How Much Does It Cost To Build A Mobile App? 4 Examples + Calculator

If you’re creating a budget for your mobile app startup, one of the most important thing you’ll need to assess are your mobile app development costs. These costs essentially are salaries (or fees) you pay developers to design and build your app. How much does it cost to build a mobile app?

The answer, as you would have guessed it, depends on a number of factors we’ll discuss below. Yet, with a little bit of digging it isn’t so hard to accurately budget mobile app development costs.

So whether you’re preparing financial projections for your mobile app pitch deck, or simply budgeting the cost to build a MVP with our own funds, read on!

How Much App Development Costs On Average?

Mobile app development costs boil down to the salaries (or consultancy fees) you will have to pay developers to design and build your app. The cost of these heavily depend on:

  • The location of developers. As an example, it’ll cost you anywhere between $20-30 per hour for a iOS developer in India vs. $110-150 in the US..
  • The complexity of your app. We’ll discuss these factors in more detail in the next section below.

That being said, there’s lots of information online to estimate development costs for your app (see free resources below).

In its research report, Goodfirms estimate the following costs, based on an average $65 hourly cost, depending on the complexity of the app:

A simple app costs anywhere from $25,000 to $60,000 and takes around 5 to 11 weeks

A simple app has basic user features, such as: signup and login, user profile update, basic dashboard, file uploading, search bar and basic messaging capabilities.

A complex app costs anywhere from $35,000 to $85,000 and takes around 7 to 16 weeks

A complex app, in comparison, includes all the basic user features plus app monetization and user engagement upgrades.

Examples of these features are: activity feeds, social media integrations, ecommerce and affiliation, payment gateway, media streaming (audio/video), etc.

A more advanced app costs anywhere from $60,000 to $140,000 and takes around 11 to 26 weeks

A more advanced app will include latest technology features, such as: multi-language support, advanced messaging features, augmented reality, machine learning (e.g. chatbox), etc.

Where do you fit in the average?

Whilst these numbers give you a ballpark idea of development costs for an app based on a high-level assessment of features, it doesn’t tell you much

To figure it out, let’s see together what are the key factors that affect development costs.

How Location Affect Development Cost?

As discussed earlier, app development costs heavily depend on the location of your developers.

Of course, it isn’t the only factor. Yet, it will impact your budget so much you’ll need to seriously take into consideration the location of your developers before you even start development.

In the table below is a very helpful benchmark of average hourly wage (in USD) for mobile app engineers, based on different work streams and functions:

RegionDevelopmentUI/UXQA TestingManagement
US$70-90$60-110$70-90$70-120
Canada$60-90$60-100$60-90$60-100
Eastern Europe$30-55$35-60$30-55$40-50
Asia$25-35$30-45$25-35$35-50
Latin America$35-50$45-55$35-50$70-90
Source: Spaceo

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4 Examples Of Mobile App Development Costs

In order to give you a better idea of how much your app can actually cost you, we’ve listed out below a few examples of mobile apps with their estimated cost and duration.

Note that these are illustrative examples for you to form a high-level budget for app development costs. The actual cost and duration of your mobile app development costs will instead vary depending on your specific business, the features you want to implement, as well as the location of your developers.

Note: the estimates below are assuming an average $50 hourly cost for a developer.

Social Networking App Development Cost: $50-240k

A social networking app cost anywhere from $50k to $240k
A social networking app cost anywhere from $50k to $240k

Social networking apps are very common nowadays, amongst a number of sectors (sports, travel, etc.) and applications (networking, online dating, etc.).

These apps share common features such as: user signup and login, user profile update, social feed, file-sharing and advanced messaging.

The price varies based on the number of features the app has. For instance, a user-generated live feed will take a few weeks to complete vs. a basic news feed for instance.

Marketplace App Development Cost: $240k+

A marketplace mobile app development cost
A marketplace mobile app will cost at least $240k

Marketplace apps are complex apps that sit between ecommerce and on-demand apps (more on that below). Therefore, they combine advanced features such as: user signup and login, in-app ordering, delivery and 3rd party supply chain integration, payment features, advanced messaging and customer support, etc.

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On-Demand App Development Cost: $75-150k

A on-demand mobile app development cost
A on-demand mobile app will cost anywhere from $75-150k

On-demand mobile apps have become increasingly popular recently, fuelled by the growth of delivery startups, originally from food and now spanning various products from groceries to medicine.

Like marketplace apps, on-demand apps are demanding as they require to build an interface between users (the demand) and the supply (riders and/or restaurants for example).

Common features for on-demand apps include: user signup and login, payment, in-app ordering, 3rd party supply chain integration, delivery, but also interaction-based features such as chat, voice, machine learning chatbox, etc.

Ecommerce App Development Cost: $50-240k

ecommerce mobile app development cost
A ecommerce mobile app will cost anywhere from $50-240k

Ecommerce mobile apps, such as networking apps, vary a lot based on the number of features it includes. For instance, a simple ecommerce shop mobile app will easily take 3 months to complete, whilst an app that combines hundreds of SKUs and suppliers will easily take 6 months.

Common features of ecommerce app features include: user signup and login (buyer and supplier), user account profile, checkout system, product page templates, payment processing, wallet, etc. Also, as for marketplaces and on-demand apps, you will need to build a solid admin panel with debugging, inventory and dashboard features.

Free Resources To Estimate Mobile App Development Costs

There are number of free calculators online which you can use to budget your mobile app development costs. We strongly recommend you use them all, and combine these calculators, at a later stage, with multiple price estimates from agencies (e.g. Upwork is your friend here).

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