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Amanda Harvey

How much should you pay to develop an app?

How much should you pay to develop an app?

Whether walking down the street, enjoying lunch on a patio or spending time with friends and family, it’s become commonplace to see everyone around you glued to their smartphone. It can’t be denied that smartphones are everywhere now, and as a result, apps have significantly grown in popularity over the last 5 years.

Individuals are turning to apps for a variety of problems, including weight loss and health, fixing sleep patterns, exploring meditation, finding jobs and renovation contractors.

Of course, developing an app is an excellent way to solve a problem while reaching a wide audience. But how much does building an app actually cost? There are several factors to consider if you’re interested in the world of app development. So, if this is your line of work or you want to break into the world of app creation, keeping reading!

How much does it cost to build an app?


source: unspalsh

The base prices to develop an app

Type of mobile app Average price
App developped by a small agency (2-3 employees):  $50 000 to $100 000
App developped by a medium-sized agency: $150 000 to $450 000
App developped by a big company: $500 000$ to $1 000 000

Factors to consider when pricing app development

There are plenty of aspects to consider when working in app development. A great way to take the plunge is to start by examining the different aspects of development.

Although this may not lead to specific details about how much it cost to develop these apps, this is a good reference point to consider and estimate their costs. One of the most straightforward ways to think about the cost of app development is to follow the formula:

(features x time) x hourly rate = cost

The cost of app development in North America is the most expensive in the world, so do not expect to build an app on the cheap if you’re sourcing the work locally.

Costs will obviously vary as there are significant differences in pricing depending on if you are working with a freelancer, an offshore development team or an app agency. Further, the cost of building an app will depend on the expertise of the individuals or agency you are working with.

Most successful app development teams will include the following positions:

A designer: this individual will create all of the visual content that will be coded into your app.

An account manager: this individual will act as a go-between for clients, and should work directly with product managers, producers and otherwise to coordinate the completion of different tasks. You could easily take on this role, but without any experience with app development, it is not recommended.

A product manager: the product manager will be in charge of executing the functions of a director by overseeing the app building process.

Developers: obviously, the development role is exceptionally important, as they will know the ins and outs of optimizing products for the requirements of iPhone or Android.

Complexity is another major aspect informing the cost of the development. Apps without any server components or API integration can still be considered complex. However, price wise it is always going to come down to the specific features of the app. If you do not plan on having a server or API component, you can likely cut the numbers listed above in half.

How long will it take to develop an app?


source: unspalsh

As they say, Rome wasn’t build in a day! You can build an app in a day, yes, but it likely won’t outlast its development time. However, if you’re looking to produce a polished product, the development process is going to take much longer than a day.

Development time will ultimately come down to how many features as well as how complicated your app turns out to be. Another aspect of the time, as well as money, is who you choose to work with.

Large companies or agencies tend to adhere to a waterfall process, and this means that they will deliver your app specifications after farming out work to the lowest of bidders. This process will greatly depend on how quickly the agency accepts bids, as well as how these third parties perform work.

Working with a large agency or company to develop your app has a lot of perks, as their level of expertise is often greater than the smaller agencies. However, unless you’re looking to spend more than $500,000 from the get-go, it’s unlikely you’ll get your foot in the door.

In contrast, a medium sized shop or agency will use an agile process, going through the four major design and development stages themselves. These are the project kickoff, product design sprints, design and development sprints and the launch of the app itself.

The agile process can take anywhere from 13-20 weeks, whereas the aforementioned waterfall process could take anywhere from 7-30 weeks. One of the perks with mid-sized agencies is that they’ll work with you on future development and features, whereas bigger companies may leave you after the initial building process.

Smaller app development shops, such as agencies which employ 2-3 people, may take even longer to develop your app. This is because they will likely have limited resources.

In contrast and in some instances, working with a smaller agency may take less time and offer client to client benefits. Also, costs with smaller agencies will be significantly less, sometimes up to 60%.

As stated, development time will greatly affect the price you pay to develop the app, so be aware and opt for the best method for your brand.

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