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Figuring Out the Cost Breakdown of Building a Mobile App

A mobile app can be a powerful tool for any organization. It is a great way to engage customers, get feedback from users, improve organizational communication, or sell products and services. However, the cost of creating an app can be pretty high. That’s why it’s vital to have an app development cost estimate before starting the process.

If you’ve looked anywhere online for a general estimate of the total cost of developing an app from scratch, you’ve probably seen one answer again and again: it depends. That’s all well and good, but “it depends” is not especially helpful when you’re trying to construct a budget.

So, let’s start by talking about the price range of building a mobile app for your organization.

GoodFirms has found that :

Cost breakdown

A bare-bones app can cost from $24,830 to $59,150


An app with an average amount of features can cost from $36,107 to $85,150


An app with experimental features can cost from $59,507 to $137,150

Cost breakdown

Having an accurate budget for the mobile app you want to make will help you avoid surprises and ensure you’re adequately prepared for the process. Otherwise, you may find yourself with an unbalanced product, where you spent too much upfront and ran out toward the end.

That’s why we’ve constructed our free mobile app cost estimation tool Because honestly, there’s no one answer to how much doest it cost to create an app . Our tool will walk you through each significant factor that affects the overall cost and give you a pricing estimate.

App development cost can vary depending on several factors, including the size and scope of the project, the platform you're developing for, and the experience of the development team. Cost to build an app depends on several factors, including the complexity of the app, the number of features it has, and the platform it is being built for. Generally speaking, the cost to build an app can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do you want to know how much does it cost to create an app?

Please use our mobile app cost calculator and go into the mobile app development process prepared!

Why Having An Accurate Estimate Is Essential For Building An App

It is not uncommon for an app development project to exceed the original budget by 30% or more. This is especially true if there are changes in the scope of work or delays and unexpected roadblocks. Having an accurate app development cost estimate before starting the development process will keep you from being blind-sided.

To avoid unpleasant surprises near the end of your project and keep your costs under control, gather all the necessary information before you estimate the cost of an app. You need to plan ahead and know your app development budget for each development phase.

Cost breakdown

The Top 10 Factors That Affect the Cost Breakdown of an App

We’re going to break down how our wizard makes its estimates in more detail, but these are the three broad factors that affect the cost of your app:

Complexity icon


There are many different types of apps, and each one has its own set of complexities. The more complex your app is, the higher the app development price will be. For example, creating a simple chatbot with basic features would be much less expensive than developing an augmented reality game with complex 3D graphics.

Feature icon


The number of features included in your app is also a significant factor. For example, a simple app that only does one or two things will usually be less expensive than a simple app with ten plus functions. Additionally, a mobile game can be cheaper to build than a social media platform or enterprise application if it has fewer features.

Timeline icon


The timeline of when you need to launch your app can heavily affect how things are priced. A rush job will always be more expensive than one where you can take your time. In addition, there may be additional charges if developers need to work extra hours to hit your deadline.

So if you’re looking to do things as cheaply as possible, you’ll want to plan a simple app that only does a couple of things over a long development period. However, if you’re looking for a complex, fully-featured app, and you want it now, prepare yourself for prices on the higher end of the spectrum.


Your App Development Team

The size of your development team and their location will also affect the app development price.

The larger the team, the more you’ll pay. However, if your group is too small, you may run into timeline problems, making it a moot point. At a minimum, you’ll need the following people on your mobile app development team:

Cost breakdown


Your developer is the heart and soul of the app. They’re the ones who’ll take the concept and make it a reality. A developer writes all the code for a mobile app and fixes bugs. They also add all the functions that you want for your app.

Cost breakdown

QA Engineer

Quality assurance engineers are there to make sure that everything works as intended. They should be making sure that the app is stable under a battery of tests. They’ll also make sure that the user experience is going as intended.

Cost breakdown

Project Manager

Your project manager is in charge of ensuring everything is going as planned and making any modifications necessary to reach goals. They also keep the other team members on track. Choosing a good project manager will positively impact your bottom line since they’re essential to making sure you hit your timeline.

Cost breakdown

Back-End Developer

While the back-end of your app may not be super complicated, depending on your app, it’s a super important element of app development. They’re in charge of data processing and storage, syncing, authentication, business logic, and content updates.

Cost breakdown

UX/UI designer

This position is one of the most important for attracting and retaining customers. They’re essentially in charge of the curb appeal of your application and its ease of use. They ensure your app stands out from others in the field, both visually and in terms of the overall experience. If something is consistently annoying for users of a rival app, you can woo them to your side with improvements.

If you want to expand the team, you should look at hiring more app developers, back-end developers, and a system administrator. Another huge factor that affects cost is where your team is since the median salary varies a lot across different parts of the world. For example, North America is the most expensive, while Indonesia is the least.


Your App Platform (OS)

The first thing to get out of the way when planning your application is how you want to distribute it. Because although it’s not the most significant budget factor, it affects your team composition significantly.

The reason is that—except for specific programming languages like Kotlin, where you can double up on some of the coding—you’ll have to hire developers who are versed in that platform’s programming language. If you decide to do both platforms, it’s a good idea to try to use a multi-platform programming language so you can reuse code.

mobile app cost

iOS is More Affordable
Than Android

The iOS mobile app development process is more affordable than the Android mobile app development process for several reasons.

The most significant reason is that Apple provides a free IDE, Xcode, making it much easier to develop an iOS app. In addition, many third-party tools help developers build apps for the App Store and make it easier to find bugs and fix them.

The other element is that iOS is a closed system, where most users have the most current operating system. In contrast, Android is an open-source ecosystem where the user base has a vast range of operating systems.

This means that there are many fewer variables when you’re working with iOS. So, for example, you don’t have to worry about backward compatibility and the differences in launchers.

You’ll have to invest more time in squashing bugs and creating different variations of your app for the Play Store than for the Apple App Store.

mobile app cost

Consider Your User Base

You may be wondering if it’s even worth it to develop an Android app , but there’s an important thing to realize. While the market is more split in the US, globally, Android is far more dominant than iOS. That means both a more extensive and a far broader audience for your app. So there’s a fair argument for all options, but you need to decide what you’re willing to take on.

If you only want to choose one, consider your audience. For example, suppose your app is aimed chiefly at a US-specific audience. In that case, it can be worth it only to develop an iOS app. But otherwise, it’s probably wiser to choose Android.


Do People Need to Login to Use Your App?

When you’re thinking about budget, this probably isn’t a question on the forefront of your mind. But it’s a significant cost difference that can take you by surprise if you aren’t careful.

If users don’t need to login into your app, then it’s not an applicable cost. But adding it can quickly add thousands of dollars to your projected budget. So why is that?

mobile app cost

Associated Costs

There are many more steps involved in creating a login, which increases the cost of development.

One big reason is security. The more personal information you ask of someone, the more secure your app has to be. Think of the consequences of asking for people’s emails and social logins, only for your security to be breached. And the reverse is true as well since relying on the security of another social app can leave you vulnerable.

The other problem with social logins is that you’re at the mercy of constantly updating an often buggy SKS. Businesses have reported issues with app crashes caused by bugs in the code that the social sites give out.

There are also more minor considerations that can add up. For example, the developer needs to design and develop a custom login screen. You’ll also have to handle issues with people losing their login information.

Benefits of Login Options

Like all the other choices, just because there’s a higher price tag doesn’t mean it isn’t worth having a login option. Some app types—ones that store information—will require that you have a login option. But even if you don’t have to, there are some pros to having a login option:


The login process can be a handy data gathering tool for app developers. If you have users fill out a form, you’ll have access to any demographic information you could need.

Customer Engagement

When customers create an account, they’re more likely to interact consistently with your application. For example, people probably won’t share anything or pay for applications without a login function.


Without an account, your user base is a faceless mass that you’ll only hear from on your reviews. But if you have access to an email, you’ll have means of contacting them beyond push notifications. This can help with re-engaging customers.

mobile app cost
mobile app cost

Email or Social?

Many applications have options for creating an account associated with your email, social media, or both. Only providing an email login can be less of a hassle for you, but people may be more willing to sign in if they can create an account and log in with only a few taps.

In addition, providing several social login options can be helpful for customers who want to create an account and log in to save time and information.


Will Users Need to Create Profiles?

While account creation is one step, you’ll have to decide whether you want to have your users create profiles.

Again, some mobile apps will require profiles. Almost every app with a social feature has profile creation. It allows your users to feel like they have a personal space on your application that they can customize to fit themselves.

So if you’re wondering whether or not your mobile app should include profiles, think about how popular social elements of apps have become. Even apps for working out or food can include social elements.

What Having Profiles Entails

What Having Profiles Entails

Every option for customization will take your developer time to program. In addition, you’ll have to have storage for profiles, which is a back-end issue. The cost will also depend on how complex these profiles are. Things like:

Profile Pictures



Profile Settings



Editing Options

All of these settings take time to design, program, and refine. The UX design must be top tier since the user will interact so much with this application element. Like with account creation, you’ll have to invest in security features. People want to make sure that their data is protected and only visible to those they want it to be.


Is Your App a Moneymaker?

Now let’s be honest. You’re putting this much effort, time, and money into making a mobile app. And you probably want to see some returns on that investment. But there are a few options for making money with apps with some pros and cons.

Luckily, this isn’t an expensive feature to implement, whatever you decide. There are a lot of integrations and programs available to make the process easier.

Upfront Pricing

The big pro with upfront pricing is that it’s no hassle. With either Android or Apple, the app store will handle purchases.

As we’ve mentioned with security previously, this can be a big relief. Payment information is some of the most sensitive data that users input. Of course, you can avoid that by using payment partners like PayPal, but it’s still easier to use upfront.

upfront pricing
In-app Purchases

In-app Purchases

However, there’s a big reason to think about using in-app purchasing. A study discovered that people spend 24% more on in-app purchases in the long run than with upfront costs.

There’s a simple reason for this. People want to know if your app is worth it before putting money down. Of course, you’ll probably have people who are happy to shell out a dollar for something well rated. But more often than not, you’ll probably be passed by for a free version of what you’re offering.

Android app users are less likely to pay for apps upfront, favoring free options. So the platform you’ve chosen can affect your choices.

One way to get the best of both worlds is to have a freeware version of your app with fewer features that directs users to the paid app. If your app is simple, this could be a good solution. However, even if they’re similar, maintaining two complicated apps can quickly become more hassle than it’s worth.


Will Users be Leaving Ratings or Reviews of Purchases?

Reviews are a vital part of the shopping experience for both consumers and businesses.

They help shoppers make informed decisions about what to buy and what not to buy. Adding reviews to your app can be expensive and time-consuming, but it is often worth it in the end.

There are many costs involved with adding reviews to your app


You Need to Pay A Developer

Which will cost you anywhere from $5,000 - $10,000, depending on your needs and the project’s complexity. You also need to purchase an API or SDK to add ratings and reviews to your app. This will cost you anywhere from $1,000 - $3,000 per year plus any additional costs if you want more features like star ratings or social media integration in your app.


You Have To Gather Reviews For Your App

Allowing consumers to add reviews will allow the process of adding reviews to be less time- consuming. However, you still need to have an audience willing to use your app to get more content. This audience will require substantial marketing and advertising on social media, email, and other platforms.


There Is A Legal Risk

Suppose your reviews aren’t generated organically by your audience (spamming is a common issue), causing consumers to believe that the product is more valuable than it is. In that case, your app’s integrity may be negatively impacted. In addition, these fake reviews can give you an unfair advantage over competitors. Then there is a risk that it will eventually lead to legal action.


Will This App Connect to a Website?

There are many reasons you might want to connect your app to a website. Maybe you want to redirect users to your company’s website. Maybe you want users to be able to interact with your app on their desktops.

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are a set of standards for exchanging data between two applications. This makes it possible for mobile apps to share data with a website. It also enables websites to interact with mobile apps and vice versa.

APIs can be free to use or cost a fee. Companies that want to make their data available to other developers typically create free APIs. These companies usually offer their API for free as an incentive for developers to create applications with their data and as an opportunity to build customer loyalty.

However, if you want to connect to your website, you’ll have to create your own API, which can be a lengthy process for your back-end developer.

Connect to a Website

Do You Want Your App to be Basic or High-End?

If you look through the apps on your phone, you probably see a wide variety of appearances. Some apps are full of art, animation, and videos, and others are primarily text-based, with a simple interface.

Basic or High-End

Many people have the misconception that a beautiful design is all it takes to make an app successful. Therefore, they think that if they invest in a UI, people will automatically want to download it. However, this is not always the case.

In fact, some apps with a more basic design are more popular than their more aesthetically pleasing counterparts. This is because simple apps often lead to a better experience and are easier to use.

Of course, simplicity is not the same as a lack of design. Going simple does not mean that you should never invest in your app’s UI design. Instead, it means that you should not rely on your UI alone if you want your app to succeed.

Like many of your other choices, the appearance of your app will depend on how you want users to interact with it. If your app is focused on aesthetics (think Pinterest), you’ll want something that users want to look at. But a more practical application should invest more time into UX.


Will You Need a Customized App Icon?

If you’ve ever worked with designing a logo, you’ll understand the difficulty of app icon design. Every element of the design has to be perfect of it’s immediately noticeable

Customized App Icon

So it’s no wonder that having a custom app icon designed is a substantial additional cost. If this app is for an existing business, you may be able to get away with re-purposing your current logo. But you have to remember that an app icon is much smaller than many other ways your logo is displayed. So that fancy text and those clever, small details quickly turn into visual mush when shrunk down.

Getting someone to download your app is only half the battle. You want people to decide to use your app when they open their home screen.

Beyond the icon, some apps also need to consider adding widgets as an option. Widgets represent another chance at attracting users to your app since they’re generally larger.

Suppose your app contains information people will want to know at a glance when they look down at their phones. In that case, you should definitely consider the additional option of a widget.

Confianz Can Help You Build a Mobile App

Determining how much a mobile app will cost before starting can save you a world of trouble. It can also help you prioritize the essential elements of your app.

It’s vital that you know your audience, the features you want, how you want users to interact with your app, and how you plan to make money with your app before making any big decisions. All those factors determine what kind of team you need to hire, where you want to hire from, and the scope and complexity of your mobile app.

Budgeting for such a big project can be a painful process when you’re trying to factor in all the variables, but it doesn’t have to be. Our calculator tool can help you get an estimate based on the most critical factors while also walking you through some of the decisions you’ll have to make.

How much does an app cost?

Mobile App Cost Calculator

Use our mobile app building tool to estimate how much it will cost to build your mobile app. Then, get started on development today!

Mobile app cost calculator


It is a good idea to hire a mobile app development company to make an app instead of taking a “do it yourself” approach. Expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 to have your app made.

Many factors impact the final cost of app development, including the platform it is built on (Android vs. iOS), the features that need to be included, security measures for the app, and API connection requirements. Confianz has a mobile app calculator that can help estimate the cost of building an app to meet your specifications and requirements.

It generally takes at least 350 – 500 hours to develop an app. These hours include everything from initial validation to prototyping, design, development, and launch. They do not include ongoing maintenance and support, which may be charged at an additional rate.

Apps that require more complex features, such as a secure point of sale, user login, user reviews, etc., will take longer to design and develop. Also, it will take longer to develop an app if it is going to be launched on Android and iOS instead of only on one platform.

An app like Uber is very complex and will take longer to develop than simple apps that do not have so many features. On average, it will cost at least $67,000 to $150,000 to create for iOS and Android. That does not include the requirement to develop an admin panel in the app, which would start at $14,000.

If you want to hire a freelance app developer to develop your Android or iOS mobile app, expect to pay anywhere from $20 – $50 an hour. While the price may seem lower than hiring a mobile app development company, it does not necessarily mean that it is a good idea to hire a single developer.

Hiring a single app developer does not provide access to multiple team members with varied experiences and expertise in mobile app design and development. Also, there is no guarantee that an app developer will continue to service your app after it launches or that they will stick with you for the entirety of the project.

On average, developing a gaming app will cost between $20,000 to $200,000. Some more complex mobile apps could cost closer to $1 million. The trade-off is that successful complex gaming apps can bring in substantial revenue.

Here is a breakdown of how much different types of gaming apps cost to develop.
Basic gaming app (examples: ping pong, solitaire): $20,000 – $50,000
Casual 2D games (examples: Stack, Red Ball): $50,000 – $100,000
Social games (example: Farmville): $100,000 – $200,000
Mid-level games (examples: Angry Birds): $250,000 – $750,000
High-level games (Example: Call of Duty mobile): $400,000 – $1,000,000

The high cost of a gaming app can be offset by the amount of money the app generates. From 2017 to 2020, the average amount of mobile gaming app revenue rose 8%. It is expected to reach $164 billion by the end of 2022.

An average mobile gaming app with fewer than 50,000 downloads can expect to make $1 for every four users, which amounts to $12,500 in a year. A more complex mobile gaming app or a mobile gaming app with more annual downloads can expect to make more money. For example, Roblox is the top mobile gaming app in the U.S., earning $588 million in revenue annually.

Subscription apps have become increasingly popular as more people recognize their potential to generate recurring revenue and income. After all, the average American adult spends almost $21 a month on mobile app subscriptions.

The most popular subscription apps, like Tinder, generate over $1 billion in revenue annually. More realistically, someone who creates a subscription app could reasonably expect to make at least $100,000 a year. The exact amount you will make will depend on several factors, including the quality of your application and the market need for your application versus a competitor.

The minimum amount it will take to develop a quality app that functions as it should and provides a good user experience is $10,000. Mobile application development can cost as much as $1 million, although, on average, it costs between $20,000 and $150,000 to develop an app.

It is possible to start on the low end by developing a minimum viable product (MVP) app that has basic functionality, then add to the development as you earn money from the app and learn more about what users want and how they use it.

The two things that need to be budgeted for before developing a mobile app are time and money. Expect it to take up to 12 months to go from having an idea for an app to launching it in the app store (either Android or iOS). Then, expect to spend anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000 on the app development process.

Because app development is time-consuming and expensive, it should not be considered lightly. It is essential to do your due diligence to ensure that you have a marketable idea for an app and the financial resources to develop it correctly the first time around.

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