How much does it cost to develop an app?
How much does it cost to develop an app?
In today’s digital age, mobile apps have become a mainstay in our everyday lives, serving various use cases: entertainment, education, health, and business. If you’re considering developing an app for your business or personal use, one of the first questions that likely comes to mind is, “How much will it cost?” Understanding the costs involved in app development is essential for budgeting and planning. This article aims to shed light on the factors influencing these costs and provide a comprehensive guide to app development expenses.
Factors Influencing the Cost of App Development
The cost of developing an app can vary significantly based on several factors:
- The complexity of the App: Simple apps with basic functionality are cheaper to develop than complex apps with multiple features. The general rule is the more features and functionalities your app has, the more it will cost to develop.
- Platform: The platform you choose (iOS, Android, or both) can influence the cost due to differences in development complexities and guidelines.
- Backend Development: This can significantly increase the cost if your app requires a server backend to process data (like most social networking apps). Backend development involves setting up servers, databases, APIs, and sometimes real-time features like push notifications.
- Third-Party Integrations: If your app needs to integrate with other services (like social media platforms, artificial intelligence,, payment gateways, or Google Maps), this can add to the cost. These integrations often require additional programming and testing to ensure they work correctly.
- Data Encryption: If your app handles sensitive user data, it must encrypt this data to protect it from breaches. Implementing encryption can add to the development cost but is crucial for maintaining user trust and complying with data protection regulations.
- User Account Management: Features like user registration, password recovery, profile management, and user settings can add complexity to the app, increasing the cost.
- Localisation: If your app is used in multiple countries, it may need to be localised. This involves translating the text and sometimes adapting the UI to different cultures, which can add to the cost.
- Offline Mode: If your app needs to work without an internet connection, it will need an offline mode. Implementing this can increase the cost, as it requires additional programming to store data locally and sync it with the server when the connection is restored.
- Custom UI/UX Design: While using standard UI elements can save on design costs, a custom UI/UX design can make your app stand out. However, this requires more design and development work, increasing the cost.
- Testing: Testing can add significantly to the cost depending on the app’s complexity. Comprehensive testing ensures your app works correctly and provides a good user experience. Testing can be manual, where the quality assurance team manually test the application on numerous devices. Testing can also be automated, whereby unit tests are developed, speeding up testing time and reducing the manual effort required to test the app each time. You also have to remember that your app needs to be approved by a third party ( Apple and Google) before they are released on the app stores, and they are unlikely to approve an app that has not been tested.
- Post-Launch Expenses: After launching the app, you’ll need to budget for updates, bug fixes, server costs, marketing, and possibly even customer support. These ongoing costs can significantly impact the total cost of owning an app.
How to Estimate the Cost of App Development
Estimating the app development cost involves considering all the above factors and stages. Standard pricing models in the industry include fixed price, where the total cost is agreed upon before development begins, and time and materials, where the cost is based on the actual time and resources used in the project.
Ways to Reduce App Development Costs
To reduce app development costs, start with a minimum viable product (MVP) with essential features and add more based on user feedback. Cross-platform mobile apps can also reduce costs.
So what are the costs?
The cost of developing an app can vary widely based on many factors, including the app’s complexity, the chosen platform, the development team, and features and functionalities. Understanding these costs is crucial for successful budgeting and planning. While it’s possible to reduce costs in some areas, it’s important to remember that quality should not be compromised, as this can impact the app’s success and profitability in the long run.
As a guide based on our decade of experience in building applications, the following can be used as a guide to the typical starting costs of designing and developing a mobile app.
- Creative Prototype in Figma: £5,000 + VAT
- Deployable app prototype to phones using mock data £15,000 + VAT
- Native Mobile apps integrating into an existing backend product £30,000 + VAT per app
- Native Mobile apps integrating into a new backend developed alongside the app – £90,000 + VAT
- Hybrid Apps integrating into an existing backend product £45,000 + VAT
- Hybrid Apps apps integrating into a new backend developed alongside the app – £75,000 + VAT
- Web Apps – £30,000 + VAT
Developing an app is a significant investment, but with careful planning and budgeting, it can be a worthwhile one.
If you’re considering developing an app, contact our London-based team for a free, no-obligation workshop where our consultants get to understand what you would like the app to do, they will then guide you through the process of what an MVP should look like, determine the right technology strategy and platform and ultimately provide you with an estimate aligned to your budget that will bring your vision to reality.
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