The cost mobile app development can range from the hundreds to the hundred of thousands or even upwards of a million dollars. But what drives these mobile app development costs?

This blog post will look at the factors to take into account, which will literally affect your bank account balance, when budgeting for your mobile app development project.

The varying cost of developing a mobile app

Developing a high-quality mobile app can be a worthy investment for any business wanting to reach their customers or target audience in the digital world.

Depending on the required budget, the outlay can more than pay off in the long run thanks to increased customer engagement, loyalty, and ultimately revenue.

However, the mobile app development cost can vary greatly depending on its functionalities, complexity, technology stack, and the breadth of the required development team, just to name a few factors.

As such, it’s necessary to think about your requirements and your mobile app development budget before moving further along with the process.

Carefully evaluating the purpose of each mobile app feature will let you determine which ones provide the most value and will be worth the cost, taking into consideration elements such as design and maintenance costs.

Moreover, having a comprehensive understanding of costs from the get-go will streamline the mobile app development process, saving both time and money down the line.

Factors affecting the cost of mobile app development

So, what factors affect the cost of developing a mobile app? Let’s break them down one by one to get an idea of what’s involved.

Project management

Efficient and effective management of your mobile project can make a big difference to the ultimate cost of development.

This requires having someone on board who properly understands the objectives of the project, can provide oversight and leadership, bring in resources when needed, and keep the project on track so that it is completed according to schedule.

Depending on the breadth of your project, you may require either a part-time project manager or a full-time team leader to be responsible for completing your development within the expected timeframe and budget.

Project management costs, as with any others, can vary depending on the level of experience and expertise required.

Development location

Where are you developing the app? In-house, or outsourcing (offshoring, nearshoring, onshoring, etc.) to another mobile app development company?

The cost of app development will be largely influenced by the chosen location and vary for each option. Depending on your budget, you may want to outsource app development, which can be much cheaper than using an in-house development team.

However, depending on the country you’re outsourcing to (if offshoring or nearshoring), there may be added costs for communication and project management, not to mention the risks associated with working with remote teams.

On the other hand, developing your app in-house or outsourcing to another company located in the same country (onshoring) can be relatively expensive due to the higher salaries of local mobile app developers.

The reasons for doing this would be down to the advantages with communication, project management, and quality control, for example, rather than the costs.

Platforms and devices

Will you be developing for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, or all/multiple platforms?

This can drastically affect the required budget for your project, since each platform has different development environments and associated costs.

The same applies to device selection. If you want to target a certain range of devices, such as the latest iPhones or Samsung Galaxy models running the newest versions of their operating systems, it may take more time, effort, and therefore money to develop your app.

This is due to the need for more rigorous testing and a higher-level of quality assurance to confirm that the app works on all supported devices when dealing with the most recently released hardware and/or software.

Functionalities and user interfaces

The user interface (UI) also plays a role in the cost of mobile app development, as it needs to be designed and implemented in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly.

This can be relatively time-consuming and costly, depending on the level of customization and intricacy of the UI.

The required functionalities of your app also contribute to the cost of development, as they can range from simple (for example, static UIs) to complex (dynamic UIs with features such as payment processing and real-time data updates).

An app with higher requirements in terms of functionalities will naturally cost more due to the additional time it will take to develop and test it.

The complexity of the required functionalities also affects the size of the development team, another factor that will affect the overall cost of development. A larger team with specialized roles (such as UI/UX designers, back-end developers, and QA engineers) will cost more than a smaller team with fewer roles.

Technology stack

What type of technology do you plan on using to develop the app?

Different technologies have varied requirements in terms of development costs, so this is another factor to consider when budgeting for your project.

For example, using a native development approach requires more specialized skills and can bring higher costs due to the need for separate development teams for each platform.

On the other hand, using a cross-platform or hybrid app framework can make development quicker and cheaper, as it allows you to develop for multiple platforms with a single team.

The cost of developing an app also depends on the choice of development language.

For instance, mobile apps developed using Swift or Objective-C for iOS, Java for Android, and C# or Xamarin for Windows Phone may cost more than those developed using HTML5 or JavaScript due to the nature of the respective development environments.

Design and branding

The appearance of the app and its responsiveness on different device sizes and orientations will be a key factor in determining its success.

Having a visually appealing design with strong branding can have a big impact on your app’s ability to attract and retain users, but this process doesn’t come cheap.

The app’s appearance needs to be developed by an experienced UI/UX designer, who may charge for their services on a per hour or project basis. The cost of this will depend on the scope of the work, as well as the experience of the designer.

Bear in mind that the more you invest into your app’s design and branding, the higher the chances of it succeeding in the long-term.

There’s no point in cutting corners at the development stage and ending up with a buggy, unattractive app that users end up quickly deleting from their devices.

Marketing and launch strategy

After you’ve developed your app, you will need to promote it to your target audience in order to make potential users aware of its availability.

This includes activities such as the creation of a website, social media campaigns, and paid advertising, as well as any additional marketing materials such as banners and advertisements.

While it can be tempting to launch your app without a marketing budget, doing so could be detrimental to its success and hinder its chances of gaining traction in the market.

A well-thought-out and well-executed launch strategy, on the other hand, can increase the visibility of your app, leading to more downloads, positive reviews, and ultimately more success.

Testing and quality assurance

After the initial development has been completed, it’s essential to confirm that your app is high-quality and performs as expected across different devices, every operating system, and networks.

This involves identifying, isolating, and fixing bugs that may affect the user experience of the app before it is launched to the public.

Mobile app testing and quality assurance (QA) can be another expensive step that you might be tempted to skim over or skip altogether, but it’s crucial to verify that your app is robust enough to cope with the demands of its users.

A good QA team will be able to test the app rigorously to check that it’s free of bugs and performs well in different scenarios, avoiding costly mistakes down the road.

Mobile app maintenance costs and updates

The cost of developing an app doesn’t end with its launch. In order to keep your app up-to-date and running smoothly, you will need to periodically release updates that address any issues that might have arisen since the previous version.

In addition to bug fixes, you may need to add new features or content in order to keep users engaged and interested in your app. This could involve the addition of new levels or items in a game, or the refreshing of content on a news app, for example.

The mobile app maintenance cost can add up over time, so it’s necessary to factor in the long-term costs when budgeting for your project.

The more effort you put into keeping your app cutting-edge and useful, the longer it will remain popular and continue to generate income.

Customer service

Finally, it’s worth putting a good support infrastructure for your app in place.

Providing users with the option to contact you in case of queries or issues can go a long way to maintaining their satisfaction with your product thanks to creating an enjoyable experience, as well as building a reputation for excellence that will contribute to driving sales.

Support requests are also an insightful technique for gathering data and feedback that can be used to improve your app over time. Moreover, this is another effective method of identifying and fixing bugs, as customer reports can be quickly turned into actionable tasks for the mobile app development team.

Having access to a skilled customer service team is essential for the growth of any app, and this must be taken into consideration when budgeting for your project.

You might consider setting up an online help desk, although this could be costly to maintain if your user base is large, or you could outsource customer service activities to a third party provider to manage it for you.


All of the above factors need to be taken into account when budgeting for the development of a mobile app.

However, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution; the cost of developing an app will depend largely on the complexity and scale of the project, as well as any additional features or services that you might require.

It’s worth taking time to do your research and compare the costs of different development teams in order to find the best fit for your specific needs.

With a little planning, you can realistically estimate the costs of bringing your vision to life, and with the right team in place, you can rest assured that your app will be built to a high standard and given the best chance of success.

Contact us at INVO to find out more!

Cost Mobile app development FAQs

How much does it cost to develop an app?

For a detailed average app development cost breakdown, all of the above-mentioned factors need to be analyzed for your particular project. Generally speaking though, you can expect the cost of developing a simple, basic app to be around $25,000 to $50,000.

For more complex apps with added features or services, the cost can quickly rise to anywhere between $100,000 and $500,000 or even more.

On the other hand, there are also more affordable solutions such as utilizing mobile app development platforms or ready-made templates that can significantly reduce the cost of creating an app to as little as a few hundred dollars.

What are the long-term costs of maintaining an app?

The long-term costs of maintaining an app will depend on how often you need to release updates and how much support is required.

In addition to the cost of making bug fixes and adding new features, there may be additional costs associated with customer service activities such as setting up a self-service help portable or creating documentation.