider when figuring out how much it costs to make an app.

The notion that the type of development one selects is irrelevant is invalid. On the other hand, picking the right team has several advantages. Lower prices and improved quality are one of them.

As a startup, you have a small budget but must have a unique product. So, pick the team carefully to obtain the most value for your money. Here are some recommendations from experts to assist you in determining an app’s price.

The choice of a team will significantly influence how much it costs to build an app.

Option 1: Hiring a Local Organization

You can always go with a reputable local medium-sized business that offers various services, including SEO optimization.

To develop an app, the average development cost by the local app development companies will be higher.

Depending on the country you are starting your startup in, the per-hour rates of a development team and a design team can range between $150 to $250 per hour per specialist.

So, if the total work is for 400 hours and takes an average rate of $100, you are looking to spend $80,000.

That is the simple app development cost breakdown.

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Option 2: Build Your Own In-House Team

Small businesses or mobile app development companies with full-time IT staff that can manage both support and development of internal information systems are the most suitable candidates for an in-house app development or app maintenance team.

If you are someone who wants complete transparency, communication, and a trustworthy solution, hire your in-house team.

However, if you ask how much it costs to develop an app by an inhouse team, the answer is quite shocking.

Here, the cost is even higher than contracting the work to a local agency.

Let’s see:

  1. Full stack developer = $98,000 per year.
  2. Designer = $85,000 per year
  3. Mobile app developer (Android or iOS) = $85,000 per year.

However, if the professional app developers working with a mobile app development company will work for equity from the very start, a founder could save the app budget. So, the in-house team and maintenance cost twice as much as the local agency – $40,000.

Option 3: Take Help From Freelancers

You can engage with independent employees (freelancers) if you need to test or complete a short project quickly. If you go this route, keep in mind that supervising the project and coordinating with contractors will require much of your time.

There are two ways you can go ahead with a freelancer.

  1. Hire them on a contract basis
  2. Hire them on an hourly basis

Plus, there are plenty of platforms to find freelancers. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Toptal, and so on.

The average hourly price of a freelancer again depends on the country you are hiring from.

  • US: $50/hour
  • Australia: $30/hour
  • Asia: $15 to $25/hour
  • Ukraine: $25/hour
  • Latin America: $20/hour

These are the starting rates, and they can climb as per the experience.

So, to figure out the cost of building a useful and excellent app, consider the hours.

Final Thoughts on Mobile App Development Cost

So, hope you got a clear answer to two main questions: (1) What is the average cost of app development? And (2) How much does it cost to create an app?

Lots of different factors impact the total cost of mobile application development. It depends on who builds your app, how it gets built, and what you want your app to do. A mobile app development company with years of experience building simple apps might be the best option for some of you. Others might benefit from a smaller development team or single app developer/mobile app developer.

As you can see from this guide, building an app isn’t cheap compared to the cost of building a website. $1,000 can’t get you much. An app like Uber or WhatsApp will obviously cost much more than a flashlight app.

But if you’ve got $10,000 to spend, you can definitely get started and build something that’s functional.