What does it Cost to Develop a Mobile App?

If you ever asked this question from a developer, probably the answers are ambiguous: it depends on the functions you want, or it depends on the modules you want to add it, or it depends on the design you want.

The reality is that putting a price tag on a mobile app is difficult, especially if you do not know exactly the specifics of each functionality. You can also compare it with an understandable as if you ask someone the price of a new car? The answer is that there are cars from 6,000 dollars to millions of dollars. Hence, it all depends on the features.

Value and Cost Benefit

Given the difficulty of assessing a priori, the cost of an application is to think about the value of service and the benefit that the app can bring to your business rather than its actual cost.

The Type of Application

The first factor in determining the price of a mobile application is to analyze the type of app, returning to the analogy of the car, it’s like… I want to buy a convertible or just want a minivan. Based on this, we can classify mobile apps into four main groups:


This type of apps are based on display characteristics, either loaded from a local database located on the phone itself or loaded from an external data through a web service or API dynamic data connection. Examples: applications recipes, product catalogs, blog readers, dictionaries, etc.


The games are in a separate league. There are games from very simple to others with graphics or challenging physical movements. In this field, one thing must be kept in mind that the design, music and the number of levels, are very important factors to analyze the cost. Games with excellent 3D graphics will have an additional cost.


These are apps that make use of specific internal hardware for each device. Such apps make use of the gyroscope, accelerometer, camera, GPS positioning, push notifications, etc. Examples of such applications are: apps with maps, chat apps, augmented reality, apps that calculate your position, etc.


These apps are designed to offer a solution to a given problem. It is a type of app that will surely include access to device’s hardware features but also include specific features that have relevance to provide a solution to the specific problem. Sometimes they also have a local database taken from an external source.

Costs of Design and Layout:

Production of an app is not only based on technical characteristics but also in a suitable design of the user interface. An application that does not have the functionality expected by the user is as ineffective as an application that does not have a good presentation. The design and functionality of the mobile app have the same importance.

Other criteria for identifying the price you must pay for the application are:


The larger the project is, the more graphics will be needed and cost of development will increase.


See if you want your app to work on a single type of device or several devices like iPhone, iPad, Android, Tablet Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone.

Keep in mind that each device has a different graphical interface and are programmed differently. Especially, if they are not of the same make or model. Therefore, although some parts of the project can be reused, most will have to be separately developed and designed specifically for each device. The fact of seeking to develop an app for several different devices inevitably makes its more expensive.


Even with the same mobile manufacturer, there can be major differences between devices, e.g. iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 which has different graphics and hardware needs. The same occurs between iPhone and iPad. The difference is even bigger between iOS and Android devices. The production of specific graphics for different devices will inevitably increase the cost.

The approximate cost for design of the mobile application will be around $ 1,500 for a single application to more than $ 20,000 for a more complex app. As for the games, the costs can become exorbitant in terms of graphics and sound requirements.

Normally, developing the same application for different devices will cause the cost increase between 25% and 50%, depending on each additional device.

What is better, pay a fixed price or hourly?

Sometimes there is a tendency to set prices for hours in the development of software resources, which is not bad when you pay someone for their time as an employee. However, in the context of hiring a developer for mobile applications, you are paying for the skill, knowledge, experience and professionalism of the company that offers good service and probably will offer a fixed price budget for your project.

Things to consider before negotiating the cost

Some app developers do not offer the design and source code of your application to make sure you come back to them when you need changes. The decision to return must always be yours. Hence a good company will have no problems when offering what is yours and what you paid for.

Your application will be exclusive?

A developer of a mobile app can only ensure that your app is solely based on graphics and specific characteristics of your app. There is no guarantee that someone else does not copy the design or functionality.

Warranty and Maintenance

If the application has a programming error, the developer must bear the costs of rectification. Typically, you will be offered a sufficient period of guarantee for using the app to detect errors and correct them. Instead, you need to take care of the costs of any changes to the application needs, both for features you want to add or change, such as changes of the device operating system that is not foreseeable at the time of development.

Bargain Prices

If you have given a price to produce your app which is significantly lower than expected, then he distrusts. There may be reasons why a company will offer a lower price than expected, but the most common is that the company does not know the development process and in that case does a mediocre job.

Remember, focus on service and benefit to your company, understand how you’re spending your money, and do not look at only the cost.

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