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Total Cost of Mobile Application Development Explained

Apr 19, 2022  |  Ibrahim Imran

In the highly digitalized world we live, apps have become of much importance because of the convenience they bring into our lives. People understand the potential of apps and continue to invest in them in terms of developing a unique app that delivers a solution or a type of entertainment users wish for. Hence, nowadays, as the user demand continues to grow and change along with the changes in the world, investors need to identify what the users want and specifically develop an application accordingly. 

However, the real question we aim to answer today is, how much does app development cost? Well, today in this article, we are going to be covering the cost of mobile application development and providing you a good understanding regarding the various factors that affect the cost of application development and an entire app development cost breakdown! 

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Different Types of Mobile Applications

If you are looking to obtain an app development cost estimate or an understanding regarding the average mobile application development cost. The elements mentioned below can help you understand app development costs so you can control the price range and set a budget for your project.

Native VS Hybrid Applications 

The method used to create an app has a significant impact on the final cost. The term "native" refers to a program that follows the rules of a given operating system. As a result, you can only build a native app for each operating system separately. The cost of developing an app rises in direct relation to the number of channels you choose to reach.

A hybrid or cross-platform software, on the other hand, operates for different operating systems, allowing you to save money by developing only one app for all required devices. The vast majority of software development firms, favor native apps because of their technological superiority and efficiency.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

PWA development is a compilation of best product development practices for making a web application behave like a smartphone or desktop version. Progressive web applications, on the other hand, are easier and quicker than standard smartphone apps, and they can be shared with a URL. 

The complexity of a progressive web app ranges from $3,000 to $20,000. Since progressive web apps combine the capabilities of a smartphone with the functionality of a website, they are a versatile and powerful tool for consumers. 

Gaming Application

Developing such games will cost anything from $5,000 to $50,000. Mobile games are being used by modern companies to boost their team-building activities. When it comes to gaming application development, it is imperative to understand that the cost of a gaming app depends on the type of gaming app in question. 

For example, a gaming application with a lengthy storyline, abundance of characters, and several special features may cost a lot more than a simple game with zero complexity. Hence, when it comes to determining the cost of a gaming application, it is important to consider the type of gaming app in question.

Functions of Mobile Applications 

Now that we have provided you with a summary of the cost of application development on various types of applications. It is time to break down the functions of these apps, how they differ, and how this creates a difference in the cost of development. Hence, you will get an idea into the app development cost calculator.

Utility Apps

The key features of the utility apps are to make it easier for customers to pay their bills, view their electricity use, and contact customer support. 

Gaming Apps

In recent years, online gaming has grown in popularity. The majority of people are drawn to online games because they are simple to play. This means you'll be ready to go on your console or tablet. These games are also simple to comprehend, which adds to the enjoyment of the experience. Hence, gaming apps provide users with the seamless experience of gaming in terms of access and entertainment which has resulted in gaming apps continuing to increase in demand.

Business Intelligence Apps

Business intelligence (BI) is a technique for turning large amounts of data into manageable chunks of information that can be used to make better decisions. The software uses a sync tool or API to get data from a company's ERP framework and other data sets. After that, the BI platform analyses the data sets and displays the results in reports and dashboards within the application. Hence, making it easy for organizations to access this data remotely and use it for making better investments, decisions, etc.

Social Media Apps

There are a handful of social media applications out there. However, most of us are familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. These types of applications provide a platform or interface where people create their own personal profiles and engage with the online community. People use social media to improve their relationships with their families and friends.

As you can see, there is a great difference in the functionality of each type of application. Hence, since the functionality of each application differs, obviously prices differ too. This is because an app designed to provide entertainment and an app designed to provide easy paying bills will surely have a different set of features, functionality, backend infrastructure, and app administration. Therefore, the prices vary. 

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What Is the Average Development Cost of a Mobile Application?

The average application development expense is $20,000 (based on a $20/hour rate), which equates to 1,143 development hours. In the case of complicated functionality deployment, the overall app price could reach $60,500. The average cost of an app creation project ranges from $5,000 to $10,000.

Factors that Influence Mobile Application Cost  

So far, we have covered the average cost of mobile app development of various types of apps. Now, we’re going to cover the factors that influence the changes in the cost of mobile application development. 

First of all, as we mentioned earlier, the functionality of apps differ which means so does the price. This actively represents the fact that the elements and functionality of an application are one of the core reasons behind the changes in the cost of mobile application development. Of course, there are other factors and we have highlighted them below.

  1. Project type (CRM, marketplace, LMS, EHR, etc.)
  2. Features and functionality
  3. Customization of visual design (template or custom)
  4. Platforms (iOS, Android)
  5. Backend infrastructure and app administration
  6. Location and structure of a development team/type of developers
  7. App maintenance costs and additional services
  8. The in-house or outsourced development team
  9. Vendor's hourly rates

Mobile Application Development: Agency VS Freelancer 

When it comes to bringing your application project to life, you need a professional to help you out. Generally, the app development cost starts around 5,000 to 10,000 with basic functionalities if you hire an experienced freelancer to do the task. If you opt to hire an agency for the same application development, the cost starts around 8,000 to 35,000. Now, you might be wondering why the cost varies between the two. Well, the reasons are quite simple.

First of all, professional freelancers work individually and independently. Hence, they will charge an amount that fits the needs of the project. On the other hand, the rate of agencies differs because they have a team of app designers and developers working together on the specific project. 

In short, the cost of hiring a freelancer or agency differs mainly due to the size of the agency, experience, expertise, and industry specialization. 

Hidden Cost of Mobile Application Development

Let's see various hidden costs that agencies often charge for rendering the application development services.

Functional Services:

Functional services are those used to carry out the app's functions and functionality. While your app developer can provide you with a specific feature, it will not perform until you connect to a subscription that includes a distribution mechanism. These programs can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month, and the amount of services you might need is almost limitless.

Administrative Services:

Simply put, you need an administration dashboard that is intuitive, strong, open, and user-friendly. You deserve to be in charge as a creative professional, and you don't want to have to call the IT department every time you need to access data or upgrade material. These are the most complex costs to estimate since they can vary greatly depending on each app. However, much as all other application costs, they add up and you'll have to pay them on a regular basis.

Infrastructure Services:

Infrastructural elements such as where the app is located, where data is handled, and how data is distributed are used in these services. Both of these require backup and security servers to provide redundancies and load balancers, which adds to the expense and complexity of the application’s development and functionality.

Mobile Application Marketing Cost

Once your application is live and ready to be presented to the target audience, you need to come up with a strong marketing plan. Hence, you might need to acquire professional application marketing services from an experienced app marketing company. This will surely add to the expenses of your app development and is imperative to do so to ensure your app makes an impact and gets recognition. 

Now, if we head into the pricing of how much it costs to advertise an application, well, there are a lot of factors to consider. For instance, the cost of advertising an application on Facebook or YouTube will be quite different. Of course, both platforms are beneficial in terms of reaching target audiences effectively, but since they are both different platforms, and provide different methods of advertisements, the costs vary quite drastically. 

On average, Mobile Application PPC Cost can vary from $5 to $50 per install depending on the niche and the industry. Similarly, App store optimization cost of mobile application can vary from $200 per month to $500 per month.

Key Takeaways: 

  • The cost of mobile app production is largely determined by the number of individual parts that must be assembled. Any of them costs hundreds or thousands of dollars a year, and they'll be there for the sake of your app's existence.
  • Average cost of mobile application development can be $5,000 for utility apps.
  • Average gaming application cost can start from $10,000 

This is the same dilemma we hope to fix, as it is what keeps so many companies from creating an app that can help them do their jobs better. Hence, at Distinguished.io, you can connect with the best application development companies that offer you the best-customized application development services which are worth the money you spend. 

Remember that while agencies and developers will quote you the total cost of developing a smartphone app, this does not include continuing maintenance or software costs.

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