App Development Cost

The Price of Innovation: Understanding App Development Costs

App Development Cost
App Development Cost

The Price of Innovation: Understanding App Development Costs

Businesses need apps today to help with productivity, management, and marketing. It has been proven time and again that these apps produce more cost-saving revenues than the costs that these businesses have incurred in their development.

Still, the upfront cost of development for this digital tool is huge enough to attract attention and raise questions. Businesses need to know this cost to decide if they want an app or not. Also, if these businesses go ahead with their mobile app development Dallas idea, they want to know the costs of development to determine the scope of operations.

Here is the complete breakdown of app development costs, along with the factors that impact the process and its cost.

Cost Breakdown According to Development Stages

App development doesn’t start when the business hires a development team and starts coordinating with them. It starts when it defines its scope and conducts research for suitable development partners. However, the cost of internal communication and decision-making is often overlooked.

Planning stage

The planning stage stretches into the communication stage with the developer. Oftentimes, the developers advise the business about features, language, and scope of the app to improve the idea, make it more purposeful and efficient, and increase development efficiency. For many apps, the planning phase can cost between 5 and 8% of the total development costs, standing somewhere between $1000 and $25000 of expenditure.

UI design stage

At this stage, the developers design the user interface to validate the functions required by the business. It is a little more thorough than the planning stage and demands 20 to 35% of the total efforts of development. In monetary terms, the cost can go from $3000 to $50000.

Development stage

This is the stage where the whole idea is converted into code and is developed into an executable program. This phase can attract the highest chunk of development costs, between 40 and 60%. The costs can easily range between $4000 and $70000.

Testing stage

Depending on the level of accuracy needed in the app, this stage can either be the most important phase of the whole process or a small, insignificant part of the process. It can take up between 20% and 40% of the whole project’s cost, which may translate to $2000 to $30000 in monetary terms.

Deployment and Marketing

Research and development of an app use up most of the investment taken up by an app. But the investment phase doesn’t end here. Once the app is tested, the business needs to market it, launch it, and keep marketing it to grow the user base. For most businesses, over the lifespan of the app, this cost can accumulate up to 100% of the app development costs.

The above breakdown gives away that an average app can incur costs as low as $10000 to as high as $100,000 or more, excluding launch and marketing costs.

Factors Impacting the Total Cost of Development

It’s apparent from the above breakdown that the cost of each phase of development varies greatly depending on the app’s needs. In some cases, planning will take up a higher chunk of costs, while in other cases, development or testing will dominate the expense figures.

Here are some factors that determine the cost of app development for different projects.

Complexity of Project

If the app will only display time or build a payment pathway for sales, it shouldn’t attract lots of costs. But as features start adding up in these apps, the associated costs rise. The same holds for the number of screens, complexity of data, and allowed events for the users.

Type of App

These apps can be as simple as a diary or calendar to manage family schedules or as complex as a booking site to allow consumers to check out travel deals from around the world months before their expected trips and plan the voyage, from tickets to hotel rooms to domestic travel.

Generally, self-improvement apps are cheaper than apps offering and connecting high-ticket services.


Another factor that will determine the price of your app will be the operating system for which you are launching it. You can choose to launch your application only for Apple users by developing it with Swift or Objective-C, or you can invite a larger portion of the market with Android apps. If you want to go with the hybrid model, you may have to compromise on certain quality features to maintain costs. Till now, hybrid apps cost more than iOS apps, which carry a higher price tag than Android apps.

Quality of the App Developer

Your choice of app developer will also determine the cost you must commit to app development. More experienced developers cost way more than less experienced ones, understandably. At the same time, experts in some programming languages will cost more than experts in other languages.

Quality of User Experience

The user experience is the biggest factor that can make or break the effectiveness of an app. It must be detailed enough to let the users understand the purpose of its features and use them effectively, and it should be concise enough not to increase the size of the app.

User experience is a major area of development that starts within the design phase and carries out until the testing and deployment phases and beyond. Ensuring a quality user experience can take up to 40% of the total cost of app development.

Geographical Location of the Developers

For your mobile app development Dallas project, you can hire an app developer from your city or state, but it will cost you more in monetary terms because of the higher salaries of app developers prevailing in the US. In quality terms, these higher salaries say nothing, as they arise because of the higher cost of living in America. On the contrary, if you hire a developer from Eastern Europe or India, the cost will go down significantly without impacting the quality of your project.

Model of Partnership

Another factor that determines the cost of development is how you hire and manage the developer team. There are three models for such collaboration.

In the first model, you build and retain a mobile app development team. This will cost you extra, as you will have to keep the team even after the development or deal with the legal costs of layoffs. If you gather only temporary employees, you will have to incur huge hiring and scrutinizing costs to get the right talent.

The second collaboration model benefits from a freelancing network. This model appears cheaper than other options, given that the quoted hourly rates of many freelancers are too low, but factoring in the high risk of a low-quality app and non-completion of the project on time makes this option more expensive than building your team.

The third model revolves around hiring a team of developers on a contractual basis. Because of the associated low risk and cost, this model is preferred by most businesses. Usually, such collaborations keep the costs between $10,000 and $100,000.

Wrapping Up

This article talked about the cost of developing an app for your business. Just as the world of apps is wide and presents a variety of options, the cost of development of these apps also varies greatly. These costs depend primarily on the type and complexity of the app being developed, but the business also needs to account for other issues like the platform of development and the experience and origin of the developers.

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