How to estimate basic expenses for your mobile app development

Whether you have an app idea or just have ghostly intentions to bring your ideas to life, actually, it doesn’t matter. In any case, you will “face the music” while reckoning the app development cost.

Mobile app development has so many different variables, and its price can range anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000.

But how to figure out the happy middle?

We are here to help you with estimation of basic expenses for your mobile app development.

Steps of mobile app development

Let’s go through the development process step by step to make clear what the money is actually paid for.

We develop the application in conformity with Software Development Life Cycle.

A system development life cycle is composed of a number of clearly defined and distinct work phases, which are used by our app developers to plan design, build, test, and deliver the final product to the client.

See also: How to create your own app?

Step 1. Planning & Business Analysis

The best projects start with detailed preparation.

Our fundamental approach ensures the product is going to meet client’s needs and eliminate frustration. Thorough planning helps understand where are you now and how to get to the desired point.

Meticulous market research helps understand if there is any demand for your idea.

At The App Solutions, we also check your competitors and make SWOT-analysis identifying their strengths and weaknesses to adjust your strategy.

Step 2. Technical Specifications

Detailed functional requirement document helps define the requirements to be implemented by the software solution. Also, all project features are determined in this document.

At this step, you need to decide what kind of operation systems and devices you want to build an app for.

Step 3. Prototyping & Design

A prototype is a rudimentary working model of a product that helps the customer test the viability of the idea or startup and save a decent amount of time and budget.

This step includes the following processes:

  • Creating a sketch

A draft version of an app that shows the number of screens and the logic they interact with each other.

  • Creating wireframes

The visualization of the draft app structure.

  • Creating a clickable prototype

It helps find issues and solve them before coding. Shows where the interaction logic breaks and gives the understanding how to improve it.

  • Designing app skins

At this stage, we collect all wireframes and put them together to improve the design.

Step 4. Development

App development process itself is divided into two parts: front-end and backend.

On average it takes about 10 weeks to build back-end part of a standard native app (Android or iOS).

Front-end development of the app with basic functionality may take about 8 weeks.

However, it’s not always necessary to build the back-end part of the app, if you use the cloud technologies for storage.

Step 5. Testing/Quality Assurance

It is important to test every part of the product manually and automatically at every stage of development.

As a rule, it should be a separate department dedicated to quality assurance.

Testing/Quality assurance process includes testing of such things: requirements, compatibility, interface, security, low-level resources of the app.

Step 6. Publishing & Maintenance

Finally, your app is ready and it's time for it to say “Hello world!”

You can submit the app to app stores by yourself or ask app development company to assist you.

Also, the work on an app doesn’t end even after its release. Every app needs updates and customer support.

Note, that post-release maintenance isn’t included in initial cost estimates.

The drivers of development price

Generally, there are three main factors that can influence the development cost.

1. The cost of labor

Is the primary driver of price. For instance, you can hire offshore developers that will be exponentially cheaper than if you have hired domestic developers.

The cost of labor depends on developers’ origin as well.

Indian development companies are famous for its cheap prices at the beginning, and numerous stories about “oops, something's going wrong with your app” later.

Needless to say, if you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.

As low prices and high quality are what everybody is looking for, turn your attention to developers from Eastern Europe and from Ukraine in particular.
Today this country has the largest information technology labor force in Europe.

In 2015, Ukraine earned about $2.5 billion from exports of the country’s software and IT services. And it continues to export billions of dollars worth of software to the world every year. 

2. App development team

Is the second thing that can influence the number of zeros in your final bill.
The development team can be basic or extended and it is determined by project requirements.  

Basic team includes:

  • A project manager, a person who communicates with the client and cares about delivering all project requirements to the development team.
  • UI/UX designer, a person on which depends on the app’s structure and visual appearance.
  • 2 developers (iOS, Android).
  • A quality assurance engineer, who monitors every phase of the software development process. He makes sure that new products work before they are released to the public.

In case the app requires a backend infrastructure to develop an API, then a backend developer also joins the team.

An extended team may consist of:

  • A project manager
  • 2-4 iOS or Android developers (per platform)
  • UI/UX designer
  • Backend developer
  • An admin panel designer
  • A quality assurance engineer

3. Project complexity

The main factor that drives the final cost. It can be influenced by the following variables:

The number of devices and OS

You need to consider what type of app are you building.

Apple iOS is a better choice when you are intending to reach more financially solvent users.

Android platform has a broader penetration among the middle income users.

Aiming to reach as many users as possible, you should build your app on both platforms.

An iOS app should support the latest and the previous versions of iPhone and iOS versions as well.

The world of Android devices is much more manifold. So, you need to take into account the size of the market share for each Android device, while deciding which one to support.

The more devices you choose, the more time is needed to adapt the application for various screen sizes, resolutions, hardware specs.

Read also: Android vs iOS Development  

App features

There are a lot of different features that your app can possess. Their number and type directly affect the technical complexity of the project.

The most common are:

  • Third-party integrations

Integration of third-party libraries, frameworks, and services allows to provide some app’s functionality faster and even cheaper than developing a custom solution.

We may use ready-made solutions to implement payment features, real-time chats, geolocation functions or social media sharing instruments. For instance, the tight integration of your app with social media can be accomplished with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social network APIs.

  • Backend development

It’s not the necessary part of the app, but if your app will operate with big amount of data, it needs a backend. Backend enables the exchange of data between a mobile application and a database.

  • In-app purchases

In-app purchase lets you sell a variety of items from premium content, virtual goods to additional functionality and subscriptions — directly within your free or paid app.

In-app purchase usually adds technical complexity to a project.

  • Admin panel development

This tool makes the in-app operations easier. You can manage users and content, view stats, and more.

  • Custom designs

It goes without saying, the design matters as much as the apps functionality.

Sometimes even more. Poor functionality can be strengthened by outstanding design.

Here the ball is on your court and it’s up to you to make your app stock looking or pretty amazing with the custom design.

But you should note, the customized user interface comes at a cost. It's not cheap being pretty.

Basic needs of every app

Depending on the product complexity, an app may possess different features and elements.

Simple apps

Simple apps perform basic functions and there is no need for third-party APIs integration. Also, simple app can manage without backend development.

Apps with basic functionality usually may include standard UI components, social login, push notifications, personal profile, feed list and map markers.

Developing a simple app starts at $ 20,000, according to the App Solutions rates.

We offer solutions for low-budget projects as well. Our team will help you find the effective and optimal solution corresponding to your budget and requirements.

Read also: How to Build a Bulletproof Push Notification Strategy

Medium complexity apps

Apps in this category may require the integration of third-party solution. For instance, for providing an app with payment features or real-time chats. Medium complexity apps may include customized UI features, integration with APIs, and a simple backend server.

According to the App Solutions rate, it could be estimated from $ 35K to $50K.

See also: How to Develop a Messaging app Like WhatsApp?

High complexity apps

These apps possess advanced functionality. It can be audio/video streaming, chats, data synchronization in real-time, custom design and animation, third-party services integration, in-app purchases, complex backend and more.

The price starts at $60,000 - $80,000. 

Read also: How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Chat App Like SnapChat?

The App Solutions rates and prices

As we have written above, there are many factors that can drive the cost of the future project.

To cut to the chase, estimating the expense for your app you should understand the following.

The project complexity influences the size of development team, the team’s size has directly impact on the time required to implement the project, the number of spent hours forms the final cost.

At the App Solutions, we provide clients with the transparent and clear process of cost estimation.

We offer the best price-quality ratio. Сheck out our rates and portfolio to make sure of it.

How to reduce the app’s cost?

Creation of MVP or minimum viable product is a way how to save your money and time.

It is a version of your future product with stripped-down functionality and fewer features. MVP helps make the process faster and identify possible problems.

Also MVP allows to prove your theories or totally change some app's functions (even product strategy).

Below is an example of MVP model:

Any way, we are always ready to help you with your project estimation.

Feel free to contact us. Our managers are available on Skype, phone or per e-mail.

Katherine

Author