How much does it cost to build an app?” If you’ve got a great idea for an app and are in your research phase, this will probably be one of the first things you’ll be looking up. Budget can be a big constraint when it comes to mobile app development, and can vary drastically based on the type of app you’re building, how long it may take, where you’re building it, and whether you’re building it in-house, outsourcing, or using no-code.

While in theory, it’d be great to be able to pinpoint the cost of building an app with some amount of accuracy, you’re more likely to get only an estimate until you’ve figured out the resources you’ll be using and the app development method that you choose.

Average Costs of App Development

Simple Apps

Development cost: $10,000 – $50,000

Examples: Calculator apps, clocks, simple games, to-do applications, weather applications

These types of apps are the easiest to develop and take the least amount of time, which means they are also the cheapest to develop.

Medium Complexity Apps

Development cost: $60,000 – $120,000

Examples: Social network apps

Apps like these have to handle thousands, in fact, millions of interactions, they usually contain chat functionality, and let users share information. This requires a solid backend infrastructure and comes with a larger price tag.

Complex Apps

Development cost: $100,000+

Examples: Marketplaces, eCommerce, on-demand service apps

eCommerce apps like Amazon, Alibaba, and other marketplaces require a long list of features like user registration, location, catalogs, product pages and descriptions, payment options, etc.

On-demand apps like Uber or AirBnb help connect service providers with people that need them. These apps combine the features of a social network and marketplace or eCommerce applications, and have significant development costs.

Factors That Influence The Cost of Building an App

Cost of App Developers

App development cost is dependent on the location and development agency that you choose. You can choose to work with dev shops, freelancers, large agencies, or build an app yourself without code. The agency or freelancer’s location also plays a big role in the cost, usually billed per hour or on a project basis. The cost will vary quite significantly based on the options you choose (you can find out more in this blog!)

Features and Complexity

The number of features and complexity of the app will drive up its cost. Basic features such as login and subscription take less time to build; more advanced functionalities, like payment, location tracking, etc. have a higher cost associated and take more time to develop.

Mobile Platforms

The cost of development usually varies based on whether your app is developed for iOS, Android, or both.

Complexity of UI/UX

User interface, design, and visual objects of the app can influence the cost, especially if your app has custom elements, buttons, icons, illustrations, and fonts. This is because experienced UI/UX designers are expensive.

Mobile App Maintenance

Mobile apps need regular monitoring, testing, and maintenance. Without this regular maintenance, updates, bug fixes, and new features, your app may run the risk of becoming outdated soon, causing you to lose users. The average cost of app maintenance is usually around 15% to 20% of the entire project app development budget.

Tips to Build a Mobile App on a Budget

Do Your Homework!

By conducting thorough user research, market research, and carefully choosing the features and level of complexity that you’ll need, you can make sure that you build only what you absolutely need, while avoiding potential expensive mistakes.

Choose the Right Vendor

Picking the right vendor is crucial to staying within budget. Make sure you do your research, check their reviews, visit their websites, and get a look at their previous work.

Build an MVP

Start by building an app with the basic, functional features only – your MVP. Try to avoid the temptation to reach for the stars from the get-go. By starting with the essential features that are necessary to solve the users’ needs, you’ll be able to slowly add on to the features that you need.

Keep Your Design Simple

Like with features, it helps to keep the first draft simple, and stick with basic functional design elements. Once you’ve got a successful launch, you can then move on to something more complex.

Try No-Code to Build Your App

No-code tools like Adalo let you build an app at a minimal cost, while housing your database on their servers. You can use one of the many templates on Adalo to build apps with varying complexity, and use components to add in the features you need. Check out some templates here.

We hope this easy guide helps you with how to budget for building a mobile app. You can check out our blogs on user research, marketing, and choosing features for your MVP to help you along the way.

If you want to know how to estimate the cost of building an app, you can check out Adalo's mobile app cost calculator. You'll get an accurate estimate based on data from experts, makers, and professionals!

Try it now.

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