The nine-to-five hustle may help in paying the bills; however, it will be an everyday struggle. You need to get out of the rut of a desk job and pursue your big dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. These days every business begins with a resourceful app to reach the customers. There are so many intricate details and investment that goes into app building.

It must make you wonder how much does it cost to create an app that is successful in the market. Creating an app requires a lot of planning and research to ensure the grind is worth the investment. As per CBI insights, 29% of startups run out of cash, and 8% burn out after a few unsuccessful attempts. Hence, planning of expenditure is necessary.

Besides, the app development cost is associated with the cash flow and financial stability of the investor. This does not imply that you choose to under-invest and compromise with the app features. In this article, we’ll cover the essentials of app development costs in detail.



This is the initial stage when you analyze the business opportunities, app ideas and plan around its functional requirements. You require a roadmap and framework after detailing the functional requirements. This includes the apps, design, functioning platform, features, and MVP.

Besides, each feature must be grouped into smaller milestones for a better organization. All these features determine the time, brainpower, and money that you may need to create the app. In case you have limited resources, you may focus on a minimal viable product for the initial launch.

Your planning must include the skills you will need for app development. For instance, you need to hire an individual who has experience working on both iOS and Android if you are creating a hybrid application. Moreover, select a name, domain name, and budget for the app to move forward.

Your budget may depend on the type of application you wish to create. You may have to spend between $10,000 and $150,000 on average, depending upon the features. The cost of app development also depends on the integration needs of the platforms.

  • A simple application has about a $10,000 cost estimate and will take about three to five months for completion.
  • An application with basic API features and a database may take six to nine months and costs between $10,000 from $50,000.
  • If you wish to create a complex app like Netflix or Dockids, you are looking at an investment of $50,000 to $150,000. Also, it will take more than nine months to build.

Therefore, keep these things in mind before planning milestones for your app and work accordingly. Moreover, you may go overboard while adding features to the app, so it is essential to plan and stick to it.


The application’s main goal is to have an interactive user interface and give a seamless experience. This is a combined effect of the features and how the UI/ UX design is integrated. It makes the app user-friendly, intuitive, and interactive. A good app design includes:

  • Navigational elements like sliders, breadcrumbs
  • Informational elements like notifications, messages
  • Input elements such as checkboxes, lists, dropdowns
  • CTA buttons
  • Images, videos, and icons
  • Hierarchy of texts and fonts
  • Colors and gradients

Moreover, it also includes the data display and flows for the user to feel the app is cohesive. The design of the app should be the same throughout all the sections so that the user can predict the next steps. No one likes to use a complex app with limited features.

For an intuitive design, you need to determine what data the app will collect, use to interact, and display to the user. Your app’s design should begin with a wireframe. These are like digital sketches for the app layout for features and their placement. Wireframes work as low-fidelity designs that give a visual representation to the app.

They focus on aesthetics and user experience; hence they are basic and cost-effective. Consider what device the app will be used while working on wireframes. Also, focus on style guides to add your company’s branding and navigation icons. It includes text color, size, brand initials, logos, and how to make the app cohesive.

Furthermore, focus on mockups after finalizing the design. These are high-fidelity designs that combine the app style and wireframes. They work on the flow, architecture, and aesthetic of the app simultaneously. You may turn your app mockups into click-through prototypes with the use of tools such as Invision and Figma.

These tools have ample design features such as the Arc tool & vector networks. Moreover, you may customize these tools as per your needs. These may get time-consuming; however, the early design testing of the app ensures fewer hiccups. You can make modifications based on these tests and create a functional app.


Before developing and programming the app, you need to work on the technical architecture, technology stack and define development milestones. As this is an integral part of app building, you require back-end server technology, front-end server technologies, databases, and API.

On average, an app may cost from $50,000 to $1,000,000 for development and deployment. It may take up to 5-6 months for completion. For this, you will have to hire skilled professionals accordingly. A simple app may take up to $30,000 for development and will be ready in under six months.

You may pay more on the higher end if you are creating a UI / UX, eCommerce, and cloud-based app. It can lie anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000. This may sound ridiculous, but major apps do invest in a smooth user experience. After the development milestone, the app goes into the testing phase for validation.


The testing of the app includes quality assurance checks for the app’s stability and usability. It checks the app security features and may cost less than $5000 for most apps.

You may add fancy features using AI, such as intuitive virtual assistants and health care robots, to the app. These will ensure a better user experience and more interaction.

  • The app should be run under:
  • User experience testing
  • Functional testing
  • Performance testing
  • Security testing, and
  • Device and platform testing

All these tests ensure if the app is ready for the intended users without crashing or any other issues.


The complexity of business logic

The integrations and features of an app affect the MVP cost. These factors impact the functioning of the app and the user experience. You can customize any number of features that work on various platforms. However, this will add up to the cost of app development.

A simple app such as a calculator or an alarm clock contains simple functions and three to four screens. They may have:

  1. Login
  2. Signup
  3. Profile making
  4. Search
  5. Messages
  6. Admin panel
  7. Editing features

An app rich in API features like social media integration, payment portals, in-app purchases, geo-location, and additional security will have a higher cost than simpler apps. These may be photo-sharing applications such as Instagram or company applications.

The features of the application also require good backend support to work, larger data storage capacity, and a customer base.

You may determine the cost of app development from these parameters. Moreover, you may import codes to make the app more cost-effective, as working from scratch may take more time. Besides, the app requires a connection between the user and the admin panel to work with synchronization.

Therefore, the higher development of these features will increase the cost. A feature-rich app such as Netflix with online streaming and native features may go beyond your expectations. These apps have complex structures and need a heavy infrastructure for smooth functioning.

Complexity of design

The design stage of the app is integral in the overall development. This includes adding and editing features to improve the functioning of the app. A more complex design will imply a much higher cost and better UX. It will also depend upon the customizations that you may need from scratch.

The design of an app focuses on:

  • Interface
  • Visuals
  • Layout
  • Screen colors
  • Shapes
  • Elements
  • Topography
  • Navigation pattern

And others!

You may pay anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 depending upon the individuals you hire for the work. A freelancer in the US may cost between $11,000 from $13,000. At the same time, an average in-house UX /UI design cost may be between $5,000 to $7,000.

Furthermore, your app may require authentication, social networking, and other features in the design to work in the marketplace. Other features such as button placement, content on the app, color theory, user eye pattern, and engagement may also impact the design and its cost.

You need a good copywriter who is proficient in UX writing. This will include content for newsletters, landing pages, emails, and messages. So pick a writer who is familiar with the niche and is native.

Lastly, you need a logo for your app that is easily recognizable. After years of use, everyone is familiar with the logos of Apple, Nike, McDonald, and Volkswagen, so you need a designer to be creative with the logo. It should be catchy and authentic.

Complexity of architecture

The architecture of the app contains the UI components, their presentation, data utilities, device type, navigation structure, real-time notifications, and push updates. The combination of presentation, business, and data layer creates a good flow in the app. The complexity of this architecture will determine the development cost of the app.

Moreover, decide if the app is cross-platform or native to choose the right developers. The cost of a native app will be more than a hybrid one as it needs specific integration. This applies to both android and iOS devices.

The level of team

The qualifications of your team and work experience will add more to the app. You need to choose the right team with essential skills to work with. Besides, saving money on the team may not work in your favor as it may slow the progress or require more rounds of edits.

Therefore, a well-experienced team is worth hiring and has several benefits. After rolling out the app, you may require marketing and customer care individuals. Consider these seven ways to enrich the customer experience to get more sales. Additionally, this selling method is more impactful than the traditional methods.



You may hire freelancers on a contract basis or hourly basis. The price of their services will differ in both cases depending upon what they are offering. You may hire from platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Toptal. The average price of hiring a US-based freelancer maybe $50 per hour.

A Latin American freelancer may charge $20/hour. On the other hand, you will pay $15 to $25/hour and $25/hour to an Asia and Ukraine-based freelancer, respectively. These figures depict the basic rate and may scale up with an increase in the services.

One of the biggest benefits of freelancers is that you may save money. But the quality of services is not always promised. Moreover, a freelancer will be less accountable to you. This may result in a lack of commitment and getting the work done. Moreover, you cannot keep a direct check on how the freelancer is working. So hire a freelancer if it is really necessary.

Local Agency in the US

Hiring a local agency may be a great option to get the work done on time. However, you will pay anywhere from $150 to $250 per hour per specialist. If your app requires four hundred hours to complete, you will be spending $80,000 approximately over the services. These charges may increase with customizations and edits.

The benefits of a local agency in the US will be the proximity to your company’s location. This way, you can keep a direct check on the individual and have smooth communication. Moreover, the local agency will be responsible and accountable for the work. They will deliver on time and will work with professionalism.

Local Agency in Europe

A local agency in Western Europe may cost you from € 130 per hour. This roughly implies you will be paying similar to the US local agencies. However, if you are located in Eastern Europe, you can get the same work done from $35 to $50 per hour. Comparatively, they will offer the same quality of work with the same responsibilities.

So, it does not make sense to hire freelancers or pay extra when you can get the same work done. Ensure that you are getting the quality of work with an open communication channel.

Also, don’t choose the cheapest options as it may indicate a lack of experience in the agency. It may not be the best choice for you as they may lack the basic tools to develop and deploy your app. Pick an agency with good reviews and ample experience.

A quick view at the cost of outsourcing across the globe

If you are choosing to outsource employees from an agency, make sure you state your requirements and check everything that they can deliver. Take a look at past references and check case studies. Moreover, this choice may come from your positive past experience while working with outsourcing agencies.

You may choose to outsource work from Ukraine, China, India, and other Asian regions. They have experienced designing and developing teams to deliver high-quality work. The cost of outsourcing work will depend upon the region of your choice. Here are the outsourcing price of app development in various regions of the world:

  • South Asia, East Asia, and Africa: $20-$80 per hour based on the level of expertise.
  • Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South America: $30-$110 an hour based on the level of expertise.
  • US, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia: $80-$250 an hour based on the level of expertise.

Outsourcing ensures you get no-fuss work done as the team remains accountable for the work to deliver on time. Finally, select the best option that corresponds with your requirements. Steer clear from choosing cheap options as they may affect the quality.

The View at App Development Cost Structure

Author bio:

Maksym Babych is CEO of SpdLoad, a software development company for startups at early stage.

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