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Article: How Much Does It Cost To Design An App for Your Business?

How Much Does It Cost To Design An App for Your Business?

Creating and managing an app can help you earn a considerable return for your business,
but how much is the cost to make one worth the investment!
Created by Eugen Simara |

Mobile apps have been the fastest growing business in today's digital era. You can find almost many things related to the smartphone. Based on this situation, your interest is to design to make an app for a certain purpose. Of course, such a task is not something a person does for fun. Even students and trainees put extra effort. At the moment, put aside how you should design because another key role is cost. You need to know how much it cost to design an app. 

Internet, social media, and online sources provide tons of answers and references. The issue is to determine the accuracy of an app you want to design. Keep in mind that such a task will involve several parties to form the team as the developer. Usually, designers can work on their own as contractors or freelance. Most companies rely on this strategy to lower the cost. However, an app with complexity is usually developed by the establishment with more resources and support. On the other hand, this matter is also related to the business value that an app will bring after users can install and access it.

The cost to design an app is estimated between $10,000 and $200,000. Several factors influence the determination of this price range and how to assess the business value. You might obtain less expensive that is enough to keep the budget at the minimum. On the contrary, the cost will increase significantly due to more things to add along the way. The following section explores more about the cost of designing an app. 


Design or Develop

Designing an app requires professionals in this field, including the business side. In general, they do not need to be an engineer with a technical background. A person may learn the basic of how an app work, particularly several key features, menus, layout, payment cost, and security. Mobile app designer has the responsibility only to transform an idea and make prototypes. He or she also works to improve, including adjusting features so that the latest version is more stable. 

On the other, development is considered the upper level with more people to participate, and the business value is much attractive. A designer is just part of the team. You assemble some experts or at least more experience when deciding to develop an app. In that case, the budget is more expensive than paying someone to design. Asking cost to design an app means you expect just paying for a single job or whole stages. Understanding this factor is necessary before estimating an entire budget. In business, the portion of money can affect profit or loss. 

Created by Slick Studio |


Preliminary Factors

Before exploring more about the cost of designing an app, several factors are necessary to understand. You have tools, platforms, and ideas but cannot start immediately. The reason is you do not know what kind of app that you will design. The developer team, company, and clients have their own objectives, plans, and the target user. Moreover, designers also prepare the research so that the progress turns smoothly. Of course, you do not forget about business to ensure an app has money value.

1. Objective

The objective is the core that creates the borderline and affects the cost. The team, including the designer, will set it as the guide. In the future, an app may expand with more features and capabilities. At the present time, the objective is the top priority. For example, you design a mobile app for digital payment that can integrate into several systems. You focus on this core purpose and avoid unnecessary thought such as this app will turn into a marketplace. Keep everything as simple as possible with a clear aim. The business is also side by side with this part.

2. Users

A user is a person who uses an app to obtain the benefit. More users will come as long as they receive benefits with interesting costs to pay. You make segmentation such as region, social status, age, and personality to acquire the best prediction. The truth is you compete with many competitors that make the market more saturated. The real example is social media, streaming service, music app, map, game, marketplace, and payment. You should create the general users and separate the niche. They are easier to attract into something new, and the business cost is much cheaper. After gaining popularity, an app will expand more to fulfill the gap.

3. Platform

Today, two platforms dominate the smartphone business. They are Android and iOS, but some minors are scattered only the tiny portion. Both have pros and cons that should be put into consideration. You do not need to worry about the disparity due to the cost to design an app being much different. In fact, a developer can design an app for a single platform such as iOS then releasing for android users later. The latest tools are capable of doing this kind of task. 

Created by Natasha Sivina |


4. Budget Availability

If budget is no issue, you find the best design, and the cost to design an app is nothing to worry about. The budget is always the restrain no matter what you can do. Usually, the developer team has a small amount of money as the starting point. Cost management and business must be strict about following the business plan. If an app has the potential to bring more profit, there is a chance to obtain funding from third parties or other businesses, including parents and relatives. Budget spending should be up to 75%, and you also prepare for emergencies. 

5. Support and Resources

More support means that designing an app is just a task. License, network, reference, and tool are already available. Usually, designers have their own way of selecting the best tool. Today, some companies develop software that is dedicated specifically to this task. Moreover,

6. Future Development

Some apps are just for simple objectives with less limitation to grow that the cost is affordable. On the contrary, you see an app that is no longer the same as it should be since first released. Developers and designers add more updates with new features so that the capability is vast, better, and reliable. You consider the future development to let little space for more improvement. At least, you prepare to boost value and the business cost, especially from the business side.

Created by kresna wijaya |


Developer team

The next section will explore the developer team. The following list shows some experts that should be available when developing an app, including design.

1. Project manager

The project manager is the leader with the utmost responsibility. This person does not have to be an engineer. The most important thing is he or she can work to unify all members. Moreover, the manager has the task of ensuring an app will go the way it should be based on the business cost at hand. Every decision receives in-depth analysis before making a change.

2. Business analyst

The next member is a business analyst. The person in charge will receive tasks such as identifying needs and trends, finding the right talent and skill, analyzing market and competitors, and the business strategy. Budget management is also his or her responsibility, including benchmark and cost. For your information, some developers often put the project manager and business analyst as a single person. 

3. UI and UX designer

The key to designing an app is designer. This work includes UI and UX. The interface is the thing that users will see directly, such as homepage, layout, font, color, icon, and navigation. User experience influences the perceptive aspect when the app is accessed through a mobile device. Design an app must be simple and comfortable, particularly when used for a long period. Users can get what they want easily. Adding more takes time and cost, which the business plan should be adjusted.

Created by Roman Lel |


4. Platform-based developer

The cost to design an app is also available for the platform-based developer. As the manager, you can reduce the cost of the business strategy only by focusing on one platform. After the next update, a new expert is hired so that the platform is expanded.

5. Back-end programmer

The back-end programmer will handle programming and writing all codes. In general, an expert in this task does not care much about design. The job only follows wireframe and app flow. The manager must finish without the loophole to avoid more spending. In the business, efficiency puts into the top priority because the team is paid an hourly rate to keep the cost at minimal.

6. Quality assurance

The last job is quality assurance, and the cost to design an app must put this aspect on the list. The job starts at the late phase. Checking includes security, stability, server, user experience, compliance, and bug. As similar to the programmer, you must hire a person who can work efficiently to maintain a business value. 

Created by Roman Lel |


Local developers and outsource

The average cost to design an app is varies based on the region. On Play Store or Apple Store, an app is only available for users who access from a specific country or region. This situation occurs because they must put a payment system, map, and language. An app recognizes the location then adjusts automatically. A single app such as a marketplace will have different content in order to customize with the local demand. It is also closely related to the business value to attract more customers and users.

The business analyst will gather requirements, including the designer. As you know, distance is not troublesome in the digital era. Every member can work individually based on the job desk. Moreover, the developer often hires a freelance worker to do outsourcing. As an alternative, the company will select the local talents that can pass the standard. This approach is often implemented for an app that affects the world. From the business perspective, both have pros and cons.

1. Outsourcing 

Outsourcing has more pros such as talent pool, high expertise and experience, flexibility, and less cost. The latter will reduce the budget without losing the business value. For cons, your designer might be difficult to control. A sense of belonging is not available because he or she works independently. Another issue is the time zone that must be adjusted properly. Members are scattered around the world. Some of them must sacrifice their sleeping time, but the cost and the business are worth it. 

2. Local developers

The benefit of the local developer is direct meeting to lower the business cost where you see face to face. Keep in mind that it does not have to be in the same city. As long as the time zone is not an issue, all workers can appear at the same time. Moreover, they understand the local cost profoundly, including some things that can be foreseen immediately. For cons, the company pays more slightly expensive than local rates. Another to consider is the lack of talent to meet the basic requirement. Bringing a person from abroad will increase the cost of designing an app. As long as the business value is better, choosing a local developer is not a bad option at all.

Created by Katya Godinchuk |


It is about business

The cost to design an app is strongly related to the business side. The design takes time, effort, mind, tool, and resources. The developer must provide and invest prudently. For your information, this kind of task is quite tricky with a high probability of winning and profit. You can check tons of ideas that are implemented into an app. The question is whether the result is at least a small profit or not, including how much it costs to pay. 

1. Profit and loss

The business analyst conducts the research and gathers information as sufficient as possible. He or she assesses the potential for an app to succeed. Gain and loss are two things to be expected. As you know, the cost to design an app is as difficult to measure as the fixed price. If you are just the designer, the business section is not your concern. On the contrary, the developer can include design as the critical part that influences the economic value in future development.

2. Business plan

The cost to design an app is explained in the business plan. This part belongs to the budgeting section. You enlist every item and price estimation. This task includes an hourly rate for the workers. Paying more to gain a better result is often considered because some people like an incentive.

3. Market and competitors

The business to design an app must know the market. The early phase before a design is preparation, meeting, and research. You cannot waste time and cost for a job that does not have the background. The market includes competitors and customers. The business plan creates an analysis of the pros and cons in this matter.

From the above explanation, you understand why determining the cost to design an app is crucial. The resource is limited, and the gain is at stake. Failed is always on the prediction, but the business must identify as early as possible. 

Created by Dung Le |


Cost items and budget range

Now, it is time to go further to calculate how much it cost to design an app. 

1. An app-level

An app-level consists of small, medium, and complex. You have an app that is only for a single platform. The objective is simple with the simplicity of accessing all features. On this scale, you can estimate to own at least $10,000. The convincing cost is approximately $30,000, and having $50,000 can do much. At this level, the business might be less.

For medium level, the business cost starts from $70,000 and up to $200,000. The project requires more features to do a complex task. The developer also pays for third-party services that will integrate into this app. With a budget of more than $200,000, you can make a complex app. In this case, the simple design is not enough because the target is vast. 

2. Cost by hour

Hourly rates have the difference in many areas. Usually, you pay at least $120 an hour when working in North America. The cost will be less in Europe, and the talent is quite exceptional. The rate in South America and Asia are cheaper, at least $50 per hour. Having less cost for wages will affect the business strategy to implement. 

3. More cost items

Wage is only one of the business payments, and several items also affect the total cost. You pay more for a license, support, and third-party service. For example, an app that has an in-app purchase includes a payment section. Map, streaming, music, video, storage, and security are examples of items to improve an app. Of course.

Created by Spaceberry Studio |


What should you do?

You already understand the price range to cost to design an app. This task is not cheap but saying the expensive is definitely exaggerated. In fact, many aspects have significant involvement when determining how much to pay. The business analyst is the person in charge of handling this matter. On the other hand, designers also have their own rates that must be considered. 

To avoid spending too much, you need the business plan and enlisting cost items to design an app. If there is an update or change, the budget is ready to pay the cost. That’s why the explanation above only shows the range, not the fixed value. In the business, you can make a prediction including gain and profit but considering the loss is also necessary. As long as the cost to design an app is affordable, the task may start immediately.

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