How much does it cost to develop a custom application?
Take a look at world-famous brands like Nike, United Airlines, L'Oreal or ZARA. No matter what industry – they are creating their own apps to increase customer loyalty.
Want to follow their example but have no idea where to start? In this article we have prepared a detailed guide on the cost of custom mobile application development for business.
What does an application mean for a business?
Cost Affecting Factors
- Developer Team
- Development Platform
- Application type and functionality
- Post-development application support
Take a look at the average hourly rates by region on the image below. We choose the most common locations of software development agencies and freelance developers:
Freelance app developer
Yes, there are top-notch apps created by freelancers. Yes, it is cheaper to hire a freelancer or even a group of them to work for you. However, freelancers are unreliable workers. One day they work, another day -
They will not come up with creative solutions for your business. If you are not sure what you want to or how to name it, freelancers are no good. You can give them specific tasks or hire for a quick fix up but a one person cannot become a well-trained team.
- Low rates
- Non Supervised
- Inconsistent performance
Thus, if you decide to go with a freelancer try such platforms as Upwork or Toptal. There you can look through portfolios, check reviews and assess their performance to find the most reliable worker.
- Full team of professional specialists
- Time and money saving
- Niche workers
- Access to commercial and technical expertise
- Time-zones and language differences
- Team morale
- Quality concerns
Native applications are built for each platform individually. Building a native app is as expensive as the number of platforms you would like to access. Is it going to be for iOS, for Android, for Windows Phone or for all of them at the same time?
The Android platform holds 80.8% of the global mobile market. Combined with a simple launching process for Google Market and high revenue from advertising, it seems like a good deal. Yet, development takes a lot of time to make sure the app is the same across all the Android devices.
In comparison to Android, iOS applications bring twice as much revenue. They are consistent on all devices and have a dedicated user base open to paid application and in-app purchases. The only disadvantage is a complicated publication process with lots of quality standards.
We recommend choosing one platform for the app to test out how it is going to interact with the target audience. If it proves to be successful, then expand it to other platforms. If not, you save on the cost of simultaneous multiple-platform development.
Aside from developing an app for a certain OS, there is an option to build one hybrid application for every platform. Yes, this option saves money. No, it does not create unforgettable graphically rich apps.
Once you decide on the platform, it is time to move further to deciding on the set of features. The type of application and its functionality determine how many hours it will take to build it. We have separated the apps by types and complexity.
It can affect the initial budget of the project and increase the mobile app development cost.
As a result, the average work time to develop such an app is about 300 hours.
The development of such an application is going to take between 500 to 800 hours.
It takes more than 800 hours of work time to develop a complex custom app.
How much does it cost to create an app
- What devices and platforms do your target audience use the most?
- How much time do they spend on mobile devices?
- What do they use the mobile devices for?
- What should make them use your application?
- Do you plan to pay more attention to the functionality or the visual part?
These are the essentials that decide an application's functionality and its cost. When we lay out what the business requires, the next stage is to grasp the complexity of the application.
- Size of the project
- Applied technologies
- Team ability to deliver
- Extra requests of the client
If the client has a vague idea about the app, its features, and purpose, it will take longer to figure it out together.
The average time required to plan an app is about 20-50 hours for the simplest version.
Okay, it is clear what you want. Let's move to designing the app's functionality. Here project managers with designers decide on main features and build user experience map.
We approve every wireframe with the client to create structured app screens. The process may last longer due to:
- Including more details and features into each wireframe.
- Unclear request for wireframes.
- More complex design.
- A number of screens needed.
Moving to designing, approving and creating different images, icons, layers. All the elements that are going to become a visual shell of the app. It may take longer to design the app if the following are undecided:
- The number of app screens and UI elements that each screen contains.
- Complexity and quantity of custom-designed elements.
- Specific or not defined customer preferences.
There are five essential rules to ensure that the user is going to enjoy using the app. It has to be:
- Common enough
On average, it takes from 40 to 120 hours.
- Registering with e-mail, phone number or a social media account;
- Email verification;
- Password restoration;
Subscriptions, followers, followees, the number of posts, likes and liked posts, I could go on forever here.
This functionality is going to take around 40 hours to develop.
Developing the payment integration is about 20-40 hours depending on how many payment gateways you want to add.
Moreover, there is a huge back-end process behind it (e.g. making payments visible, opening the content after payment, and upgrading profile to premium).
Development of in-app purchasing is going to take additional 12-20 hours.
Required time for development starts from 5 hours.
- Determining location of a user or an object;
- Guiding a user from one location to another;
- Monitoring the movement of the user or an object;
- Creating maps of the world;
- Placing Points of interest on the map;
- Giving user a precise timing of the trip.
Even more, you will be able to provide users with products or services relevant to their location and surroundings. GPS is also used for fitness apps like Move or Apple Health. They track the number of steps you made, where you went and how long you were walking or running.
On average, it takes about 60 hours to set up.
Think about adding autosuggestion, recent and saved inputs to make the search as user-friendly as possible. It saves time and effort of the user when searching for the same item over and over again.
The search would take around 20 hours to code.
Feed is going to take additional 30-40 hours to make.
Of course, you can set up a perfect manual, but there are always people that like talking instead of reading and guessing for themselves.
Chat can have multiple functions like personal messages, group chats, secret chats, support of emoji and stickers, and more.
Setting up a basic chat is going to take around 35-40 hours, but a more complicated version may take up to 250 hours of development.
Post-development application support
Therefore, consider adding admin-to-user communicating feature like a live chat, live call or some sort of bot.
As a business owner, you have to continuously monitor the application trends, analyze the feedback from your audience and act on it.
In this article, we have outlined the basic factors that are going to affect the final price so you would be able to sum up the cost of your project. If you are still at a loss and do not know how much it costs to develop an app, we are ready to help – just reach out!