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How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?

Mobile apps can be built for only one platform or work cross-platform on both iOS and Android devices.Learn how much it costs to build an app Read these guidelines on how your app development team can estimate how much it will cost to create a mobile application.

Your company has a great app idea and now your company needs to create an app.  You likely have a pretty good idea of what you want it to do, its overall interface, its user experience, how it will work, and the benefits you’ll get from it. Most companies also know they don't want to develop a separate iOS app and a separate Android app - they want cross-platform mobile app development.

But there’s a good chance don’t have any real idea about how much it’ll cost to build a high-quality app. Many business analysts know a lot more about what kind of apps they want to build than they know how much they’ll have to spend on low code development tools to build them.

What do modern business apps cost to develop?Burn money 2

Formotus summarized some recent surveys by major software development company players and found a range of app development cost estimates: 

  • "A VDC survey of enterprise app developers found mobile apps to cost an average of $140,000 each."

  • "A Clutch survey of app development companies indicated a median price of $171,450 per app."

  • "A Kinvey survey of CIOs found the average price to be $270,000 per app."

The article, “How Much Does It Cost to Make an App in 2020?” offers some solid guidelines on how to estimate costs. It starts off with a warning, though:

The cost can range anywhere from a low of $2,000 to a high of $250,000 or even more.

That’s because not all apps are created equal. Building apps and deploying them to the app stores can be extremely simple, or exceedingly complicated. 

Further reading:

We recently published an infographic on mobile app development costs with detail on how features in apps directly affect mobile app development costs. It estimated:

  • Simple apps can cost €5,000 to €10,000
  • Apps with a database: €10,500 to €50,000
App Develompent Cost infographic

How types of apps affect the price

Apps can be built for one country or worldwide. Mobile apps can be built for only one platform or work cross-platform on both iOS and Android devices.

Business apps can do one task or a range of business tasks. These apps can do a single business task or affect a range of business workflows.

Consumer apps can have simple or highly designed user interfaces. These apps can simply collect data or also do more complex tasks like push notifications.
How much do different types of apps cost?
Utility. offers project managers estimates for app development based on four types of apps, estimating that the costs can range from $80K – $250K+:

  • Simple apps cost up to $80,000.
  • Basic database apps cost between $100,000 – $150,000.
  • Advanced, multi-feature apps cost $150,000 – $250,000.
  • Game apps can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000+, based on quality and detail.

How to estimate mobile app development costs when you're outsourcing

cost of outsourcing mobile app development

If you’re going to outsource the app development process to a professional app developer or an app development company, here are the prices you can expect to pay for developers’ hourly rates around the world, according to the article:

  • US and Canada Developers here charge more than elsewhere in the world. For Android / iOS development, rates vary from $20 to $250 per hour.
  • Australia Typical rates for mobile apps range between $35 to $150 per hour.
  • South America Expect to pay between $25 and $120 per hour.
  • UK Developers tend to charge between $35 and $175 an hour.
  • Eastern Europe Developers' rates start at $20 and go up to $110 per hour.
  • India You’ll pay between $10 and $75 an hour.
  • Indonesia The highest fees are typically $20 an hour.

If you're going to try to build the app yourself you'll need to consider the cost of licensing software. According to the Gartner MQ, which surveyed major app development software companies:

  • 4 vendors cost less than $25,000 per year
  • 3 vendors cost between $25,000 and $100,000 per year
  • 10 vendors cost more than $100,000 per year

Understanding the training, deployment costs and any additional modules you may need for features that do not come standard in these products is also critical.

How long does it take to build apps and how does this affect total costs?


Whether you’re going to outsource it or have your own developers build it, the article estimates that it can take:

  • 500 - 700 hours to develop a simple app
  • 600 - 1,000 hours to develop an app of medium complexity
  • 1,200 hours or more to build a very complex app.

One way to cut time and cost: Use Low-Code Development

Native app development can take significant time to get an app build, becomes it requires line-by-line coding. Low code app development, from vendors such as Alpha Software, Mendix, Outsystems, Appypie, and others, do a lot of the routine coding for app builders, significantly reducing the time and cost to get apps built.

Hidden costs when building apps

When building the app, the article recommends that you take into account the work you’ll need to do on backend infrastructure and app administration. And you also need to keep in mind that there are significant costs you’ll have to bear to maintain the app after you build it. Here’s a list of what you’ll need to do after it’s launched:

  • Continuous bug fixing
  • Improving stability and performance
  • Code optimization
  • Adding support for latest OS versions
  • Developing new app features
  • Supporting the latest versions of third-party services

Estimating the cost of ongoing maintenance and updates

As a general rule of thumb, the article says, figure you’ll have to spend between 15 percent and 20 percent of the app price per year for maintenance.

Links to some helpful interactive app cost calculators:


Free Software Keeps Your Apps Costs Down

One company offers a solution that allows you to avoid paying for your app development software. This allows you to focus your expenses on developers and deployment costs and avoid paying up-front for an expensive development platform.

Build apps for less cost

Alpha Software offers a free low-code app development environment. This allows you to build, design, and test your apps for free. The software offers built-in capabilities for offline capability, data integration, and security, permitting massive time savings for developers.

how to build apps for less cost

The platform has the latest mobile app features and offers incredible flexibility for developers, so they never reach a limit with the software, which can happen with other solutions that don't allow developers to add their own code. The software is recognized by customers for its power, flexibility, and affordability.

The Company also offers free lessons and tutorials on low-code development and deployment. For example, the company recently published this free resource on how to build your first mobile app.

How to Build a Mobile App
Baptist Hospital Adopts Alpha Anywhere To Serve 12,000 Staff

About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.