Evaluating the cost of a mobile app: 4 main criteria

Mobile apps are no longer just limited to games and music apps. Mobile application development is now extremely common. Almost every brand or company or even an enthusiast with an idea to make more money is in a hurry to find their own audience among the billions of smartphone users. This is why app development has become extremely popular. Developing cost estimation is the first step to creating a mobile app. These are the factors that influence the cost of a mobile app:

  1. Priorities

It is important for you to prioritize exactly what you want from your app. When it comes to software development, these are the three factors you need look at:

  • Fast
  • Cheap
  • Good

Unfortunately, you can only pick two of these attributes for your app development project. If a development firm is willing to make a great quality app very quickly but cheaply, it is a red flag. You get what you pay for. So if you want a quality app, you will have to choose between quick development time with a big budget or a small budget with lengthy development time.

  1. In-house vs Offshore

You will hire a developer because they know how to execute well. Some have all of their developers in-house, others not. You can evaluate their skills and talk to them about their resources. Off shore development is much cheaper but having technical knowledge in the phase of your product planning and designing can make a huge difference and might save you time and money down the road.

  1. Development methods

Waterfall development and agile development are the two main methods for app development.

In waterfall development, everything is decided in the advance so you know exactly how much it will cost. But there is little flexibility and it is difficult to know every single detail from the beginning, especially in development of complex apps. The timeline is also longer.

Agile development is becoming more popular. The initial lack of structure can make the project more expensive but it is more flexible and allows improvement as the project proceeds. The timeline is also shorter.

  1. Time and Materials vs Fixed Fee

You can set up a fixed fee for the work with the waterfall development method but, inevitably, you will want to make some changes later. A developer working with a fixed fee structure might compromise on quality of his work. In an agile structure, you will pay for the amount of effort the developer puts in. You will be given an estimate beforehand and you can review the project regularly if you are paying the developer hourly.

Keep these 4 factors in mind when you’re drawing up your budget. On the safe side, assume that your develop will probably go 20% over budget. Unfortunately, that is what happens in the majority of cases. As a very rough estimate, the cost of mobile app can range from $5,000 to $20,000, for a basic application, and up to $100,000 for more complex  requirements. But you will need to consult a developer for a more precise estimate.

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