At AppMuse, we’re in the business of connecting people with ideas for mobile apps with experienced app developers.  In the process, we get lots of questions about app development.  Probably the number one question we get is “how much does it cost to develop a mobile app?”  If I had a nickel for every time we’ve had that question … well, I wouldn’t quit my day job, but I would probably make the baristas at my local coffee shop at lot happier.

So, what does it cost to develop a mobile app?  That’s a lot like asking how much does it cost to buy a car or build a house – it depends on what kind of car you’re buying or house you’re building.  That cool-looking Cube costs a lot less than an Italian sports car.  A modest house in the Midwest costs a lot less to build than a modest house in Palo Alto.  Still, it is possible to give some rough guidelines on app development costs by filling out our quote request form or go to contact us page.

Alex Ahlund, former CEO of AppVee and AndroidApps, and later an advisor to Appolicious, wrote a guest blog article about app sales on TechCrunch.  According to that article, a survey of 96 mobile app developers showed the average cost to develop an app was $6,453.  An article on OS X Daily about iPhone Development Costs reported that the development cost range for “small apps” is $3,000 to $8,000 and that “more complex or recognized brand apps” can cost $50,000 to $150,000.  A well-written article on explored The Cost of Building an iPad App and suggested the development costs (as compared to design and other costs) range from $12,000 to $150,000 or more.


Before we go on to exact numerical figures about the costs involved in app development, let us first look deeper into the factors that influence the price of an app.

Functionality Cost Extimation

The most important factor to be considered while calculating expenditures for your app is the set of functionalities required . It is but obvious that an app with more complex functions will cost higher than usual. Also, such an application is going to take more time to be built and thus requires more overhead charges. Owing to a very competitive market, every application will require some unique features in order to stand out amongst its users. In order to achieve that, some extra expenses are incurred.

Cost to Develop Online transactions app

Are you developing an application where the platform will be undertaking a lot of e-commerce transactions?

This is quite a tricky task and will require a higher expenditure. An app that accepts payments from its users will have to possess a very hardy and strong system, one that can cater to the requirements all the time and be prepared to handle errors as and when they crop up. Reaction times are usually less for payment platforms and thus such an app will require advanced technology and robust coding.

e-commerce app can cost from$8,000 to $50,000

Costing involved in Social media integration

This is the era of social media platforms. Every online activity on the internet is now directed to the social media. It develops your online presence and helps you be more heard. It often happens that apps are required to pull information about the users directly from different social media platforms. This would require some additional effort going behind building the application and thus fetches a higher investment value. Besides, it is almost imperative to add an option to share content from individual apps to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Related Articles :

Data models

In the world of app development, a data model is an important and popular term. For starters, what is actually a data model? It is nothing but the structure that helps us users interact with the system. this might be for extracting information from the user or even for sharing the content to other sites. It is more like an individual stage for the users to work through. It is popular belief that the more complex your data model and the underlying structure is, the higher will be your expenses incurred. Interconnectivity among different data models are is an essential factor determining how much your app development process costs.

App Store – App distribution and Submission Cost

The process involving the distribution of the developed application is another financially strong phase. This needs a major part of the total invested amount already. Now, the advantage is that there are multiple distribution channels for your app. If one can choose wisely, a huge part of the money is saved in this phase. If the entrepreneur chooses a commercial channel like iTunes, the charges can go as high as $100. However, there are other corporate channels that require a lot less investment.

$99 per year for the iOS Developer License – The cost is approx $299 per year for this license compared .

Cost of Easy to Manageable System – Enterprise systems

When you make the application, there are two methods of existence. Firstly, it can exist independently as a stand-alone system. Secondly, it can also function in coordination with an enterprise system. If you choose the first option, costs will be significantly lowered. However, on integration with another system, the application becomes more refined but requires a higher expenditure. This will include costs for certain integration tools, data access facilities, host system requirements and the likes. However, it is imperative to ensure whether your app is well prepared to undertake the system integration or not.

Cost of Add-on features

As a developer, if you are building a consumer app, it will require you to work on a few features in order to draw the users towards your system. These traffic generating measures go a long way in building your user and thus customer base. This is where these add-on features become useful. This could encompass social media integrations, in-app purchases, or sometimes web service facilities. However, for these services, your app might cost you an additional $2000.

This number could go up as high as $5000 if there are major changes made in the app.

App Maintenance cost

If you think that your app development costs end at releasing the system in the store, it is time to rethink now. As soon as this app is released, it is accompanied by a number of feedback reviews, issues, and errors. It would be a good idea to retain your development team for some time after the release in order to deal with such issues. Each such maintenance activity will require some additional expenses. So, it is also beneficial to keep some of the budget saved for the post-production costs for your application.

These are some of the factors which have an especially big role in the finances involved in application development. This process includes expenditures at every stage. However, there is one interesting formula to follow if you intend to have sufficient funds at every stage.

Let us first divide the whole process into 3 parts.

  • Firstly, it relates to the research required, functionality description and the likes.
  • Secondly, it revolves around the actual development and the technical aspects.
  • Lastly, it is the post-development phase including usability testing.


Ideally, Stage 1 should consume about 25% of the invested amount, Stage 2 should require about 50% and the last phase works with the remaining 25%. This is the famous 25-50-25 rule that helps you keep up with the finances required in developing a mobile app.


Preparing a budget for your app

The app development cost varies from one developer to another. For instance, if you are going to one of the big developers, the minimum investment you should consider is $500,000. It is highly unlikely that they will entertain you for anything less than that. However, on an average, any decent application in today’s time would have a budget of about $150,000. This is what an average developer also charges for developing your app. however, if you are on a stringent budget, smaller shops would be able to complete your work between $50,000 and $100,000. Besides, if you are opting for more backend services, this number could go up much higher. This is how an agency influences the budget you should be keeping for the development process.

Startups: Considering your budget

As a startup, one should be extra careful about the funding for the application at hand. In general, the first round of funding to be raised for the first 18 months should be about $750,000 for a decent app. what components are included in this budget? The first part is the amount of $120,000 which is segregated for accounting and legal work relating to the app. From the remaining amount in the budget, one would have to account for the monthly charges. If you are working in a group of four and the developmental process continues for about four to six months, the average expenditures would amount to $35,000 per month.

Apart from these figures, a fraction of the invested money should be kept for the post-production costs such that the developer is able to cater to any unforeseen expenditures coming up.

App development prices: Android Vs iPhone

According to studies, an Android app development process costs 30% more than that of an iPhone app. This is huge because a lot more time is required in the former case. Stats show that iPhone apps are built 28% faster than the Android counterparts. This may be attributed to longer codes and slower emulators.

Overall, app development is a highly relative process where the pricing varies from one system to another. If you opt for the smaller developers, you are likely to get it done within $100,000. However, the high-end developers can charge bigger amounts, starting from $150,000 extending up to $700,000 or even more in certain cases. The idea is simple: when you opt for a more complex setup, you will be paying a lot more!

Comparing Apples to Androids – Part 1

Comparing Apples to Androids – Part 2



Conclusion :

That sounds like a lot.  And it is.  But if you consider that the average app developer in the US charges around $100 per hour, the time required to code even a “simple” app quickly pushes the cost up.  Could you go offshore and get a developer for a much lower hourly rate?  Sure.  The problem is, like most things in life, you get what you pay for.  We get several requests a month from people wanting a US-based developer to “fix” cheap code.  We call these “shattered projects.”  Others call them “distressed projects.”  Whatever you call them, “saving” money on the front end could end up costing you more in the end Our set of experienced network of app development companies can help you in getting best quote for your iphone, ipad and android apps. All you need to do is to fill our quote request form and 3 best mobile apps companies will contact you as per your budget that fits your needs or visit our contact us page.

The only sure way to find out what it will cost to get your app idea developed is to get some quotes from experienced app developers.  They can discuss the details of your idea with you and give you a pretty good idea of what it will cost.  Getting three quotes is helpful as it will give you an idea if a quote is too high (or too low, which can be just as bad).  Whatever you do, Don’t Pay to Train an App Developer.  For help on finding a developer, see our post on Finding a Developer for Your App Idea or Appmuse will help you in getting ball park quotes from 3 highly experienced top rated app development companies from our wide range of network through filling our Quote Request Form.


Mark M. Stetler is CEO of AppMuse and its related businesses:,,, and AppMuse is the Internet's leading provider of free app development quotes from experienced, pre-screened app developers for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry smart phones.

More by stetler

Request a Quote

Related Posts