How Much Does it Cost to Create an App


Developing an app, determining a realistic budget, and defining its distribution and promotion plan requires the same level of strategic marketing thinking and considerations as in other types of startups and projects. Clients usually offer a particular value or budget at disposal for the app, and an app development company sends back an invoice with specific amounts divided for each phase. The quality of the app will depend on the number of hours budgeted for it, and the higher the agency charges for those hours, the more experienced they usually are in producing high-end apps.

For freelance developers, the whole budgeting thing can bring challenges that if not foreseen and planned well can cause consequences that affect the entire app development lifecycle. The costs associated with building an application blindside most developers, therefore, if you want your app to be the next success, you must set up a clear budget and follow through on it.

Sticking to budgets is hard enough, but getting the right numbers down before you’ve started is just as hard. Even if you work with the best mathematicians around, your first budget will be more like a guideline. It will be an estimated analysis of what you need to get for your minimum viable product off the ground with all the essential features intact. Once you have a working MVP, you will have a better idea of what else you will need to budget for, or if you need to contact investors.

The entire process can be a headache unless you follow this guide.

Identifying the Costs

When planning out your costs, you will need to look at the three sides of the management triangle which are resources, scope and time. In the later stages, the budget will fall under resources however when you are starting out it will include all the three factors mentioned above.

The scope will be the first thing that you look at. By this phase, you should have a detailed document which lists all the requirements of the project going forward and the resources required for them. You may be tempted to throw on a blanket definition for your scope, however, a clear scope is important because it serves as a constant reminder which warns you when you get tempted to go over the budget and cross the line.

Time will tell you how long you should work on each particular segment of the app. Certain parts of application development require specific resources. Therefore, you should create a timeline for your application development to fit into those time frames.

For example, you don’t need to rent server space if you don’t have anything that needs hosting yet. Resources refer to how much of everything you have to use. Employees, in this case, are valuable resources so you must pay them accordingly. Try to keep your employee count to a minimum so that you do not have resources that charge you by the hour even though they’re doing nothing.

Costs Associated With Developing An App

The cost of building your app is directly related to its function. Standalone apps, which are the simplest apps, will cost less than $50,000 to build. More complex applications such as login apps, e-commerce apps, and two-sided marketplace apps can cost up to $2,000,000 to develop.

So what exactly defines the costs that creating an app bring?

User demands are a big factor when figuring out how much an application costs to build. The first and most important thing to do is develop an application that users will enjoy using. This means making sure that it runs without lag, is simple to use and is free from bugs.

Meeting all of these requirements is a challenging task that tends to be very resource intensive. The tools that you use to build the app also incur costs. Sketch, Marvel, and Swift are just a few of the tools that are common among developers.

Each of these tools is used for development on a specific platform, and the costs associated with particular platforms tend to vary.

Budgeting For Marketing an Application

The starting point for creating a successful application is solving a problem that users have. Once the application is up and running, the potential customers need to know that the solution has arrived. This is where a strong marketing strategy and a well-organized advertising budget plan and implementation comes in hand.

The competition in application stores is immense. There are over 1 million apps in the App Store, and they are all competing to be the one that users download, which puts your app at risk of getting lost in the crowd. This won’t be a problem if your app is designed for the existing customers of an established organization like a bank.

But if your application is designed to gather mass appeal rather than pleasing existing customers, you’re going to need to budget for advertising. To calculate how much you should spend on advertising, determine the number of users you want to engage and afterward use the cost per install to work out your daily ad budget.

Your ideal cost per install (CPI) should be about $1.3. If you want to get into the top ten of application downloads, you’ll need to have about 10,000 downloads a day. To get there, you should start by hiring a bunch of marketing analysts to launch an ad campaign tailored to specific platforms such as Twitter and Facebook then identify where the majority of the leads are coming from and concentrate future marketing efforts there.

If you use this model, your daily advertising budget will be your CPI multiplied by your daily target for downloads.


Keep in mind that every app is different. Therefore you should do your research and compile your strategy depending on the objectives of your project. Get a solid base upon which you determine what will work best for your app and plan your app marketing and development budget accordingly.


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