If you’ve ever thought about having a mobile app developed, you may well have wondered what the cost would be. There are number of factors that affect this, including what functionality the app has and what company you use to get it developed.

How Does Functionality Affect Cost?

In general terms, the more functionality a mobile app has, the more it costs to develop. The type of functionality also has an impact, as some functionality is more complex to implement than others. Some examples of functionality that can affect the cost:

Another key factor for cost is whether the app is standalone or it connects to a server. Standalone apps are completely self-contained and all data resides within the app – they do not connect to any external server. If the app needs to connect to a server (for example an integration with a 3rd party system or to a custom build web-portal), the coding effort increases and cost therefore increases.

Finally, the way the user navigates through the app functionality also has an impact. Some apps may have as few as 2 or 3 screens that users navigate through, whilst others may have 100s. A higher number of screens means additional time and cost.

What Else Affects Cost?

Aside from functionality, there are other factors that affect the cost.

The number of platforms a device needs to work on (such as Android, iOS) has an impact, as does which device types (mobile, tablet, smartwatch etc.) it needs to run on.

The complexity of the design, including whether a brand guideline exists also has an impact. Some companies may just have a logo, whilst others will have a full detailed brand guideline. Where branding details are sparse or a very rich user interface is required, additional effort is required (resulting in higher cost).

Finally, what development platform is used has a significant impact on the cost. The key thing is whether a cross-platform framework is used (such as Xamarin) or whether native apps are developed. Cross-platform frameworks result in lower cost. See Mobile Apps – Xamarin vs Native for more details.

Types of Mobile App Developers and Their Rates

There are a number of types of mobile app developers that can be used. The price varies depending on the rate the person/company charges and the complexity of the app. Please see below for typical hourly rates:

  • Overseas / offshore – £15 to £30 / hour
  • Independent UK-based freelance app developer – £30 to £55 / hour
  • Small app development agency – £55 to £70 / hour
  • Medium app development agency – £70 to £95 / hour
  • Larger app development agency – £95 to £200 / hour.

There are advantages and disadvantages in who to use to create the app. The overseas and freelance options typically have higher risks, whilst the app development agency is a more reliable option. The larger the agency gets, the greater their overheads become. So biggest isn’t always best.

Mobile App Costs

Assuming you chose an app development agency, the cost to design and develop a low to medium complexity mobile app can vary between £3000 and £50,000. In addition, if the app requires a web-based portal (to manage data, for example) there is further cost for this.

Example – Standalone calculator mobile app (low complexity)

Mobile app which has a few calculators (e.g. for a specific niche industry). One calculator is free, the other is paid via an in-app purchase. Assuming an app development agency was used, the number of days required would likely be between 10 to 16 days. Therefore cost would range from £4,125 to £34,000.

Example – App allowing photographic prints to be purchased (medium complexity)

Mobile app which allows photographic prints to be purchased, utilising an ‘API’ integration with an existing ecommerce platform. Assuming an app development agency was used, the number of days required would likely be between 24 to 35 days. The cost would therefore range from £9,900 to £52,500.

Other Costs to Consider

Aside from the initial cost to design and develop a mobile app, there are other one-off and on-going costs to consider.

Unless your app is to be used for a very limited audience (or internal company), you are likely to need to factor in marketing costs. These may include publicity via social media channels and potentially paid advertising.

The final cost to consider is on-going updates and hosting. Most apps need updates – to modify or add new functionality. In addition, apps that utilise push notifications or web-based portal will incur on-going fees.

Apps From F2B Digital

We are a relatively small app development agency who utilise the Xamarin cross-platform framework. This allows us to cost effectively produce apps for Android and iOS. Please contact us to discuss any queries or to get an idea of cost.