The Cost of Building a Mobile App in 2020 | Hacker Noon

@waleedMuhammad Waleed Siddiqui

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The question of how much does it cost to build a quality app has become common. This article has highlighted an in-depth overview of the cost to develop an app in the market. It will also state the factors that influence
effective app management and development.

Why you need to invest in mobile app development

There are more than 1.35 billion tablets and 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide. With this vast amount of users, various companies see mobile app development as an essential thing in the industry.

There is no doubt that the app’s development will be a prospective investment in the industry. With a higher number of users, there are more opportunities for business growth.

App development cost in 2020

The cost of app development is estimated to be between $37,913 to $171,450. This is the cost for a basic app, but with advanced features, the price can go up to $500,000 or above this.

However, it is good to understand that a minimum app can cost between $5.000 to $10,000. The app, with sufficient features, usually requires a higher cost. If you plan to develop an app, you need to consider several factors other than app development costs.

The timeline is another essential factor you need to look at. Most apps take a minimum of 3 months to come up with a working app. However, 40% of the apps do take six months and more.

The type of app development

There are two significant types of app development that you can choose: in-house or outsourcing app development. This means that you either hire your team of app developers or let a professional app development do the work for you.

The two app development types have distinct pros and cons. Some of them include

Pros of an in-house team

  • You have face to face meeting with your team
  • Easy communication with the team
  • Deep involvement in the project


  • It requires a lot of time.
  • It is costly because it requires extensive investment involvement.
  • It lacks creativity

Pros of outsourcing

  • The considerable talent involved due to the use of experts
  • Lower rates
  • It is flexible
  • Does not require a substantial initial investment

Cons of outsourcing

  • No personal control
  • Time zone differences

With both approaches, most people prefer to outsource their mobile app development due to the legal issues and difficulty getting the best app developers. The decision on which type you should use always will depend on you. If you have a good team, you can in-house the app development.

Factors that influence the cost of developing an app

Various factors influence the cost of developing an app. It is good to understand each factor to manage your app budget in the right way and allocate your resources well.The factors include

1. Native VS. Hybrid

The type of application one uses determines the cost you require to come up with an app. There are two main applications, i.e., hybrid and native development techniques. The native apps are designed for a single platform, Android, or IOS. We will come up with two separate apps if you are targeting the two.

On the other hand, hybrid applications operate on multiple systems. With this, it means that less money is used in app development because you only need to build a single app. However, many companies prefer to go for native applications because it is technically superior, high performance and has a smooth user experience instead of hybrid applications.

2. Android vs IOS

Whenever you decide to build a native app, you must determine the platform you are targeting. If you have a limited budget, begin your application with a single platform, IOS, or Android. The cost of developing the app for either Android or IOS is not much different, and they are almost the same.

3. Functionality and features

The app functionality and features of the app determine its cost. It is good to understand the features you are about to offer to your users. The two factors are the most significant cost drivers because some of them can take time to implement.

It is good to prepare because the app you have developed might need additional features not included in the already working app. Always consider setting aside extra expenses on the expectations from the app.

4. Visual design complexity

The design of an app is just as important as the other features. The cost of app design greatly depends on the visual complexity, number of screens, branding, and the need for custom elements.

5. Backend infrastructure and app administration

Most of the apps require it to be backend infrastructure. With this, it becomes easy to be connected with APIs, administration panel, analytics systems, etc. the more the features your app needs, the higher the cost of app development cost.

6. Location and structure of the development team

The area in which the development app team has a significant impact on the app’s final cost. There are other regions where you can get cheap mobile app developers than the others. However, good to look at the quality ration and price you will get.

7. The app maintenance cost

Understanding the cost of developing an app is not all; you need to know the expense required once you have launched it. The price is aimed at supporting the app. The cost can range from $5000 to $10000 per year.

App maintenance includes

  • Support of latest version
  • Code optimization
  • Fixing bugs and quality assurance
  • The app upgrade to the latest OS versions
  • Performance improvements and stability
  • The implementation of the new features

So as you plan to set up the expense funds for maintenance, you need to look at the various areas above and divide the funds.


The cost of app development depends on the various parameters. The whole cost begins from market research, developing a reliable app developer, maintenance cost, among other areas. The article has provided an insight into what you need to have a successful app development.


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