You’ve just had the eureka moment! You’ve thought of an app that will save the world, now all you need is someone to tell you what the cost of making an app like yours is! Of course it’s important to find the right developer, and in past posts we’ve discussed 6 Things to Look for in a Mobile App Developer, but the cost of making an app is a key component to the formula.

The app development industry has seen exponential growth over the past few years. With the rise of smartphones and the digital transformation of businesses, mobile apps have become a crucial tool for companies to engage with their customers. However, one of the primary concerns for businesses and individual developers alike is understanding what is the cost of making an app for their next project?

Factors influencing the cost of making an app

Developing an app is not just about coding; it’s about creating a functional tool that serves a purpose. The cost of making an app with this high levels of functionality can vary significantly based on several factors:

Complexity of the App

Adding features to your mobile app will increase the cost of making an app by a significant amount. The most popular mobile apps have specific facets, such as user profiles, log in systems, rating systems, in-app payment methods, ads, and much more.

Generally, initial prototypes and versions of apps have the bare minimum required for the user to engage with the app; your “version 1” should consequently include only the features that you deem most necessary for your users to understand your app.

Let’s look at the cost breakdown of making an app by complexity:

Simple apps: Often used for specific tasks like calculators or note-taking. These can range from $10,000 to $40,000.

Complex apps: These include social media platforms or e-commerce sites, with costs ranging from $30,000 to $500,000.

High-end apps: Apps with intricate functionalities, such as banking or healthcare platforms, can start from $500,000 and go much higher.

Platform selection

Which mobile devices do you want your app to operate on? Different devices tend to work on different operating systems, and so the development processes for each system are extremely different. This is an important step that goes into figuring out what the average cost of making an app will be per platform.

Let’s look at the cost breakdown of making an app by platform:

Hybrid (Android + iOS): Developing for both platforms simultaneously can increase the cost of making an app to between $13,000 to $16,000. Cloud-based app development solutions can sometimes help in reducing these costs.

Web app: These are platform-independent and can range from $13,000 to $16,000.

Single-platform apps: Developing specifically for Android or iOS can cost between $8,000 to $14,000.

Ongoing maintenance and updates

Just like any other product, apps require regular maintenance to fix bugs, update features, and ensure they remain compatible with the latest OS versions. This is not a one-time cost. Maintenance can sometimes be as crucial as the initial development, especially when user data and app functionality are at stake. Resources like self-managed NoSQL databases can be beneficial in this phase.

Some developers like DOOR3 provide in-house maintenance options for their mobile app development projects, others you may have to outsource. Regardless of who does maintenance, it must be factored into the cost of making an app.

Hidden costs in app development

Backend infrastructure: This is the backbone of your app, ensuring the backend is robust and can handle high traffic volumes without crashing requires investment in quality software. Regular updates, security patches, server hosting, database management, and potential scaling also add to ongoing maintenance costs. While it might be tempting to cut corners on backend infrastructure to save on upfront costs, doing so can lead to performance issues, downtimes, and security vulnerabilities, which can be far more costly in the long run.

Third-party service integration: Many third-party services operate on a subscription or pay-per-use model, leading to recurring expenses. Additionally, the initial integration process can be complex, requiring specialized knowledge and potentially extending the development timeline. While some services offer free tiers or trial periods, scaling or increased usage often incurs additional fees. Additionally, any updates or changes made by the third-party service might necessitate modifications in the app, leading to further maintenance costs. Despite these expenses, the value and time saved by leveraging existing solutions often justify the costs. Still, developers and businesses must carefully evaluate the long-term implications and potential hidden costs of third-party integrations when budgeting for their mobile app projects.

Security features: Integrating robust security features into an app is no longer optional and must be factored into the cost of making an app. This includes measures like data encryption, secure API integrations, two-factor authentication, and regular security audits. While these features provide a safeguard against potential breaches and protect user data, they also come with associated costs. Implementing advanced security protocols often requires specialized expertise, which can increase development hours and, consequently, the overall budget. Moreover, ongoing security maintenance and updates to address emerging threats can add to the app’s long-term costs. However, skimping on security can lead to even more significant expenses in the event of a data breach, not to mention the potential damage to the brand’s reputation.

App store fees: Both Apple’s App Store and Google Play charge developers for hosting their apps. Apple, for instance, takes a 30% commission on app sales and in-app purchases, reducing to 15% for subscriptions held for over a year. Google Play has a similar structure. These fees can significantly impact an app’s profitability, especially for those relying on in-app purchases or subscription models. Furthermore, there’s an annual developer fee – $99 for Apple and a one-time $25 fee for Google Play. While these might seem like small amounts in the grand scheme of app development, they are recurring costs that can add up, especially for developers maintaining multiple apps. It’s crucial for businesses and individual developers to factor in these fees when calculating the potential return on investment for their mobile applications.

Marketing, Publicizing, and the Unavoidable: After your mobile app is developed, how are you going to get the word out? Social media can get you a fair amount of downloads and installations, but most app developers tend to integrate their app with a website. These sites tend to be dedicated solely to the promotion of the app: they incorporate app tag lines and pitches, they highlight a few key features of the app, and sometimes include press about the app or user testimonials. Though developing this website would be far less costly than developing the app itself, it is a cost of making an app to consider.

PR costs can add up in terms of time and resources spent. Will you be able to cover every social media outlet at all times? How will that cut into your working hours? Most popular apps require the manpower of more than one person in order to cover all social media fronts adequately.

Though the least expensive cost, paying for a developer accounts for operating systems is another cost to be wary of. These are costs that you absolutely cannot get out of, even if you are developing and designing the app by yourself.

Each of these considerations are extremely important to keep the cost of making an app in check.

What is the cost of making an app continued

The average cost of making an app may also be dependent on the general category it belongs to. Let’s look at the cost breakdown of making an app by category:

Health and Fitness Apps: These apps often come with features like tracking, personalized workout plans, and diet recommendations. The average cost of making an app in this category can range from $50,000 to $250,000.

Travel and Hospitality Apps: From booking flights to reserving hotel rooms, these apps need to be robust and user-friendly. The average cost of making an app in this category can vary from $25,000 to $300,000.

Productivity Apps: These apps aim to enhance user efficiency, from task management to time tracking. The average cost of making an app in this category can range from $25,000 to $250,000.

On-demand Apps: Think of apps like Uber or DoorDash. These apps connect service providers with users and the average cost of making an app in this category can range from $50,000 to $150,000.

Regional differences in app development costs

The cost of making an app isn’t consistent worldwide. Various factors, including labor costs, expertise level, and demand, can influence the price.

Let’s look at the cost breakdown of making an app by region:

North America and Western Europe: These regions are known for their high-quality app development but come with a higher price tag due to the high standard of living and expertise level.

Eastern Europe: Offers a balance between cost and quality. Developers in countries like Ukraine or Poland provide excellent services at competitive rates.

Asia: Countries like India and the Philippines are popular outsourcing destinations due to their lower costs. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the quality isn’t compromised.

Hiring options and their impact on costs

The choice between hiring in-house developers, freelancers, or outsourcing can significantly impact the cost of making an app:

In-house Developers

Hiring a team gives you more control over the project but comes with costs like salaries, benefits, and overheads.


They offer flexibility and can be more cost-effective for smaller projects. However, managing freelancers and ensuring consistent quality can be challenging.


Outsourcing to agencies, especially in regions with lower development costs, can be cost-effective. It’s essential to choose a reputable agency to ensure quality.

Stages of app development and associated costs

Every app goes through multiple stages of development, each with its associated costs:

Planning Stage: This initial phase, accounting for about 10% of the total cost of making an app, involves understanding the app’s purpose, target audience, and main features. At DOOR3, we begin our mobile app development planning with a technical discovery to ensure that the goals and needs of the project are established very early on.

Design Stage: Making up about 15% of the total cost of making an app, this phase is all about establishing what kind of interface your app will have. Not only is the design of the interface important, but you also have to consider the experience the user will be having while using your app’s interface. Defining your brand signature is an essential aspect of user experience . The design is what engages your user right off the bat, so it’s paramount that your designs follow modern industry standards and strategies.

Development Stage: The most significant chunk, around 60% of the total cost of making an app, is dedicated to coding and building the app. Developing an app using an Agile methodology will assist with cost savings, as more frequent reviews of sprint periods lower the cost of feedback adjustments.

Testing Stage: Allocating about 10% of the cost of making an app, this phase ensures the app is bug-free and works as intended.

Deployment Stage: The final step, taking up about 5% of the total cost of making an app, involves launching the app on app stores and ensuring its smooth functioning.

Ways to reduce app development costs

App development can be expensive. However, with strategic planning and informed decisions, it’s possible to optimize the budget without sacrificing quality. Here are some detailed strategies to consider:

Choosing the right platform: Every platform, be it iOS, Android, or web, comes with its own set of development requirements and costs. Initially focusing on one platform, especially the one where the majority of your target audience resides, can be a cost-effective approach. Once the app gains traction, you can then consider expanding to other platforms. This phased approach not only spreads out development costs but also allows for feedback from the initial platform to enhance the app for subsequent ones.

Simplifying design: While a visually stunning app can be tempting, it’s essential to differentiate between ‘need-to-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’ design elements. Adopting a minimalistic design approach focuses on core functionalities and user experience. This not only reduces design and development hours but also ensures that users aren’t overwhelmed with unnecessary features or graphics.

Using third-party APIs: Developing every feature from the ground up can be time-consuming and expensive. Leveraging third-party APIs or tools can expedite the development process. For instance, instead of building a payment gateway, integrating solutions like Stripe or PayPal can be both time-saving and cost-effective. However, it’s essential to factor in any recurring costs or transaction fees associated with these third-party services.

Optimizing for scalability: Future-proofing your app is a smart investment. Designing the app’s architecture with scalability in mind ensures that as your user base grows, the app can handle the increased load without requiring a complete overhaul. This forward-thinking approach might require a slightly higher initial investment but can save significant costs in the long run by avoiding extensive modifications or redevelopments.

Working with experienced developers: While hiring seasoned developers might seem more expensive initially, their expertise can prove invaluable. Experienced developers can foresee potential challenges, suggest efficient solutions, and often complete tasks faster than those less experienced. Their knowledge can lead to a smoother development process, fewer errors, and, consequently, reduced costs in debugging and revisions.

##How can DOOR3 help you estimate what is the cost of making an app for your business?

Understanding the intricacies of app development costs is crucial for successful project completion. By being aware of the factors influencing costs and knowing where to invest, businesses can ensure a balance between budget, quality, and functionality.

When it comes to starting your next mobile app development project, look no further than DOOR3, an award-winning mobile development company based in NYC. We specialize in delivering high-quality Android, iOS, and web development services. From determining the right devices and platforms for your app, establishing a modern and user-centric design, deciding on essential features for initial versions, to strategizing marketing and publicizing efforts, DOOR3 offers comprehensive guidance. Our expertise ensures that businesses can navigate the challenges of app development without unnecessary expenditures. By partnering with DOOR3, businesses can ensure a cost-effective and efficient app development journey. Contact DOOR3 today for tailored mobile app solutions that align with your budget and goals.

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