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Developing a mobile app can bring a lot of benefits. A mobile app can make it easier for your business to connect with your customers, engage them longer and more effectively, improve your brand’s recognition and value proposition, while opening new sales channels. Mobile apps are also great for internal purposes. For example, you can develop a mobile app for your sales team, which will allow them to access client information faster, consult sales documentation on the go, and generate invoices electronically. But while the uses of mobile apps are well-known, what isn’t so clear is the cost of developing them.

Factors that affect the cost of a mobile app

There are three main factors which come into play when determining the cost of a mobile app: the functionality, the targeted devices, and the development time-frame. The functionality of an app includes the set of features that will be implemented into the final product, and how they interact with each other. This factor will usually weigh the heaviest on the development cost. You then have to take into consideration the targeted devices. Will your app be native and developed for two or more platforms? Or will it be developed for a single platform? Or perhaps you will use a cross-platform framework in order to cut costs. Finally, you have the development time-frame. If the time-frame is considerably short, you will incur rush charges, which will ratchet up the price.

The cost

It’s important to keep in mind that no app development company will be able to give you an exact cost upfront. You will receive an estimation based on hourly rates and other fees. With that said, we can divide apps into four categories: simple, moderately complex, highly complex, and innovative.

  • Simple apps will come with some basic functionality, and a plain UI/UX. The bulk of the work for this type of application will go into the back-end, but the development process will also be weighed by interface design, project management and QA. In total, you should expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000 for a simple app.
  • Moderately complex apps will have more advanced features such as multi-device support, a payment system, social media integration, map search, and others. One of these apps will usually take 2 to 5 months to develop, and they could set you back around $40,000 to $60,000.
  • Highly complex apps will have implemented the most advanced features such as custom animations, integration with third-party services, complex back-ends, offline data caches, real-time sync, and audio/video processing among others. The development timeframe will also be 2 to 5 months, but the price will range from $55,000 to $100,000.
  • Innovative apps will include custom features specifically developed for the app. In this category, you can expect apps that are highly creative in their technical approach, with unique, ground-breaking functionality. The development time-frame in this case can be up to a year, with a price of $100,000 or more.

There are many factors that will impact the cost of your mobile app, including the specialties of the development company. Two of the best ways to reduce your costs are to know what you want and stay involved in the development process. Costs can quickly spiral out of control when project owners have unclear requirements, lose focus, or disengage from the development process. If you hold your developers accountable by regularly checking on their progress and testing the app to ensure it meets your needs, then you are more likely to nail the estimate your developers do give you.

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