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How to Estimate App Development Cost: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Estimate App Development Cost: A Step-by-Step Guide

You might be familiar with the statement “There’s an app for everything” and it’s quite correct. In point of fact, as per a report released by Statista lately, the global mobile app development market boasts over 5.7 million apps between the Apple app store and Google Play store together.

It’s overt that the trend of mobile applications has soared, and companies of all sizes are interested in investing in mobile app development to maintain their relevance in this digital era. Yet, the critical thought comes about the cost attached to mobile app development.

In this guide, our purpose is to deliver you a detailed answer to the above thought, as well as give insights into the factors affecting mobile app development costs, app development cost calculator, app development cost breakdown, calculation techniques, ways to help you decrease your app development cost, and a lot more.

Factors Determining the Final Cost

Several factors affect app development costs. But, knowing which ones can inflate the cost and getting the right vendor can help save on extra service provider charges.

So, let’s classify the application types and calculate their cost.

Basic App

Have you ever wondered which apps are the cheapest to develop? Examples include clocks, calculators, and small games. These types don’t need a backend development or network connection and just take a month to develop. These are not the talk of the town nowadays.

Basic app development cost: $10,000 – 15,000

Examples: A traditional To-Do application where users can list their tasks and a quiz app that allows users to test their knowledge by answering questions.

Data-driven App

Today, there has been seen a growing sense of doubt regarding the value of investing in data-driven app development. These apps help you obtain and analyze a plethora of information like weather solutions, calendars, and maps, before providing it to users. Although, it has been losing its in recent years and is mainly launched as byproducts only. But the question comes how much is the cost involved in developing an app that processes this data? Let’s check.

Data-driven app development cost: $15,000 – $20,000

Example: A basic calendar application

Apps With User Authentication and Personalized Data

Are you familiar with the loyalty app that requires you to log in to access its features? It’s an authentication app that stores user data and shares information across devices. This is a more refined and hence costly project that will need user management.

Authentication app development cost: $40,000 – $80,000

Example: McDonald’s Loyalty app

Social Network App

There are apparent – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Millions of interactions and chats happen here and the app permits users to share their information. For this, a robust backend infrastructure and a hefty investment are needed. These costs can be estimated with the help of an online mobile app development cost calculator.

Social network app development cost: $50,000 – $200,000.

Example: Facebook

E-Commerce App

Who wouldn’t want to build an eCommerce app like the giants’ Amazon and Alibaba? The E-commerce app comes bundled with an extensive list of features like catalogs, registration, product pages, social interactions, payment options, and more. Just ensure that even a small app can cost you a hefty price.

Simple eCommerce app development cost: $50,000 – $300,000.

Example: EastBay

On-Demand Service App

The service providers can easily connect with end-users with on-demand service apps like Grubhub or Uber and meet their immediate needs. These apps have blended features of eCommerce apps and social networks and need substantial investment.

On-demand service app development cost: $70,000 – $150,000.

Example: Uber

Marketplace App

Curiosity piques the cost of developing a marketplace app like TripAdvisor. These marketplace apps merge the features of on-demand platforms and eCommerce to deliver a broad spectrum of services and link them with service providers of their preference.

Marketplace app development cost: $150,000 – $300,000.

Example: Booking

Below is a breakdown of the average cost of developing an app based on its level of complexity:

App Complexity Level of complexity Average Timeline Average Cost
Simple App ·         MVP functionality

·         Basic UI

2-3 months $5,000-$50,000
Medium Complex App ·         Sophisticated features

·         Custom UI

3-9 months $50,000-$120,000
Highly Complex App ·         High level advanced features

·         Bespoke UI

·         Two platforms

10+ months $100,000-$300,000

Calculation Techniques

Before entering into the world of mobile app development, it’s vital to calculate the cost involved. The cost can be estimated easily by multiplying the hourly rate by the number of hours needed or also by using an online app cost calculator. Besides, several companies offer a preliminary app development cost estimate to offer you a basic idea of the project cost.

Generally, app development companies employ two major charging methods:

  1. Fixed Charge: This technique is useful for small projects with a rigid timeline and predetermined scope of work. The primary benefit of this method is the transparency in app development cost, as the end price is learned even before the development begins.
  2. Time and material: This method of pricing is a lot more flexible and applied in complex projects that may have unforeseen returns while development. This cost is mainly based on the time spent on investment and the hourly rate.

When you go for the time and material pricing approach, you can achieve flexibility in your app development project. You can simply adjust the scope of work, add or delete features you want, and make important changes during the development process. A tailored app is the final result after following such steps that meets your users’ needs and expectations. Yet, it’s tough to tell which pricing approach the company uses as it can mainly affect the app development cost and overall approach of the project.

Stages of App Development

The explanation to the question “How much does it cost to build an app?” wouldn’t be completed without describing the app development stages and costs incurred by them.

Software development comprises 5 major stages:

  • Discovery stage
  • UX and UI design
  • Mobile app development
  • App testing and quality assurance
  • Ongoing maintenance and updates

Let’s dive in to know how each stage influences the final cost to build an app.

Discovery Stage

Here comes the initial planning and analysis stage. As per a report by Clutch, 70% of businesses begin with project planning and analysis. This phase has the role of UX/UI designers, business analysts, product owners, and software architects working on the following tasks:

  1. Deep market research and competitor analysis.
  2. Recognizing the pain points of potential users and how the mobile app can solve them.
  3. Prototypes creation for app visualization.
  4. Setting up all the steps during mobile app development and defining a timeline.

Cost: $5,000 to $25,000 and beyond

Planning and project analysis sometimes take 2-5 weeks for the majority of projects.

UX and UI Design

The stage where user flows are formed, defining how users will interact with the app, and the overall look of the interface. Certainly, the important stage for building a user-friendly product that will be simple to use and relevant as well.

Cost: $5,000 and can go beyond $50,000

The cost depends on the number of screens that should be made and the entire toughness of the app.

Mobile App Development

Many factors can change the cost to build an app in either direction.

Minimum Cost: $5,000-$10,000

Complex App Cost: $50,000-$75,000 and reach $300,000+.

App Testing & Deployment

Just like you take a car test drive before striking the road, a mobile app also needs detailed testing before being deployed. This stage is vital in the development process, assuring that your app performs well, is free from errors, and gives an exceptional user experience. So, don’t overlook the budget for testing and quality assurance in your mobile app development costs.

App development cost also comprises the testing and deployment stage. Here, testing and quality assurance are vital in app development and helps to confirm that the app is developed for users, with no issues, and gives a brilliant user experience

Cost: $5,000-$10,000

Calculating the cost of app development is a daunting task as it involved many factors that can vitally affect the end price. The cost varies and depends on how complex are the apps’ features, company you choose, country you select for outsourcing. For example, a small to medium-sized company in Europe may charge you $25,000-$115,000 for app development, while in the United States, the cost can soar, ranging from $485,000-$730,000. Therefore, it’s critical to evaluate these factors before beginning the app development process to make sure you receive a realistic cost estimate.

App Development Cost Calculators

To remain relevant in this highly competitive app development world, businesses need to understand the app development cost in advance to meet their ROI goals. Furthermore, several app development companies have made online app cost calculators. Here we have dropped some of the famous ones:

  1. Cleveroad Calculator – This mobile app cost calculator asks 10+ questions to form the price of the app development for applications resembling existing ones or custom-made apps, providing development time estimates in hours.
  2. Buildfire Calculator – This seven-step app cost calculator tells the cost for mobile app development via filters like platform, integrations, features, users, monetization, maintenance & hosting, and Buildfire services.
  3. Agicent App Cost Calculator – This mobile app development cost calculator shows all the filters for defining a cost on a single page, covering the app’s size, user-generated content, dates and locations, admin & feedback, UI complexity, account features, mobile-specific features, dates & locations, social & engagement, billing & eCommerce, & analytics, external API, and security.
  4. Inoxoft Calculator – This app development cost calculator offers a cost estimate range on every step of the cost calculation process for both mobile & desktop software.
  5. Andreasley Calculator – An intuitive app cost calculator developed in a shopping-cart style, where the cost is calculated based on Platform, Device types, Supported OS versions, Quality, Number of Screens, Screen orientation modes,Custom Controls, Device types, Security level, Supported OS versions, Number of languages supported, Deployment, and Special functions.
  6. Litslink Calculator – This seven-step app cost calculator begins by specifying the industry the mobile app needs to be developed for and delivers a summary of all choices made. Once the cost calculation process is completed, the tool gives a contact form to get an app development cost estimate.

These app development cost calculators help companies to get a rough estimate of the cost of developing an app before commencing the development project, making it easier to budget and allocate resources accordingly.

How Agicent Estimates App Development Cost?

Now you must be clear how much it will cost you to develop an app. At Agicent, we take the ensuing approach that the budget is taken care of and an app is completed on time:

  • Market research – We are there for you before the development, and assist in conducting detailed market research, analyze famous apps, define the target audience, and bring innovative ideas. We don’t do cloning famous apps yet determining a new way to make your app stand out from the crowd.
  • Begin with the first app version – We recommend you to commence the development with a simple version of app along with the generic features to initially test your app idea.
  • Ensure ongoing development – When the idea is successfully tested, you can plan for another advancements and extra features.

We have already mentioned above the costs and how to reduce the app expenses. The whole process of app development and cost estimation can be challenging and overwhelming due to several reasons. It can be tough to steer the process alone without the assistance of a trustworthy partner. If you feel you are lacking in expertise in app development, look for the companies who can help you differently. You can get an accurate cost estimate of building an app that meets your business goals, and takes your company to new heights.

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