How Much Does It COST to Build an App (In 2020)
By: Sagar Sharma

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App (in 2020)

Mobile apps, in the last five years, have changed the entire course for businesses.

Today, the idea of building a mobile app comes to many, from salon owners to C-Suite executives of Fortune 500 companies.

In fact, ever since Credencys started in 2008, How Much Does It Cost to Build an App has been the most asked question we’ve received from entrepreneurs, brands, and companies all over the world.

Of course, the mobile app development cost matters a lot, especially today when there are so many options available to choose from.

But, before you pick any option, it’s important to study each option carefully to identify which option is best for you and why.

Now, when it comes to developing mobile apps, most people have the misconception that the cost of mobile app development depends only on the total development time and hourly rates.

In reality, this is not the case. Pricing of a mobile app depends on a lot of factors and thus, the mobile app development cost varies widely.

In today’s blog, we will be answering the How Much Does It Cost to Build an App question of yours with a detailed explanation of everything that adds up in the mobile app development cost.

With that being said, let’s get to the point!

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?

Like we said earlier, there is no fix answer to the question “how much does it cost to build an app”.

But, to give you a hint, know that just like other things in life, you get what you pay for.

For example, spending a hundred thousand dollars on kitchen equipment won’t make you the number one professional chef in the world.

The same goes for mobile apps. You can’t build an app for $100 bucks or less, and at the same time, spending a million dollars won’t automatically make your mobile app successful.

So, if you want really want to figure out how much does it cost to build an app in 2019, here’s what you need to know:

  • Types of Apps you can build.
  • Hourly rates of mobile app developers.
  • Factors that influence mobile app development cost
  • Who can build your app A.k.a. Hiring options.

Let’s start with Types of Apps you can build.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App – Types of Apps

types of apps

The type of app you’re building has a huge share in the mobile app development cost. Below, we’ve shared the types of mobile apps you can build and how they affect the overall app development cost.

Native Apps

Native apps are basically built exclusively for individual mobile operating systems. Simply put, a mobile app built for iOS can not be used on a different platform such as Android or Windows.

What this means is, you’ll have to build separate mobile apps for each platform if you’re targeting the user base of Android, iOS, and Windows. On the bright side though, native apps are extremely high in terms of performance and provide the highest-quality user experience.

Hybrid Apps/Cross-Platform Apps

Hybrid & cross-platform apps basically allow businesses to build a mobile app for multiple platforms at the cost of one. These apps are built using web & cross-platform technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React Native, Flutter, and so on.

In simple words, Hybrid & cross-platform apps are easy to develop & cost-effective, which is clearly an advantage for those having a strict budget. However, this type of apps lacks performance, access to certain APIs, and cannot provide native-like experience.

Game Apps

Games can be both simple & advanced. And as you might have expected, a complex game app costs more. So, game development cost basically depends on many factors like 3D graphics, AR support, global ratings, social media integration, and so on.

For entrepreneurs, the game app category is the most profitable one since it’s the most popular category worldwide according to Statista.


Once you decide which type of app you want to build, you need to stick with that category.

As far as the development cost of Native, Hybrid/Cross-Platform, Game App is concerned, the actual amount is finalized based on two things:

First is the hourly rate of the mobile app developer you’re planning to hire.

Second is the factors like the number of screens, features, the complexity of features, etc..

For now, let’s learn about the hourly rates of mobile app developers and see how it could affect the cost of your mobile application development.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App – Worldwide Hourly Rates

If you’re planning to build an app for your business but don’t know how to write code, then obviously you will need help.

You’ll have to hire mobile app developer or a group of developers, depending on the complexity of your mobile app requirements.

And as you might have guessed it, the more developers you hire, the more the development cost will be.

Below, we’ve shared the average hourly rate of mobile app developers in different regions.

average hourly rate of mobile app developers

These are worldwide hourly rates of mobile app developers.

So, how much would it cost you to hire a mobile app developer?

This, as you can see, depends on the location of the mobile app developer.

In simple words, the hourly rate of mobile app developers varies in different countries.

North America, for example, is the costliest region to hire mobile app developer from. Their hourly rate ranges from $50 USD to $250 USD.

Asia, particularly India, is the main IT outsourcing hub charges between $10 USD to $75 USD per hour.

Although, one thing you should remember that there’s no guarantee that your mobile app will succeed if you go with the most expensive mobile app development company.

In fact, low-cost mobile app developers such as from India have proved to perform better and deliver better results.

The point is, higher cost doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality or guaranteed success.

Moreover, a lot of factors go into making an app successful.

Below, we will talk about the most important factors that not only play a huge role in the success of a mobile app but also how they influence the costing of a mobile app.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App – Factors That Influence Price

factors that influence price

As we mentioned earlier, the cost to develop a mobile app doesn’t only depend on the development time and hourly rate of the developer.

There are many moving pieces that make up the actual cost.

Let’s dive into the key factors that determine the total cost of mobile app development.

1 – App Development Team

Depending on the app requirements and complexity, your app development team will include hiring a business analyst, UX/UI designer, one or multiple developers (depending on the number of platforms you’re targeting), quality assurance engineer, and a project manager.

2 – Technical Complexity

The cost of mobile app development is not calculated only on the basis of the number of developers hired and their hourly rate, the technical complexity also plays a huge part.

In simple terms, the more complex a feature is, the more time and number of developers it will take to develop it. Furthermore, you might even need to hire a specialist developer in case if a feature requires writing custom algorithm.

3 – Backend Development

Backend development is another factor that influences the cost of developing a mobile app.

For example, if you’re building a mobile app that targets millions of users who will be transmitting vast amounts of data on a daily basis, then you’ll need a strong backend that can handle such huge workloads.

As a result, it will definitely add up more development hours for building your mobile app. In fact, you might even need to use multiple technologies as well as paid tools to make sure everything runs smoothly.

4 – Third-Party Integrations

Thanks to the fast-paced evolution of mobile technologies, today there are plenty of third-party integrations available to choose from.

Though these third-party integrations can help to speed up the development speed, but there are many third-party tools that come with complicated documentation. This, in turn, can result in additional time to learning how to integrate into your app.

Moreover, most premium third-party integrations are paid, meaning you’ll have to pay for its services on a regular basis as well.

5 – Supported Operating Systems & Devices

If you’re going with iPhone app development, then your app must be compatible with the latest as well as recent versions of iPhones such as (iPhone XS to iPhone 6S). Similarly, it should also support the latest as well as recent iOS versions including iOS 13 to iOS 10.

On the other hand, if you’re going with Android app development, then there are two main factors you need to consider in order to target the maximum number of Android user base:

  • Popular devices on the market
  • Size of the market share of each Android smartphone manufacturer
  • Android operating system versions

As far as the development cost is concerned for both iPhone & Android app development, building an Android app will take longer and cost higher, given the huge fragmentation of the Android market.

6 – User Interface Design

User interface is a critical part of a mobile app and plays an important role in the success of a mobile app.

The user interface is what defines the look and feel of a mobile app. And if you want to see your app loved by your target users, it is vital to provide a pleasurable user experience.

This means, including custom graphics, images, animations, and a lot of other things, which ultimately add up a considerable amount of mobile app development hours, affecting the overall cost to build your mobile app.

7 – Post-Launch Expenses

Mobile app development is not just about programming, it’s way beyond that.

For example, just like a business, a mobile app also comes with its own maintenance costs such as app updates, bug fixes, user support, server maintenance, and even legal support.

All of this will cost you money, not to mention expenses of app promotion and marketing, which will actually make your break your mobile app.

Furthermore, the post-launch expenses aren’t included in the app development cost estimate, so be prepared to set aside money or budget for the same.

Overall, these are the majority of factors that influence the cost of application development.

Now, there is only one thing remaining that influence the final cost to develop a mobile app. – Hiring options.

Let’s discuss it below.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App – Hiring Options

hiring option

When it comes to developing mobile applications, you’ve three hiring options:

  • In-house staff
  • Freelancers
  • Mobile App Development Company

In-House Staff

This option basically involves hiring full-time employees to help you build an app.

Though the idea of having developers physically present is definitely beneficial but if you really think about it, this is 100% unnecessary.

For example, hiring in-house staff will add lots of unnecessary costs such as infrastructure, internet, and other utility bills, not to mention paying salaries whether they’re being productive or not.

So, unless you’re a unicorn startup backed by VCs or a million-dollar enterprise corporation, there is no need to go through all the hassle just for developing a mobile app.


Though freelance is the most cost-effective hiring option of all three, but it’s not the smartest option to go with.

Here is an analogy that will explain why:

Suppose you’ve decided to hire freelancers to build your mobile app. The first thing you’ll need to do is finding the right talent in the market, which will be super-hard especially because you’ll not have the knowledge to identify the right mobile app developer.

However, let’s also suppose that you’ve found the right talent. You will still have to manage them individually, which will eat away your time that could have been spent on other important things such as planning and executing app marketing and promotion campaigns.

Thus, hiring freelancers is again not a great option.

Mobile App Development Company

Hiring a mobile app development company is often the first choice of entrepreneurs, startups, and enterprise companies.

This hiring option is basically the sweet spot between in-house staff and freelancers.

Take in-house staff for example. While there are many benefits of having the development team physically present, but it costs way higher than hiring an outsourcing company.

On the other hand, freelancers cost less than an outsourcing company but managing them individually leaves no time for focusing on other important aspects of your app business.

However, hiring a mobile app development company helps people like you to build a mobile app in a limited budget and focus on other aspects such as app promotion at the same time.

In this hiring option, you basically share your app requirements and the company takes care of everything from wireframe design to publishing the app on the App Stores.

Calculating the Final Cost of Mobile App Development

Let’s talk numbers!

Based on the things that we discussed in this blog, here is the rough answer to your question How Much Does It Cost to Build an App in 2019.

We already saw that hiring a mobile app development company is the best option.

So here, we will calculate the final cost to build an app based on $50 USD per hour as the average hourly rate of app development companies.

To keep things simple, we will divide the mobile app cost into three different categories.

mobile app cost

1 – Simple Apps

Simple Apps are apps with basic functionalities that don’t require any complex third-party integrations. Features of simple apps involve standard UI design, feed, social media integrations (if required), simple database and basic backend.

Developing this kind of basic mobile apps require somewhere between 250 to 1000 design & development hours that could cost from $12K to $50K USD.

2 – Moderate-Complexity Apps

This kind of apps includes high-end custom UI design, real-time and payment functionality, various API integrations, moderate backend server, and a broad range of device support.

On average, developing apps with moderate complexity may take somewhere between 750 to 1800 hours that could cost from $35K to $90K USD.

3 – Highly-Complex Apps

This kind of apps, as you might have guessed, take long hours to design and develop. These apps require advanced features like seamless audio/video processing, customized animations, heavy third-party integrations, complex backends, real-time features, and multiple database relationships.

Thus, the timeframe to develop such highly-complex apps takes anywhere between 1500 to 2500+ hours based on specific requirements, which could cost from $75K to $125K USD or more.

How Does Credencys Calculate the Cost of App Development?

Each time a client approaches us with his or her mobile app idea, we provide a free rough/ballpark cost estimation.

Here’s how the cycle goes:

  • Firstly, when you fill out our Contact Us form, we schedule a call with our principal consultant who confirms the details you filled in the form, ask about your app requirements, business goals, budget, etc. and notes down everything.
  • Next, we process the requirements shared by you during the first call and perform business analysis to offer the best solution possible within your budget.
  • After that, we will schedule another call with you to present our feedback, solution suggestions, the initial scope of work document for you to review.
  • Next, once you review and provide your feedback on our suggestions and scope of work document, we make the necessary changes to finalize the scope of work and based on that we prepare the final cost estimation for your mobile app project.
  • Finally, we negotiate the final cost & offer you the best solution for your mobile app project.

Once you approve the final estimate, we proceed to create wireframes for your mobile app to show you how your mobile app will look and feel like.

Upon your approval, we will begin the rest of the application development process, send you daily reports, work on your feedback, and so on.

Concluding Thoughts…

With this, we’ve come to the end of this blog.

We have tried 100% to give as detailed answer to the question ‘How Much Does It Cost to Build an App’ as possible.

To give you a summary, the cost to build an app depends on a lot of different factors, who builds your app, how much time does it takes, and how it gets built.

So, now that you know how the cost of developing a mobile app is calculated, contact us now if you’re ready to build your first mobile app and make an empire out of it!

Here’s one of our recent blog that will help you with that:

How Do Free Apps Make Money – 9 PROVEN Strategies to Earn Millions in 2019 & Beyond!

General FAQs:

Q1 – How much does it cost to build an app?

To give you a rough estimate, mobile apps usually cost anything between $10K USD to $125K USD and even more, depending on the type and complexity of the mobile app you’re building.

Q2 – How much does it cost to build a game app?

To develop a game app, you need expert mobile apps development company, and as far as the cost is concerned, the game app development cost can range between $50K USD to $500,000 USD, depending on the 3D graphics, size, graphics, and other functionalities.

Q3 – How much does it cost to maintain an app?

The mobile app maintenance costs are usually 10-20% of the total development cost. So, if the cost of your mobile app is $15K, then you should expect the maintenance cost to be around $1500 – $3000 USD every year.

Q4 – How long does it take to build an app?

The time to build an app varies greatly, but the general answer is 4-12 months. Although, you can also go with the MVP approach to build your mobile app faster and with core features to test your idea in the market.

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