Graphic design · Mobile App Design

How Much Does it Cost to Design an App?

Vladislav Pshenychka Marketer – Erminesoft

October 21st, 2016

The design is appealed to convert views to downloads. Investments in an early stage impact highly on user engagement metrics in the future. It's not an accident that top applications have an irreproachable design.

Vivek Shah Digital Marketing Manager- Web Analyst- SEO, Social Media Marketing Expert- @WebCluesInfoTech

Last updated on December 3rd, 2018

So you want to know how much does an app cost to build? There is no magic number for this—it depends! It depends on what the app is trying to do.

Many people have ideas of apps they would like to have built. Sometimes the person will be an executive at a large company who needs to build an app for their customers or employees. Other times it’s a budding entrepreneur with a big idea.

Steps for Developing an App Project:

( 1. ) The initial step is making plan and deciding the essentials of your future application. You need to consider its elements and how they will fulfill the client. Attempt to see whether your undertaking fills a hole in the business sector or not. This is an essential stage since it sets up everything that will be produced later.

( 2. ) The second step is more imaginative. As we have said ordinarily, outline is critical for an application. A decent interface, stylishly and regarding use, is an absolute necessity for an application. It is jabber to make a stunning application if clients can't make sense of how to utilize it.

( 3. ) Third step: the mock-up. It is a fundamental stride, on account of which you can get a sneak peak, a sort of draft to distinguish ease of use issues.

When you are done with the initial 3 stages, it's the ideal opportunity for the specialized stage, with the advancement of the visual computerization and programming.

( 4. ) With the advancement of programming you make the spirit and body without bounds application. It is a long and entangled stage, and the more nitty gritty and customized the task of the application is, the more costly and extensive it will be as far as programming. It's here that applications and autos have the most in like manner.

( 5. ) Once the application has come to fruition and life, you need to test it. It's critical to test the application painstakingly keeping in mind the end goal to see how it works and its ease of use some time recently the last distribution.

In the wake of finishing the control test, the application is prepared to be published. Clearly, the undertaking doesn't end here!

( 6. ) This is the ideal opportunity for showcasing effort, for the dispatch and advancement of the application. You need to consider doing some web examination and concentrating on your group of onlookers, not just to convey your application to the top additionally to attempt and get back a portion of the monetary venture embraced.

Development life-cycle:

Requirement Gathering

Design Phase

Development Phase

Quality Assurance Phase

As Approximate Rate On ISO Certified Company:

1 : A simple iPhone and Android App development (in native) = $ 1,000 to $ 4,000

2 : Database iPhone and Android (in native) = $ 8,000 to $ 50,000

3 : Games can cost (Any platform)= $ 10,000 to $ 250,000

John Maloney Internet of Things Executive Consultant, IoT Engineer

October 22nd, 2016

@viktor your response 'Mobile app development cost' is already 160% 'of the budget.' That's hilarious and telling.

It is a Sisyphean task to estimate software development 'costs' from the 'budget.' Beware.

For an excellent, apropos example, the original question was, "How Much Does it Cost to Design an App?" Yet, you offered estimates for mobile development cost (?), not design. This is emblematic of many serious problems developing software - answering a question that was never asked! It is a classic 'anti-pattern.'


Suggest you read 'the bible' of software engineering, The Mythical Man-Month. BTW, it's called the "bible" because"everybody quotes it, some people read it, and a few people go by it."

Finally, US Federal Govt has spent $2.1B (yes BILLION) for design and dev of the app for the failed 'Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act' (PPACA) aka Obamacare. It is a galaxy of govt software incompetence. 

Because govt has an unlimited 'budget' (taxes) app design & dev costs are of NO concern whatsoever. For example, offered the Administration to build and run the PPACA app for 5-years... for FREE. The offer was summarily rejected by smug govt apparatchiks that 'know better' and get rich in the process.

Again, beware of ever forecasting software design and development from the 'budget.' Rather, focus on creating and keeping customers.

Viktor Dmytrenko Digital Marketing Manager at Ubertesters

Last updated on December 3rd, 2018

Mobile app development costs includes the following factors:

1) App planning costs - around 15-20% of the budget

2) Markapping and Design creation costs - around 30% of the budget

3) Management costs - around 7-10% of the budget

4) App development costs - around 40-50% of the budget

5) Testing costs - around 15-20% of the budget

6) Promo and marketing activity costs - around 20-30% of the budget

To develop more or less simple mobile app will costs you from $15k-18k. Calculate the real sum

Jon Alirez Strategy, Innovation, MBA, Big 4, Entrepreneur

August 23rd, 2017

I used an App to design apps (yes, there's an app for that...) while in grad school, AppCooker. Think the full version was $20. Not to be confused with an app that helps you BUILD your App. This is all design.

Sebastian Pereyro

October 23rd, 2016

Something to understand is that the apps that you see at the top have iterated over that product  dozen or hundreds of times before getting to that state. Thinking that you can get it right the first time is a very common mistake. The design of the app is part of a bigger process, of discovery, validation and re work. The cost though will depend on the team expertise, size, complexity of the product that is being built, time to market, feature list, and others.

An estimate without knowing the specifics, should be taken as a very wild guess.

Tom Thomson Jones Creative tech-head, eager to explore and learn.

August 1st, 2017

Cost should be the final factor you come to, what you need to fully understand before you progress is your scope of the project - what exactly you need in the build down to the nearest button.

Knowing this will help you save on iteration and keep scope creep (I see this the whole time - I am even prone to it myself) and cost down to a minimum.

If you went to a high-end designer with a crystal-clear brief it might end up costing the same as approaching a low-end designer with a partial brief!


August 23rd, 2017

A piece of paper and a pencil are free. If you can't put your ideas down on paper first, then the cost of your designer will be much higher. "Good" design can be learned. Use what's working in a competitors app to guide your initial designs. "Good artists copy, great artists steal." Free tools abound. JustInMind is a free wire-framing tool.

Erin Dames

September 7th, 2018

As someone who has hired an app developer in the past, I will tell you that it depends on the app developer you elect to hire.

Speaking from personal experience, I have been quoted USD25,000-40,000 for a responsive app (as in the app can be used from the website and from a mobile app) based on a rate of about $30-45/manpower hour for building the essential functions necessary for the app to work. That was on the lower end; the higher end that I've paid has been about USD$60,000-80,000.

The quote range I gave were given to me by both freelance developers as well as a company employing an entire team to work on my app project.

Mind you, the lower quote range is a quote that I got based on the fact that I had already done a few things:

1) I decided what problem(s) I was solving with my app;

2) I decided what essential functions I absolutely needed to do so;

3) I envisioned what the app should look and feel like and did my best to replicate that (I learned how to use Powerpoint/Keynote to create that vision and then a prototyping/mockup tool InvisionApp to create the functionality as best I can).

When I paid for my first app (which was a Web app), I had no idea how to do it so the only things I went in with are the problems I wanted to solve and ALL the functions I felt were necessary for solving it. This led to more meetings with the team and more discussions on functional requirements and everything so it took longer (and was billed by the hour, of course).

Take home message: your app designing will cost less if you go in with as much background work done as you possibly can.

Paul Haris Business Development manager at mindinvetory

Last updated on May 21st, 2018

While developing an app, the biggest question for any company is how much it would cost to develop the app. Companies would like to know how much would it cost for them to build the app from scratch.

While the question does seem simple, often, it is hard to predict the exact price until the project is finished. Approximations can be given but the app development process can be hindered by a number of factors, including emergence of better technologies and more app testing required than thought of initially. As an app entrepreneur, the only thing you can do is take a rough estimate of the cost depending the requirements of your app.

Amit Tiwari Digital Marketing, Blogging, Business Development

Last updated on December 3rd, 2018

If you’re considering making an app for your organization, it’s wise to determine early on how much the project will cost. Because the complexity involved in developing apps varies widely from project to project, the costs involved fluctuate widely as well.

Unfortunately, that means there is no single answer to a question like, “how much do mobile app development cost?” But by working through the considerations listed below, you can reach a clearer understanding of how expensive your project might be.

Who Is Developing the App?

The first question to consider—and the one that will determine much about your approach to the project—is who exactly will develop the app?

The are essentially two options here. In the first case, someone already working for you company could develop the app. (That person might even be you!) In this case, the total cost of the app development work is no higher than that person’s salary. If you have an experienced and capable developer on staff, and they have the time to take on a significant new project, then you might make your app without any new budget outlays.

On the other hand, you could hire a freelancer or dev shop to handle your project. This can be an expensive proposition; high quality developers often bill more than $100 per hour. That’s $4000 for a full 40-hour work week. But, given the value that many mobile apps deliver, this can certainly be money well spent.

How Complex Is the Project?

If you are outsourcing the work to a development company like OTS Solutions, how much you pay them will depend largely on the complexity of the project.

Many times, the mobile apps that clients ask for are relatively simple. If you don’t need much graphic design, and your app doesn’t include lots of interactivity, it might only take a few weeks to make.

On the other hand, apps that require lots of design work, and include many interactive elements (like games, forms, purchases, etc.) can require hundreds of hours of work. And on top of design and development, complex projects also require more project management and QA work.

It’s very common for complex apps to cost tens of thousands of dollars. But again, if you are developing apps that have high value for your organization, that price could be a fantastic investment.

Controlling Costs

No matter the size of your budget, you’ll want to do everything possible to minimize the final cost. And there are a number of effective approaches to limiting the cost of software development, without sacrificing features or quality. Below are some of the most important ones to consider.

DIY Project Management

Even if your organization doesn’t have developers in house, it’s likely that you do have employees with project management expertise. Leveraging their time can be an effective way of limiting the price you pay outside freelancers. Tight project management will keep the work on pace, and reduce the time developers have to waste figuring out exactly what is expected of them.

Create a Clear Project Plan

On a similar note, creating a definitive, comprehensive project plan before hiring freelancers will not only save you headaches and heartbreak, it can also save you thousands of dollars.

For those without experience making applications, it’s normal to assume that most of the work consists of actual coding time. But in fact, things like requirements analysis and drafting design specs can be equally challenging, and eat up a huge portion of your budget. If you do your homework first and keep that work in house, you can easily save 25% or more on your outsourcing costs.

Limit Feedback and Revisions

Once you start to receive design mocks and prototypes, you will undoubtedly have ideas on how they could improve, and your project plan should account for revision time. However, you should be mindful revisions to a features (particularly once coding has started) can double or triple the time involved, and multiply your costs accordingly.

So when offering feedback, be sure to ask yourself how important your requests really are. If they are “nice to have” but not essential, consider holding your tongue and saving yourself some serious money.

Take an Iterative Approach

Lastly, many clients begin software projects with bloated lists of requirements that include numerous features their users don’t really need. This is a recipe for frustration, and perhaps more importantly, a surefire way to waste money.

Rather than attempting to build you dream application right out of the gates, consider aiming for an MVP—minimum viable product—instead. Ask yourself which one or two features are absolutely critical for the initial success of your project, and see if you can scale back your plans to just those items.

If you do decide to build an MVP, it can be especially helpful to work with a dev shop like OTS Solutions. Experienced developers have a sharp eye for “scope creep,” and their input will help you determine which features you really need, and which can wait until after your app becomes a hit.

The Bottom Line

As is often the case, you get what you pay for when it comes to mobile app development, and quality isn’t cheap. Whether you pay hourly or flat price your project, you should expect an effective hourly rate of $100, if not more. If that seems steep at first, don’t worry. There are many ways to control your total costs, and a well made app will pay for itself over time.