Costs for different types of mobile apps
Simple, so-called table-based apps with very basic information (hierarchical topics with a list of available subjects) cost from $1000 to $4000 (money you would pay to a web development contractor agency). Add-ons such as geolocation, social media integration, camera integration, push notifications and all the rest will cost up to another $4000. Database native mobile apps vary between $8k and $50k, and you will be responsible for all the content. This type of app is great for adding structure and logic to the existing content so that it is organized and displays efficiently. You can also opt for a fully dynamic mobile app. The data it relies on is outside the app (on a social network, for example). In the last few years, web-based mobile apps have become more sophisticated and started to replace native apps because they require less memory and use more convenient cloud-based storage for the information they need.
Image source: Yalantis, How Much Does It Cost to Make a Mobile App
Developing a game costs from $10k to $250k depending on the complexity, number of levels, quality of the graphics, etc. There also additional costs for features such as web services with easier updating ($1k to $5k), in-app purchases ($1k to $3k), game center functionality ($1k), social sharing functionality ($0.5k to $1.5k), and software development kits like Tapjoy, AdMob and Google Analytics ($50 to $200 monthly).
An app for iPhones only (including iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5C) would cost from $500 to $10k. Extending it to support the iPhone 6 and Plus would increase the cost by 25%, and support for iPads would be another 50%.
These costs are averages and the figures quoted vary from research article to research article. For example, the research team Clutch demonstrates that the median cost interval for a native mobile app is between $37k and $178k. Fueled claims that $150k is about what you should expect a mobile app to cost. Savvyy Apps states the interval is between $90k and $140k while a survey by AppMuse showed that simple apps start from $3k and the most complex ones (like an iPad version) cost up to $150k. Take into account that the average time to develop an app is 10 to 18 weeks. However, most mobile app leaders claim that producing a mobile app takes between 7 months and more than one year.
The final cost of your app will depend on many variables including marketing research; scope definition; design of the wireframes and visuals; the user experience; native features of the app; user log-on; cross-device synchronization; engaging users with emails, text messages, pushes and social media tools; geolocation features; enterprise software integration; data encryption; number of potential users; in-app payments; user controls; data storage; 3rd-party API integration; licensing; testing; CMS-based app management; and analytics. Remember that there are great companies who will charge fairly for a mobile app and that paying a big price won’t guarantee satisfaction on your side.
This is why cost calculators for mobile app are not efficient – each project is very individual and a lot depends on the abilities of your development team and your own engagement!
In spite of the differences in research findings, I hope you have an idea of how much it costs to build a mobile app.
Undoubtedly, hiring a full-time mobile app developer and a mobile app designer is the most convenient solution but in the short term, it has the highest costs. The average mobile developer’s salary in the US is about $100k, and a mobile app designer will cost you another $80k. On the other hand, if you truly want your mobile app to be a success, it’s a worthwhile investment in the long term. Once again, think about the many situations when you are faced by bug fixes, app crashes, version updates because of the new version of iOS, content updates, and design issues. Working with your own professionals will be less stressful and have the lowest communication ‘noise’, which is too common when working with mobile app development companies.
Source: Forrester Research
If developing a mobile app by yourself is too challenging, try a subscription-based service. There are different types of service to fit your needs: CRM services are provided by Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, and enterprise apps are offered by MobileFabric and SAP, which also develops popular ERP platforms that you might have seen before on your desktop. You can also try Publ.com (which offers a free 14-day trial ). With this service, you upload PDF files to a beautiful customized mobile app framework and it immediately transmits the document to all your app users. Check it out!
If you have a firm belief in your mobile app, you need to focus on the strategy rather than the initial cost.
What options would you choose? Perhaps, you have some questions about the different choices? Or some real-life experience? Please share!