How to Calculate the True Cost of Developing A Mobile App - Technocrats
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Vivek Bhatia

January 31, 2023
  • App Solutions

“How much does it cost to make an app?” – This is frequently one of the first questions we receive from potential clients looking to build an app.

Due to the many factors and intricacies involved, this is a challenging question to answer, but we’ll do our best to provide you with a rough estimate of how much it might cost.

The features, complexity, and company you select to build the app affect how much it will cost to design one. Also, the level of customization you want for your app is the biggest differentiator. For instance, you’ll spend less if you choose a mobile app with basic features.

In this article, we draw on our knowledge to explore the most critical elements influencing the costs to develop a mobile app and give examples of popular apps with development costs.

What factors decide the cost of mobile app development?

There is a plethora of factors that can impact the cost to build a mobile app. Would you like to build an app that runs on iOS and Android? Are you looking to outsource your mobile app development to another country? What types of apps do you want? The cost of your project will greatly vary depending on the responses to these inquiries.

Let’s examine the important factors affecting overall mobile app development cost.

Operating System: Android and/or iOS

Android and iOS are two of the most popular mobile operating systems. They aren’t the only ones, but they rule the mobile market.

Fact:  iOS is having a 29.49% market share as of 2022 and Android is controlling 69.74%.

Android VS iOS Market share graph from 2012 to 2022

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When a project manager begins working on the very first rough estimate for your app and gathers the requirement criteria, it is the ideal time to decide which operating system to choose.

Ask questions like:

  • What platform do the target customers prefer?
  • What is the development cost?
  • Do you need your app to function on both systems?

Note: You must research for the market you’re targeting before choosing whether you want to go with android app development, iOS app development, or both.

App Platforms

Native vs Hybrid App Development Difference

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The platform you select to release your application determines the cost of app development. The price range for developing a native app is from $5,500 to $27,500. Native apps have a more refined user experience and need more time to develop, and their cost can rise further depending on the features you want to include and the development team you choose.

On the other side, because hybrid apps are developed from a single code base, they take less time to build and test for quality. The initial cost to create a hybrid app—a single program that runs on both the iOS and Android platforms—ranges between $5,000+ and $25000+.

Engagement Model

Engagement models in mobile app development

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App development companies offer different engagement models based on fixed pricing, dedicated teams, time, and resources. In addition to these models, you can also employ freelancers; though they cost less, the quality is not up to the mark. Every engagement model has certain benefits, and choosing one relies on your particular needs.

    • Fixed Pricing Model (FPM)

      The FPM is the best option if you’re looking for an engagement model that offers a fixed fee and deadline. The two parties sign a contract outlining all of the terms they have agreed upon, such as the hourly rate, the deadline for product delivery, the necessary design specifications, etc. A project manager will supervise the implementation without much client involvement.

      The set price model has the drawback of being constrictive, and if your project undergoes unexpected modifications, adjusting them may result in additional costs. With this kind of app development, there is no room for future revisions after the initial project scope is provided.

      A fixed-price model is suitable if you want to create a minimum viable product or ready-to-use product as a startup in a short amount of time. The dedicated team approach, however, offers a more adaptable solution for building an app.

    • Dedicated Team Model

      The customer is king in a dedicated team model – you get to decide the project requirements, the overall number of developers needed, the resources required, the timetable, the budget, etc.

      The dedicated team model offers the flexibility of adding resources on demand if you want to add new features to the app. The best part about choosing a dedicated team model is the synergy of talents working together. You also don’t need to worry about the time taken and resources employed for your app development as you get a team working for you exclusively.

      The dedicated model is viable with agile methodology if you want rapid development. App development companies with customized solutions and agile methodology can provide faster development at a reasonable app development price.

      Not Sure About Which Model Would Suit Your Business?

Cost Based on Features

A feature is a unique action or function that enhances the user experience and services you provide. This might be a sign-up button or a more complicated integration of video streaming. The number of features and the complexity of their implementation directly impact the cost of app development.

A mobile application takes more than 3 to 6 months to develop on average. It could possibly take up to 8 to 12 months for more complicated applications to reach the market. It completely depends on the features you desire for your mobile application.

It won’t take long to use certain common functions, such as user sign-in, push alerts, primary navigation, etc. It could take longer to use functions like credit card payment, online streaming, offline mode, etc.

      • Simple VS. Complex Features

The intricacy of different app features raises the price of developing an app. Some applications have the most basic functionalities. More expensive and complex apps have sophisticated features. The complexity or simplicity of the app depends on the features implemented.

The following table lists the commonly used features, their approximate development time, and their costs:

Simple Features Cost Time
User Login $375– $1000 15-40 hrs
Profile creation $1200 approx 12 – 17 hrs
Search $325 – $450 13-18 hrs
Chat & Messaging $2000-$2500 80-100 hrs
Push notifications $375- $625 15-25 hrs
Basic in-app purchases $500-$1000 20-40 hrs
Payments $750 – $1250 30-50 hrs
Multi-language support $375 – $500 15-20 hrs
User management $450 – $750 18-30 hrs

Currently, most apps come with extra features to attract a larger user base. Such features measure increased traffic, thereby increasing conversion rates. These add-ons increase the cost of the app. Below are some of the more complex features depending on cost and time consumed:

Features Cost Time
Geolocation $750- $1000 30-40 hrs
Custom push notifications $375- $500 15-20 hrs
Ads $500- $1250 20-50 hrs
Video/Audio streaming 2500-$3000 100-120 hrs
Data encryption $250-$300 10-12 hrs
Sensors usage $375-$750 15-30 hrs
Payments integration $750 – $1250 30-50 hrs
Offline mode $1000- $1500 40-60 hrs
AR/VR Integration $2500- $3000 100-120 hrs
Attract More Customers With a Feature-Packed Mobile App!

Cost of Developing an Admin Panel

Mobile application development admin panel cost

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One of the key factors in the success of a commercial app is the admin panel, which increases the app’s complexity. It is an interface that enables you to change and control the data in your app to power user-related features, manage transactions, and monitor performance indicators (KPIs).

Recommendation: Simply missing out on the admin panel from your mobile app development project is not a recommended option because doing so would give you no control over the data, users, and content.

Here’s a rough estimate of how much integrating an admin panel in your app will cost you:

  • Basic~ $5,000
  • Average~ $8,000
  • Complex~ $10,000

Cost of Different Development Stages

The cost of mobile app development can be broken down into several different factors:

Infographic representation of mobile app development process

    • Design

    This includes the cost of creating wireframes, interface design, mockups, and the final design of the app. This can cost anywhere from $500 to $2500, depending on the complexity of the design, the number of screens, and the features the app will have.

    • Development

    This is the cost of coding the app and includes both the frontend and backend development. The cost can vary depending on the platform (iOS, Android, or both) the app is being developed for and the complexity of the app. A simple app with basic functionality may cost as little as $2500, while a more complex app with advanced features such as augmented reality or machine learning could cost upwards of $12,500 or more.

    • Quality Assurance

    This includes the cost of testing the app to ensure it is free of bugs and functions correctly on various devices. This can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Your clients will encounter fewer annoyances in the form of crashes, malfunctions, and lags if your app is thoroughly tested by the quality assurance team. By releasing the software with the fewest possible bugs, you can ensure better customer satisfaction.

    • Deployment

    This includes the cost of publishing the app to the app store and any ongoing maintenance and updates that may be required. The cost can vary depending on the platform (iOS, Android, or both) the app is being developed for.

    Note: Costs vary greatly depending on the location of the development team, the specific requirements of the project, and the platform (iOS, Android, or both) on which the app is being developed.

    Overall Cost Breakdown

    Development Process Basic Average Complex
    Business Analysis   $500 $1,500   $2,500
    UX/UI Design   $500   $1,500   $2,500
    Development $2500   $7500 $12500
    Quality Analysis   $1,000 $3,000 $5,000
    Project Manager $500   $1,500   $2,500
    Total Setup Cost $5,000* $15,000* $25,000*
    Total Time 20-25 Days 40-45 Days 60-70 Days

    *- Approximately

    • Maintenance Cost

Maintenance can be very costly, particularly if you anticipate experiencing heavy loads. Budgeting is required for the first year when the live application will be used. In the first year of operation, it is anticipated that one-third of the development cost will be used to support the application; in the following years, this amount will stay between 15 to 25 percent of the entire development cost.

Market Trend: An expert mobile app developer can fix minor maintenance issues with negligible cost, however, major issues can require a considerable charge.

How Much Does It Cost To Make An App- Real Examples

The most frequent queries that customers have for app development are “how much does it cost to develop an app like Uber/Ola?” or “how to create an Instagram-like social media app?”

Though on the surface these appear like straightforward questions, in reality, they are not. Reviewing actual instances of some well-known programs can help us compare rough app development cost estimates based on actual data and our experience.

  • In the initial round, Instagram received $500,000 for an iPhone app only.
  • During the fundraising round, Uber raised $200,000 and used that money to develop its beta version.
  • The most well-known dating app, Tinder, raised $485,000 in seed funding back in 2012.
  • In 2012, the social media platform Snapchat generated $485,000. Note that the proposal garnered nearly $3 billion in funding altogether.


As you can see, if you are serious about your business, custom mobile app development always makes more sense. So yes, it may be a pricey decision but a properly created mobile app will provide you with a decent return on your investment. Therefore, selecting the development carefully and taking all relevant criteria into account to make an app is crucial. Technocrats Horizons possess years of experience in building fantastic mobile apps to assist our clients’ revenues soar, and we can do the same for your company. To kickstart your dream mobile app project, get in touch with our experts.

Get Ahead of the Competition With a Custom Mobile App

About The Author

Mr. Vivek Bhatia is a skilled and seasoned sales professional and is currently positioned as the sales head of Technocrats Horizons Compusoft Pvt. Ltd. He is responsible for leading the sales team to success and driving growth for the organization. Mr. Vivek brings a wealth of strategic thinking, business acumen, and sales boosting skills to the table, inspiring his team to reach new heights and innovate in their approach to sales. He is committed to delivering exceptional sales metrics that make a measurable impact.

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