Cost Calculator App: The Ultimate Guide

August 22, 2022

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Developing an app can be a costly investment, but it can also be a very lucrative one. As with any project, app cost varies depending on how you want it to work. However, you can generally expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $200,000 for a mobile application development project.

So, how will you know where your app development costs fall in that range? The best way to get an accurate estimate is to contact a mobile app development company and discuss your project with them. They will be able to give you a specific cost breakdown based on the specifics of your application.

Here, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the cost of creating an app and what you can expect during the process!

What Should You Look Into When Estimating The App Cost?

app development cost breakdown

A rough estimate of a mobile application can only be formulated according to several factors. From the user interface to the development team you want to work with—these will all impact the cost.

If you’re not yet ready to tackle the technicalities of your app design yet, no problem! We’ll ease you into the application development process:

Application Idea

Before thinking about the cost, you should validate your app idea first. The process may seem daunting, but we’re here to help. Here are some steps to get you started:

Research, research, research

It’s critical to do research before you start creating your app to ensure it is a good idea. You can start by asking your family, friends, and co-workers what they think about it. Consider their feedback and remember what features they want to see in it. Whether it’s improving application design or adding QR code scanning, their suggestions can help validate your project.

Build a Prototype

If you have an exciting app idea, don’t keep it to yourself—share it with the world! By building a prototype, you can better understand your idea. Not only will this help you market your mobile app to potential partners or developers, but it will also help you get feedback from other users who might be interested in using it.

Create a Development Plan

A development plan will help you understand the final cost and time required to bring your application to life. Using several online tools to create mobile applications might help you understand the app design and how it should work. With a plan in place, it will be easier to discuss it with a project manager or an app developer.

GPS tracking

App Features You Want to Include

Many people just think about how their application will look, but it’s more important to have a clear idea of which features you want first. This will help determine the cost and complexity of your project. Some typical features of a mobile application are:

GPS or location-based services

This is one of the most popular features in mobile applications today. GPS services are helpful for various purposes, such as tracking user location, providing directions, or finding nearby businesses. If you want to include GPS or location-based services in your app, you’ll need to consider the cost of developing and integrating these features.

Push notifications

Push notifications are a great way to keep users updated and engaged on your app’s latest news and happenings. They can also be used to drive traffic to specific parts of the app, such as promoting products or services. Having this, you can keep a more engaged user base by constantly informing and driving them into your app.

User login and two-factor authentication

Having a user login and authentication feature in your app ensures clients that you adhere to privacy policies and store data safely. It’s also helpful if you integrate QR codes for easy log-ins or if you want to keep track of what people are doing on your application to improve the user experience further. Keep in mind that some applications will let unauthenticated users access the application. So mixing application behavior with authentication and public access will make the development more complex.

Social media integration

Aside from having security measures in place, integrating social media into your app could increase your brand’s visibility and make it easier for customers to find and interact with you and their network. It also helps improve customer loyalty by providing an activity feed for customers to keep up with your brand’s latest news and promotions.

Messaging functionality

If you’re looking for ways to improve customer communication and engagement, consider adding a messaging functionality to your mobile app. It’s a convenient way for your users to communicate with other users and increase the application usage by having them frequently check in to answer their messages.

Tip: Add multi-language support to cater to your international users.

The Type of Your App

There are three main types of mobile apps: native, hybrid, and WPA (Web progressive app). Each type impacts your mobile app development costs and project timeline, so it’s essential to understand the difference before getting started. Here is what you need to know about them:

Native App

A native app is a smartphone application developed specifically for a particular platform, such as iOS or Android. Native applications are written in the native language of the platform they’re being built for, which allows them to take advantage of all the device’s features. They also tend to provide a better user experience since they’re designed specifically for each type of device.

The downside is higher application cost and longer development time than other types of apps. That’s because you need to create separate versions of the application for each type of device you want to support. Not only will you need developers with specific skill sets, you will also need to keep maintaining both projects simultaneously.

Progressive Web App (PWA)

Contrary to popular belief, a web application is not an actual application. Instead, they are web applications that resemble native applications in some ways but are not implemented as such. A browser will run the progressive web apps, and they are typically coded in HTML5. One advantage will be that users could first access them by navigating to a unique URL.

Web apps are popular because they are somewhat less expensive and time-consuming to develop than native apps. But, it also has a few disadvantages because the offline mode is much more limited, and users won’t have access to all the native features of devices. Despite these, it’s also a good option if you want to reach the broadest possible audience with your app.

Hybrid App

Many fairly complex projects are developed using hybrid app frameworks, a combination of native and web technologies. Like a web application, it is developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and then wrapped in a hybrid framework container. This allows them to be installed like a native app on mobile devices and leverage web technologies to build the Interfaces.

The advantage of hybrid app development is that it’s a cost-effective way to develop an app that has a flexible user interface because it can be used on multiple types of devices. That’s because you only need to build one version of the application that can be installed on any type of device.

The App Platform it Supports

 ios apps

Another important consideration when planning your app development cost is which platforms you want to support. The most dominant platforms for mobile apps are iOS and Android. Here’s the difference between the two:

Apple iOS

Being the operating system that powers iPhones and iPads, iOS is a popular operating system where mobile applications can be installed with a single press of a button. iOS applications are requested to be very qualitative. This is because Apple has more stringent App Store standards that developers must follow to have their apps approved.

iOS apps also have the advantage of using Apple’s latest technologies and features, such as ARKit and Face ID. These features can give your application an edge over the competition and make it more appealing to users.

Android

With over 2 billion active users, Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world that powers a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and wearables. If your business wants to reach as many people as possible, consider developing your app for Android. The cost of developing an Android application is also typically slightly lower than for iOS apps, the reason being that many more developers around the World can develop Android applications with cheaper computers than Mac users.

Android offers a wide range of customization options and features that are unavailable on other platforms. This allows businesses to create an app design that truly stands out from the competition. Additionally, there are more Android users than any other type of smartphone user, so your application has a larger potential audience.

What are App Cost Calculators?

App cost calculators are a dime a dozen these days, especially when you need to create a budget and project timeline. However, not all app cost calculators are created equal—some are more accurate than others, and some offer basic features only.

To give you an overview, here’s a list of popular calculator apps that we find helpful in starting your development process:

Buildfire – Step-by-step calculator (website)

Buildfire is an interactive web app cost calculator that can provide a rough estimate in six steps! For tech entrepreneurs and start-up business owners, this tool is your pal when you’re thinking about building a new software product.

What makes Buildfire our favorite app cost calculator is that it will give you an estimated budget for setting up your app, developing it, and its monthly maintenance!

Estimate My App – Simple and easy to use (website)

The Estimate My App calculator is our pick for first-timers who want to build their app. Its simplistic and intuitive design will quickly give you a rough idea of the cost of your app. By clicking on the icons presented as a list, you will get the numbers you need to develop it and how many weeks it will take to finish it.

How Much To Make An App – Quick and short (website)

Get an estimated mobile app development cost in under a minute with the How Much To Make An App! Built by experienced mobile app developers, this app cost calculator will provide you with a ballpark budget by asking you eight questions.

VenturePact – Get offshore costs (website)

Are you looking into building your application with an offshore development team but don’t know the cost? VenturePact is the app calculator to use. They will give you rough estimates of different geographies, such as in the U.S.A, Europe, and Asia!

However, we recommend consulting with the offshore agency you want to work with to get an accurate estimation.

Digitalya – Know your spending limit (website)

Aside from providing estimated development costs, you will also know what price to negotiate with your prospective development team when you use Digitalya. Its 5-step cost estimation will give you the best- and the worst-case scenario of costs and hours of work in developing your application.

What we worry about is their short questionnaire. It may be too short to get an estimate when you want to include other features in your application.

app development cost calculator

How to break down the app cost?

Using an app development cost calculator may not give you an approximate cost compared to consulting developers, which would require a lot more information before committing, but it’s an extremely helpful tool to get a quick idea of the budget you need. A budget will help you determine which features are essential and which ones you can live without. Generally, expect an estimate of $10,000 to $50,000. Depending on the team you hire, this cost may not include developers’ hourly rates and crash reporting after its development, among others.

To give you a rundown of the factors that may affect the mobile app development cost, here are what you can expect:

Project Scope

When creating an application, one of the first things that need to be determined is the project’s scope. Typically, a project manager or a business analyst will figure out what features and functionality the app will have and what it will not. And most importantly will deep dive into each feature and identify all the potential use cases. Determining the project requirements can be frightening, but it’s crucial to get a precise idea of what needs to be done to create your dream application.

UI/UX Design

App design can be a tricky process. Many mobile application development teams make the mistake of rushing into implementation without carefully planning out all of the screens, interfaces, and interactions users will have on their applications. An experienced UI/UX designer can assist you in avoiding this pitfall.

Frontend Development (applicable for Hybrid apps and Progressive Web apps)

Along with getting a UI/UX designer, investing in front-end development services ensures that your app design is functional. The visual component of the application must be programmed, and it’s preferable if your front-end developer has a good understanding of UX and UI design fundamentals.

Backend Development (to develop API Application Programming Interface)

The backend of an app comprises several essential components to consider, but not limited to; server configuration, server application, and database. In vulgar terms, it’s a development process of organizing and storing data on a server and ensuring that all content on the client side (client-side is synonymous with the application-side) runs smoothly. In other words, they create code that communicates database information for an application to work.

Quality Assurance

Another factor that affects a mobile app development cost is quality assurance. QA developers are responsible for testing the application for bugs and glitches and ensuring that it meets the standards set by the product owners. It’s generally a good idea to budget for at least 10% of the total development cost for QA to ensure that your application is ready for launch and that users will have a positive experience using it.

Monitoring and maintenance

As mobile devices become increasingly prevalent, ensure that your apps are well-monitored and maintained. This means tracking data points such as crashes, freezes, and errors and promptly addressing the issues. Remember that maintaining your app outweighs the costs of only fixing it when it crashes.

Marketing Your App

An app cost calculator may not factor in the cost of marketing your app. However, you should know that even the best content management system apps will fail if no one knows they exist. So, budget for paid advertising, PR, and other marketing efforts that will help ensure your app reaches its target audience.

People You Will Hire

An app development cost calculator somehow estimates the cost of hiring developers to make your app. Usually, partnering with an agency will ensure your vision is successfully executed since they develop applications day in and day out. Top-of-the-line mobile app development firms may have you spending at least $500,000 on the project or high hourly rates. Whether you want to build an Android or iOS app, here are some options you can do:

Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

Believe it or not, you can DIY your dream apps! Template designs for mobile apps are cookie-cutter design frameworks that require minimal IT and development skills to implement. You can build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) app with this type of template without spending too much money or time.

While building an app by yourself can be cost-effective, you will have to sacrifice premium features and its security level. If you are not familiar with coding, likely, your app will not be as advanced as those created by a development team. DIY apps often have bugs and glitches because they’re not developed in secured environments.

Offshore

There are many benefits to outsourcing mobile app development. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is cost savings. By working with a company in a region where labor cost is lower, you can save significant money on development. Furthermore, outsourcing allows you to tap into a global talent pool, giving you access to some of the best app developers in the world. This can be especially important if you don’t have the resources or expertise to develop an app on your own.

By working with a reputable outsourcing company, you can be sure that your app will be developed to the highest standards and that it will be delivered on time and on budget.

However, the app development cost can vary depending on the region you are located in. In North America, Western Europe, and Australia, an app developer can cost up to $250 per hour. In Eastern Europe, expect a $30-$110 hourly rate. The cheapest rates are in South Asia, East Asia, and Africa, costing around $20-40 per hour.

Nearshore

Consider working with a nearshore app development team if you want to work with a partner closer to you. Nearshore developers are usually slightly more expensive than their offshore counterparts since they try to bridge the hourly rate between them and the first World country hiring them.

Finally, working with a nearshore team can be a great way to start your app development project. Many businesses find it challenging to find and hire an in-house app project manager, but by working with a nearshore team, you can get help from experienced professionals without breaking the bank.

Local Developer

When you work with a local developer, you’re getting someone who understands the unique challenges and opportunities of app development in your area. They offer lower app development costs and tailored app features to meet the specific needs of your local users. Plus, they’re more likely to be up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies in app development, so you can be sure your app will be as cutting-edge as possible.

First-grade Agency

There are pros and cons to working with a first-grade agency. On the plus side, these agencies have a lot of experience and expertise in building top-notch mobile applications, so they can meet your desired level of quality. They also have a wealth of resources and connections, which can help get your app off the ground.

The downside, however, is the cost. These agencies typically charge more than smaller or less experienced firms. Additionally, their timelines can be longer than what you might be used to, so it’s essential to factor that in when making your decision.

How do you calculate app development time?

As mentioned, there is no one-size-fits-all time estimate when developing an app. Thus, it is worth knowing the factors that significantly affect the timeline of your project, such as:

Size of the app

Typically, a small app or a minimum viable product with basic features takes much less time to create than medium to large and complex apps, which can take months or even years to develop. If you are considering building complex apps, expect a longer timeline for designing, testing, and perfecting them.

Platforms supported

The platforms an app is developed for can significantly impact the time it takes to develop it. It’s fairly normal to want to have your brilliant app idea deployed to as many platforms as possible. But sometimes, it would be wise to select Android or iOS at first to catch your early adopter users and keep the budget you would have spent on development for the other platform.

Third-Party Integration

Developing an application with a lot of third-party integration, like SMS messaging, payment gateways, and data integration from external sources typically would take longer to build. Each integration needs to be carefully designed and implemented and often requires specific coding and testing. Moreso, third-party integrations require specific permissions or access to data, which need to be negotiated and obtained.

App Development Team

The impact of hiring an app development company in your project timeline vary depending on several factors, including the region you’re located in, the experience and expertise of the developers you work with, and the type of app you’re creating. A team of more people not only increase development cost but will also take longer to complete the project than a team of fewer people. Since it takes more time for more people to come to a consensus and coordinate their work, having more people on a team can lead to communication breakdowns and conflicts.

Develop Your App with Us!

With technology constantly evolving along with the rise in IT services costs, creating a mobile app can be daunting. So, how do we estimate app development costs?

app development company

As an established app development company in Southeast Asia, we’ll take you through the step-by-step development process to determine the amount of money needed. We develop applications according to the Agile methodology, a system development life cycle composed of defined work phases. We use them to plan, design, build, test, and deliver the final product for our clients!

If you need an application developed, don’t hesitate to contact us! We have a team of experienced developers who will be more than happy to take on your project. We use the latest technology and adhere to the highest standards to build you a mobile app that will reach more audiences, raise return on investment, promote your brand, and boost user engagement (ROI).

Let’s turn your app idea into reality. Book a free consultation today to get started!

How much does developing an app cost?

The cost of developing an app depends on various factors, including the type of app you’re developing, the platform you’re targeting, and the features you want to include. If you book a consultation with us, we’ll give you an accurate quotation to help you set a budget!

What is the process of developing an app?

The process of developing an app begins with an idea. Once you know what you want to develop, an app cost calculator may help you get an estimate. However, consulting with us will get you a development cost breakdown for your business plan.

How do you calculate app development time?

The development process depends on the complexity of the app and the size of the team working on it. Generally speaking, smaller apps that don’t have many features will take less time to create than more complex apps. And, of course, a team of more people will take longer to complete the project than a team of fewer people.

Can I develop an app myself?

Yes, you can! there are many tools and platforms out there that will let you create the first version of your application with no code experience. If you already have experience in coding and app development, then, of course, you can go ahead by yourself, but keep in mind that a successful project heavily relies on the fact that you have a deep understanding of so many things (Design, server administration, backend, frontend, monitoring tools…etc). A one-man show. You may be able to develop it yourself and reduce the app development cost. However, if you’re unfamiliar with all the processes, it’s best to leave it to a team of experts like us.

How can I make sure my app is a success?

There’s no guaranteed formula for making an app a success, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances. First, ensure you understand your target audience and what they want from your app. Second, create an app that solves a problem or fills a need. And finally, make sure your app is well-designed and easy to use.

If you have any other questions about developing an app and its development costs, feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin

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