How Much Will my Mobile App Cost to Create?

What will my mobile app cost me or my company?

Accella iPhone AppsThis must be one of the toughest questions in the hottest IT market right now; mobile application development.  I field this question every single working day and many weekends as well.  As you can imagine there are a multitude of factors that have to be considered when looking at developing an iPhone, iPad, or Android application.

Have a Project Scope

The most important factor in answering this question is simply thinking the project scope out thoroughly.  I’ve seen individual entrepreneurs and large companies rush into a mobile project without properly scoping out every important angle in the proposed project.

But What if I don’t have a Project Scope?

Generally there are two approaches to this scenario:

  • I have no idea what this will cost, so let’s build a scope of work and find out what vendors will charge.
  • I have a set budget of XYZ, here is my scope of work, can this project be accomplished within my budget?

If you have no idea of a budget to begin with, don’t panic.  Start with generating a solid scope of work and send it out to several vendors (at least three) to see what kind of budgetary feedback they give you.  But be careful to cover yourself with a Non-Disclosure Agreement and make sure that you are comparing like vendors. (See our page on who owns my idea)

Know the Vendors You’re Talking To

Seven Mobile App MistakesMany vendors use freelance or outsourced talent, make sure you ask them if the project management, design and programming resources are in house or not.  You should also ask if you will be able to communicate directly with everyone on the team via phone or email. While you may save money going with firms that use freelancers or outsource projects overseas, you have to look at the opportunity cost and how much longer your project will take in development.

Getting in a Range of Bids

You will likely receive a wide range of bids, typically the range can vary (from high to low) by tens of thousands of dollars.   Again don’t panic, there will be reasons for this, not all of them will be logical, but some factors include overhead, market served, technical scope of project and design requirements.

Seven Common Mobile Development Mistakes to Avoid

Two Main Types of Mobile Apps

Generally speaking there are two main types of mobile applications, static and dynamic.  A static app is normally just informational, with the entire app residing on the mobile device.  There is no automatic updating of fresh content unless the developer submits an update.  A dynamic app contains information that can be continuously updated via RSS or web services feeds via Wi-Fi or cellular phone service.

So what does all this mean for my budget?

Simple, static apps typically fall in a price range of $8,000.00 – $20,000.00 (per platform) depending on the amount of information that has to be displayed in the app.  Dynamic apps generally average from $12,000.00 – $30,000.00 (per platform) depending on the complexity, though as you add in more features and functionality, the cost will typically increase as well.

We have worked on many dynamic apps that have to be deployed on multiple platforms (iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Mobile Web) in which case the cost can easily go above six figures.

How can I Keep the Budget Down?

Many companies can shave the budget cost down by leveraging in house talent to lend a hand in the project.  We encourage our clients to leverage such talent in areas of wire-frames, design and writing web services scripts.

Be Careful when going with the Lowest Bid Out There

You can get lower quotes by going with small outfits or freelancers who are hungry to prove themselves.  Just make sure to check references and keep in mind that most freelancers have other jobs so you are not the most important client that they have.  Also, companies that outsource work overseas have to bridge a cultural and time gap in development, which can lead to longer project timelines and higher frustration for your project managers.

At the end of the day any good outfit will give you a proposal that is presented a’la carte, meaning you can pick and choose what features you want in for your final project specifications. As always feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Be on the lookout for my next post on Features you can Incorporate to a Mobile App and how Complex they are to do.

Jason King

Jason King

As President of Accella, Jason provides strategic vision towards growing a multi-faceted agency with a focus on helping clients understand how digital transformation impacts their organization on a daily basis.

30 Responses

  1. That all depends upon what you need the apps to do and the scope of work for your apps. Feel free to give us a call to talk more specifics.


  2. how much it cost if i want to make application for insurance company and how can i make it and who can make it for me please replay on me fast

  3. This really all depends upon what functionality you want the app to have. Do you need to access information from a server/the internet. Do you want the app to communicate with you? Are you taking pictures? An app generally takes 3 months to create, though the more functionality and complexity you have, the longer it will take to create. You can take a look at an App Development Timeline that we put together to help estimate the process, however times and costs will adjust based on the app’s requirements.

    I would say to give us a call and we discuss your particular requirements and give you an estimate on costs and time – 888-856-2664.

  4. I would like to build an app similar to one that is on the market already (but with a twist). How can I estimate how much traffic and sales that this existing app has now?

  5. That is quite a tricky thing to do. Apple doesn’t generally release download stats to the public. You can take a look at Mobclix’s App ranking page (which is currently down) to find out more information. In terms of revenue, if you find the download numbers for a paid app, you can extrapolate how much they earn my multiplying the download numbers by the cost of the app, and then taking out 30% (Apple’s cut). If they have in-app purchases, that data will be much more difficult to find out, as you’d have to get that directly from the developer. If you are looking to build an app similar to what they have, I doubt they would be very willing to share that.

  6. Hi, Just want to find out some information, How much would it cost to create a game some what similar to “street fighter”, “Mortal Kombat”, etc etc? These games to be played via Smartphones only?

    I know that we have to have graphic designers to create these chracters, how much would that cost to create & design characters?

  7. Hi there, can you create an app with a tracking feature? I can’t disclose anymore information at the moment I simply wish to find out if your company is able to do so and if so could you reply to my email by any chance?

  8. Ashley,

    Creating a full video game similar to Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat is no simple undertaking, especially to be played on a smartphone. Considering that each platform is different, as in developing for iOS and Android would be similar to developing for Sony Playstation and XBox, they are two completely different platforms requiring a large effort. My guess is that you would need a team of designers and developers working months on end to create a game, for something as complex as Street Fighter, I wouldn’t be surprised if it would take over a year to develop.
    My guess is it would be well in to the six figure range to develop a similar game. It is rather difficult to nail down an exact price without getting many more details and doing a full project concept.
    Give us a call if you would like to look in to this further.

  9. How do I get an app created for my youth football program I run? Nothing fancy just basics

  10. William,
    Your best bet would be to fill out our online questionnaire to give us all of the details about your app. We’ll then take a look and reach out to you with what the next steps are. You can also give us a call at 888.856.2664 to discuss your idea and what you’re looking to do.

    The basics would be to thoroughly map out your idea. Once we have that, we would move on to the design of your app, followed by the development of your app, and finally marketing it to your potential client base.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

  11. How much can be the cost for two app for sale products. Must have support for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Web. Database connection and of course dynamically. In the customer side with customizable alerts, registration, payment (paypal preferred), current state of process (like shipping, payment, refunds) and in the business side the other app with supervision of stocks levels, statistical analysis, quick reports. I know, is a real sale’s management system. Just I need one approximate, a global number. I need to know too if normally each app is developed over the native platform or normally a common platform like titanium is used. Not require OpenGL or Dramatic Graphics Effects and Designs. Thanks.

  12. how much dose a small game like a ball rolling on a table and collecting some items if it comes to ends of table it falls down and game ends type o game cost…..for both android and windows ……..

  13. That is quite a loaded question. We would need to discuss in more detail the background for you app, what you’re looking to do with it, and what information it needs to pull from and generate. Generally speaking you would need to develop separately for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Web (Mobile or Full Web). While using Titanium is an option, we tend to steer clear of that option. (Read why we do). It’s tough to give a ball park estimate on what the app will cost as it is going to depend upon what database(s) you need to connect to, how many screens the app needs to have and how intense the graphics need to be. I would encourage you to fill out our online Mobile Development Questionnaire and we can come back with a pretty decent ball park estimate for you.

    We are working on an online calculator which will help to give you a better option, we hope to roll that out later this summer, so check back!

  14. There is actually quite a bit of complexity that would go in to creating a simple game like. You would have to factor in graphic design time, how the app interacts with the phone, how you keep score, do you connect to a database in order to keep your score, are you going to integrate ads, and a host of other factors.

    Like others before, I would encourage you to fill out our online Mobile Development Questionnaire and we can come back with a pretty decent ball park estimate for you.

    We are working on an online calculator which will help to give you a better option, we hope to roll that out later this summer, so check back!

  15. how much will the slow shutter app cost for ios..
    i want a similar kind of app

  16. You’re estimates for dynamic apps are way way too low. There’s tons of complexity, especially if the business don’t have their APIs set up and immediately ready to use. This isn’t a smaller application – it’s just as complicated as a desktop app or more so!

  17. The estimates that we put in this post for dynamic apps are the average range that most of the dynamic apps cost that we produce. It is true, once you start increasing the complexity of dynamic apps, the costs can start building up quite rapidly. It isn’t unheard of for apps to reach six-figures to produce, though the majority of apps that we create for our clients don’t reach that plateau.

  18. Hi, Can you give an approximative quote for creating a dynamic application (working with ios,android,blackberry,..) using the concept of (intant coupon deals)? Many thanks.

  19. Jack,

    That is a little vague on your needs for the app. It’s kind of like asking for a quote to build a house that has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. There are a lot of other factors that go in that we need to assess in order to give even a basic ball park quote. Please give us a call at 888.856.2664 and we can discuss your requirements and get a ballpark estimate out to you.



  20. I have a great concept for an app.. are there any companies that will build my app for a cut of the profits?

  21. Mark,

    There may be some companies out there that will build your app for a cut of the profits. I do not know of any directly, but you may be able to find some developers to help with that. I will say that the old adage holds true, and you do get what you pay for. So make sure to really look at a developer’s credentials and what apps they have built in the past before signing a contract.

    Also, MAKE SURE that you get your own Developer’s Account and list your app under your own account and not someone else’s. If a developer lists it under their own account then they control the app, receive moneys generated and you rely on them to pay you out. We’ve talked with many people that have gone that route and were burned bad – so make sure not to do that.

    Good luck in your searches – let us know how the process goes.


  22. Where can I get a standard NDA form that I could use to get my vendors and possible clients to sign so i can present my idea. I know getting a lawyer is the beat solution but whatever they will charge me to create a document I can put in my app. Do you have any templates or samples that I could use?

    Thank you.

  23. Creating a game for Android, iOS, or any platform depends upon a wide range of factors. Costs can vary from $15,000 to $100,000+. Many factors can include designs, activity within the app, if it needs to connect to a database and overall gameplay. Feel free to give us a call to discuss your project more. 888.856.2664.

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