App Development Costs: 6 Factors That Can Impact Your Budget!

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App Development Costs: 6 Factors That Can Impact Your Budget!


Vaishnavi Shah

Published January 10, 2023

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When considering the costs associated with building a mobile or web application, it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all price tag. Application development is a complex endeavor, and the amount of money it takes to develop an application varies greatly between projects. Research shows that app development costs can range between $40K to $150K and even exceed $300K for complex projects. 

So what drives the cost of developing such mobile and web applications?

A lot. To help you understand what influences app development costs, we did a detailed analysis of the top 7 factors that can impact your budget. Let’s dig in!

  1. App Developers: Their Expertise And Your Requirements

Whether you want to create a mobile or web application, having the right team of developers is critical for its success. They are the ones who will understand the problem you are trying to solve and turn it into robust solutions and engaging experiences for customers. So it is natural that assembling an experienced team of developers will take up a significant portion of your app development budget. 

You can hire a full-time developer or work with a freelance developer who charges hourly. Here are three cost factors you should consider: 

  • The country they are from: Developers from different countries charge differently. For instance, app developers charge an hourly rate of $41 to $54 in the USA. On the other hand, app developers in Australia may charge $52 per hour. 
  • Technological expertise: It is crucial to note that experienced app developers proficient in the technology you want usually charge more. Novice developers are just getting started so they will charge comparatively lesser. 
  • The app platform and the project timeline: If you are building a mobile application, developers would charge a different fee depending on the platform chosen – iOS or Android – as building applications for each may involve different processes and tools.  Similarly, if the project is complex and requires more time, the cost of hiring developers will increase. 
  1. The App Design 

Implementing all aspects of your UI and UX design is expensive. But they are essential to the success of your application. 

Here are the top features in your app design that can accelerate your app development costs!

  • Personalization: Apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Instagram use app personalization as their competitive advantage. But app personalization can be costly. Research shows that adding personalized features can cost up to $500K. 
  • User experience: Designing an app with a user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation is a process that is lengthy, intricate, and requires expert skills in order to create an effective application. As such, these lead to an increase in overall costs associated with developing an app. 
  • Visual design: The visual design of an app, including the use of color, typography, and imagery, can significantly impact the overall aesthetic of the app and its appeal to users. Developing a visually appealing design may require specialized skills and expertise that ultimately impact costs.
  1. Security Features

The cost of security features in applications can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the complexity of the application and the type of security measures. Some critical security features in an application include:

  • Authentication and authorization: It allows users to log in and access certain areas. Although it can be relatively simple to implement, these features require ongoing maintenance and updates to ensure security.
  • Data encryption: Encrypting data transmitted between the application and its users can help protect against data breaches and ensure the privacy of sensitive information. However, implementing encryption can be resource-intensive and may require specialized expertise.
  • Vulnerability testing and remediation: By testing an application for vulnerabilities and fixing any issues can be an ongoing process that requires dedicated resources.
  1. Additional Talent

Developers alone can’t shoulder the app development project. It requires a team effort to build an application from scratch. Below we have listed the roles and costs of hiring additional talent for your app development project. 

App Development TeamTheir RoleTheir Average Hourly Wage (in the USA)
Project ManagerResponsible for overseeing the entire development process and ensuring that the app is delivered on time and within budget.$66
UI/UX DesignersResponsible for app testing to ensure that it is bug-free and every feature works efficiently. $41
Quality Assurance EngineerResponsible for creating the visual design and layout of an app's user interface, including the layout, color scheme, typography, and overall aesthetic.$34

The size of the development team depends on what objective you are trying to accomplish. For instance, if you want to bring the app to market quickly, you can hire additional IT specialists to accelerate the development process. On the other hand, if you have a limited budget, you can simplify the functionality of your app, focus on developing for one platform, or hire a smaller number of specialists to control the app development costs. 

Similarly, you can consider the outsourcing option. Read this guide to understand the nuances of outsourcing your software development process. 

  1. The App Development Platform

App development platforms and frameworks can help developers create interactive mobile, web, and desktop applications. But the cost of using various frameworks and technologies may differ as you may require specialized talent and even have to invest in a specific tool. 

Here are the top platforms that app developers use to create web, mobile, and desktop applications.

  • Native platform (Average cost: $50K to $100K): This type is where you develop a mobile application for a particular operating system, i.e. iOS and Android. It is best suitable for feature-rich mobile applications.
  • Cross-platform frameworks (Average cost: $25K to $60K):  You can use cross-platform frameworks, such as React Native and Flutter, to create apps that can run on multiple platforms using a single codebase.  
  • Web-based platforms (Average cost: $15k to $50K): Web-based platforms, such as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and Responsive Web Design (RWD  allow developers to create apps that can be accessed through a web browser and can be optimized for mobile devices. 
  1. Technical Complexities

No app development cycle is smooth so putting aside a portion of your budget to address technical complexities is practical. Here are the top technical complexities most developers face during the development process and how they can impact your app development costs. 

  • Third-party integrations: These involve integrating APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) or SDKs (Software Development Kits) into the app. They are provided by a third party and connect functionality from different apps. They may charge a fee for their use, and you can also encounter difficulties while integrating. 
  • Custom design and animations: Having interactive animations can help you differentiate yourself, but many custom illustrations and animations cost a fortune to design and implement. It is vital to consider their compatibility with various screen sizes and devices. 
  • App maintenance: Creating app maintenance features may seem a massive expense, but it is crucial for maintaining a good user experience. They can help prevent unexpected glitches and crashes and can help you build a long-term revenue stream. 
  • Security integrations: Adding advanced encryption to provide robust security increases the cost of app development. It becomes even more expensive if developers need to hire specialized security experts to ensure the app's compliance with various standards or regulations. 

Having a Strategic Plan is the Key

Creating an application from scratch sounds like a lot, but it is a rewarding experience nonetheless. With over 5.2 billion smartphone users globally, developing a user-friendly mobile application seems the best way to connect with your audience and expand your brand reach. 

But to convert your burning cashflows into long-term success, you need to have a strategic plan. 

By creating a strategic plan, you are putting together all the risk factors and requirements you need to get started. It will also help your team to get an idea of what you are trying to achieve. 

And if you don't know where to start, our custom app development team will do everything for you. 

Our experienced team offers the following services:  

  • UI design: Prioritize user experience with an intensive portfolio of user research, product strategy, user interface, and user experience design to achieve the highest ROI. 
  • App deployment: Accelerate time-to-market by leveraging the latest technological frameworks for rapid application deployment and continuous delivery. 
  • Quality assurance: Deliver a flawless product to your customers through rigorous testing and adopting the best industry practices of Quality Assurance (AQ). 
  • Application security: Enable enterprise-level security and compliance practices to reduce vulnerabilities.
  • Application Maintenance: Transform application management with in-depth industry expertise and enable faster upgrades based on user feedback. 

Ready to take the next step? Just reach out to us with the project details here.

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