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How Much Does it Cost to Make an App?

A business in motion must be mobile-first. Why? There are a few reasons for this. First, the mobile leverage industry transformations that enable the internet of things whereby global machine to machine connections will increase from 2 billion in 2011 to 18 billion at the end of 2022 [1]. Second, it transforms the value chain and business operations whereby mobile is primary. 91% of mobile users keep their devices within arm’s reach 100% of the time [2]. Third, it delivers a contextually relevant experience. Insights from mobile data provide new opportunities. 73% of mobile shoppers take action after receiving a location-based message [3]. Fourth, it’s drive revenue and productivity. Mobile is about transacting. 96% year to year increase in mobile cyber Monday sales between 2012 and 2011 [4]. Fifth, it deepens engagement. Mobile must create a continuous brand experience. 90% of users use multiple screens as channels come together to create integrated experiences [5].

The market of mobile applications shows no sign of stopping and, naturally, more and more people are researching the issue of how much does it cost to make an app where we all use the apps for daily life. The good news isn’t really as expensive as most of us may think. There is no simple answer cost to develop an app due to different software developer rates, project complexity and time.

Several of questions such as what kind of development approach you use, vendor or platform fragmentation, device fragmentation, what kind of problem use case need to solve, user interface and experience design and requirement details or feature. The complexity of the project can be started from simple, medium or complex. A simple app can take around 5 weeks (20 hours) if it’s done very fast and efficient. A medium app can take 8 weeks – 12 weeks (33-49 hours), and more, depending on the logic. A complex app like Uber can take ~20 weeks (82 hours).

There are two types of development approach which are native and hybrid. Each development approach has its own advantages and disadvantages, depends on the project complexity. If you looking for the best user experience, high performance, and security, you may prefer a native approach. There are a lot various device API that can support native functionalities such as camera or geolocation. But the cost to build a native app quite expensive due each platform requires software developer that knew a specific native programming language.

For example, the IOS app is written in Objective-C or Swift, Android app is written in Java or Kotlin and Windows app written in C#. Compare to a hybrid development approach, or we called it as cross-platform, the development and maintenance cost is cheaper because the small team works only on single code for multiple platforms and devices. The disadvantages of a hybrid app are lack support of native APIs and performance issue. If you keen to has some native APIs that not available in community support for the hybrid app, your software developer needs to do some bridging with existing native SDK in order to communicate with it.

It depends on how you build the app from the scratch or using plug and play either outsource it to software agency, freelancer or in-house. The rate may differ among them depends on project complexity and quality, timeline and how good your negotiation skill of course. Hiring a software agency surely seems to be the higher cost because of high reliability by their technical team that can support you. Each choice you made has pros and cons. Hiring software agency really helps out if you seek a peace of mind, no need to find other software developers and UI designers to build it, handle the project alone as a project manager or test the software quality. Unlike freelancers, you need to find all of them such as software developer, UI designer or software tester if you prefer the quality of the app. No project manager to control the process, so be ready to coordinate the team, deadlines, and budget. Communication issues between members of the project. If you were unlucky, you will have a freelancer that lack of skills. But you may use this as an alternative to finding the great one, Soding platform.

However, if you prefer an in-house approach, yes you can. But you need to consider how is your team structure should be like. The best practice to build a good tech team, it must consist of a project manager, software developer, UI designer, and quality assurance engineer. Even a small app should be done by a team, not by one person, so it will provide a better user experience. If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~ African proverb. Yes, you can cut cost by removing the project manager and quality assurance but your app will be low quality at the end or passing the deadlines.

The project manager must be able to manage the project smoothly, prevents any miscommunication and misconduct within the team to avoid pitfalls and abide by deadlines. Software developers will be at least 2 people to cover 2 roles, front and back-end developer. Front-end developer writes the code of an app and integrates it with the web service or API meanwhile back-end developer manages the database, writes the code for web service or API or web app and the server communicate with each other in a right way. Quality assurance will monitor each part of the app, controls code and design quality to ensure the end product meets all project requirements agreed on.

Minimum freelancer rate you can get from Upwork is around $25 per hour. For senior-level up to $110 per hour or even more. There are a lot of quality and affordable freelancers in Europe. Based on my experience, a good freelancer will show estimation details for each module multiply with how many hours are needed. So you can prepare some budget for it. Make sure you plan first the app requirement properly in an organized document so they can estimate the project cost more easily, transparent and efficient. Also do some preparation like a draft or wireframe of your app idea in order to make sure there is no scope creep and not too many change requests during the development that can affect resources, quality, and deadline.

If you looking someone to build a web or mobile app even an AI project, you can email me at nurdin[a] You also can use Soding for free if you want to evaluate some potential freelancers before hiring them.






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