How Much It Costs to Develop an App
This is a question that bothers many business owners. And it is the cost of a developed application that often defines whether an entrepreneur will ever develop it and if so, what software development company he will choose to help him out with these services.
When you look at an app you downloaded for the first time, you can hardly put a price on it.
And if you are not too deep into the business analysis you might not even know that to develop the MVP of an app similar to Instagram, one will need at least $125,250-$183,000.
Moreover, an MVP of an app like WhatsApp will cost you around $173,550 - $222,600.
These costs are based on an average hourly rate of IT minds from North America.
And they could have been at least twice as low if those apps were developed in Eastern Europe. But we’ll talk about it in just a few seconds.
Most people believe in the existence of cheap high-quality applications. And though, we don’t believe that quality can be cheap, we know for sure that it can be cheapER.
Before you make an important decision of turning your business idea into an app, you need to understand that its cost depends on several things. And in this article, we will look into each one of them.
Rates compared by regions
The first thing you need to bear in mind is that different regions have different hourly rates for software development.
For example, the InsiderMonkey states that developers on average get the annual salary of up to:
- $104,200 in Switzerland;
- $81,400 in Norway;
- $76,000 in the United States;
- $71,500 in Denmark;
- $70,700 in Israel;
- $65,900 in Australia;
- $63,800 in Germany;
- $57,500 in Canada;
- $56,200 in the United Kingdom
- $36,000 in Ukraine.
Translating these figures into hourly rates, we see that an average developer in an IT outsourcing company:
- from North America gets around $50-200/hour;
- from Western Europe around $40-150/hour;
- from the Middle East around $35-70/hour;
- from Eastern Europe around $28-60/hour;
- from Post-Soviet countries $25-50/hour.
Lower rates do not necessarily mean poor quality. Thus, when outsourcing your software development to Ukraine you get awesome products developed at a reasonable price.
Now let’s move on to see how we get the cost of the software development on the example of popular apps.
Software development cost formula
The cost of the project can be calculated by the following formula:
Total time * hourly rate = Software development cost
Each piece of functionality developed takes different time.
Besides, remember that developing the software for iOS will take around 1.3x longer than the development of software for Android.
Now, in order to give you a clear understanding of how much your app will cost, let’s take a look at the development of the existing apps and how much time their MVP development took.
How much it costs to develop an app like Instagram
A well-known photo-sharing application, Instagram, that was bought by Facebook at a striking price of $1 billion is now one of the leading and most popular applications ever.
In fact, the Recode guys state that “Instagram, owned by Facebook, says its users under 25 spend “spend more than 32 minutes a day on Instagram,” and users 25 and over “spend more than 24 minutes a day” on the app.”
It truly is taking over the market!
So, how much did it cost to develop an MVP for Instagram?
Bear in mind that the app itself consists of several important features:
- Editing profile;
- Push notifications;
- Uploading visuals;
- Social login;
- Filters and effects;
We have analyzed these features to present you an estimation of how much it will take in hours to develop a clone for such an app.
Registration alone will take up to 65-70 hours. Editing profile functionality will require another 50 hours.
Settings will be responsible for around 110 hours. Direct messaging will take up to 140 hours.
Next will be the Push notifications the development of which will take up to 70 hours. Uploading photos and videos are another 200 hours (this figure might get bigger with extra functions like tags, comments, etc. added).
A nice design for such an app will take around 180 hours depending on the complexity and level of UI/UX features desired.
Geolocation is worth another 50 hours of work and the integration of different social media will take up to 12 hours for each social network you want to be linked to your app.
Finally, photos and videos customization will require another 200 hours and the search feature will take around 50 hours.
All in all, the development of such an app amounts to around 1,150 hours based on the chosen functionality. Now multiply this number by the hourly rate - and you get a clear picture of how much your app will cost you.
How much it costs to develop an app like WhatsApp
People text daily. No wonder messengers like Viber, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp are simply thriving year on year.
However, even with these giants in the market, you can still develop a messenger that will become one successful means of communication for users from all over the world.
The only question remaining is how much money you will need to develop an MVP for a program like WhatsApp.
Consider that the app consists of:
- Contacts import;
- Message exchange;
- Video calls;
- Contacts sharing;
After we analyzed this functionality, we have come to the conclusion that to develop registration one will need at least 45 hours, and some additional time if you want it developed for several OS.
Contacts import will require another 55 hours, while the message exchange functionality will take you around 200 hours.
Notifications need at least 60 hours which is not that much compared to video calls that will take at least 230 hours to develop.
You should also be ready to give settings some 50 hours of your work and at least 30 to the contact sharing feature.
Finally, a good UI/UX design requires 100 hours, and all in all, the development of an app like WhatsApp will take the minimum of 770 hours. Now multiply that by the hourly rate of the chosen outsourcing software development company - and you will know how much the app will cost you.
What other things should you also consider?
Even though the scheme looks much clearer to you now, you might still feel confused about the development of features that did not get into our lists above.
So, what additional factors should you bear in mind?
The truth is that some applications are much more complicated than the ones we mentioned above. So, check out what other factors can affect the cost of your software development.
1. The complexity of your project.
It is directly related to its cost. You might want a simple app, an enterprise solution, a game, or a database.
Thus, if you outsource your software development to Ukraine:
- a simple MVP of an app might cost you around $38,000;
- a database app’s cost will range from $62,000 - $65,000;
- the one of a high-performing app with advanced functionality might cost as much as $65,000 - $120,000;
- the cost of development of a game might differ between $45,000 - $120,000+.
2. Type of application.
Depending on whether you want to develop a native app or a cross-platform one, you should be ready to pay a different cost.
Native apps cost slightly more than cross-platform, but given that they are developed for a specific OS, they are more trustworthy and reliable. You won’t have to fix as many bugs in the long run.
Besides, progressive web applications will also add up to the app estimation. They function as native apps, but you can use them as a regular native application. Make sure to discuss it with a Business Analyst or the person writing an estimation of your project development.
3. A number of devices and OS.
All the numbers above were calculated for back-end and just one OS. But if you want your app to comply with iOS and Android OS and work across devices, you will have to pay extra.
Therefore, you need to conduct n in-depth research first inside your niche, and then outsource the development of an app compatible with devices and OS your target audience uses the most.
4. Sync across devices.
This will be another point in your budget. And you should be ready that for this additional functionality, you will have to pay some extra money.
5. Visual aids complexity.
Depending on how complex your visuals are or expected to be, the cost might go up or down. Thanks to the expertise our employees have, you will get a great UI/UX. However, depending on your expectations, this will take some extra time.
6. Screen orientation.
Another important point is that it is cheaper to develop an app with only one screen orientation. Therefore, bear in mind that the screen rotation functionality might take some extra time to develop.
7. Choose the right team
A number of people working on a project might also vary depending on the size of your project and time limits.
Typically, an effective team consists of several developers (at least one or two for each technology), a Project Manager, several Quality Assurance experts, a Business Analyst, and a UI/UX Designer.
We strongly recommend our clients outsourcing their Project Management to have one of our professionals perform these tasks.
As I have already talked about it in my previous article, a Project Manager can help you in several ways:
- A Project Manager translates the needs of a business owner to a team of techies. Otherwise, there is a chance of miscommunication between these two groups.
- A PM organizes and supervises the team of talented developers so that they do not waste a minute of their working day.
- PMs ensure the full transparency of the development process by frequent reports to the business owner and demo presentations of each developed feature.
- His main goal is to improve communication which is vital to the overall success of the development and the end product.
- They are responsible for a timely product release.
- Many product owners believe that they can perform these tasks on their own. However, in reality, the scope of responsibilities includes much more than simple task planning. And you definitely need the talent and immense experience a Project Manager can bring to the table.
Besides, we always recommend our clients to outsource the Quality Assurance to us so that our experts can control and ensure the quality of the code written in all its stages. There is no such thing as too much “quality assurance”, as, after all, a high-quality product is what you hired our team for!
In fact, as I have already mentioned it on our blog, QA specialists can help you boost your business:
- QA specialists help you with better customer retention;
- They ensure that all the client’s expectations are met and even exceeded;
- They help you create a positive image in the market with a high-performing product;
- QA experts suggest new useful features;
- They save your time you would otherwise spend on discussing possible errors and mistakes (which are inevitable despite developers’ experience and expertise).
You know how they say “forewarned is forearmed”?
This applies here perfectly. Now, as you have all the answers in your hands, start your business analysis right away!
See how much you will have to invest in the app development, adjust your expectations to it, and pick the right team with the best rates.
Should you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll be happy to help you out here!