Last Updated On September 19, 2023

Developing an App: How Much Does it Cost?

Developing an App: How Much Does it Cost?
By Team TIS

Apps can be helpful for a number of purposes, such as sales, administration, productivity, etc.

An application is basically a representation of your business. The users, be it employees or customers, are able to analyze performance, quality and effectiveness of your business. 

Therefore it is important to build an app that depicts your business in the best possible way. 

Exhausting tasks like pen-to-paper work is made way easier with just a few clicks. 

Your app can act as a long-term investment for you that will save you money and time. Lower-costs and efficiency are every business’s priority and apps are just the solution for that. 

App Development has a lot of benefits that help your business flourish, such as:

  1. Enhanced Accessibility:

Businesses can improve their accessibility by incorporating app development strategies that compliment their business needs. By using apps, businesses are able to notify their customers about any news or changes in their services or products. 

  1. Increased Customer Engagement:

With the use of applications, businesses can improve their customer relations by connecting effectively and communicating directly through marketing channels. You can even send in-app and push notifications to your customers, using your mobile app. 

  1. Value for Clients:

With mobile apps, you can digitize any loyalty program that you may be offering to your customers. Rather than using the old-fashioned collection card, you can offer your customers the opportunity to receive their rewards through a mobile application.

  1. Brand Recognition:

Brand recognition and brand awareness can be built using mobile apps. Apps work as an effective tool as they can be customized to your needs and goals.

  1. Exceed Customer Expectations:

Using apps, you can reduce costs and still increase profitability of your business. Since apps are the foundation of many businesses, the overhead costs are reduced.

Now that we have a better understanding of how app development helps your business, let us delve deep into how much developing an application costs.

The cost of making an app can vary greatly, based on several significant factors:

  • App Category

The kind of app you’re looking to develop greatly affects the associated costs. Simple applications like a basic QR code reader app are significantly less expensive to develop than complex ones such as a comprehensive social networking platform. This is due to the varying degrees of complexity in designing, coding, and implementing different features.

High-end apps, including social media platforms, e-commerce sites, AI-powered applications, music composition software, ride-hailing services, and security-centric finance apps, generally have a steeper development price tag. These apps often involve advanced algorithms, multiple user interfaces, sophisticated server architecture, and intricate third-party integrations.

Conversely, simpler applications, such as calculators, QR scanners, educational content providers, and note-taking apps, typically have lower development costs due to their less complicated structures and functionalities.

  • Functionalities

The number and complexity of an app’s features significantly impact the development cost. Advanced features, such as complex social media algorithms, IoT device connectivity, or augmented reality, require additional resources, expertise, and development time, thereby raising the cost. Simpler functionalities, such as basic file uploads or form-based data entry, are less resource-intensive and therefore less expensive to implement.

  • Platform Support

Mobile apps targeting both iOS and Android require development in different programming languages, which can increase costs. With native development, the user interface needs to be created separately for each platform, doubling the effort. However, cross-platform development frameworks, like React Native, offer a more cost-effective solution. This method allows developers to write code once and adapt it to both platforms, effectively cutting down on frontend development costs.

  • Sophistication

The level of polish or sophistication you desire for your app impacts development costs. This includes aspects like user interface (UI) design, server architecture, and interactive elements like animations. Typically, more polished, high-performing, and visually appealing apps require more development time and higher-level skills, resulting in higher costs.

It’s worth noting that many startups initially launch a minimal viable product (MVP) to validate the market. This approach allows them to test their idea without a heavy investment in development. Once validated, they can progressively add features and improve the app’s polish based on user feedback and needs.

  • Location

The geographical location of your app development team plays a substantial role in cost determination. Since a major portion of app development cost is labor-related, regions with higher labor costs, like the USA, typically result in higher overall development costs.

Some companies may consider outsourcing to regions with lower labor costs, such as India or the Philippines, as a cost-cutting measure. However, this approach can introduce additional challenges and hidden expenses, including communication barriers, cultural differences, time zone discrepancies, and potential quality control issues.

How much money do you need to develop an app?

Building an app involves more than just design and coding expenses. Other vital financial considerations include server costs, platform-specific developer account subscriptions, ongoing maintenance, marketing expenditure, and costs related to third-party services. 

As of 2023, mobile app development cost in the US averages around $40 per hour, with these typical ranges for different levels of complexity:

Basic App Development Cost: Between $40,000 and $60,000

Intermediate App Development Cost: Between $60,000 and $150,000

This is quite a broad statement, but it can be detailed further if we factor in the complexity and scale of your app idea. 

For instance:

  • A straightforward, proof-of-concept app may cost from $25,000 to $50,000.
  • A relatively small app might set you back between $50,000 and $125,000.
  • Medium-sized apps often fall within the $125,000 to $200,000 range.
  • Heavily featured apps might begin at $200,000 and rise steeply.

Here’s a typical expenditure layout that an app startup might face:

1. Server Costs

Server costs can range significantly, from as low as $10 per month to a hefty $10,000 per month. The variation depends on factors such as the user count, the data volume transmitted, and the type of services you operate on your server. Hosting providers like Amazon AWS and Heroku provide initial free tiers to assist new businesses. While these free tiers might suffice for new, less server-intensive apps, more popular or demanding apps will require a paid tier sooner rather than later.

2. Developer Accounts

To release your app on the respective app stores, you need to subscribe to the Apple and Android developer programs. Google levies a one-time fee of $20 to register as an Android developer. In contrast, Apple asks for an annual subscription fee of $100 for its developer program.

3. Ongoing Maintenance

Keeping your app functioning smoothly and up-to-date demands a minimum annual maintenance expense, often starting from around $2,200. If major operating system updates from Apple or Google arise, or if significant changes to third-party services or framework updates occur, this maintenance cost can increase considerably. In addition to basic maintenance, you should also account for modifications based on user feedback and usage data. We recommend setting aside at least 10% of your total budget for post-launch changes and enhancements.

4. Marketing

Your marketing budget can be as minimal or substantial as you desire. The marketing strategy should align with your industry, target audience, budget, and desired outcomes. While some apps have achieved resounding success with zero marketing budget, others have invested millions. It’s important to remember that successful apps require some form of marketing effort, be it paid ads, social influencer campaigns, or other strategies. Therefore, having a dedicated marketing budget is integral to your app’s success.

5. Third-party Services

Some popular third-party services that you can include in your app, along with the prices, are given below: 

  • Mailgun – Used to send system emails

$35-$90 per month with a free version as well

  • Twilio – Used to send SMS text messages

$0.055 per month

$24 – $48 per month with a free version available

$499 per month

What is the average cost of app development?

  • iOS App

iOS apps are mobile apps that are particularly developed in such a way that they are able to work on the iPhone OS. They are intended in such a way to interact with the iPhone’s core system, natively. 

The iOS apps are made using XCode, Objective-C, Swift, etc. iOS app development can cost from $75,000 to $500,000 depending on the complexity and intricacies of each idea. 

  • Android App

As is apparent from the name, Android apps are developed in such a way that they can smoothly work on the Google OS. 

They interact with the operating system components so efficiently that the users enjoy the optimum experience.

Android apps are created using Java and Kotlin.

Creating an Android application ranges from $70,000 to $50,000, depending on the intricacies, complexity, etc. 

  • Hybrid App

As the name suggests, a hybrid app is an application that can work efficiently on both the iPhone operating system as well as the Android operating system, using a single code-base.

Hybrid applications are mostly made using Ionic, NativeScript, React Native, Flutter, etc.

Hybrid applications are also known as cross-platform mobile applications. The cost of the creations of such apps falls under the range of $90,000 to $700,000.

The cost of making an application also varies from country to country. For instance: 

Data Table
Region (Country) Hourly Rate (USD)
United States (USA)

United Kingdom (UK)



Australia 100-120$
Western Europe 80-100$
Eastern Europe 30-50$
India 20-30$

App creation can often come with a hefty price tag, which is primarily due to the significant wages commanded by professionals with specialized skills in design and programming. This is true both within the United States and globally.

Applications are specialized software that demand a highly skilled team to spend considerable time planning, crafting, testing, debugging, and eventually launching the product. This process is time-intensive, and the lengthier the development cycle, the higher the overall expense.

Now, if you’re wondering if it’s possible to develop an app with no monetary investment, the answer is yes. Although it will be quite challenging. Some viable alternatives include self-creation using a no-code platform, garnering funding from angel investors, or partnering with a tech-savvy co-founder.

In terms of the app developer cost, you might want to consider different scenarios. If you plan to personally oversee the design, project management, and testing, hiring a freelance app developer in the United States might cost you anywhere from $36 to $62 per hour.

On the other hand, you can entrust the entire project to an app development company, where costs may range from $100 to $200 per hour. While this might appear more expensive upfront, it could potentially save you money in the long run due to their professional expertise and experience. Professionals know the ins and outs of cost-effective app design and project management.

You can negotiate different engagement models with app development agencies, usually divided into fixed price, time and materials, or a flat-fee agile engagement. Each comes with its own cost implications, making it essential for you to choose what best suits your budget and project needs.


Finally, developing an app is a significant investment that requires careful planning and consideration. Costs can vary greatly depending on the app’s complexity, features, supported platforms, and the expertise of the development team. However, it’s crucial to remember that an app isn’t just about the upfront development costs. Ongoing costs such as maintenance, marketing, and server fees are also part of the equation. Investing time in understanding these aspects can help you make the most informed decision when it comes to developing your app. Remember, a well-planned and executed app can prove to be a game-changer for your business in this digital age.


Q. How much does it cost to develop an app?

The cost of developing a mobile app can vary greatly, depending on factors like the type of app, the features it has, the platforms it supports, and the level of polish you want. Small apps typically range from $50,000 to $125,000, while more complex or feature-rich apps can cost $200,000 or more. On average developing an app to the minimum viable product (MVP) stage costs around $102,000.

Q. What factors can impact the cost of making an app?

Several factors can influence the cost of app development. The type of app you’re developing is a big one – for example, a simple calculator app will be much cheaper to develop than a comprehensive social network. The features you want in your app, the platforms you want it to be available on, the level of polish you want, and the location of your development team can all significantly impact the cost.

Q. Why is developing an app so expensive?

The high cost of app development mostly comes from the labor involved. Developing an app requires a team of specialists, including designers, programmers, testers, and project managers, who all command relatively high salaries. The process involves testing, programming, extensive planning, debugging, design, and deployment. The more complex the app, the longer it takes to develop, and the more it costs.


About the Author:

This blog is authored by Nandini Pathak with an area of expertise in technology. Uniquely blending her legal background to create engaging content, she is passionately involved in emerging technology trends. An avid dog lover, her warmth and empathy enrich her writing style. Nandini’s passion for learning and her SEO proficiency ensure her work stays relevant and visible, making her an impactful content creator who seamlessly integrates personal pursuits with professional expertise in the technology domain.

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