The final cost of an app is defined by so many parameters, and as such it’s very difficult to give a price tag without understanding the exact needs of a project.
But, if you really insist in getting a price range, than we can tell you that your project will cost you most likely something in the price range between 5000 and 500.000 euros or dollars. Probably, this answer won’t satisfy you, so let’s dig a bit deeper….
In this post we’ll try to give an overview of all the aspects that make up the final project cost to develop your app.
The project scope is a really important factor for the final price tag. Do you want us to develop an app based on already finalised screen designs or do you want us to guide your startup from initial prototypes up to a fully functional app with research & marketing and everything in between?
So, it’s really important to know the scope of a project in order to give a correct price indication. You also might perform some of the tasks yourself based on your own experiences and skill sets.
To give you an idea about the different tasks and stages in a typical app-project:
- Research & validation: are you making a product that customers really want?
- Planning: when do we start & how long will it take to perform design, development, …
- Mockups: Create an interactive mockup of how the app will function
- MVP (Minimum Viable Product): What is the minimum product you can build to validate your assumptions
- Icon: every app needs a compelling icon in order to stand out in the app stores
- Wireframes: wireframes are detailed sketches of the individual screens and all the interactions between the screens
- UX: how your app works
- UI: how the app looks & feels
- Copywriting: good copywriting that convinces your audience is essential
- ASO: App Store Optimisation
- Growth hacking
- Development: initial development & upgrades
- Network & API calls
- Backend logic
- Frontend logic
- Source control & continuous integration
- Monitoring: It is really important to monitor your app
- Performance: how performant is your app
- Bugs & issues: do problems occur?
- KPIs: Key Performance Indicators (number of installs, app usage, …)
- Testing: Test the app for bugs, performance, usability, security & compatibility
- Support: Very important to react timely to customer requests
Once your app is finished and ready to use, you will have some recurring costs:
- Updates & maintenance for your app
- Domain name registration: you probably want to register the name of your app on the internet. Especially for web apps, but also for the marketing of native apps
- App store fees (not for web apps)
- Cloud providers:
- General cloud services (database, back-end logic): most often we have 1 central cloud provider per app and as a result there will be 1 monthly fee for these services
- Payment providers: this can be a combination of a monthly fee and a certain margin on your revenue
- Other specialized providers (communication, …)
Devices & platforms
The devices & platforms on which you choose to launch your app will also greatly impact the cost.
Most people think only about mobile phones or tablets when talking about apps, but the list is much longer:
- Mobile phones
- Desktop PCs
- Wearables such as watches (iWatch or Android watches)
- IoT (Internet of Things) devices
- Personal Assistants: Alexa
- AR/VR headsets
- Smart TVs
So, be sure to make your app available on the devices most frequently used by your customers. All these devices have different form factors: from very small screens for watches and smart phones to huge screens for smart TVs. So, it’s obvious that you need to provide different user interfaces.
On top of this, these devices are powered by different operating systems:
- iOS: for iPhone and iPad
- watchOS: for iWatch
- Mac OS: for Mac
- Android (think Samsung, Huawei, … devices)
- Fire OS: based on Android for Amazon devices
These different operating systems are not a big deal for your app users: they will be happy as long as they can install your app (via app store or web). But from a developer perspective it makes a big difference: the developer needs to develop a separate app for each operating system (native apps) or he needs to develop on a higher level of abstraction (hybrid or web apps) what comes with some trade-offs (app performance/flexibility).
Type of app
What type of app do you need?
Stand alone app
Do you need a stand-alone app without any network interaction? Think about a calculator or a game. In this case your app will have no central database or no communication possibilities.
This type of app won’t necessary cost a lot less than the others mentioned below. But at least there are components you don’t need and that don’t increase the overall cost.
App connected to backend
Most apps will need some kind of central storage to retrieve or save data. For some of our projects we need to connect to an existing backend (then our customers provide us with the necessary connection details). For other clients we have to design & develop the backend from scratch.
In this case we first evaluate what kind of backend/cloud services your app needs and than we advice the best cloud provider for you project (Google, Amazon, Microsoft-Azure, …)
Sometimes we propose our clients to build a web based administration panel, that can be accessed from any browser, to:
- Manage specific app content
- Manage users
- Review statistics & reports
The benefits are:
- Cheaper to build web based administration panel than to integrate all this administration in the app itself
- We want to keep the app as small as possible (faster installs & better overall performance)
Features and Functionality
How complex is the app you’re about to develop? The complexity and amount of features is one of the biggest cost drivers for your project.
So, the question is than: how many screens does your app have and how complex are these screens? Some features such as buttons & text fields are much easier to implement than others, such as payment integration or an intelligent chatbot.
Here is a list of features that you might want to integrate into your app:
- Register new users
- Password reset
- Email Login: login with email & password
- Social Login: login with a social media account (Google, Facebook, Twitter)
- Push notification: send messages to your app users
- Deep linking
- Maps & geo-location: Integrate maps & location based content or services in your app
- Social Media Integration
- Rating System
- User Profiles
- In-App Purchases
- Payment gateway: allow users to pay inside your app
- Sync Data Across Devices
- Native device features:
- Near field communication
- Communication technologies: Wifi, Bluetooth, SMS
- Sensors such as accelerometer
- Real-time communication
- Specialized technologies
- Artificial Intelligence
- Third party API’s (API =Application Programming Interface= how programs interact with each other)
Some of these features can be easily integrated into any type of app (web, hybrid, native), for other features we’re sometimes forced to a specific app type (for instance when you’re app needs to access specific hardware).
We see a lot of competitors that just put generic prices on their websites:
- This type of app is minimal 20000 dollars or euros
- That feature is 8000
The reality is that we first need to understand your project and your needs, and than we can make our homework to make a correct offer.