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​How much does it cost to build an app?

How much does it cost to build an app?
What should I know before getting started?
So what’s involved in building an app?

Introduction to costing an app

Used by billions everyday, apps have completely changed how we work, learn, communicate, and do business. But when it comes to building your own or having someone else do it for you - apps can be incredibly daunting. If you want insight into how much it might cost you to build an app, look no further.

So you’ve made the decision to launch an app. Congrats! You’re just a matter of steps away from opening up your business, service, or unique idea to literally the entire world!

But before you do anything though, you’re going to need to know how an app is built and how much you might expect to fork out to get it up and running.

This article will give you an overview of what’s involved, what you should be thinking about, and what it might cost you.

What should I know before getting started?

If you’ve done any research at all into building an app or having one built for you, you’ll probably be aware that it’s a big commitment and investment. Apps aren’t cheap to make - they require a lot of technological know-how and can involve multiple professionals working together.

But you’ll also know that apps can completely revolutionize your business or service. Apps can be easily monetized, can ensure customer loyalty, and can allow instantaneous communication with users. That’s all before mentioning the obvious fact that, by making an app, you can put your little idea onto a global platform where it will reach potentially millions of people. Not bad right?

So what’s involved in building an app?

It’s important to think about the time and personal costs which are involved in building the right app for you, as well as the monetary costs, so here’s a handy step-by-step guide listing some things you should be thinking about when it comes to building an app.

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  1. Idea Mapping.

    Before you jump ahead and start asking software developers for quotes on how much an app will cost, make sure you have the idea for your app firmly in order. An ‘Idea Map’ is a visual representation of your thinking process, and it’s important for figuring out exactly what you want from your app. This part of the process is done by you.
  2. Wireframing.

    After you have a firm idea of what you want your app to be, you might want to consult with User Experience/User Interface Designers (UX/UI) on wireframing. (UX and UI designers focus on how the app will feel for the user, as well as the presentation and interactivity aspects of the app.)

    Wireframing is where these designers will try to put a form to your ideas and deal with the practicality of how they will look on the app itself. At this part of the process, designers will often draw overviews of the structure and layout. This part of the proces is done by designers, based on your ideas.
  3. Technical Scoping

    This is where the app developers will try to marry your unique ideas with the actual software that goes into the app itself. Technical scoping will seek to address your essential needs from the app (including business needs), and the developers will communicate how they’ll address those needs.
  4. Interface Design.

    Once you see your app starting to take shape in the minds of yourself and the developers and designers involved in making it, that’s when it’s time to start working on the Interface Design.

    At this stage, you’ll be getting a clearer idea of how the app looks when viewed by users or customers, and you can further address your needs as the app owner. This part of the process is done by UX/UI designers, in consultation with the app owner.
  5. Development.

    This is where the app actually gets built, in line with all the requirements and needs laid out in the previous steps. This part of the process is done by the developers.
  6. Testing and maintenance.

    This final step is somewhat self-explanatory. Once the app has been developed, it will need to be tested out to make sure that all clients are happy with the result, and to get rid of any bugs or fix any parts of the app which aren’t up to scratch.The maintenance aspect can be ongoing throughout the lifespan of a functioning app.

What else might affect the price of an app?

It’s important to note again that app prices will vary widely depending on a range of different factors.

Many of these factors involve the deeper software involved in creating the app, such as: Project Type, Features and Functionality, Customization of Visual Design, Platforms the app appears on (such as iOS or Android), and the Backend infrastructure and app administration.

You’ll no doubt have noticed that some of the apps you use in your day-to-day life are capable of doing much more complex things than others - and this comes down to the software involved in creating, maintaining and platforming them. It’s why an app like Facebook is a lot more expensive to create and maintain than the app for, say, your local library.

Got it. So how much can I expect my app to cost?

You’ll have worked out by now that there is no simple answer to that question, but I hope I’ve given you enough info to have a firm overview of how the process influences the cost.

As a general overview, it’s estimated that a Simple app can cost anywhere between $10,000-$30,000 and take 3-6 months to make; a Medium app can cost between $30,000-$80,000 an take 6-12 months to make; and a Complex app can cost between $100,000+ and take 12+ months to make.

In terms of the average price for building the basic features of an app, you might expect to pay: $1600 for Login features; £3600 for Profile features; $600 for simple Search features; $7200 for Messaging features; and $1200 for Push Notification features. To add to that, Continuous hosting and maintenance of the app might cost you $50/month.

You’ll also need to think about how much it might cost to open a Developer Account in order to have the app listed on Google Play Store or the App Store. This can cost $99/year and $25 once-off. At this stage of the process, you can either let the developers manage the app here, or you can open your own developer account if you want better control.

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