How Much Will My App Cost?
There are so many different types of apps that you can develop, so giving a price can be a really difficult thing to do. Even if you know what category the app might fall into (lifestyle, games, fitness etc.), we need to get much more specific in order to figure out how much it might cost, including the features and requirements you have. If you’re new to app developing, it’s difficult to know what features are important to mention, or even what’s classed as a feature!
In this blog we identify the main factors that can affect price and then list some of the most common features that people want in their apps.
(Note: this blog isn’t really relevant to gaming apps. The scope for games is so incredibly large, it’s very hard to pin down specific features. As an extremely rough guideline a simple game with no extra content and basic graphics (think pong) would be starting at around £15k. If you’re looking to create something like Clash of Clans you could raise that to £250k.)
Major Factors That Affect Price
Android/iOS or Both?
We explored the differences between the two platforms in our blog about whether you should develop for Android, iOS or both. As we mentioned then, both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages but most people look to develop for both platforms simply to increase the number of people who can have access to their app.
It’s important to remember that developing for both platforms can increase the final cost of your project substantially. Depending on whether you wish to develop a native or hybrid app, developing for both platforms could effectively double your price. (Find out more about native and hybrid development here.)
If your app delivers essential information in a stylish form without fancy gestures, bells and whistles, it will reduce the cost of the app. An example of this might be an employee’s handbook or a health and safety guideline app.
Calvium’s Employee Handbook App ‘The Calvium Way’ is an example of this…
It’s usually a good idea to get your chosen app developers to also do the design of the app. It’s not just about making it look beautiful, it’s also about good User Experience (UX) design. Developing graphics for mobile is a whole different story to developing for websites and though it will cost more to have your developers create the graphics, it could ultimately save you time and money by not having loads of back and forth.
Use of a Database
This is a slightly more complicated one. Many apps are linked to a database that stores its information. A good example might be a diet and food tracker app that is linked to a database containing thousands of different foods and their nutritional content. Another example could be a stock checker for a DIY store.
If your app needs to run from a database, first you must think about whether these databases already exist or whether they need creating, as building a database from scratch will add a significant cost onto your development. Secondly, if your database does already exist – where does it and on what does it run? Who manages it and who will continue to manage it once your app is built?
The fact is, apps do break. Whether it’s down to unforeseen bugs in the code or a software update, it’s impossible to know how long until your app might need some maintenance. We have known apps to be sitting pretty on the app store for a good few years without needing any work and we have had others that break with every apple update.
Other Features That Can Impact Price
These are features that will inevitably affect the cost of your app. We intentionally haven’t given a price for each feature, because even within each feature the costs can vary massively. Instead we have given three examples of cost brackets at the end of this blog.
Having user accounts and logins
If you want your app to have personal profiles (and therefore log ins) and anything that comes attached to a profile (being able to give or receive ratings, update statuses etc.) this is a feature you should mention.
It will depend on how much you want to do with the log ins as to how much it will affect the final price of your app. For example – you might want to keep a score on a game, or have a personal profile as detailed as Facebook
The term ‘augmented reality’ can mean many things, but it’s essentially adding a layer of digital content to what already exists, however there are still scales of sophistication. It it could be a hotel finding app whereby you scan the landscape with your camera and pins appear showing hotel locations as you move your device. Or it could be a 3D model animation, for example the Marvel Comics AR app that allows you to hover your phone over a Comic Book Cover and a 3D Scene will play out on your screen.
At it’s simplest, QR Codes are an image recognition feature. However more advanced image recognition technology is available. For example; Camfind is an app that uses images to search – a bit like Google but instead of having to type something you’re looking for, you can just take a photo of it. It means you can see a movie poster at the bus stop, snap an image of it and be told where the nearest cinema is and screening times etc.
You might want your app to be context aware. This means the app uses the phones firmware to send information about your surroundings to you.For example it could be an a geolocation audio tour app (like our AppTrails) that triggers content about buildings as you wander around a historic town. Or, a weather app could use the barometer and send you a notification before you leave the house reminding you to take an umbrella – or read the traffic reports and reset your alarm 20 mins earlier to make sure you make it to your destination on time.
Apps such as Instagram obviously use the phones inbuilt camera to take images. Other apps such as Dubsmash or FaceSwap use the camera to capture images and videos to be edited later. However, this isn’t the only use of the camera. The camera is needed if you want barcodes or QR codes to be read. You can even use the flash on the camera to accurately measure your blood pressure by placing your finger over the lens.
Some apps, usually games, use the accelerometer to sense when the phone is being tilted or moved left and right. You can also utilise the phone’s proximity sensor. For example you can answer calls by simply waving your hand over your phone. Other examples of firmware that uses gestures include use of the compass, gyroscope or location settings.
Controlling other devices
Using your mobile phone to control other appliances and technology you use daily is an increasing trend. Whether you wish to control the shower via an app on your phone or turn your heating on your way home so the house is toasty by the time you arrive. This trend is known as the “Internet of Things” or IoT.
Many people want to enable users to share information easily from their apps to their social media pages as it’s a good way to market the app to more people. If you want people to be able to share things such as; game scores, updates etc. then you’ll need to integrate the API’s from each social network, which will increase the price.
Some people chose to have in-app purchases as their payment model. An in app purchase means you get to download the initial app for free, but you then have to pay to unlock features or progress through a game for example.
So – How much does all this cost?
All of the above features will affect the price of your app. It’s difficult to give a cost breakdown for each feature because it can vary so much, but here’s how you could think about the cost of your app.
Information Only – This is the most simple app you could imagine; an app displaying pages of information with buttons that link back and forth between them with no other features. An example of an app like this might be; a replica of a health and safety guideline booklet.
Cost: £2,000 – £8,000
Database Integration & Extra Features – This type of app ‘sits on top of’ a pre-existing database function. For example; you might already have a website where your customers can order products and you would like the app to link into that system. This level of app might also have more advanced features such as the ones described above.
Cost: £8,000 – £50,000
New System – This would be if you’re looking to build something from the floor up with a completely new, mission critical set of capabilities. An example of an app like this is Uber; where a whole booking and operation system and business has been built solely from the app.
Cost: £50,000 – £250,000
Other Costs To Think About…
It’s also important to recognise that there are ongoing costs associated with app development.
First of all you will need to create your developer accounts for whatever platforms you are looking to develop on (i.e. Google Play and Apple app store). Currently it costs $99 per year to run an Apple App Store account and $40 per year for a google play account. If you don’t pay this every year, your account will be removed and your app will no longer be available to download.
Web Hosting & Servers
If you are hosting a database or any content on your web server, the app will be reliant on whether this data is available. For example, if your app requires users to log in, the database has to be available for the app to check their login details. So, making sure your web hosting costs are paid on time, and any downtime of your servers is minimised is another priority to check.
As we said in our introduction, giving a set price for an application is a really difficult thing to do – but by breaking down your app into features, you should be able to get a more concrete quote from your chosen app developers. We hope this blog helps you to identify those features and have some idea about what budget you might need to create your app.
If you would like to get a quote from us, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.