Frustrating, isn’t it?
All while you still rely on the website to generate brand engagement and sales.
Unfortunately, there is no other way to catch up than by launching a mobile app of your own.
And if you’re considering developing a custom mobile application for your business, then I have something really useful for you – a guide to mobile app development costs.
Why Exactly Does Your Business Need a Mobile App
You’ve probably heard about all the benefits of having a mobile app. In case you didn’t, let me run over that really quickly.
A mobile app makes you accessible to customers at all times. Today’s customers spend approximately 200 minutes on their mobile devices per day. And an app gives them a chance to interact with you at any time they please, without the need to switch devices.
It helps to engage customers. One of the biggest advantages of the mobile channel is that it allows to connect and engage with the audience in real-time, develop strong relationships and guide them through each steps to purchase.
It also increases brand recognition. The more customers see and use your app, the more likely they are to go and buy from you.
Mobile app helps provide value to customers. Your mobile app could serve customers in a multitude of ways, from offering exclusive discounts or information to the ability to get instant support and feedback from the company.
And finally, it becomes another sales channel. An app could give customers the ability to do whatever they would normally on your site but without having to step away from the comfort of their mobile device.
With that off the way, let’s look at everything that affects the price of app development.
Factors that Affects App Development Costs
FACT: Mobile applications come in different shapes and sizes. And therefore, the final cost you have to pay depends on:
You can build an app accessible on a number of devices: iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android, Windows Phone, the Web or all together. And depending on which platform you choose, the price of its development will vary.
Many companies choose to launch iOS only apps when aiming to target a more engaged user base. However, Android has a wider market penetration and reach, particularly in emerging markets.
Similarly, many developers prefer to first build an iOS app and then port it to Android. This is partially due to a greater complexity of developing for the Google’s platform. On average, it takes 2-3 times longer to develop an Android app consequently, building those apps cost more.
2. Type of the App and Its Functionality
The type of app you’re aiming to build and its technical specifications will affect the price too.
The three types of apps you could create include:
Table / List Based. These apps allow to display simple information. In general, they present information to a user who can in turn select from available options and be redirected to additional materials on the topic.
Database Based. These are more complex apps, ideal to present larger data sets. Database apps often connect to a website or other online web service to retrieve information, making them more complex to develop than their Table based counterparts.
Dynamic Apps. These apps are similar to database apps but instead of connecting to your online service for information, they extract it from external sources (i.e. Twitter clients using API to import tweets and other data).
Games. Lastly, the hardest app type to develop. Games can range from simple apps to complex environments based on 3D physics engine and thus they cost substantially more than any other applications
3. Business Model
How you will monetize the app, offer it free to download and use, sell for a fixed price or earn money via in-app purchases will affect the cost too.
For instance, it’s easier to create an app you sell for an upfront cost. In-App purchases take longer to implement and so, cost more while full-blown ecommerce functionality costs even more.
When it comes to app development, the design matters as much as the apps functionality.
Customers buy with their eyes. A catchy icon can attract their attention. A breathtaking design makes them want to use the app more and more. (In fact, many app designers create app’s pleasing features deliberately to prevent users from putting their devices down.)
To look great, your app will need an icon, a splash screen, interface elements like tabs, buttons and many other design features that entice users to engage with it.
But a great design comes at a cost and you need to be prepared to pay a lot for a beautifully looking app.
So How Much Does It All Cost?
According to the report by Kinvey, on average, organizations spend around $270k to develop an app.
And the whole process typically takes the majority of organizations around a year from getting the go ahead to launching a complete app.
Otreva, a mobile and app development company offers statistics indicating the average cost for a full-blown business app to be in a region of $200.000.
However, after surveying representatives from 12 leading mobile development companies, Clutch established the cost of building an iOS only app to be between $38000 for low functionality to $171000 for high spec app.
Here’s the breakdown of costs for different stages of the development cycle:
And finally, OSX Daily reports that development costs for a simple iPad app to be in a region of $3000 – 8000. A more complex app (typically developed by brands) can cost anything between $50000 – $150000.
All in all, the above examples indicate that if you’re looking to develop a mobile app for your business, you have to be prepared to spend some serious cash on development.
Finding Out the Cost Yourself
Given the amount of factors that affect app development cost make it impossible to offer a unified price.
Understanding this many mobile app development companies built cost calculators that could help you assess how much it would cost to develop your app.
Here are a couple of them:
A very thorough app allowing to specify many details to get an estimate.
This is another thorough estimator allowing to specify the exact features you’d like to see in your app.
A rather basic mobile app development calculator allowing to specify only the most general aspects of your app. However, it’s ideal if you’re not entirely sure about the exact functionality of your app but would like to get an idea how much building it could cost you.
What If You Can’t Afford to Develop an App?
I admit, developing a mobile app is expensive. So what to do if you know your business needs a mobile app but have no budget to develop it?
Answer – use custom app builders. Apps like BuildFire allow you to create a mobile app yourself at no cost and pay a monthly fee only when you publish it.