Cost Analysis of App Development in 2022
you might have already wondered, “How much does it cost to make an app?” if you were considering setting it up
Technology and business coexist in modern times. The rising popularity of smartphones is a fantastic opportunity to increase customer accessibility to your service or product. For almost any type of business, mobile apps are simply essential. Therefore, you might have already wondered, “How much does it cost to make an app?” if you were considering setting it up.
Depending on the complexity of the app, the price to build one can be anywhere between $60,000 and $300,000
$40,000 to $80,000
$80,000 to $150,000
Due to the features of the app, the cost to develop an app can easily exceed expectations.
The truth is that as software developers, all we can do is estimate costs for distinct web or mobile products. The number and complexity of screens (in both design and function), the platform selection (multiplatform mobile apps obviously require more effort), ongoing maintenance requirements, and QA requirements will all have an impact on the final cost.
At Rhomeson, we typically provide an estimate that divides the cost of developing an app into three main categories:
- Design elements such as branding, animations, and UX/UI design
- Technical Features: Platform and API integrations, app capabilities, etc.
- Maintenance: Server costs, bug fixes, OS upgrades, etc.
Cost-related variables for developing apps
The complexity of the app, the development process, the type of application, the availability of reusable off-the-shelf components, developer experience, and other factors all have an impact on how much it costs to develop an app. Let’s go over some of the most important factors that influence an app’s cost.
Just a quick reminder before we get started: all information presented here assumes creating an MVP (minimum viable product), which is the first releasable version of your product that is not required to have all features present
PROCESS OF APP DEVELOPMENT
As soon as you begin creating an application, you’ll realize that you’re working according to a predetermined process. The process’s steps were established back in the 1990s, during the rise of consumer software. And today, unless you want the entire project to go wrong, these app development stages are strong prerequisites for any app development project.
In addition to outlining the guidelines for creating an application, the breakdown of the mobile app development process enables us to better understand how each stage affects the app cost. Let’s get started without saying more.
Finding your product’s true potential is the focus of the discovery phase. You must match the functionality of the app to the needs of the target market during this step, choose the platforms you want to support, and specify the business objectives for the product. The length of the business analysis could range from 16 to 30 hours, depending on its scope. But bear in mind that your development timeline will be significantly impacted by the development strategy you select.
For instance, creating a plan for the upcoming few sprints will only take a couple of days in agile development. Additionally, if you prefer a more conventional waterfall approach, the discovery phase can cost up to 10% of the total app price.
Pro tip: As long as you’ve conducted some preliminary market research, we advise keeping the discovery step’s budget to $2,500 and 20–30 hours. Invite business analysts who are intimately familiar with your industry to complete this step more quickly. Never move on to the design phase without conducting adequate research.
Rhomeson’s Marketing Analysts have more than 10+ years of experience in research and they have a proven track record in different industries. Talk to us for an insightful discovery about your app idea and market.
PROTOTYPING & DESIGN
Creating the user experience and graphical assets for the solution is the logical step after discovery. Making a clickable prototype is the proper way to do this in order to estimate the cost of designing an app. Wireframes, a basic depiction of screens with clickable elements that allow you to switch between screens while still following the user journey, make up your prototype.
We don’t just refer to the color scheme, icons, or the type of animation to use for transitions when we discuss the design of an app. In fact, when Rhomeson determines the overall design of an application, we take into account the final product’s aesthetics, user interface, and user experience.
Our design process begins with a “user journey,” or a flowchart of how a user is intended to use the software. This aids in our comprehension of the number of different screens an app will contain and, consequently, the overall amount of design work required. We really get a sense of the size of the design work during this brief phase of the design process. This stage usually lasts three to five hours.
Next, based on the user journey, we design the app’s wireframes. The wireframes are plain and may substitute programmer art for actual design assets. We now sketch out the layout of the application with the client, including the placement of the buttons, fields, text, and navigation.
Due to this constant back-and-forth, the wireframing stage typically takes between 40 and 50 hours, give or take.
We can begin working on the actual design of the elements we laid out in the wireframe once this scaffolding work is finished. At that point, we start thinking about things like the app’s overall “style,” fonts, animations, and color schemes. This stage does involve a lot of client input because we always try to keep in mind the final brand image the client is aiming for.
The majority of the front-end work is spent on prototyping and designing an application, which takes about 40 to 50 hours in total. A potential client might anticipate between 80 and 120 hours of front-end work once the design is finished. It’s crucial to keep in mind that this price estimate only takes the first pass into account.
When trying to estimate the cost to create an app, business owners frequently forget to leave some budget for testing the prototype with actual users. Always conduct user testing on the prototype after finishing the design.
We conduct testing to determine whether users are progressing through the user journey as intended or if they are having trouble doing so.
The best way to maximize ROI is to invest the extra time necessary to ensure that the design is flawless because iterating on design is 80–90% less expensive than iterating on code. The prototyping and design stage of developing an app can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $28,000.
It makes sense that the cost of an app is most heavily influenced by the development of the app itself. Experienced developers who have completed numerous projects successfully are still a limited resource. Because of this, coding an app typically makes up between 50 and 70 percent of the total cost of developing an app. The length of the coding process depends on the type of apps being developed, such as a chatbot, a marketplace app, a trading and investment app, a cryptocurrency exchange, or a crypto token.
The price is also impacted by whether an application is being created from scratch or repurposes an existing codebase.
If your business plan calls for creating something entirely original with cutting-edge features no one has ever seen… that will obviously cost a pretty penny.
Pro tip: Between 50 and 70 percent of the cost of an app is the coding. As a result, plan to spend between $25,000 and $75,000 on the coding phase of the development of one app.
Programs with numerous bugs or out-of-date applications that are rendered useless by an operating system updates are other things that put users off. This brings us to quality assurance, a crucial but frequently disregarded stage in the development of apps.
Rhomeson performs QA (also known as “testing”) in two ways:
- Unit testing
- System testing
Each new piece of software that is added is dealt with individually during unit testing. System testing, meanwhile, focuses on the overall performance and usability of the product.
Pro Tip: QA typically charges between 15% and 20% of the total app cost, or between $8,000 and $18,000.
Deploying the software is the next step after it has been created. Fortunately, compared to the other stages of creating an app, this one takes a very short amount of time. That’s also the reason why some development teams and clients frequently overlook it.
At Rhomeson, we ensure that your mobile application passes through the Apple and/or Google verification process and that the back end has been moved to the production environment, tested, and prepared to handle heavy traffic.
Pro tip: Set aside up to $1,800 of the cost of developing your app for the deployment phase.
UPDATES AND MAINTENANCE
A well-running application needs to be maintained over time, just like any well-oiled machine does.
The majority of apps today use cloud service providers like AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure for their back ends. Depending on the scale needed, these services can be inexpensive or expensive per month. In addition, a lot of third-party services that a product might use (like payment systems) operate using a SaaS model and demand a subscription fee.
An app’s throughput requirements in both of these areas are likely to increase as it becomes more popular, which raises the cost of app maintenance.
Pro tip: Keeping everything in mind, we usually calculate that the cost of ongoing maintenance will be equal to about 25% of the initial development cost for each year that follows completion.
COMPLEXITY OF FEATURES
The cost of developing an app increases with the complexity of its features.
A complicated app frequently calls for features like admin panels, server-side logic, third-party integrations, and the use of mobile hardware like Bluetooth or GPS. Each of these comes at a price, whether it be in terms of developer time or potential subscription fees for third-party services.
The list of technologies used in the more complex feature sets is endless and includes databases, machine-learning libraries, front-end frameworks, and more. Depending on the kind of app you’re building, each layer of new technology adds complexity, time, and the necessary knowledge to a project, which increases cost.
Another crucial aspect that must be taken into account is the type of application. The most popular app categories are listed below, along with an estimate of their typical development costs:
Hybrid Mobile App
Taxi App (Uber)
Augmented Reality App (AR)
Social Media App (Instagram)
Learning App (DuoLingo)
Video Streaming App
Food Delivery App
INTEGRATIONS OF API
For users to receive a rich functionality, your mobile application may need to collaborate with outside service providers. To connect apps to payment gateways, messaging platforms, geolocation, social networks, and many other services, app developers use APIs.
Pro Tip: Making your app work with third-party services (like social media) via APIs may cost you $4,000–6,000 per integration, whereas integrating an app with on-device system features like FaceID or Apple Auth is typically considered a low-cost investment (under $1,000 each).
MACHINE LEARNING and AI
AI and machine learning capabilities are steadily advancing into the mainstream. Apps use machine learning (ML) algorithms to find relevant content and forecast users’ next moves based on their unique user profiles. However, the overall costs of developing an app are significantly increased by the coding of the portion of the app that is responsible for the ML-powered features. So it comes as no surprise that developing AI options frequently takes months.
Pro Tip: Budget between $13,000 and $21,000 for AI features in your app, and inquire with your developers about the viability of using Core ML (iOS) and ML Kit (Android) in those cases. Because you won’t need an AI-specific server side, choosing on-device ML functionality (using Core ML/ML Kit) can reduce the cost of the app.
Modern phones have a tonne of sensors, which your app can make use of to enable advanced features like directional pointing and others:
- Proximity sensor
Both Apple and Google offer APIs that let your app interact with these hardware elements. Apple, on the other hand, is infamously more cautious about granting complete access to its hardware.
You understand that if we need to access the phone’s hardware to create a mobile app, the cost will go up (except for GPS, which is simpler to access via Apple’s or third-party SDK).
Pro tip: It should cost about $2,100 per sensor to develop a mobile app that uses phone sensors.
Apps may need to use external sensors, such as pedometers or heart rate monitors, in addition to the built-in sensors. The Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol must be used by developers to create a connection between the app and the sensor-controlling on-device firmware to enable this connectivity.
Pro tip: Budget between $8,000 and $10,000 for the integration of the best price per external device. The price may increase significantly if your app needs to integrate with a sophisticated external platform.
Begin Your Journey with Rhomeson
We sincerely hope that this article has aided you in bringing your plans to develop an app closer to fruition. Just keep in mind that the costs and amount of time required to make it also depend on your level of awareness, adaptability, and decision-making. Consider the advantages and disadvantages, consider your audience, and look for a group that will walk with you. Rhomeson is always ready to join your ambitious project and support it with the help of our qualified designers and developers. Please do not hesitate to contact us; we will be happy to assist you!