A question many business owners looking to build a mobile application ask is:
“How much will it cost me to build a mobile app?”
Well, if you have been in this situation, you already know that there is no exact formula for calculating the price of building an app.
In fact, the costs to build a mobile app differ from one case to the next, depending on:
There are a lot of factors going into calculating the price for developing an app, true.
In this article, we will present you with 4 pricing ranges that will give you a better understanding of how much it costs to build a mobile app. And hopefully, by the end of this reading, you will have all the tools you need to create the right strategy for your app and business needs.
How much does it cost to build a mobile app?
The cost to build a mobile app depends on your needs, time, and budget, much like building a house or a car. It varies based on what designs you want, what technologies you use, what functionality you need, and of course how much you want to invest in it.
For example, if you are looking for a complex eCommerce shop, with AI powered recommendations, that tracks the user’s behavior and preferences, it will naturally cost quite a lot more than building a simple promotional app with limited functionality.
Also, if you want the app to be available for both Android and iOS devices, it requires more development time, hence a higher cost.
And then there is the question of where are your developers located. Different countries have different costs of living, which means that having your app developed in a country like India, will drive some of your costs down.
However, cultural and language barriers often occur when using an off-shore development team. So, you might want to consider having a project manager close to you to make sure your communication is on point at all times and you receive a product that you are happy with.
Regardless, the only way a good web development agency can give you an estimation is if they sit down with you for a few hours, scope your project and define your needs and goals. Then, they have to take that information to their developers and only after they can get back to you with a proposal.
But how do you know what to expect before sitting down with a prospect web development agency you want to hire to build your app?
The answer is price ranges.
What price range does my idea fit into?
It’s worth noting that price ranges are still not a definitive estimation, but it is the closest a development agency can get to a preliminary price. So, based on the requirements of an app, the amount of development time spent on it, and the amount of project management and quality assurance needed, most agencies divide their price ranges into four categories:
1. MVPs and prototypes – Price range DKK 50.000 – 200.000
If you already have a website and you want to build an app to support that platform, or expand your reach, it is ideal to start with a prototype and simple MVP. In most cases, the development time, including the quality assurance tasks and project management only takes about 1 to 3 months in total, and the agency only develops the frontend of the app.
For example, one of our former clients – let’s call them company “X” for NDA purposes – had a website where their users could upload drawings and turn them in to a painting. But our client decided that their users deserve a faster and more fun customer journey, so they contacted Wiredelta to build an app on top of the website.
The website was a simple WordPress website, and our developers used the same backend for the app. This also allowed us to sync the two platforms, i.e. cart synchronization, user syncing, and so on, for a seamless experience.
But more importantly, because our client had the designs, the functionality (or backend) and the APIs, all we had to do is build the frontend.
However, this is a simple application with simple functionality. So, keep in mind that with more complex systems and more complicated functionality, the development of the app, as well as the QA time can exceed the 3 months, and fall under the next range.
2. Mature apps – Price Range DKK 200.000 – 700.000
This second price range covers projects that are either more extensive or more mature than a starting MVP. The agency in this situation can still use your website’s designs, backend, and APIs if you have them, but because the functionality is a little more complex, the development and testing processes will take longer.
Mature apps also include situations where you don’t have designs or an existing backend, but the app you want is not that complex, or you want the app built just for iOS or Android, not both.
Using the same example above, imagine our client didn’t already have the designs or the functionality. In this case, our designers would need to create the designs and get them approved with the client.
Then, our backend developers would have to build the functionality and the APIs for each operating system (iOS and Android), and only after that is done, our frontend developers could “finish” the app.
So, since everything needs to be built from the ground up, the design, development, and testing time will be somewhere between four to seven months, depending on how fast you approve the designs, how much functionality you want, and what platforms will the app be available on.
Also, note that most times agencies will have a designer that can create the mobile app designs for you. However, there are situations where this is not the case, and you will either have to find a designer yourself, or the agency can outsource the task for you. Either way, make sure you are 100% part of the communication process, so everything meets your expectations.
3. Advanced apps – Price Range DKK 700.000 – DKK 1.500.000
Advanced apps are complex projects with extensive functionality, where everything is built from scratch. So basically, the designs, the backend, the APIs, and the frontend are all new and sparkly.
Imagine our client, company X didn’t have any of the designs and functionality they needed. Also, imagine that, they would for example want their users to be able to:
- Create a family account, or add users who will have access to your account;
- Separate users based on roles and access level;
- Add an image of the drawing into the app, that can be shared;
- Edit colors, crop the image, rotate, customize images;
- Have an integrated chat function for family and friends;
- Share editing rights for the image with different collaborators;;
- Integrate a comment function for collaborators;
- Have different payment and delivery options;
- And so on…
The idea is that the more functionality we add to an app, the more complex it gets. This type of project usually takes somewhere between 7 to 9 months of development and testing, and the app is made to be published on both iOS and Android.
4. Highly complex apps – +1.500.000
The last package is all hands on deck. Does your app need a special AI algorithm that tracks your users’ journey, predicts their next move, suggests relevant and useful information or products, serves them champagne, and gives them a foot massage? This package will cover that… maybe not the champagne and foot massage, but everything else is covered.
Simply put, if you are planning on building the next Amazon, LinkedIn or Booking.com, which have multiple purchasing channels, complex and interconnected functionality, AI predictions, and so on, you are looking for a Highly complex app.
These projects usually take longer than 9 months to develop, and include extensive QA tests and even automated tests. Also, not only that they are built from scratch, but are also available for every platform you need and are usually (but not necessarily) native apps.
Every decision maker that plans to build a mobile app wants and deserves the best app money can buy. However, how much money we are talking about depends on what the app needs to look like, do and what your users expect from it.
Because of all of these factors, calculating the exact costs for a mobile app is virtually impossible, not to mention that changes can and will occur, which might eventually change the scope of the project and inevitably the budget and deadlines.
However, there are 4 price ranges most agencies follow when giving a preliminary estimation:
- MVPs and prototypes – Price range DKK 50.000 – 200.000
- Mature Apps – Price Range DKK 200.000 – 700.000
- Advanced apps – Price Range DKK 700.000 – DKK 1.500.000
- Highly complex apps – +1.500.000
That said, the most accurate way to find out how much it would cost to build a mobile app is to sit down with a few agencies and discuss with them different options. It’s a good practice to get at least two or three different opinions and to be forthcoming about your budget, as the agencies can plan around it and find the best value-for-money solution for your needs.
And if you need more assistance, book a free consultation with us. Our expert team is ready to help you plan the most optimal solution for you and your business.