How does app development work and how much does it cost?

Mobile apps are powerful tools for engaging with customers. With more than 2 billion active smartphone users around the world the industry is growing rapidly. The mobile business is still very young and making your mobile app a success depends on how well your idea is executed.

The questions we get asked a lot is how much does it cost to build an app. We came up with our own rule of thumb Team Brookvale formula: $4,000 per screen per platform is generally a good guess.

IDEA

Before you decide to build a mobile app you should have the answers for the questions below:

  • What is the problem that I’m trying to solve?
  • Who’s the target market?
  • What would be the best platform for this idea? Mobile, web or something else?
  • How will I attract and retain users?
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    After answering these questions the core functions of the app can be determined and a rough ballpark figure for the development cost can be estimated. The exact cost is dependent on complexity and features which can only be concluded after completing the planning & wireframing phase.
    Developing a mobile software is a complicated and expensive project requiring the teamwork of a business analyst, UI designer, UX designer, programmer and project manager. The development cost can be anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000.

    PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PLANNING & WIREFRAMING

    $5,000 – $15,000 – 1 – 2 months

    The planning phase involves analysing your idea by taking into account technical details and feasibility. During planning workshops we prepare a wireframing documentation with all functions and screens detailed in depth. A native, working prototype is also prepared which can be shown to potential investors and customers.
    By the end of this stage a development schedule and costing is also prepared.

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    SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

    $30,000 – $150,000 – 3 – 6 months (per platform)

    After confirming the wireframing documentation a team of designers and programmers begin to build the mobile app and backend. Development advance test versions are regularly provided to you ensuring transparency and making sure the project stays on track. As a rule of thumb we found that if you calculate with $4,000 per app screen per platform then it’s quite often a good guess.

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    ONGOING COSTS

    $5,000 – $25,000 – Annually

    Maintaining the application ensures it runs smoothly across all platforms and operating systems. Ongoing costs include server maintenance, bugfixing and dispatching updates.

    ELEMENTS AFFECTING COSTS GREATLY

  • Developing for different platforms (iOS, Android, Web, other)
  • Developing for different devices (iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Android tablets)
  • Integration with existing enterprise systems
  • Backend development
  • CONCLUSION

    The cost of app development is dependent on complexity and features. Simple apps can be developed for $30,000 while complex applications can cost over $150,000. The planning and wireframing phase is essential to determine the timeframe and cost for the project.

    Also keep in mind the Team Brookvale formula: $4,000 per screen per platform is generally a good guess.

    FIRST STEPS

    Flesh out the idea and feasibility at our free workshop session.
    Complete a detailed planning and wireframing phase.
    You will receive a native prototype, costing and timeline for the project.

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    Next steps

    We offer a free 45 min project discovery workshop. We will discuss the opportunities, key steps and technical feasibility for your concept. This session also includes suggested improvements, MVP focus and a costing estimation.

     

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