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How Much Does Developing an App Cost?

The app market is in full-speed with mobile app usage increasing every year and Apple’s app store growing by more than 1,000 applications per day. It’s a competitive landscape. Both startups and established companies are jumping into the app game in mass quantities, and with the influx of demand there are plenty of developers brawling it out to win new business.

When businesses are evaluating different development options, a big concern is how much developing an app will cost. If you’re developing a breakthrough application, competing to be first to market, or your app requires many complex features and functionality, the final cost can easily end up hitting the six figure range. You can find rates as low as $20 per hour if you’re considering developing your app with an offshore shop. Make no mistake though, development work is expensive. So, when considering developing an app, how much should you pay?

It’s an old adage, but in the world of custom development, it’s true more often than not: you get what you pay for. It can be easy to get caught up in the fast-pace of the tech industry where it’s obligatory that companies grow quickly in order to knock out competitors contending to build out the same product concept. The good thing about the computer software space is that there’s a need in the market for everyone in the spectrum. The trick is making sure your needs match your partner’s skillsets. All too often we’ve seen companies who chose to go with a cheap shop because of budget constraints and in the end they paid the price for their decision.

Professional Website

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When considering the cost of building an app, consider the type of application you’re trying to build. Maybe you’re a fitness professional that wants to get a few pictures up, your instruction times and contact information. For you, a simple site is perfect. Custom software is not required for a site such as this. Instead you could hire a WordPress contractor to build the site for you. You can have an online presence that can help you build your clientele, provide them with information and do it all for a few hundred bucks.

Greenfield

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What if you’re a startup and you’re considering building the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of your app? You need an interactive site or app that stores data on the backend, has innovative design and snappy interaction. Consider hiring a third-party development shop to help build this out. To increase time to market and achieve market penetration, find an agile shop with a proven track record of building applications such as yours.

The cost of your app will all be based on the size of the app, features and functionality. For a small scale MVP the app could cost tens of thousands. For an app like Facebook, the cost can range from $150,000 to millions.

When building a greenfield application, adopting agile principles in order to build out a product concept, design prototype or MVP can take your budget a long way. While staying within your budget, you’ll be building the app in a way that allows for quick scalability, user feedback and support from investors. Your users and investors will be investing in an app with an established point of difference from competition, that truly solves your end user’s pain point.

Feature Addition, Re-rail & Side Projects

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If you’re a nationally or internationally established brand with a firm stance in the marketplace and are looking for a new way to connect with consumers, automate processes with customers, or extend market reach, it’s critical to find a shop that acts as an extension of your team. Cultivating a close partnership with a development shop is important in maintaining a healthy image for your brand.

Find a shop that aligns with your business goals. If you already have an application your in-house team built, but your project has gone off the rails, you need help getting your developers back on track, or you need assistance in developing a specific feature of the app, find a shop that can seamlessly integrate with your existing team without too many bumps along the road.

Considerations

When evaluating the cost of your application, think about the type of app you want to build. What kind of devices does your app need to comply with so your users have a positive user experience? What tech stack is best for building out your app? What features need to be included in the app? Use the checklist below to evaluate the scope of your app:

  • What devices does my app need to be compatible on?
  • What languages are best for building out the app?
  • Is a login feature necessary?
  • Do users need to create personal profiles?
  • Do you want to be able to visualize data by slicing and dicing data metrics?
  • How will the business make money off of the app?
  • Does there need to be a rating system or way for users to review things?
  • If you’re considering building a mobile app, does it need to connect the company website?
  • Is it ok if the design of the app is barebones or do you need a modernized a fresh look?
  • What are your security requirements?
  • How scalable does it need to be?

There’s no easy answer

There’s nothing surprising about the evaluation process a person needs to go through when you’re building an app. Even so, what’s surprising is how many situations occur where someone focuses all of their attention on getting the biggest bang for their buck only, to end up having to find a stronger shop to re-do the work. Consider that if your app isn’t made right, at best you’re throwing it away when you deliver the finished product to consumers or go to scale the app. Know your needs, do your research, and make sure you align with the right development partner to push your project forward.