How Much Does it Cost to Design and Build a Custom Mobile App?

There are currently an astounding 8.93 million apps available on the market. Yet even with so many options, demand from users for new apps is not slowing. It’s estimated that app stores add between 1,000 and 1,500 new apps to their platforms every day! 

If you have a great idea for a new app, you may be researching how to become one of those 1,000. However, we’d venture to guess you’re likely seeing conflicting information when it comes to how much it’s going to cost to get your app built, and the cost to design an app. 

The reason it’s so hard to pin down a definite figure for building an app is because so many unique variables are involved.

In this article, we’ll dive into what factors affect the price of building an app, and what prices you can expect to pay down the road. Considering these factors together should give you a better understanding on what type of total cost you may be looking at to build your app. 

The Average Price Range for Building Mobile Apps

A normal custom app can cost anywhere between $20K and $100K to build. There are several factors that affect where your app will fall within this range:

  • Your app project type (social media, e-commerce, healthcare, gaming, etc.)
  • What type of vendor you choose to hire (freelancer vs. agency)
  • Where your vendor is located (on-shore or off-shore)
  • What level of experience your vendor needs to build your app
  • The number and complexity of your app’s features
  • How many platforms you’d like your app to be made for (iOS, Android, etc.)
  • How complex you’d like your design to be

For example, an app for a healthcare or e-commerce would likely be more expensive than a social media or gaming app due to the extra layers of security and privacy that will need to be built in. (Unless, of course, your gaming app requires significant advanced features and design.) 

Along the same lines, a senior on-shore app agency will likely be much more expensive than an off-shore app developer. 

Before you start looking into vendors, it’s best to determine what your max budget will be for building your app and work backwards from there. For example, if you have a budget on the lower end of the average range, you may need to cut some features or scale back your design. If your budget is on the higher-end, you can seek out more senior developers and research on-shore agencies that can deliver a seamless experience. 

Once you’ve considered all of the factors listed above and set your budget, you can start gathering quotes from vendors:

Fixed Price Quotes vs. Hourly Rate Quotes 

Most app developers will give you a quote for building your custom app either using a fixed price or an hourly rate quote. There are pros and cons of each, depending on your needs. 

Fixed price quotes are best used if you have a clearly defined vision for your app and have pre-defined features. Fixed price quotes are also best for apps where budget is constrained. 

The downside of fixed price quotes is that you’re pretty locked in when it comes to sticking with the original vision for your app. 

If you don’t yet have a precise and clear vision of exactly how you’d like your app to be constructed, going with an hourly rate quote is a good idea. Hourly rate quotes leave room for changes, adjustments and unpredictability. It also gives you more control over your development. The big con of hourly rates is that you need to be careful with your changes or requests, or the budget can balloon quickly. 

Servers and Management Costs After Launch 

It’s important to understand not only the cost of building your new app, but also the ongoing cost of maintaining it. In fact, one recent study showed that in the first two years after launching your app, development will only represent 35% of your total cost.

Paying for the servers and management costs of your app after launching can cost upward of $1k per month. Servers alone (that host your app) cost an average of $12K annually. Things like IT support, updates, bug fixes, data storage, etc. can add to that cost as well. 

However, keeping up with your app’s maintenance is key to your app’s success. Making sure your app delivers a seamless experience for your users will help reduce uninstalls, decrease revenue losses and increase your ROI in the long run. 

If you’re ready to experience all of these benefits and more, it’s time to team up with us to build your amazing app!

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