How much money is needed to create an app

Wow, we get asked this question a lot. “How much does it cost to make an app?” it has become a trend. It’s a good thing we like to ask about app development costs and offer ways to optimize an app development budget.

The mobile app economy is booming. We’ve already seen the App Store and Google Play celebrate their 10th anniversary, and their growth rates show no signs of stopping. Both app stores are growing by over a thousand apps per day, and their future looks even brighter.

“Sensor Tower expects gross consumer spending worldwide to exceed $270 billion by 2025 ″

— Sensor Tower

The company continues to report spending growth on regular non-gaming apps. All this data screams: now is the time to invest in mobile applications. What you need to do before tapping into this lucrative app marketplace is to determine your mobile app budget.

Read on to learn more about:

  1. Average application development cost
  2. Application development budget per phase
  3. Cost of making an application based on a set of functions
  4. Aspects behind-the-scenes application costs
  5. Cost to update an application
  6. Time to develop an application
  7. How to reduce the cost of application development

Reading time: ~ 20 min

It can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a mobile app, depending on what the app does.

The short answer is that a decent mobile app can cost $10,000 to $500,000 to develop, but YMMV.

Trust me, I feel your need to facepalm right now, and no, I don’t lan I’ll use another analogy with the car salesman. We’ll have a good time going over why your mileage may vary in a minute. In the meantime, take a look at some real-life app development budgets:

Average cost of app development by type

Cost of a mobile app developed By an Agency with US-Based Management and a Distributed Team:

  1. Cost for Standalone Offline Application: $12,000 to $25,000
  2. Application with moderate online connectivity: $5,000 to $45,000
  3. Chatbot application development cost: $20,000 to $50,000
  4. IoT or wearable application cost: $20 000 to $60,000
  5. Messaging app development cost: $30,000 to $70,000
  6. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality app cost: $40,000 to $70,000
  7. Low application development cost d Demand: $50,000 to $100,000
  8. Mobile Commerce Application Cost: $30,000 to $80,000.00
  9. Mobile Social Media Application Cost: $30,000 to $90,000
  10. Mobile a Cost per person: $50,000 to $120,000

Cost of a mobile app developed by a US-based agency:

  1. Standalone offline app cost: ~$50,000
  2. Application with moderate online connectivity cost: ~$80,000
  3. Chatbot app development cost: ~$90,000
  4. IoT or wearable application cost: ~$1,350,000
  5. Messaging application development cost: ~$300,000
  6. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality application cost : ~$400,000
  7. On-demand app development cost: ~$800,000
  8. Mobile commerce app cost: ~$600,000.00
  9. Cost of Mobile Social Media App: ~350,000 USD
  10. Cost of App Enterprise Mobile Application: ~500,000 USD

Cost of creating a mobile application with a foreign team:

  1. Cost of Standalone offline app: ~$5000
  2. Moderate cost app for online connectivity: ~$12,000
  3. Chatbot app development cost: ~$19,000
  4. IoT and Wearable Application Cost: ~$28,000
  5. Messaging Application Development Cost: ~$35,000
  6. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Application Cost: ~$45,000
  7. On-Demand App Development Cost: ~$50,000
  8. Mobile Commerce App Cost: ~$40,000
  9. Mobile Social Media App Cost: ~$50,000
  10. Cost of enterprise mobile app: ~$60,000

These price points show the cost of developing a single app for one platform: iOS or Android. The cost includes the integration of an application with a server but not the development of a server component here.

As you can see in the graph, the range is huge. Let’s take a closer look at why your mileage with budget app development can vary. Read on to find out what constitutes a mobile app budget and what is the average price you can expect to pay to develop an app. I’ll also share some tips on how to control the cost of building apps.

The app development process consists of several different phases. Each phase will take a portion of your app development budget. So knowing the best practices for budgeting for each stage of app development will help you answer: “How much does it cost to build an app?”

1. Cost of Business Analysis in App Development Budget

Your brilliant app idea needs verification, market analysis and requirements documentation.An experienced mobile development team will ask you a host of questions to prepare an accurate app development quote.

A good rule of thumb is to allocate at least 10% of your total app development budget to the analysis phase. commercial. Click To Tweet

Business analysts will participate in all phases of the application development project. Your job is to make sure that what you ask for is:

  • Achievable and clear to developers
  • Follow Apple and Google best practices
  • Be based on the most effective technology stack

Enterprise analytics budget share in mobile app development cost: $1,200 to $11,000.

Tips on how to trim your business analytics budget:

  1. Find other apps with the exact features you want to replicate in your app. Clarify how this functionality will differ in your application.
  2. Provide UML diagrams for the development team.
  3. Discover best practices for business analysis in mobile application projects.
See Also:  45 Blog Name Ideas & ExamplesHow to Name a Blog (Brainstorming Ideas & Inspiration for All Bloggers) in 2023

2. Design Cost and Clickable Prototype App Development Budget

As soon as the requirements document is ready, it’s time to start with the UI. Flawless user interface and user experience is a must in today’s applications. So you should be ready to get paid for the design.

Learn about the difference between UI and UX Design

A lot will depend on whether you already have a brand book, but usually Typically, design accounts for 10-15% of the total cost of the application. Make sure you get a clickable prototype as part of the deal.

A clickable prototype allows you to check the UX before the more expensive phase app coding begins. Some of the most popular interactive prototyping tools are:

  • InVision
  • Adobe XD
  • Marvel
  • Proto .io

Here’s a great video from InVision on how these prototyping tools work:

Design estimate on app development cost: $2500 to $10 000.

Tips on how to cut app design budget:

  1. Take some screenshots of the apps you like and explain why you selected them;
  2. Use UI elements provided by Apple and Google;
  3. Look for ready-made UI kits on websites like ui8 and freebiesbug. Check out this collection of free UI kits for iOS and Android.

3. Cost of application coding per se

Application coding costs more than all other phases of application development. Imagine thoughtful developers sitting in front of shiny iMacs writing strings of code. This image is only part of the big picture.

To make the image more real, add daily interviews with members of the development team. App development is a collaborative process: even a small app will need two or three team members.

Mobile development team

Application architecturecom/nEJwBnJfMgrepTdEKiQJQkImAnkTSHTG/assets/images/optimized/rev-e1ccb3b/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/project-management-app-cost.jpg” alt=”Project management budget in application development” />

Project management budget on application development cost: $1,200 to $12,000.

Tips for cutting project management budget:

  1. You should never cut project management budget, period.A project manager can make or break your project, but there should be a project manager on your project.
  2. Get rid of a project manager project not responding within 10-24 hours cases this PM is not worth the money.

A decent project manager is worth every penny Click to Tweet

5 Cost of app through the lens of development phases

Now, you’re one step closer to answering the question: “How much does it cost to build an app?” Read on to find out how various features influence the budget of the mobile app.

Mobile apps have come a long way from their inception to just being gimmicks or marketing gimmicks. Remember the $999.99 I’m Rich app from the App Store when it first opened? We now have apps as feature-rich as Slack, Gmail, Uber, YouTube, you name it.

How Features Ramp Up App Cost

These apps come with lots of functions. The more functionality you plan for an app, the higher the price to build the app will be. Let’s go through a list of features that will affect your app development budget to help you clarify “How much does it cost to develop an app?”

1. Optimizing the UI for Tablets

If you expect your app users to enjoy working with the app on their tablets, your app should be responsive to large screens. Such optimization will increase your app development budget.

In practice, many apps are released on tablets. However, without a user interface that takes large screens into account, the user experience is downright poor.

To make your app tablet-friendly, you need to consider an increase in your app development budget from up to 1.5 times. Click To Tweet

The high cost of optimizing apps for tablets is the main reason so few apps are tablet friendly.

Usually only the big brands have a universal app that offers Separate UX for phones and tablets. Starting with iOS 14, there is a separate operating system for iPad. Therefore, the 1.5x increase in app development budget to support iPad still counts for iPads prior to iOS 14.

However, developing a standalone iPad app based in the iOS app it should fit within a budget increase from 1.5 to 1.7 as well. The source code remains the same, plus new iPad apps will work on Mac with virtually minimal effort from the app development team.

2. Landscape

  • Will your app only have cloud-based notifications?
  • Will your app also rely on local device notifications?
  • How many Will there be activations to trigger notifications?
  • What will be the logic behind the notifications: location-based or time-based; Any user actions?
  • Will you keep track of what’s happening with notifications?
  • Will you support 3D Touch and include custom elements in your notifications?

Expect to spend $1,500-$2,500 adding basic push notifications.

Here’s a video from MacRumors explaining rich notifications in iOS:

Make sure your development team is not reinventing the wheel. There are many ready-to-use solutions for push notifications: Urban Airship, Pushwoosh, OneSignal, etc.

The cost of custom push notifications can be as high as $4,000 to $5,000.

The cost of Implementing custom notifications includes a server component and integration.

6. user profileFor example, did you know that you have to pay to use Google Maps in your app to reach a large user base? Again, remember that there may be ready solutions on GitHub and other resources.

A mobile app is more than just a cool icon you download from an app store and tap waiting for a miracle to happen. The app is more than the combined efforts of the app developers and it’s more than their idea. Click To Tweet

What is it that usually goes unnoticed by the user and at the same time forms an essential part of the answer to “How much does it cost to create an app”?

1 . Factor backend development into your mobile app budget

If your mobile app loads content from a server or syncs with a database, you should plan for the server component. Sometimes it can be an existing server, for example a news website that you want to get news from. In this case, there is no need to develop a server as the mobile app will connect to the site via an existing API solution.

However, in most cases, a server will be required. server for:

  • Store data online
  • Synchronize with data in the cloud
  • Allow communication with other users of the application
  • Download images, videos, etc. from a mobile device

Budget Backend Development

There are many ready-to-use server solutions on the market that can help you set up a backend in a go. However, it is enough if you know only two: Firebase and AWS. Firebase is the renowned product of Google which is a universal back-end platform. And Amazon Web Services is Amazon: everything they touch turns to gold.

The average cost of the server component that will work with your mobile app through an API varies widely, from $6,400 to $28,000.

Opt for Firebase, AWS, or similar back-end services to keep the cost of server-side development in a more secure zone.

2. Cost of patenting applications

3. App Marketing Budget

Once you’ve developed your app, it’s time to submit it to the App Store or Google Play.

Strictly speaking, your marketing budget is extra for development budget.

Minimal app marketing initiatives include:

  • Get app reviews with major publications
  • Application Store Optimization (ASO): description, user reviews, etc.
  • Social networks
  • Application trailer

Although the marketing budget for the app is a separate item, you should plan it within the overall budget for the app. The days of amazing apps that sell themselves are long gone. With so many apps in app stores, marketing is vital to the success of your app.

According to Business of Apps, you should set aside at least $10,000 to plan a go-to-market strategy for your app.

— BusinessofApps

According to a survey conducted by AdColony, video ads play an important role in mobile app marketing:

App Install Budget Allocation

Source: AdColony

You can find a lot of information on app marketing, including workarounds, in this amazing app marketing resource.

For some reason reason, the main articles on applications cost statement, you should allocate 20% of the development budget of the a Application updates and maintenance application, annually. What does it even mean: updating or maintaining mobile apps?

Maintaining an app means updating it to support the latest versions of iOS and Android. Get ready for a great time:

Each new version of iOS and Android supports all the features that are already available in apps.

You don’t need to spend a cent to make your app work on a new iOS when available. The only problem with iOS was when Apple required all developers to update their apps to 64-bit architecture.

This anomaly happened once, and Apple gave developers over a year to update their apps. Applications. In addition, Apple supported 32-bit applications for two years before switching to a new architecture.

According to the Clutch survey, you should plan on $10,000-$14,000 for maintenance of the app, which is still pretty high.

Source: Clutch

It’s a different story if you want some new features that come with a new version of the mobile OS: Face ID, ARKit, Core NFC, etc. This functionality can cost much more than a penny to implement and will vary depending on how robust the new features need to be. So here’s our answer to “How much does it cost to update an app?”:

Velvetech’s experience says that 15% of their app development budget is enough to maintain an app annually. Click to Tweet

This estimate includes things like adding a night mode or similar.

The time to develop an app is obviously crucial to the app development budget and so “how long does it take to build an app?” is the second most frequently asked question we receive from our customers.

The answer, of course, depends on the type of application you’re developing and the resources available to you. How long to develop an app if your app development team has two developers? Twice as fast as a single app developer? Well, in a rare app project, yes, when your app can be roughly split into two equal parts.

However, on average, you can project the following time efforts for your app, based on its complexity :

Project type of an app
Time to develop an app

MVP 2-3 weeks Simple app 1 month Enterprise apps, consumer apps with advanced features like maps , etc. 2- 3 months On-demand scalable mobile apps 4 months and up

So if someone asks you “How long does it take to develop an app?”, you know it will take between one and four months.

How long the later in development, the higher the cost of the application. Therefore, you should think about possible ways to reduce the cost of your application.

There are many ways to optimize your application development budget. Keep in mind that you have to balance between an optimal budget and a feature-rich app with potential. Let’s summarize some of the variants to reduce the cost of mobile app development.

Ways to reduce app development cost

1. Cross-platform development

Use Flutter, Xamarin, or a similar framework to speed up your mobile app development. This way, you’re simultaneously developing versions of the app for both platforms.

The cross-platform approach saves you 10-30% of your budget, compared to developing native apps.

Avoid the cross-platform approach if your app depends on a lot of custom animations. We recommend Swift for iOS and Java or Kotlin for Android when developing advanced applications.

Cross-platform, native development approach

You’ll find even more reasons to use the cross-platform mobile development approach to reduce development costs of apps in one of our blog posts.

2. MVP First

Starting with an MVP might sound like giving up early. However, it is a viable way to test your idea in the field, with real users, on a small budget. Click to Tweet

Initial feedback will help you plan an optimal budget for a fully featured version of the app. You’ll focus your efforts on the MVP features your users crave.

Get the details on building a successful MVP app in our separate blog post on why most MVP apps fail and what you should do to get a solid MVP release.

3. Design and development by the same agency

Instead of being a go-between for a designer and developers, find an agency that can do both. It will save you a lot of time.

4. Use Out-of-the-Box Solutions

As I mentioned, developing a custom part instead of an out-of-the-box solution is not the best idea. The mobile economy is so strong that you can build an entire app using multiple SDKs. However, you should be able to tell the difference between code templates (also known as code snippets) and mobile SDKs.

Never buy code snippets. Your development team will either ask you to scrap them or require an expensive refactoring phase. Click To Tweet

Code snippets from sites like are nothing like mobile SDKs. SDKs come with official support – they’re a safe bet, while code snippets are sold as-is.

5. Avoid compatibility with legacy operating systems and device models

Only support updated versions of iOS and Android and recent device models to save up to 1.5x – 2x times the app budget.



As you can see, defining the cost of mobile app development is not a trivial task: too many moving parts. It depends on who you ask, when you ask (high or low season), etc. So it’s not that I’m averse to letting the cat out of the bag. It’s just a different story with each application. I just hope you found enough information here to answer the question, “How much does it cost to build a mobile app?”

I haven’t covered some extreme variants, like partnering with a developer who agrees to make an app for the equity. Those are awkward situations, and I haven’t heard of one that has turned out well in the last five years.

I advise you to do your due diligence and choose a reputable software vendor with proven experience in mobile devices. . applications development

Your partner should be flexible and work as part of your team, genuinely interested in the success of your app. It’s hard to find such a provider.

According to Clutch, “the average minimum project size is $5,000 to $10,000. However, the typical cost to build a significant app is likely to be significantly more than $5,000 to $10,000.”

If you followed our guide carefully, you know you’ll end up with the following app budgets depending on which company you choose to build. develop app:

Type of company
Cost of app

US agency with US-based team $50,000 – $1,350 000 US Agency with a distributed team $5000 – $120,000 Offshore Company $5,000 – $60,000

Simply put, with Velvetech you can develop a mobile app for as little as $5,000 and up to $120,000.The only advice is to let the features manage the budget, not the other way around.

Oh, and ditch the $10,000 quotes for an Uber-like app from certain mobile development companies – your time is money, and you know better than that.


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