Companies, brands, websites, and businesses are beginning more to understand the power behind developing apps to connect with customers on a whole new level. An app gives you access to one of the most intimate spaces of a customer’s life: their smartphone. In this devices we view, store and share key information regarding who we are and what we do and, with the required permissions granted, of course, businesses can access this information to provide an enhanced experience to their customers.
For this reason, developing apps have become highly important for companies. Yet, estimating how much a mobile app will cost is not as easy as it sounds. In this article, we want to help you understand how much it costs to make an app, so you can plan and get the resources you need to develop and launch one for your particular venture.
How relevant are apps today?
Our day to day routines are now intimately related to the use of apps. Platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Snapchat report that their users spend many hours browsing and interacting with other people through their environments, while companies such as Amazon and Walmart have developed apps that transact billions of dollars in sales on a monthly basis.
This is all an indication that apps have gained momentum in our current society, and who knows, we could only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.
What are users looking for in an app?
The average user of an app has become somehow a demanding one. The existence of many similar apps that perform similar tasks has raised the bar for developers, pushing them to come up with apps that provide great user experience, perform as promised and provide a customized experience. Achieving the goal of fulfilling those expectations is costly and challenging, to say the least.
Availability of tools for developers
Hand in hand with these increased needs, new tools have also stepped up to serve developers in their complex task of keeping up with user’s expectations. Tools like Sketch, which allows developers to create incredible user interfaces or Marvel, which gives developers the chance to design a prototype for the app, have made it easier for those in charge of creating these environments to present apps that connect deeply with end users and customer’s needs.
Similar Operating Systems
The two strongest players in town, Android and iOS, now share very similar treats when it comes to development. This facilitates the job of creating apps that are available for both Android and iOS users, which is kind of like mandatory if you want to have access to the vast majority of your potential users and not just a fraction of them.
Now that the app markets are popular, many developers claim that they can easily create functional apps for their clients. Nevertheless, when it comes to the quality of those developments, the best of the best can be quickly set apart from the mediocre.
Those who have gained a reputation for delivering top of the line apps are now more equipped to showcase their success and therefore they can be set apart from “the herd” by those looking for the very best for their apps.
How much does it cost to make an app?
Here’s a detailed list of the price ranges for each different type of app we have categorized, along with a brief description of how these apps look like so you can figure out in which category yours falls into.
How much does it cost to develop an IoT (Internet of Things) or a Hardware-related App?
Society is now moving towards the “smart” world. An environment where everything is interconnected with our smartphones, tablets and any portable device that allows us to control everything from light bulbs to furniture.
Any physical item that can be equipped with network capabilities needs an app to function properly. Therefore, as the market shifts towards “smarts”, the need for IoT apps continues to rise.
Budget for IoT Apps: $200,000 to $2,500,000
Examples: AlertMe, Nest.
How much does it cost to develop a 2-Sided Marketplace App?
Creating a market is not an easy task. It takes parties on both ends of the bargain (suppliers and consumers) to develop a successful 2-sided app. These marketplaces offer an environment where the two sides can connect and do business.
Security, credibility, and reliability are part of the essential features customers look for on 2-sided marketplace apps and the way these characteristics are developed within the app is something that has to be planned very carefully.
Budget for 2-Sided Marketplace Apps: $200,000 to $1,500,000
Examples: Fiverr, Udemy
How much does it cost to develop a 2-Version On-Demand App?
Similar to a 2-sided marketplace app, On Demand apps, are required by businesses that promote a marketplace where supply and demand encounter. Nevertheless, this kind of apps require a unique interface for each party, as they both approach the service from a different perspective and the features they both need to interact with must be presented in a unique way.
A food delivery system can be used as an example here for a 2-Version On Demand app. While they will both interact with each other, suppliers have to be able to create and edit the profiles of their particular stores, creating menus, setting prices and delivery conditions. On the opposite side of the table, consumers have a unique interface where they pick among different vendors and follow some simple steps to pay for their orders.
Budget for 2-Version On-Demand Apps: $100,000 to $1,500,000
Examples: Lyft, Seamless
How much does it cost to develop an E-commerce App?
E-commerce apps are basically a storefront. They showcase the business’ products in a well-organized and intuitive way so customers can easily browse through the company’s inventory of available products and services.
These apps require two major elements to be in place in order to function properly. First, a back-end inventory system that can be integrated with the app to maintain an updated database of products, inventory, prices and so on; and second, a payment gateway that can also be integrated with the app in order to allow customers to both order and pay through the app.
Many platforms facilitate this, by allowing the user to integrate their back-end to the app through APIs. This is the case for Shopify, PayPal, and Stripe.
Budget for E-Commerce Apps: $100,000 to $1,500,000
Examples: Walmart, H&M
How much does it cost to develop a Social Networking App?
Perhaps the most widely employed apps of today’s world are social or they have a social feature where you can tag people as your ‘friends’ or ‘followers’, share messages and content with them and even call them through a live voice or video chat platform.
A new social app though, may not contain all of the features that you currently see on Facebook or Instagram, as those platforms have been consistently upgraded for years, giving developers the chance to build new features progressively. Yet, a new social app will definitely contain some of the main features every single social network has such as shared content, a connection or linking feature between users and messaging.
Some of these apps, depending on what the underlying service is, may require an algorithm of some sort to display content based on customized preferences of the user. All of these extra features raise the final price on these apps.
Budget for E-Commerce Apps: $150,000 to $500,000
Examples: Twitter, Instagram
How much does it cost to develop an app that requires User Authentication or Login?
An app that requires user authentication is one that restricts the user from accessing certain content until he provides valid access credentials. Any app that requires authentication increases the level of complexity for the developer and it is, therefore, more expensive than one that just displays content to anybody who installs it.
These apps include features such as a profile with user’s information, limited access to the services or products they subscribed to, access to files or access to content that is only available once the credentials have been validated.
Some apps may permit a certain level of access for users that haven’t been registered, but only registered one usually have full access to all the features.
Budget for E-Commerce Apps: $100,000 to $300,000
Examples: Dropbox, Netflix
How much does it cost to develop an app for Data Consumption Only?
We interact with Data Consumption Only apps on a daily basis on our mobile devices without even knowing that’s what they are. These are apps that provide information about something in particular and the information is constantly being updated, which is the reason why they consume data.
A great example of this kind of apps is Stock Market News apps. Those apps provide the user with real-time data on what’s going with the markets throughout the world. Price tickers are updated, perhaps news are displayed or sent through push notifications, and you can also search tickers and mark them as favorites.
These apps are less common nowadays but they will always be useful for their simplicity.
Budget for E-Commerce Apps: $50,000 to $100,000
Examples: Markets, News
How much does it cost to develop an app with No Network Access?
Specifically designed to perform a certain task, standalone apps are those that require no internet connection to function. These apps are often pretty basic in their functionality and they are fed by data inputted by the user himself. They can maybe store information on the phone or perform a simple task, as it the case for Calculator apps.
While these apps are very handy, the tendency is shifting towards intuitive apps. Even though they may perform basic functions, they can always be connected to some kind of database that anticipates the user needs and helps him save time. For example, a Clock app that updates the time zone automatically by accessing the phone’s GPS location.
Budget for E-Commerce Apps: Less than $50,000
Examples: Voice Recorder, Gallery, Contacts
Marketing is a key ingredient to reaching and connecting with your audience
Since you’re investing in having a mobile app developed and launched it important to have a marketing campaign in place to help you reach and connect with your audience. Budget is everything and your audience is on the go, busy, and continually being bombarded by companies who are jockeying for their time and money. How do you naturally and effectively reach them? Marketing.
Many in your audience spend their time on their smartphone. Some of that time is spent on social media and/or looking for something on today’s top search engines. If they’re on social media a lot, it’s a good idea to find out which social media channels they spend most of their time on and implement a plan to connect with them. Do they listen to the radio much or stream music during their commute to and from work? These are important questions we can answer when thinking about and launching your marketing campaign.
A good glimpse into how much it could cost to reach your audience is the U.S. presidential race. Candidates must raise millions of dollars if they want to reach their audience continually. Once they’ve run one marketing campaign, they understand it doesn’t stop there. If their opponents run a character assassination campaign, they generally will run another campaign to address unfounded accusations or go on the offensive and work to discredit their opponent. This can run them hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
Tip: In your campaign use social media, part of it is free and can help you reach your audience but if you’re going to really make waves have a budget that will help you kickstart your way to profitability. Have a target in mind for revenue you want to make, we’ll help you come up with a strategy to hit that target.
Our goal is to help you
continually decipher the enigma machine that is the United States. We’re here to help you pinpoint where your audience is spending their time and implement a natural marketing campaign to inform them of your offerings. We won’t be pests about it but we know there is truth to the adage “out of sight out of mind.”
To Sum It Up
It takes investment and an effective marketing campaign to be profitable.
If you’re not sure what it can cost to build an app you might experience sticker shock at first. Once you’ve learned what you should be able to make a better-informed decision. You may encounter developers who will undermine the practicality of this article by saying there’s no way someone would charge that kind of money for such a simple app, but you get what you pay for.
Yet, the purpose of this article is to provide you with a solid reference of how much a professional who has experience in the field and a solid portfolio to share will be inclined to charge for developing an app that will help you help your audience. We hope to work with you on developing that next world class mobile app, let’s talk more about it.