The Cost of Mobile App Development

Do you have the budget to produce the next big app?

There are almost a billion apps nowadays, and there’s even a big chance that you are using an app as you read this article. Apps are now being used for productivity, for entertainment, for fun, and for information. A lot of businesses nowadays consider it as a business, as passive income from these apps is definitely on the rise.

However, with numerous ideas, it’s kind of hard to rise above the competition. Especially if you don’t have the proper budget to make your idea into a real app, you’d have a hard time actually marketing and selling your app to somebody who is willing to fund your idea.

Is developing a mobile app really cost effective?

Developers ask, “Is it really a good source of profit?”  Return on investment is important. While there are apps which can be developed for a few thousand dollars, there are more intricate ones which are typically very expensive.

Because developing an app would primarily be for business, there are many factors to consider before venturing off to app development. The type of app would play a big factor, as well as the pricing model that you would want to launch your app with.

What kind of mobile app is profitable?

app profitApp development would greatly depend on your kind. Technically, games are the most expensive apps to develop, as they entail a lot of other complex structures and coding. There are many things to consider with games, such as 3D effects, storyline, graphics and many others. These things affect the pricing of developing this particular genre, since you would need not just a programmer, but also a writer, a graphics designer, a sound engineer, and many others.

The other kind would be business apps. Although they are not as complex as games, some require content management systems, or databases. Some would also require additional security or SSL certificates for additional security with regard to confidential business matters.

Apps with basic features are the ones that are cheaper to build, and would typically entail a shorter period of time to make. This works best for new developers or small businesses, especially if they are new to the world of app development.

How much exactly do I need to shell out for development?

profit budgetFor a simple app, expect to shell out anywhere around $30,000 to $35,000. Of course, this would highly depend whether you hire somebody from the USA, or from an offshore developer team. However, according to Alex Ahlund, who was AppeVee’s former CEO, he said that the average cost for app development was around $6,453.

Designers, who make the interface and design the usability of your app, can easily cost you around $4,000 to $6,000, depending on the expertise and experience. The people behind app servers can take around $10,000 to $12,000, also depending on the experience. The programming or coding part can also cost you around $10,000 to $12,000. Add another $3,000 to $5,000 for project management, server hosting costs, delays and QA analysts.

The above mentioned estimates are only with regard to less complex apps. However, the cost can easily rise to up to $200,000 – especially with complex 3D games with exquisite graphics and a compelling storyline.

Is that amount fixed?

fixed budgetSadly, the answer is no. While the above estimates are for the whole process of app development, it would typically not include the subsequent updates or enhancements of apps. Thus, there’s a big chance that you would still need to hire developers, or retain your original team, for troubleshooting and to further enhance your app.

There really is no end to the app development cycle, especially if you really want to make it your business. Users like their apps to be updated, and some may even suggest additional functions and features. Your developers should be able to work on those, as well. Therefore, you would need to shell out additional money again.

On the other hand, you can always get your maintenance costs from the profits that you’d be getting. However, if your app is really not giving you any profits, maybe it’s about time to go back to the drawing board and think about your strategies with that particular app.

How much does it take to hire a single app developer?

The average app developer typically charges $100 per hour. The amount may go higher or lower, depending on the developer’s portfolio, expertise, and experience. Generally, new ones are cheaper, but choosing them might be risky because they are basically new in the game. But of course, they could surely cut your expenses. This is typically a make or break decision, as new developers get fresh ideas that could be really helpful for your app. However, there are also some who make your app their experiments – and can cause you future headaches.

More experienced developers, on the other hand, may charge more. On the other hand, you are sure that they would deliver the work that you expect and need – especially if he is one of the most sought-after app developer in the industry.

I don’t have a large of budget. What can I do?

tight budgetWhile you may have a great idea in your mind, realization of that idea to become an app won’t work if you don’t have actual money. However, there are actually some ways to help you save up to actually shift your ideas to app development.

Crowdsourcing platforms and websites would be your first stop. Pitch your idea to the public, create a viral video, and tell them what you want to happen. If there is a real demand and If people see the value in your app, there are big chances that they’d actually help you develop it.

Another idea is to pair up with a developer, and be partners. You provide the idea and the marketing, while he does the coding. It will work to both your advantages, since there would be no monetary value needed to develop the app that you want.

How to Make An App
 

COMMENTS

  • Rohan October 9, 2013

    Hi there

    I have a quick question and so that all our cards on the table… I am a complete newbie. So my question is this…

    If you had to go back as a complete newbie knowing what you know now. What would your questions be to a developer that you’re interviewing to do your re-skinning?

    So happy I found this site!! So So SOO happy!!

  • Robert October 16, 2013

    Hi. I have a company, which developed my app for a $900. They work for a $20/hour. But I put my money in milestone, I get some discount, so at the end i get a developed app for only just a $15/hour, which costs a $900. So they worked 60 hours on my app. These guys are from China. As you see they worked much cheaper as any other US or European firm. If I would hire a firm in US. That would costs $10.000 or more. YOU NEED TO DO MARKET RESEARCH BEFORE HIRE ANYBODY. DO NOT BE STUPID… anyway i tell you, those US companies have also the same Chinese guyz beyond the doors 🙂

  • Jamal March 3, 2014

    Hi Robert you said you used a company in China. What is the name of this company so that I can check it out for my self.

    If you cannot tell me at least can you point me in the right direction for a app developer in China.

    Let me know

    Thanks

  • Matt October 29, 2014

    Robert What company did it for you for that cheap. I would like to know their name and number.

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