How to Calculate Mobile App Development Cost Estimate?

by Valeriia P. & JoinSoft Team
by Valeriia P. & JoinSoft Team
Marketing & Business Development Specialist
12 Jul 2021
Reading Time: 13 minutes

In 2021, there are 3.2 billion smartphone users worldwide. Just like that, there are currently 1.14 billion tablet users across the world, and this number has seen a 36% growth over the past 6 years. 88% of the screen time of an average user is attributed to apps. Not surprisingly, the mobile app development industry is thriving today, especially in the times of global pandemic when businesses are going digital and good user experience is often the most important competitive advantage. 

In this article we are going to unfold the fundamentals of mobile app development cost calculation. If you want to enter this competitive, but still essential, niche, you’ll definitely find it useful. If you are simply into technological stuff, you’ll find this article interesting. If you are a mobile app developer, we’re sure you’re here with a purpose. To all of you out there, have a pleasant reading!



Basics of App Development Cost


The cost of mobile app development depends on many factors. Let’s break down the basic variables that determine a project’s price.


1.Functionality of an App

The more complex the application is, the more expensive it is. From the number of screens to security – every add on contributes to the cost.


Application Size

The number of screens directly affects the development cost. The more there are, the more expensive the application will be, since each new screen entails additional time for development, testing and design.


Individual Design

Creating a unique interface design requires deep business analytics together and involvement of UI and UX designers. Animations are also an additional expense.


Registration and Authorization of Users

Adding an account system to an application can be a great way to increase loyalty and user retention. However, it significantly increases the development cost. You will need to pay for cloud storage, implementation and subsequent testing of the password recovery mechanism, and the safety of personal data.


Payment Systems Integration

Each payment method requires additional time for implementation and testing, consequently, the final cost increases.


Application Administration

The server application functionality allows you to manage the application, collect various statistical data, manage content, delete and add users, control their rights and access levels. With the help of analytics systems, you can track user activity and evaluate the performance of the application.

Synchronization with a central database will keep up to date information on various business processes.

The administration panel is necessary if you want to manage content in the application: publish news and articles, moderate comments and reviews, change order statuses.

The more complex your application’s administration, the more expensive the app will be.



Geolocation seems to be a basic app feature in 2021, however, it requires at least 50 hours of development, naturally resulting in increased development costs.


Security Level

The strong security system is especially important for applications involving financial and banking transactions, storage and processing of personal data. The more valuable the data and the greater the need to protect it, the higher the cost of developing an application will be.


2.Development Team

To create a viable, functional mobile app, you need a wide team of specialists, such as a project manager, UX/UI designer, programmer, QA & QC specialist. The cost of their labour will depend, first of all, on the type of cooperation (freelance, in-house, external), as well as on their geographical location.


3.Target Industry

Some industries, such as healthcare or financial services, impose strict standards of security and administration, consequently, the more sophisticated the app is required to be, the higher the price point for its development will be.


4.Changes that may emerge during development

There is always a chance your product will need some changes or add-ons. Typically, the labour cost of developers is set per hour. So, every need for additional changes will entail additional costs.


5.Support and Maintenance

Each application requires updates and enhancements after deployment to ensure a smooth and error-free experience. The scope of this support also determines the real cost of developing an application.



Development Stages And Cost


Usually, developing a mobile application comes down to a series of stages:

  • Analytics;
  • Design;
  • Development;
  • Testing and debugging;
  • Publication in stores;
  • Maintenance and support.


Development Stages And Cost


Market Analysis Phase

Market analysis and documentation are essential for your great app idea. This is when the brainstorm on ways of realization takes place. You will be asked a ton of questions by your developer, as well as your developer – by you. 

This stage takes up to 10% of the final cost of the mobile app development. In addition, this can take anywhere from 20 to 200 hours of work, depending on the complexity of your idea. Ultimately, you and your developers will perform:

  • Market and user research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Clear product positioning
  • MVP concept


UX/UI Design

This stage can be either performed by separate specialists, or one general professional. In the first case, the quality is usually higher (just like the price). 

The design phase requires substantial work. Before embarking on the development of application frameworks, designers must understand and document an app’s functional characteristics. This document will guide designers and developers on the standards for a specific app under development.

The design phase of a mobile application involves the creation of a wireframe and prototype of the application, visual (UI) and user experience (UX) design. Since the first impression is what makes a difference, it’s essential to make a design impressive and attractive to the users for them to come back.

It’s difficult to specify timeframes for this stage, though, undoubtedly, a larger number of custom design elements, complex screens and more complex user interfaces take more hours. Ultimately, this stage takes up to 40 to 150 hours of work and accounts for 10-15% of the total development cost. 

By the way, designs for social media and gaming applications are usually more pricey since they require a higher level of visual complexity.


Mobile Application Development

So, by now we’ve come to the most expensive part – the mobile app development itself. This is when the app enters the production phase. The cost of the development here will depend on the functionality of an app. Typically, this stage takes from 150 up to 500 hours of work.

Besides, this phase accounts for an application’s infrastructure and architecture. In its turn, the infrastructure stands for basic control, API integration, data encryption, scalability, etc. 

In addition, the cost will also depend upon the platform you choose, which we will discuss later on in this article.



And now – onto testing! Testing is crucial, since it provides for an application’s proper functioning. Client retention is what app owners are looking for, so having a smoothly functioning app is the only way to gain a list of loyal users. QA activities usually account for 10-15% of the final cost and 40 to 80 hours of work.


Continuous Maintenance and Support

Building a high-level application is senseless without providing for its post-release maintenance. For the app to operate properly, you will also need promotion and an application of effective marketing strategies to get downloads.

Regular updates, debugging, server maintenance, and user support are included in post-release costs. These costs come within a separate statement, but still are part of the application development. Typically, the post-release maintenance cost takes up around 20% of the final application development cost.


Continuous Maintenance and Support



Cost of Mobile App Development in Different Countries

A high price does not always indicate a high quality of performance. In fact, most often the cost varies since the salaries of developers in different countries vary significantly.


Country / Region Hourly Payment
USA, Australia $50-150
Western Europe $50-100
Eastern Europe $25-50
India $20-49


It takes about 2 months to create a simple application, that is, 300 hours. It turns out that the minimum cost of an application from Indian developers will cost $3000, while from Eastern European – about $7500.


Cost of Mobile App Development in Different Countries

JoinSoft aims to provide high-quality Mobile App Development Services to meet your business needs. Contact our manager to discuss your project and calculate the costs.



App Development Cost Based on App Types


The next factor that determines the cost of application development is the platform. The perfect solution is to create separate applications for different platforms.

According to Statista, Android accounts for 71% and iOS 29% of the global use accordingly.

Android costs may be higher than those for iOS. The reason for that is the large number of Android devices and OS versions resulting in more complex testing and expensive support.

Although, it still makes more sense to research the market and determine potential customers. 

If you still want to create an app for Android and iOS, a hybrid development methodology is your go-to solution. At this point, you might be asking why would anyone choose a native app for two platforms when you can pay for a hybrid one. It’s because a native app can be technically better than a hybrid one due to a greater developers’ experience with a specific platform. Such apps’ platform versatility leads to slower operation, as well as unsuitability for some kinds of applications. Besides, in many cases, hybrid development is more expensive than native development (note: for one platform).

Adapting an application for tablets can add up to 75% to the cost of creating an application for mobile devices. As well, support for older versions of iOS and Android can increase the development cost by 1.5x, since older versions have performance limitations, are neither updated, nor developed.



Mobile App Development Cost Estimate


The mobile app development cost calculation is based on an estimate of the total amount of time required to develop or integrate each feature, including back-end development, UI/UX design, QA & QC, testing, and project management. The number of hours required to complete each stage is multiplied by hourly payment of the relevant professionals, with subsequent summing up of the results. Just like that, you get your project’s final cost estimate.


At JoinSoft we can calculate the quote for your project. Click on the button to get aware of your project’s potential cost.



Mobile App Marketing Budget


An app gets to the top of an app store if in a day it has been installed several thousand times. That’s why you need to plan your app promotion before launch. Apps are promoted using a variety of methods. Stay tuned to learn about them.


Free Beta Testing

One of the tools is free beta testing. In this case, users learn about the product even before the launch itself, and build loyalty. In such a way, you get feedback on shortcomings, errors and desired add-ons. Thus, you don’t miss a chance to improve your application by the date of the official release.


Social Media

Before you decide to promote a mobile app on social media, consider what you expect from a potential user. Prioritization is extremely important, since each platform has a different communication style. If you choose to use Facebook ads, you need to set up your ad targeting. For this you need to identify the target group of potential users for the message not to get lost in the informational noise out there in the web.


App Store Optimization

App Store Optimization (ASO) is an essential part of app promotion. It brings the application to the top of the rating in terms of user requests,as well as increases the frequency of downloads.


AdWords Promotion

Google advertising is currently one of the most effective ways to quickly reach millions of users around the world. To advertise on AdWords, you need to decide where you want to promote your app – on the Display Network, Search Network, or YouTube. You need to think about your advertising goal and target audience. To effectively promote a mobile app, you also need an ad offer that is compelling and gets potential customers to pay attention to your ad.



Mobile App Development by JoinSoft


JoinSoft provides first-class Mobile App Development services to enable your team and clients to do business on the go. We offer:

  • Either a single developers or a team of dedicated specialists with 5+ years of professional experience upon your choice;
  • Professional expertise to come up with the best suitable approach: Native / Hybrid / Cross-Platform;
  • Individual approach to meet our clients’ needs and expectations;
  • Advantage of using the latest technologies, methods and frameworks for apps to run smoothly on the latest OS versions and across all devices;
  • Cost estimates prior to the start of the development process considering our clients’ budget limitations to ensure fair price/quality ratio;
  • Easy approval of the product by app stores due to thorough quality assurance and testing.

We value our clients’ time and money. We aim to deliver the best result to exceed the expectations. We are looking forward to welcoming new projects on board!



Final Thoughts About Mobile App Development Cost Calculation


Development of a mobile app is a complex process requiring involvement of a team of specialists with extensive experience. It is important for the client to be aware of the future costs before ordering a development. Typically, the cost of creating a mobile application is formed taking into account a number of factors, therefore, one can spot a big difference in the prices offered by different developers. It’s because each developer, whether freelance or in-house, has his own sense of pricing, as well as his own rates for the hourly payment for the services provided.

At JoinSoft we aim to provide high-quality Mobile App Development services at a fair price/quality ratio. Uncover the full potential of your business with the help of our dedicated professionals!



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