An Estimation Guide – How Much Money Require To Build Native Mobile App?

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How much money does an app project cost? Most beginners ask this common question while planning to launch their first app. But objectively answering this question is next to impossible. It depends on many factors ranging from the nature, characteristics, niche and functions of the app, technology stack, development model and approaches, engagement model for the developers and many others.

Yes, giving you an exact estimation of the cost of building an app is pretty tricky and involves a wide range of considerations. Despite that, in this post, we will give it an honest try and come out with definitive answers about the cost. But before that, we need to have a clear idea about the multitude of factors and cost components.

Benchmarks to consider

As per the most reliable industry sources, app development cost benchmarks can be assessed from various average figures published by the rating and evaluation websites such as Clutch, GoodFarms, and different survey reports.

According to the 2015 Clutch Survey, app development’s median cost stands somewhere at $171,450, translating to an hourly rate of $150/hour if an average project takes 1,143 development hours. Thus price can further increase to $727,500 when complex functionalities are implemented. According to the 2017 Clutch survey, the average cost of a minimum app project ranges between $5,000 to $10,000.

According to VDC research 2017, the cost of building mobile enterprise apps stands at an average rate of $140,000. Outsystems Survey report 2018-2019 says that three months or more development time is required for more than 80% of app projects, and around 40% of app projects consume 6+ months of development time.

The app idea, the business niche, and features and functions make the most significant influencing factor for the app development time and cost. The most significant factors influencing the app development cost include the following.

  • The development company and location
  • Functional complexity, the features of the app, and technical challenges.
  • Backend app infrastructure and the APIs chosen.
  • UX/UI design complexity
  • Graphics, visual elements, and animation.
  • Chosen development approach such as native, mobile web, cross-platform native hybrid, etc
  • Chosen platforms for app development.

Top cost factors for mobile app projects

There are many cost components for an app project. But apart from design, development, and publication, an app project involves several other cost components that year on year build up a cost burden. Here we will showcase the top 10 most expensive cost elements in a mobile app project.

  • Servers costing around $12,000/year
  • iOS and Android updates costing around $10,000/year
  • APIs costing around $5,000/year
  • Images data costing $4,800/year
  • CDN costing $3,600/year
  • Data storage costing $3,600/year
  • Push notifications costing $2,400/year
  • App update submissions costing $2,400/year
  • Development tools, libraries, and support teams costing at least $1,200/year
  • Social media platform and chat app integrations costing $1,200/year

These cost factors can grow fast as your app continues to gain traction and popularity. More data requirements, more integrations, and more features will only add to your app project’s recurring cost.

Handling the hidden costs

The principal problem concerning the cost of mobile app development is the range of separate components one needs to bring together. Several of these components are expensive, and they continue to make cost burdens throughout the app life cycle.

No wonder, many businesses avoid building an app because of these recurring cost factors. How to handle these cost factors? Well, here we are going to explain a few things about this.

First of all, always remember that the agency’s and developers’ development cost always involves the mobile app project’s cost from ideation to development and launch. This quote doesn’t include recurring support as well as software tool cost.

How to develop an app within a budget?

Now that we have explained various hidden and recurring factors in the post-development period, you must be asking about the core development cost. Though there is no guarantee that an app development project can stick to the projected cost to the app completion and launch, there are some proven and time-tested ways to build an app within a budget.

  • First of all, do homework to assess the app project’s requirements. Consider the target platforms, technologies, app ideas, and target audience for the app project.
  • Now select the perfect mobile app development company experienced in the respective niche, having a great portfolio and team of experienced developers.
  • Consider the hourly development rates for various development markets and locations. You can outsource to traditionally well-equipped markets like India or South East Asia to get the best of expertise with lower pricing.
  • Go for a primary and elementary app with key features. Build the basic app and leave room for further value additions through updates.
  • Create a simple and easy-to-use app design that works best to help users engage while keeping the expensive design elements at bay.
  • Ensure your app project involves collaboration from different teams involved in the business and streamline the development with ease.
  • Remember, to keep the cost factors under complete control you need to plan well in advance and take care of every detail, meticulously right from the ideation stage.
  • When working with a development company, estimate the entire project in detail. The estimate should involve all the key components and evaluate the cost factors.
  • Always stick to your original idea once it is finalized and in the mid oath, don’t go for something fancy or experiment with a new idea. This will exponentially increase your cost.


We explained all the factors, considerations, and rough estimation on the mobile app development cost to only involve partial aspects. They are likely to vary across different app projects. But still, by maintaining these focus areas, you can have better control over your app development cost.



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