Mobile application: cost and maintenance

There are many Android development and iOS development agencies out there and you’ve probably already asked them a few questions. If you still have some questions about the costs of a mobile app – this might be a good place to start.

The biggest question while planning to build a mobile app is how to determine the cost of the mobile application?


Where to start while building a mobile application?

Let’s see why is important to plan before building an app and why is difficult to predict the cost of the mobile application.

The mobile revolution is quite while with us. Website, content and social media platforms are no longer the only way to generate leads or build brand awareness.

Nowadays, building ios app or Android mobile apps is the new black. And it’s not surprising.

Let’s look at some numbers that will explode in a couple of years.

Mobile application: cost and maintenance

Mobile app usage you need to know

  • According to Statista, in 2017, 197 billion apps were downloaded, by the end of the 2022 year, we can expect that number go beyond 258 billion app downloads worldwide. 
  • Even though a wide range of mobile app available for both iOS and Android, in real life people tend to use only a few on daily basis. Techcrunch found the average number of apps people use is 9. 
  • Comscore says how 78% of mobile searches for local business result in a purchase. That’s higher than from any other kind of device.
  • socPub says how 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.
  • Statista discovers the most popular mobile feature is a “List of product” with “Opening hours” and “Price list” following closely after.

These statistics allow you to be informed and make a rational decision about your small business’ mobile presence and strategies.  Are you thinking – how can mobile travel apps boost bookings and revenue or what are the reasons why your retail business needs a mobile app? Or you still think that your business doesn’t need a mobile app?

Perhaps you should rethink your strategy. But here is a tip – you can easily catch up. But, your question is:

Ok, how much does it cost to build a custom mobile application?

There’s no magic formula to determine the cost of building an app. Everything matters – from platform, design, functionality, complexity, and talent. We prepared 8 questions you need to answer before putting a pen to paper. 

8 questions to answer when planning to build your mobile app

Mobile application: cost and maintenance
What type of app are you building?

Apple is a better choice to reach a more engaged user base. Android has a broader reach. The choice is yours.

Do people have to log in?

An email login is generally best to start with unless your app will have tight integration with services like Facebook or Twitter, in which case social login is better.

Do people create personal profiles?

A profile means that some of the people that use your app will have to enter information about themselves that might be viewed publicly.

How will you make money from your app?

The upfront cost is cheaper to build than in-app purchases but in-app purchase can produce higher returns if/when you have an engaged user base.

Do people rate or review things?

Keep in mind, ranking systems can vary in complexity and thus impact your budget.

How nice should your app look?

Custom buttons, gestures, transitions will cost you – it’s not cheap being pretty.

Do you need an app icon?

Designing a quality app icon will cost you – but it will help you stand out in the app store and on the user’s device.

Does your app need to connect with your website?

This means you’ll need to make an API (or Application Programming Interface.) It’s how all your friendly apps talk to each other.
The importance of answering these questions lays in the research found on The; the platform that analyzes how often people use apps, why they delete apps and which types of apps they use most frequently.

Here is what they found

  • Social media app dominates – the most frequently used apps (39%), while gaming and communication/messaging apps tie for second (10%)
  • The largest percentage of respondents (32%) say they open any kind of app on their phone only 1-10 times per day total, but they are likely underreporting their behavior
  • However, over one-fifth of millennials (21%) say they open any app more than 50 times per day, compared to only 2% of baby boomers
  • Over half of respondents (51%) deleted an app only 1 week ago or less
  • A full quarter of respondents (25%) say they deleted an app simply because their phone’s storage space was full and they needed space

We asked Riley Panko, what does she think about how to determine mobile app cost

She is a Senior Content Developer and Marketer at Clutch, and a Senior Writer at The Manifest, a B2B news, and how-to website.

Mobile application: cost and maintenance

Let’s see what did she find in her experience and research

The cost of building a mobile app is a difficult number to predict, mainly because it’s predicated on a wide variety of constantly changing factors. In fact, it’s almost impossible to know the true cost of building a high-quality mobile app without knowing a large number of details specific to a particular project. If you attempt to estimate cost based on a few broad categories, you can only get a general range at best.

Because of this variability, Clutch’s survey emphasized the importance of two elements when thinking about app development cost – the importance of planning and a willingness to stay flexible.

Both pre-planning and flexibility allow a company to maximize their app development budget. Pre-planning can best be maximized with a “discovery” stage – Clutch’s survey found that 70% of app development companies surveyed require a discovery stage. During the discovery stage, app development companies will perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Market research
  • Building prototypes
  • Scheduling the project’s timeline

These tasks better set your app development project up for success, because you are less likely to waste time on unnecessary features, or miscommunication about deadlines. People seeking an app development company should be wary of teams that promise a particular price without some sort of discovery or pre-planning stage unless your desired app is incredibly simple.

In the very beginning, when clients are trying to get a quote on a project, they tend to believe the company that offers a fixed price without doing proper research,” Dmitry Dobritskiy, CEO, and Co-Founder of MindStudios, told Clutch. “There’s always a pitfall there because, in the very beginning, neither the client nor the development team clearly understands what should be done.

Once the pre-planning is done and the development begins, you must also keep a flexible mindset when it comes to app development cost. The process of developing an app is incredibly complex – timelines may change or errors may occur that require a change in cost. If you do not allow room for cost flexibility, you may end up with a lower quality product if an obstacle occurs and you do not have the funds to work around it.

While this variability can seem intimidating for those beginning their first app development project, the best app development partners are transparent in their needs and skilled in their communication, making the relationship easier.
In the future, as apps becoming increasingly complex, the need for planning and flexibility will only grow, concludes Riley.

Things to be aware of

  • The costs of apps are based on features, complexity, and platform
  • Apps with back-end servers will almost cost more
  • Simple apps from one platform will start around $10 000
  • Don’t forget to budget for updates, analytics or design for new upgrades

You are not only building your mobile app, but you are also building your business

Mobile application: cost and maintenance
Start a business, not just an app – What are KPI-s you are trying to accomplish with your app? Do you want to build an easy presentation – portfolio app or are you going to create an engaging experience in one app that you continue to develop and build on? We need a plan for your mobile business before we launch your mobile app.

Build for the user – We know you and your family & friends will love it – but will it be great for all the other users?  You need to understand the different ways users are going to engage with your app and build around them. We need to recognize how your app will be used so you can delight your users with great experience.

Make people want to tell their friends about it – Be engaging and create buzz about your app. Find a unique way to generate interest in your app. Let’s come up with new features on your mobile app, let’s have something that only your app will have!

Be the next new thing!

Rember that the cost to bring an app to market go beyond a simple v1.0 budget. The cost includes more than initial, UX, design, development, or project management. There will be a minimum budget required for ongoing updates and potentially, some server costs.

If you’re an existing company hiring an outside firm to build an app, these costs are likely accounted for already. If you’re an individual or early-stage venture, just ensure you include those costs to truly evaluate the bottom-line for bringing an app to market.

If you have some other questions – reach to us – we’re friendly and believe that the advice should be free so please tell us your thoughts on Factory contact form!

Explore next

Related posts

Company News Partners and friends Mobile Development Web Development

Factory receives great reviews on Clutch