These days there seems to be an app for just about everything. They have become a method for consumers to maximize their experience and the versatility of their favorite wireless devices. It also tends to be a great way for companies and marketers to secure loyal customers as well as expand their brand presence.

You might be wondering how much does it cost to develop an app for your products or services?

To really answer this overarching question we will need to roll up our sleeves and look at the app development process with a little more depth.

Right off the bat, app development costs are just a ballpark estimate in any mobile app development budget. The conundrum many company owners and executives end up facing is whether they want to pay an app developer to handle the nuts and bolts of designing, testing, and implementing a new app, or if it’s the sort of thing that they might be able to handle in-house. It’s especially tempting for companies that already have a robust IT or digital design staff.

The truth is that there are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches. It helps to look at them as their own unique animal.

What Type Of Apps Are There To Develop?

  • Native apps per device
  • Hybrid apps
  • Web apps
  • Gaming apps
  • Business apps
  • Educational apps
  • Lifestyle apps
  • Entertainment apps
  • Utility apps
  • Travel apps

Using An App Developing Company Or Specialist

One of the biggest benefits of using an app development company is their experience in the field. They have specialists who have been developing and testing multi-platform apps for years. They know where a lot of the common problems lay, and can easily work proactively to develop a professional-quality app with an intuitive interface.

Though it’s important to note that this is a multi-step process and that a lot of professional app development firms have a lot of clients already on the books. There is a chance that some of the best of the best will have to put you on a waiting list. So, you might not be able to get the app as fast as you or your marketing team want it ready for launch.

Of course, the best way to get around this is to plan the launch and the strategy around the app long in advance. This will give the app development firm plenty of time to create and launch it to your chosen specs.

One of the other potential drawbacks of hiring an app development firm is that the cost. App development specialists do not come cheap, and their prices only go up with you press them with short timelines.

As much as we would like to put a finger on the cost of app development, we can only come up with an estimate, simply because each app development process involves many factors that collectively influence a final cost figure. Luckily there are several app development budget forming factors that will help you to shape a development cost of an app.

How Long Does It Take To Develop An App

The complexity of an app will greatly influence the time it takes to develop and test it as well as the overall cost to take it from concept to launch.

  • A Simple app can take between 3 to 6 months / 600 hours  to develop and will cost around $70,000 to $100,000.
  • A Modestly Complex app can take 6 to 10 months / 1000 hours and costs between $120,000 to $170,000.
  • A Highly Complex app can take 10 months to a year / 1500+ hours and will cost $200,000 or more.

To give you an idea of individual timelines for some basic features

  • a simple login with email or social can take approximately 30 hours
  • uploading files such as photos or videos , approximately 20 hours
  • map location approximately 100 hours
  • payment systems for transactions approximately 70 hours
  • streaming video approximately 100 hours
  • calling with audio / video / contacts approximately 300 hours

The Benefits & Drawbacks Of Developing An App In-House

Let’s say that you have a crackerjack in-house IT department with a digital design staff that is up for the challenge of developing an app. It’s a definite bonus if they have some experience when it comes to developing apps.

Right off the bat, your budget for developing the app can be less. After all, you are already paying these people to be on your staff. Though the challenge is in making sure that app development isn’t getting in the way of them completing their normal duties. It helps to assign a small team of people who will stay dedicated to developing the app, rather than asking your entire IT support staff to multi-task.

Assuming you can work out the scheduling aspects of it, the timeline for developing the app might very well be shorter than the time it would take to recruit an app development company to be added to their client list.

Though this doesn’t mean that the actual development time will be less. The truth is experience really matters when it comes to app development. If your in-house staff are veritable rookies, there might be a lot of trial and error mistakes made along the way. Especially if you are developing a multi-platform app that will need to provide the same robust experience for iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, and all the other platforms out there.

Another major risk of developing an app in-house is that the result won’t have the kind of intuitive interface that new and existing customers want. This can be a major problem that can limit overall effectiveness, which ultimately wastes time and budget.

App development companies get around this with their inherent experience as well as strategically testing new apps according to established parameters. This gives them a lot of feedback and insight long before the app even comes close to launch.

What Goes Into App Development?

There are several key components and stages that go into developing a highly effective app with an intuitive user interface.

  • Planning
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deployment
  • Functionality & Purpose

It’s important to clearly define what the intended app will be capable of doing for the users. Not only does this define how it will operate, but also give you’re a metric for defining goals during the development, testing, and implementation process.

Mobile Platforms & Supported Devices

The most successful apps offer seamless use over multiple platforms. You need to define what your priority platforms are and make sure that the app is developed for iOS as well as Android. This might include the specific devices will it support such as iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, Motorola, and others.

Integration Points

You need to consider if the app will be integrated with content generated by third-party apps and other outside sources, or if all content generated by the app will come from an in-house source. There are various security architecture costs and time that needs to be considered.

The Use Of Visuals

The complexity of visual objects in the app will play heavily into the overall cost. The more basic the visuals are, the less they will cost to develop and maintain. Though this also runs the risk of losing user interest. At the same time, you don’t want the visuals to become so overdone that they limit true functionality, or make the interface less than intuitive for the user.

Use Of Hardware Features

Apps that need to use smartphone or tablet hardware features like microphones, cameras, and GPS navigation will also influence the cost as well as the design of the interface.
Maintenance Requirements – Even the most well-developed app will require a certain amount of maintenance. This will factor into the long-term cost of operation. Some of the best app development firms will go the extra mile to develop an app geared for minimum maintenance requirements as well as design the back end of the app to be easy for your in-house IT staff to work with.


While you might save a little bit of money in the short term by developing an app in-house, chances are good that it will take longer and cost more in the long term compared to hiring an app development company. Especially if your in-house staff is relatively inexperienced in this arena. Fortunately, the world of app development has evolved to help a staggering array of apps make it seamlessly from concept to launch.

Of course, the complexity of the app will weigh heavily on the time it takes to develop as well as the overall cost. Everything is relative for time and cost. You could build an app that is just a button that you press that makes a sound. The time to produce that is minimal when compared to creating an app as complex as Uber, or a Video Game.As a general guideline, a relatively simple app can take between 3 to 6 months to develop and will cost around $70,000 to $100,000. Whereas a modestly complex app can take as much as 6 to 10 months to develop at a cost of $120,000 to $170,000. At the high end of the spectrum, a highly complicated app can take as long as 10 months to a year to develop and might cost $200,000 or more.

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