Building An App: How Much Does It Cost?

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Whether a customer interested in the process or a business weighing up the options for the future, the question “How much does it cost to make an app” has long-been an interesting one. Often, people ask us the app development cost, how should they hire an app developer and what the whole process involves. Business owners want the best quality for the lowest price since this makes fiscal sense, right?

As you might imagine, we can’t provide a single app development cost here today because we have no information regarding your ideas, what features you wish to include, and how much time the project will take. However, we can show you what influences the app development cost and the considerations you need to make moving forward!

Cost to hire an app developer
Infographics: “How much does it cost to make an app?”

App Development Cost: The Variables

1. App developers team

First and foremost, you should consider the sort of app development team you need to compile for the project. You’re likely to need an iPhone app developers or Android developers, or both, depending on the platform you choose for your future app. Their quantity depends on the complexity of your project. As well you will need UI/UX designer, a QA Engineer, and then a project manager to hold it all together. A backend developer will also be required if there’s a backend infrastructure with the app.

2. Complexity of the Project

How complex is your project? The complexity of your app is one of the cornerstone factors of a native app development cost. Are there lots of special features that take extra skill (and time!) to complete?  For example, you might consider the following:

  • 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.
  • Integration with Third-Party Services. Depending on the aim of the app, it may need to integrate with other services, libraries, or frameworks; the most common example of this would be a payment service so consumers can buy products through the app. More recently, there’s been an interest in ‘live chat’ features as well as social media. If you integrate the app with Facebook, Twitter, and others, it allows for sharing within the community.
  • In-app purchasing. Do you need to add in-app purchases to the application? Unfortunately, the addition of these isn’t as easy as you might think. Which is why it instantly makes a project more complex for mobile app development company.
  • Admin Panel. With an admin panel for your application, you’ll find it easier to stay in control whether it’s through analytics, managing all users, or adding/removing content. Today, there are some fantastic templates you can choose but you might decide you want a unique solution to suit your needs precisely.
  • Hardware Components. Finally, all devices are different within the market because they offer varying features from Bluetooth to GPS, heart rate sensors to accelerometers. Therefore, calculating the iPhone app development cost will be very different to app development costs for other devices. There’s no universal solution so you’ll need to work out a strategy for testing the relationship between hardware and software.

3. Devices and platforms

Picking up from the last consideration regarding hardware components, working with iOS and Android can be very different. With the former, you’ll need to ensure the mobile application will work with both new and old devices as well as the operating system within those devices. Today, the gap between iPhone models seems wider than ever; look at the iPhone 5 compared to the iPhone X, for example. Elsewhere, the Android world is more diverse which leads to some important decisions.


Recommended Reading: iOS or Android: Which one you should build?


When choosing which platforms to support, there are some important details to remember including the market share of all Android devices and the preference of your target market. Nowadays, even Android has different versions from “Jelly Bean” to “Oreo”. The more devices and operating systems you choose to support, the longer the project will take.

Why? Not only does the software have different requirements, you also need to adjust for screen size and resolution. If you’re working on a budget, you might choose the most popular device and operating system within your target market to keep costs to a minimum. If we look at the market currently, Android seems to offer more fragmentation which generally makes iOS app development services more affordable.

4. Animation and Design

Next up, the interface of your app is an important consideration. As we’ve seen before, we’re at a stage now where templates and ‘standard’ features can be added. But they aren’t always good enough for the unique needs of every app. If you’re happy to go ahead with the open source ideas and standard components that can be added to the app, this can be an affordable part of the process. If you need an interface designed especially for you, you’ll require a much larger budget.

5. Expenses After Release

When calculating the cost to hire an app developer and the overall app development costs, many make the mistake of thinking right up until the mobile application launch. However, the journey doesn’t end there. You’ll also need to consider what happens after the customers get their hands on the app.

Over time, your users might find issues, the app will need updating, customer support is important, servers need to be maintained, and even legal support enters the picture. Maybe the time will come to change your app monetization strategy to drive more revenue. You also need a budget for app marketing and get it into the hands of your audience in the first place. Yes, there a lot of expenses beside app development, so maybe it will be smart to attract investors for app to raise the chances of your app to succeed.


Recommended Reading: “8 app monetization models for your mobile application”


For the most part, this after-development service won’t be a regular expense but instead an additional service. But you will need them if you want your app to make money. When you look at mobile app developers for hire, remember this. Their initial quotes won’t include these types of services since they’ll be arranged ‘as and when’ after the project is completed.

Mobile App Development Company Rates Based On Location

Now we’ve addressed the main considerations, the next question is whether the cost changes based on location. For example, will iPhone app development cost vary within the US and moving abroad? Well, our reply to this would be that your main focus should always be on quality and experience. Often, we choose the most expensive company just because ‘they’ll offer the best final product in the fastest time’; this isn’t necessarily true.

If you prioritize experience, you know they’ll be able to handle any problems that arise during the course of the project. Even if they’re one of the cheapest app development companies around, they can still provide a high-quality service if they have the right expertise. But, to be honest, it’s hard to find this kind of company. Nowadays, there are numerous factors that impact pricing aside from just quality. For example, location can be pivotal and we have some facts for you below;

  • US/Canada – Around $50 to $250 per hour
  • Western Europe – Around $35 to $170 per hour
  • Eastern Europe – Around $20 to $150 per hour
  • Australia – Around $50 to $150 per hour
  • India – Around $10 to $80 per hour

App Complexity Impact On The App Development Cost

As mentioned previously, although we would love to, there’s just no way we can provide you with a quote and neither can a professional mobile app development agency within seconds. Even if you come across ‘price calculators’, we recommend avoiding these because they’re normally created as a marketing ploy as opposed to an attempt to be genuinely helpful. Not only will the price change depending on your project, you also have to realize that rates are often negotiable.


Recommended Reading: “What is Minimum Viable Product and how to build it right”


When looking for a company that provides app development services, it all comes down to the number of hours required to take your project from an idea to a product. As we’ve seen all the way through this guide, the number of hours required will depend on the complexity of the job. To provide you with a little more guidance, we’ve decided to offer three separate categories for complexity. Therefore, you’ll be one step closer to knowing roughly how much money you need to hire an app developer.

Low Complexity

With the simpler projects, the app will require basic functionality but with no backend infrastructure and therefore no integration with third-party APIs; this simple project may include filters, a feed list, map markers, and standard UI components. For a basic app (or MVP app), you should be looking at up to 150 hours. Using a rate of ANODA app development company of $35 per hour, around $5,000.

Medium Complexity

As we reach a more advanced app, we start to include more complicated features. Things like real-time chat functions, custom UI features, adaptable for mobile and tablet, push notifications, payment tools, a simple backend server, and integration with APIs. Now, we’re pushing 500 hours and this would need investments of around $17,000. For example, we’ve developed the wedding planner app Planestry that fits this category.

High Complexity

Finally, this is the app with all the bells and whistles including audio/video processing, custom animations, advanced functionality, integrations with multiple third-party services, real-time synchronization, and a complex backend system. With these types of projects, you should be looking at above 800 hours which is $20,000 right up to $50,000 worth of app development cost.

If you were to look on the App Store right now, high complexity projects would include social media, video streaming, and perhaps even dating apps. We also developed a travel mobile app that fits this group. It’s the best cruise app in the App Store with over 2 million downloads – Ship Mate

If you were wondering why we haven’t been able to suggest accurate app development costs, this is why. Within the market, every single app is different from one feature to the next so any figure we provide would be utterly useless and widely inaccurate. When researching mobile app developers for hire, you need to find app developers that meet your needs. Once you have a handful of services, you can then get rough quotes and estimates after discussing your project. No matter how complex your app idea we highly recommend you to go with MVP development

The Hiring Process

To finish, we would like to discuss how an app development process should look like. So you don’t have to go into negotiations with mobile development agency blindly. After getting in contact, you can discuss the project and this allows the company to build a rough estimate. If you decide to go ahead with the service, a more detailed estimate can be created. Then the project is broken down into segments and the scope of each segment is calculated. After this, you should be shown wireframes so you get a glimpse into how your app will appear aesthetically.


With the right service, whether iPhone app developers or Android developers, you’ll be guided through the process from start to finish; this should include requirements analysis, design, development, and the final testing before launch. Remember, the app launch isn’t the end of the mission! So choose a company who wants to help long after your consumers have their hands on the product.

If you follow the advice we’ve provided today, there’s no reason why you can’t find a mobile app development company to meet your needs and contribute to your success in the time ahead!

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