• Skylark Team

When it comes to mobile app development, cost plays a vital role. For the ones who are going to develop these apps for the very first time, it becomes more important to calculate the cost. There are mobile app development cost calculators available on various sites but they might not present you persuasive costs. As there is more than just one factor which affects the total expenditure while making a mobile app, it is a bit difficult to show the exact costs. The following factors can help you determine the cost of developing a mobile app:

Types of mobile applications

Applications are of three types:

1. Native

These are the most expensive and most commonly developed apps as they fulfill almost every desire of the clients. Their performance is unmatched because the language and development tools used to build them can only support a particular mobile platform (Android or iOS). They render features like Multi-touch, fast graphics API, fluid animation, built-in components, documentation, etc. These features are not possible to obtain in any other type of app. Therefore, to cater all other platforms, the number of apps to be developed increase alongside the expense.

2. Web Application

Written in HTML5, when websites have been given the characteristics of an app, they are known as web applications. These are not the mobile applications you are planning for but they surely look and feel alike. Functioning via a web browser, these are easy and the cheapest to update. Also, they are not platform specific. Generally, the user takes them as regular web pages instead of web apps.

3. Hybrid

As the name suggests, Hybrid apps or cross-platform apps are part native and part web apps. Written in HTML5 & JavaScript and then embedded in native shells, they can run on multiple platforms. They are cheaper than the native apps as you need to create a single app to serve all platforms. The hardware & OS access of both hybrid and native apps are equal and better than the web apps.

How will Your App function?

1. Basic Table Functionality

These apps are the easiest and cheapest to develop because the main motto behind its creation is to display static information on various topics. Apps like calendars, diet-planners, and calculators are the most common examples of this category. The estimated cost of such apps is between $1000 to $4000.

2. Database Driven Custom Functionality

In order to show and collect hefty amount of data, it uses a database. The information is gathered from the database and intelligently displayed on the screens. To make this possible, the development becomes more complex which enhances the cost. These apps lie in the cost range of $8000-$50000.

3. Games

These apps are the first to tick the box of complexity. Therefore, to cope up with the complex design of the application, time and cost of the development increases. A gaming app can cost you as low as $6000 and can go up to $250,000 and still counting. There can be various categories in which these gaming apps can be shaped but its very difficult to pinpoint a particular price to pay for their development.

4. Modification of In-Built Features

They are designed for the betterment of the pre-installed functions of a smartphone such as camera, flash, etc. For instance, candy camera offers you several filters that helps you click better images.

5. Fully Dynamic Applications

These kinds of applications are quite similar to the database driven applications. It’s just that these are solely reliant on outside data. One most popular example of this type is Twitter. The costs of such apps generally range from $12000-$30000. However, it totally depends on the level of complexity.

6. Custom Utilities

If your smartphone is a barcode reader, construction calculator, first aid manual, universal remote, translator, etc. then thanks to the custom utilities. These are the most brilliant life-hacks made available by the developers. Its costs usually start from $10000 and range up to $40000.

These are pretty much all kinds of apps available in the market.

Costly App elements

Mobile applications with high-end functionality are generally the ones that need to include these costly elements. The complexity and roles of these apps are the main price-raising factors. Below are the factors that drive the cost of the mobile application development:

1. Platform and Devices

Here, the platform is basically the operating system of the mobile. Your answer to whether you want to create your app for iOS or Android or both?, further complements the cost and time accordingly. To create an app for Android, the user must decide the versions, market share of each Android phone maker, OS versions, client’s preferences, screen size, resolution and other specifications. Keeping all this in mind, the app goes for development and then for testing. On the other hand, a similar process is conducted for iOS, wherein the app is made compatible with iPhones running at least on iOS 9 or iOS 8.

2. Technical Complexity

There are many complex features that come in the way of development of an app. Below is the list of such elements:

  • Third-Party Integration
    Signing up or sharing via social media platforms like Google+, Twitter, Facebook, etc is one of the most common examples of Application Program Interface (API) integration. You can add real-time chat, payment gateways, and many more features with third-party integration.
  • Back-end Development
    It is basically a type of platform where the API is developed in order to channel the data between a database and an app. The back-end is the server side where usually the code resides.
  • Admin Panel Development
    This is the counter of the app from where all its functions and features can be managed or modified. It is like having a CMS (Content Management System), where all the data in the app can be used or handled by the client.
  • Use of Hardware Components
    Every smart-phone manufacturer uses a different set of hardwares to empower their device that further varies according to their type or versions. Therefore, the cost and time of testing the app on various devices increases.
  • In-App Purchases
    After a demo version is finished and the program asks you to purchase the full version, it is an in-app purchase. Likewise, when a game offers you a more powerful weapon, which can only be purchased, it is also an in-app purchase. This is a long and time-consuming process as there are various elements to fit in that further enhance the complexity and cost.

3. Custom Design

Customizing an app is simply a cost amplifying process as the stock app can be a beautiful piece, but after customization, it can become your personal masterpiece. The more you try to improvise and modify it, the more complex and expensive it will get but more suitable to be used too!

4. Animation

Adding animation to your app can be highly beneficial as it gives a pleasant feel to the user. However, it must be added only when and where it is needed because overusing animation can cause an increase in loading time. Also, it can annoy some users who are not very fond of moving pictures or graphics.

5. Scalability

If the design can support enhancement or betterment, from the back-end without hindering the process of the app, it is called scalability. The larger the number of outputs, inputs, users or data gets, the more complex the design of the app gets.

6. Data Encryption

Everyone wants his/her app to be protected. Therefore, for security reasons, this element is availed and higher the level of security, higher will be the time taken for the development.

7. Infrastructure for Performance Management & Analytics

Making the development more complicated for the ease of user, the analytics are implemented to judge the users’ behavior. It helps improve the functionality of your app. The increase in the development time depends on the number of activities that you want to monitor.

8. Testing

Testing time is in a direct relationship with technical complexity of an app. Large games that support high-end graphics and animations are generally the ones that take a lot of time in testing. Apps with high level of security also require a healthy duration to be tested.

9. Deployment

It is not an easy task to make the app available to public. It needs to be licensed, packaged, verified, etc. All of these activities consume a considerable amount of time along with the required cost. This is the final step where the app goes through the necessary process for deployment.

Time and Cost

As time is the only factor that determines every other possible thing in the world, an app development cost can also be studied on this basis. Basically, the time consumed by the developers to create ‘ready to use app’ gives you a proper idea of the total cost of your app. Mostly, the app or web developing individuals, teams or agencies ask you to pay them on an hourly basis. For example, a company has completed your app in 300 hours, while you made a deal to pay them $100 per hour, then your app cost is $30,000.

The minimum mean price for developing an app on an hourly basis is $32 while the maximum is $161 per hour. This has been calculated after discovering that the world’s lowest hiring cost is of Indian developers and North America has the most expensive app development services.

On the other hand, the time taken to develop a simple or not-so-complex app is 300 to 600 hours. The apps that are a bit complex take around 600-800 hours. Apps with the most complexity take more than 1000 hours as there are various features and functionalities to embed and test.

Therefore, the cost of a simple or a bit time-consuming app can range from $9,600 to $25,600 and the average pricing of a high-end app is $161,000+. The amount can exponentially increase according to the need of features added to the app.

App Developers

It’s on you to decide who is going to make your app. Below are the choices you can make:

1. Freelancers

People who opt for freelancers to create an app for them are the ones who are looking to design and develop a very basic app and have a quite rigid budget. Their cost is low and risk is significantly high. Considering up to $60 per hour would be appropriate.

2. Small Agencies

To build a strong and justified app, people go to small agencies that have the manpower and reputation to build it. Small business firms generally contact these agencies and find the value of their app development services. And if the cost suits their budget, the services are purchased. Unlike the large companies, their price is feasible and they are ready to flex their services in respect to the client’s budget. Their pricing can vary from $70 to $120 per hour in respect to the application.

3. Large Companies

These companies are in the field where only professionals or brands play. The corporate giants who have big budgets with high flexibility usually avail the services that are rendered by these large mobile application development companies. The reason behind hiring a large organization is that they have a huge reputation to maintain for which they will be willing to put in their best efforts. Their prices can be starting from $150 and can increase up to $250 per hour.


You must be focused on the functions of an app, then only you will be able to recognize the basic requirements and deal with the development needs. There is no perfect or precise answer to the question how much does an app cost? But there are some elements as mentioned above that increase and decrease the cost of developing an app.

Feel free to get in touch with us for your upcoming app development projects and get the quality work done at a reasonable price.

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Read here – What is the Cost of Mobile App Development in Singapore?



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