Often one of the first questions we get from potential clients looking to build an app is "How much will it cost to develop my mobile app?".
This is always a difficult question to answer due to the variables and complexities involved, but we'll try out best to give you an idea of what it might cost you.
The cost of building a mobile app will vary due to the app's features, complexity and the type of company who's developing it. The price will also change based on where you are in the process. If you've already completed the mobile app design work for example, you'll pay less.
Typically a small, simple mobile app with minimal features will cost around £15,000. A larger, more complex app with deep integrations could cost more than £100,000.
How can I get a more accurate price for my mobile app?
Getting a more accurate price starts with creating a mobile app requirements brief.
The requirements brief details the features and specifications for your app and allows the developer to provide an accurate quote for your app.
Now don't worry, most app development agencies will provide a simple means to create your brief. This might be a simple form, a phone call or a document template to get you started.
At this stage, your project might be too complicated for you to scope out on your own. It's common for mobile app developers to provide "Discovery workshops" where they can help you document your app in detail.
These are often paid sessions, but at the end of the workshop, you'll have a detailed brief. With this, you can approach agencies for a quote. This can often reduce the cost of the project because your app is documented in detail.
Paying for a workshop might sound scary, but actually, in the long run, having a detailed requirement brief can save you money in cases where you're arguing with the developer about what the scope of the project was when it was completed.
What increases the price of my app?
Ultimately, the price of your mobile app increases based on the time it takes to code. The second most common question we get from people looking to build an app is "How long will it take to build my app?".
Platform choices can have a significant impact on the total price of your app. Native apps, on iOS and Android, use different programming languages, so it means creating two versions of your app.
An alternative to Native apps are Hybrid apps, developed using HTML5. We explain later how you can use Hybrid apps to keep the cost of your project down.
We now have mobile app platforms such as Flutter and React which make it easier to build cross-platform apps from a single code base. This can help reduce the cost of your initial investment, but you also have to factor in that a platform such as Flutter is new, so finding high quality developers for it can be challenging.
Apps which us complex, native features will cost more. Using features such as Bluetooth, push notifications and GPS will push your price up.
Your app might require an API (Application programming interface). An API might be used to show information from a third party. Your API might store data into your database to use later. Having an API will increase the cost of your app depending on what's needed.
You may need a Content Management System (CMS) to manage the content within your app. This will allow you to change wording within the app without submitting a new version to the app stores.
Design can play a big part in the cost of your app. Complicated designs which use non-standard components will increase the cost.
Apps often feature bespoke graphics and animations which will also require the time of a specialist designer and animator to create.
Keeping the design of your app simple will save you money.
The team involved in building your app
The experience and skill of the team building your app will impact the price.
A college graduate with little to no experience will command less of a fee than an experienced award-winning International agency.
Programmers without experience often won't understand your requirements, costing you both time and money. It's important to find a balance between price and expertise to ensure you get what you want.
How can I keep the cost of my app down?
Develop an MVP
When we shop for cars, sometimes we can't afford the model we want with all the bells and whistles. So, we usually adjust our requirements and get something cheaper. But it's still a car!
Developing an app is similar. We recommend limiting the scope of your project by focusing on an MVP (Minimum viable product). Your MVP has the minimum functionality possible to provide a robust solution to your users. Not only does it keep costs down and speed up the development process, but it also allows you to develop your app with real user feedback when launched. You might find your users want something different to your ideas.
Build an HTML5/Hybrid app
Another way of saving money is to build a "Hybrid " app. Often Hybrid apps are built with HTML5 which works cross-platform. This means you develop one app and it works on iOS and Android. This means you save the cost of making a specific iOS and Android version.
Hybrid apps often don't feel as good as Native apps and have limited access to some features. If you're developing an app which requires these features you might be better looking at developing your app natively.
Build just one version
If you decide you need a Native app, you can keep costs down by developing it solely for one platform. Either iOS or Android.
You launch one version of the app to prove an idea, gain feedback or raise funds before building the other version.
Build your mobile app yourself
While you might say "I don't know how to code", well the good news is you don't have to anymore. NoCode and Low Code platforms have made it even easier for people looking to get started building a mobile app.
Are these tools perfect? No, for sure they aren't. But they might just be good enough for you to validate your idea and gain the confidence, or revenue, to pursue your mobile app even further.
How we can help
We're an experienced mobile app development agency focusing on Native iOS and Android applications.
You've already read down this far and know roughly what we charge and what it increases the price, so no need to be scared and just shoot us a message.
If you'd like any help scoping out your project, developing your apps or require some advice, get in touch, and we'll be delighted to help you.