Mobile App Development Process: How Much Does it Cost?

Apr 14, 2022

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Mobile app development is a serious investment for any business. The price tag of an application varies from $15,000 for a simple app to $300,000 and more if a solution is complex. Since the price range is extensive, you must consider many different details to know the budget.

This article explains what factors affect mobile app development costs the most. After reading it, you will be able to estimate how much a mobile app costs to plan your expenses and redistribute your resources wisely.

What it Takes to Create an App in 2022

Many people believe that the cost of mobile app development equals the number of hours developers spend to complete the project. Even though the software engineers’ salary constitutes a considerable share of your software development budget, it is not all expenses you should expect.

You will need to pay for an initial business analysis, which is essential to know what application can gain long-lasting popularity among users. You will also have to hire project managers, QA experts, designers, and other specialists at different project stages. The choice between an in-house team or outsourcing is another factor that significantly affects the price tag.

Below, we have collected the four main factors shaping the cost of app development. Consider them to learn how much a mobile app development costs before starting the project.

App Development Cost Factor #1: Functionality

Each feature increases the scope of work and time necessary to launch a mobile app. Quite predictably, it results in higher app development costs. Here are the most common features you will likely need to include in your app with time estimates:

FeaturesDescriptionEstimated Hours
User loginUser login is essential in apps where people create their profiles and share confidential data.

You must allow users to sign in with their social media profiles, use a Gmail account, or manually type in an email and password

20+
Menu and the navigation barThese features enable users to navigate different sections of your app convenientlyup to 24
Push notificationsInform users about what is happening in the app and with their account24+
GeolocationGeolocation is a must-have for delivery, fitness, online map, and many other apps. It allows the app to detect where is the user to provide the requested services24+
In-app messagingSuch messages enable users to communicate with their mates and the service provider in the app80+

Note that the listed numbers relate to a native app designed for a single platform, iOS or Android. If you need an app that runs on multiple platforms, be ready to spend more.

Apart from these features, you may need payments, social media sharing, reports, online chats, etc.

App Development Cost Factor #2: Complexity

Another thing that can make mobile app development costs rise steeply is complexity. This factor partially correlates with the functionality, as the more complex the app, the more features it usually has.

Generally, apps fall into three categories in terms of complexity:

  • Simple apps. These apps have basic functionality and require no API integrations or custom features. They take 400+ hours to develop.
  • Moderate apps. These solutions include API integrations, backend features, and custom development. Hence, you should be ready to spend around 600+ hours on them.
  • Complex apps. These applications have complicated backend, custom animations, advanced security, real-time functionality, and many other features. Your team will need at least 800+ hours to create such an app.

App Development Cost Factor #3: Time vs. Scope vs. Budget

These three variables are highly interdependent. Hence, you must stop dreaming if you expect to get a quality mobile app at a low cost and with limited human resources. Here is the painful truth:

  • The larger the project’s scope, the more time and investment are needed.
  • A limited budget means that you have less time to launch the project and may be unable to implement some advanced features.
  • Limited time increases expenses and makes you decrease the mobile app development scope.

While estimating the cost of the future app, you shouldn’t get obsessed with cutting corners and saving money. By limiting the budget, you will have to sacrifice the quality. It may cause troubles like technical glitches, poor usability, ability to easily maintain and extend app with new features in the future.

App Development Cost Factor #4: Cooperation Model

Most modern businesses choose from the following cooperation models that affect mobile app development costs:

In-house development

A company hires local software engineers to work on the project at the premises. It is the most convenient yet expensive approach to mobile app development. Apart from salaries, expenses also include the spending on administrative and human resources teams. Besides, if you hire locally, you will need to pay local hourly rates, which may be very high in the Western markets.

Freelance

Cooperating with freelancers makes expenses more transparent since you usually pay for working hours or tasks completed. The main drawback is that this cooperation model is unsuitable for large long-term projects. Apart from this, cooperation with freelancers may be unreliable and more challenging than with regular teams.

Outsourcing

Mobile app development outsourcing is a popular option among companies searching for the best price-quality ratio. You get a dedicated professional team focused on your project but in a remote location. An outsourcing agency may offer lower pricing than the local market. Most importantly, it handles the recruitment and administrative tasks, so you don’t need to spend your internal resources.

Additional Expenses to Be Ready For

The listed factors have the most substantial impact on the price tag you will end up with. Still, there are additional essentials you will pay for.

First of all, we mean marketing. Without promoting your application, you won’t engage users and make them convert. Hence, you will have to invest in professional marketing services, content, ads, and other channels.

Besides, you will need to pay for market and financial analysis after the app launch. Continuous analytics is essential to know the ROI and plan the future product development steps.

App Maintenance After the Release

After the mobile app launch, a large share of your expenses will no longer be relevant. Nevertheless, you will have to keep supporting the mobile app development project.

For the first few months after the release, you may need bug fixing and the implementation of new features. Once real users start navigating your application, they will have complaints and suggestions. Even the most rigorous testing cannot save you from this. As a result, a part of the initial software development team will continue fine-tuning the application and working as tech support.

How Much Does a Mobile App Development Cost – Summary

Now that you know what shapes mobile app development prices, it should be easier to plan your budget. The cost mainly depends on the scope of involvement you expect, the technology stack, and the skills of hired engineers. Based on average iOS, Android developer hourly rates in Ukraine, you can calculate the approximate cost of your mobile application:

iOS, Android
($/hour)
Junior25-32
Middle32-42
Senior45-60
Tech Lead50-65

Contact us to talk about your project if you want precise estimates of the mobile app development worth. We will study your requirements and business needs to tell how much mobile app development will cost in your case.

Conclusion

Mobile app development costs depend on too many variables to tell the budget without preliminary research. Overall, your team model, app complexity, functionality, and quality have the most impact. The required tech stack and team composition also matter. You won’t be able to estimate the cost of mobile app development unless you know what kind of application you need. You can get the price tag only after deciding on the capabilities and features. Our software development team is ready to assist you with budget planning and development. Learn more about what we offer here.

Tetiana Paratsii
Tetiana Paratsii
Marketing Analyst at Leobit
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