How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?

  • Post category:App Development
  • Reading time:5 mins read

If you’re reading this, you’re likely wondering how to estimate app development costs. Usually, the typical cost to build a high-quality app ranges anywhere from $60,000 up to $300,000+ per platform. The app development process timeline can vary greatly.

A small app can take 2-3 months. An app with basic features will be 3-6 months. For a rather complex product, you could be looking at 9+ months. It’s also important for you to know – owning an app is like owning a business. You can anticipate ongoing costs for maintenance and development (for new features you need).

The Benchmarks for App Development Costs

The below quotations for app timelines and costs are a result of the most reliable, mobile app industry studies:

  • Entry level web apps development costs around $60,000 at a rate of roughly $150/hour. This then represents around 400 development hours. There is also the possibility that the app price could exceed $200,000+ in the case of complex functionality implementation.
  • The cost of enterprise mobile app development usually starts around $150,000.
  • While you could use a ‘cost calculator’ you find online – understand that apps are not a commodity (easily produced the same way by everybody). Those estimates can vary widely from what an agency will estimate your costs to be.

Realistically, you have to remember that not only your app idea, but your business and functional necessities will influence the development cost of the app. This is something to keep in mind when wondering how much does an app cost. Some of the most influential factors when it comes to the final cost of building an app are:

  • Complexity and number of app features
  • Complexity of UX/UI design
  • Integration to other applications
  • Platform (Web, iOS, Android)
  • Number of platforms to be developed (Web, iOS, Android)
  • Back-end infrastructure and database relationships
  • Inclusion of design and content

All of these things will determine the cost of developing an app.


The Cost to Develop an App: Understanding the Basics

The following information will help you in the process of understanding how to estimate app development costs.

Native vs Hybrid App

The approach you choose to take will definitely influence the final cost of building your app. An application that abides by the guidelines of specific operating systems is called native. This means that you can only build a native app for each system separately. Essentially, the price will increase in proportion depending on the number of platforms you want to target.

A hybrid or cross-platform app, on the other hand, works with multiple operating systems. This then means that you are able to save money by only building one application for all the platforms. A web app is an example of a hybrid cross-platform app. Though, due to the technical superiority and performance of native apps, many app development companies will recommend this approach.

Android vs iOS App

Perhaps you are also wondering if there is any significant difference in app development cost based on the specific platform. Typically, it does not influence the cost. The app development requirements and timeline for both Android and iOS apps are basically the same.

How to Build Your App on a Budget

At this point, it is likely that you have some sort of idea as to the costs of app development. Now, let’s take a look at the following list to know how to stick to the app budget. There are also some helpful recommendations.

  • Do your homework – plan everything you can up front – this will save you loads of time later. It’s a mistake to rush into a project without having a clear gameplan.
  • Start small – stick to only what you need to get your ‘MVP’ (Minimal Viable Product) off the ground. You can always add features later.
  • Keep the design simple. Users don’t like complex and clunky systems.
  • Monitor and be involved in the entire process – don’t let the project escape your attention for long periods of time – your perception of what you’re building will get fuzzy.
  • Ask for a very detailed project estimate that includes timelines, a detailed list of features, a detailed list of unique views, and what the proposed tech stack will be.


The Bottom Line

When it comes to the cost of a simple web app, it is important to know your budget and follow all the tips above to ensure success. Make sure that you don’t duplicate someone else’s success. Instead, you need to project your attention towards bringing something new to the market that has never been seen before. These days, it is essential to build habit-forming app products.

Make sure that you remember that every single project is unique. This is because no one has the same technologies, requirements, people involved, and business context. Now, all you need to do is get started!