Are you considering having a mobile app developed for your brand to keep up with technology trends?  Here are five ways to estimate the cost of a mobile app for business…

Guest post by Jaykishan Panchal

Considering a mobile app for business and want to accurately estimate your costs?

Asking how much it costs to build an app is like asking how much it costs to build a house.  If you have ever built a house, you know there is no single correct answer, no formula for an accurate number, and far too many questions to answer before arriving at a ballpark figure.

If you are reading this, you may have pondered some of or all of the following:

  • Why your business needs a mobile app
  • Advantages of mobile apps for business
  • Benefits of mobile apps for small business
  • Mobile apps for business marketing

In this article, we will speak to those curiosities, find out how they affect your total cost, and see how to keep the cost in check – at least a little.

First, let’s review some numbers that can help put things into perspective…

Researching The Mobile App For Business

In a Clutch survey of 12 leading mobile app development companies, the median development cost per app struck out to be $171,450, with the lower end being $30K and the upper, $500K.

Another survey by Kinvey for CIOs and Mobile Leaders found that they spend an average of $270,000 per app and take anywhere between 7 months to a year to build an app.

The Global State of Enterprise Mobility 2016 found that almost 30% of big businesses allocate $250,000 to $500,000 to mobile app development. On the whole, good quality mobile app development is “costly, slow and frustrating” according to Kinvey. 

Below is a list of 5 factors that most impact the cost of mobile app development.  Here’s how to estimate the cost of building a mobile app for business…

Your App Development Team

When we say your app development team, we’re referring to a lot more than a bunch of code-wielding programmers. We’re talking about designers who chart out the aesthetics of every single page, picture and button.  Project managers who ensure all-round development keeping different teams working in tandem, and account managers who liaison the works between all the various processes, resources and stakeholders involved.   

A run-of-the-mill app development firm that agrees to produce a mobile app for business for you for $10,000 is probably not worth your money. Chances are that it only has a developer or two and maybe a designer. If they tell you that they are a close-knit team that doesn’t need a project manager, consider running in the opposite direction.

To get a quality mobile app for business you need to have a well organized team with all the aforementioned professionals.

You need at the very least, 4-7 members for one app. Even if it costs you north of a hundred thousand dollars upfront, skimping on a solid team will only cost you more in the long run in the form of delays, costly updates, redesigns and major bug-fixes.

A solid team is bound to charge a healthy price. Anything north of $50 per hour per person is fair game, with good app developers billing up to $150 per hour. More affordable developers are available off-shore, and if you do some good research, you will find many of them are dependable.

Your Choice of Platforms

Android and iOS are undoubtedly the most significant platforms and you will likely need an individually developed app for each.

Then of course, there are Microsoft and Blackberry, so you may be looking at four different developers and four different apps. No doubt the budget will grow upward at this stage.

The good news is, unlike the development team, platforms offer room for cost control.

Depending on your business requirements and careful study of what platform the majority of your audience uses, you can choose to develop for only one platform at first.  There are a number of iOS only and Android only apps out there that are successful in their own right.

Of course, once your app is public and begins drawing in some revenue, you can expand to additional platforms.

Alternatively, you can choose hybrid app development.  Uber, Twitter, and Instagram are all examples of hybrid apps.

Hybrid technology has grown exponentially in the last few years and hybrid apps are turning out to be:

  • Highly functional
  • Beautiful
  • Cost-effective
  • Good solutions large and small businesses  

If considering a mobile app for business, this may be a good option for your brand.

Mobile App For Business Platforms as explained by Jaykishan Panchal at Idea Girl Media


Clutch, in their aforementioned survey also found that key factors that influence app development costs are:

  • Design
  • Features
  • Infrastructure
  • Deployment

The most expensive factor is infrastructure, which includes:

  • Basic controls
  • Data storage facilities
  • Third party integration
  • Data encryption

Among other items.  The point is, the type of backend you want determines your budget.

A robust backend will need first of all, a server, and that will add significantly to the dollars spent. Then there’s an entire list of elements needed such as data centers, APIs, Cloud and of course the security suite. 

That all must be considered when developing a mobile app for business.

Development Timeline

Once again, the amount of time your app takes to build will largely depend on your requirements, number of features you wish to add, complexity, and other factors.  A consultation with a professional will help you discover that online cost calculators may not do a very credible job.

Mobile App For Business Tip: The longer your app takes to build, the more costly it is, no rocket science there.  Mobile trends speak — An Outsystems survey of 3200 IT professionals found that 80% of mobile apps for business take more than 3 months to develop.  40% of them take longer than 6 months.

Small Agencies vs. The Big Guys

The type of firm you choose to work with will determine the price tag on your mobile app!

Large firms that thrive on industry reputation and popularity probably won’t even accept your project unless your first round of funding is more than $500,000.

Most smaller firms are willing to get the job done for a quarter of that price, and a lot of them are really good at what they do.

Mobile App For Business Tip: You need to do a lot of research before you decide on the firm that will develop this important investment for your business and your brand.

Wrapping Up The Mobile App For Business

Back to the housing scenario… Are you trying to build a modest two-bedroom house in the Midwest, or a seven-bedroom deluxe in Beverly Hills with a heated pool?  The analogy applies almost perfectly to mobile apps.

It’s all about the details when it comes to estimating the cost of developing a mobile app for business. The best plan is to thoroughly research the app features you’d like, and then follow-up with a consultation with a reliable mobile app development agency before you come to any conclusions.

Did we leave anything out above?

What questions do you have about how to estimate the cost of a mobile app for business?


Jaykishan Panchal - Mobile App For BusinessAbout The Author

Jaykishan Panchal is a content marketing strategist at MoveoApps, an iphone app development company.  As a tech enthusiast, he enjoys writing about technology, marketing, and industry trends, and love to explore new things.  Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter