Singapore is one of the most rapidly expanding locations that attracts businesses from the entire world. Many of these see mobile apps as a powerful tool for business growth and wish to turn their mobile app idea into a startup or factor in mobile app development when drafting corporate budgets.
The common question they want answering is,
What is the cost of creating an app in Singapore?
The simple answer is, there is no fixed price, as apps vary in type and complexity. The average cost of mobile app development is somewhere between $5,000 and $100,000, which is certainly still a too wide margin to add any clarity. A more precise mobile app development cost estimate can be obtained only from a service provider, often, after the initial stage of project discovery. Still, you may develop some realistic expectations by analyzing the factors that affect the app price.
In this article, we will walk you through the factors determining app development cost, describe how SwagSoft estimates the price of our app development projects, and advise on how not to let the app price inflate.
How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Mobile App
As mentioned above, there is no simple answer to this question; at the same time, the budget for making an app can be derived from looking at the specific factors that determine the scope and complexity of the project, namely:
- The type of application
- Who builds an app (including the vendor’s type, expertise, and location)
- Platforms to build an app for
- App features
- App design
Let us look at each factor in more detail.
How App Type Affects the Cost to Build an Application
Different types of apps are priced differently. The simplest and thus, the cheapest to develop are the device or functionality apps (think something similar to a calculator or a timer). The coding of more complex apps takes more developers’ time, which adds up to the overall price. The expenses on app design, backend development, security, deployment, and testing increase along with the project complexity too.
Let us give you some rough figures:
|Simple app||2-4 weeks to develop||$5,000 – $10,000|
|Database/ API app||2-3 months to develop||$10,000 – $50,000|
|Multi Featured/ Enterprise App||3-6 months to develop||$50,000 – $150,000|
|Game||Depends on the complexity||$5,000 – $200,000|
The trick is that if you combine several simple app types into one, you get a complex one and should be ready to pay a respective price. For example, a business app, a game, and a social networking app are all distinct app types; if you want to create a business app that also allows networking or offers a game to entertain and engage the users, the budget is sure to be higher.
Note that app price is not the only concern when building an app that fits too many app types – you might face additional challenges when deploying your app or confuse the users compromising user experience.
Choosing Mobile App Developers
App development service pricing also depends on who provides the services. Freelancers offer a lower app development cost, as this cost does not have to absorb office and business growth expenses. Nonetheless, this approach is only suitable for small projects.
Large complex apps require substantial funding, and the savings associated with the choice of freelance or less experienced providers might be negligible compared to the risks for the project. Mind also that designers and quality assurance professionals are normally part of the team at mobile app companies; working with freelance agencies, you might be forced to find additional contractors who can have additional challenges working on the project together.
Thus, if you are looking for business and industry expertise, quality and accountability, it is necessary to choose between well-established mobile app development companies in Singapore.
A few secrets to finding the best cost value proposition are:
- Seek providers that provide consulting – this might help you cut expenses down the line while paying for top-notch solutions;
- Talk to company clients asking whether the initial mobile app development cost estimates proved justified;
- Choose a development company that has already had similar projects or completed projects in your narrow niche – this will minimize the business research time and help you leverage the insights that earlier took time and money to get.
App Development Cost: Hybrid vs Native Apps
Another factor that determines your app price is whether you choose to build a hybrid or a native app. Native apps provide better user experience, as they are created with specific platform guidelines in mind and have better integration with the smartphone’s hardware such as camera or GPS. At the same time, native apps are much more expensive to develop.
More than that, while there is no substantial difference in app price if you develop either an Android or an iOS native app, developing an app for both platforms will naturally double the development cost.
To keep the project within the budget, it is better to focus on one platform first. In fact, platform preferences are not evenly distributed geographically, so careful analysis of your target audience might give a clue what platform to choose.
App Features Development Cost
The cost of app software development depends on the exact feature the app will have. This is why it is important to prioritize the features, investing in the core ones in the first place.
Here are some popular features along with the development time needed to implement them:
- User registration/ login: depending on the type of user registration, 20 – 25 hours;
- Push notifications: The simplest solution may be built in 12 – 15 hours but open up a wealth of opportunities for business;
- Chats: are popular features in team management and collaboration apps and take about 50 – 65 hours to develop;
- Search: Basic search functionality is implemented in 10 – 15 hours, adding complex filters that might sometimes be indispensable for m-commerce projects take more resources;
- In-app payments: the functionality can be accomplished through credit cards, PayPal, Apple pay or other solutions in about 50 – 60 hours;
- In-app purchases: unlike the previous feature, this one allows app monetization through opening additional features or removing adds for the users. The functionality takes about 20 – 35 hours to develop.
- Analytics: collecting data on user activity and app performance is a separate feature that takes about 5 hours to develop;
- Geolocation: the ability to track user location and thus serve personalized offers and recommendations is developed in 30 – 50 hours;
- Data encryption: a powerful security standard takes at least 15 – 25 hours to develop;
- Offline mode: the use of cooking, local storage, and database can make your app work equally well both online and offline, but the development of the feature will take another 70 hours (approx.).
App Design: Budget Considerations
You might have guessed right: the more complex and elaborate the design is, the more expensive an app.
If you want to cut the app development cost, stick with standard, platform-specific elements. If you wish to implement an ambitious long-term project, be ready to invest more in custom elements nurturing your brand identity and animations that have proven to be an excellent way to enhance app design.
While enterprise apps benefit from better app design, it is mostly a win or lose situation for game development. Thus, don’t let the budget for making an app make the game doomed from the very beginning.
The following presentation will summarize the key factors and point to the ways to keep the app price lower:
How to Get an App Development Cost Estimate
The first step is to reach out to the developers and explain the technical and business requirements. At this point, it is important not to focus on the list of features, but rather to explain the mission of the product and the key pain it has to solve.
The company then comes up with the optimal solution along with the detailed cost estimate for the product discovery or research and planning stage. Unfortunately, no precise mobile app cost estimate can be given before the scope of the project and the above-mentioned factors are discussed and agreed upon with the client.
Following the discovery stage, experts analyze the app concept, design requirements and project architecture plan and draw accurate mobile app development cost breakdown and project timeline.
If you partner with a reputable app development company, you may rest assured there will be no hidden costs; nonetheless, the initial estimate may be revised during the project implementation due to the changes to the project requirements and unforeseen challenges.
It is also important to envision additional expenses that are indispensable for bringing the product to the market. These include:
- Writing a copy
- App marketing
- App deployment
- App maintenance (even if you do not intend to scale an app and add new features, you will need app maintenance for upgrading the app to the latest OS systems and latest versions of third-party services, controlling the performance of servers and app stability, and fixing bugs)
Managing Mobile App Development Cost
Proper management and mobile app development costs planning are quintessential to combat the scope creep, contain your expenses, and achieve your expected return on investment (ROI).
Having said this, let us provide you with three essential areas that will enable you to have greater control over the cost of your overall project.
Area #1 – Changes in Project Requirements
Regardless of how good your planning is, when it comes to mobile app development, chances are that you’d have to accept and undergo certain changes.
This is due to external forces that are oftent out of your reach to plan and foresee. These include competitive threats, emerging technologies, as well as user requests – they can all crop up throughout the development process, causing mobile app development teams to rethink the product requirements from the get-go.
In other words, deviations in the product could cause the mobile app development costs to inflate, and yet, it’s something you’d have to go through if needed.
The key here is to build flexibility and to make sure that you direct the change back towards your originally defined product goal.
It’s highly recommended, if not vital, to devise a well-structured product requirements document (PRD), throughout the early stages of the development because this will provide the mobile app development team with the necessary starting point to move forward.
Area #2 – Proper Communication During the Mobile App Development Process
Once you’ve set your foundational requirements for the product, the project will move into development. You’ve successfully defined the scope of your mobile app MVP and now it’s time to start building.
At this stage, however, there are a few things you can do to avoid additional and unnecessary development costs.
Mobile app products, especially those which are more complex, are usually made of various systems, as well as subsystems. This means that the requirements are likely to go through multiple stages of development. It is very important to manage and balance knowledge transfer during every technical requirement intersection against the actual business requirements.
This will prevent costly mistakes that can easily inflate your costs beyond your initially designated budget.
Communication is key – make sure that you stay in touch and voice your concerns throughout the entire mobile app development process.
Area #3 – Connect Your Features to Your Users’ Pain Points
One of the most important things to do when you start a mobile app development process is to set clear goals and to determine the business outcomes.
There are two traps that you can easily fall into, however. The first one is over-conceptualizing and the second one is, well, under-conceptualizing.
To ensure that you don’t get caught into them, you’d have to prioritize product features for the mobile app development team to align on the functionalities that relate directly to the pain points of your core users.
You need to think about the problems your users are facing and how your mobile app will solve them.
Failing to think strategically means that you are risking more money on additional functionalities that don’t necessarily deliver value.
There are plenty of factors that impact the cost of creating an app in Singapore, which makes it safe to say that the budget for making an app is determined on a case-to-case basis. However, the above pricing factors and principles of mobile app cost management are evergreen. They can help you get realistic expectations of the project budget and potentially prevent any overspending.