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Mobile App Development Process Step -12 ( What factors affect the Variation in cost of App Development?)


Let me start this blog by giving you a fair analogy. If you opt to buy a washing machine online or offline, you would observe vast differences between the manual, semi-automatic, and completely automatic washing machines. These differences are majorly in terms of features, functionalities, and cost. You will get a washing machine with basic features at a few hundreds of dollars. But as you move towards semi and completely automatic models, the price rises dramatically. 

The more advanced features you opt for, the more money you need to pay. The same ideology applies to the mobile app development process. The more functionality and complexity you include, the more is the pricing. Various factors affect the final cost of app development. Hence, it is difficult to evaluate the cost variation that might happen in the later stages of development.

Also, there are chances that you may receive varied price quotations from various app development service providers. So, how do you know about which quote should you agree to? What factors should you consider that affect the cost? Does a higher price for development ensure your application’s success? Would the application developed by paying a higher amount, let you accomplish your goal? Well, you will find your answers on this blog. 

Hi, I am Sanjay Kidecha. I would be continuing with the twelfth blog of the mobile app development process series. For your easy reference, I am providing the index of the series here. 

  1. A Guide on Lean Canvas Model;
  2. How to Prepare a Product Requirement Document and its importance;
  3. Importance of Wireframe in Product development;
  4. A complete guide on selection of technology stack for startups;
  5. How prototyping helps businesses?
  6. A handbook to select development company for startups;
  7. A detailed guide on project management & delivery milestones;
  8. Role of Quality assurance in product development;
  9. Importance of User testing;
  10. Know where you should deploy your project?
  11. How Feedback and product iteration makes a difference in product development?
  12. What is the variation in the cost? What factors affect the variation?
  13. Why is a Good design the ultimate thing in the project?

Cost variation in app development is the usual thing. As you evolve through the various stages of the process, your scope of application also changes. This variation makes it difficult for a project manager/budding entrepreneur to keep the project on the budget. Many times you may run out of money or jeopardize your application’s goal. Hence, managing the changes constructively becomes quite tricky for a mobile app development company.  

I have curated a list of a few factors that need to be considered while deciding its budget. Suppose you acknowledge yourself and the entire team with these factors. In that case, you can come over this problem effectively and plan ahead of the game. 

So before you fall into the trap of higher price for a lower-quality application, here are the few things that you should consider while calculating the budget of the application development. 


Startups and new entrepreneurs often think that the fewer the number of screens, the less the cost of application development. But this is false. The cost entirely depends on the app specs and the UI/UX.

Above mentioned factors are just the tip of the umbrella. We will detail each of the factors and see what it covers under the umbrella. 

Starting with the first factor,

Team composition:

An important question to ask yourself while deciding the budget is, Who will handle the development part? You have three options to choose from. You can either go for an app development company or hire a mobile app developer/freelancer or build your in-house team of developers. 

This is an influential factor contributing to the final cost of development. The decision of selection between the three depends on your project scale and budget. 

I have already discussed the selection process and the things you should consider while choosing your development partner. In this blog, you will find every detail referring to the team composition, be it in-house or remote. 

In my opinion, if you have a small-scale project, you can go for freelancers or give it to your in-house team. However, for large-scale enterprise-level projects, you need someone who is an expert in it. You need an experienced app development company that is well-versed with every aspect of app development. Any of the options mentioned above you choose, some may charge on an hourly basis; some may charge on the application’s complexity while others may charge based on their expertise.

Also, the size of the development team has an impact on the cost. However, if you go for an app development company, they already have enough resources to satisfy the project needs. 

On the contrary, if you go for the other two options, you will need to hire a project manager, developer, designer, quality analyst, marketer. This hiring process, again, adds on to the final budget. 

Whichever option you choose, run a thorough background check to ensure that you invest in the right resources. In this search journey, you will find a development partner who will give you a $20,000 to $1,00,000 pricing quotation. It’s upon you which one to opt for. A $20,000 price giving company may provide you an app with basic features. On the other hand, an $80,000 company will take care of the designing, marketing, development, everything. Hence, make a wise choice before you invest in one. 

Application type and features:

If you refer to our on-demand blogs, you will understand that any application consists of some basic and advanced features. If you go for basic features, you can have your application developed with just a few hundreds of dollars. 

But for some advanced features like geolocation, Google Map, payment gateway integration, in-app chat, etc., you would have to spend more money. These features integration increases the level of complexity, and hence it is expensive.

Behind these basic upfront costs lies the cost of designing, testing, and architecture of the application. 

Let me tell you all the application types that you can go for.  

There is no vertical in the industry that has not adopted the digitization of their businesses. However, the cost of developing each of the types varies. Gaming and social media apps have a lot of extra features to be integrated into. Hence, the price of development is high. Whereas, a basic news feed or book application has simple and easy-to-use functionalities. This may cost less as compared to others. 

Let me give you an acceptable pricing range that you can expect. 

Simple and basic application:

You can expect the development price to be between $10,000-$15,000.

Database App like News application:

You can expect the development price between $15,000 – $45,000. 

An App with a few advanced features, like any on-demand application:

You can expect the development price between $ 45,000 – $ 1,00,000.

An advanced feature-rich application like Gaming:

You can expect the development price between $50,000- $1,50,000 or more. 

Mobile app development process:

Native Vs. Hybrid application development:

Native applications are built for a specific operating system, whereas hybrid applications are built to function on multiple operating systems. Hence, if your target audience is located over a particular platform, say iOS, go for Native. If they are located on both iOS and Android, go for Hybrid app development. 

But, let me clear it to you, Native application development is more expensive than Hybrid application development. 

By going for Hybrid app development, you can leverage the app over two platforms while you pay for only one. 

Entrepreneurs opt for native app development because they are easy to discover and provide a better user experience. However, hybrid apps are cost-effective and portable. The selection between the two leads to mobile app development cost variation. 

Features and Functionality:

Features and functionality are the key factors contributing to the mobile application development cost variation. You have a broad spectrum of functionalities and features to choose from. 

Also, the selection of features and functionality integration depends on the type of application you are building. A basic photo editor application might not need any advanced features like geolocation or in-app chat. 

But, if you are building an eCommerce application, you will have to integrate every other advanced feature available to you. You will need social media integration, in-app chat, order tracking, history, smart filter, etc. Also, if you go for any banking application development, security-related features will be of the prime concern. 

The more advanced features you include, you can expect the price of app development to be high accordingly. 

UI/UX designing:

As you all know, consumers today do not entertain applications that look complex and messy. They prefer to use user-friendly and easy to navigate applications—creative elements represented intuitively in an application capture more engagement. 

Designing your UI/Us is definitely not an easy task; you need to put a lot of effort into thinking about icons, content, flow, graphics, etc. And impressive design and customization will cost you higher than you would have expected.

Support and Maintenance:

Support and maintenance can be counted as an additional factor contributing to app development. Just like platform hosting and domain cost, you need to spend a few hundreds of dollars or more behind the application’s maintenance.

Application maintenance includes maintenance of the server, payment gateways, and map integrations. Also, you may encounter a bug which can disturb the application’s functioning in the long-run. You need to address this bug and resolve this issue, but this comes at a price.

Investing in application support and maintenance is a long-term investment, but that also contributes to your app cost variation. 

Application marketing:

Little do you know about marketing campaigns, you would need to hire an expert team. The reason being, if you do it with your own limited knowledge, you may miss upon reaching a broader range of audiences. 

Marketing costs are many times overlooked by the app developers; however, I am letting you know in advance that you consider this factor in your budget discussion. 

Application improvements:

Your application evolves continuously even after its release. Once your application is released, you will see how users engage with the application. These users will leave feedback if they find something unusual or unsatisfying. 

They may ask for advanced & innovative features to be released in the new version of the application. You may not have considered this cost of app improvements while deciding your budget, and hence it may look an upfront cost. 

Is it possible to build an app on the budget? 

Well, yes. You can quickly release an app with basic features or an MVP at a very cost-effective price. You can use this version of the app/MVP in your pitching speech to the investors and stakeholders. 

But, it is more convenient to consider the factors leading to cost variation in app development and build an app on the budget. 

Additional factor:

Various app development companies have different methods to evaluate the application. Some may find fancy interactive elements to be their key to app development, while others entertain, simplicity. This difference in evaluation often causes differences in the price quotation and hence the cost variation.

Therefore, it is advisable to sit and discuss the breakdown of the price quote. This will give you an idea of how much they have charged for designing, developing and so forth. Also, you can know if they have missed upon including an important aspect of app development or vice versa. 


The Android and the iOS marketplace is flooded with applications. This is the right time to make the best of the opportunities and release the application. Many factors affect app development cost, but which one to consider depends on how much money you have in your pocket. I hope that the cost-variation concept is pretty much clear to you by now. Feel free to contact us for more information or any query. 

The price and the factors given above are a reference that might change with various application developers’ time and rates. In the last article of the mobile app development series, we will be discussing the importance of good design and its impact on user engagement. Stay tuned. 

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