The process of developing mobile apps may sound simple once you have an idea in mind, but it actually requires much more than a great idea and a drive to get started. Understanding the (potentially) hidden costs of developing a mobile app can help you to better plan and prepare for your next project scope. When you are familiar with all that developing a mobile app entails, you are less likely to find yourself surprised by unexpected bills or service fees incurred while you are still in the development stages.
B2B Vs. B2C
Choosing between a B2B or a B2C business model is also a major decision that should not be made lightly, especially if you are just diving into the world of app development for the first time. You will need to choose between a B2B or a B2C business model to help with outlining budget constraints and expected expenses. With a B2B model, you may ultimately save more initially, but it will also limit you in terms of connecting directly with prospective customers and clients.
Before you begin pricing potential apps you would like to develop, it is important to consider whether you will be paying by the hour or paying per project. The cost of mobile app development will also vary by the location in which your developers reside and the industry most fitting for the type of app you are creating.
Industry Estimates of App Development Costs
Compare the following estimates of the total costs of developing a mobile app based on industry:
- Dating: $80,000 – $200,000 USD
- Messaging/Texting: $50,000 – $130,000 USD
- Networking/Social Media: $25,000 +++ USD
- Taxi/Rideshare App: $25,000 – $100,000 USD
- Real Estate App: $12,000 – $15,000 USD
- Photo-Sharing Applications: $50,000 – $60,000 USD
- City Guide Apps: $25,000 – $50,000 USD
- Banking or Payment Processing App: $40,000 – $70,000 USD
- eCommerce Marketplace App: $200,000 – $250,000 USD
Cost by App Development Location
Not all developers work at the same rate, which is why it is important to consider where you intend to hire developers and why. Contracting developers and hiring freelance developers can save significantly on costs, but can also result in a reduction of quality, depending on who you choose to work with and hire. Consider the following region estimates of how much development will cost based on your location and the platform(s) you choose to develop on:
|Region||iOS Hourly||Android Hourly||Cross-Platform Hourly|
|USA||$ 110-150||$ 100-150||$ 100-150|
|UK||$ 60-75||$ 60-75||$ 55-75|
|Australia||$ 90-120||$ 100-120||$ 90-120|
|Canada||$ 90-130||$ 100-130||$ 90-130|
|Eastern Europe||$ 35-55||$ 35-55||$ 30-50|
|Latin America||$ 40-50||$ 35-50||$ 35-50|
|Southeast Asia||$ 35-45||$ 30-45||$ 30-45|
|South Africa||$ 45-80||$ 40-80||$ 40-80|
|India||$ 20-30||$ 15-25||$ 30-35|
Another option is to consider the mobile app development cost in Singapore which is significantly more affordable than working strictly in the US alone. In Singapore, the cost to develop a mobile app in total may range between $5,000 and $15,000, which is a fraction of the total cost it may require in the US.
Who is Involved in Developing a Mobile App?
Learning about the most in-demand positions for those developing apps can help you to better formulate a hiring or contracting plan of your own.
Working with a business analyst is highly recommended for those who are new to app development or are unsure of the financial undertaking they will be presented with throughout the process. A business analyst can provide you with valuable insights into the metrics of your current business model as well as the financial burden and potential long-term payoffs of your app based on the type of application you intend to develop. Weighing the costs versus the risks and rewards can help with solidifying a plan of action when it comes to estimating the cost of mobile app development in any industry.
The lead architect of your app development project will oversee all plans from start to finish. They will also work on various features, capabilities, limitations, security functions, and more. A lead architect in the USA alone can run around $250 per hour.
A project manager will also help to oversee the everyday operations of your app development project. Project managers are also in charge of delegating and monitoring tasks while ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency on a day-to-day basis.
You will need to hire at least one developer for your mobile app. In many cases, an entire team of junior, senior, and lead developers may be necessary depending on the scale and scope of your project. The significance of mobile security today cannot be understated, especially with the rise in online hacking, phishing scams, and identity theft with the use of spoofed profiles and deep-fake technology. A great team of developers will also be keenly aware of what safety and security features are most important throughout the development process itself.
First impressions matter, which is why hiring a graphic designer or a mobile app designer is imperative. A great designer can mean the difference between falling short of your expectations and achieving success, especially in highly saturated and competitive markets. In the US, a graphic designer earns approximately $130 hourly when working on mobile apps.
In order to ensure your app is up to your standards and the standards of any marketplace you intend to use, you may also need a team of QA, or Quality Analysts to help streamline the process. Understanding why mobile apps get rejected in the Apple store is a part of the job of a QA as well as those in charge of planning the foundation of the app itself. Quality Analysts can also help with deploying tests and executing functions that need to be thoroughly vetted before launching an app live or releasing it to the public.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Mobile App?
The average cost of mobile app development can range anywhere from $20,000 to more than $200,000 per application, depending on the type of application you are creating and the audience you intend to reach.
Hiring a team of developers will cost you the most, as some professionals earn well over $100 to $200 per hour. You will need to consider the number of team members you require for your app.
Consider the timeline you are working with and whether or not you will need to rush development at any stage.
Which features are most important to you? Some of the most common features in mobile apps today with estimated costs include:
- Search: $750
- Login features: $1,750
- Profile/profile setup: $1,250
- Profile editor: $2,750
- Messaging between users: $8,000
- Calling users via network: $15,000
- File upload capabilities: $1,250
- Enabling push notifications: $1,500
- User management panel: $3,750
- GPS/Real-time map: $5,000
- Payment processor/payment processing solution: $3,500
- Streaming implementation: $6,000
- Payment management panels(s): $1,750
- Push notification panel and management wall: $500
Whether you are in the market for traditional development or looking for VR development cost estimates, consider the platforms you intend to use with your new app to help with estimating final costs.
Working with your QA team, you will need to execute numerous tests before launching an app live on the marketplace, regardless of your chosen platform(s).
Marketing is arguably a quintessential element of launching a successful app. You will need to create a working marketing strategy that is suitable for the target demographics you intend to reach.
The more you know about the mobile app development world, the easier it is to break into it with your own vision for mobile apps and games. Understanding the process of developing a mobile app and the cost of mobile app development for the features you are seeking is essential to finding the best development company or team that is right for you.