Do you have an idea for a mobile app? If so, the question that you might be asking yourself is “how much does app development cost?” It’s a good question and one that we want to help answer.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the factors that impact mobile app development costs in Australia. We’ll also share with you what some professional app developers may charge for their services. Lastly, we’ll give you tips on how to reduce your mobile app development cost if possible!
First things, first:
This may sound like a really basic question to ask, but for you to get an idea of what it takes to develop an app, you need to understand what “app development” means.
What is App Development?
App Development is a process by which a piece of software is created for mobile or computer devices. It includes the design and implementation of the software. Various types of apps can be developed native, web, or hybrid, and people who create these apps are called app developers.
How much does it cost to make an app?
When you’re developing an app, you shouldn’t just be thinking about design and development costs, there can be many hidden costs. You should be aware that there can be many other costs involved. You’ll need money to cover developer accounts, data storage, updates/maintenance costs, marketing, and many others.
It’s important to factor in these “other” costs from the onset – in our experience, many projects are stalled or derailed because of insufficient funds – often because the app owner did not consider these additional costs.
For example, successful mobile apps don’t start, and they don’t end with writing the code. Your customers will need to find and download your app, and that’s where marketing comes in. The cost of successfully marketing a mobile app depends on the competition, the target audience, the objectives, and the goals. In the end, you can spend as low as Zero dollars (that’s right a bit ol’ donut) or 1000s of dollars – what is important is that you recognise that your app can fail if you ignore app marketing.
Breakdown of the typical amount you could spend when developing an app:
- Server fees – $10 – $10, 0000
- Apple and/or Android Developer Accounts –Google charges $USD25 (one-time payment) for Android developer’s account and Apple charges $USD99/membership year to register for the Apple developer program.
- App maintenance- Maintenance cost would depend on a host of factors like user feedback, Google or Apple OS updates, etc. At Bilue, what we have discovered to work best is earmarking up to 15-20% of your total mobile app development budget to annual maintenance. This is only a rough guide, to be used as a starting point, however, maintenance is so crucial to the ongoing success of your app.
- Third-party Services – For example, automated in-app chat services, collaborative tools, DNS services, etc. Usually, you could get some of these services sorted out with as low as $100 – could be as high as $500 per month.
In the end, the amount of money you need to invest in your project will depend on a number of variables, and the costs outlined above could vary wildly; for example, Australia’s top banks are not spending $10,000 per annum on hosting costs, it would be substantially higher than that… Your app will be different, it will vary depending on the complexity and functionality of your app, whether you need to support iOS or Android, or both, whether you need to keep adding features, or if you just need to “keep the lights on”.
And that brings us to…
Factors that impact the cost of building mobile apps
The app world has never been so big, with the number of people owning smartphones at an all-time high. But if you want to make your apps, how much does it cost? The following factors will contribute to the overall development cost.
Type of app
The cost of your mobile app project would also depend on the type of app you want. For example, typically, creating a native iOS app will cost less than a mobile hybrid app, however, a mobile hybrid app will cost less than building native apps for both iOS & Android.
What do you want your app to do?
Apps are hugely varied, from games and utility apps like shopping lists or banking app to business apps for time sheet or company chat. Businesses that need an app will have different requirements than those who just want a game on their phone. This impacts how much time app developers need to spend and the cost.
For example, if you’re a large enterprise, expect to spend upwards of $1M on your mobile app, by the time you’ve integrated it into your business and your various systems of record, created or migrated user accounts, built APIs, designed your app, and built your app, the costs add up pretty quickly. We’ve built apps for as little as $170K, and as much at $3M+.
The more extensive your requirements, the greater the number of development hours that you will require and the associated cost.
- Will your app be connected to third-party systems?
- If your app is meant for the international market, that means considerations for other languages outside of English.
- Should the app work online and offline? Does the app always have to be connected to the internet to be fully functional?
Quality assurance of an app: manual and automated testing
You want your app to work well and look good. This requires experienced testing on several platforms and devices. Testing is an integral and often overlooked part of the mobile app development process.
We love to help mobile app owners get their products out the door quickly. Our native and cross-platform, professional teams including our Mobile QA Specialists have a proven track record of testing your apps on the most popular devices.
Testing can be divided into 2 methods: manual and automated testing.
In manual testing, Mobile QA specialists carry out testing directly on the mobile device according to predefined benchmarks. In automated testing, a program is used and the QA writes code to run a “test suite” automatically. Automated testing has been widely adopted and provides various benefits. While manual testing is still necessary, automated tests allow the product to be tested more quickly, and in the long run, it saves time and money.
Time required to build the app
Developers, developers, developers. Far and away the biggest cost on any mobile app project is; developers.
The longer it takes to build the mobile app, the more complex it is, the more features it has, which will generally mean a larger budget is required.
The most expensive apps are those which take years of work from professional app developers who specialise in just one or two areas such as design, engineering, or marketing. You might be wondering why Uber’s Seed Round was $1.6M? Developers, developers, developers… Side note, Uber has raised $25.2B to date, so no, they didn’t build the Uber you see today for $1.6M.
These types of costs and this type of thinking need to be factored into your plans, you might not need millions to get going, but at some point, you’re going to need to be paying developers a lot of money, consider where it might come from, will you be generating revenue by then, or will you need to raise capital or ask the CFO for funding?
If there are any complicated features such as; push notifications, offline mode, or augmented reality then these might require more specialist skills or more senior & lead developers, these all come with increased costs that will push up the mobile app development cost by hundreds of dollars per hour.
What are your budget constraints?
When people ask me, what does a mobile app cost, I like to say; cheapest we’ve ever built was $30K(that was 11 years ago, and it was an awful and cheap app), most expensive so far was well over $3M(that was for a huge enterprise customer, and they wasted a lot of money).
The more you want to invest in the development of your app, the more you’ll get from it. The better the quality, and the better your chances of success. Generally, your budget will be reflected in higher quality and greater functionality or scalability. However, it’s important not to let yourself get too caught up on specific features that might only be used once by a handful of people as these can quickly add up.
An experienced team like Bilue have seen it all – and so can quickly advise you on cost-saving measures, and where to apply your budget most effectively.
What are your timelines?
This is an important consideration and has the most impact on the cost of app development. If you need to expedite the process, if time constraints are an issue, your costs will skyrocket. It is well known that reducing the time by adding people is not a linear equation, if you haven’t read The Mythical Man Month, grab a copy, it might’ve been written in 1972, but in my experience it still holds true.
The average cost of app development in Australia
Estimates for different types of apps
Aussies love their mobile devices and enjoy using several different mobile apps. The most common apps they download are native, hybrid, or web-based.
In order to determine how much the cost of an app will be for you, it is necessary to estimate what type of app you are looking to develop. After designing and building apps for over a decade, we generally bucket our app projects into 3 broad size categories;
|Small||5 – 8 screens||Single platform, limited integration||<$200K|
|Medium||10 – 15 screens||Cross platform, simple integration||$200K-$600K|
|Large||20+ screens||Multiple personas, fully native, multiple platforms, complex integration into existing systems||$1M+|
The type of app you are looking to develop will have the largest impact on how much it costs. Factors such as number of views, feature complexity, integration, number of platforms, and what specific features your app needs all play roles in determining cost too.
For example, if you’re developing a game app that will be downloaded and used by more than 100,000 people in a month on any device it is going to cost significantly more to develop than an app with less features for only a limited number of devices.
The type of platforms you are developing for plays a substantial role in how much your app costs. Apps developed natively for a single platform will tend to be slightly cheaper as they are coded for one platform and will not need the extra work of design, developing, and QAing on multiple platforms.
Price estimates for Android and iOS apps
Mobile apps have become an indispensable tool for business owners. An increase in conversation rate and sales can be achieved by using both Android and iOS apps.
So what does it cost to build them?
Generally speaking, as supported by this entrepreneur article, iOS apps are cheaper and faster to build when compared to their Android counterparts.
Why is app development so expensive?
App development is typically on the high side because there’s a lot of work involved in the process, and limited people with the skills required. The development of Apps is subtly different to your average website, and as such, the skills are not entirely transferable. Coding for Apps is more like building a Desktop App(such as Word, or Excel) than it is like building a website. Installed software(which is what an App is) comes with it’s own set of complexity that the web simply doesn’t have.
If you want your mobile app to be top-ranked in App stores in terms of ratings, and quality, then this is going to cost you money. But a one or two star rating in the App stores will also cost you money in terms of lost customers, and lost revenue.
Writing in Forbes, Gregory Raiz rightly points to the fact that an app in itself is cheap but the skill required to create one is what is expensive. This is because of how complex app development has become in recent times.
Can you build an app without any money?
Short answer, no.
Many people tend to look for ways to build an app for free, and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been pitched – it’s like Uber, but cheaper (often by Sydney cab drivers). What people often do not understand is that developers with app development skills are in high demand. In order to get someone working on your app, you’re either going to have to give away substantial equity, or you’re going to have to pay them. There’s only so much equity you can give away, and as your cap-table grows with more and more developers owning parts of your company, you could easily end up being the person that gave 10% of their company away 11 times…
If you’re so certain that your app will succeed, why would you want to give all that away to someone else? If you need to find money, focus on doing a capital raise, finding a Venture Capitalist, or finding an Angel who will invest.
If you want a custom, well-developed app then it is best to invest in the development process and app development team who understands what you’re trying to do, and can work with your budget and deliver you a quality outcome.
Bilue: Mobile App development Agency that’s best for the price
Do you want your app developed by an experienced app development company that will work collaboratively with you and your business to make sure the app delivers on your purpose and that it’s engaging and fun for your users?
Working with a transparent partner who offers a consultative approach to uncover your needs, delivers collaborative workshops to engage your stakeholders, are experts in mobile app solutions and ideas, provides ongoing design and development support with a proven track record of mobile app success is the dream right?
In addition to offering the most talented app experts for the whole life cycle of your app development, Bilue is also based in Sydney and Melbourne.
The highest quality output on every project, from a leading Australian company in app development.
Trusted by Customers and Developers
Being a leading app developer in Australia doesn’t come as easily as it sounds, but we are always up for the challenge. We are a top mobile app development agency in Australia. We build great apps and create awesome user experiences for your customers.