How to Estimate App Development Cost in 2024

Qubit Labs
Qubit Labs Team

Updated – September 8, 2023

How much does it cost to develop an app? In the third quarter of 2020, users downloaded 28,3 billion apps from Google Play and 8,2 million applications from the App Store. Apps are predicted to generate more than $935 billion in income by 2024. Two of the most successful mobile app gaming publishers,

King, Supercell, and Bandai Namco Entertainment, have received $40 million each by January 2019. These numbers are constantly increasing, adjusting to ever-changing user demands and a competitive market. If you want to stand out among other app creators, you have to make your product of high technical quality and design it under the customers’ needs. To make it possible, you will need to work with a skilled team of app developers.

In this article, Qubit Labs will explain how much does it cost to make an app, review the hourly wages of programmers, and define the factors that influence the expenditure on application development.


How Much Does it Cost To Develop an App: Main Aspects

So, let’s say you have an idea of the application you want to create, identified priorities, and established clear goals and targets. The next step is to contact the developers’ team, focusing on their experience in the desired field, portfolio, project managers’ availability, and the QA team. The focus on these factors will enable you to decrease the time spent on finding and hiring programmers and lead to a quicker app launch.

Next, we should emphasize the application classification: 

  • Native. The development of this app is oriented only at one platform, Android or iOS. Such applications are smooth, and it takes a few moments to upload and install them. They easily interact with the gadget’s technical capabilities and don’t rely on the Internet connection. However, it is quite expensive to develop a native app, so it’s worth thinking out each step and following a strategy to launch the product that will draw the users’ attention.
  • Cross-platform. The most notable thing about such apps is that they are created for several mobile platforms at once. They are being developed by using different programming languages, which compile code for each platform. Such applications are more cost-effective compared to the previous ones.

Besides, there are several types of applications, which can be the following:

  • Lifestyle (fitness, food, music, travel, dating)
  • Social Media
  • Utility (weather, calculator, flashlight, reminders)
  • Games/Entertainment
  • Productivity (sheets, wallet/pay, docs)
  • News/Information

Each of these types has its gains and flaws, ways of monetization, and conversion potential. Besides, you can choose development methodologies, like Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, or Kanban. No matter which one you choose, the IT project cost will include evaluating, design, development, testing, bug fixing, launch, and technical support after the launch. Now, let’s move from the overall picture to the development process itself.


Average App Development Cost by the Level of Complexity

Average App Development Cost by the Level of Complexity

We can highlight three groups of projects, based on the time and resources required for the development. We came up with the following average cost of app development based on the research conducted by GoodFirms:

  • Simple apps. Usually, these are native mobile applications that have little actions, data, and screens users can use. They don’t require API, backend, or admin panels. However, they might include the option to see and send pictures and login via popular applications. Such an app’s development takes 1-3 months and will cost about $24,830 to $59,150.
  • Apps requiring the average development time. These can include the creating API, admin panel, and a simple admin panel. They include such functions as chats and payments. However, apart from the complexity, the number of components significantly affects the cost of app development. How long does it take to build an app? In general, the development process takes 3-6 months and will cost from $36,107.5 to $85,150.
  • Resource-intensive apps. They are also called advanced apps and include processing audio and video files, real-time synchronization, a vast number of custom-made animations, integration with different services, backend development, the availability of several types of users, and compatibility with VR/AR platforms. Besides, they suggest having a large amount of content and screens. Thus, the project cost estimate will be based not only on its complexity but the size. It costs approximately $59,507,5 to $137,150.

Surely, this is a rough app development cost calculator because there are many factors that change in the development process. It’s time to take a closer look at the development stages to see the most expensive aspects.


App Development Cost: Stages 

Preparatory Phase

For some sample solutions, this stage won’t take long. However, if you want to develop something unique, be ready to spend time creating a clear and well-thought technical task. You will need to develop strategies of monetization and monitor market offers, as well as draw a promotion plan for advertising your product and engage users.

Then, a graphic designer comes into play. A UX specialist will develop the user behaviour scenarios, schemes of app navigation, and functional. In other words, one will create a Customer Journey Map and User Flow. As for UI, a professional will create it, taking into account your preferences or brand-book.

Meanwhile, the application’s architecture is developed as well. It implies thinking out navigation elements, lists, and buttons, which the code will complement. You can delegate some parts of the work, like drawing icons and small elements to the freelancers or outsourced app developers to save money. The cost of app development at this stage will be around $5,000-$50,000.


App Development

The answer to the question “how much does app development cost” won’t be complete without tackling the most expensive stage. This is the most crucial and complicated phase that implements code to fulfil the planned app’s behaviour. That’s when the product’s logic is connected to the server part, and UI elements and styles are adopted. As this phase significantly affects IT project cost, it’s necessary to look at the best examples in the area and come up with a solution that will differ from the existing ones.

The cost of app development also relies on developing a server part and API. It is crucial to stay in touch with the developers at this stage to evaluate the results and promptly make changes and fix bugs. Along the way, the team improves the architecture, holds meetings, reviews codes, and comes up with a result. Besides, when addressing the question “how long does it take to build an app,” it should be noted that this stage, development, is often divided into several smaller sprints and interim milestones.

Surely, Android and iPhone app development cost differ, but not to a large extent. However, the revenue gap is significant. Although Android apps are more widespread and uploaded more often, the prices for iOS applications are higher. Thus, the project cost estimate at the development stage will cost from $5,000 to $30,000.


App Testing and Bug Fixing

At this stage, QAs are highly involved in the development process to test the application. This guarantees smooth performance and helps to keep mobile app development cost estimate at an adequate level. All the bugs are documented in the bud-reporting system, which allows checking whether the mentioned issues have been addressed and if it hasn’t affected the rest of the functional. Before the launch, the application undergoes additional testing, which implies going through business-cases to see whether the app functions according to the documentation and mentioned requirements. This stage will require spending from $5,000 to $25,000.


App Maintenance and Support

When the testing and development are over, and the final result seems fine, that’s when the publication of an app on the markets, Google Play and App Store, takes place. The cost of app development also includes cooperating with specialists that are responsible for promoting the app. They use keywords when writing descriptions and choose effective advertising places. Thanks to their work, the app is tested and evaluated by the markets and becomes accessible to the users. The project cost estimate also covers the implementation of additional updates, like fixing arisen bugs.

As we have already tackled the topic of salaries, let’s review the average hourly rates of freelance app developers in the world.


How Much Does App Development Cost?

Outsource App Development Cost: Hourly Rates of Developers

USA $87
Canada $69
UK $65
Australia $56
Germany $52
Sweden $43
Denmark $39
Norway $37
Singapore $34
Poland $26
Spain $19
Ukraine $17
India $15

It’s no surprise that the cost of app development is related to the programmers’ salary. As you can see, in the US, freelance developers receive $87 per hour, making local specialists the highest-paid compared to those from other countries.

Programmers from Canada and the UK receive $69 and $65 correspondingly. As for Australia ($56) and Germany ($52), the salaries of local freelance app developers are on the same level. Speaking of Sweden, it pays $43. Denmark ($39), Norway ($37), and Singapore ($34) aren’t staying away from the mentioned countries, offering competitive hourly rates to its developers.

The app development cost calculator applied for Poland would count $26 as hourly rates for local developers. As for Spain – $19, Ukraine – $17, and India – $15, local freelance app developers receive the lowest wages compared to other countries.


Most Expensive Parts in App Development Cost

If you have been wondering “how much does app development cost,” you must have seen that there are technically complicated and large tasks. Nevertheless, a long development time isn’t always about the fact that the task will be delivered within a long time. It comes down to the cost, not deadlines.


Backend developers create the server-side of an app. This aspect is about a system that stores the project’s database and business logic. It transfers the mentioned components to the mobile application.

Several User Types

If there are two types of users, like customer and performer, you will have to develop a unique interface for each of them. This implies creating design and projecting, preparing screens, and implementing business logic.

AR Implementation

Android and iPhone app development cost change significantly if you decide to implement a project that will allow users to use filters to take selfies or see how furniture would look in their homes. That requires excellent skills, time-consuming development, and considerable expenditures.

The Integration of Third-Party Services

Implementing the function of sharing posts, like on Facebook or Twitter, or using payment by credit cards, requires a lot of time. The more integrations there are, the longer and higher the cost of app development will be.

Large Amounts of Data and Actions in the App

It is quite challenging to insert large amounts of data on the smartphone’s screen. Thus, the designer has to figure out how that data will be displayed, and the developer has to put it into action.


To Wrap Up

So, how much does it cost to make an app? It’s rather hard to give a clear-cut answer because it is often when unexpected expenditures appear at different development stages. The price depends on multiple factors, from the location of your developers to the number of functions.

It is practically impossible to state the exact figures, but the average cost of app development varies from $25,000 to $140,000, but these are just approximate numbers; they can be higher or lower depending on the requirements. In case you have a great idea for an app, you can entrust the development process to Qubit Labs offshore app development company.

We have access to a large talent pool of app developers and will surely build an effective team to make your project get over the footlights. Feel free to contact us to figure out your cost of app development.


Related Articles:

Hire App Developer: Salaries, Resumes, Market Overview

Salary: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Mobile App Developer?

Remote Hiring Guide

Where To Outsource Software Development: Talent pool, Prices, Countries

A Quick Guide to Mobile App Monetization


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