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How Much Does It Cost To Build An App? (2020 Cost Calculation)

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By Author: Anahit Ghazaryan
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**How Much Does It Cost to Build an App? (2020 Cost Calculation)**

The global market of mobile apps is showing no sign of cooling down, and the eternal question of how much does it cost to make an app becomes more than actual. Without knowing the detailed answer to this question, one cannot decide to pursue the idea to develop a mobile app.
The following article is a know-how guide to calculate app development cost as well as to clearly understand the factors that affect it and effective app development management tricks to avoid unplanned spendings in the future.

**Why Investing In Mobile App Development**
The Mobile app industry is evolving harshly, affected by technology advancements as well as consumer demands, and other major factors. It’s a fact now that without mobile-optimized solutions businesses will lose a significant part of their clients and sink under the pressure of competitors. 3.5 billion Smartphones and 1.35 billion tablets worldwide force companies to think about mobile app development seriously. Studies show that over [90% of mobile time](https://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/) is spent on various apps by an average American mobile user, who used to check the smartphone every [12 minutes](https://nypost.com/2017/11/08/americans-check-their-phones-80-times-a-day-study/). According to the App Annie, the user base of the mobile app ‎market will reach 6.3 billion by 2021, leading to more ‎spent hours and money, respectively 3.5 billion hours and ‎‎$1,008 per user by 2021.‎

**App Development Costs In 2020**

In general, there are no fixed prices for mobile app development – costs vary extremally, from zero (when you are the developer) to millions of dollars, depending on many factors, such as developers’ rates, app complexity, and type of time it takes.
Skipping all the complicated details, an average mobile app development cost according to a Clutch survey is $171,450. According to an online app cost calculators, the range of app with dozens of features varies between $200,000 and $350,000: development companies’ prices vary from $100,000 to $500,000, however, if the app is small, with few basic features, the cost will vary from $10,000 to $50,000, which is affordable for many businesses.

**Outsourcing VS In-house App development**
Before diving deep into app development cost calculation details, the business should decide whether to choose in-house or hire an outsourcing development team. Here are the pros and cons of each type:

Pros of an in-house team:
· proximity
· face-to-face meetings
· fast communication
· deep project involvement

Cons of an in-house team:
· lack of talent
· the need for huge initial investments

Pros of app development outsourcing:
· huge talent pool
· any level of expertise
· lower rates
· flexibility
· no need to huge initial investments

Cons of dev outsourcing:
· time zone differences
· lack of personal control

**Factors That Affect The Cost Of App Development**
Several factors highly affect the cost of app development.
Native vs Hybrid: The first thing you should think about is to decide about the development technique. The cost of development highly depends on whether you’ve chosen native or hybrid techniques. While native apps are designed for single platforms like iOS or Android, hybrids target multiple operating systems. Hence, from a big perspective, the business spends less money in comparison with native ones, especially, when an app has both iOS and Android versions.
Android vs iOS: In case of developing a native app you should decide what platform to target – Android or iOS.
There is no big difference between the two OS development prices. Here, if your budget allows, you can target both markets.

UX and UI design: Today the visual of the application is no less important than the functionality. UX/UI design cost is highly dependable on the number of screens, visuals complexity, the need for custom elements, and banding. UX/UI design services for application will cost $5,000 for 10-20 screens.
Backend infrastructure and app administration: Most apps need connected APIs, analytics systems, administration panel, etc. Such features mean higher costs.
Location and structure of the development team: Development team physical location drastically affects the final cost of application development.


*App maintenance costs*: The expenses don’t end with development. You should know
how much does it cost to maintain and support the application. Such a cost range is between $5,000 and $10,000 annually.
*App development cost calculator*: Here is the formula to calculate the cost to build an app by yourself. Usually, app development companies have two charging approaches, depending on project size - Fixed charge and Time and material.
*Why companies fail to meet the budget*
The companies often fail to meet the budget, even when they’ve planned it long before the development started. Here is why:
· Multi-platform support
Even if you’ve chosen a native development model, the support of other OS mustn't be overlooked. This affects the whole development cost.
· Marketing costs
Marketing is a vital part of application promotion in the app market. It is very important to plan a marketing budget before the app will be launched.

· Integration of 3rd party services
Often development team concludes to integrate the app with third-party API, CRM, or other services. This affects the whole development cost.

**App Development Cost Breakdown: Stages of Development**

The full cycle of application development is divided into five stages, and depending on the vendor, are known as:
Analysis and planning
UX and UI design
Mobile app development
App testing and quality assurance
Ongoing maintenance and updates
According to Clutch, 70% of companies start app development with analysis and project planning. This includes business analysis, UX/UI design, and software architecture. This stage cost can vary from $5,000 to $25,000.
· UX and UI design
During this phase, a user-friendly interface that is easy and comfortable to use is created. The app design cost varies between $5,000 and $50,000.
· Mobile app development

Usually, the cost range for app development is $5,000-$10,000 without a backend. Companies usually pay $20,000-$30,000 for app development.
· App testing and deployment
The testing and quality assurance stage is one of the most important parts of the app development lifecycle. It ensures the proper quality and readiness of the app to be used without serious problems. The testing stage usually costs pay $5,000-$10,000 per app.

**How Much Does It Cost To Build An App: Used Features Perspective?**

Let’s have look at what features highly affect the development cost
NFC, Bluetooth, and other built-in capabilities make highly affect on time spent on development.
User login
Depending on logic and complexity, it might take from 10 to 70 hours to implement them.
User engagement
Based on requirements the time spent on developing these features can vary from 25 to 145 hours.
This type’s features are used mainly in food delivery, map or taxi apps, and their implementation can take from 10 to 150 hours
The most popular gateways to use in your applications are Apple Pay, Google Pay, Stripe, PayPal, credit cards, Payoneer, etc. It can take from 20 to 200 hours to implement such functionality.
Cross-device synchronization
If you create an application that can be used on different devices, the development will take from 20 to 200 hours.
Data encryption
If you don’t want to have problems with GDPR and other regulations, you must include data encryption functionality to your application. Such implementation can take 10 to 80 hours based on the used protocols, level of protection, and your requirements.

*Summing up*
After going through so much information, let’s shortly sum up how to avoid unexpected expenses and stick to the set timeline.
1. Do Market research
2. Find a reliable app development vendor
3. Start with the first app version
4. Ensure ongoing
5. Get involved

We hope that this know-how guide will help you to build an excellent product that will reach millions of users worldwide and create value in the mobile application market.

More About the Author

I am a Software Development Consultant at Addevice, a software development company, which specializes in mobile and web app development, UI/UX, and consulting.

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