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How Much Does It Cost to Build an App in 2022 ?

Just like the price of your car depends on the brand and year of production, so the app cost is determined by several factors. Don't expect to get a black and white answer to the question ''how much does it cost to build an app in 2022'' in this article. However, expect to have clues on what to look at and how to build the best pricing strategy for your case. In this article, you will learn about:

  • Reasons to invest in application development in 2022
  • How to calculate the cost of application development, what to consider
  • Main cost drivers
  • The main approaches to find out the price
  • Cost development stages.

Reasons to invest in application development in 2022

The answer is short: ''because customers love mobile apps''. Let's have a look at this chart and you will see that there are plenty of reasons why people prefer mobile apps when it comes to e-commerce only.
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Now let's look at statistics to shed light on how much money you can make if you develop one single app.
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These were just forecasts. Let's have a look at real figures. In fact, the Internet of Things (IoT) market size was USD 250.72 billion in 2019. (Fortune Business Insights).

One thing is clear, there is plenty of room for new apps if you take the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, and chatbots only. The scope to invest is rather extensive and you can maneuver between sectors like healthcare, automation, smart technologies, etc.

How to calculate the cost of application development, what to consider?

Naturally, you want to have a rough estimate of what it will cost to you. Let's have a look at how to calculate the cost of your application development.
The easiest way is to consult app cost calculators, like Mono, Buildfire, or Oozou. However, these are rough estimates. Mostly, the cost of your app will depend on the complexity of the app. If we get real, most single functionality apps cost between $15,000-$25,000, while medium to complex apps may range somewhere from $40,000 to $100,000.
And if you want to get even more specific, here is an equation.
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For example, if your hourly rate is USD 50 and the total development time is 1200 hours, then the application will cost USD 60,000.
The rate of your developer will normally depend on the location. Normally, the teams in Eastern Europe and Asia charge less as compared to the $125-$150 hourly rate in the USA. In Armenia, for example, you can hire a developer at a cost of about $35-50. Naturally, this reduces the cost of your app.
The next question that comes to your mind, will I sacrifice quality? To tell you the truth, less money does not always mean lower quality. The fact is that the cost of living in Eastern Europe and Asia is lower and a lot of high-skilled talents can afford reasonable prices. Consult the portfolio of the company to see if it's worth hiring the team. Normally, a lot of mobile app development teams have extensive experience behind their back and have a big number of success cases. You just need to study some of them.
Now let's look at the timing. Developing an app normally takes from two to eight months. This is the rough time estimate you will spend on your app development:

  • Research: 40-80 hours
  • Prototyping: 40-120 hours
  • Development: 80-300 hours
  • Testing: 40-80 hours.

Now that you know all these, let's have a look at the main cost drivers.

Main Cost Drivers

These are the main cost drivers for building an app:

  • Complexity of the app
  • Timing
  • Geolocation
  • Native vs hybrid

  • Complexity of the app

Apps can be median, average, enterprise, and complex. According to Clutch Survey, the average hourly rate for median app development is $150 per hour and it requires approximately 1,143 development hours. Average minimum app costs between $5,000 to $10,000. Enterprise apps rate at an average rate of $140,000 (VDC Research).

  • Timing

According to the Outsystems Survey, 80% of mobile apps take 3+ months to develop and 40% of apps are built in 6 months.

  • Geolocation

As mentioned early, developers in Eastern Europe and Asia charge far less than those in the USA.
Here is a chart.
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  • Native vs. Hybrid

This is an influential cost driver. Logically, the app development cost increases in line with the number of platforms. Since building a native app requires targeting separate platforms, this considerably adds up to the budget. In contrast, hybrid or cross-platform apps work with multiple platforms which means you can operate on different platforms just by building one app.

The Main Approaches to Find Out the Price

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There are three basic approaches for finding out the price:

  • Competition-based approach
  • Cost-based approach
  • Demand-based approach.

When you apply a competition-based approach you price your product or service a little bit higher or lower than what is in the market. This depends on the functionality of your app. Marketing experts don't advise to rush to a lower price always. Instead, you can add up new services and offer them at a market price or even above it.
When you apply a cost-based approach, you basically calculate the cost of your app and price so that you can generate profit. However, this approach is much related to the demand factor.
When considering the demand, or demand-based approach, businesses do thorough research and analysis of the market demand and budget their app in accordance with the reasonable pricing. This includes the market value plus the profit margin.

Cost of Development Stages

The chart above gives an idea for a rough estimate.
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In most cases, the mobile app development is made of the following stages:

  • Discovery or research
  • UX/UI design
  • App development
  • App testing and deployment
  • Ongoing support and maintenance.

The hourly rate of these stages varies. For example, you may need to hire a project manager, business analyst, and a technical lead for the discovery stage only. However, you may decide to go only with a technical lead cutting down the cost. Naturally, the more advanced the features are, the higher the cost.
You should allocate about 30% of the app cost to the app testing.
When calculating the cost of maintenance and support, allocate 20% of the cost of the initial development. For example, if your app costs $20,000, expect to spend about 4,000 annually on maintenance.

Discovery/Pre-Research stage
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UI / Design stage
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Development stage
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Testing and Deployment stage
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The chart below represents the average cost in different locations.
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We hope these hints gave you an idea of what to expect money-wise when you are developing an app. Of course, there are lots of factors that influence pricing. However, your research of average costs will give you an answer on where to look for a developer and how much to spend. In any case, before you decide to hire someone or go in-house, do your homework and study the app development market. Don't rush to high-priced specialists. There are lots of talents out there that can produce the same quality at a reasonable price.

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Here is a post you might want to check out:

Regex for lazy developers

regex for lazy devs

Sorry for the callout 😆