custom mobile app development

Which factors affect mobile app development cost?

Building a mobile application requires significant monetary investment, and the issue of budget is obviously one of the highest priority for any customer.

Each project starts with budget planning. Before the work begins a client should define product goals, problems it must solve, app key features, as well as determine a maximum and minimum the business is ready to spend on custom mobile app development.

You should take into account many factors such as the number of operating systems, app functions, post-launch support, etc. Also it’s very reasonable to address to several mobile application development companies, check out their hourly rates, and listen to what they recommend to you.

This approach will help you in budget issues, without huge under- or overestimation of future expenditures.  


Custom mobile app development cost depends on various factors. In this post, we’ve gathered the principal elements that affect the price of building a mobile app.  


What affects custom mobile app development cost


1. The number and complexity of mobile app features
This is one of the most important factors that have an impact on custom mobile app development cost. The number of features and their complexity directly affect both specialist’ working time and your budget as well as the size of software development team.

Issues related to this point that need to be answered while defining project scope: which features are of the highest priority or which will solve your operational challenges, how many features must be implemented, how many app versions do you plan to release, would you like to choose MVP development to test your idea and improve the product or to build the app with all functionality at once.   

Speaking about project complexity, mobile applications can be divided in simple, middle-sized, and complex.

Simple apps generally don’t gather analytics about user activity, and don’t exchange any data with any bases. A user can sign in a personal account (if the app provides it) through email. For example, an application created for some simple process such as ordering without selecting a product and adding it to the shopping cart.

Middle-sized applications are those that cover several processes. This category includes most e-commerce sites and booking systems. Generally, such apps have personal user account, comments mode, provide integration with social media and sometimes with payment systems as well.

Complex apps involve a lot of screens, can support real-time synchronization, all kinds of interactivity, have integration with any bases, ensure app functioning offline, and provide many features.   

The most complex and expensive features require special expertise or usage of up-to-date technologies. For instance, voice recognition, elements of AR (augmented reality), real-time synchronization, different animations, and so on.

2. Type and number of platforms
The cost of building a mobile app also depends on the number of platforms (f.e., iOS, Android, Windows Phone) and the kind of development you choose. To define a platform for a future product you should analyze your target audience: if most of them are iOS users, choose iOS development only. In case the percentage is equal, decide between crossplatform app development and native application development.

When you want to reach the maximum audience possible, make a perfect rich-functional product, and you have enough money, it’s better to build two apps for iOS and Android as the two most popular platforms. Native application development requires more time and investment, but the quality of the result will be also higher.

If the primary goal is to get a working solution faster and for lower rates, choose crossplatform app development: this way implies writing one code for both operating systems by one team of software engineers.

Here we should note that now cross platform tools are quickly improving. For example, React Native, released by Facebook, works with native components of both iOS and Android allowing to create quality apps that look like each one was written separately for each platform.

3. Backend & APIs integration
The more complex a backend part is, the more efforts this development part requires from engineers. It directly impacts time (hours) for the working process and thus the price increases.

The implementation of third-party services enabling some product features is one of the key factors affecting the total cost. APIs are often integrated in order to allow mobile applications to interact with them (pulling data from web-based APIs, exchanging data).

Also consider whether you will need post-project support and maintenance: maintaining the backend of any API is a complex procedure as well managing multiple app users.

4. Testing & Stabilization
Quality Assurance (QA) is a very important part of custom mobile app development. The application is tested for bugs and errors and checked for meeting customer’s requirements. This is a complicated process as software development team has to ensure that everything works great on all of the devices and operating systems.

Once this stage is performed, the product is stabilized which means fixing found bags. After product release, it’s necessary to conduct testing activities for crashes, collect and analyze user feedback, and enhance the app.  

5. Application security
Data security is essential in custom mobile app development, especially for enterprise solutions.

To ensure the protection of multiple financial documents, employee reports, transactions records, statistics and analytics reports, results of different studies, and other enterprise data, software engineers have to use tools and technologies that help identify all suspicious activities and vulnerabilities within the app.

Building a secure reliable application requires more time and money, which surely affects mobile app development cost. Nevertheless, in our world of millions of hacker attacks it’s reasonable and even required to invest in a high-security level to protect data.

There are other factors that impact the cost of building a mobile application. For example, the number of hours spent on the development process, the size of a software development team (the number of specialists and their kind: programmers, QA engineers, designers, project managers, business analysts, marketing/product managers), and more.

However, they are closely connected with the level of project complexity (the first point – the number of features and their complexity). The more complex the app is, the more working hours it requires. If the application is aimed at using by your employees only, you won’t need marketing activities, if it’s for your customers, you should think about its promotion strategy.

Thus, custom mobile app development needs monetary investment, but there are factors allowing to reduce it. To create a successful mobile application that will become your effective business tool you have to determine your target audience and their problems (or operational challenges of your company), and how a future product can solve them. And we’re here to help!