There is no universal rule or standard as to how much an app can cost. The cost of an app ultimately depends on the features the client wants, the complexity of the development process and the platform on which the app is developed. Those apps that need to have back-end servers will invariably cost more. However, simple apps developed on a single platform can cost less starting from $25,000. On the other hand, more complex kind of apps can cost anywhere in six figures even crossing beyond $1,000,000. Pricing should also depend on how the app is developed, whether through an off-shore venture or through a high-profile agency. All the more important is that you must never forget to take into account the budget required for making the necessary updates, your own salary and also the other incidental expenses which you cannot foresee. Here is a discussion on how to go about pricing an app.
The aspects to consider in pricing an app
Costs can vary with the strategy adopted for developing the app. For instance, it can depend on whether you choose to hire a freelancer, an offshore development team or a professional app development agency. While stand alone apps can be priced lower, those that need a back-end server built or integrated with API can be priced significantly higher.
What VCs say about the app development costs for Startups
Authoring a post on the amount of capital startups should raise during their first year, Jason Calacanis roughly leaves a suggestion with us that a v1.0 app can cost the business anywhere between $140,000 to $210,000. In yet another perspective left by Manu Kumar, indicates that a v1.0 for a 4-6 months period could come somewhere between $90,000 and $140,000. While Manu suggested this figure in what he calls as pre-seed funding, his discussion on seed funding gives room for more investments in these lines. Way back in 2010, Craig Hockenberry wrote about how much building Twitterific would cost saying that it would be around $250,000 on both the iPhone and iPad. Twitterific was notably developed in-house by Iconfactory. While the project consisted of a massive API consumption and also an involved interface, the server elements were not included. Therefore we might say that if we need a backend server for a given app, the figure can significantly go up even more. Any kind of server related development process can find the cost shooting up significantly.
The notable example of Instagram
Instagram’s initial launch and funding have to be considered here. Instagram is notably an app that is much more than just software as it is installed on a smartphone with a highly effective back-end server. The initial $500,000 funding by the venture did not have any room for the budget meant for Android.
Uber’s initial funding was estimated at $1,500,000 which included the seed funding as well as the angel element. In this case, we find the involvement of a heavy server aspect. The point to remember is that most apps do need a server working from behind the scene to e able to operate. We are therefore left with another idea that those apps that are created for smartphones or tablet and feature a very complex interface or would need a considerable backend will cost between $250,000 and $1,500,000.
Small Developers Vs Agencies
Renowned app focused firms will never look at a proposal that is less than at least $500,000. Some such agencies provide estimates worth $900,000 or even more. Way back in 2014, the typical budget for v1.0 buildout was somewhere around $150,000. At the same time, those small shops capable of delivering quality work might charge 40% to 60% lesser this cost as they operate in a small scale with lesser overheads to manage. We might therefore say that those apps that are created by big players can cost between $500,000 to $1,000,000 while apps developed by small firms are most likely to cost between $50,000 to $100,000.
Here is the point
Even those apps that do not have a server aspect or API component can be challenging as well. Since Android apps are harder to build, they take more time and therefore are priced much higher. Further to this, you must note that the cost to develop apps must also take into account the ongoing updates and server costs. Therefore estimate the support time and other aspects discussed in detail to price an app.