How Much Can Developing an App Cost Your Company?

Every time a business launches an app, their services are literally transformed. Nevertheless, the costs involved can sometimes make people confused. 

If you’re pondering, “How much does it cost to start an app?” you might be onto something and asking the right question. Understanding the various factors that influence the cost of app development, from initial planning to final deployment can help you on your journey and make it a smoother process. 


How Much Does an App Cost to Make: Key Considerations


Several factors significantly influence the overall cost and it is important to be mindful of these. Apps are often more expensive than websites to develop – key considerations include:

  • Platform choice (iOS, Android, cross-platform) – Developing a native app for iOS might differ in cost compared to Android. Why? Due to varying development environments and user interface requirements. Cross-platform tools can reduce costs, but they may come with performance trade-offs
  • Functionality and complexity – Basic apps with standard features like a calculator or timer are far cheaper to develop than apps requiring features like real-time GPS tracking or complex database operations
  • User interface and experience design – A custom-designed UI/UX can significantly increase development costs. Apps that require unique, bespoke interfaces require more design hours and higher skill levels, thus more money
  • Maintenance and updates – Post-launch, your app will require maintenance to keep it functional and relevant. These costs will add to the long-term financial commitment of app development

Stage-By-Stage Breakdown Of Developing and Building an App


As with any tech project, there will be necessary steps and stages when it comes to developing your app and understanding what these stages are and why is matters will help you navigate the journey:


Conceptualisation and Planning 


In this initial phase, costs are driven by market research and core feature planning. For simple apps, the focus is on basic functionality and straightforward design. Complex apps require extensive planning and technical challenges, leading to higher expenses.


Design Phase


This stage involves transforming the initial plans into a tangible user interface. Simple apps with minimalistic designs are more cost-effective, whereas apps that require custom designs incur higher costs.


Development Phase


The development phase is where the app’s functionalities are built. Simple apps with limited features are less costly and quicker to develop. In contrast, complex apps, especially those incorporating technologies like blockchain or augmented reality, require more skilled developers, increasing the costs.


Testing and Quality Assurance 


This phase ensures that all app features function as intended without defects. The costs cover various testing methodologies, including performance, security, and user acceptance tests.


Deployment and Support 


A successful app launch also includes app store fees and marketing expenses. We can add ongoing support and updates post-launch into this section as well, as it’s crucial for maintaining the app’s relevance and functionality. 


How Much Does an App Cost: Unveiling Hidden Costs


While initial estimates might give a rough idea, the true cost can escalate due to several unforeseen factors. Here are some hidden costs that you should look out for:

  • Unexpected delays and technical challenges – Technical hurdles can significantly inflate the budget. These might stem from coding issues, integration problems, or unforeseen technical limitations
  • Change in scope or feature creep – Each new feature or design change can add to the development time and cost, leading to budget overruns
  • Security and compliance costs – Ensuring that your app meets all security standards is often overlooked during the planning phase
  • Integration with other systems and data migration – It’s complex and costly to integrate an app with existing systems into a new app. As it requires specialised skills and more time, it results in bigger costs


How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App: Outsourcing vs. In-House App Development


Making the choice between hiring an internal team or outsourcing is vital. Here’s a brief summary of what each choice comprises:

  • Costs: Lower upfront costs and no long-term commitments make outsourcing cheaper. Meanwhile, in-house teams require investment in hiring, training, and technology. However, it can potentially lead to lower ongoing expenses
  • Time and resource management: Outsourcing can accelerate development. But managing projects in-house might offer better control over timelines
  • Quality and control: In-house development typically allows for greater control and, thus, the ability to maintain quality. Outsourcing can involve trade-offs in terms of direct supervision and final product consistency

Each approach offers distinct advantages and challenges, making it essential to consider your specific needs.