Updated: Jul 31, 2020
The cost of developing an app involve many factors. No mobile app development team can give you a precise mobile app development cost estimate without knowing the core factors of your mobile app, such as app business model, the logic behind the concept, features, and so on.
However, if you have an idea about your app functionality, you can find the costs to develop app features below.
Moreover, in this article you will find tips on how to prioritize app features and development if you're cost conscious. You'll also be able to identify which features you need versus features you want.
But firstly, let’s find out the main steps for estimating your mobile app's costs.
How to estimate the average cost of creating an app in five steps
Step 1. Ask a mobile app development team for a quote
To receive a ballpark mobile app cost estimate, get in touch with our mobile app development team.
Step 2. Select the number of mobile platforms
To provide you with a mobile app cost estimation, developers need to know whether you want to build an app for iOS, Android, or both. And does this also include tables and watches or just smartphone apps.
Step 3. Create a list of your app features and use cases
To reflect your business concept, technical product developers will create a list of necessary features for your mobile app. On your end, you can put together a list of features you need the app to have. Keyword "need" ;)
Step 4. Prioritize mobile app features to implement in the first version
Ask mobile developers to prioritize only those core features from the main list to validate your business idea. It's ok to share your overall idea and have the team help you define the core features.
Step 5. Ask the development team to estimate your app's main features
Ask mobile app developers to evaluate a list with must-have features they will implement first and get a precise mobile app development estimated cost.
To estimate the cost to build an app, use our project cost calculator if you haven't already.
You can also hire our management team which includes dedicated technical product developers, project managers, business analysts, quality assurance engineers, designers, and developers.
Mobile app cost estimation: core features
Understandably, the more features you want to implement on your mobile app, the more hours spent on development.
Below we have gathered a table with mobile app essential features, tech stack, and the estimated number of hours to give you a clear picture of how much time will go into developing these features.
Besides this, do not forget to estimate the following mobile app development costs:
Back-end architecture development: from 20+ hour
Environment Setup: from 24+ hours
Design: from 160+ hours
QA: from 120+ hours
Bug Fix: from 60+ hours
Project Management: from 100+ hours
Project Documentation: from 30+ hours
How much does an app cost? In a nutshell, the development cost of building a simple app starts somewhere between $25-$50K. Still, you can reduce this cost drastically by prioritizing features to implement on your mobile app. In this phase we'll try to focus on the main features for version 1 or also known as the minimum viable product. How to do that? Let’s find out.
Cost to develop a mobile app: simple, medium, complex
There are 3 different cost structures we'll look at to determine what level of complexity we'll take to build the first version. All of this varies based on complexity of features you want to include on your app. We split mobile apps into the following categories and added the estimated time in hours.
Apart from the app's complexity, the hourly developer rate significantly impacts the cost of developing a mobile app. The cost of one hour of mobile app developer work varies across the globe:
North America (the US and Canada) is the most expensive region since the Android / iOS developers charge from $20 to $250 per hour
Australian mobile app developers have a slightly lower cost per hour: $35 to $150
Eastern European mobile app developers charge something between $20 to $110 per hour
Developers in Eastern Europe charge from $30 to $140 per hour
At the end of the day, the development team is a major differentiator in how successful you are on your journey. Cheap isn't always the answer. Especially when you're trying to build the next big thing within your respective industry.
How to prioritize MVP features for your app in three steps
Step 1. Identify your product vision
To achieve this, you need to define:
The primary purpose of your mobile app, i.e., ways it improves the user’s life.
Create user personas with a detailed description, including age, location, job, etc.
Define your features for version 1 of the app.
Long-term success metrics. These may be high conversions for e-commerce apps, the number of active users for social media apps, the number of premium subscribers for music streaming apps, etc.
Step 2. Prioritize the MVP features using MoSCoW
Now, you need to answer the following questions:
What are the core features the user needs?
Who are the users and their use case?
What value does the app deliver?
Below, we've outlined the most effective ways for you to define your MVP features.
Here at E8 Labs we use the MoSCoW method which stands for – Must have, Should have, Could have, Won’t have. To receive a clear idea about your core app's functionality, segregate the features for your app into these four categories. Remember, you should have a list of features written down so you can start segregating them into these categories.
Step 3. Qualitative Analysis
Kano Method is popular to show various stages of mobile app development using graphic representation. In this way you can create a qualitative analysis for your app's features by dividing them into the following categories - one-dimensional quality, must-be quality, indifferent quality, attractive quality, and reverse quality.
With this method, you will see how mobile app features attribute to change over time. The image below includes changes that take place due to customer satisfaction, recorded performance level, and other metrics. So in plain english, each feature you've written will fall under this customer satisfaction graph below.
Step 3. Adjusting Your Plan Post-MVP
During this stage, you and your development team will create a list of Should have, Could have features to implement next. You can change the list with those features due to key performance indicators, user feedback on the app MVP, tracked user behavior patterns, and so on.
So, how much does it cost to develop an app?
The “How much an app costs” question does not have a one size fits all answer since every mobile app has a unique business goal aimed at solving problems, and targeted to particular users. Besides this, different applications need a specific amount of space on mobile devices, use different third-party integration, and provide access to varying amounts of data.
Apart from the app's complexity, you need to take into account the third party integrations, the custom UI/UX, and the quality assurance put behind the testing of the application.