HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUILD YOUR APP

Technology July 21, 2020
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So, you’ve got the big idea? We’re guessing you’ve already researched a lot about how to go about developing an app, but the question keeps lurking – how much does it actually take to build, test, and launch one? 

Well, it can begin from something as less as $10K and can go up to almost $200K. Sounds vague, right? 

There are a lot of crucial factors that majorly affect the development of any app, including how much they would cost to you. This not only would help you upfront prepare you for the incoming costs, but also it’ll help you be more decisive as to where to cut back if you go over-budget. Let’s dive in!

Comparing the Cost: In-house team v/s Agencies v/s Global Consultancies

One of the initial decisions is to figure out which set of team members would actually be developing the app. The options range between global consultancies, agencies or your very own in-house team. 

With an in-house team you would require a A to Z team that can help with your designs, front-end, back-end, project management & testing. Depending on the scalability of the app, you would have to access the quantum of work and plan the number of team numbers based on the same. With singular app development projects it can range from 3-15 members which will have to be onboarded for a min. of 6-8 months of timeframe. 

For agencies, that cost is comparatively low because the complexity of an app is unnecessary for them. For an in-house development company, the cost is even lower because not more than 5 or 6 people are involved and invested in its functioning. Although for a global consultancy, app development is a matter of a more substantial monetary investment.

Talking about numbers:

  • for In-house Development, it could take somewhere between $30,000 and $100,000

  • for Agencies, app development could cost around $100,000 to $2,500,000

  • for Global Consultancies, the cost would be around four times more than an agency, i.e., starting from around $10,000,000 and it would only go higher because of the necessity of a complex app with more features

These costs vary also because global consultancies follow a more extensive process of development in order to create apps that are more optimized, fast, and flashy. There’s a high amount of expertise and precision, but that also means that ultimately more time would be required for delivery. Also, it’s important to keep in mind the risk involved, because there is a heavy investment without any guarantees of ROI.

An in-house team includes tech lead, designer, front and backend developer, and tester. It might sound cheaper in the longer run, but only if you have frequent tech-related projects coming up. Otherwise, it might turn out to be a rather unreasonable expenditure. 

Valere works on agency pace, bringing to you the best of both worlds. You get the comfort and familiarity like in-house development as well as high-class, tech-equipped service like that of a global agency – all at a price offer that’s too hard to reject!

What we offer– MVPs... Prototypes... fresh apps.... revamps

A Prototype is a ‘smoke and mirror’ version of your final app, which defines core user flows and works as an interactive visualization of the product. They make a very important part of the process, especially for start-ups which are trying to pitch for investments.

An MVP or a Minimum Viable Product is the most basic version of your app – just core value proposition and essential features. MVPs are more important for the companies that are trying to get to know their users through feedback.

We cannot stress enough on how important an MVP is – so we just make great ones! We make sure that we make full use of them to optimize the path to a successful product launching a cost-effective way. Usually, an MVP costs somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000, depending on the features required and scope of work.

However, an MVP or a prototype is just the first step into a real business, the aim is to successfully establish the final product. Valere’s team walks every step with you side by side and ensures a full-cycle product development without hindrance.

Even if you have an already commercialized product in the market, and are looking to revamp it – Valere’s there to help. The same goes for when you're rebranding another business in what's popularly known as 'white-collar apps'. It doesn’t take a lot of time but it does take a lot of effort to redesign the entire code. It costs less than making an app from scratch and can take your app’s quality and reach from basic to world-class. 

App Users

Cost depends upon how you want to go about accounts and user login security.

Multi-User

One account can have multiple users. This kind of service is usually required by apps that are shared between families, for example, Netflix, or schools that want to give data access to the children and the parents.

Multi-user system behavior is complex and therefore costs high.

Single User

This is the most preferred choice for almost all businesses that want to offer high security and deal with personalized data. The login choice can be through Email ID and a Password or via social networks. The latter requires AIP and third-party involvement, so it definitely costs more, however, it does not create a major difference in the overall price.

No Login Required

This option is preferable for open websites and apps. For instance, news and information sharing sites. This costs significantly lower than other options because only basic security measures are required.

Functionalities 

Let’s discuss some of the basic functionalities common to most apps and how they affect the overall cost -

Personalization

Account personalization is very useful in apps because it gives people their identity and customizes the features in the app for the individual. Log in and sign up mechanisms are essential in e-commerce applications and booking applications but in gaming, usually, applications do not require a very well-developed login and sign up mechanism unless it’s live.

Login/signup via email or social accounts costs under $1000 but two-step authorization can cost up to $3000.

Chatbots

Chatting is generally very relevant in industries like e-commerce and online booking because they ease out the communication with the end-user and give access to direct contact with them. Some apps also like to have a Whatsapp API. It can cost between $2000 and $6000.

E-commerce

E-commerce is one of the most prevalent industries in the market, and its value has surged especially since the coronavirus quarantine which has made more and more people get comfortable with online shopping.

An e-commerce app can be made from as little as $30,000 and can shoot up to $170,000, depending on complexity, size, and functionality.

Booking

Consumers like it when given access to pre-ordering goods or services so that they can have early access to the commodity. E-commerce applications do not use booking features as frequently as booking applications do, and for them, this feature is the key to the business

Payment 

Any monetary transaction that takes place in an application is only possible through a payment API. It’s one of the more sensitive features since it deals with consumer's money. E-Commerce and booking applications both use this function extensively, but apps can also use this feature to allow cosmetic upgradations for individual users or what’s popularly known as the in-app-purchases.

Payment APIs usually charge less than $2000. The cost is owed to the security challenges and payment gateways. Some internationally available gateways include Razorpay and Payubiz.

Design 

The pillars of any project are wireframes, and the design of the mobile app is no exception. Wireframes serve as a medium between reliable low-level drawings and first-rate active signals. 

Before beginning to wireframe, you have to have a clear understanding of how many screens you require and how will consumers interact with them. It is not difficult to understand once you have a visible user flow. User flow means the process a consumer goes through to do something in the application. The user flow gives you an understanding of how the wireframing you need to do to make it easier for the consumers.

White label UI with 1-6 screens costs $2000-$6000.High fidelity custom designs that include brand intricacies go up by a couple of thousand dollars. Tailor-made UIs which are inclined to optimizing the user experience is more complex, therefore costs around $4000-$15000. 

The design is what can really make it or break it for your product. It can single handedly attract a customer, keep them engaged, and motivate them to recommend the app to their friends and family. Be it any app of any industry, the underlying common priority is to enhance the user experience. This is achieved through various tactics like simplifying the user interface but still keeping it fairly entertaining. It also includes pop-ups that help the user navigate the app.

The standards of the design and what a user would expect out of an app greatly depends on the industry you belong to. For instance, an automobile company would want a cleaner, classier look with a monotone color palette but a travel or food blog might just be the polar opposite and would want cuter animations with vivid imagery.

Content Management and Admin

The content management system you choose plays a big role in determining the overall cost of your app. Usually, a stable content management integration costs between $1000 and $4000.

If you require user management integration to manage roles and permissions, that costs a little higher, somewhere between $2000 and $6000. Ballpark is similar for reporting and analytics but goes even higher for notification control, which can fall anywhere between $3000 and $10000.

Another thing to highlight is security. If you are making an MVP, security isn’t an issue and you can very well work without any restrictions. But for a full-fledged app, at least the basic security measures are essential. They don’t cost more than $1000. 

However, if you need encrypted communication, that can go as up as $2000-$4000. And for even higher classes of apps, which need security from XSS and SQL injection, complete protection may cost between $3000 and $10000.

Third-party integrations 

In case your app needs to borrow functionality and data from some third-party website, the developer needs to follow a subroutine of tools and protocols to establish communication between your app and their app. This is called API integration, which is short for an application programming interface. 

It’s usually better to use API integration instead of developing features from scratch. First of all, it costs lesser because your development team does not have to work upon a certain part of the app, reducing the time and effort to be invested. Secondly, if you integrate apps with advanced features, it adds more value to the user experience. 

APIs also increase convenience, for instance, using Facebook for logins or Google Maps for navigation, or PayPal API for payment.

But it's important to understand what APIs will add value to your business because it's very easy to be appealed by highly advanced APIs that only look good and have great specs but don't serve any function to your user. You need to have experienced programmers on your side to be able to cut to the chase and not fall for unnecessarily expensive features.

Usually, third party integrations of social media, location, media, and e-commerce – all cost approximately the same, however, e-commerce integrations come in a slightly higher range.

Testing 

Performance evaluation of any app or website is the most critical stage of development. Rigorous software testing is the only avenue that can be fully relied upon to assure the kind of quality that can give you an edge over your peers. Quality Assurance can be manual as well as automated.

Automated testing is most commonly used for regression testing, performance testing, and executing long form tests. It’s more scalable and cost-efficient for larger apps and allows you to run multiple tests at the same time. However, it can’t be used to test user experience, for that – manual testing is the way to go. 

Along with user experience, manual testing is useful in locating app crashes and usability. Complex use-case scenarios can be handled easily because technically, the tester replicates the user experience in real-time. It's faster and more cost-effective for smaller apps and MVPs. 

Testing constitutes the final 10% of the development process, which translates to almost 40% of the total time. It can include changes that the client requests. It takes a lot of effort from the developer's end since they have to go into every minuscule detail.

Valere lays great emphasis on frequent testing throughout the developmental stage. This is to increase our efficiency and productivity output. This involves both manual and automated testing. This helps us break down a bug right at the point of its inception so that later, we don't have to come back and navigate through thousands of lines of code to solve one small issue.

However, the client can always choose to not get the testing done if he/she is short on budget. We understand monetary restraints completely, which is why we always leave room to opt-out of thorough testing to be able to cut back.

Maintenance + final enhancements 

Statistically, after the launch of an application, approximately 15 to 20 percent of the capital required to launch the app is needed to maintain the app every year. For instance, if your app required $10,000 in the initial development, then approximately $1,500-$2,000 will be needed every subsequent year for its maintenance.

Maintenance doesn’t simply mean regular and sophisticated bug fixing, it also involves addressing to the ever-incoming user feedback. Adding and deleting of features according to the need of the situation can be tedious and effort-taking. It involves research, data, and a lot of tech integrations. Subtle improvements in design (UI), performance enhancement, and optimization of the overall application to make it run better after every update is the key to keep the app humming.

Developing an application is not a one-time investment. If you step into the online market, you have to be ready to uphold the maintenance costs in the following years.

Common mistakes to avoid while developing your app

Deploying an Undertrained Team

This is one of the most common mistakes that businesses make – giving their apps in the hands of the under-experienced or ill-trained team just because they charge lesser than their more skilled counterparts. If your app have a complex design or functionality elements, it will only cost you more to give its responsibility to someone who is only experienced in basic, simplistic coding.

Shortcuts

If your developer likes to take too many shortcuts in the process of developing an app, let us break it to you – it won’t take long before you start noticing pitfalls in his style. Sure, with technical equipment, we are able to ease out some processes which used to take more time earlier, but that doesn’t mean that we completely rely upon automation and outsourced codes. The developer has to take responsibility for his originality and authenticity.

Not focusing on the original problem

If an online solution isn't oriented to solve the problem that the business set out to – then no matter how technically advanced it is, it's of no use to the business or to the end-user. It’s very important to keep the business’ idea and long term goals in the mind when developing their app. This is why research plays such an integral role in understanding what is needed off the app.

Poorly planned product

Your million-dollar idea of an app won’t mean anything unless it is properly introduced to the market with its full potential. So many businesses fall head-first because they fail to understand the importance of having a fool-proof product launch strategy. As a tech visionary, Valere helps you figure out your way through the complex process of refining a product and getting it through several stages of seed funding. 

Budgeting 

Too many people feel the need of having unnecessary features in their apps to make them grandiose. Since we live in the era of unprecedented abundance of features, deciding what’s genuinely essential can be harder, and this impacts budgeting. With appealing features like AR, VR, and AI, it becomes extremely expensive to develop a mobile app, but they are introduced where they are not nearly necessary. This can be avoided by having a thorough conversation with your app developer and explaining all your needs, expectations, and goals before starting the process, and they will outline your budget for you.

Conclusion

After having gone understood the birds-eye view of the costs of developing an app, the next recommendable step would be to go to our online cost calculator and figure out the exact ballpark of where your app would lie. It’s a hassle-free automated tool where you can choose the preferences for your app and get an approximate cost based on that.

For your unique custom requirements and questions related to app development and its costing, you can always reach out to us. Our Support team would be more than privileged to be of help. 

Valere is a brand that stands for small businesses. We believe that local businesses deserve to thrive online, and we strive towards that future. Join us in our realm where we bring the best of technology and artistry together and make the Internet a much more creative and inclusive space.





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