How Much Does It Cost To Build a Mobile app?

by M Ismail Wed Feb 12

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The most common question raised by most people is how much does it cost to build an app? The app development cost varies depending on the complexity and type of app. My question to you would be how many features do you need? Does your app have payment functionality? Is your app going to be web based or mobile? If it is a mobile app, will it be functional on iPhone and android?

Essentially, the more complex an app is going to be the more time a developer has to spend on development, resulting on more expenses.

Before you can estimate the cost of a mobile app you need to spend some time on ‘App Discovery’ and ‘Analysis & Scoping’. So what does that involve:

1. App Discovery

There are many things involved in app discovery phase like market research, competitor analysis, creating user persona and market capitalization. The approximate time this process can take is anywhere from 40 – 120 hours

2. Analysis & Scoping

This next phase includes documentation of what the smart app will do. At this phase the below tems become clear:

  • Feature Set
  • App Complexity
  • Deployment Architecture Model
  • Admin Panel Development
  • Third-Party Integration
  • In-App Purchase
  • Use of Device’s Hardware

Once you have gone through the above phases, you can now classify your app into a category and estimate prices!

Apps can be classified into the following pricing categories:

1. Simple Apps: These come with basic features and require standard UI components.

2. Mid Level Apps : These apps have Custom UI, Integration with API, real-time messaging & a simple backend structure is what clearly defines a Mid Complexity App.

3. Complex Apps: These include high-level functionalities such as custom animation, real-time sync, media processing, complex backend, etc.

Here is a pricing estimate based on the category of app and 2 kinds of hourly rates:

The purpose of presenting 2 rates is to show you the cost difference between using a offshore and onshore development team. At Rareiio we believe a blend of using onshore and offshore always achieves the best quality at affordable prices.

Complexity DescriptionHoursCost at $50 p/hCost at $100 p/h
SimpleNo back-end, Standard UI components, No Api integration, simple features like calendar, email subscription, social logic etc.450$21,000$42,000
Mid LevelPayment & Custom UI features, headset and tablets adaption, Api Integration, back-end-server.550-850$42,000$82,000
ComplexMulti language support, custom animation, 3rd party integrations, complicated back-end, real-time features, professional design.850-1600$78,000$155,000

Other factors which can impact costs:

The cost to develop an app can also vary depending on the type of app. For example standalone apps can be pretty easy to build. However as you get into social network, on-demand and enterprise level apps the complexity and cost increases.

Type of App DescriptionHoursCost at $50 p/hCost at $100 p/h
Stand AloneApp doesn’t not need any network to run, nor are these apps dependent on any external tech.500$25,000$50,000
Social NetworkingBest described as app like tinder or whatsapp, facebook1800$90,000$180,000
M-CommercePerform un real-time, cater for millions of users, have inpossble to hack security system and also have a string backend to esuer constannt page updates & maintenance. Apps like eBayor Alibaba .2000$100,000$200,000
On-DemandDeveloped to cater for 3 people i.e, user, the person delivering services, and the targeted business. The Ui and flow of this app development are entirely different from all above which ads on to a huge development cost. On-Demand Apps like Lyft or UberEats cost.2000$100,000$200,000
Enterprise MobileThese apps also need to be more previse, as they are used by employeed as a supporting elements.1800$90,000$180,000


The above are estimated cost and the “complexity” of app, “number of features” and “how clear you are about features” of the app will determine the cost. The more clear you are about app features the easier it is to estimate timeline and cost of development. Good documentation from a seasoned project manager will really help with obtaining accurate mobile app quotes. If you are thinking of building an app, make sure to hire experts who follow correct phases, documentation and development standards.


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