How Much Does It Really Cost to Develop an App? — Part 2

April 11, 2019 - 9 minutes read

Welcome to the final entry in our two-part series on figuring out just how much an app costs to build!

In the first part of this series, we covered the stages of the mobile app development process and other crucial factors to keep in mind that can greatly impact your cost calculations. In case you missed it or would like a chance to review, you can find the article here.

For this entry, we’ll be going over the different routes you can take to make your app as well as what you can expect in terms of post-launch endeavors and marketing. Ready to get started? Let’s jump right in!

Before We Begin

Before we proceed, there are a few pertinent questions you should answer:

  1. Who’s your target audience?
  2. What problem will your app solve for your audience?
  3. What are the core features of your mobile app that solves the problem?

We know that answering these questions can be tough. But doing so will save you tremendous amounts of time (and possibly money) down the line. If you need help figuring these out, reference the first post of this series to guide you.

Choose Your Own App Adventure

How much does it cost to build an app will greatly vary depending on the type of product you want to build. But one thing many first-time app entrepreneurs forget is that costs are also dependent on the size and type of agency you choose to work with.

Mobile App Development Is an Investment

Cheaper shops can certainly sound alluring. But smaller companies offering end-to-end app development for a price that seems too good to be true usually carry some caveats to be aware of.

If the entire mobile app development process costs less than $50,000, it’s safe to assume that the company you’re working with is probably offering more limited services than a more built-out agency. When it comes to app development, you often get what you pay for.

When you increase your investment, what you’re really paying for is tried-and-tested experience as well as specialized expertise. It’s important to keep in mind that while the whole process of creating an app is lumped under “mobile app development,” hard-coding your product is actually one piece of the puzzle.

Cutting Corners Doesn’t Mean Cutting Costs

Cutting corners to save on costs in the early stages of the app development process usually backfires in the long run.

Remember the $50,000 price tag and limited services we mentioned earlier? This can usually be attributed to an agency taking a “lean” approach—basically, they’ll code an app for you, but they won’t have expert designers and strategists on-hand to help ensure it’s a success.

In these instances, it’s not unusual for app entrepreneurs to sink more money into the project later on to save face. By this point, you’re probably thinking, “Well, what does a complete mobile app development team look like, and how much would they cost?” We’re glad you asked!

It Takes Teamwork to Make the Dream Work

Let’s pretend that you’ve nailed down your mobile app vision; you want to release a polished product that meets a specific need of a specific market segment. It’s safe to assume you’d get a price quote of around $300,000 from both large agencies and mid-sized shops to deliver such a product.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Where are all these funds going?” You know, you are really asking all the right questions today! Although, the answer to this one is: It depends.

Many large agencies adhere to the “waterfall” development process. This basically means they will deliver on your original specifications after farming out much of the work to the lowest-common bidder. In contrast, many mid-sized agencies employ the “agile” development process. Agile software development is a methodology in which requirements and their solutions evolve through collaboration between a self-organized, cross-functional team and the customer.

Essentially, you get a more personal, hands-on approach and specialized expertise when you work with a team like this. What does this team look like? A versatile mobile app development team includes the following key players:

  • UX/UI Designers: They create all of the visual content and imagery that will be coded into your app.
  • Front-End Developers & Back-End Engineers: They optimize your product’s functionality for Android and iPhone devices.
  • Product Managers: They oversee the app building process. Think of them as the director.
  • Account Managers: They act as the liaison between the team and clients to ensure coordination is smooth.

This may sound like a lot of horsepower. But it takes a talented, coordinated team to create and launch a successful digital product in the competitive, overcrowded app marketplace.

We Have Liftoff!

So let’s say you’ve gone through the process with an awesome app development team as your partner, and you’re just about ready for launch. Congratulations! You’ve probably put in an incredible amount of hard work by this point.

But you can’t rest on your laurels just yet. You still have launch, marketing, and maintenance to attend to! We’ve already discussed maintenance in the first entry of this series, so let’s turn our attention to the other two.

A poorly structured launch and marketing plan will only serve to bring down your product before it can ever take off in the market. If your app development team is experienced, they’ll know the nuances between submitting to Apple’s App Store and Google Play. It really is an art form in itself.

Google Play submissions are usually available to the general public mere hours after submittal. On the other hand, Apple’s App Store can take upwards of 10 business days to approve (or reject) your app. Besides this longer review period, 30% of App Store submissions get rejected.

This can usually be chalked up to issues that could have been addressed beforehand. But rejections do happen due to other cases. Don’t fret; just take the feedback in stride and implement the recommendations and suggestions that the reviewers give. It will help you become a stronger contender in your niche when your app finally arrives in the market.

Alongside this, it’s important that you prepare all marketing material, graphics, and app assets so that you’re ready for public launch. We work closely with all of our clients to ensure that everything’s set to go when your app is ready to launch.

Ready to Get Started?

Regardless of whether you go with a mid-sized app developer in L.A. or a major agency in NYC, it’s important to remember that all apps that succeed on a large scale have three common factors: they start small, they have a detailed strategy, and they have passionate founders behind the product.

The sky is the limit for what’s possible with mobile app development. The first step takes incredible courage and investment, but the rewards can be well worth it.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this series. if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation!

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