How Much Does Mobile App Development Cost?
As a mobile app development agency, we have worked with numerous clients and have witnessed firsthand the intricacies and nuances of app development. Are you shopping around for preliminary prices for your mobile app development project? Let’s guess, you’ve just scrolled through several articles that tell you ‘there’s no way to put an exact price on app development’.
Or maybe you’ve received quotes in the range of £20k–£200k. Cost is one of the first questions clients ask mobile app developers. So, why is it so hard to pin down a cost for your project before launching in? We’re going to explain exactly that.
Mobile App Development Cost Estimates
Here are price ranges for the average cost of mobile app development other websites provide.
Business of Apps estimates the following numbers for the current cost of mobile app development
Simple app development: $16,000–$32,000
Medium complexity app development: $32,000–$48,000
Complex app development: $72,000+
Cost of hiring a US app developer: ~$105,000 per year
A Clutch survey found that initial costs range from $5,000 to $10,000 in the discovery phase, with total costs averaging at $171,450.
GoodFirms estimates mobile app development costs to range in these numbers
A basic complexity app: $40,000 to $60,000
A medium complexity app between $61,000 to $69,000
A feature-rich app between $70,000 to $100,000
So why do these price ranges vary so much? And why are they ranges at all rather than specific numbers?
What influences the cost of your mobile app development project?
The truth is there’s no way to put a number on mobile app development because there’s so much variation in how they’re made. No two projects are the same, and even if you’re creating an app with out-of-the-box elements, business objectives, branding, and maintenance vary wildly. Here are the main factors that impact your mobile phone app development cost.
Who develops the app?
Starting from square one, who is going to build your app? The rates you pay and the format of the relationship have an effect on how much or little you pay. There are generally three options.
Some business owners might consider turning to low-code and no-code mobile app solutions in a bid to create their own app without the necessary developer skillset. While we support the use of these very basic apps, they’re generally only suitable for testing and prototyping apps for market research. Apps must be properly coded to ensure they are robust and commercially viable.
Functionality and Objectives
It may sound obvious, but your mobile app development cost estimate depends on what you want to achieve in your app uniquely. Here are some questions to consider.
How complicated is the app? Will it need to perform bespoke actions, or are out-of-the-box processes sufficient? Building bespoke functionality takes labour hours and also expertise.
How unique is the design? Will the developer need to build unusual styling, animations, and pathways into the app?
Does the app need to be scalable and have extra-tight security? What are the important features that need to support your greater business objectives?
The more complex and bespoke an app, the more development time needs to be taken, and the more specialised skills are required, so your quote will reflect this.
Cross-platform or Native?
One of the most impactful factors on the cost of a mobile app is whether it is cross-platform or native. Cross-platform apps are built to be deployable to both iOS and Android operating systems, exposing them to the widest range of potential users. Native apps are built specifically for one operating system alone.
We always recommend cross-platform mobile app development as it means the project will have significantly shorter lead times, and this will keep costs low. Cross-platform apps also enable our clients to benefit from the largest pool of potential brand exposure.
One of the reasons React Native is favoured as a programming language is its ability to create natively-rendered apps along a single codebase. This means we only need to create one app to be usable on iOS and Android.
However, there are some instances when native apps are preferable. In cases where an app needs to perform exceptionally demanding tasks, have extra tight security, or perform faster, we’d consider creating native apps that can take full advantage of the hardware of the devices they’re used on. This means building the same app twice (once for iOS and once for Android), so naturally, the cost will increase, and both apps will need to be managed going forward.
The mobile app development tech stack used has a significant impact on the cost of your project. We've written an article on The Best Tech Stack for Mobile App Development. Different tools and software used to create a mobile app are chosen based on the needs of the project, and these can incur costs in a range of ways, including
The complexity of the mobile app framework or language and the skills needed to use it. Is it an advanced tool that is better suited to a senior developer’s time?
Is it a tool that results in a slower build process? For example, some tools like Python are slow to learn and use (and also produce a less reactive app in the end, which is why we don’t like using it).
There are also possible third-party costs associated with using the mobile app languages and frameworks. For example, is there a licence fee that you need to absorb? Is the tech stack reliant on any third-party plugins that come at a price?
When developers complete the build of your app and launch it, we don’t just shake your hand and wish you the best of luck. Apps need ongoing care and support to keep them in good working order and responsive to change. All apps need a maintenance plan, but not all maintenance plans are made equal.
Things that are covered by your maintenance plan can be
New features and enhancements
Performance monitoring and updates
Depending on how your app is built the nature and frequency of these activities can vary wildly. Look for an agency that offers flexible maintenance packages to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.
Take a look at Myth’s flexible support packages. Our maintenance service comes with access to the Myth Client Hub, a bespoke client portal we built especially to make it easy for clients to control their projects and support hours.
Why we don’t have a mobile app development price list
Any mobile app developer that provides you with a pricelist for mobile app projects should be treated with suspicion. There’s no way to know how much a mobile app will cost to develop without having a detailed understanding of your desires and objectives.
A trustworthy mobile app development company will take time to find out about your business and what you have in mind. We also want to know about your budget limitations because this will help us understand how we can meet your needs and maximise output for you.
We can provide a quote after a discovery session to gather the necessary information.
How we work with your budget for mobile app development
We wish we could give you a magic number to make it that bit easier to take a step towards kicking off your mobile app development project, but we’d be doing you a disservice if we did. What we can promise is this:
1. We offer a blended rate, meaning we won’t charge you more or less depending on who in our team works on your project. Senior and junior developers work together in our team to produce the best result we can for you. Our rate is based on our output as a team whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
2. We price transparently following our discovery session. We won’t string you along with multiple meetings and request all sorts of information. We lead our discovery sessions to collect everything we need. Our price is fully transparent, and we’ll provide you with as much information as you need to understand your quote.
3. Once we provide you with a quote, we stick to it. There are no hidden costs, and we never go back on any part of our costing. We’re confident in how your project will pan out, and we’re happy to sink the costs in the unlikely event that any hurdles come our way. Unless, of course, you add features, which at that stage, we would all agree on any additional fees before any work is done.
“By discussing the project in depth with clients, taking time to understand both the commercial objectives and technical requirements means we are confident in the price we provide. By giving a reliable quote, the team can consider their options more accurately in line with budget availability etc. We understand that software development is an investment, and to take the leap, the team should be as informed as possible.”
Jen McCullough, Business Development Manager at Myth Digital
If you want to hear more about our approach and insights into mobile app development for start-ups and transforming businesses, read our articles.
Start a project with us
If you want a quote for your mobile app project that’s clear, easy to understand, and completely transparent, book a discovery session with us.