There is no one right answer to how much it costs to make or build an app. However, this article will help you try to get a ballpark estimate for what you would like to create. There are three main variables involved in pricing app development.
Want to skip this and go directly to a handy app pricing calculator? Click on Start a Project here.
First, the feature set – a lot depends on the features of the app.
Rule of Thumb: features with complicated bookkeeping like real-time location tracking will be 3x-4x more expensive than less extensive features like user profiles.
Second, the brand. If you get your app developed from the Rolls-Royce of software development companies, keep a fat check handy. Instead, it’s better to opt for a quality freelancer or dev shop that does solid, reliable work but isn’t overly pricey.
Rule of Thumb: A high-end software agency will charge you about 2x-5x what a reliable, mid-range app development company might.
Third, where your app developers are located matters a lot. Different places have different market salaries for good software engineers, and that will translate directly to the price you can obtain in that market.
Rule of Thumb: An app that costs ~ $60,000 in America will be ~ $20,000 in Eastern Europe and ~ $12,000 if made by a software development company in Pakistan. Countries with similar demographics will have similar rates if all other factors are roughly equal.
What Do You Want to Build?
Just like the development of any other software, a complex mobile application requires more time and effort as compared to a simple one. Each added feature and entity consumes back-end services, time, energy, and resources.
The more screens and entities involved, the messier it gets for developers.
Let’s walk through the cost of development of an app if you were to develop your application from a mobile app dev company in Pakistan.
Cost By Key Features to Build an App
Take, for example, a simple Android App with basic features like User Logins and reading articles or ebooks start from around $2,000. A simple direct to consumer app with Email & Push Notifications, Admin Panel, and Payment Integration would start from around $6,000 and up.
Similarly, an E-commerce website (for mobile) which requires logins, to user profile, to payment & CRM integration to Admin Panel, inventory and order management, and support would start from around $9,000.
Here’s a feature-wise cost breakdown:
This is one of the most common features for applications that demand users’ registration before they can use it. Registrations are normally via email, phone number, or through a social media account. Expect a login module with email, phone and social account signup to take around 20 – 40 hours in the making. At a a per hour rate of $15, the cost comes out to around $600.
An essential feature engagement feature, push notifications update users on various activities happening in your app and may help to increase engagement rates significantly. There are a variety of options: simple text notifications, text-with-image notification, and ones that have action buttons on them. Push notifications allow administrators to decide very granularly who, when and where to send a push notification to (for example in chat box). Based on the complexity of the feature, the timeline for push notifications combined with automated emails may range between 20 hours to 100 hours and may cost from between $500 to $1,000.
Geolocation & Google Maps
This is a crucial feature for taxi apps, restaurant apps, business and travel apps, etc. Real-time location updates, GPS tracking and maps integration are critical for any localized service. It may take as many as 50 hours or even more in development; the module might cost around $700-$1,000.
Chats & Messaging
While many mobile applications can do without them, chat boxes are essential for some apps like an e-commerce platform or a social app. The cost may vary depending on the type of service(s) required. Do you want a direct person-to-person or a group chat, a supporting emoji, files transfer, or just basic texting? Or one with a messaging history or auto-delete? Giving an accurate budget specification is only possible with available data. But expect no less than 80+ hours to complete this feature.
Ads & In-App Purchase
These features are a must for consumer apps as they may increase the conversion rates. In-app purchases are driven through mobile ads appearing on users’ screen in the form of a simple text, text, and image or full-screen pop-ups, or other in-app prompts. They have traditionally been custom developed, but services and tools are now available to assist developers. The pricing may range between $500 -$2000 based on the complexity of the in-app purchase integrations.
Each ad appearing on the screen prompts users to explore other products or services and to make an in-app purchase. The development cost for this feature is relatively lower and should be around $250.
For every in-app purchase, applications require payment integration options. You can pick from a score of possibilities. There is Android Pay, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, PayPal, credit cards, and many more. The development process for this feature mostly relies on various factors: Payment process, the security of transactions and users’ data, and the level of PCI compliance, etc. However many of these can be streamlined by using a payments gateway like Stripe or Wepay. The task may take developers as many as 50 hours or more, with costs starting from $600 and upwards
Offline Mode has recently been gaining a lot of popularity in mobile apps, as it makes usability even more flexible; even if the connection is low, slow, flickering, or not working at all. Developers mostly use a SQL database, local caching, and cookies on the device for offline data storage. The task usually takes 40 hours to complete and costs around $450-$480 accordingly.
Customization is when an app lets users change its appearance as per their liking. This may include a change in language, or mode (day or night), or shifting from a grid view to list, or full-width screen cards. The time taken depends completely on the depth of customization required. The cost normally runs between $500 to $1,500.
Adding custom search requests to content within your app may take user engagement to another level. Yes, Android and iOS phones have their own search bars, but adding a custom search option makes your app stand out among others. The development timeline is around 24 hours; thus, the cost ranges from $250 to $350.
If you intend to make an app for various regions, the multi-language option comes handy as it lets users select the language of their choice.
From the developers’ perspective, two key aspects are essential for this task: the scope of data and User Interface (UI adjustments). The adjustments may take several days, and cost around $350-750.
How much Does it Cost to Design an App?
Design, as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs described it, is “not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
In software development, the word ‘design’ may translate to visual design, user interface (UI), and user experience (UX), wireframes, logos, icons, etc. However, each of these fits into an overall process. For more on that process, check this.
Rule of Thumb: Designers normally charge by the hour, and cost will be proportional to visual complexity of the app and the level of market & user research required. For design agencies in Pakistan, $150 per app screen is a decent estimate.
The App design has a lot to do with the cost of an app making. The price of app design may differ based on the profile of the designer, geography, complexity, and platform.
Designer: A senior designer in the US may charge you as much as $150 per hour or more, whereas a less experienced designer may cost as low as $25/hour.
Geography: Costs vary greatly by region. Given below is a region-wise breakdown of the range of hourly rates by decent designers.. Again, factors like brand also influence which end of the range you will find.
- USA & Canada – $25-250 per hour
- Australia – $20-$150
- Western Europe & UK – $25-170
- Eastern Europe – $15-150
- Asia – $10-80
Complexity: UI design costs are directly proportional to the visual complexity of an app. While simple app designs (like Clock apps) may cost around $1,000, a more complex chat app design like WhatsApp may take about $3,000. Similarly, an intricate social media app design – the likes of Facebook or Twitter – may even range from $8,000 to $15,000.
Platform: Designing an iOS app is relatively easier and may cost around $100 to $10,000. But, an Android app’s design cost may range from $1,500 to $12,500. You should expect to add a similar amount for a web app.
Where Do You Want to Get it Done?
The geographical factor cannot be downplayed while calculating the cost of app making. It is an open secret that freelance developers and software agencies from South Asian countries can deliver a solid project in less than half of what dev shops from Europe, Canada, and US charge.
Here is how much developers worldwide cost to make an app:
Who Builds It?
Now here is the trickiest part. You can have your app made through two main channels. Each offers tradeoffs in quality, cost, risk, and efficiency.
You can either:
- Hire a freelance developer, or
- Use the services of a development agency like AppRocket.
Rule of Thumb: Freelancers are cheaper but often unreliable and prone to miscommunication issues. Dev shops are more expensive but will be more reliable and leverage past experience to ensure that you end up with a solid product.
Engaging freelance developers might prove to be the cheapest way of going about it, but involves significantly more risk. Because:
(i) You have to hire a separate programmers (server/backend, and mobile or web/frontend) and designers.
(ii) You have manage your project and its delivery yourself. And if you are not technically aware yourself, you might find it a lot trickier.
(iii) Working with a team of strangers might bring communication issues and may affect the quality as well.
(iv) After all the money and personal monitoring put in; there remains a chance of not attaining the desired results. If you cannot communicate your idea clearly (which sometimes requires technical know-how), your team will build whatever they thoguht you told them to build.
Engage a Software Development Agency:
A little more expensive but the best way to get your mobile application built is to hire a reasonable developing agency. Development agencies are the more reliable option . Why? Because:
(i) They are also entrepreneurs with ample experience and can take your project from idea to launch and beyond.
(iii) They work in close coordination with you to create a product that genuinely and entirely reflects your concept and is market-ready.
(ii) Their teams work under expert Team Lead to flesh out your application from concept to live within the timeline. In case one developer is not up to par, they have the buffer to reassign someone to the project.
Cost to Make an App with Software Agency
If you opt for a top-of-the-line development shop to build your app, it may charge anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 – maybe even more.
Whereas at mid-tier agencies like AppRocket, the cost for even higher-end complex applications would normally run under $50,000.
To get an accurate estimate for your app, try our cost calculator. Visit this page and click “Start Project.”
How much Does it Cost for App Maintenance?
If you are taking a sigh of relief considering that the work is done, we would suggest you wait a bit more. Because your expenses don’t just end with the release of an app – you got to maintain it.
Testing and releasing an app is just the end of a chapter – it is not the end of the story. Next thing you want is your app to perform better with every passing day. And certainly, you would also like users to keep using and downloading your app. If you cannot personally handle all this; you would again need services of a developer to maintain it. And it costs money!
Quotations from some of the leading developers suggest that the average [per annum] cost of maintaining an app is about 20% of the development cost.
So, if your application was built in around $50,000 – you would be required to pay at least $10,000 every year to keep it up and running.
Here’s is a list of additional features (depending on the demand and requirement of the project) that may further jack up the cost:
- Powerful servers – $20-$60/month
- push notifications – $10/month
- Payment gateways – up to $150/month (plus a fee on each transaction)
- Emergency maintenance – depends on the nature of the emergency
- Third party APIs charges
- App stores developer fee – $25 at Google Play, $99 at Apple App.