Category: Blog, Business, Cost

How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App in 2024? New Cost Breakdown

Find out what budget you need for your app development. Our data is not trumped up but based on our 12 years of experience as a software house.

mobile app development cost in 2020 - how much does it cost to develop an app?

How much does it cost to develop an app? What budget do I need for mobile app development? – questions about the cost of developing an app are the most common ones we hear from our clients.

Are you starting to plan your app development but have no idea how much it will cost? Look no further!

Our 12 years of experience as a software house have given us a wealth of knowledge to help you understand the real budget you need for your app development.

This article will be an excellent resource for the founders.

In short, according to our 12 years of experience and market knowledge:

  • A basic app development cost ranges from $50,000 to $70,000
  • A medium-complexity app development cost ranges from $70,000 to $100,000
  • A complex app development cost is $100,000 and higher 

The above values refer to the cost of developing a native mobile application for 1 platform.

How much does it cost to develop an app?

Continue reading this article to understand where these numbers come from, what factors influence them, and how to reduce your mobile app development cost with our battle-tested practices.

If you want to know your app development cost more precisely, we can estimate it within 72 hours – fill out a short form here.

Soon we will publish an analogous article on how much it costs to make a cross-platform app using Flutter technology. This article focuses on native mobile app development costs.

See also: 7 Steps to Your Mobile App Development Cost Estimate

From simple to complex: The average cost to develop a mobile app

If you’re going to develop a mobile app for 2 platforms (Android and iOS), you need to have an app development budget closer to $100,000 as opposed to $10,000.

In our experience, the best way to talk about the cost of mobile app development is by thinking about it in terms of complexity.

And so, our classification is:

A basic mobile app costs $50,000 – $70,000 (1 platform, native)

By “basic app”, we mean an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) app:

  • having a clear vision on the set of simple features with elementary business logic,
  • consisting of up to 5 screens,
  • with basic UI without custom elements.

What’s more:

  • The development will take ~ 7-9 weeks assuming that you have 2 devs per platform.
  • These kinds of apps are usually built by start-ups looking for their market fit.

A medium-complexity app costs $50,000 – $100,000 (1 platform, native)

By “medium-complexity app”, we mean an app:

  • including a few complex features with intermediate business logic,
  • consisting of about 6-15 screens,
  • with some custom UI elements & animations,
  • with localization in up to two languages.

What’s more:

  • The development will take around ~ 2-3 months assuming that you have 2 devs per platform.

A complex app costs more than $100,000 (1 platform, native)

By “complex app”, we mean an app:

  • including many complex features with advanced business logic,
  • consisting of more than 15 screens,
  • with fully custom UI & advanced animations,
  • with a large-scale user base (multilingual),
  • that requires building a complicated architecture, multiple integrations, or need,
    to meet high-security demands.

What’s more:

  • The development will take ~ 4 months or more assuming that you have 2 devs per platform.

This rough estimate can serve as your starting point in answering the question “how much does it cost to develop an app?”.

Please note: When planning your budget, it’s important to consider the backend development and app design costs that are not included in the above estimation. You can deliver them by yourself, or outsource them to your app development partner. At Droids On Roids, we can take care of both aspects. Read also: What is backend in mobile app development and how to choose the best one for your project?

Let’s sum up:

App type App Cost (1 platform, native) Time
Basic app development $50,000 to $70,000 7-9 weeks
Medium-complexity app Development $70,000 to $100,000 2-3 months
Complex app development from $100,000 4+ months

That said, if you want to develop a NATIVE, medium-complexity mobile app for 2 platforms (iOS and Android), your development team will come from Eastern Europe, you can expect that it will cost around $140,000 – $200,000.

If you want to know your app development cost more precisely, we can estimate it within 72 hours – fill a short form here.

How do we estimate app development cost?

Above you saw the estimations, now we want to explain, where the numbers come from.

Work-day costs per specialist

Who Man-day
Native Developer $480 / €440
Designer $480 / €440
Business Analyst $480 / €440
Scrum Master $440 / €400
QA Engineer $480 / €440

How much the team works

  • The developers work full-time (8 hours per day, on average 21 days per month).
  • Developers log their working time and, on this basis, we issue an invoice to you every month.
  • The involvement of a Scrum Master depends on the complexity of the project. For very simple and short projects (about 2 weeks) a Scrum Master may not be needed. However, it is common for a Scrum Master to work part-time on most projects.
  • Similar to the Scrum Master, a Business Analyst may not be needed for short projects and may sometimes be on the client side. Typically, a Business Analyst is involved on a part-time basis, but for very complex and long projects, they may be needed full-time.
  • The monthly amount of payable hours of a QA Specialist depends on the complexity of your project.

If you wish to get a detailed estimation, please fill a short form here and we will get back to you.

Quality Assurance cost

Recommended for Amount of working time Monthly cost in € Monthly cost in $
Basic apps Quarter-time (0.25 FTE) 2200€ $2400
Medium-complexity apps Halt-time (0.5 FTE) 4840€ $5280
Complex apps Full-time (1.0 FTE) 9240€ $10080

Real-world app development costs: Examples by app type

To give you an idea, here are a few popular apps together with their funding levels to help you understand how much money is required to come up with similar applications:

  • Uber received $200 million in seed funding for implementing their idea that eventually revolutionized the transportation sector.
  • Tinder, the most popular dating application, raised $485,000 in seed funding back in 2012.
  • The social media tool Snapchat raised $485,000 in 2012. Note: the application received total funding of over $3 billion.
  • The photo-sharing application Instagram received $500,000 in seed funding to allow its further development.
  • Ryanair-like mobile app – around $436,800. Check out the more detailed estimation in the article: how to create an airline app like Ryanair.

Below, we present you a few examples of mobile app development cost based on projects we’ve developed in the last few years. 

As you can see, QA and SM hours logged are not always exactly of developers’ work – it is because every project is different, unique, and has its own specification.

Example: Mobile commerce app development | iOS and Android

Mobile commerce app development for an international retail company. MVP estimation.

MONEY SPENT
UX/UI Design $8925
Android app $79 560
iOS app $66 810
QA $47 404
SM $22 580
Technical tasks $21 272
SUM $247 006
TEAM SETUP 3 Android Developers, 3 iOS Developers, 1 QA, 1Scrum Master, 1 UX/UI Designer
TIME ~ 4 months

Main features: browsing products, products filtering and sorting, cart, wishlist, finding the nearest store, checking product availability, product reservation, delivery to a chosen shop, barcode scanning, personalized product recommendations; adding loyalty cards to the app;

Technical tasks – this tab contains the cost of all technical aspects (without direct business value) like networking layer setup, Github setup, deep links configuration, or static code analysis.

Please note: we assume that the backend is provided and developed outside.

Example: Fintech app development cost | Android

A personal finance app offering loans. App development budget in this case:

MONEY SPENT
UX/UI Design $6120
Android app $80 070
QA $12 388
SM $11 687
SUM $110 265
TEAM SETUP 2 iOS Developers, 1 UX/UI Designer, 1 QA Engineer, 1 Scrum Master
TIME ~ 6 months

Main features: integration with a third-party platform that enables users to link with their bank account; providing pay advances, and emergency loans; sign in with email/phone number/passcode; providing loans; notifications on status change; integration with Firebase – Performance Monitoring SDK;

Read also: 8 Key IoT Security Challenges and Proven Solutions from the Field

Example: Game & education app development cost | iOS

App measuring people’s behavior through attractive games.

MONEY SPENT
iOS app $106 845
QA $14 258
SM $13 791
SUM $134 894
TEAM SETUP 2 iOS Developers, 1 UX/UI Designer, 1 QA, 1 SM
TIME ~ 7-8 months

Main features: integration with financial institutions, implementation of dozen games with visually attractive animations

Example: MedTech app development cost | Android and iOS

App helping patients to come back to health through adjusting and monitoring health parameters. App development budget in this case:

MONEY SPENT
UX/UI Design $17 595
Android app $102 765
iOS app $78 795
QA $26 413
SM $27 348
SUM $252 916
TEAM SETUP 2 iOS Developers, 2 Android Developers, 1 UX/UI Designer, 1 QA, 1 SM
TIME ~ 8 months

Main features: adjusting & saving health parameters, prescription list view, pediatric mode, contact a doctor via email, adding events to the calendar, notifications, QR code scanning, photo library, notes

Example: Uber-like app development cost | iOS and Android

You need to develop an app for drivers, an app for customers, an admin panel, and a backend.

The whole process of designing and developing an app like Uber will cost you ~ $380 000 – $530 000  (for iOS and Android), and take ~ 5 – 7 months (MVP version).

To understand where these numbers come from and what assumptions we took, read our guide: How to Develop an App like Uber and How Much Does It Cost? 

Factors that affect mobile app development cost

It’s clear that app complexity and the number of features are significant factors that affect the final price of mobile app development. But they’re far from the only ones. Let’s take a closer look at the key factors that affect the cost of building a mobile app.

Factors influencing mobile app development cost

Factors that affect mobile app development cost

App features and their complexity

The number and complexity of features you’re planning to implement in your app will be the most significant cost driver in app development. We’re talking about the amount of business logic required to be translated into the software, the number of screens, buttons, and other elements like in-app purchases that require third-party integrations.

While implementing some features is relatively straightforward, others might be more challenging. Depending on their complexity, the development team might use ready-made solutions or write code from scratch.

Here are a few examples of app features you may need to include in your application and how they affect the final price of building your app.

User engagement features

Such features are authorization, networking, notifications, and others. Even a user authorization feature can come in many varieties that can be simple or more complex.

  • Adding functionalities such as storing passwords, password recovery, attractive visual design, or logging through social networks will increase the cost of your app.
  • Features such as push notifications, social sharing, or commenting and liking content via social media profiles will require some extra costs too.
  • Note that they often demand integration with third-party libraries and frameworks.

In-app purchases

This range of features has to do with the ways users can purchase things in your app. Credit cards, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and PayPal are all popular forms of payment within apps. Every payment processing method will demand extra time for implementation and increase the cost of development.

Location-based services

If you want to implement innovative technologies such as geo-fencing or beacons, building such features is often time-consuming and expensive. Also, you will have to find a development team that has the right expertise on board to provide you with such services, and that might cost you time as well. Ultimately, integrating any of the more advanced location-based services will also drive up the cost of your app.

Device features

Just a few years ago, software that took advantage of device features could only use things like dialing, camera, or location information. Today, developers can integrate many other things such as near communication field (NFC) chips, payment systems, and newly emergent device features.

Note: To create an app that can access mobile device features, developers need to use platform-specific APIs. New features will require introducing new APIs in which development teams might have less experience. That’s why the development time may increase and, as a result, affect the total cost of building your app.

The geographic location of a development team (cost of app development by region)

So how much does it cost to develop an app depending on where you’re planning to hire? Here is a breakdown of the average hourly rates of development team members in different regions of the world (source: 2023 Report by Accelerance):

Cost of app development by region

Cost of app development by region

The price of mobile app development will vary a lot depending on where you hire your development team. Naturally, in countries such as the UK, the United States, and Australia, the hourly rates of software developers much much higher than in locations such as India, China, or Eastern European countries like Poland that are becoming popular outsourcing destinations.

Is hiring a local team a good idea?

The team you hire for the job will have a huge impact on the final cost of development. The only serious advantage of developing an app locally is the fact that the team is located close to you physically, which might simplify communication and boost your chances of success.

It’s easier to explain the particular requirements of your product face-to-face, hold regular meetings, and meet the team in-person before paying a lot of money to build your solution. Local development teams may come with greater involvement in the project.

So, what is the key drawback of hiring a local development team? Most of the time, it’s going to be more expensive, and the talent pool you’ll be choosing from will be limited.

Here’s why outsourcing is a smart move

The popularity of outsourcing software development means that outsourcing providers are well-prepared to handle such collaborations.

  • Videoconferencing and instant-messaging tools make it so much easier to communicate with an overseas team.
  • Moreover, experienced providers make sure that the remote team has all the tools it needs and follows the best industry practices for a smooth development process.
  • Foreign developers may come with a higher level of expertise at a reasonable cost. They can perform a lot better in comparison to the local ones.

Just think about it this way: If you want to hire a development team locally, your choice is very limited. But if you consider outsourcing, you can choose from any country in the world. For example, you can even hire a team that works while you’re asleep so that every day you wake up and see the results of their work.

The undeniable advantages of outsourcing development are:

  • access to a huge talent pool,
  • high level of expertise available,
  • greater balance of talent and cost,
  • full flexibility.

The most serious drawbacks of outsourcing are:

  • time zone challenges,
  • communication, and project management issues,
  • less personal control over the project.

Still not sure? Here are three guides to help you prepare for an outsourcing collaboration:

The growing popularity of nearshoring and offshoring indicates that more and more companies are willing to make their app development cost-effective and take advantage of foreign talent.

Team setup

Your app development cost will depend also on team structure. The team’s size should be adjusted according to your needs.

A typical development team consists of:

  • 1 Product Owner (from your side),
  • 1 Scrum Master,
  • 1 Quality Assurance Engineer,
  • 2 Android developers,
  • 2 iOS developers,
  • 1 Business Analyst (optional),
  • 1 UX/ UI Designer (optional).

You are the one to make a decision, who will work on your project.

Agile Roles and Responsibilities – From Theory to Practice

When it comes to Business Analyst, this is an optional team member. You decide if your project needs a Business Analyst’s support. BA helps you define high-quality business requirements to ensure the development team is aligned with the Product Owner’s vision.

In particular, Business Analyst:

  • explains your business needs and problem context to the development team
  • translates technical constraints to the business
  • takes care of backlog management from the business value perspective, along with identifying dependencies, priorities, and blockers
  • documents complex areas of the project scope using an integrated set of analysis and modeling techniques, such as user stories, use cases, and other business analysis deliverables.
  • is responsible for change request management
  • manages and prioritizes the requirements of various stakeholders

Another factor important in analyzing app development cost breakdown is on how many platforms and on which platforms your product needs to operate.

Number of platforms

Another choice that will affect the price of building your app is whether you want it to work on one or multiple platforms.

When making your decision, take into account factors like the market share of iOS and Android devices, device fragmentation, and prevalence, as well as the specificity of developing for each of these platforms. Android application development and iOS application development need different programming languages with different SDKs and tools.

If you’re developing an app for a single platform, you won’t see a significant price discrepancy between Android and iOS. However, if you want your application to support two or more platforms, the cost of development will increase.

Native or cross-platform app development

If you want to develop a mobile app for both platforms – iOS and Android, it is worth considering if you want your app to be developed with Kotlin Multiplatform, Flutter or with other cross-platform solutions. It can reduce your app development cost and shorten its time-to-market.

App maintenance cost

This point is something many prospective app owners forget about. We tend to think that app development costs run only until the solution is ready. This is not true.

Consumer and market trends are constantly changing, and your product needs to address these changes to stay competitive (not adapting to market changes is one of the most common mistakes in mobile app development). That’s why maintenance and updating are such important aspects of app development process – and they’re also a factor in its costs.

In many cases, the cost of app maintenance may account for a significant chunk of the original price of development (around 15% – 20%). Its price depends on the projected duration and the number of hours required for proper support.

Maintenance is a critical service even if you’re not planning to scale up your app or add new features anytime soon.

What exactly do you get in maintenance service? Services such as code optimization, improving stability and performance of your app, adding support for the latest operating system versions, developing new features, bug fixing, and supporting the latest version. 

App development is just a start. The fun begins when you gather feedback from first users, adapt your product to the market needs, and prepare the solution for a larger scale. That’s why it’s best to continue working with a development team even after your product has been completed. Software development is a continuous process, and companies like Droids On Roids offer post-release support.

Wojciech Szwajkiewicz - CEO and President of Droids On Roids

Wojtek
CEO at Droids On Roids

How to reduce the costs of app development

Fortunately, business owners can reduce the costs of developing mobile applications by following a few industry practices and applying some smart tricks.

How to reduce mobile app development costs?

How to reduce mobile app development costs?

Prioritize features early on

You need to prioritize your app features correctly before beginning their development. Just because you’re not able to build a complete software solution right now, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your dream.

It’s smarter to prioritize the functionalities of your app to start driving business value as quickly as possible. This also helps to create an accurate software project estimation.

Save the nice-to-have elements for the later stages of development and add them to your backlog. By starting your project with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), you get to build a successful product without investing a lot of money into a high-risk project.

The world of IT is constantly changing and investing in a large system with a full range of functionalities doesn’t make sense. Smart business owners build digital products incrementally and keep a close eye on market trends.

Want to learn more about MVP development? We prepared these handy guides:

Involve Quality Assurance (QA) early on

Since bugs and errors may accumulate already during the mobile app design phase, you need to address them as soon as possible otherwise you risk that they spread out throughout your entire project.

By involving QA professionals right from the start, you will identify serious problems before the development phase begins. As a result, you will save up on redesign costs that might become very high in the middle of your project.

Plan for the future

Remember that the costs of building mobile apps extend beyond the development and release phases. A complete application will still generate expenses.

The app you develop today might look completely different in the future. For example, if you release an MVP, you might get customer feedback that inspires you to change some features. Your target market might evolve in a completely new direction, forcing you to change your product as well.

That’s why it’s smart to be mindful of short-term and long-term goals in developing software. It will save you plenty of money down the road.”

Wojciech Szwajkiewicz - CEO and President of Droids On Roids

Wojtek
CEO at Droids On Roids

Hire an outsourced development team

Outsourcing software development will bring you plenty of cost savings throughout the project. You won’t have to invest in the high salaries and overhead costs that come with hiring developers in-house.

There’s no need to pay salaries, taxes, perks, software, hardware, workspace, and many other costs. By outsourcing app development, you can employ teams from all over the world and take advantage of their cost-effective services that often come with high quality.

Check out how to choose the best mobile app development company for your project.

Consider cross-platform development

Cross-platform applications are designed to operate across multiple platforms – one codebase can be used for both iOS and Android applications, eliminating the need to build separate versions for each. This can save a significant amount of development time and effort!

What’s more, cross-platform development can be cost-effective since you don’t need to hire separate teams for each platform. With a single team working on a single codebase, you can save on development costs and reduce the time and effort required to manage multiple teams.

There are several popular cross-platform frameworks, such as  Flutter, React Native, and Xamarin.

Is the cost of mobile app development worth it?

  • According to “State of Mobile” report for 2022, the mobile app market is projected to continue its exponential growth, with consumers spending over $300 billion on app stores and in-app purchases by 2023 [1].
  • A recent study by Statista found that mobile apps accounted for over 90% of internet time spent on smartphones [2].
  • A survey by Clutch.co found that 62% of small businesses currently have a mobile app, and those without one are planning to invest in one in the near future [3].

Investing in a mobile application can provide a business with many benefits, such as increased customer engagement and loyalty, improved brand recognition, and increased revenue potential. By considering the current trends in the mobile app market and the benefits of investing in a mobile application, it becomes clear that such an investment would be a wise decision.

Mobile app development costs – conclusion

We hope this article helps you to understand what factors affect the total price of your app development, and you already know the answer to question: How much does it cost to make an app?

By following the tips above, you’ll be able to lower these costs, and ensure that your digital product is developed in line with the global tech standards.

If you’re looking for a skilled mobile development team, get in touch with us. We have delivered a number of projects for clients from all over the world operating across different industries.

We can provide you with expert advice on how to reduce software development costs at each stage of your project. Our experts know how to make the most of the existing technologies to speed up native mobile development and ensure fast time-to-market so that your product starts generating value as quickly as possible.

About the author

Agnieszka Mroczkowska

Agnieszka Mroczkowska

Content Marketing Manager

As a Content Marketing Manager with a deep dive into the tech world, Agnieszka brings over 6 years of experience in the IT industry. She excels at transforming complex app development topics into engaging reads, collaborating with our brilliant Developers, Business Analysts, Scrum Masters, Designers, and more to uncover insights. When not immersed in tech, Aga enjoys outdoor adventures and Lindy Hop dancing.