How much does it cost to make an app? — An easy guide to mobile app development cost

How much
does it cost
to make an app?
— An easy guide
to mobile app
development cost

make an app price

Dive into the world of mobile app development cost to understand how to bring it down.

How much does creating a user interface and developing an app cost? On the web, this question is posted thousands of times a day, like a mantra; yet there is rarely an intelligible answer underneath it. Not because everyone’s too ignorant to respond, but for the question’s wording which is just overly vague.

Imagine trying to calculate the exact price of making a movie. Think of all the variables such estimation would include. The quantity and quality of equipment, the feature length, the props, the decorations, the number of people working on set, hidden app development costs, and cost breakdown of the cost to develop a director’s and actor’s talent and fame degree. That’s to name a few.

Mobile app development costs vary greatly depending on the development company’s expertise, project management, functionality, and design. Instead of providing hypothetical figures, this article aims to offer a more precise understanding by focusing on known data. We will discuss the expenses incurred by famous companies in launching, improving, and managing their successful apps, the general rules of app creation pricing, and how much new companies should raise to increase their chances of success, according to industry experts.

How much do leading companies spend on developing mobile apps?

The cost of mobile app development can vary significantly, and looking at some of the leading companies in the industry can provide a clearer picture of these mobile app design and development costs.

Instagram: A Case Study in App Development Cost

Let’s begin with Instagram, a globally recognized mobile app development project. Instagram’s financial journey started with an initial venture funding of $500,000 in 2010. This initial investment was instrumental in helping the app development company reach 1.75 million users within its first year. As the custom app development show’s popularity and potential became evident, it attracted additional investments of $7 million in 2011 and a substantial $50 million in 2012. By this time, Instagram’s valuation had soared to $102 billion.

Instagram utilized $57.5 million of its app development budget to develop the app and grow the company. This investment paid off handsomely when Instagram’s founder, Kevin Systrom, sold the company to Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. This sale represented a significant return on investment for Instagram’s investors. Should you inquire about the average cost of app development, it’s important to note that a straightforward answer remains to be discovered. The cost is influenced by several factors, including the chosen platform, the target audience, and the app’s specific concept. For comprehensive insights, consulting with specialists will undoubtedly provide clarity.

Uber: A Journey of Massive Investments and App Development Costs

Next, let’s consider Uber, the ride-hailing giant. Uber’s financial journey began with a modest $200,000 of seed money and $1.25 million during the Angel round of funding. This initial investment of $1.45 million was followed by another 11 investment rounds, which together amounted to a whopping $8.71 billion.

2016 Uber set a record by raising $3.5 billion in a single round. This amount was unprecedented for a U.S. private company and exceeded the total financing of Gett and Lyft, two of Uber’s main competitors.

Snap Inc.: From Seed Funding to Multi-Billion Dollar Investments

Another example is Snap Inc., behind the popular photo messaging app Snapchat. Snap Inc. secured $485,000 in the Seed round. As the social media app’s success has evolved and added more features, the company attracted additional investments totaling $2.6 billion throughout 8 funding rounds.

Understanding the Average App Development Cost

These figures provide some insight into the average app development cost. However, it’s important to note that these numbers represent the total cost of launching a business, including the original development cost of an app, a backend, and infrastructure. To start a business with an app, you can spend between $485,000 and $1,450,000. The mobile app development partner typically accounts for 30-40% of the total app development budget.

The Variable Nature of App Development Costs

The web app development costs can vary greatly depending on various factors, including the app’s complexity, the platform it’s being developed for, and the resources required for its initial development cost of app testing and maintenance.

So, what do these figures tell us about the average app development cost? Mind that the numbers above are accurate for launching a business from the ground. So, to get yourself started with an app, a backend, and infrastructure, you will have to pay somewhere from $485,000 to $1,450,000. The mobile and app creation cost alone won’t cost that much. About 30-40% of the basic app development cost is budget.

What do developers and app development companies say?

The cost of mobile app development can vary significantly depending on the software development company and the specific requirements of the app developers. Here are some perspectives from different sources:

Kinvey’s Report on Average App Development Cost

According to a report by Kinvey, a popular Backend as a Service platform, the average cost of mobile app development per native app development is $270,000. This figure takes into account the various stages of app development, from initial design and development to testing and deployment. It’s worth noting that this is an average figure, and the actual cost per native mobile app developer can be lower or higher depending on the complexity of the app, the number of features, and other factors.

OSXdaily’s Estimate for Developing a Decent App

OSXdaily, a tech news and tips website, states that it takes $50,000 to $150,000 to develop a decent app with functionality better than a basic app. As an example, they cite the Obama app, which evidently took 500-1000 man-hours at a rate of $100-$150 to develop. This highlights the significant time and resources required to bring an app from concept to an augmented reality app.

Otreva’s Stats on Average Mobile App Development Cost

Otreva, a celebrated app development agency, claims $127,350 as the average mobile app development cost. This figure is based on their experience developing a wide range of apps for various clients. It’s important to remember that this is an average figure, and the actual per-app maintenance cost can vary depending on the specific requirements of the target users of the app.

Craig Hockenberry’s Estimate for Twitterrific App Launch Cost

Craig Hockenberry, one of the developers of Twitterrific, famously estimated the cost of launching his app at $250,000 for an app that features both iPhone and iPad. He also noted that this figure did not include the costs associated with back-end server integration, which can add significantly to the overall cost of app development.

The Average Cost to Make an App

How much does it cost to make an app? Based on the figures provided by these sources, the average cost to launch an app can range from $50,000 to $250,000. However, the actual app development cost can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of the app, the platform it’s being developed for, the number of features, and the resources required for its development and maintenance.

What to have in mind while estimating the app development cost?

When considering the cost of app development, it’s crucial to understand the various factors that can affect app development costs and influence the cost breakdown and final price. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Server Integration. Apps that require a built-in server will invariably cost more. This is due to the additional resources and expertise needed to set up and maintain the server. The significant investments in companies like Uber and Instagram, which both require robust server support, are prime examples.
  2. Platform Choice. The choice of platform can also significantly impact the cost of app development. Android apps are generally more complex and, therefore, more costly. However, iOS apps designed for iPhones and iPads, still dominate the US market. As Steve Chaney notes, it’s often a sensible strategy to develop for iOS first before considering expansion to Android.
  3. Additional Costs. When calculating the overall cost of mobile app creation, remember to factor in other costs, such as your salary, marketing expenses, and funds for future updates. These costs can add up and significantly increase the overall cost of app development.
  4. App Complexity. The complexity of the app is a significant factor in determining the cost. An app with basic functionality will be much cheaper to develop than one with complex features like in-app purchases, location tracking, or AI capabilities. The more features and functionalities an app has, the more time and resources it will require, thus increasing the cost.
  5. Design and User Experience. The design and user experience of the app can also impact the cost. A simple, minimalist design will be cheaper than a complex, custom design with high-end graphics. Creating an intuitive and engaging user experience also requires expertise and time, which can add to the cost.
  6. Maintenance and Updates. Post-launch maintenance and updates should be considered when estimating app development costs. Regular updates, bug fixes, and new features are essential for keeping the app relevant and engaging. These ongoing costs can significantly add to the overall cost of the app.
  7. Third-Party Integrations. If your app requires integration with third-party services, such as payment gateways, social media platforms, or mapping services, this can also increase the cost. These integrations often require additional development and testing to ensure they work seamlessly within the app.

Estimating the cost of app development is a complex task. It requires a thorough understanding of the various factors involved, from the technical requirements of the app to the additional costs associated with marketing and even app maintenance costs. Remembering these points, you can ensure a more accurate cost estimate from your app development budget.

What are VC’s suggestions?

Venture capitalists (VCs) are often seen as the wise sages of the startup world. With years of experience in the mobile application development market, they’ve seen businesses rise and fall and have a clear understanding of what it takes to succeed. Their insights can be particularly valuable when it comes to estimating app development costs.

Jason Calacanis’s Funding Recommendations

Jason Calacanis, a renowned entrepreneur, and Angel Investor, suggests that startups should aim to raise $750,000 in the Seed round. According to him, this amount should cover an 18-month runway at $35,000 per month, which includes operational costs, mobile app development costs, legal fees, and capital expenditures (capex) estimated at $120,000.

Using Jason’s rates as a benchmark, we can derive some rough estimates for app development costs. If your application takes 2-4 months to develop, a typical timeframe for such tasks, the app maintenance cost could range from $70,000 to $140,000. This estimate, however, is subject to the app’s complexity of, aesthetics, and level of web integration of the app.

Fred Willson’s Investment Criteria and Funding Suggestions

Fred Willson, another influential investor, primarily funds products that have either found their market fit or are on the verge of doing so. He notes that occasionally, even small development teams of 2-3 people working part-time might reach this point. He suggests that they would need $500,000 to $1,500,000 in such cases. This funding would allow them to leave their day jobs confidently and focus on their development team reaching their product’s potential.

The insights from experienced venture capitalists like Jason Calacanis and Fred Willson provide valuable guidelines for estimating app development costs. Understanding these financial and strategic considerations is crucial when launching an app, as it ensures that the product is well-positioned for success and adequately funded to overcome initial market challenges. However, it’s important to remember that these are just guidelines. The final cost of app development can vary greatly depending on various factors, including the complexity of the app, the app development team’s expertise, and the market dynamics at the time of development.


Please refrain from judging us harshly for not giving you the exact figures. As it follows from the info above, “How much does it cost to make an Android app now?” can only be answered vaguely.

Еhere are several strategies to reduce expenses in app development. You could hire a software development company that ensures quality and timely completion, especially if you choose an offshore company with a solid track record for a more affordable rate.

Alternatively, hiring freelancers is cheaper, but it may not guarantee the desired outcome due to potential organizational issues and missed deadlines.

Lastly, if you possess the necessary skills and resources, you could undertake the development yourself. However, if accomplished, juggling the roles of founder, project manager, and developer is a Herculean task deserving respect and admiration.

Yet, dealing with any of the above strategies can be daunting. Contact us, and our expert teams with hundreds of successful projects behind their belts will find the solution with the best quality-to-cost ratio.

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