How Much Does it Cost to Make a Mobile App?

So, you want to develop a mobile app, don’t you? You will have plenty of different options according to the budget, time frames, risks, etc. that will influence the total mobile app development cost.

The entire development process consists of several crucial steps you will have to follow. They range from the initial idea for the product and choosing the type of app to its deployment, support, promotion, and monetization. All these factors will affect the mobile app development pricing as well.

The prices also vary with the region and size of the development team you choose. Whether it is going to be a freelancer or a well-established development company, we will highlight some major risks and issues to outline how much does it cost to build an app.

Choosing an app type

How to create an app? This is the first question every mobile startup faces. The word keeps going mobile while thousands of new applications appear in the market every day. Choosing the right type is essential when it comes to meeting the expectations of your target audience as well as defining the mobile app development cost. There are several niches that are in demand today:

  • Sports and healthcare;
  • Business and lifestyle;
  • Traveling and eating out;
  • Social platforms and dating apps;
  • Music streaming and broadcasting;
  • Reservation services;
  • Gaming apps.

These are only a few popular categories highlighted by the App Store and Google Play. The applications may also vary depending on their functionality and complexity:

  • Basic functionality – this type of apps features a precise hierarchy. For example, you click on one topic and then go to the next screen with a wider list of topics. This is how a simple application delivers some basic information to a user;
  • Database-driven functionality – this type is rather complex with some essential tools letting the developers utilize heavy-load content. It comes with data structure and organization in accordance with users’ preferences;
  • Mobile games – this type of application is the most challenging one to develop. It calls for the implementation of different advanced technologies such as specific game mechanics and engine to deliver high-quality graphics, sound effects, and gaming process to the end user.

Choosing the right type of the application is an essential step because it will determine the type and amount of content (read the amount of money) you will provide app with. Remember: every extra feature, page with content affect the average cost to develop an app.

The last but not the least is to choose the platform of your future app. Although the cost of Android app development may appear to be a bit lower if compared with iOS applications, the difference is not as crucial as it might seem.

Developing a mobile app

No matter what type of app you are about to build, the development process should have a clear structure. As a rule, it typically consists of five major stages with some minor exceptions.

#1. Identifying the purposes

Having an idea of building an app is good, but knowing the exact direction is better. You can choose from numerous directions including entertainment, business, education, etc. One thing you should keep in mind is that the more complicated your product initially is, the higher price you will need to pay. On the other hand, more complicated products can get higher ROI and go viral faster. But, of course, this is not a golden rule.

#2. Establishing an effective 2-way communication

Hiring a skillful team of developers is not enough. One will hardly bring your product to life without having a clear understanding of what you need to get. Negotiation and collaborative communication are necessary for both sides – you and development team. At this stage, you must be 100% clear on interaction models of all parts of your product.

#3. Design and Prototyping

There are no easy steps in the app development process. Every new stage comes with more responsibilities and tougher tasks. The app design will reflect the face of your future product and the way your users will see it. A good product calls for some UI and UX features in order to provide convenience and easy interaction with the application. This is where prototyping can appear to be extremely useful.

Building an MVP is a good chance to see if users will be interested in the product and if it will succeed among the target audience. Designers pay attention to every small detail ranging from the icon, splash screens and many other essential assets that will affect the level of users’ engagement and in-app interaction.

#4. QA and QC Testing

Testing is another vital stage in the development process. Chosen testing methods may also affect iOS or Android app development cost. QA engineers need to ensure smooth app running in spite of the mobile platform, type of device and any other asset. Professionals use both emulators and real devices to detect all possible bugs and eliminate malfunctions.

#5. App promotion

Building a flawless mobile app is only 50% of success. After you are done with the development process and got the final version of your product, you need to attract customers and make app stand out among main rivals in all major app markets. This is where ASO methods may come in handy. App market optimization strategies and promoting campaigns will let you build the reputation and gain recognition for the brand name.

Calculating the Cost

Now, let’s talk about figures. The major force that dominates the price of both native and hybrid mobile app development is the cost of labor. The price will depend on whether you opt for offshore developers or hire a domestic team. A full-scale well-established development company traditionally charges higher hourly rates if compared with freelancers.

The cost of the app development may vary from $5,000  to $500,000 and more. However, the typical price per a brilliant and functional app is $100,000 in average. A more complicated app with a set of complex features starts from $300,000 and takes about 15-25 weeks to complete.

Hiring a Development Agency

Hiring an experienced team of developers will cost you more. On the other hand, they will take responsibility for every step of the development process from exploring your purposes and goals to deployment and promotions. All you need is to pay promptly and track the progress due to Agile methodology.

If you still want to save a couple of bucks, you may opt for outsourcing development team. US and UK-based companies charge from $100 to $200 per hour. European teams charge less. The approximate price here varies from $20 to $70 per hour.

Hiring Freelancers

Hiring a freelancer to build your app will certainly let you save some money. Moreover, he or she may achieve the same quality if compared with an established company. On the other hand, you will never be protected from any possible risks. No one will ever guarantee 100% great results and the ability to work in close collaboration.

The major misses here include:

  • The lack of a project management to handle all your requests and suggestions;
  • A pool of strangers tries to build your app;
  • Inability to meet your expectations. The result may never meet your requirements.


We have covered some of the main aspects that may influence the cost of the development process. Of course, the figures are approximate and may slightly differ from what we have shown. One thing is 100% clear: every time you decide to build an app the only way you can be 100% confident about final outcome is by hiring a team of proven experts is the best idea.
Our company deals with any projects in spite of their complexity. We deliver full-scale development services bringing your every idea to life. Team of qualified experts includes professional project managers, creative designers, acknowledged developers and coders, QA engineers. We will guide you through every stage of the development process and build an award-winning product at a comparatively low price.