A mobile application for your business facilitates new opportunities for earning, marketing and interacting with customers. Developing an app requires planning, time, and capital. However, the investment is almost certainly worth it.
But how expensive an investment is a mobile app exactly? How much does it cost to make an application from start to finish?
This is usually the first and most decisive thing to identify when considering mobile app development.
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to the question, but there are ways to estimate the cost.
Application development can be compared to a vacation: How much does it usually cost? Of course, it depends on whether it's a domestic road trip or a flight somewhere warm. And simple activities are cheaper to arrange than elaborate ones.
The same applies to application development: The cost of a mobile app depends on whether the app is developed in-house or overseas, and what functionalities you want for your app.
In this blog post, we'll discuss the price of a mobile app and the things that affect it.
📲 What is a mobile application, and what are its benefits?
A mobile application (app, mobile app) is software designed to work on mobile devices like mobile phones or tablets.
Mobile applications are the preferred way to interact with different companies online. There are apps for everything, for example, banking, reading the news, listening to music, scrolling through social media, etc.
More than 30,000 new apps are published monthly in the Apple Store and around 100,000 in the Google Play Store.
The revenue from mobile apps was $462 billion in 2019 and is predicted to rise to $950 billion around 2023.
These are just a few reasons many companies plan to develop their custom app.
💶 How much does a mobile app cost, and what factors affect it?
A common estimate is, that a basic application can be developed for around 10,000 euros, and the price of a complex mobile app with video chat and payment features can be up to 300,000 euros.
The total cost of a customized app can therefore be found somewhere in between.
The price of a mobile application is primarily determined by labor costs. In a country with cheaper labor, you can find freelancers or a company specializing in application development who do the work at an affordable hourly rate.
However, it can then be challenging to ensure the quality of the work and the smoothness of the process. And if there are delays, the original price estimate will be exceeded.
Hiring developers to your company or outsourcing the project to a company specializing in app development can be a more expensive option, but you can be confident in a high-quality end result.
🧬 App features and their effect on the cost
Currently, only two viable operating systems are used: iOS (Apple products) and Android. In 2016, 81.7 percent of the phones sold were Android devices, and 17.9 percent were iOS devices.
An application is therefore developed for one or both of these operating systems separately or simultaneously as a hybrid.
According to research conducted by application development companies, the development costs of native iOS and Android applications are practically the same. Of course, if a version of your application is developed for both operating systems, the development costs are almost doubled.
Therefore, a mobile app's price isn't so much dependent on the operating system as the complexity of the app. The more complex features you want, the higher the cost.
In application development, mobile applications can be roughly divided into three categories: Simple, medium, and complex.
📞 Simple application:
Schedule 2-4 months, price approx. €10,000 – €30,000
- Includes basic features
- Simple screens
Necessary user interface solutions such as
- Creating and editing a user profile
- Search function
- Administrator tools
☎️ Medium complexity application:
Schedule 4-6 months, price approx. €30,000 - €50,000
- More complex screens and functions
- Custom interface
More versatile features, such as
- Social media integration
- In-app purchases/payment gateway integration
- Geolocation services
- Better data security and virus protection
📱 Complex application:
Schedule 9 months or more, price €70,000+
- Contains many different functionalities
- Animated user interface and screens
Advanced and complex features such as
- Media management
- Real-time data synchronization with several devices
- Uses built-in features of the mobile device
- Online streaming
- In-app calls
- Chatbots and video chat
Of course, these are only estimates, as the price of a mobile application also depends on the quality of project coordination and the level of productivity.
When estimating the costs, remember that development is not the only expense. Once the application is published, it must be updated and maintained regularly.
⏳How long does application development take?
The schedule, like the price, depends on so many factors that you can mostly give educated guesses. The app developers' view, based on the previous breakdown, is
- A simple application: 2-3 months
- Medium complexity application: 3-6 months
- Complex application: more than 9 months
In addition, time must be scheduled for maintenance and updates. For example, updating your app to work on new phone models and operating system versions is mandatory if you want the app to work. You should schedule (and budget) approx. 4-10 working days per month for maintenance.
🔗 Integrations and their cost
The price tag of the mobile application also depends on integrations. Integrations to CRM, payment or phone GPS systems are common. SMS or push notifications also need integrations if you want them in your app.
Depending on the number and complexity of the integrations, their implementation and maintenance costs an estimated 5,000–20,000 euros per year.
🧩 Updates and additional development costs
Once the application is ready and published, its development does not end. The app must be regularly updated to ensure it is working properly and meets the users' expectations.
The cost of updating the app depends on your plans to improve it and the amount of troubleshooting it needs.
Support and maintenance services for mobile applications cost an estimated 20-50% of the initial development costs per year. A rough estimate for further development of, for example, a medium-level application is 5,000–11,000 euros per year.
🔧 Application maintenance costs
As mentioned above, it is worth budgeting approximately 20-50% of the initial development costs annually for application support and maintenance services. Using rough guidelines, you should budget at least €200-500 per month for maintenance.
Fixing an error on one line of code can cost 50 euros. On the other hand, repairing a critical functionality can take a couple of weeks and cost 1,000–2,000 euros.
However, maintenance is mandatory if you want the application to work and be used by customers. The maintenance cost also includes license fees for third-party functionalities.
- Payment gateway service €150/month + 1-2% of the payment amount
- Push notifications €10/month
- Servers €30-300/month
In addition, maintenance includes:
- Antivirus and data protection
- Bug fixes and updates
- Customer support
Maintenance also includes fixing possible design, coding and application logic errors.
The cost of a mobile application depends on whether the app is made in-house or overseas and what functionalities you want for your app.
A simple application can be developed for around 10,000 euros, and an app with complex features can cost up to 300,000 euros.
Primarily, the price of the mobile application consists of labor costs. The second determining factor is complexity. The more complex features you want, the higher the price.
In application development, applications can be roughly divided into three categories:
- 📞 Simple application: Schedule 2-4 months, price approx. €10,000 – €30,000
- ☎️ Medium complexity application: Schedule 4-6 months, price approx. €30,000 - €50,000
- 📱 Complex application: Schedule 9 months or more, price €70,000+
The cost of application development also depends on project coordination and productivity.
After its completion, the application must also be updated, developed, and maintained on a monthly basis.
You should budget approximately 20-50% of the initial development costs for support and maintenance services each year. As a rough guideline, you should set aside approx. €200-500 per month for the maintenance of the application.
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