How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Chat App like Snapchat in 2022

Imagine you’re a college student who develops a photo messaging app with your frat buddies. Everybody says that it’s a terrible idea.

But several years later, Facebook or Google offer you from $3 to $4 billion to buy it, but you reject the offer. In another three years, your company is worth $20 billion. It might seem like a dream, but it’s a true story.

This is the success story of Snapchat, a mobile messenger with text, photo and video content that disappears a few seconds after it is received. Snapchat’s success inspires a lot of entrepreneurs, and we receive a lot of requests to estimate the cost to build an app like Snapchat.

So, if you want to create a similar app, read on. In this article, you will learn how to create Snapchat and the estimated development cost.







Current Snapchat stats

Currently, there are numerous social media platforms. However, the latest statistics show us that Snapchat is the leading social media network in the United States and France. 

You might also like How to Develop a Messaging App Like WhatsApp?

Snapchat copy app might be a good idea for a startup. You can create a Snapchat clone, add some new features, and get  a slice of the action. Just have a look at Snapchat’s stats below:

But there is more: 

From the beginning, Snapchat owners didn’t care about making money. But later, the app provided several ways of generating revenue.

  • In 2022 Snapchat revenue amounted to $4,1 billion
  • In Q4 2021, Snapchat reported its first quarterly net profit.

As we can see, the Snapchat multimedia messaging app is very popular among users and generates significant revenue.

How to Make an App Similar to Snapchat in 7 steps

Now, let’s dig deeper into the Snapchat-like app development process, which includes:

Step 1. Discovery (inception) phase

The main goal of this stage is to find out the functional and non-functional requirements for the future project, estimate the project budget, and business needs.

Step 2. Documentation

During this stage, business analysts and project managers prepare the project’s specifications, user stories, and other project-related documents that describe how your app will perform.

Step 3. Prototyping

Then, the mobile development team creates prototypes of your future app scenes and user journey and sends it to you for further improvement.  

Step 4. UI/UX Design

Based on the screen prototype, the design team develops the design for your app.

Step 5. Development

When the design is ready, the mobile development team integrates all the necessary features to your app. As the development stage moves forward, your Snapchat-like app developer might clarify specific requirements toward the project’s functionality.

Step 6. QA

The quality assurance team conducts tests to ensure that the application is bug-free.  

Step 7. Deployment

When the messenger like Snapchat is ready, the team will deploy it to the workspace.


How Snapchat makes money

So, to generate revenue, Snapchat uses:

In-between Snap Ads. Snapchat shows users 10-second promoting videos. Users can swipe up and access more content, such as a longer video, app install, or blog post.

Branded GeoFilters. Depending on the geolocation, users can access fun augmented reality filters that stay available for 30 days. The app charges businesses $5 for coverage of 20,000 square feet.

Sponsored Lenses. This monetization strategy is similar to Geofilters. Businesses advertise through their own customized lenses that appear in particular locations. In this way, they can promote their brands or events. This ad type is popular among big companies. 



A collaboration with KFC. When visiting KFC,  app users revive access to the Colonel Sanders lens filter, which turns users into the white-maned colonel himself.

The “Discover” section. The app place promotion content in the Discover section. The Snapchat live story costs $0.15 per view. Currently, the app is partnering with around 20 big-name publishers, such as CNN, Cosmopolitan, and People.

Sports Partnerships. The app is partnering with sports organizations to promote attendance at sports events. By using this strategy, the app is partnering with Adidas and Nike so that they can advertise their products to sports fans.  The app charges $400k to $500k for complete exposure to the company’s user base.

In-app purchases. App users can buy additional features such as Re-play to a feed such as a picture or a video that the user has already seen.

Premium access. The app users can buy premium access to new app features and experience new lenses.

Now that you are aware of Snapchat’s monetization strategies, move on, and find out the app’s core feature set to make an app like Snapchat.


The Snapchat App Core Functionality

When you heard about Snapchat a few years ago, it was a simple messaging app with the primary feature of vanishing messages in one to 10 seconds. But, over time, it has added a vast amount of new incredible features that provide more immersive interaction with the app. 

In other words, Snapchat gradually evolved into a mix of private messaging and public content, including brand networks, video-sharing, and live events. Moreover, Snapchat expanded its capabilities and became a multi-entertainment app, transforming from a messaging platform into a media giant with 10 billion video views per day, Bloomberg has reported.

Read also:

Case Study: Video Streaming App Proof of Concept

How To Build a Mobile App With Geolocation

Memories are one of the features that provide a new way to save Snaps and Stories on Snapchat. Users can create new Stories from Snaps they’ve taken, or even combine different Stories into a more extended narrative.

Also, Snapchat has launched some new features, including new photo and video filters, the capability to add emoji stickers to videos, and changes in chat.

Snapchat social media app functionality comprises features that can be used for two purposes:

  • Message exchange
  • Public content

Message Exchange

Snapchat has added additional value to such a simple thing as chatting, providing it with a set of amazing features.

In Snapchat, app Users can create multimedia chats called “snaps.” These snaps can comprise of a photo or short video; they can be edited with filters and effects, text captions, and drawings. In the Chat 2.0 recent update, you can send audio notes, make video and audio calls. Snaps can be directed privately to selected contacts, or a semi-public “Story.” These personally posted messages can be self-destructed automatically after a few seconds.

Also, the app allows location sharing. When the user starts typing an address into chat, it displays a card that links to the Google or Apple Maps app.


Snapchat messenger

Automatically self-destructed messages

Self-destructing messages are a custom feature of Snapchat and one of the things that made it so popular among teenagers. 

Before you create custom features, you need to develop a messenger app. Answering the question “How to make a messenger app?” we recommend using the ready-made solutions as a basis for your future product to save you money and time.

You might also like: Android vs. iOS Development  

But how does it work?

  • When the user sends a message, it’s uploaded to the Snapchat server.
  • The user receives a push notification about the new snap, which is downloaded to a temporary location on the user’s phone.
  • When the user opens the snap, the app deletes the temporary message copy from the phone and alerts the app server.
  • Then, the message is destroyed from the Snapchat server. The app also automatically deletes messages if the user has not viewed them within 30 days.

Now, moving on.



Stickers have become an inevitable part of modern communication. Snapchat contains 200 stickers built into its app. You can use a custom solution (design your stickers) or use a ready-made solution that is much cheaper. 

snapchat stikers

Location sharing

By using this feature, Snapchat users can share their location with friends or other users. Their site will appear on Snap Map. App users can also choose who can see their place or update it only when they have Snapchat open.

 Image source: Techadvisor

Adding friends

It is an essential function of a social media app. Besides the standard methods of adding friends via usernames and phone contacts, Snapchat provides some smart ways:

  • Snapcodes. Black dots that surround the Snapchat Ghostface Chilla logo is a personalized QR code. Another user can scan it by using the Snapchat camera, and he instantly begins to follow you. Here, a  recognition algorithm is being used, and an algorithm for the generation of such codes.
  • Add Nearby function. This function uses your location to scan other users in your proximity who also have Add Nearby open. The app sends the device’s coordinates to the server, the server in its turn compares the geolocations of devices with the Add Nearby screen opened.
Snapchat add friends

Video and Audio Calls

In the updated version of the chat,  app users can start talking or video chatting instantly with one tap. If the recipient isn’t online, you can send an audio note.

This feature turns Snapchat into a phone alternative and brings it close to Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp.

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A feature, known as “Geofilters” is a unique graphical overlay that is available when the user is within a precise geographical location, such as a city, event, or destination.

To allow your users to mark their location on the images,  developers use geocoding. Geocoding is a computational process that converts the geographic coordinates to a description of a location, usually the name of a place. Then the name of the area is overlaid on the image in a template.


Lenses or Filters

The “Lens” is one of the most exciting features of Snapchat. It allows users to add real-time effects and alter video images by using face detection technology. This feature became possible when Snapchat acquired the startup Looksery. The startup does a facial modification and enables users to simulate their appearance for a photo or video chat in real-time on mobile platforms.

Now, we find out how it works.

  • The app uses the Active Shape Model to detect a user’s face by marking their facial borders.
  • Powered by a machine learning algorithm, the app creates the average face and aligns it with the image provided.
  • Then, the app algorithm corrects errors to make the filter perfectly match the user’s face by analyzing the pixel data around the face borders.
  • Next, the app uses these points to coordinate and adjust a mesh, a 3D mask that the user can shift and scale with a face.

Snapchat filters based on 3D face masks enable users to deform the mask to change their face shape, add accessories, set animations, and more.

Stories and Discover

Stories functionality enables users to broadcast photo and video content from their lives to friends; each story lasts 24 hours. It refers to free content and provides users with capabilities in the same way as social networks do.

Later this feature was expanded to “Live Stories.” Stories enable new functionality when Snapchatters who are at the same event location (such as music festivals or sporting events) can contribute Snaps to the same Story.

The “Discover” option provides a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams. It contains sponsored short-form content from major publishers, such as BuzzFeed, CNN, Mashable, People, and many others. Every edition is refreshed after 24 hours, because, as the Snapchat team believes, “what’s news today is history tomorrow.”


Tech Stack for the Snapchat-like app

Below you will find what software Snapchat uses. Consider the following technologies to develop an app like Snapchat so as to be on the same page with your development team.

Snapchat tech stach

How much does it cost to build an app like Snapchat?

A Snapchat mobile app seems to be a vast machine with many features. It will take more than a year to create apps that look like Snapchat. And the price of this will be high as well. 

How much does it cost to make another Snapchat?

Build Your Own Dedicated Team

You also can check out the feature list and estimated development cost below.

Automatically self-destructed messages


  • Facebook Messenger SDK
  • Telegram SDK


1,5 months for two platforms – iOS and Android.


It costs about $10K for the iOS platform and $9K for the Android.


Location sharing


  • Apple MapKit
  • Google Location SDK

120 hours

From $2K to $4K for both platforms.




  • Eventdex Android
  • Semacode iOS

One month


From $8K to $10K per one platform.

Nearby function




  • Google Maps SDK
  • Apple MapKit


One week


From $3K per platform.

Video and Audio Calls


  • AddLive

About one month

$12K for iOS

$14 for Android


Lenses or Filters


  • Mirror Reality SDK


About one month

$8K for iOS

$8K for Android


But we recommend launching apps similar to Snapchat as MVP. The MVP of a Snapchat-like app will include only the essential functions as registration, media content sharing, user profile, and text messages. Find the estimated time in the table below:    



Estimation in Hours

Registration/ login feature

The user can log in via

  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Social network

Around 10 to 16 hours.

User profile

The app user can modify 

  • Profile picture 
  • Password
  • Contact details 
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Phone number

From 60+ hours




Users can post 

  • Images 
  • Videos

Users can apply editing tools

  • Effects
  • Filters
  • Smileys 
  • Emoticons

Up to 320 hours: 

applying filters 120+ hours

creating custom filters 120+ hours

cropping and rotating photos 80+ hours

Embedded messenger


  • Enable users to exchange messages

Up to 40 hours



From 430+ hours

The App Solutions experience

Our latest social media project is QuePro, a public chat mobile app that will connect users with professionals from various spheres.  QuePro allows users to post their queries or questions and receive answers from local professionals.


[QuePro Newsfeed]

  • To speed up the development process we used EventBus, an open-source event library that simplifies communication between components and performs well with UI artifacts.
  • We also enabled the app by sending notifications to users using Google Cloud Messaging.
  • Despite tight deadlines, we managed to implement the critical features after just three months.

Read the full case study to find out more about this project.

We have also developed AllSquare, a social media application for golfers. AllSquare offers users many opportunities to share their golf achievements, engage with golfers from all over the world, and find a golf course nearby.


[AllSquare Newsfeed]

To create AllSquare, we used:

  • Retrofit
  • Okhttp 
  • Picasso 

in combination with RX Java for accessing the app backend. 

In this way, we implemented the reactive programming paradigm for asynchronous operation with API, files, and databases.

Follow the link to find out more about this project.

The Bottom Line

Snapchat, one of the most popular social media platforms, provides users with numerous tools for photos and video editing. The most notable Snapchat features are lifters and masks, powered by a machine learning algorithm.

If you want to develop an app like Snapchat and make it accessible, you should consider these features. Besides, with many monetization options, you can make your app like Snapchat profitable.


Since the platform has many integrations and sophisticated features, it is hard to give an accurate project estimation. However, you should take notice of the following – chat app development cost is determined by three main factors that have an impact on the total budget and project duration.

They are:

  1. The project scope. It’s not obligatory to implement all of the features presented in Snapchat. You can choose some of the best features and then we will estimate how long it will take and how much it will cost.
  2. The timing of the project. The same amount of work can be carried out in different time frames. It depends on the number of developers involved in the project.
  3. Budget. We prefer Time&Material budgeting for smaller projects and Dedicated Team models for longer-term projects.

So, feel free to contact us with any questions on how to develop a chat application. The App Solutions team will help you to estimate and realize all of your project ambitions. 

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Breaking Down Average Cost of iPhone App Development (The APP Solutions Experience)

iPhone app development cost is a pretty hot subject. Every entrepreneur aims to optimize the app development budget because, as a rule, he creates a new product under conditions of uncertainty.

A little while time ago we have already observed the problem of the app development cost estimation and the drivers of development price in our blog post: How To Estimate Basic Expenses For Your Mobile App Development

In this article, we are going to take a closer look at iPhone app development cost by disclosing the cost of the most essential app features.

Please note – the estimates below are based on the experience we’ve had, but it does not mean your project would require exactly that amount of hours. It all depends on what features you’d like and what is the timeframe for the project. 

The most demanded mobile app categories

At The APP Solutions, we get a lot of requests to estimate the cost of apps like Uber, Tinder, WhatsApp, and others.

Let’s figure out an average cost to develop an iPhone app through the cost of the most common features in popular apps.

On the basis of our experience, we distinguish between the most demanded app types:

  • Taxi/Carpool App
  • Dating App
  • Messenger App
  • Geolocation App

Taxi/Carpool Mobile App

Uber App is considered to be a good reference for apps from Taxi/Carpool industry. Normally the Taxi/Carpool app should include the following options:


It is one of the most crucial features of this type of app. The technology of GPS tracking is used to determine the current location, find cars, and track the route. Moreover, the exact journey tracking helps estimate the fare. The process of implementation of the same feature as in the Uber app has could take about 140 hours of teamwork.

According to the APP Solutions rates, it may cost from $2,800 to $3,500 (depending on the requirements.)

Passenger/Driver apps

To ensure an excellent taxi service your mobile app should possess a set of 3 different products: two separated apps for passenger and driver and an admin dashboard.

The passenger app in its turn has to provide the following basic features: registration, taxi booking, payment, push notifications, ride history, driver`s review, and rating.

The app for drivers may duplicate some features may from the passenger`s taxi app, such as registration, push notification, and messenger, etc. But here some unique features as well: status, order alert, navigation, estimation, and reports.


Providing a taxi app with a payment system is a long-term undertaking and may take about 60 hours of work. We implement the solution of gateway providers like Stripe or Braintree that help to set safe and convenient payments.

User profile

It is an essential feature to carry out payments, create loyalty programs, save ride history, and provide other important options for registered passengers. The “Log in” option can be implemented through existing social networks like Facebook or via email and phone numbers. Normally it takes about 60 hours to provide a taxi app with this feature.

Drivers rating system

An option that helps customers to choose the best driver according to his ranking. Also, it helps to respond to complaints and maintain a high level of service quality. It does not take too much time to implement the rating system, you can count on 10 hours of work.

Based on the experience our developers have had with the previous taxi mobile apps, it takes about 4-5 months of work and costs about $35,000 per platform.

Dating App

Considering that our world is slowly becoming virtualized so unless you find someone to date at the university or school or work, online dating apps are the gateway to meeting new people. Besides, people nowadays are almost inseparable from their mobile phones, so dating apps are a great help for those who can’t simply venture out into the world and meet strangers. Anyway…

Successful dating apps should possess a number of features.

Swipe-to-like interface

Today the swiping feature became a new way to ‘Like’ anything. To provide the swiping feature just like the Tinder app has may take 30 hours.

Built-in chat

Dating apps are impossible without messaging. This feature may take an enormous amount of developers’ time depending on the messenger options and complexity. On average it takes 40 hours.

Matches nearby

It is important to empower dating app with geolocation services to search the person nearby. Otherwise, your users risk getting a broken heart.

Based on our own experience, the implementation of matchmaking algorithms could take more than 100 hours (most of the work will be done on the backend.)

The APP Solutions team implemented the same feature in our last project – The all Square app.

AllSquare is a social network for golf lovers. The project uses geolocation technology to let users find the nearest golf course and make check-ins. We compared the data of golf club location with the user’s location and showed the nearest golf courses on the map.

Also, the nearest hotels to the golf courses are shown in the app. We tied up our app with service via API so that a user can book a hotel via directly from the AllSquare app.


Messengers can be a part of the dating app (that we’ve mentioned above) or a standalone mobile app that allows users to exchange texts and pictures. The app with messaging ability should possess the following basic features:

Direct & Group messages

In the case of iOS app development from scratch, it takes up to 30 hours to make the primary text exchange feature between two users. It may take up to 75 hours together with backend development.

Also, the app needs to have the backend part to store the conversation history and provide users with it in case they logged in on another device.

Push notifications

We use turnkey solutions and integrate Apple Push Notifications to inform users about new message arrival. To provide this feature on iOS devices takes 24 hours.

Media content support

A capability to send media content enriches virtual communication with real emotions. To share photos with a smile, video memories, or audio with a love confession, is amazing, isn’t it?

Implementing the capability for the photo, video, or audio support takes approximately 40 hours.

Rich links

It is exactly the same feature as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger provide in their chats. The feature of rich links gives users an idea of what a link is about even before it’s opened by creating a small website preview. To empower your messenger with rich links could take from 26 to 32 hours.

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Geolocation App

The main purpose of geolocation apps is to allow users to search for places, people, etc. For example, think of the FourSquare mobile app that helps you to find a good place to eat or spend time with your friends. Geolocation technology even has created a new niche of location-based services. Every geolocation app should include:

Maps integration

Maps help users navigate the terrain by providing the app with a variety of compasses, schedules of urban transport, terrain navigation, and even astronomy maps.

Venues profiles

Besides simply helping navigate in the city (or wherever you are), sometimes you want a description of the venue you’re planning to go to (if that’s your first time there). Therefore, a good geolocation app would have venue profiles in it that help to understand what to expect. 

Search nearby

This feature compares the data of the venue location with the user’s location and showed the nearest venue on the map.

Check out our project Nuwbii where the geolocation component gets the main role. Newbie app is an innovative resource that helps find products and services in the neighborhood. The results of a search are organized by the current location of the user due to the geolocation component.

To create a simple mobile app with the geolocation functionality described above would take from 2 to 3 months with a total cost of up to $11,000 (depending on your requirements.)


As you see the app development cost may vary widely. The cost of labor is the primary driver of price, it can vary as many, as there are countries with developers. But understanding the cost of the basic app’s features will help you know the rough estimation of your project.

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How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Mobile App for Local Business

There are a lot of businesses nowadays, which aim at reaching local communities more than international markets. These are mostly on-demand services, food and flowers delivery, dining spots, printing or cleaning services, etc.

Also much has already been saying about digital marketing for businesses shifting mobile. Here are the statistics about the world mobile economy:

How the mobile app will help your clients and your business

When making a rather heavy investment, it’s important to determine the benefits you’re going to bring to your audience, as well as the profits you expect to gain from this affair.

Should I consider building an app for my business?

The major question, which will initiate the preliminary stages of the project. The answer is that most local businesses can benefit from the mobile app if only crafted correctly and fulfills the needs of the visitors. Either it’s reaching out to your customers 24/7 or simplifying the overall shopping routine making it fun and engaging contact.

How can I improve the customer experience for my folks?

Customer queries stats will surely help you see the gaps in different aspects of the business. That is the best weapon on your way to enhancing interaction with the service.

Deploy socializing tools and allow users to share their experiences and directly ask you questions. Engage them with some nice perks and a loyalty program, because people like to get a special status within the company. Believe it, they will keep coming back for your new badges.

There is a wide range of approaches, which nurture your visitors and build loyalty within a mobile channel. Be sure, you’ll find something matching for your particular business.

How my business will benefit from a mobile app?

Basically, the answer is clear – the better the experience you provide to your customers, the more they want to stick with you and recommend it to friends. It’ll surely take some time to return this investment, but in the long term you are legging up on the competition by improving the quality of the entire business – presentation of all items or services, communication, delivery, customer support, etc.

  • The first gain out of the mobile app for your business is Larger Profit – besides the major monetization way for your business, a mobile app opens other streams of income like ads or in-app purchases;
  • Reaching out to a bunch of new customers – go viral with your sharp and user-friendly mobile app. Extend the audience through promoting it;
  • Your app is your business ad – being a tool for earning money, use the mobile app as an object of your advertising – say it out loud what perks this software brings to initiate even more downloads.

What factors will influence the pricing for the local business mobile apps

Of course, there is a wide range of minor, absolutely different circumstances that potentially impact the concluding price of the mobile app.

Here we’ve picked out a list of the most influential factors for local biz mobile app development:

Development model choice

Mainly, there are two approaches to mobile app development organization – outsourcing and dedicated team.

Outsourcing – a whole remote team running the project led by the project manager; the same people handle tasks on other projects of the outsourcing company they’re hired by;

Dedicated team – a specific limited number of specialists hired for the project; usually controlled by the customer representative; employees work solely on the particular project.

Essentially, the major difference between the cost of outsourcing app development and a dedicated team is the number of involved specialists. And as a result, the number of hours you pay for.

Project phase

Depending on what you got on hand at the time of starting the project, the price will also fluctuate.

If you already got a concept, ready-to-go prototype or MVP, consider some scope of work is done. Depending on this, you’ll need to complete what’s left – code review, planning, development, testing, publishing.

Type of the app

Talking mobile applications, in most cases, the choice will fall between traditional native and cross-platform versions. The web app is also built by default along with mobile apps.

Imagine a typical local business mobile application – Restaurant Finder in the area. There are two groups of users – people looking for a nice dining place locally and the restaurants themselves placing info about the spot. The web app is used by businesses to work with the platform. And potential clients of these businesses will usually exercise with the mobile app.

  • Native mobile app – full device integration, better security, easier monetization, BUT more costly, intense competition on the market;
  • Cross-platform app – faster and easier to build, lower cost, simpler maintenance, BUT limited graphics and features, moderate device penetration, speed issues.

MUST-READ: How To Develop a Shopping App Like WISH?

Choice of platforms and their number

Which one of the platforms will best resonate with your audience usually depends on a number of conditions:

  • your target region;
  • desired functionality;
  • your budget for the project, etc.

Statistically speaking, an iOS mobile app can be in all ways more rewarding than an Android one. But wait up, it still depends.

If the majority of your target audience is located in the transition economy regions (a.k.a. Android addicts), it’s a no-brainer that an Android app is the best way to go as most people own Android gadgets here.

Otherwise, if you aim at getting international recognition overall, then surely go for the iOS app – cheaper, quicker and chances are the most PR and opinion leaders use Apple devices.

Variety of devices

Even if you’re set on one platform only (for example, Android), you also should take into account that each device has a specific screen size to which you should adapt your local business app.

For instance, have you ever tried to calculate the number of all Android-charged gadgets and screen sizes with them? It’s really getting close to a range of impossible tasks. Whereas, the range of iOS devices screens are not as numerous and more standardized. 

So the more devices you choose, the more time is needed to adapt the application to the screen resolutions, hardware specs, etc. Not to mention various versions of OS installed on the device.

Critical features you want to include in your local business app:

  • Registration/Account/Login – a fundamental function that helps personalize the approach of the user to the app, withdraw useful data to use in further engaging strategy;
  • Admin Panel – adding content, maintenance of the service, managing users, viewing stats – all this is managed here;
  • Geolocation & maps – crucial for showing location, path and time to reach it, etc.;
  • Lists and filters – both searching for items and filtering a list of displayed items are powerful tools if designed and done right;
  • Push Notifications – a personalized communication and marketing tool for engaging users in the app and, at the same time, helping satisfy their needs;
  • eCommerce – mobile payment provides maximum convenience to the shopper – paying without cash by integrating their billing information into the app;
  • Feedback & Rates – tools for communication, feed, and self-expression are totally expected by users in the majority of markets;
  • Loyalty Program – make your users feel special, provide them with different gifts, bonuses and they’ll keep coming back.

CHECK ALSO: How To Integrate Payment System Into the Existing App

How much does mobile app development for the local business cost?

Now, when you know what can influence the overall price of the app and what features to include to make it top-notch, let’s talk hours. Hours of all professionals involved in your project.

Obviously, hourly rates for IT teams will differ from region to region. Among the most common choices of the team would be US-based, ones in Eastern Europe or in India.

The averagemobile app development cost for Indian developers will usually be the least out of all. Just make sure you check their portfolio to assure reliability. After all, rumors around the Indian development style going on for a reason.

Eastern Europe specialists are famous for their high professionalism together with moderate pricing, so they are worth considering for sure:

Specialist Hourly Rate (USD)
UI/UX Designer $25+/hour
Frontend Developer $35+/hour
Backend (PHP) Developer $30+/hour
Android Developer $35+/hour
iOS Developer $37+/hour
QA Engineer $20+/hour
Project Manager / Business Analyst $25+/hour
DevOps Engineer $30+/hour

Australian and American app developers are paid the highest out of this range. Just a hint for you, guys, – these will be in most cases East Europeans relocated to the US or Australia.

For more inspiration, check out the best practices of mobile apps for local business:

  • NUWBII – an innovative service for finding appropriate businesses in the neighborhood;
  • QuePro – a platform for connecting specialists of all sorts with clients in order to get professional advice.

Concluding thoughts

Here you have it – a solid cheat sheet on what shapes the price of the mobile app for local business. Mind first what exactly is needed to improve your service, transform it to features in your mobile app and go ahead craft it step by step – on your own, with the help of a single developer or a team – the choice is yours.

The above calculations are based on averages.

How Much Does It Cost To Develop An App: Detailed Feature Breakdown

“How much does it cost to make an app?” is the first question the development team gets from startups and established businesses willing to build mobile projects. Knowing the cost of app development is essential for estimating an adequate budget and planning to spend. 

Mobile application development costs may vary from $30,000 to $500,000, depending on the business functionality. But functionality is not the only price-forming factor. 

This article will explain what mobile app development costs consist of and how you can impact your app costs. We’ll also explain the difference between Managed Services, Dedicated and Extended Team, and the concept of project management triangle, which is essential to understand what lies behind the estimation of mobile app development costs.


Considering to develop an application?

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How Much Does It Cost to Make an App?

Some people think that mobile app development costs equal the number of hours one developer spends on coding. Such an approach is far from reality. 

Apart from code, mobile app development project requires the following specialists: 

  • Business analysts and project managers create the project backlog with tasks
  • Solution architect designs the overall architecture of the project’s back end components
  • Quality assurance managers make the checklists for the project functionality to ensure the functionality works without error
  • Designers work on the project layout, prototype, and complete design

All of the described roles require qualified specialists who charge a reasonable price for their work. Moreover, your project might require more than one developer. Therefore, work hours constitute a big part of your mobile app cost.

One example is in developing a logistics mobile app with several integrations, such as a warehouse database, online payment gateway, and booking functionality. Let’s imagine your development team has two months to complete a working project’s functionality. 


To meet your deadlines, the project manager will dedicate a team of three back-end developers and two front-end developers to your project under a managed service model, which will increase the cost of your project. Thus, the cooperation model is another factor that impacts the final project app costs. 

Let’s look at the three cooperation models we use at The APP Solutions and try to find out which of them will suit your project and bode well for future app costs.

What Affects Mobile Application Costs: The Cooperation Model

The cooperation model in software development defines the client and the team’s responsibilities. At The APP Solutions, we cooperate with the client under the following models: 

The app solutions cooperation models

Extended Team

An extended team means we provide you with professionals while you manage all processes. This will suit when you need to augment your existing team with our professionals. This working model works best for projects with established management and app development process. 

The extended team will inherit the existing structure and report directly to you or your responsible manager. 

Dedicated Team 

A dedicated team business model includes shared responsibilities between the client and the development team. It works best for outsourcing business functions such as Development and Quality Assurance. 

The dedicated team includes a Project Manager who is taking care of the Systems development life cycle (SDLC) Methodology and process, facilitating the dedicated team’s integration with your in-house development teams.

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Managed Services

Under this model, The APP Solutions team manages all product development processes while giving you the freedom to develop your business. We are responsible for hiring extra specialists for creating complex projects and providing technical support after the product launch. 

Apart from a Development and QA specialist, your project may require a Product Manager, UI/UX designers, Business Analytics, and System Analytics. 

But how do cooperation models impact app development costs?

The more responsibilities you give to your developers and the more extensive the project scope you need to implement, the more developers will work on your project. Thus, the higher the app cost to create your app. 

The app development cost also depends on three constraints that form a project management triangle. Let’s see what those constraints are. 





What Affects Mobile Application Costs: Project management triangle 

The project management triangle is a model of the constraints of project management, known as the time, finance, and project scope. 

project management triangle

Let’s take a look at them one by one. 

  • Time constraint refers to the amount of time available to complete a project
  • Cost constraint refers to the budgeted amount available for the project
  • Scope constraint refers to what must be done to produce the project’s result

How do those constraints impact the project costs?


The three constraints are often competing constraints:

  • Increased scope typically means increased time and increased cost
  • A tight time constraint could mean increased costs and reduced scope
  • A tight budget could mean high time and reduced size

Another approach to project management is considering the three constraints as finance, time, and human resources.

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If you need to finish a job in a shorter time you can throw more people at the problem, which will raise the project’s cost, unless by doing this task quicker, we will reduce costs elsewhere in the project by an equal amount.

Developers can complete a project faster if you increase the app development budget or cut scope. Similarly, if you increase the scope, the development team will require equivalent increases in funding and schedule. 


In this way, if you cut the budget without adjusting the schedule or scope it will lead to lower quality, illustrating the proverb “Good, fast, cheap. Choose two.”

But if you need to launch a project within tight deadlines and minimal

app development

budget, consider building its MVP, which means Minimum Viable Project. The project’s MVP comes with minimum functionality to validate your business idea without ballooning app development costs.



What is the Average Cost to Create an App’s MVP

To receive a precise cost estimate for your mobile project, you need to follow these steps: 

Step 1. Ask a mobile app development team for a quote

Get in touch with the mobile app development team, describe the app idea, its functionality, and your business goal. 

Step 2. Select the number of mobile platforms

Choose the mobile platform you want to target. Remember that developing a separate app for iOS and Android will double the app development cost. Thus, target one platform for MVP.  

Step 3. Create the list with app functionality 

Build up a list of your mobile app’s functionality that would be enough to validate your business idea.  

Step 4. Prioritize mobile app features to implement in MVP

Send the list to your development team, so a business analyst can add other features if needed and prioritize functions for the first project scope. 

Step 5. Ask the mobile app development team to estimate your main app features 

Ask mobile app developers to evaluate the list with must-have features they will implement first, and get a precise mobile app development estimated cost. 

But how much time do developers need to implement core functionality for the app’s MVP? 


What Affects Mobile Application Costs: Core Features

A table with mobile app essential features, tech stack, and estimated number of hours will give you an idea about the time and money required to develop a fully-fledged mobile application: 

User login

Most mobile apps provide users with registration via email or phone number to identify the user. But the most convenient way to access an app automatically creates a user profile and collects all public data about a person is through sign-in social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tech stack

Number of hours 

  • Facebook SDK
  • Log In with Twitter 
  • Instagram Basic Display API
  • 4+ hours for UI/UX design
  • 8+ hours to develop the app back-end using NodeJS
  • 8+ hours for feature integration per each platform (iOS, Android)

Push notification

Mobile apps use push notifications to inform users about the real-time updates in the app, such as changes in order status, new content, new messages received, etc.

Tech stack

Number of hours 

  • Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) for Android mobile apps 
  • Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) for iOS  
  • 24+ hours for iOS
  • 24+ hours for Android

Navigation bar

In order to allow the user to flow through your app features and content, you will need a navigation bar. This feature also defines how the user switches from one screen to another, returns to the main menu, closes an app, takes actions, etc. Thus, your app must include swiping and scrolling features, icons, buttons, arrows, and other UI architecture. 

Tech stack

Number of hours

  • Human Interface Guidelines
  • 24+ hours for the app back-end 
  • 16+ hours for Android or iOS development

Media content sharing

If you develop a social media app like Tik-Tok, or messaging app like WhatsApp, you need to allow users to share media files such as images, short videos, or audio files. You may also need to empower your app with editing capabilities, including adding emoticons, filters, effects, or even animated masks. 

Tech stack

Number of hours 

  • Android NDK Native APIs for Android apps 
  • Core Audio Kit for audio exchange, PhotoKit for photo editing, and AVKit for media playback on iOS devices 
  • 8+ hours for the design
  • 16+ hours for the front-end
  • 40+ hours for the back-end 
  • 40+ to develop this function on each mobile platform 


This mobile app feature might be handy for geolocation or navigation apps and food delivery mobile applications, taxi, dating, or even travel apps.

Tech stack

Number of hours 

  • Google Maps API
  • 8+ hours for the design
  • 8+ hours for back-end
  • 8+ hours for Android 
  • 8+ hours iOS 

In-app messaging

If you consider developing an online retail marketplace, social media, real estate, or accommodation booking app, you need a built-in messaging platform. 

Tech stack

Number of hours 

  • Facebook API
  • Telegram API
  • 40+ hours to develop the messaging platform back-end
  • 20+ hours for Android app
  • 20+ hours for iOS app

Apart from core functionality, the cost of a mobile project (iOS and Android) also depends on the app’s complexity. 


What Affects Mobile Application Costs: App Complexity

To show you how mobile app features and app development costs vary regarding app complexity, we split mobile apps into the following categories and added the estimated time in hours to evaluate the cost to make a solution.


Simple apps

Moderate apps

Complex apps


  • No API integration
  • No back-end
  • Basic UI components
  • Simple features (email subscription, social login, calendar, etc.)
  • Custom UI/UX features
  • Build-in payment gateway
  • API integration
  • Back-end server
  • Multi-language support 
  • 3rd-party integrations
  • Custom animations 
  • Complicated back-end
  • Custom UI/UX design
  • Real-time features via database integration


400+ hours

500-800+ hours

800-1500+ hours

What is not included in app development services?

A development team with a solid approach for product development does not mean your application will be famous among users. But what can you give such guarantees? 

A good marketing plan, financial models, and a pitch deck: 

  • Marketing plan. A marketing plan is the foundation of a well-written marketing plan to achieve your business goals. 
  • Financial model. Financial modeling is the process of creating a summary of a company’s expenses and earnings in the form of a spreadsheet that you can use to calculate the impact of a future event or decision.
  • Pitch deck. A pitch deck is a brief presentation you can use to provide your investors or potential partners with a quick overview of your business plan. 

While the team develops your project’s MVP, you need to spend two or three months on marketing activities, such as app store optimization, with your app marketing team. 


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What happens after the MVP launch?

After the team launches your mobile app, it is vital to continue your cooperation because the app’s code can perform unstable in a live environment with real users. Such conditions may cause downtime and errors, which developers must fix as soon as possible. To make this possible, at The APP Solutions we provide IT support services for recently launched projects. 

While the tech support team will fix errors, the development team creates and implements new business functionality to your app to make a fully-fledged product. 

In this way, for the first two months after the app’s release, the development team will be busy with your mobile app development. 


How Much Does It Cost to Create an App: Total Cost

So, how much does it cost to make an app? When hiring a team for mobile app development you do not pay for features implemented, nor for technologies used. Your app development budget cover project development services the app development company provides and responsibilities you share with the team of developers: 

  • When working under a managed service model, you receive the freedom to develop your business and get in touch with the team to see the team’s progress. 
  • A dedicated team costs less than a Managed service model, but you’ll need to face more responsibilities for a project’s success. 
  • An extended team will suit you only if you have established management and processes and need to augment your in-house development team with developers to build an app. 

The app development cost also depends on the number of functions, the app’s overall complexity, and the team composition your project requires. Don’t forget about the Project Management Triangle and its contrast – time, cost, and scope.


What our clients say 

Why the Cost of App Development Can Differ 10 Times?

Customers always wonder how much does it cost to create an app. Some vendors say $50 000. The others say $500 000. 

Indeed, many companies claim: “We are the best application developers. Work with us.” That’s why choosing an outsourcing app development company may be challenging for you.

In fact, an expensive service is not a guarantee that your app will be great. High prices do not always mean good quality. At the same time, lower costs don’t always mean poor results.       

Let’s discuss the key factors that determine the cost of mobile application development.

Design approach

There are companies that suggest a mobile application project requires months of research, including research trends in application development, journey creation, concept testing, visual design including interactions design and mock-ups, UX design, and mobile app prototyping creation to test the mobile UX with real users.

Others work on assumption that the instructions received from a customer are enough, that the details could be clarified as they go along, and apply minimum effort in creating the designs. The cost can vary from low to high depending on the approach developers take.

Effort and time

Effort and the amount of days it will take to create a solution is one of the biggest reasons that determine the price. As a rule, more experienced teams go into details and make an exact estimation for every case.

They have vast experience in developing the same solutions or apps and can provide an accurate estimate including potential risks and errors. The effort can vary from one company to another based on the method used to evaluate the effort and time.

Mobile application development cost

The type of application

It is true that the price can vary accordingly to the type of app you need. A standard application with basic functions will cost you less than a custom developed solution with difficult processes and advanced tools. We have already discussed the number of hours needed for the implementation.

READ ALSO: Mobile app prototyping

It is obvious that custom solutions need to be scrutinized, and the developer will spend more time working on them. Just like any other product or service. One needs time to make research unless he is a real expert.


It is obvious that an agency from New York, London or San Francisco will be a great choice. On the contrary, a team based in China, India, or Mexico, therefore, will perform your task for a lower charge. The prices can vary from $200 per hour to $15 per hour.

The location issue is also connected with choosing between local companies and outsourcing. Of course, it makes sense to find local app developers. At least, this is how you can avoid communication problems because face-to-face communication is a chance to understand what you are going to pay for.

On the other hand, you can always find application development outsourcing. As it was mentioned, the communication with the foreign team may be more challenging. There are experienced teams and proficient developers across the ocean costing less and able to perform even better than a local agency. All you have to do is to find outsourcing that you can trust.

Change management

Once the company overcomes the first challenge of landing customers, it faces the other challenge of making a profit on them. The most common method of agencies is to do everything to underprice the project and minimize the scope. Later they will offer a change request to make a customer pay more for the extra functions they originally suggested were included.

The other way is to base the estimate on the suggestion that there will be a necessity to change something (redesign functionality, add something, etc.) based on the final user feedback. Sometimes change requests can double a price.

READ ALSO: Trends in application development

Be attentive if you might need to include some changes as the creation of an app goes. Make sure that a planned budget you have includes extra expenses coverage. In some cases, the initial rates can grow higher than you expected but if the agency is reliable it will prove its value.

Size of the company

This is not a key aspect. However, as a rule, bigger companies with 200+ of team members have higher rates while small ones with 10-20 people set lower prices. However, agencies of a certain size sometimes have some scale advantages that give them a lower quote. 

The code quality and the ability to hand it over

Over the past years, we have reviewed the code quality for more than 100 developers. Some of them are really good, but most are poorly structured and developed. Sometimes it is about the quality of the developers, but this could happen simply because of stress or other factors that don’t depend on them.

Sometimes the reason is that there is no proficient technical lead of the development process or because they are trying to make it more difficult to take a hand over the code. Other companies solve this problem with the help of internal developers who review the code or even performing an outsource code review to avoid any issues connected with the code quality and make sure that it is well-structured.

Proficiency of the developers

It is quite obvious that the difference in the effectiveness and productivity between a professional and a poor developer is significant. A professional developer can simply cope with a task in a couple of days while a poor one needs weeks to resolve everything. For that reason, the number of people you get for your budget is not a guarantee. A small team of 5 people can produce much more than a large team of 20 people in the same amount of time.

So, which agency you should choose as your application developer? Focus on the one that fits your needs in all terms including quality, prices, location, timelines, guidance, and experience.

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