The before-mentioned company, Clutch, did a survey showing that the average app takes 7 months to complete and costs $171,450. If you look at some of results of app development costs from online calculators, they’ll range from $150,000 to 500,000.
There is not a one-size-fits-all price though, and you can get your app developed cheaper if you have a smaller app with simple features; but don’t expect to get away with less than $50,000 from a US-based company even for a more basic featured app. Apps require a lot of time to build and technical expertise from various roles.
A basic development team needs at least a project manager, a UI/UX designer, an app developer and a QA engineer. More complex projects can easily expand to require a project manager, 2 UI/UX designers, 2-3 app developers, a back-end developer and 2 QA engineers — or much more.
Multiply that by the amount of time your app takes to complete, and you’ll begin to understand why an app can’t be built for a few thousand dollars.
Whether your app should target iOS, Android or both will also contribute greatly to the final cost. Android apps used to cost more to develop than iOS apps, but they are very similarly priced now.
If you would like to target both iOS and Android, you should aim for a cross-platform app. They are developed from one source code with minor tweaks for each platform. So instead of having two teams building your app, you can save cost by just having one team.
And later, maintenance costs will be lower, and development time shortened, if you build cross-platform.
iOS and Android also have an approximately 50/50 market share, so you’ll gain a lot of more users by targeting both platforms.
You can learn a lot more about the steps involved in building an iOS and/or Android app in our in-depth article about this very topic.
Finally, complexity of the app can greatly affect the final cost. Do you need Geo-location, API server interaction, messaging features, photo/video manipulation etc.?