Tuesday, 10 October 2017

How Much Do Apps Actually Cost to Build? What Do I Have to Do to Create One?

Mobile applications are starting to become more popular than traditional websites. Apps are vital to today’s world. Without them, a PC is just a typewriter, and a smartphone or tablet is just a device with a glass screen.

Apps now make up 50% of all mobile data by volume. People spend 89% of mobile media time on Apps, compared to 11% on browsers. Users find apps quicker and more convenient, with a wireless internet connection not always required while on the application because they store data locally on the device. Location- based apps such as Twitter and Tinder are very popular right now, riding the new wave of innovation. 

These days everyone wants to join in on the modern day success stories: get rich quick and become the next creator of Uber or Whatsapp. Apps seem to be a simple thing: you think of a brilliant idea, create the app, and it goes viral and you become rich. However, it is not so simple.

With this new frenzy on apps, many entrepreneurs have visions of creating their own.

“Can you give me a ball -park amount for cost and timing?”

A question on every visionary’s mind but a difficult question to answer. With that said, when estimating prices, cost is determined by three factors: the breadth of the work to be done, the time it will take, and the budget. It is also determined by whether or not you want to create an iOS app or Android (Android is more expensive). Our advice is to start with iOS and once you become more experienced and your app gains traction, move onto Android.

 In most cases, the budget is fixed. However, many do not know the extent of money that they will need in order to bring their ideas to reality. Uber cost around 100- 500k for their two apps and the dashboard for the company owner to monitor everything on the app. Twitter cost around 40- 60k in a span of 3-6 months. 

Read on to find out exactly what you have to do and how much it will cost to create your app.

Phases of App Building:

Defining business rules

In this phase, you find your team. To make things simpler, it is better to work with one company because this is a very interactive phase. When looking for people to develop your app, it important to find a team who has completed a full life cycle of app building.  In this phase, you will lay out your visions and needs for the future app. Be very specific when laying out what your app should be able to do- this way it will be easier for the developer to understand exactly what you want.

For example, Uber needed two apps; one for the customer, and one for the driver. This was determined in this first phase. Of course, more demand for the app means more costs so the budget will also be determined.


This phase is to design the layout and logo for the app. This is very important as having an appealing and sleek design can make or break your product. You can organize your designs on Photoshop to customize your app and show them to the developer.

Prototyping/ Creating a flow

Now you have created the app, and are playing around with the general layout to test the designs. This early sample of your product can test the concept of the app that you are trying to produce.


After evaluating your designs through the prototype, you will create 3 versions of your app on a milestone basis to perfect it:

Alpha Version: This is the very first version of your app. This part has a few key features to see how the app is going to work.

For example, for Uber, this version would be tracking the car.

Beta Version: This second version is more advanced. This version will be able to be tested by other users outside of the developing company.

For Uber, this phase would test if the customer can actually pay for the ride and if the driver can take the money from the customer.

Final Version: This is the final version of the app. By testing the full app you have created, it will avoid launching an app with bugs and help improve software. One thing to keep in mind is to use a team that can configure servers and keep everything (like your customers information) secure. The last thing you want is to have private information such as credit card numbers leaked. 


Congrats! The day is finally here- you’ve now created your first app. Host your app on Amazon web services as it is the standard and most secure host. Make sure you have a marketing strategy to notify the world about your great app.

Lastly, the rule of thumb is that when you’re creating an app, you need to budget for at least 3-5 months to build. On average, app development should have a 50- 100k budget with some leeway for more spending. 

Example Costs of Popular Apps: 

Based on market research, these are the costs to create these apps based on their feature functions. The more complex the features are added to means more coding and more testing that needs to be done, causing it to be more expensive and time consuming. 


The Facebook app is available for both iOS and Android devices, allowing users to add friends, message, post statuses, add/ manage their profile, access their newsfeed, posting pictures, “places”, etc. In addition, the app allows users to share photo stories with their friends(similar to snapchat) with fun filters/ effects that disappear after 24 hours. The estimated cost to build the Facebook app in both Android and iOS would be: $100,000 - $250,000.


The Yelp app is available for both iOS and Android devices. This app has features to provide restaurant go-ers with authentic reviews from previous customers. Customers can write & read reviews, post photos & ratings, read menus, get directions, and bookmark restaurants for future trips. The estimated cost to build the app in both Android and iOS would be: $65,455- $168,000


The Instagram app for iOS and Android allows users to connect with their friends and follow interests. Features include picture posting, liking pictures, commenting, following other users, live story, direct messaging, etc. The Instagram app has many more features than their website, which only allows users to comment, like, and follow others, making their app their main platform.  The estimated cost to build the app in both Android and iOS would be: $46,000- $67,000.


Uber can be used on both iOS and Android, but there is a plot- twist that many do not know. There are two Uber apps; one for the customer (that many are familiar with) and an app for the driver. The user app enables riders to use their location to find drivers nearby and communicate with them in order to catch their ride. The app easily lets customers pay the driver through the app, making it convenient and hassle- free. The drivers app allows them to find their rider and coordinate with other riders nearby for their “UberPool” feature. Both apps have a ratings feature which can be helpful when finding drivers/ picking up customers. Because Uber has two apps, it cost more money and time to build, so this is something to factor in The estimated cost to build the app in both Android and iOS would be: $95,000- $150,000

Here at Reaz Hoque Synergy Consulting, we believe in fair pricing and are very transparent based on our milestones and deliverables. Don’t be scared away by these pricings; we want to work with businesses who have a realistic view of how long it takes to test and launch an app. There is tremendous complexity when it comes to app building- especially when it comes to the Android and iOS platforms- because they are very different. Mastering the coding of an app is very important so it doesn’t crash; one of the reasons why customers delete them. The best way to get a complete pricing from any development firm is to make sure that you define your feature list, your user base (customers vs. admin), wireframes and flow chart (even if they are drawn by hand) to give the app development company a precise idea of what the app is expected to do. 

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