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Hackernoon logoHow much does it cost to build a mobile app? by@Ontoborn99

How much does it cost to build a mobile app?

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Why does your business need a mobile app?

If your business has a mobile-responsive website, you are already ahead of 91 percent of everyone else. But if you add a mobile app, you could exponentially increase your lead over your closest competitors.

Here are a few advantages of having a mobile app for your business:

  1. Improves accessibility

Today’s mobile market spends approximately 200 minutes in apps. A mobile app makes it easier for them to access your business without needing to switch devices.

2. Enhances customer engagement

Convenience and ease of use are important qualities for ensuring customer experience. Mobile apps also allow your customers to connect and engage with you in real time. This helps foster trust and stronger relationships.

3. Improves brand recognition

Having your brand situated on the interface of a smartphone or tablet will heighten brand recognition. Consider how much time people spend on their mobile devices. Also, it has been estimated that there will be 268 billion app downloads in 2017. Also 68 percent of consumers report actually using the apps they download.

4. Improves value proposition

You can use a mobile app to give your customers discounts, usable information and support.

5. Presents another avenue for sales

Th e convenience and accessibility of a mobile app will encourage your customers to carry out transactions with your business.

People spend 89 percent of their time using mobile apps rather than mobile websites. According to Arthur Iinuma of ISBX, “Mobile apps tend to get a more qualified and engaged audience. Therefore sales conversion rates are higher in comparison to an ecommerce website.”

The three main factors that affect the cost of a mobile app build-out are:

2.The targeted users/devices

  • Functionality
  1. (what you want the app to do) is the most important factor in determining cost. There is a big difference between an app that does something simple (such as creating a to-do list) compared to a fully-featured interactive app like the new
  2. Star Wars app. Historically, apps that perform one or two functions really well (such as Uber or Words with Friends) have been more successful than apps that have been crammed with extra and sometimes needless functionality. Although app developers are getting more efficient with usability when delivering apps with more extensive functionality. I still think that developing an app to do one or two specific tasks really well is the best approach . This will ultimately reduce the overall cost of development. The main take-away here is the more you want the app to do, the more it is going to cost you.
  • Targeted users/devices
  1. (who you want to use your app) can drastically affect cost when developing a mobile app. The biggest and most commonly debated question is whether you should build a Native App or a Mobile Web App. For reference, a
  2. Native App is one that is developed specifically for a certain mobile operating system (such as iOS or Android) and installed directly on the device whereas a Mobile Web App is an app that is not operating system-specific and runs on a device’s web browser. The focus of this article isn’t to discuss the pros and cons of these two alternatives. Here we will explain how choosing one option over the other can affect the total cost of the project. For example, let’s say you want to develop a clinical mobile app to assist Doctors with conducting their rounds and you know that they will all be using hospital-issued iPhones.
  3. In this scenario, developing a Native app for iOS (Apple) devices seems like a pretty logical solution, right? However, take that same scenario and complicate it by requiring support for Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry devices. If you want to develop a Native app for each of the required platforms it could end up costing you 4 times what it would cost to develop one mobile web app. The reason for this is that code development for each mobile operating system is essentially an independent effort and usually requires different programming languages and environments. So, as you can see one size does not always fit all with respect to mobile and the selection of your target audience weighs heavy on cost.
  • Timeline
  1. Another key factor in cost determination with a mobile app project is when you want it. The best way to keep the project within budget and avoid cost overruns is to have a reasonable timeline (with customer involvement throughout the process). To have an unrealistic expectation of a project delivery can cause unneeded rush charges and can also affect cost.
  2. For example, let’s say your company wants to develop an app to control the Mars Rover and you want it next week. Do you think a rush delivery affects cost? You bet it does. Although some development tasks simply can’t be rushed and take. However long they are going to take, requesting a quick turnaround time can definitely have an impact on cost.

The process of developing an app

There are four stages involved in the development of an app:

  1. Developing the idea: Once you’ve identified the type of app you need for your business, it is time to shift your focus to developing the concept behind the idea.
  2. Functionality layout: This stage slowly brings your idea into a more tangible concept. Your software developer or architect will present wireframes to show how the app will function. You can give your inputs on how to make the app more usable to your market.
  3. Design: This stage includes both the backend and frontend development phases. It involves management of users, server side logic, customization of user experience, data integration, caching of data, synchronization of data, UI design and development and also various schedules for testing.
  4. Going live: Once everything has been certified ready by your software development team, you can prepare to go live.

How much does it cost?


Not a single professional development company can give you the accurate project cost right away. The online price calculators are nothing more than marketing bait. Even the initial hourly rates are often negotiable and will not tell you, for example, about iphone app development price.

At the stage of negotiations we first give the customer a rough estimate based on a planned amount of hours it will take to develop a mobile app. Depending on the complexity of the idea’s implementation and embedded functions we divide all the developed applications into four categories — simple, middle complexity, high complexity and innovative. Based on the average hourly rate of $40 the rough estimate of the project development depending of its category would be like so:

Simple applications

  • Simple applications typically include some basic functionality, elementary integrated API(s), plain UI/UX, item list(s) and also simple search.
  • Development timeframe up to two months,
  • interface design — up to 80 hours,
  • development (mobile and backend/BaaS) — up to 500 hours,
  • 25% is reserved for project management (PM) and testing (QA) together.
  • Average cost to develop an app is around $25000-$35000.

Middle complexity applications

  • Middle complexity applications include more advanced features, like custom UI/UX elements, tablets support, payment services integration, social media integration,and also map search and so on. These features often increase cost of developing an app.
  • Development timeframe — 2–5 months
  • interface design — up to 160 hours,
  • development (mobile and backend/BaaS) — up to 900 hours,
  • 25% is reserved for PM and QA together.
  • Average cost to develop an app is around $45000-$55000.

High complexity applications

  • High complexity applications include the most advanced features such as audio/video processing, real-time synchronization, custom animations, integrations with third-party services, complex backend with several types of databases, offline data cache, etc.
  • Development timeframe — 2–5 month
  • interface design — up to 160 hours,
  • development (mobile and backend/BaaS) — over 1000 hours
  • 25% is reserved for PM and QA together.
  • Average cost to develop an app is around $55000-$100000.
  • MyOCard — web-based commercial app (12 months, 9 people) and AppleTV app — quick video search/navigation app (4 months, 8 people)

Innovative applications

  • Innovative applications apart from the high complexity features include a high-tech components and also novelty elements.
  • Development timeframe — 6–12 months
  • interface design — over 160 hours,
  • development (mobile and backend/BaaS) — over 1000 hours,
  • Around 25% of which is reserved for PM and QA together.
  • Average cost to develop an app is around $50000-$100000.


Hire Mobile App developers

You can hire Mobile App developers at an hourly, weekly or monthly basis at


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