Skip links

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App in 2018?

It’s a bit of a vague question to ask “how much does it cost to make an app?”

You may as well ask “how much does a house cost?” Do you want a small apartment? Or maybe a mansion? They don’t necessarily cost the same you know… The apps are similar as they also come in many categories, shapes, and sizes. Depending on what kind of app you need, the cost of making an app can change dramatically. The cost can range anywhere from a few thousand bucks to hundreds of grands. That’s because the development involves many factors:

  • Will your app need administration and support?
  • What features will it have?
  • How much planning and design will it take?
  • What about tests?
  • Will the app require an investment in infrastructure like servers?

Hiccups and delays are part and parcel of app development. Usually, they end up increasing the development cost associated with an app.

The tools of the trade change and improve with time. In last few years, hybrid development platforms decreased the costs of app development. This has made it more affordable for small businesses to create apps. With the next step, app builder platforms have made it possible to create apps in minutes without any coding. So the apps can be even cheaper today.

Let’s have a look at the factors that affect the cost of making an app to better understand the problem.

A Matter of Methodology…

The two main approaches to software development are “waterfall” and “agile” development.

Waterfall method is often seen as a bit archaic nowadays. It does though, have its merits. It arguably fits large projects with multiple and/or big teams a bit better.

how much does it cost to make an app
Planning is an important part of software development process. But will you do it on the go, or in advance?

The waterfall involves making a detailed plan beforehand. It aims planning and estimating every step, process, how much time and resources will they need etc. Planning certainly has a lot of merits. You may identify potential issues early on during analysis phase. Therefore, we can argue that waterfall method works better in large and complex projects involving big teams. Though such intricate design and planning take considerable time. Moreover, it is often unrealistic to try and accurately foresee the whole development.

The agile, however, is quite a lot more dynamic. It usually involves closely knit teams where developers design and plan on the go. The work is split into short sprints. You plan for the features to develop in the sprint and finish them in that sprint. This allows agile approaches to be much more flexible and adaptable. Surprises, unforeseen issues, feature requests etc. can seriously jeopardize planning and deadlines in the waterfall methodology. Agile can adapt and go along much better.

How to Create an App? Develop in-house or outsource it?

As with all things, both options have advantages and disadvantages. Having an in-house development team is better from a certain point of view. Communication can be seamless, and you can have things tailored exactly the way you like. The team will be more likely to understand the business case exactly. However, it is also the more expensive option by a considerable margin. Setting up a development team and paying them is not cheap by any means.

This is the reason why most companies turn to companies which develop mobile apps. Though, there are challenges in working with external teams as well. It is not uncommon to ask for one thing and receive whole another thing when the development ends. Revisions take time, and time costs money.

Depending on what kind of an app do you need? What kind of developers will you work with? According to these, choosing in-house or outsource will have a huge impact on our big question: How much does it cost to make an app?

Ask Questions, Be Inquisitive

how much does it cost to make an app
Pictured: your costs for creating an app if you don’t work with the right people. In this case, the answer to “how much does it cost to make an app” is “sky is the limit”.

You have to make sure the development company is not trying to take advantage of you. Just going up and asking the sales guy “how much does it cost to make an app” won’t cut it. You need to research the general cost of creating an app before you wade into the murky waters. If you are going to sign a contract with a firm, ask them a few things:

  • How long will it take to create the app?
  • What apps did you create before?
  • How much do you usually charge for an app?
  • How do you calculate that cost?
  • Who are the people that will work on it?
  • Will my app be native or hybrid?
  • What can I do to reduce the cost?

Now you can better understand and plan the features you want as they fit in with your budget. You should also ask about whether you will have upkeep costs such as servers or not. Will there be extra costs for deploying the app to the stores and/or for other means of releasing it?

If you get vague answers, and not allowed to talk to specific team members, you might want to look elsewhere.

Type of Fees: Fixed Cost or Hourly Rates

There are two main approaches for determining the cost of software development. These are fixed cost and developer hours.

Usually, the pay system depends on the development methodology. Though, it is not necessarily so everytime.

The agile approach tends to favor labor or time-based payment approach. Therefore the developers calculate the cost by how much effort or time they need to develop the feature requested. You should make sure that you thoroughly understand how developers track and calculate this. Otherwise how much does it cost to make an app and how much you think it would, can be wildly different…

Waterfall processes, on the other hand, are more inclined towards fixed fees. That is because they plan everything in advance. With this approach, the cost of developing an app is agreed upon during design and analysis phase.

how much does it cost to make an app
How much does making app cost? Well, here goes the hourly costs in 2017 for USA and Canada.
Source: Statista.com

Developers come in many shapes and classes:

  • Your team?
  • A development firm?
  • Freelancers?
  • A team of young graduates?
  • A senior veteran of the industry?

The prices of these different types of developers can vary A LOT. However, choosing the cheaper option may not always yield a lesser cost. If the cheaper option proves to be not up to the task, the development will get protracted. So it will cost you time and money.

So, in Summary?

Hourly or labor based price can cost higher. Although it can also yield higher quality, as it motivates the developers to work with enthusiasm. Fixed cost, on the other hand, can cause them to rush things so they can meet deadlines. Another thing about the fixed cost is, that often it just isn’t… Especially when combined with the waterfall approach. Requirements can change and surprises happen. When you need to steer the project to a different course, your “fixed” price will not be fixed anymore.

In the end, you will have to settle for the method that fits better with your project. However, some development firms may be stiff about their pricing methods. Therefore, they may want to be the ones who pick the payment methods. Which method you end up with greatly impacts the answer to our question. The question of “how much does it cost to make an app”.

Do The Costs End After They Create an App? Should I Prepare for Even More?

The journey of your app does not end with its release on the app stores. Not nearly so. Once you release it, the question of “how much does it cost to make an app” evolves into “how much does it cost to update an app”. You will need to keep maintaining the app constantly. Therefore, you need to know the price your developers will ask for this process as well.

how much does it cost to make an app
Time is money. Make sure you can track that the development time is well spent. With a mismanaged development process, the answer to “how much does it cost to make an app” can be “Infinite…”

If you are considering to contract with a software company, ask them if they provide you with a tracking software. This way you can see the efforts being put into the tasks and the progress as the project goes. Such transparency will both ease your mind and make it easier when you have to change the way things go.

Regardless, consider the possibility that the project will end up going over budget. It often does. So you better spare a bit more money than what you agree with your developers.

Whoa… isn’t There a Cheaper Way? Yes There is: App Maker Platforms

Are you about to faint? Well, don’t just yet! These costs and variables apply to when you opt for creating an app from scratch.

There are very easy and cheap options for creating an app in 2018!

Consider the website business many years ago. You needed to contact web developers and go through a similar process. But nowadays there are many DIY platforms that can give you “what you see is what you get” results. You don’t need any technical knowledge to use them. The results look professional and work that way too. You can reduce the costs to the ground with this option. Not only that, you can make great looking sites easily and just the way you want them to be. On your own, without expensive developers…

App makers bring the same liberation to the world of mobile apps. Thanks to such platforms, small businesses with tight budgets can have high-quality apps.

Why are the DIY App Makers Cheaper?

App makers save you from the need of building apps from the ground up. No need to create the infrastructure, draft design templates, starter kits, or to do intricate planning. The platform takes care of these for you. A wide range of design templates takes the burden of UI development out of the equation. Modules built with solid code give you all the functionality you need. So we ensure a bug-free app for you.

The worry of your wishes getting lost in conversation goes away too. Asking a development firm for X but receiving Y is not an uncommon occurrence. But with an app maker platform like MobiRoller, you ARE the developer. You see what you are doing, without needing to know any coding mumbo-jumbo. We add new modules to the platform constantly. Therefore, you will be able to update and refresh your app with new functionality.

In Summary – how much does it cost to make an app?

How much does it cost to make an app? Probably significantly more than what you think. However, using the right products, it may cost much less too.

If we are talking about coding an app from ground-up, you need to think of ten thousands of dollars. Depending on the project and the developers, you may even wade well into six digits. These are considerable costs for any entity. Moreso if you own a small business or a startup. And it doesn’t end with creating an app, nor does it stop with maintaining it. You will need to consider marketing your app. There are considerable costs associated with each and every step.

How much does it cost to make an app
How much does it cost to make an app? With MobiRoller, not much at all!

Although, most businesses don’t even need custom apps. An app maker solution can help you with creating an app easily and cheaply. MobiRoller is a great example of a modern app maker. Its easy to understand user interface give you a great user experience. The multiple options it offers will fit any requirement or budget. Even including a free one. The business packet is the top option and it costs $39.5. This cost is pretty much nothing compared to even the cheapest of custom development offers.

From the simples to complex, MobiRoller is your one-stop solution for creating an app. Android and/or iPhone, doesn’t matter. Therefore, you won’t need to hire development agencies.

With the cost of app creation reduced so much, you can allocate your resources to what really matters. Like marketing it, providing more often and higher quality content etc. Or, you know, you may use it grow your business instead!

You can register your MobiRoller account if you like, and create your mobile app literally in minutes. It is free to register and to create an app.

Leave a comment