How Much Does it Cost to Develop and Build an App: A Complete Breakdown

App development is a top demand today. Whether it’s ordering food, reserving a cab, chatting with a friend, or booking a ticket, the one thing that inevitably comes to our mind is a mobile application, because it simplifies our life. Startups always wonder about estimating the right cost for developing their app.

High quality and low cost are what companies look for when engaging an app development agency. As a leading mobile app development service company, We can tell you that mobile app development cost varies widely. In this article, we are giving you some ideas about how mobile app development costs work. Of course, there is no fixed rate for mobile apps’ development, and everything depends on the requirements and complexity.

App development cost breakdown depends on many factors. Mobile app development costs are a multiple of development time and hourly rates. However, many factors can influence the time and rates, including the complexity of the product, and the experience of the team required to build the app.

That being said, some significant factors that can influence the development costs are:

Special Features And Functionality

Special Features And Functionality

Premium Development Team

Premium Development Team

Technical Complexity

Technical Complexity

Post-Release Expenses

Post-Release Expenses

Let’s understand these aspects in better detail

Special Features And Functionality

Once you have the basic app idea, the layout, and color scheme, then you have to start thinking about things that make your app stand out. Small things that may seem obvious but may not have been accounted for. We call them the magic beans- Features which do not make a difference when they are in the app but if they are not then, the user feels a miss. Let’s check them out


Faster speed in data retrieval


Good image resolution


Top security


Search that works


Push notifications


User feedback


Smooth updates


Flagging of content

All these things may have been missed in your list of features but they are the ones that make your app look like the apps that you like. Of course, there is a cost attached to it.

Premium Development Team

Finding the right development team is a super important step. The right development team would do things the right way right from start. On the contrary, a wrong team could make you lose the whole opportunity altogether. Development teams come in all experiences, types and costs. It is prudent to check their history, reviews and most importantly if you feel comfortable with them. Here is more about the difference between $1000 vs $10000 service.

Technical Complexity

There are hundreds of small features in any app that add technical complexity to a specific project. When we work on a project, we develop effective algorithms that sometimes take extra time to create and increase the app development cost. Some other common areas of technically complicated elements are:

  • Backend Solution:

Launching a dynamic application requires the exchange of a large number of data in real-time and synchronization among all the platforms along with updates in the cloud. In this case, you need a backend solution to manage huge loads and work perfectly in any condition. This means you require more time to spend on building and designing a complex application architecture. You also need multiple programming languages to configure your mobile app’s backend development. It means you need to pay a substantial amount of price to engage with a diverse team of professionals.

  • Niche Third-party Integration:

As we can see several third-party integration options are available today that can uplift your app development speed. But, third-party integrations, mainly niche ones, periodically have changes and upgrades. It takes extra time to puzzle out how to integrate them into your mobile app development process. In that case, you may have to pay an additional fee to utilize these services.

  • In-app Purchases:

It is extremely important to integrate with multiple online payment modes to accomplish the needs of business owners and users. You have to be prepared to give extra for additional payment options you apply in-app purchases like Google Pay, PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, etc.

  • Custom Designs And Animations:

Customizable user interfaces are a bit complex to implement. The cost of a customizable interface is higher than the price of a user interface built from standard components. If you check our mobile app development landing pages you can understand the use and importance of custom designs and animations in your business.

Post-Release Expenses

After understanding mobile app development cost, now talk about the post-release expenses.

  • App Maintenance:

As we all know, every mobile app needs maintenance that comes with costs. The standard price of maintaining software is around 15-20% of the original cost. Maintenance is required because with OS upgrades and new device releases make your application obsolete over time.

  • App Monitoring:

It is an essential factor for any product because monitoring can help you to get the desired successes. Several tools can guide you to monitor your product’s performance in this competitive market. Invest in good analytics and monitoring integrations so that you are able to take next decisions based on user actions.

  • Licenses:

Many licensed technologies are available in the market that developers could use while building specific apps. Paying a certain amount for such licenses adds extra cost to your budget

  • App Updates:

Mobile applications require frequent updates that make apps smarter. Also, it aids the applications to stay free from bugs. This process adds an extra cost to the factor of app development. Subsequent updates are essential as they include adding smart features to the app otherwise users may find something a miss in your app.

  • Application Engagement And Marketing:

Mobile app marketing is one of the significant elements that drag the attention of targeted users. The app marketing and engagement plan again requires experts to build a milestone-based plan taking the application from a few hundred to thousands and then millions of downloads. Marketing costs could vary and may have organic and paid components to it.

Read More About Our Complete Development Process Here

So What Is The Typical Cost Of App Development?

Well to be able to draw a conclusion, we divide apps into 3 major categories- Simple App, mid-level complex, and highly complex app.

Mobile App Cost Breakdown

  • A Simple App:

Simple applications include standard functionalities. The development processes don’t need to integrate to many third-party APIs, also a back-end infrastructure is not required here. To develop a simple app, a developer needs standard UI components, simple filters, a feed list, and map markers. A simple app may take less than 500 hours of work and may be budgeted in the range of $38,000 USD. CheckMarks is an excellent example of a simple app developed by Mindbowser.

  • A Semi Complex App:

A mid complexity app needs custom UI features, payment functionality, real-time chat, integration with APIs, tablet and handset adaptation, and a simple backend server. It takes nearly 1000 to 3000 hours to build such a mobile app, and the pricing starts at $80,000. Vesica, Smiling Mind, MMR market research app are examples of such apps.

  • A Highly Complex App:

Highly complex applications come with advanced functionality like audio/video processing, custom animations, real-time synchronization, complex back-ends with several types of database relationships, integrations with third-party services, and many more. The estimated time frame for developing complex mobile applications is 3000+ man-hours, and the approx price starts at $15,000 — Mindbowser has built many complex platforms and apps such as Shortlist and Proofpilot.

According to a Cost to develop a mobile app survey, it can take nearly 18 months to develop a top-rated mobile app, with backend and front-end development processes. Of course, there may be releases in between but that is the time it really takes to start seeing an ROI on your efforts.

How To Not Be Fooled Into Overspending On An App

While economics suggests that as long as there are a willing buyer and a seller, any price is justified you should not splurge on apps. You should definitely do your bit at getting the most value out of your investment. First of all make sure that the scope of the project is clear. Here is how we define project scope for our customers

  • Have A Clear Goal:

You need to know what you want from your app. It goes a long way in getting the right estimates when planning your budget with an app development company.

  • Do A Background Check:

You want to opt for an app development firm that has an excellent track record. This includes finding legitimate testimonials or trying out publicly available apps built by the same company.

  • Cross-Platform Development:

You want to opt for a development agency that is capable of cross-platform development. According to the complexity of the app, you should be able to choose to go for hybrid or native development.

  • Communicate:

You want to communicate with your app developers to ensure both parties are on the same page. Set up KPIs for the project and have feedback loops. Here is how you can set up KPIs for your project.

  • Plan A Minimum Viable Product:

The most risk-averse way of building a great app is by building a minimum viable product. An MVP app should have all the essential features you are looking for paired with a solid user interface and top-notch performance on all platforms. Once the MVP is tested, you can continue growing it further.



Mobile app development costs vary a lot. A top app can be profitable for your business and bring enough value to the table. But it is also essential to plan well and choose the right partner. Always do your research before taking the plunge into an investment! We hope that our article is helpful for you and provides you a clear idea of what to keep in mind to estimate the cost to build an app. Good luck!

No matter what your requirement is, our expert mobile app developers will take care of all your development needs.

Content Team

This blog is from Mindbowser‘s content team – a group of individuals coming together to create pieces that you may like. If you have feedback, please drop us a message on

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