Now that almost everyone has either a smartphone, tablet, or both, many businesses are beginning to realize the value of creating a unique mobile app. In fact, a survey that was released last year revealed that over half of small businesses were planning on launching a mobile app by this year. It sounds like it’s time for your business to catch up with all the others that are taking advantage of mobile apps—but how much will it cost?
According to an expert in mobile app design, it can cost anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000 to design and launch a new app. Other agencies have estimated it a bit lower, from $100,000 to $300,000, while yet another estimates the average cost to be around $270,000. One study asked representatives from a dozen top mobile companies about this matter, and found that these companies estimated the average cost of an app to be between $37,000 and $170,000, with the more complex apps sometimes costing over $500,000.
These estimations are roughly within the same range, but the uncertainty of exactly how much it will cost makes it difficult for you to figure out whether you can afford to take on this project. To get a better idea of where your business would fall within this range, consider these factors that could affect the price of your app:
Many retail businesses want to jump on the app bandwagon so customers have one more way to shop for the brand’s products. However, building an e-commerce app is much more expensive than building a basic gaming or social app. Why does e-commerce come with added costs? Developers must integrate a way for customers to pay for their goods through the app, which is a complex task. Businesses usually want to capture as much information as possible from each customer, so the developer will also have to build in databases to store the customer’s personal information. It is much easier to build a game than it is to create an app that can process payments and store and protect sensitive customer information, so it will cost you more to build an e-commerce mobile app.
A lot of people claim to be app developers these days, but who should you trust? It’s recommended that you work with a reliable mobile app company, especially if this is the first app you’ve ever created. The company you choose should provide you with references and examples of their work so you can see what they’re capable of and how easy they are to work with. But, these skilled developers will set you back and increase the cost of your app. Some smaller businesses turn to freelance developers to get the job done at a lower cost. This is a risk that may pay off or go up in flames, depending on the freelancer you find to do the work. Freelancers may not have the same work ethic as a reputable mobile app company, and they may not be as communicative. This can be come frustrating once you are knee-deep in the process and need to keep in constant communication in order to stay on schedule. Ultimately, the decision is yours, but this may be one area you don’t want to skimp on if you really want the best app possible for your business. This is especially true if your app has complexities that a freelancer may not be able to handle.
The more complex an app becomes, the more it will cost you to develop. Think about how many different screens you are planning to have within your app. Will your app need to use algorithms and calculations? These features are useful, but they will cost you. Another popular feature that will affect your budget is push notifications, which are those that are sent to users’ devices even when they are not using the app. Before you decide what features you should include, weigh the benefits and the drawbacks. For example, push notifications may make the app more expensive, but they’ve proven to be effective. In fact, some studies have shown that push notifications can increase the app’s engagement by up to 88%. Therefore, this may be one feature that is definitely worth the investment.
Do you plan on developing your app for the Android or iOS operating system? Unfortunately, you can’t design one app for the iOS system and expect it to translate to the Android system because of the differences in design language and user interfaces. According to industry experts, Android apps take longer to develop, while iOS apps can be developed fairly quickly. The longer something takes to work on, the more you will have to pay those who are doing the work. Because of the added expense, many businesses choose to start with an iOS app to test the waters and then expand with an Android-compatible app later on.
A Note on the Cost of Maintenance
Businesses often make the mistake of assuming that once an app has been launched, there are no longer going to be costs associated with it. Unfortunately, there are costs for maintaining an app. Maintenance can include fixing any bugs, adding new services, or changing the design.
How much should you budget for maintenance? Again, the answer varies depending on who you ask within the industry. One survey found that the price you pay to develop and launch an app is just 35% of what you will spend on it in the first two years. Another industry source estimated that medium-sized businesses should set aside between $5,000 to $11,000 per month for app-related maintenance fees. This same source estimated that small businesses could get by with spending around $3,000 per month, while larger businesses would probably end up spending closer to $25,000 per month.
Now you know the basics about how much an app can cost and what features will increase the price. Are you curious about how much it will cost to create the specific app you had in mind? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your plans to launch a new app.