Now when mobile has rooted deeply in our everyday life counting more than 1 billion smartphone users worldwide and has become a key to any business success, many of us want to use its magic to monetize our craziest app ideas. So, "how much does it cost to develop an app" is probably one of today's most frequently asked questions everywhere! Prior to answering it, let's figure out what actually influences the cost of development.
In general, all mobile apps are divided into the 5 main categories:
1) data-driven apps - apps whose dynamic data are either stored in a local database or retrieved from an external pool (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram),
2) game apps - both simple game apps like isometric games and games using 2D and 3D modeling of objects and characters (e.g., Infinity Blade, Hippie Hippo),
3) device apps - apps that aim to simplify and/or improve some of mobile device functions such as alarm, calendar, tasks, etc (e.g., Instagram, Sleep Well Alarm HD),
4) custom functionality apps - apps developed specifically to your or your client's custom requirements that have no off-the-shelf alternatives (e.g., Taptodo Google Task Client),
Regardless of the category, all mobile apps can be simple, moderately complex and complex. The level of complexity is determined by a variety of factors including:
1) Project scale - the more analysis, efforts and integration are needed - the more expensive the app,
2) OS versions - limiting the testing of your app to the latest version of Android or iOS will substantially lower down the cost of development, but will most likely add more costs in a mid to long run as a result of bugs fixing and app's optimization for previous OS versions at post-production stages,
3) Resources to be used - hiring a freelancer will usually cost you between $50 to $200 / hour depending on the geography, while partnering with a professional apps development company will give you an edge of experience, no copyright violations and a ROI guarantee,
4) Development from scratch versus using app templates to save money - if you tend to create a winning mobile app and not just another average one you should be ready to invest in unique design and UI, so it's highly recommended to always have a custom app design (that's also good for the copyright of your app). Also, note that some app development studios may charge you extra for your app design and graphics, so make sure to partner with one that includes design cost into the project estimate!
5) Salary of app developers - on average, one full-time senior iOS developer will cost you around $108,000 per year in the United States, around $100,000 in the UK and less than $40,000 in Eastern European countries like Ukraine. So, if you intent to develop a high-end app solution or a complex game, you may substantially lower down development cost by hiring an external team of app development resources and speed up time to market by doing more project work for the same money.
Check out this infographic below to see how the USA, UK and Ukraine compare in terms of cost of mobile developers.