How Much Does It Cost?
Our most frequently asked question is “how much does it cost to develop an app?” Well, it all depends.
How many features and screens will there be? What is the complexity of the features? Is backend integration needed? Does the app need to work on both mobile and tablet? What about Android and iOS? How about portrait vs landscape? And so on.
Before you can get a realistic price, you need to build the requirements document, which details every feature and functionality. App companies can also create this for you, but at a cost.
A survey of 12 mobile application development companies found that an app takes on average 7 months to complete and with an average cost of $171,450.
Examples of App development costs based on level of complexity
Remember these numbers are the initial cost for developing the app. There are also ongoing maintenance costs and updates the app requires, so you need to budget that in as well.
Build Your Own Team
If you have a small budget the most realistic option might be to hire freelancers.
Depending on your budget, you may have to consider working with individuals in India, China or Eastern Europe. Popular sites for finding freelance help are Fiver, Peopleperhour and Upworks.
Be aware of the pitfalls in this category. There is a high likelihood of resources overpromising and under-delivering. The overhead for managing these resources can be very time consuming and the quality of the output low, with often very junior people promising to be able to perform just about any task under the sun and on unrealistic timelines.
Be critical when you read reviews of the freelancers on the sites. It’s a common tactic for some freelancers to pressure their clients into leaving good reviews before they’ll deliver source code.
This is also true even if you have a contract that outlines your requirements and legal agreements. Many developers in far-away locations do not fear litigation if they break a contract.
Unless you are an experienced project manager with in-depth app development experience, it might also be difficult to do quality assurance and sign-off on best practices.
Some common terminology you need to know when developing an app.
Hire an App Development Agency
For the least worry and work on your part, you’ll want to hire an experienced app development agency. They will assign a project team to you, which should (at the very least) consist of a project manager, UI/UX designer, developer(s) and QA professional.
An experienced mobile app development agency will know how to launch an app by experience. They will have a good handle on the whole process and will reduce your time and effort in trying to produce and launch your app.
For example, when we take on a new app project at Inspire Visual, we manage all phases of the work that our clients need help with; just a few examples include: providing strategic guidance based on real-world experience, helping define and solidify requirements, defining best practices in design and development and assuring these are adhered to throughout the project, guaranteeing the work is high quality at each and every phase.
Be aware when you look at app development companies online that a lot of seemingly US-based companies are only store-fronts for entirely foreign-based companies, for example groups working out of India who have seemingly legitimate US addresses and phone numbers (but that ultimately direct your call overseas).
Unless you do some detective work online, you might not find out until you have already started the process.
If you hire an app development agency based in the US, you will be operating under US law, and even if they outsource to save you money, they are still liable for the contract requirements.
If your budget is flexible and you aren’t sure what size of agency will work best for you, check out our article “What do small agencies offer that the big guys can’t.”