Mobile apps can be built for only one platform or work cross-platform on both iOS and Android devices. Read these guidelines on how to estimate how much it will cost to have a development team build your mobile app.
Your company has a great app idea and now your company needs to build the app. You likely have a pretty good idea of what you want it to do, its overall interface, how it will work, and the benefits you’ll get from it.
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 businesses know a lot more about what kind of apps they want to build than they know how much they’ll have to spend to build them.
What do modern business apps cost?
- "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.
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.
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 app cost of app development
If you’re going to outsource it 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 costs?
Whether you’re going to outsource it, or have your own developers build it, the article estimates it can take between 500 and 700 hours to develop a simple app, between 600 and 1,000 hours to develop an app of medium complexity, and more than 1,200 hours to build a very complex app.
One way to cut costs: 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, does a lot of the routine coding for app builders, significantly reducing the time and cost to get apps built.
When planning on build 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
Related reading: Hidden costs in PowerApps pricing.
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:
- TCO Calculator (Kony)
- App Cost Calculator (Wasp)
- How much to make an app (Z1)
- Mobile app price calculator (VenturePact)
- App Cost Calculator (LitsLink)
Need to keep your app costs down?
Alpha Software offers a low-code app development method to build apps quickly for free. Read how you build apps for free with Alpha Anywhere Community Edition.
We also offer a free article on how to build your first mobile app.