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This article is intended to specify the most recent and accurate information on the matter.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App in 2020?

How much does it cost to make an app in 2020? This is one of the most frequently asked questions that concern both developers and business entrepreneurs today. As technology has advanced with its volatile price tags, the process of finding the best mobile development company has become less transparent too. While there are many factors that come into play when building a high-quality mobile app (e.g., social integration, customization, augmented reality etc.), the cost factor extremely obscure the challenge. Read our definitive guide and learn how to hire an app developer and what factors make up the cost of creating an app.

There are many platforms on the Internet that provide extensive research on mobile app development costs; however, these websites aim to get more web traffic from their online efforts to engage readers rather than writing relevant facts. 

In short, prices of service can vary from $2,000-$250,000. Quite a significant difference, isn’t it? This article is intended to specify the most recent and accurate information on the matter. 

Factors that determine app development cost

  • Type of app developer; 
  • destination (country);
  • technology;
  • company(or freelancer) you choose;
  • design complexity.

Learn the price right off the baе

The more complex the design, the more expensive your application will be. The latest app development cost research from GoodFirms reveals that the regular price of an unsophisticated app varies between $40,000 to $60,000. In contrast, a more complex app cost is estimated at $61,000 and $69,000. Finally, the most competitive price of app development is $70,000 to $100,000. 

Today, numerous app development companies offer efficient, intelligent, and unique solutions for your business. Some focus on cutting-edge technology to stay ahead of competitors, while others boast a “user-friendly interface” that “assumes the best setting for users’ ‘. There are many agencies that settled in niche markets as well as full-stack freelance developers with great experience and ambitions; in order to accomplish your individual demands as well as your business needs, these factors should be thought of as part of the recruitment process.

The most common recruitment mistakes involve “high price – high quality” or “young equals inexperienced” stereotypes. The reason for these build-in prejudices may be the lack of expertise or poor hr management; in order to avoid bias, make hiring a structured, defined process. 

cost of mobile application development rates by region
Software development rates by region

To understand the cost of building an app, the best way is to refer to the statistics. The following table illustrates the range of costs, taking into account location and hourly fees.

*Hourly Rates Worldwide*

RegioniOS ($/hour)Android ($/hour)
North America150168
South America4334
Eastern Europe3535
  • North America (the US and Canada). These are the world’s most expensive countries in which to hire English-language developers. Android / iOS development varies from $20 to $250/hour;
  • Australian coders create mobile apps at a rate of $35-150; 
  • South American programmer services vary from $25 to $120;
  • UK (from $35 to $175);
  • Eastern Europe (from $20 to $110);
  • India ($10-75);
  • Indonesia $20/hour.

As we can see, the costliest US programmers charge $250 per hour. This is due to the common belief that the US has the highest percentage of high-quality mobile software developers, when in fact the true specialists of the wide profile are concentrated in Southeast Asia. For example, app development cost in Indonesia is around $11/hour, which is 12.5x cheaper than it is in the US. 

Outsourcing or Local Development: What to Choose?

When you are planning to launch a mobile application, the price factor will not be inclusive if you haven’t decided on the type of developer. So, the next step is to choose from either a freelancer or a local company.  

One of the advantages of hiring a local agency (nearshoring) is that an entrepreneur can have direct control of the development team. Namely, direct communication accelerates the working process and in case of major changes, guarantees an instant response. Cooperative programmers tend to better understand the corporate culture and business needs. What is more, hiring a software house saves time and effort that businesses spend on training programs and also reduces risks associated with data loss or leakage. 

If not, however, it is also worth exploring other options. Outsourcing app developers can be a good method to help your expert team meet deadlines or work out specific details of the project. However, if you decide to go offshore, this may involve cultural or language barriers, different time zones, and struggle to communicate in real-time. 

Outsourcing vs Local development
Outsourcing vs Local development

Nevertheless, these shortcomings are more than outweighed by other strengths of foreign developers including the high level of proficiency and knowledge, fresh approach, lower labor rates, and increased efficiency. Furthermore, there are many freelance platforms available on the web where you can find the right web developer for your project; Freelancer and Upwork are one of the most popular ones where entrepreneurs can explore their track record and finished products – finding a suitable international team has never been easier. 

Outsourcing and Local development comparison

How Much Does an App Cost to Create: Features and Functionality

It is important to keep in mind that not all mobile apps function in the same way. The difference is not always developer-relevant; the technology that is used to layout an application plays an equally important role in terms of costs. In order to program an app for iOS or Android, a mobile app programmer needs to first implement certain app features and tools. 

App’s functionality, the quantity, and complexity of features define the final cost of the app launch. Depending on the developer’s default preferences e.g., programming language (CSS, XML, JavaScript, etc.) and APIs, the project framework costs can change dramatically. Contrary, simpler resolutions require standard tools and thus involve fewer costs. 

The following table represents an approximate development time and investment expenditures needed for a successful mobile app implementation.

How much does it cost to build a mobile app: Breakdown by basic features

FeatureContentApprox timeApprox cost with back-end (based on $50/h)
Log in– Login with email – Social login – Password reset option – Log out28 – 42 hours$1400 – $2100
File upload and sharing – Upload photo – Upload video – Video playback – Picture view20 – 30 hours$1000 – $1500
Profile update– Set region – Add personal info – Add profile photo23 – 29 hours$1150 – $1450
Profile edit– Edit profile – Change password – Change email – Add/remove credit card47 – 62 hours$2350 – $3100
Search box– As-you-type autocomplete 13 – 18 hours$650 – $900
Messaging– Chat details – Online/offline status – Typing status – Read/sent status – Document and media sharing160 – 170 hours$8000 – $8500
Push notifications– Pop-up notifications25 – 32 hours$1250 – $1600
Basic control panel: User management– See list of users – Edit user – Delete/block user – Add user66 – 90 hours$3300 – $4500
Basic control panel: Personal finance – Payment methods – Transactions – Pay back 23 – 44 hours$1150 – $2200
Basic control panel: Push notifications– Automated push notifications – Custom data 8 – 14 hours$400 – $800

What Factors Define Mobile Application Costs?

What influences the cost to create an app
What influences the cost to create an app

Note that if you are planning to launch a mobile application, do not expect to obtain a complete picture of the operational costs your company might face. It is impossible to predetermine the costs since the app development process involves other factors: design, programming, testing, and launch. 

At the final stage of the project, the developers’ team or outsource company will estimate the development costs for each function. Here are the most common variables associated with the moderate app development cost:

  • Range of capabilities (performance);
  • design adaptation;
  • platforms;
  • frontend;
  • backend;
  • further support and maintenance costs.

Final thoughts 

The expenses incurred during the process of creating a mobile application are totally dependent on your defined business strategies and developmental procedures (e.g., programming language). The above-discussed pros and cons of different hiring options will help you find the right developer, while your project’s goals will define how you’ll achieve the desired result.

In this guide, we have сonsidered the key factors of mobile app development costs which run through all of the following phases:

  • Planning;
  • design; 
  • development;
  • testing;
  • distribution.

Depending on the requirements of those entrepreneurs looking to add value and improve product outcomes, the development stage may involve simple bug fixes and data management solutions. Also, post-release app support and maintenance services might be implied. 

The team structure can also vary in accordance with the intricacy of the app project. This may involve many specialists and all of them play an equally important role. To that end, the presence of quality assurance engineers, designers, (front-end and back-end) developers, and even business analysts is needed. Finally, the presence of a project leader to manage the business process and communicate ideas is unquestionable too.

App development cost breakdown

DutiesBasic appMedium appComplex app
UI/UX design$5,000+$6,750+$18,500+
Quality Management $9,650+$15,750+$15,000+
Project Lead$10,000+$13,750+$10,000+

We have specified aspects of the mobile app development process and provided a brief of expenses required to implement the best technology and expertise. Now, you have a full account of its function and development agencies’ costs. To conclude, practical experience has shown us that the relationship of development costs to considerable business planning is highly complex. Remember to plan your budget, estimate the app’s profits,  define your app’s cost per install and its ultimate service purpose before getting started with development. 

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