How much does it cost to make an app? – A reviewPosted by: Ashley Zimmerman | On: 24th Aug, 2020 | Mobile Development
If you’re looking to develop a mobile app or have a mobile app developed for your business, you’re likely wondering how much it will cost. Of course, all apps are different, and all apps have a different path to development. It is one of the most common questions we get from entrepreneurs and small businesses trying to create a mobile app. The answer is always – it depends. It doesn’t help anybody. So we will go through little more details on the cost of developing a mobile app.
While this article won’t try to figure out exactly how much your app would cost, it is going to suggest some potential costs that you should plan for. Use these numbers as a guideline only. For the purpose of this article, we are looking into the cost of developing a mobile app by small to mid-size agencies or freelancers only. Typically large agencies charge upwards of $1 Million for the app development. So they are excluded.
An industry standard estimate for a mobile app is between $1,500 and $2,000 per page. This number changes depending on many of the features below. If you already have a lot of copy and design elements, it can be less. If the app needs to access phone hardware, other apps, or complex codes like databases, it can be more.
If your app is based on an existing website or on content, chances are you will be able to save a lot of money on your written content (or “copy”) by using your website content on your app.
If you don’t already have the copy that you will need, you will likely need to pay to have it produced. There are lots of freelance platforms that you can use to find professional writers on a wide price range.
It may seem unprofessional to find a freelancer instead of going through a content management firm. However, many content management firms use freelancers anyway. Removing the middleman and hiring freelancers yourself will only give you more control over who you hire and how much you pay.
You can’t cut many corners on mobile app design, even if you already have a functioning website. Your website may have color schemes, logos, and maybe even images, but they will still need to be integrated into an application. Unless you go with a specialized graphic designer, designers will also usually be able to help you make your app more user-friendly.
The design comes with the same sort of options as the copy. You can find a UX design firm, or you can hire freelancers. Freelance designers are often expensive.
Mobile App Processes
There’s more to an app page than it looks and feels. App pages can look very similar but have very different programs running behind them. A page that is text and graphics will cost a lot less than a page that needs to draw from a database or access another page.
This is a similar field to processes, but it adds another layer to consider.
Your app will be more expensive if it requires access to phone services like a camera, location services, gyroscope or to other apps. These features can add as much as 20-30%% to the cost of development.
If your app requires these features, it will not only need to be compatible with that device or app, but with the manufacturer’s version of that device or app. That means that if you want your app to have these features, you will have to double the costs for many aspects of the app in order for it to be compatible with Apple and Android Devices. That means adding as much as 30-40% of the cost back onto the final number.
If you’re an Android or an Apple user yourself, it might be tempting to release your app on one platform. That’s a valid option. Consider, that making your app compatible on both platforms might cost %40 more, but it will also roughly double your app’s market size. You can save 40% of the cost by only releasing your app for one operating system, but you may get half the sales that you would get if you released it for both.
Hybrid frameworks like React native or Ionic gives the option to develop the app once and publish to both iOS and Android platforms. This reduces the cost compared to native app development. Most apps with few exceptions can be developed using the hybrid platform. We can help you figure out if your app is a good candidate for hybrid development. Normally you expect a 30-40% savings compared to native app development using the hybrid.
Some things like copy and design elements won’t need to be redone from scratch, but much of the coding and some of the design elements probably will be.
User Testing of the App
User testing is one aspect of app development that many people overlook. This important element of app design involves putting your product in the hands of potential users to see what aspects don’t work and which could work better.
Usability specialists don’t come cheap. What’s more, their feedback could mean that you have to go back to the drawing board and pay to have some features of your app added, removed, or changed. A single round of user testing can cost a lot and lead to pricey changes and most products go through multiple rounds of user testing.
It may seem like the thing to do is to skip this step. That may be tempting, but user testing ensures that your product will be functional and easy to use. Look at it as an investment that will lead to a more marketable and profitable product in the end.
If you really can’t afford user testing, you can often get around it with a “beta test”. This entails giving a limited number of people access to your project-in-progress for a limited time. You then use these users’ feedback instead of user testing results to assess your products.
Beta testing is cheaper than user testing, but it usually takes much longer. It can also miss a lot of problems that user testing is likely to discover. Plus, if your app does require costly changes, it’s best to find out sooner than later anyway.
It’s difficult to put an exact price on your app without going through the development process for real. That’s especially true when you consider potential late-stage expenses like flaws uncovered in the testing process.
It’s true that there are steps where you can save some cash. Beta testing instead of user testing, hiring inexpensive freelancers, and having your app only compatible with one operating system can all save you some coin. You can also save if you already have copy and design elements out there that you can reuse.
In the end, however, a 10-20 page app is likely to cost anywhere from $1000 to $250,000 to produce, depending on your unique needs. A tongue in cheek answer to how much an app would cost is usually – as much as a car costs. If it is a beaten up Kia or Brand new Mercedes Benz – S class depends on the details.
It helps to find an app development company who can work with you to determine your unique needs. The important thing is not how much or how little the app costs, but whether it is the best tool to execute your vision.
If you have an app idea and curious to see how much it would cost, check out DIY App Estimator tool. It can give a ballpark estimate based on the features and your requirements. Of course, you can talk with one of our mobile app consultants to get a better idea and suggestions on how to keep the cost down. If you have a website idea, you can try website cost calculator