How Much Does it Cost to Make an App in 2021?

The prime question amongst every entrepreneur looking to go digital is how much it costs to make an app? So, let’s face it, everything has a price.

When it comes to developing mobile apps, the adage “you get what you pay for” holds. ‘It depends’ is the most common response to this fascinating question, which poses more questions than answers.

If you’ve already done some research on software growth, the most important question you’re probably looking for an answer to is “how much does it cost to make an app?”

To be specific, software development costs are difficult to forecast, ranging from $15,000 to $230,000+ for a unified platform. It’s worth remembering that for an effortless project, the minimum budget for creating an app is about $10,000. The cost of the original, simple app version will typically increase to $60,000 on average in most cases.

The reason for such a large price difference in-app creation is app type, number and sophistication of features, model uniqueness, location, and prices of the IT vendor you select, marketing and QA expenses, etc.

Clutch and Outsystems reports confirm a wide variety of possible project costs ranging from $5,000 to $500,000+ with a timeframe ranging from 1 to 9 months. According to Goodfirm’s study, an app with complex features costs between $70,000 and $100,000, while an app with a basic feature set costs between $40,000 and $60,000.

What influences the cost of app development?

App development costs aren’t solely determined by development time and hourly rates. It is calculated by a range of factors, such as the difficulty of locating talent, the product’s sophistication, and post-release overhead expenses.

App development team

An offshore or local construction team may be basic or expanded, depending on project requirements. A market analyst, a solution architect, one or more developers (such as the platform), a project manager, a Quality Assurance specialist and a UI/UX designer are usually involved in the software development team. And even though you’re saving money mostly on the user interface (no bright colors, no fine functionality menu, no eye-catching animations, only the basics), you need to have the right user experience. You’ll have to employ at least part-time a UI/UX builder.

Technical complexity

Millions of features can increase a project’s technological complexity. For example, you may create a platform for last-minute hotel room reservations, including an intelligent detection filtering algorithm and real-time discounts.

There was no usable filter integration when we developed it, so we had no choice but to build the algorithm ourselves. This resulted in additional development effort and therefore, a higher app cost is inevitable in such a case.

Backend development

You will be developing a large complex app with millions of users that will share a massive amount of data in real-time and who will demand that their data be synchronized across networks and encrypted.

In this situation, you’ll almost certainly need a backend that can handle large loads and run smoothly in any setting, which will necessitate more hours spent on designing and developing a complex app architecture. Furthermore, creating the backend of your app would necessitate using several programming languages, necessitating the hiring of a more diverse group of experts.

Niche third-party integrations

There are a variety of third-party integrations, including niche-specific ones, that can help you grow faster. Third-party implementations, particularly niche ones, may, however, provide inconsistency and complication in their documentation.

This will result in you spending more time figuring out how to incorporate them through your app. Furthermore, you’ll almost certainly have to pay a premium to use these facilities.

In-app purchases

Business owners also incorporate as many payment options as possible to appeal to their entire audience’s needs. It’s also a nice approach. The thing is, for each additional payment option you use, such as in-app purchases, PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and so on, you can expect to pay more.

Freelancers vs. App Development Agency


Freelancers and mobile app development companies are the two key types of vendors that can build an app for you.

  1. App production at a low cost
  2. Direct interaction with the developer daily.

At the same time, the downsides are:

  • The requirement for freelancers to provide all relevant services
  • Software development services are of poorer quality.
  • Less accountability and openness on your end Team management on your end More paperwork.

Professional mobile app development companies by comparison, need teamwork and people used to working on the same project.

Working with a custom software development company would provide you with the following advantages:

  • Trustworthy relations
  • Quality of deliverables
  • All or the majority of needed services in one place
  • Schedule and discipline
  • Project management
  • Accountability

The following table summarizes overall experience working with freelancers and agencies:

Mobile app features: Simple Features vs. Complex Feature Set

The complexity of an app determines how much time it will take to create each feature and, as a result, how much it will cost.

The table below depicts an estimated software creation timeline based on complexity:

Basic version Medium app Large app (few platforms
Notes core feature-set (e.g., login, email subscription
standard, simple app design elements
platform (android or iPhone)
Advanced features (e.g., payments, app integrations, analytics)
more sophisticated design
for platforms
complex app development (e.g., video-streaming, data encryption, payments, offline mode, etc.)
custom app design, app animations
app support
2+ platforms
Time ~3-6 months ~4-9 months 9+ months (ongoing)


When it comes to the cost of developing an app, complexity is essential. If you’re on a tight budget, consider prioritizing features to stay within your budget.

Also, bear in mind that native apps (those designed exclusively for iOS or Android) are superior to cross-platform apps. They’re also more costly, but the result and results justify the investment.

The following are some of the most popular features found in many mobile app projects that can influence the cost of developing a mobile app:

  • User registration and login
    It is possible via an email, Facebook, and contact information with verification. The easiest way to sign up is via a social networking site. The login feature’s basic implementation takes about 20 to 25 hours.
  • Chat
    A P2P chat framework can be built in 50 to 65 hours. Chat history, auto-delete, offline mode, emojis, data transfer, and other features all play a role in this timeline. Group-chat is more difficult to create and can take up to 80 hours.
  • Search Options
    Users can search for products, content, and services within the app by selecting one or more groups. A simple search feature can take anywhere from 12 to 15 hours to complete. Complex search queries necessitate a larger investment.
  • Push notifications
    These are the popular ways for apps to connect with their users. Users receive appropriate and up-to-date information through alerts, SMS updates, and warnings (e.g., messaging apps). This feature’s simplest text type can be generated in 12 to 15 hours.
  • Payments
    Credit cards, PayPal, Payoneer, Apple or Google wallets, or even cash may be used to make in-app purchases. Payment usability is usually implemented using Stripe and Braintree, and a minimum of 50 to 65 hours is expected.
  • In-app Purchases
    Enabling in-app purchases are another way to monetize the app by allowing users to buy products and services, pay for subscriptions, add features, and delete advertisements, among other things. This feature takes about 20 to 30 hours to create on average and may increase the cost of developing a mobile app.
  • Analytics
    With the aid of integrated platforms like Flurry, Google Analytics, and others, it gathers data from user interaction and app results. In 2 to 5 hours, the simplest form can be implemented.

More complex implementation features

  • Geolocation
    Geolocation is a key feature of applications like Uber, dating apps, companies, and travel goods. In around 32 to 48 hours, the capability to find the user device and GPS can be introduced.
  • Integrations (Google Maps)
    Can be used to complement geolocation functionality for navigation and routing in iOS and Android apps; takes 32- 40 hours
  • Ads
    How advertising and advertisement content is integrated into an app is determined by the form (text, banner, packed pop-up), the library, service, and APIs used. Easy banner installation normally takes between 8 and 16 hours.
  • Offline mode
    This refers to the ability to access app data without being linked to the internet. The volume of data and its storage (e.g., cookies, local storage, database) determines the production time, ranging from 20 to 80 hours.
  • Data encryption
    This function can be used to safe messaging with end-to-end encryption, requiring only the recipient to know the decoding protocol. A minimum of 16- 24 hours is necessary to eliminate unauthorized access, and the process is based on the data becoming encrypted (text, image, video, etc.)
  • Live Streaming
    Video/audio streaming is difficult to set up, but it can be completed in 56 to 72 hours. Data transmission, encoding, program logic, file formats, streaming protocols, server configuration, and other factors all affect this timeline.
  • The Device Location
    An app’s use of a device’s hardware, such as NFC, Bluetooth, barometers, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and so on, is referred to as communication with a device. This feature will take between 16 and 24 hours to complete. There really is no requirement to have a back-end.

App Developers’ Location

The next big factor which can have a huge impact on the cost of creating an app is its location.

North America (primarily the United States), Latin America, Eastern Europe (Ukraine), and Asia are the most prominent app development destinations worldwide (India).

So, what does it cost to develop an app in these areas? To find it out, let’s look at the most recent data on how much app developers charge per hour.

Employee Title Ukraine Western Europe Eastern Europe North America
Business Analyst $30-$40 $55-$80 $35-$45 $60-$75
Architect $35-$65 $90-$120 $40-$70 $90-$130
Project Manager $30-$40 $55-$65 $35-$45 $90-$110
Jr. Developer $20-$30 $40-$50 $25-$35 $50-$70
Mid-level Developer $25-$35 $45-$65 $30-$40 $60-$80
Sr. Developer $35-$45 $65-$80 $40-$50 $75-$105
Lead Developer $35-$50 $70-$90 $40-$55 $90-$115
Junior QA $15-$25 $35-$45 $20-$30 $45-$60
Mid-level QA $25-$35 $45-$55 $30-$40 $60-$75
Senior QA $30-$40 $50-$65 $35-$45 $75-$90

App costs breakdown

The average cost of app production in India, the Philippines, and other Asian countries is less than $25 per hour. The rates in South America, another famous outsourcing destination, are in the middle of the Western and Eastern European ranges.

If you select vendors from the United States at a rate of $70 to $100, you will incur the highest production costs.

Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine, will provide you with a more realistic app development cost of $40.

Working in this area is very cost-effective; you get high quality for a fair software development cost, and you don’t pay over the odds for a company’s name.

How much do apps cost to make at Intelivita?

We provide complete development services. As a consequence, the development of mobile apps goes through these stages:

  • planning
  • design
  • development
  • testing
  • deployment


The development process can include implementation features, tailored app infrastructure, and app administration processes, depending on each particular project’s specifications. Also, post-release services may be offered, such as app promotion and maintenance.

Check our average estimation of each stage of growth.

The team composition will also differ depending on the scope of the project. The community of projects, the presence of managers and backend designers are very versatile and negotiable. However, a project manager is important to organize the workflow and to carry out smooth communication.

Get your mobile app development at reasonable costs

Connect with Intelivita experts to explore cost-effective ways of app development.

Connect Now

When we start working together, we make a rough approximation based on your needs and the overview of your definition. We estimate the number of hours it will take to complete the submission.

We’ll move onto the detailed estimation, app logic, wireframes, and project schedule documents once we’ve earned your approval.

The final cost description is shown below.

** It is an estimate based on Intelivita’s mean yearly rate of $40/h in the United States.

Development time 4 months 6 months 10 months
Developers $19,600 $33,600 $55,000
UI/UX Designer $2,200 $3,200 $4,200
Project Manager $3,700 $6,300 $1,100
Business analyst $1,700 $3,000 $5,000
QA Specialist $5,100 $8,900 $14,900
DevOps $2,450 $2,100 $3,300
Total $34,750 $57,100 $83,500

App costs breakdown

We tried to provide as much information as possible in response to the question, “What do I need to create an app for my business?”

Finally, experience suggests that the best way to think of the money spent on mobile app growth as an investment that will be repaid is to consider it as a return of investment.

How do we estimate the cost of app development?

We have a free rough estimation of your project before giving you a bill. Let’s explain it a bit further. We’ll use our three-stage system to deliver any real value for your company before asking you how much money or euros you’ll need to build your app.

These stages you go through to create a mobile app

  • To begin, complete our contact form. After that, you set up a meeting with our relationship advisor. Our communication manager will check the information in the form and inquire about your company priorities and procedures, future consumer responsibilities and journeys, app cloud computing plans, and so on during this call.
  • Then, considering the product’s details, we analyze the initial specifications we’ve gathered and conduct simple market research to provide a solution that fits your priorities and standards. Then we make an approximation.
  • After that, our solution architect receives the market review findings and prepares thorough recommendations with advice for the app configuration, feasible use cases, and innovative implementation concepts.
  • After that, we have another meeting to present our feedback, get clarifications, and elicit more requirements. During this meeting, we also try to specify the scope of work for your project (the features needed to cover your burning business challenges), so we can prepare an optimal project offer.
  • We deliver a project bid at the last pre-planning conference, which normally covers hours of work, a technical stack, an application design approach, and a range of software specifications for the original and subsequent launches.
  • Finally, we discuss a deal to find the right option for your company.

We move on with a comprehensive estimation after you authorize the rough estimate, in which we describe the specifications for each scope of work scheduled, create wireframes that show you precisely how your site, iOS, or Android app will appear and prepare project-related documents.

Tuhin Bhatt is a co-founder of Intelivita, a leading Web and Mobile App Development Company. He helps passionate entrepreneurs build amazing tech products. Tuhin being a peoples man who has a passion to share his technical expertise with clients and other enthusiasts.

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