How much does it cost to make an app in 2023?
The question of how much it costs to develop an application can’t be answered in a few words, as the total is calculated based on many factors. In this article, we will discuss what kinds of applications you can develop, look at developer hourly rates in different regions, see how the target industry can affect the cost of app development, and share some of our insights on calculations.
Types of applications
What associations come to your mind once you hear the word ‘app’? Probably, applications you’ve recently downloaded to your smartphone. But, actually, these represent just one kind of application — a mobile one. Should you be interested in knowing more about mobile app development services, click on the link. However, there are other types of apps, and their costs are affected by the technologies they are built with and the purpose of their creation. The following are their descriptions.
Android native app
Often, businesses start with developing just an Android or iOS version and complementing it with another platform later on. The reason is that developing for both native platforms in parallel requires hiring two dev teams, which can be a pretty costly choice for startups. All in case they don’t choose to develop a cross-platform app.
|Average cost of Android app development*|
*Costs in the Types of Applications section were calculated with the help of AI chatbot analysis of the Glassdoor, Payscale, and Upwork data
iOS native app
Another kind of application, specifically designed for Apple devices running on the iOS platform. These are available in the App Store. There are two native languages to choose from for building iOS apps — Objective-C and Swift. Developers can choose either one of them or use both in a single project.
Developing apps for the iOS operating system is a good choice for startups looking to make a mark in the mobile app industry. With its large and ever-growing user base, the iOS platform offers a great opportunity to reach a wide and solvent audience.
|Average cost of iOS app development|
A web app can be rendered for many devices or, if you have tight deadlines, companies go just for the mobile-first design. Anyway, it is a cost-effective way for a business to reach a wide audience. One of the well-known web applications is a well-known Google product — Google Docs, where the draft of this text was written.
|Average cost of web app development|
Desktop applications are software programs that run directly on computer devices, as opposed to web-based apps which require an internet browser to access. They function locally on a personal computer or laptop. Different programming languages and frameworks can be used to build a desktop application, for example, Java or Python.
To utilize it, a user needs to download a package and install a desktop app on the machine. Some examples of such apps are Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft products, and browsers.
|Average cost of desktop app development|
The concept implies that such an app most likely utilizes the same codebase for multiple platforms. A cross-platform application can be developed with frameworks like React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, and others.
At Ronas IT, we work with the React Native framework — its components are highly optimized for mobile devices, so the users of any platform get a full experience. The technology provides flexibility, with a large number of ready-to-use solutions and a reusable code, sharing the same logic as React.js, allowing you to use the same code for the frontend side of the product web version.
Cross-platform development is one of the most timely and cost-effective ways of building a digital product as well as providing more accessibility for users. Imagine building two platforms at once (see the costs above) and then, in addition, creating a web version of the product. Instead of separate development, you can utilize a single codebase for all platforms without even affecting user experience.
|Average cost of cross-platform app development|
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The cost of developing an application depending on the location
Once you’ve made up your mind on the type of application you want to build, check both the developer’s and designer’s hourly rates even if you’re planning to develop an app with an outsourcing company because it can give you an understanding of how much you’re going to spend on the project. Many software companies work under so-called time and material contracts, which means that the cost derives from the hours spent on developing the product. However, this approach should not make you think that you will have to overpay; you still can create an application so that its price will fit your budget.
A reasonable question would be if a designer’s work is necessary. And the answer is yes because there is a huge chance a user won’t download an app that doesn’t have a clear brand image and won’t keep it unless it provides a smooth experience.
The followings are the hourly rates of designers and developers and a precise cost for their work. Usually, a development process takes around two months while working on a design takes another month, and the costs in the table are calculated* according to these periods.
|per hour||2 months||per hour||1 month|
And you may wonder how the figures in this particular table correlate with the figures for the Android and iOS apps above. Well, building, let’s say, an application for the Android platform doesn’t include only the hourly rates of a single developer and a single designer. Depending on the complexity of a product, the team size changes and so does the cost. Add management resources, QA testing, data storage, domain purchase if one is needed, and other expenses, and you’ll get the final cost.
Cost to develop a mobile app MVP with Ronas IT
How we estimate the cost of a project
We provide our customers with an approximate estimation based on our experience first. The reason is it’s hard to tell the exact sum on the stage of conceptualization when you don’t know the number and complexity of features to develop. In a meeting with a client, our analyst clarifies the vision of a product to be built, and then we split the project into milestones.
After getting a clear understanding of what needs to be done, a client is provided with the second rough estimation of development and design. Once the design is completed, we inform a customer of a precise development cost.
Finally, when the work is done, we prepare a document that shows the total estimation. The calculation is based on the hours needed to develop both the client and server side of each functional model. A functional model is basically a feature in the app, e.g. ability to add photos to the profile. Such services as deployment and architecture design are also included in the cost.
Learn more about the methods of project estimation and our workflow in the article How to estimate the development of a website or an app.
How the price is calculated
The following is a demonstration of how we estimate a project for you to get a brief impression of what to expect when you decide to build your application with an outsourcing company. Even though the estimation below doesn’t relate to a particular case, costs are based on our real projects. Let’s have a look at the breakdown of the delivery app MVP.
Imagine building a simple delivery app for a fast-food restaurant. The scope of work is going to be split into four basic parts: UI/UX design, development, design management, and development management.
To estimate the time to build an app, let’s begin by describing its functionality in terms of core features. These features are further split into subtasks. Usually, the description of these milestones in app development is formulated by our managers from the user’s point of view, which makes it easier to imagine the outcomes of the project: I can add a product to the cart, I can view pictures of a dish, I can pay for the order, and so on. So, let’s see, what are the core features of a delivery app and what are the subtasks?
The search may include such actions as choosing categories, filtering items by cost, viewing a short description, adding and proceeding to the cart, and opening product cards. It may also include a promo display if needed. To design an interface like this, it may take 4–5 hours.Product card
An item card usually consists of a photo, a short description, and an opportunity to add the product to the cart and choose the number of meals. Its design takes around 5–6 hours.Shopping cart
Developing a cart is the least time-consuming design. Normally, its interface allows users to view the list of items, remove items or change their number, clear the cart, and proceed to payment. For us to build a UX/UI of the cart, it takes 3 hours on average.Order confirmation and payment
At this stage, a user should be able to fill in the info about the address and choose the time of delivery. Also, it is important to think of the method of payment, ways of order confirmation, and add an opportunity to pay in the app. Usually, it takes around 5 hours to design an interface for this step.Orders history
Once the order is placed, the information about the time and the content of the order. Some may want to add updates on the status of the order. It takes around 2 hours to design this screen.Support
The simplest screen displays the contact info of the support manager or an empty field for the message, and, as a rule, it takes an hour to design it.Promos
If a restaurant has special offers, promotions, and discounts to display, they can be placed on a separate screen. If the screen needs navigation such as clicking on the offer for more details or an opportunity to proceed to the product at a discount, then it may take around 4–5 hours to create its design.Project initialization
By this, we mean work that needs to be done to start the interface design, e.g. elaborating the UI kit may take around 3 hours, whereas working on a visual concept may take 10 hours.Development
Based on our experience of estimating building such applications with the features listed above, time to develop and deploy a food delivery application, including frontend and backend parts, must take around 300–350 hours. Should you need an admin panel, it may add 150–200 hours more to the development time.Management
When calculating the total, don’t forget about management, as it has its own price for keeping afloat the whole process.Total
Finally, here are the approximate costs for the hours of MVP design and development mentioned above. Note that this is a template of an app with just basic features, and if you’re planning to add more of them, it may cost more, too.
|UI/UX management||1 week||$320|
|App development management||8–9 weeks||$2,560–$2,880|
Want to know how much your project will cost? We will be happy to help!
Cost of development for different industries
Even though calculation may vary due to the complexity of an application, it is possible to calculate the approximate cost for different industries. Thus, we know that to build a taxi-hailing app we need an admin panel and paired apps for a driver and a rider, or we need a profile and messenger for social networks. Therefore, these are the lower threshold of costs for the different niches:
What expenses to expect if it’s your first project
For those who are looking forward to developing their first application, estimation might become a challenging task. However, there is an average cost that a startup founder may expect to spend on any type of app. Based on our experience and apps developed earlier, almost any type of app with all necessary features can be developed for $40,000–$45,000.
Check related articles on development costs featured in the blog:
The cost of developing an application depends on many factors, such as what type of application you wish to build, who is going to build it, and what features are required. There are also differences in development costs depending on the region which result in varying hourly rates among different countries and average development costs.
Even though most projects have an average development cost, there is still the need for a clearer understanding of the desired project and the complexity of the product. Contact us whenever you’re ready, and we’ll be happy to clarify your vision and estimate an approximate cost of your project.