How much does it actually cost to build a mobile app?

In our day to day lives, apps are everywhere; in fact, they’re so ubiquitous that we don’t even realise how much we are dependent on them, and take them for granted. Whether it’s booking a taxi or streaming movies, it’s today’s mobile apps that facilitate our endless whims and fancies!

As a business owner, you know the high level of demand that apps attract from consumers, and just how bustling the app development market has become, due to this. What’s more, you have an ingenious idea for a mobile app – and want to make it a reality. While getting started in itself is an intricate challenge to deal with, there’s another factor that greatly determines the outcome of your digital idea:

How much will my app cost me?

The answer is simple: it depends! Owing to the diversity of apps developed on a global scale, it is difficult to present a ballpark figure – even with several key details that help to narrow down your search. Before you start to build an app, it is only natural to think about how much it will cost you. In order to give you insight on how much this will set you back, we would like to suggest a tiny shift in your focus, and how you approach the aspect of cost when thinking about your app. You can instead ask yourself:

What is my business idea or concept?

  • What do I need to make my business idea or concept possible?

Asking these questions helps you see the big picture pertaining to your app. After all, your app is being built solely to execute your business idea/concept, and there will be much more involved than merely calculating costs. Remember that your app revolves around your business idea/concept – and not the other way round! Your business strategy will therefore involve both technical and non-technical components, in order to make it a success.

We aren’t straying too far from the question of how much your app should eventually cost. Considering all technical and non-technical components will in fact help you determine the grand total of how much you will need to financially invest in your app.


Technical components that affect the cost of app development

  1. Platform

Android or iOS? Perhaps another platform that you wish to have your app up for grabs too? The platform you choose to run your app on influences your price tag, no doubt. Along with that, the cost for initial publishing is also a factor, which depends from platform to platform. While publishing costs may not be a very important contributor to costing, it could be in the case of extremely low-budget developments.

  1. Back-end CMS and servers

Do you want your app to be accessible for manual updates, or refer to databases stored on a server? Arranging for these aspects is going to significantly affect app development costs. What’s more, higher the complexity of a CMS, higher will be the overall cost.

  1. Third-party integration and APIs

Are you going to be integrating any features from a third-party source, or embedding any APIs from mobile operating systems, into your app? This will cost you much more, but not as much as developing otherwise API-eligible features from scratch.

  1. Security

While highly important, the topic of security is highly underestimated when it comes to app development. Mobile devices are now more prone to infiltration than ever before, owing to deep-seated connectivity to the internet – and to other devices. With cyber attacks having gained much momentum during the past few years (and making businesses incur some of the biggest losses in corporate history), it’s wise to have security measures in check.

  1. Scalability

Is your app a one-time operation i.e. you see it functioning as it has been initially built, well ahead into the future? Or do you expect it to grow as your business expands, or your concept changes? If it is the latter, you need to leave room for expansion within your app, whether it’s through flexible coding or an easily customisable back-end.

6: Manpower

Last but not the least, who you hire, and where they are located, impacts the cost for building your dream app. Are they freelancers from a website, or an offshoring team? Is it a start-up, or an established tech company in your neighbourhood? Different entities will provide you with different quotes, for which you will need to think long and hard on what you can afford – and if it’s worth it.


Non-technical components that affect the cost of app development

  1. Customer and technical support

The initial product development stage of your app isn’t the only phase that takes away your pennies; long-term costs are associated long after the app has been released to the market. Depending on your business idea/concept, you will need to adapt customer and technical support that is specific to your app’s needs – this includes everything from extra software to overheads.

  1. Legal

Registering your newfound business isn’t just a daunting process – it can also consume large sums of money. Don’t forget taxes! With an established business comes obligation to your country’s laws, for which you will need to do prior research and leave some of your budget aside.

  1. Maintenance

Troubleshooting and security patches are part and parcel of any well-functioning app. If you want your app to be at its peak, you need to ensure that ongoing maintenance forms to be a crucial part of your business idea/concept – which will also periodically cost you money.

  1. Marketing

While you can do all the hard work in devising a stellar business strategy and developing a star-class product, doing the needful to spread the word is what’s going to raise awareness amongst consumers. Whether it’s an advertising campaign or a promotion, setting aside a budget specifically for marketing is essential, in order to give your brand some leverage.


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