How much does it cost to make a mobile app?

To be honest, the costs of making an app are one of the most mentioned issues when it comes to communication with clients here at BLAKIT. Regardless of capitalization and status, business personas and whole companies are looking for a perfect blend of price and quality in their approach to mobile app development.

Our Android and iOS development teams have already worked on drastically different projects all over the world, and the requirements are the same. Everywhere.

The first thing we mention while discussing app building costs, is that they vary. So much, in fact, that your basic idea of a project can be implemented for either $5000 or $300000 depending on the variety of factors. Despite this, let’s try to put a decently accurate price tag on an iPhone, iPad, or Android application you dream about.

What influences the cost of app development?

A detailed app development cost estimate doesn’t just depend on development time and hourly rates. The complete price depends on a number of factors required to successfully implement an idea. This includes assembling and managing the right team, ensuring the smooth work of a complex product, and post-release maintenance/support.

App development team

Depending on the complexity of the projects, the development team is either basic or extended to some degree. A basic app team unites a project manager, at least two programmers, and a QA professional.

If app design services are also required, we provide a UI/UX designer from our partnership network. Now there’s also a great demand for applications with web components and API backend, so we also introduce parts of our web team to the project. But that’s more common in the extended team projects.

An extended team usually requires a designer or a dedicated design team, 2-5 mobile developers per OS, and a whole fraction of our web department.

Considering the boutique, startup-like atmosphere at BLAKIT, we are able to relocate our resources quickly and extremely efficiently according to the project needs. For us it takes hours, at most, while in larger companies it can take days and weeks to form a steady development squad for a complex project.

Costly app elements

Obviously, the amount of features and their complexity in the app contribute to the cost of development the most. The following variables are the most influential:

  • Technical complexity

There’s a wide variety of features that influence the overall complexity of apps, thus adding value to the product. Some of the most popular ones include:
 
Third-party integrations

Some mobile app functions require integration with third-party libraries, frameworks, and services. For instance, we use such services as Stripe, Lawpay or Braintree for accepting and performing payments from within the apps.

Real-time chats are usually implemented with the help of Firebase, Layer, Pubnub, or Actor. Using the powers of social media is possible with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social network APIs.
 
Backend development

A backend is typically an operating system that provides APIs to enable the exchange of data between a mobile application and a database. The backend implements app’s business logic. We use extensive backend integration with medical and pharmaceutical applications, that require huge amount of data to be processed.
 
Admin panel development

One more feature very popular with e-commerce and sharing economy projects at BLAKIT. A functional admin panel makes it easier to control and customize your application, manage users and content, view advanced stats, and do other fun stuff, while eliminating tons paperwork.

Finding a ready-to-go admin panel for the needs of your business is tough, so we usually create a custom one from scratch specifically for the needs of our clients.
 
In-app purchases

The freemium model with in-app purchases is gaining popularity all over the world nowadays. Of course, in-app purchase functions vary from app to app and require specific architecture, making the app itself more complex.
 
Use of hardware components

Moderns smartphones are packed with different hardware components such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, heart rate sensors, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS, barometers, and others. Add all kinds of accessories and wearables to this – and the developers have a whole new world to explore.

Finding the right approach to each device, using it for the benefits of your app, and testing how different hardware components interact with software may significantly increase development costs and timeframe.

  •  

    Number of devices and Operating Systems

When an iOS app is in the works, we recommend to create it in compatibility with at least iPhones of two previous years (e.g. iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, 7 Plus), and support three of the most recent iOS versions (e.g. iOS 9, 10, and 11). This way you’ll cover the majority of your app’s market.

The market is way more diversified for Android, though. When we decide on the pool of devices to optimize the app for, we consider the following factors:
 

  • Current market share of each android device producer
  • The specifics of market for the ordered application
  • Client’s preferences based on his research of target audience

 
We use the same approach choosing the Android versions for the apps. The biggest share of mobile devices supports Android 5.0 to Android 8.0.

If you’re sure you need an OS pool wider than that, we can handle the development and optimization of any scale. But the amount of work required to adapt applications for various screen sizes, resolutions, hardware specifications, is a pretty time-consuming job.

And the sums of money required for the job often don’t return in revenues from wider markets. So it’s probably worth it to concentrate only on the pool of most popular Android devices.
 

  • Custom designs and animations

It’s quite common and reasonable for companies to try make their projects unique and stylish, to stand out from competitors and cause “wow effect” among customers.

But you need to bear in mind that all sorts of visual customizations are rather complex to make, which adds to the cost of final product. So what usually gives you the best value for money is a flexible blend of standard and custom UI components without too much visual extravaganza.

Post-release expenses

An average app development budget doesn’t just include the programmers’ rates. You should also consider the funds you need to invest to make your product successful in the markets. And the markets are very competitive nowadays.

Besides that, your app might need updates, customer support, backend servers maintenance, cloud hosting, and even legal support. BLAKIT standard development services usually include a certain free support period, but for an app with longer lifespan you have to always strategize for longer.

Note, that not all the software development companies include even a short-term support for their products in the initial price. Make sure to discuss all the details before signing the contract with your outsourcing vendor.

Now, let’s dive into app development price differences around the world.

What hourly rate do you pay to build an app around the globe?

There are millions of “best app developers” in business at the moment, and you’re probably wondering what’s the appropriate price to pay for the services you request. on this planet, and you might wonder how they differ from one another.

When you’re looking for app developers to hire, try to search for those who have expertise specifically in the industry you operate in.

This way you’ll get native synergy with the developers and will be speaking the common language of business regardless of location. You will also save a countless hour of additional explaining and consulting on the project.

There is no certainty that having chosen an expensive company, you’ll have a lucrative application with steady revenue. In fact, quite often lower-priced devs can provide surprising value for money.

All that – without compromising quality. Outsourcing vendor’s location is usually one of the most price-defining factor.

App development cost worldwide

Our research indicates the following average hourly rates for mobile app development in the global regions of the world:

US and Canadian-based companies charge from $50 to $250/hour, $50 being basic services performed by immigrants from India and other Asian countries, $250 being top-notch custom functions implementation, exclusive design, etc.

Australian agencies offer their services for $50-$150, with a lesser pool of rare professionals overall.

Western European and UK-based developers are charging between $35 and $170 per hour with a wide variety of both skilled and not-so-skilled programmers to find.

Eastern European companies can charge from $20 to $100 per man hour of skilled mobile development.

And Indian programmers claim to be able to develop anything at $10-$80, but the risks here are obvious.

Where does BLAKIT fall on this scale? Obviously, we are a company from Eastern Europe, so you already have some rough numbers to look at.

But it worths nothing that despite being a rather small, boutique-style company with great expertise in iOS and Android, we still manage to keep our prices below average in the region. We make sure our clients don’t have any unplanned expenses and get all the functions delivered as promised.

How much does an iPhone / Android app cost? (With Examples)

If you contact an enterprise mobile app development company with a description of your project, and they give you a nice round number immediately – run away, you’re overpaying.

Don’t expect a professional company to tell you the price of your product in a couple of minutes. Due to the complexity and variety of all the details involved into mobile app building, there is no such thing as a price calculation tool, and stuff that you can find on the Internet is not accurate enough, it’s made more for clickbait purposes.

The cost of developing an app is most often based on the number of hours that a project may take, and the more difficult the functionality, the longer it supposedly takes to implement it.

To give you a more or less accurate real-life example , let’s try to “clone” some of the most popular apps on the market and see, how much efficient work would go into programming them now.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a real-time messaging application with a proven architecture and comprehensive user-friendly features. CodementorX gives this estimation of timeline to develop such an app:

WhatsApp development time

Extra costs for a worldwide popular app like WhatsApp include UI/UX design, project management, quality assurance, and DevOps. All the processes  combined will add somewhere between 390 and 495 hours.

In total CodementorX experts believe it would take 1,157-1,484 hours to clone WhatsApp. At a rate of $150/hour (North America), WhatsApp will cost $173,550 – $222,600. At BLAKIT’s hourly rates it would cost from $34500 to $44500.

Instagram

Instagram is a rather complicated application to build due to image-filtering features and back-end image loads. Some of Instagram’s key features include:

  • account authorization
  • creating/editing profile
  • messaging
  • settings adjustment
  • photos customization
  • social media integration
  • geolocation
  • advanced search

Instagram development time

Henrik Wedelin, co-founder of Barkbox, stated it would cost somewhere between $100,000 to $300,000 to build an Instagram-like product over a three-to-six month period.

It would take BLAKIT closer to 6 months due to the smaller size of our team, but the overall cost would be between $19500 and $30000.

Uber

Uber, a sharing economy locomotive and a great example for many app startups (with both positive and negative lessons). It has quickly conquered a large market share in more than 700 cities around the globe.

Uber-like services work as two interconnected interfaces, one for the drivers (supply side) and one for the passengers (demand side).

It’s also necessary to create and integrate a secure payment system gateway for both sides. Here’s a breakdown of the passengers’ interface and its development time:
Uber Passenger development time
The total time required for developing the demand side of the platform is around 420-525 hours.

In regards to the drivers’ interface, these are the features and their development time:

Uber driver development time

Since Uber for drivers is simplistic and clean, the enterprise mobile app development time was shorter. The overall development time would be somewhere between 310 and 385 hours.

Considering the outlined features alone, the total time to develop an Uber-like app would be around 730-910 hours.

Including the 60-80 hours for admin dashboard and 160-200 hours for UI/UX design, the total development time will be around 950-1,190 hours. The total cost, then, results to around $28500-$35700 with BLAKIT.

How do we estimate the cost of enterprise mobile app development?

Before sending you a bill, we analyze the specifics of your business and all the materials you’re able to initially send us.

These can be just ideas, notes, documentation, descriptions, user stories, specifications, sketches, etc. After this, we send you a rough estimate to see, whether we’re on the same page regarding key price points. Approved? Moving on.

We keep going with a more detailed assessment of the project where we outline the roadmap of the project and explain the costs for each stage of the development process.

As we’re the company providing full-scale Android and iOS development, our prices cover all the services related to product development, including consulting, analysis, and project management with regular reporting.

Also, we’re one of the few companies in the region, who truly believe the final product must be close to perfection. That’s why you will get a period of free support for your mobile apps regardless of product specifics and won’t have to pay extra for post-release fixes and updates.

When you decide to create an app for your business needs and start wondering about the costs, you always need to remember one thing: just the app release isn’t enough for success.

Like with the rest of your business, only the long-term approach and care for your products can bring you to the top of the market.

Have some questions about building a mobile application? Looking for a great enterprise mobile app development company? We’re here to help you solve all the challenges!

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