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14 Factors that Highly affect Mobile App Development Cost

Well done! If you’re here, it’s because you’re super ambitious, you want to launch your own mobile app!

Surely you have an innovative idea?  Finally, I wish for you. I guess you’ve done a little bit of market research. In this article, I will reveal all the options available for you to make a mobile application and most importantly, all rates/prices/costs: encrypted! I will give you concrete figures for each of the options I will quote and I will try to forget no option!

This article will be divided into 14 “chapters”, 14 factors that will affect the cost of developing an app. Or you can say, 14 steps/things you have to do to build your app. Let’s go!

• The difference between native and hybrid: Do not leave the article right away. It’s not that heavy to understand. There are two great ways to develop a real mobile app! First option: we use the programming language chosen by Apple (iOS) and/or Google (Android) to be Objective-C / Swift and/or Java. So, that’s native development.

Second option: we move on to hybrid development that will be based on a good old technology that is always in the game, I named: JavaScript! And then some HTML and CSS to structure and style all that!

If you choose to do native (first option), you will need at least one or two pure developers really gifted. And if you choose to make the hybrid (second option), you will need to learn about technologies a little more accessible such as PhoneGap, Apache Cordova or better… a Framework such as IONIC (these 3 technologies all have the same basis).

• App Builders: You now know the difference between Native and Hybrid, but in there, there are a lot of subcategories/solutions to make the native or the hybrid, with very varied budgets and that’s what we will see together.

For example, there are (very) many online solutions to try to create a mobile application by yourself. We cannot cite all these solutions by being exhaustive. Impossible to test them all (we have something else to do). And so, impossible to describe them in detail here, it would be too long.

So, I quote some (a good package) that are often cited on the Internet. After, it’s up to you to do your little research.

Let’s quote:
1. AppyPie
2. ShoutEm
3. GoodBarber
4. AppSheet
5. Bizness Apps
6. Swiftic
7. Mobincube
8. AppYourself
9. SiberianCMS

In short! And that’s just a sample of the supply of this (juicy) market.

So with a service like “App Builder” like GoodBarber for example: either you will have to create an application yourself, limited in functionality; or you will go through an agency that will use the builder, but it will (also) take into account the limits of the platform. That is, some advanced features might not be available initially or some features could never integrate with the builder, even with goodwill.

Most App Builders will allow you to create a hybrid HTML / Javascript application that will be a perfect complement to your website to be referenced in the stores. So, it’s already not bad for your visibility. But on the other hand, this will not be suitable for mobile applications that want to be totally innovative, that is, with very specific needs. But, it will be perfect for example, if you want to create a “showcase” application a little static (but not too much).

It might also work for you if you can just create a plugin that will be added to the API of your App Builder (provided that your App Builder offers a sufficiently successful API system, that is to say, allowing you to add your own custom development / your own code).

Budget level, for subscription to the App Builder, it will still have a minimum of 100 or 200 dollars per month to continue to host your source code on the builder, for future updates, all that… Finally, it’s average! So, count about 1500 dollars per year of fixed costs, but it remains to check on the site of the builder of your choice.

After, of course, with an AppBuilder, you will save a lot on maintenance costs because, with native development, it would require a developer for each update and probably for several days of work. In native, we rarely spend less than a day!

So here is! Personally, at Octal IT Solution, if you have a simple project, we can try to achieve something clean via an App Builder or in any case, it does not cost anything to discuss… but, please, if you contact us and you want to get transparency from us, be transparent also on the available budget on your side.

• WordPress plugins: “WordPress plugins” what is it? Well, these are services that promise you, based on a WordPress site, more or less convert your WordPress site, into a mobile application.

For example:
• AppPresser
• MobiLoud
• Androapp
• WPMobile app (WPApp.Ninja)

We can also mention WP-AppKit, an opensource solution, which will allow you to precompile an Apache Cordova app for displaying your latest WordPress articles for example!

Well! After, unless I’m mistaken, it looks pretty much like a website embed that you could do with an empty, compiled app, all by embedding the WordPress site via a frame, in the latter case, push notifications less. But I may be wrong. If you have experience with the WordPress plugins of Mobile App, do not hesitate to contradict me in comments and to give us a little more info about the possibilities offered by these plugins. We would be eternally grateful!

So, of course, in terms of rates for the maintenance of a mobile application, with an App Builder or a WordPress solution such as AppPress or Mobiloud, the maintenance costs will obviously be lower than with native development, because, with these simplified tools, a good part of the maintenance will be supported by the platform (the App Builder) or the WordPress plugin, provided that it updates regularly. Make sure that the chosen solution is always active!

So here is. Same as App Builders, if you have a relatively simple project and budget, we will be delighted to explore the track of mobile apps powered by WordPress, within the possibilities of these solutions, of course!
If you want to go further than these easy solutions, you will need a budget and go through a freelancer, an agency or create your own start-up. We will see all this right away and I will give you all the figures/rates, concrete!

 • Small tip for native & hybrid development: So, we will now get down to business by talking about native development, by a freelancer or an agency.

So… my advice to start: do not hesitate to ask the daily rate of the professional when you will talk with him. All freelancers must be able to tell you: “here is my price, it’s 300 dollars per day / 500 dollars per day“.

This will immediately give you an idea of the value scale / or rather the price of your freelance or your agency. And a priori, it will give you an idea of its position on the market / that is to say, its experience and the quality of service expected (hopefully).


Then, if the professionals evaluate your project to 30 days of work or 50 days of work, for example, it will be easy (for you) to have fun with calculations, for example, by multiplying “The Days”: by “The Daily Price”. It will allow you to check the consistency of your quotes!

By the way, we will start talking about freelance, with numbers!

• Go through a (good) freelance developer: There, we will go into the galleys of Android Studio, XCode, developer licenses/developer accounts, on platforms, App Store & Google Play, the compilation of the mobile application (paying attention to errors to debug ), creating dozens of icons / “splash screens”, for all screen formats. Not to mention that Apple and Google may decide to refuse your App if it does not respect all their guidelines!

Short. I am aware of discouraging you from the beginning (sorry), but at the same time, you have to understand that the native (and even hybrid) development is a lot of good work. A job that takes time and therefore, which has a cost!

For the entry-level with a freelance, so, a very simple application, without advanced features, performed by a young freelance developer who launches, count about 15,000 dollars per platform, for the native. So, 15.000 USD for iOS with the App Store and 15.000 USD for Android with Google Play.

So, this is to start and of course, it depends strongly on the desired features (but also the complexity of the desired design for example).

After, via this type of profile (freelance), you can also climb in the development costs (30,000 USD, 40,000 USD or more depending on the time required to achieve your idea, that is to say, according to desired features).
So keep in mind that in native development, it will at least double the development rate to appear on Google Play (Android) in addition to the Apple App Store for iOS.

After, if you ask the freelance to make the hybrid via a framework like Ionic, for example, you can expect a budget two times lower than the native. So, for example, 50,000 USD on the native side versus 25,000 USD on the hybrid side. Of course, this remains example rates to take with tweezers. And all this is besides that you will probably need a web backend, that is, a dashboard to administer your app. For example, an intranet developed in PHP with Laravel.

• Platforms of workers (in particular) offshore: A little parenthesis, I have to tell you about offshore freelance platforms. Examples include UpWork, Freelancer or Fiverr. You will find their freelancers located on the other side of the world, especially agencies located in developing countries.

Well, believe my experience, using this type of solution is the best way (in my opinion) to throw all your money out the window. In many cases, even if the professional has a profile with very good grades on the platform, he will probably not understand your project (because of cultural and linguistic boundaries) and nothing worthwhile will come out. Trust me!

• Use a (good) mobile development agency: So how does it work if you use an “average” or a “large”, well structured mobile development agency! That is to say, an agency with many profiles such as graphic designers, developers, quality analysis specialists, etc.


So when I talk about an “average” or “big” agency, I mean that it has all the profiles required to launch a complete and successful mobile app, that is, say: developers, a project manager, a designer, etc. Well, from experience, it is not uncommon to see this type of agency ask you to justify a budget of at least 50,000 dollars even before starting to discuss your mobile application project.

Also Read: Planning to Integrate Artificial Intelligence in mobile app development? Know the Pros and Cons!

Yeah, develop an application will quickly mobilize several people for several months. And of course, the agencies have burdens to pay: wages, taxes, etc. And it must, of course, generate profits!

• Budget & MVP Consulting:  Start slowly and do not burn all your budget from the first day!

Whether via freelance or an agency and whatever the method of work adopted: agile method; MVP (Minimal Viable Product); all that … keep a “reserve” envelope to cover all the small features you would not have thought of when writing your specifications.

There are always small surprises… with all the projects! In other words, if you were given a lump sum quote at 40,000 dollars, it would not be stupid to keep at least 10,000 dollars of relief for small corrections or small additions that you would not have thought. Trust me on that!

Moreover, I would add that it is almost vital to start on the first version of the application “purified”. That is, with only the essential features to be just “profitable”. This is the famous MVP: an application that meets the needs of the user, nothing more!


Really! I advise you to use the MVP approach rather than develop everything in the first version!

In truth, I want to put everything in the first version, it is the best way so that the application never leaves.

• Freelance & agency maintenance:

• A word about the cost of maintaining a mobile application, by a freelancer or an agency.
• If it’s a developer or an agency that has taken care of your mobile application, for each maintenance intervention, it will again mobilize.
• One or more developers and recompile the application and send it to the stores, unless using the TWO-STEPS logic, that is, the 2-step app download, with the inside apps… all that.
In short! All this requires a significant budget.

• Privacy & protect your idea: To receive concrete quotes for the development of your mobile application, it will transmit your technical specifications everywhere.

So, I know that many prospects who dream of becoming the new Uber or the new Airbnb do not want to talk about their mobile app concept. Except that no freelance and no agency can encrypt your project without knowing what it is.

So, if you have trouble trusting, you need to legally protect your concept, your idea, upstream of quote requests. And that’s your problem, not the developer’s problem. Moreover, I advise you to look for a developer by telling him, from the outset, that you have no confidence in him and therefore, try to make him sign papers where he agrees not to work on a concept similar to yours. There is better to start a collaboration!

I am not a lawyer, but I am trying to give you some tips to protect your idea. Here are some ideas found directly on Google. You can:
• file a patent,
• have a mark deposited and fill a Soleau envelope after the INPI
• send you a registered letter that compliments your concept
• submit your idea to a copyright company
• or have a bailiff report or a notary act

Well! It’s up to you to make your little market there. And if you really came across a professional who had nothing else to do than poke your idea to develop it for you, you can try to sue him by proving that you sent him your Specifications.

Not a beautiful life? What could be simpler?

Another option, you trust or, you find someone you trust or you create your own startup with your own internal resources and if you have a big project and a real budget, it’s this I recommend you!

• Create your startup: So, why and how to create your own startup to launch your mobile application project? Well simply because, for a large and serious application, it is the most optimal solution in terms of development costs, maintenance costs, flexibility, speed of development, etc. You can imagine that Uber, Airbnb, and Facebook did not use freelance or an agency to launch their ambitious project.

Start-up Concept

All this was done internally via their own startup of employees and shareholders! And I say shareholders because you can join!

You, you have your idea. You can find a developer, a salesperson and a graphic designer (for example) and share them with you in the company. For example, you keep 40% of your company/startup share, and you share 20% of the other members of your startup, respectively.

This will motivate them to invest in the growth of your business, even if, of course, you still have to pay them a salary.

So, if you have for example 100,000 dollars to put on the table for a really innovative mobile application, I do not think it’s foolish to create your own startup to get started… not to mention raising funds.

• The case of the application: Too Good To Go

I describe the concept of the application, of memory. It is an application against waste.

You may know that many merchants are forced to throw away the goods that are out of date. Take, for example, the case of the baker. At some point, at the end of the day, he has to throw all his bread in the trash, even if they are still edible the same day. Indeed, the next day, he can no longer afford to sell merchandise that is no longer the first freshness.

Well, that’s where the Too Good To Go app comes in. The baker says in the app that he has bread that is ready to be thrown away and he becomes localizable in the app.

At that moment, anyone who has installed the app can pick up some of the cheaper goods… well, I think that’s pretty much the concept! But there is a basket/package system that you will be able to collect; a kind of mystery box with products that were close to the expiration date. Anyway, if you want to know more go see on their website or install the app directly.

Well, here!

Imagine this… it’s fictitious but it happened more or less like that for them… So, imagine that this little startup, Too Good To Go, needed 6 months of work to launch its product by mobilizing 4 people. Imagine that they were members of the project who worked by paying only a SMIC, therefore, less than the salary of a young developer / junior developer. Well for that, you should have a small 80,000 to 100,000 USD budget to get you started with something serious, but still save money on the structure: Startup versus Agency! Just that…

 Budget: important remarks: I point out that to launch your project, it will also provide a budget “marketing”, that is to say, to be brief: pay for advertising.


Well, if not, how to make your application known outside of your family and friends?

You now understand that if you have a mobile application project and only 5,000 USD in your pocket, it will surely be necessary to review your plans. Afterward, if you want to gain financial independence to quit your job or improve the results of your current business, there is also the solution to do something on the Web, where development costs are lower.

If you have ideas and a little money in your pocket, come talk to us at Octal IT Solution and we’ll see if we can offer you something.

 Progressive Web Apps (or PWA…): Ah! So, maybe we keep the best for the end!

Progressive Web Apps are developed exactly like a mobile-optimized website, with the difference that they are able to use the features of your smartphone: camera, geolocation, push notifications, etc.

This is again a technology powered by Google!

You visit the Progressive Web App via your browser (Google Chrome for example) and the content of the application is downloaded to the mobile “gradually”, hence the name “progressive”.

The advantage of this young technology will, like the hybrid applications, to develop the application only once, for Apple and Android.

No need to submit your application on the Stores, therefore, no refusal possible, and you avoid very “Complex” procedures. So, no presence in the stores, but a well-referenced presence on Google that can reference the PWA (as a website). And the user can add an icon on its home screen, just as with a native app!

However, as you can imagine, the application will (often) have to be connected to the Internet in order to work.
The technology is still very young. We are still far from being able to do so much with a PWA with native and I admit you have never tested PWA, myself, as a user.

But I imagine that by 2020 or 2021, we will begin to get serious because it represents (for me) a nice alternative to native applications that are very complex and expensive to achieve.

Conclusioncontact us for the creation of your mobile application?

So, if you have an idea and want to do something about digital:
We can talk about custom app development
we can talk about creating an app with an App Builder
we can talk about the development of a “showcase” app based on a WordPress plugin
and in the future, we may be able to talk about Progressive Web Apps (2020/2021) but I promise you nothing
Even better, why not start your business with a website? And a mobile compatible website, so: responsive design.
Here you are!


Arun Goyal

Managing Director @ Octal Info Solution, Arun Goyal is a tech-enthusiast and visionary entrepreneur. He loves to talk about technology, and expresses his views about the trends in tech-world through this blog.