How Much Does it Cost to Make an App

So, you’ve decided to make an app. First, you have to know why you’re making an app in the first place. This is why it is important to figure out what type of app you’re going to be making of which there are 8 main categories of.

Main factors

Determining your price of development will consist of 3 main stages


How Much Does it Cost to Make an App. Know Your Type!

“Not all apps are created equal” - says the ‘Declaration of Techdependence’. The type of your app will determine the complexity of the solution and the number of hours required. Below are the 8 main categories of apps.

Social Media
Video & Audio
Tools and Utilities
Bear in mind that your app can be a combination of 2 or more of them.

For example, your news aggregator app can have a video streaming feature or your video editing tool app is also a social media.


List of popular features you can use to make a checklist

While type is the first thing you should figure out, you got to also set the features requirement.

Maps Integration

Depending on which maps service you choose, most of the time it’s Google Maps or Mapbox the cost and time will vary.

GPS Detection

Depending on the user’s device this feature can indicate the user’s exact location
Time: 50h+
Cost: $1,250-$2,500

Payments integrations

Involves an integration of third party services like Stripe.
Time: 50h+
Cost: $1,250-$2,500

Landscape/Portrait Mode

If you are building a visual content related app this is a must but otherwise is used in rare cases.
Time: 20h
Cost: $500-$1,000

In-app Purchases

This is suitable for freemium apps that offer limited features for free and ask for additional payment to enable certain features. The cost of integrating this depends on the number of purchases that will be needed.
Time: 30h
Cost: $750-$1,500

Data Encryption

Want to keep your user’s data private? This is the feature you will need.
Time: 20h
Cost: $500-$1,000

Internal Chat

This includes but not limited to user to user messages and calls, file sharing, chat cashing and history, notifications and etc.
Time: 80h+
Cost: $2,000-$4,000

App Navigation/User Interface

The inner logic and structure of your app. How is layout structured and etc.
Time: 10-20h
Cost: $250-$500

Audio/Video Streaming

This feature that lets users watch and listen to real time media will link users’ smartphones to your apps servers
Time: 30h+
Cost: $1,500

Smartphone Sensors Usage

Sensors like NFC or Bluetooth might be must do for some apps, like the P-2-P Parking exchange platform we built for our client that uses bluetooth as a motion detector for passive usage in the car
Time: 10-20h
Cost: $250-$500


The cost will vary depending on whether you’re doing banner ads, pop up, or text ads. Plus what external services you use will also influence the cost.
Time: 20-50h
Cost: $1,000-$2,500

Push Notifications

To keep user retention high you will definitely need to remind your users about your existence on their phone’s penetrated screen. Updates can be on something important like new messages or just a fun fact to grab user’s attention.
Time: 20-200h
Cost: $1,000-$10,000

Offline Mode

If your app has a reasonable portion of its usage in areas with no connection, like the music streaming app we built for one of our clients then you will need this. There are various technologies like MySQL that could be integrated.
Time: 40h+
Cost: $1,000-$2,000


Text or Image search are most common and can be crucial if you have a lot of content.
Time: 10-20h
Cost: $250-$500


Whether directly through email or through user’s social media account you will need this if you want your users to build a profile.
Time: 20h
Cost: $500-$1,00

Design Customization

Changing themes and colors for the app is a part of customization.
Time: 20h
Cost: $500

Media Content

Any media ranging from images to audio and video playing and editing.
Time: 20h+
Cost: $1,000+


How Much Does it Cost to Make an App. Build, Test, Break. Fast!

You want your app to be the best because it’s definitely ‘The Next Big Thing’ and you want to add all the coolest features at once. But the secret is in staying lean which in the means of cost is great news. These features and criterias that might have added to the cost could be less than you think. If you are building an MVP which you should be, you are probably going to cut out more than half of the features you planned.


How Much Does it Cost to Make an App. Infrastructure

For each of the stages, you will need a certain specialist or two. It means that you will need to form a team consisting of a project manager, a designer, front and back end developers and experienced quality assurance specialist.

Every team member needs to be paid in accordance to their role and competencies.

In IT the industry standard on paying people is measured in hourly rates cost of which varies anywhere from $20 to $200/hour.

But the overhead doesn’t stop at that.

Beside the labor cost, you’re going to have to carry purchase cost on different licenses, APIs and integrations of 3rd party services. A good part of these services are going to be billed on a subscription base rather than a single time purchase. For instance for one of our clients for whom we are building a P-2-P parking exchange platform we integrated mapbox which has a monthly billing cost that goes on top of the development costs. If your app is built for goes with a specific hardware, it will also require certain equipment, cost of which may be unreasonable for single time use.

This is where you might consider outsourcing the entire process to the third party development firm.

The agencies that specialize in building products for clients have all the processes streamlined and can optimize your development. Chances are they’d already done similar projects and know how to save both time and money. On top of that they know their clients’ success and failure stories and can not only develop your app but spare you a failure by pointing out to the right direction in launching and scaling.

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