If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably been considering taking your business to the next level, expanding into new markets, or just kick-starting your brainchild. And you expect us to give you THE NUMBER. The more accurate, the better.

Nevertheless, I need to disappoint you now. Seriously. The brutal truth is always better than a white lie (at least, in terms of business...):

There’s no magic formula to estimate the costs of making a mobile app.
Even if you tell me that you want to develop something “just like Instagram, with some slight modifications” or “exactly the same as this weather app, look...”, I don’t have enough data to predetermine the costs.

Maybe you can get the number somewhere else, but come on… it couldn’t be from a serious business, since every professional knows that giving you even an approximate value requires first getting a ton of information.

We’re talking about a field where every single factor matters!

But… what kind of factors are we talking about, specifically?
OK. Let me explain this in the simplest possible way, without getting too technical. There are three main points we need to clarify before we get down to the nitty-gritty.

  1. The groundwork is to have a decent piece of written documentation. Preparing this can take a few days, up to even a few weeks or months... but let’s assume that you’re not looking to compete with Facebook. At least, not yet. ;-) Of course, the longer the process takes, the more it costs. But this is a totally unavoidable step, because this is what allows us to lay down the scope of the project.
  2. So, here we get to the main factors that influence the development costs at large. They all need to be put down in the above-mentioned doc. The framework includes:
    1. TYPE - like, is it going to be a game, a booking service, or an activity tracker?
    2. PLATFORMS - that the apps are going to be created on (iOS, Android, Windows Phone… or maybe all of them?).
    3. FUNCTIONALITY - the sky’s the limit here... We need to figure out what basic and additional functionalities your app is supposed to have. For example:
      1. login options
      2. login type (like email or social)
      3. user accounts (and how many of them?)
      4. admin panel
      5. app orientation (vertical or horizontal)
      6. geolocation
      7. push notifications
      8. search engine
      9. chat
      10. different language versions
      11. payment integration
      12. connectivity with other apps, like the camera
      13. connectivity with other devices, like a heart rate monitor
      You see how many things can be easily overlooked by not engaging a specialist who is ready to help you discover them all, and then lock everything up in one transparent doc? This is priceless.
    4. BUSINESS MODEL - in other words, how do you want to monetize your app? It can be either free or paid, or only the basic version can be free to download. You can even decide to have in-app purchases to get the revenue, or sell the entire solution for a fixed price on a B2B basis. We just need to know about it from the very beginning.
    5. DESIGN - the final step is to determine what kind of user interface you want, and how to make the most of it in terms of user experience… which means everything these days.
  3. And last but not least, having all of these on paper empowers us to draw a preliminary timeline, see what kind and number of specialists (developers, graphic designers, and so on) will be needed, identify the types and costs of potential additional services (like cloud-based data storage), and finally, estimate the budget (at least for a few early stages of development, if the project planned is huuuge).

    Yep, this is when you get the long-awaited NUMBER !
Wrap-up

Now you can see that it’s not so simple to tell you how much a hypothetical application can cost. But you can always contact us, and we will help you figure this out and then work out a plan that suits your budget.

With a little help from Apps Garden, developing a mobile app of your own is certainly within your reach!

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