What's the rough cost of an application? What goes into its price more precisely? What are those heavy weight factors that influence and end up determining the mobile app development cost?

Is it the (custom) features and app-specific functionality that you need to get implemented into your app? Or maybe the app development company itself? The chosen platform, the post updates, the number of screens or maybe the API development and integration?

Or rather all of these elements, plus a few more?

Here's a breakdown of the key aspects which, all put together, will decide your mobile app's price tag:
 

1. The Mobile App Development Platform Itself

As it “dictates” the operating system that your app will run on: Windows OS, Android OS, iOS OS, Blackberry OS. And, therefore, it heavily influences the cost of the mobile app development process itself.

What type of mobile application do you have in mind? Who's going to be its target audience?

These are but 2 of the crucial questions whose answers will determine your choice of app platform. 

Note: do keep in mind that it's your mobile app development platform of choice that will determine the version of the OS system, as well.

With Android, your available options go from Jelly Bean to Nougat, from KitKat to Marshmallow and Lollipop. Whereas with iOS you'll get to choose between version 9, 10 and 11.
 

2. The Features You Need Will Strongly Influence the Mobile App Development Cost

How does your list of “must-have” features look like? And what about your... “nice to have” one?

Do your expectations in terms of app functionality go from:
 

  • push notifications
  • to geolocation
  • to in-app purchases
  • to streaming
  • to user login
  • to offline mode
  • to media content (smileys, emoticons, editing functionality here included)
  • to Google maps integration
  • to instant messaging?
     

Well then, do keep in mind that every feature on your wishlist is going to get reflected on the bill. You might want to trim it down a bit.

But if you've decided to stick to your feature requirements, make sure they're perfectly:
 

  • adapted to your target audience's expectations
  • suited for your specific type of mobile app
     

3. The Contracted Team of Mobile App Developers Itself

And it's not just the proven expertise and experience of the team members that will influence the mobile app development cost, but their... number, as well.

A “standard” app development team would include:
 

  • UX or/and UI designer(s)
  • QA engineer
  • project manager
  • in-house mobile app developer(s)
     

Plus a back-end developer, depending on your specific requirements (whether you'll need an API developed, as well, or not).

An extended team could include also 1 system administrator, plus more people for each one of the above-mentioned roles. 

A larger team translates into higher costs, right? Yet, a too small team might also reflect in the longer time spent working on your app project. And time is... money.

In short, when evaluating the potential candidates, try to balance your budget and those teams' level of proficiency. Your specific feature requirements and their provable experience in implementing them.

For, a badly integrated functionality could be cheaper now, yet get quite expensive on a long term...
 

4. Your Specific Back-End & API Development Needs

Do you need an API? A scalable and powerful back-end for your app's content and data?

And would a basic cloud-based server suit your needs or do you need a middleware layer developed, as well? 

Start analyzing all these variables and knowingly make your choices: all back-end and API requirements will finally bubble up to the mobile app development cost estimate...
 

5. Your Post-Development Updates & Maintenance Requirements

Just think of every user as of a new potential “risk”. One that could unknowingly inject all types of bugs and threats into your future app.

How will you get these risks under control? By:
 

  • implementing a continuous maintenance process
  • running regular updates on your mobile app
     

And having a dedicated team at your service to keep your application “sanitized” and properly updated does come with a price tag on...

One that will influence your mobile app development cost.
 

6. The Copyright and App Licensing Options

Just imagine: you've waited from 3 up to 6 months for your app to be ready, with all the “valuable” features and custom functionalities “baked in”. Then, after another few months, key elements from it get copied.

To avoid such a scenario, there's another aspect (and cost) to consider: applying for copyright. 

You'll need to invest in an app license, that will protect your mobile application from getting copied. 
 

7. The Number of Screens to Be Incorporated into Your App

How many screens have you planned for your future mobile app?

The answer to this question is highly influenced by the “palette” of features that you want to get incorporated into your app. The more of them, the more screens will need to be implemented...

And the higher the price will be, obviously. Your app development team's invested resources of time and effort will be proportional to the number of screens you'll request from them. 

In short: be 100% certain that each and every feature that you wish to have implemented in your app is relevant and it adds value.

No need to overcrowd your app with lots of screens crammed with non-essential features.
 

8. Native or Hybrid Mobile App? What Will It Be?

And each type of mobile app comes with its own advantages and disadvantages:
 

  • native mobile apps stand out in terms of performance and come bundled with a wide range of functionalities; yet, do expect a high mobile app development cost (and a longer development cycle, as well)
  • hybrid mobile apps get developed and running in no time, across multiple platforms, so they're much more cost-effective; yet, they do not “rock” in terms of performance, nor do they live up to the same UX standards as the native ones
     

The choice depends entirely on your own priorities: outstanding performance & a full range of functionalities vs versatility & lower costs...

Note: needless to add that there are other aspects related to your app-specific type — basic functionality app, app depending on the device's hardware, data-driven app — that will influence its development cost.
 

9. The Security Features to Be Implemented

And you need to give this aspect its due consideration. With payment gateways integrated into your future app and loads of confidential user data being handled there, you can't afford to underrate the security aspect.

It goes without saying that the mobile app development cost will get influenced by the specific security features that you'll integrate.
 

Final Word 

Identify your needs before even attempting to estimate the mobile app development cost. And, most importantly: set them apart from your... wishes.

It's only after you've put together your own list of requirements, project-specific constraints, and preferences that you can arrive at an accurate estimate.

Image by krzysztof-m from Pixabay

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