The number of smartphone usage in 2020 stood at 6.95 billion globally, and this number is likely to reach 7.1 billion by 2021! With the rise in mobile phone usage, there is an app for almost everything. From online banking to ordering food, you can download apps and have access to all kinds of products and services at your fingertips.
Factors That Determine App Development Cost
• Project type (social, on-demand delivery, e-commerce, healthcare, etc.)
• Type of vendor you choose (freelancers, IT agency)
The two main types of vendors that can create an app for you are freelancers and agencies.
If you decide to work with freelancers to build an app, you will receive the following advantages:
o Cheap app development
o Constant communication with the developer only
At the same time, weigh the risks:
o The need to find freelancers for all required services
o Lower quality of software development services
o Limited accountability and transparency
o Team management on your side
o Additional paperwork
On the contrast, professional app development requires teamwork and people who are used to work on the same project.
If your choice is to work with a custom software development company, you will enjoy the following benefits:
o Trustworthy relations
o Quality of deliverables
o All or the majority of needed services in one place
o Schedule and discipline
o Project management
Disadvantages of working with companies that make apps:
o Higher rates
o More bureaucracy
In spite of having to spend more money and deal with more paperwork, app development companies usually give a sense of security and confidence that is worth the cost.
• Vendor’s location (country)
Location is the next major factor that can influence the cost of developing an app significantly. The most popular app development destinations worldwide are North America (mainly the USA), Latin America, Eastern Europe (Ukraine), and Asia (India).
• Vendor’s rate
App development cost in India, Pakistan, and other Asian countries is usually less than $25/hour. In South America, which is considered to be another popular outsourcing destination, the rates are between the ranges of Western and Eastern European rates.
The highest development costs will be required if you choose vendors from the US with $70 to $100 rate. Eastern Europe, Ukraine in particular, will offer you a more average cost for app development of $40. This region is very reasonable to work; you get good quality, for a moderate app development price and do not overpay for a company’s brand.
• Number and complexity of features
An app’s complexity defines how much time you will need to build each feature and thus, how much it will cost. Сomplexity matters when it comes to the cost of making an app. If your budget is limited, think about prioritizing features to fit within that price range.
As well, keep in mind that native apps (those developed specifically to run on iOS or Android) are much better than those that are cross-platform. They are also more expensive, but the overall result and their performance make the cost worthwhile.
The core features that are widely used in many digital projects are as follows:
o User login/ registration – via email, Facebook, phone number with verification. The most user-friendly sign-up option is via social network. Basic implementation of the login feature takes around 20 – 25 hours.
o Chat – P2P chat can be developed in ~50 – 65 hours. This timeline also depends on functions like chat history, auto-delete, offline mode, emojis, file transfer, and other elements. Group-chat is more complex to develop and may take around 80+ hours.
o Search – users may search for goods, information, or services inside the app per one or more categories. A basic search function can be completed in ~12 -15+ hours. More complex search requests need more of an investment.
o Push notifications – a key method through which many apps communicate with users. Alerts, SMS notifications, and warnings provide users with relevant and up-to-date information (e.g., messaging apps). The simplest text form of this feature can be developed in ~12 – 15 hours.
o Payments – in-app payments can be made with credit cards, services like PayPal, Payoneer, Apple or Google wallets, or even with cash. Technologies like Stripe and Braintree are mostly used to implement payment functionality and a minimum of 50 – 65 hours is necessary.
o In-app purchases – another variant to monetize your app with options like purchase of goods and services, pay for subscriptions, add features, remove ads, and so on. The average time to develop this functionality is around 20 – 30 hours.
o Analytics – collects data from user activity and app performance with the help of integrated services like Flurry, Google Analytics, etc. The most basic form can be implemented in ~ 2 – 5 hours.
More complex implementation features are as follows:
o Geolocation– a core feature for apps like Uber, dating apps, businesses, travel products, etc. The ability to locate the user device and use of GPS can be implemented in approximately 32 – 48 hours.
o Integrations (Google Maps) – can be integrated in iOS and Android apps to supplement geolocation features for navigation and routing; takes around 32- 40 hours.
o Ads – integration of promotional and marketing material inside an app depends on the type (e.g text, banner, full-screen pop-up), the chosen library, service, and APIs. Approximately 8- 16 hours are typically spent on simple banner placement.
o Offline mode – the availability of app data without an internet connection. The amount of data and its storage (e.g. cookies, local storage, database) influences the amount of time needed for development, which can be up to 80 hours.
o Data encryption – this feature can be used to secure messaging with end-to-end encryption, where only the receiver has the necessary decoding protocol. To eliminate unauthorized access, a minimum of 16- 24 hours are needed and the process depends on the data being encrypted (text, image, video, etc.).
o Video/audio streaming – this is rather hard to implement, but can be done in 56 – 72+ hours. This timeline is influenced by data transmission, processing, software logic, file formats, streaming protocols, server setup, and other settings.
o Connectivity with a device – the app’s use of a device’s hardware, like NFC, Bluetooth, barometers, gyroscopes, accelerometers, etc. Around 16 – 24 hours are required to build this feature. There is no need to develop any back-end.
• Number of platforms (iOS, Android, web)
Platform: iOS or Android
How much does it cost to make an app for iOS or Android?
Your choice of a platform also influences the cost of app development. The main factor that determines whether you need to make an app for iOS or Android is the audience you would like to reach.
There are fewer devices that run on iOS than on Android. A good market analysis will help you choose the best options.
If you need to make an app for one platform only, there will be no difference in app cost, be it iOS or Android. However, if you decide to build a mobile app for both platforms, be ready to spend more money.
• Design complexity (basic, custom, use of animations)
App design influences the whole process of creating an app. The more complex the design, the more expensive your application becomes.
Simple app design mainly consists of standard, platform-specific elements that are quite easy to implement and will not take much time. Adding custom elements and animations increase design complexity and thus the app design cost.
WHAT’s THE COST???
To answer this question we need to know that not all mobile apps are equal. And the inequality is not only in the platform that it is developed for. The lowdown of iOS application development as well as an Android one is counted with the time needed to implement certain app features. So let’s create a classification based on the moderate time needs.
o A basic app with simple functionality requires approximately 500-800 development hours. Timeline: 3-6 months.
o A medium complexity app takes from 800-1200 hours. Timeline 5-9 months.
o A complex time-consuming app in most cases exceeds 1200 hours. Timeline: 8+ months.
How much does an app cost? In a nutshell, the development cost of building a simple app starts somewhere between $20-30K. Still, you can reduce this cost drastically by prioritizing features to implement to your mobile app Minimum viable product.
Apart from the app’s complexity, the hourly developer rate significantly impacts the cost of developing a mobile app. The cost of one hour of mobile app developer work varies across the globe:
o North America (the US and Canada) is the most expensive region since the Android / iOS developers charge from $20 to $250 per hour
o Australian mobile app developers have a slightly lower cost per hour: $35-150
o Eastern European mobile app developers charge something between $20 -$110 per hour
o Developers in Eastern Europe charge from $30 to $140 per hour