If you own an established company or are just thinking about creating one from the ground up, chances are that the thought of building your own mobile app has crossed your mind. While web development has become a relatively common service that most business and startup owners are familiar with, the same cannot be said about app development. To help you navigate this critical market segment, we have taken it upon us to research how much it really costs to build a mobile app from scratch.
The Low-Cost Option
If you are a sole-proprietor on a tight budget, your first choice for mobile app development will likely be an independent freelancer. These days, it’s possible to find decent developers who will work for $50 per hour. And if you are willing to hire someone who is not based in the United States, that figure could be considerably lower.
Of course, any low-cost option isn’t without its downsides. For starters, the absence of a project manager means that coordinating efforts of multiple people (for example, your main developer and two designers) could turn out to be very time-consuming.
What’s more, freelancers will seldom help you nurture your vision and work together to create a cohesive app. You will have to know precisely what you want and be able to communicate your ideas to others.
But even with these downsides, hiring a freelancer could be the best course of action for small projects. You will be able to find plenty of talented developers on sites like upwork or toptal.
The High-Quality Option
There’s only so much that even the best freelancers can do. The development of larger applications necessitates a well-organized team of talented individuals, including a designer, account manager, and product manager, among many others.
Ken Yarmosh, the Founder & CEO of Savvy Apps, said back in 2010 that everybody who has more than $10,000 should consider working with a professional or agency. Things have changed since then, and modern apps are more complex than ever. Consequently, simplest apps start around $25,000 and more complex apps can push up over $1,000,000.
These numbers reflect how much enterprises are actually spending on app development. According to the Enterprise Mobility Exchange, 29.1 percent of respondents had a budget of $250,000–$500,000, followed by 25.3% who had over $1.5 million.
Software companies who work mostly with medium-sized clients say that their typical budgets are somewhere between $100,000 and $300,000. And applications with backend services can eat up as much as $500,000 in no time. What’s more, none of these numbers include a budget for Android, which is known for being much more expensive.
At bromin7, we see most of our startup projects fall somewhere between $70,000 and $250,000, depending on the complexity of the app. Medium-sized and Enterprise apps typically run at higher cost and fall under a web app category.
Probably the fastest way how you can get a somewhat accurate idea about the price of your app is to use mobile app cost calculators offered by several mobile app and platform companies.
A simple iOS app that lets users scan QR codes with a camera and share the results with friends on social media networks would cost almost $6,000, according to Otreva calculator. A more involved navigation for iOS and Android, with social login, navigation, GPS support, and dashboard would require more than $100,000, if we were to trust the estimation given by theimason calculator. The TCO Calculator by Kony provides us with our last example. The estimated price for an all-inclusive application for all major mobile platforms was well over $400,000.
It should go without saying that app development is not a one-time expense. Instead, it’s an ongoing process that will require future investments and maintenance. According to an AnyPresence survey nearly a third of enterprise mobile application development professionals update their applications once a month. for a medium-sized enterprise application project, such maintenance costs can reach as much as $11,000 per month.
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