How Much Will My App Cost To Develop?

Posted by Davzo Inc

Posted in Business


Are you excited about your app idea? App development starts with an idea but is quickly supplanted by another factor: cost of developing the app. It is at this point where many ideas are tossed for not being good enough considering the costs. Let’s look at the typical breakdown of app development costs. Based on an early 2015 assessment, the costs of developing app has skyrocketed from $10,000 in 2010 to over a million which is what large companies are spending on app development. What happened from 2010 to 2015 are a billion light years in technological and computer advances plus more sophisticated demands from consumers.
The exact amount would ultimately depend on the kind of app you have in mind. For instance, to launch your first simple commercial-level app, you need to create the wireframe, screen design, framework, APIs, QAs, and develop the programming. This will require finding the skills and talents of persons with experience to avoid messy trial and error scenarios. You can expect a small native app development to cost at least $25,000 and around $19,000 for a hybrid app. This does not include the cost of app maintenance and operations.

But First Release Is …

The most important lesson to learn before embarking on your app development project is to realize that apps mature gradually and successful apps are never first releases. There is always a revision, revamp, or even total overhaul of the app after the launch. There are multiple examples of successful apps that started as a simple app and developed over time to become the success that they are today like:

  • Facebook which started as Facemash
  • Google Maps which took 3 years to develop
  • Uber which cost $10 million to develop over a period of 5 years before it became successful. It’s initial seed fund was pegged at $1.5 million which came from investors and funds raised by Uber
  • Angry Birds which was the 52nd attempt by Rovio, a struggling app company released in 2009 with an initial cost of $140,000 and is now worth $70 million
  • Twitter which went through a few changes as well before being launched as Twitter

The Next Important Revelation about App Development

If you want a successful app, you need to think of it as more than an app. You need to see it as a venture for a community with feedback loops, structures, analytics, and scalability. All successful app have a few common traits. One, they grew as an app from a simple concept to something complex, exciting, and relevant. Two, their first version were always in test mode which means the apps were limited in function and features. Three, the app addressed a market need or demand. Four, all the apps were able to measure the value of the first version with authentic feedback that led to revisions and five, the process of developing the apps took time to evolve and skipping steps will cost more.

Start Simple, Start Small

Aside from the great concept and aiming for a functional minimum viable product (MVP) app, focus on offering value as well. This means getting the app to test mode as soon as possible in order to assess the response from your market as to its business value. In short, will it sell regardless of the revisions required? Is your app concept a viable business idea?

Factors to Consider with App Development Costs

Although app development costs vary, there are standard factors that can be considered to assess the costs:

  1. Who will develop the app? Freelancer, establish your own app development team, established agency, or offshore team? Will you contract a large app company or a smaller app shop? The difference in costs can go as high as a million.
  2. Will your app require a back-up server, APIs integrated or will it be a standalone?
  3. Will it be iOS or Android? This is important because apps for a smartphone or tablet requires a more complex user interface or significant backend support while Android apps tend to cost more develop.

Finally, if you plan on developing the app yourself and you have never done this before, consider costs such as your salary, operational costs, advertising, marketing, and other comparable costs.

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