App Development Project Planning

How much does it cost to develop an App

Mark Hall - 24 December 2018

At OWA we frequently get asked how much does it costs to develop an App. In this blog post I will outline the various elements which can affect the overall cost of developing an App and provide some indicative costs based on our experience.

Different types of App

Traditionally when someone thinks of an App, they are thinking of something which is downloaded from an App store. If you would like your App to be hosted in either the Apple or Google Play stores then it can either be developed using a native technology or a hybrid framework such as Xamarin or PhoneGap. One of the main advantages of using a hybrid framework is that a single codebase can be used to create a separate version of the App which can then reside within the native App store. This can reduce the overall development cost significantly.

Another approach is to develop a Progressive Web App, which provides the feel of a traditional App, but is not available from within the traditional App stores. Again, this approach can provide significant development cost savings over developing native Apps.

UX / UI Design

Apps have to work effectively on a range of devices, therefore it is very important that the interface is designed and tested to ensure that the functionality works well for users. At OWA we work closely with our clients to understand their requirements and then produce a set of wireframes to demonstrate how the functions will work. This helps to reduce the development costs and reduces the amount of feedback we receive on the App once it has been released.

If clients have existing brand guidelines then these can be useful to ensure that the graphical design elements conform.

Functionality and Integration

The technical complexity of the App has the biggest impact on the overall cost. Apps which have functionality built in, but do not integrate with any other system are cheaper to develop generally. Apps which integrate with existing databases or APIs take longer to develop and therefore cost more.

Apps which are built using native technologies require a separate codebase to be created for each platform, which can increase the overall development cost significantly.

Ongoing support and security

Once your App has been developed and launched it is important to have a budget allocated for ongoing support and security. At OWA all of the Apps we develop come with an inclusive 12 month warranty against any programming errors. We do however recommend that clients have an application support agreement in place to cover any other issues which may occur. It is also important to consider the security of your App to ensure that it remains secure. Our Application Security Testing service and Monthly Security Protection services are specifically designed to keep your App secure.

Budget costs

All the Apps and Applications we develop are based on a fixed price quotation which we produce once we have a full understanding of our client’s requirements, therefore we don’t have a fixed price list to choose from. We can however suggest ways of tailoring the overall development costs to fit in to a specific client budget.

Based on our experience our indicative budget costs for developing Apps would be:

Self contained App with limited functionality
Initial development cost            £7,000 to £15,000
Ongoing support                          £1,500 to £2,500 per annum

App with database integration
Initial development cost            £15,000 to £45,000
Ongoing support & Hosting      £4,500 to £6,000 per annum

App with complex functionality and database or API integration
Initial development cost            £45,000 to £120,000
Ongoing support & Hosting      £8,000 to £15,000 per annum

How to get an accurate quotation

If you do have an idea for an App which you are looking to have developed then we would recommend writing a short briefing document detailing the main functionality. It can also be helpful if you are able to produce some initial wireframes to demonstrate how you see the App working. This can help us provide you with a more accurate indicative cost.

If you have a very limited budget then it may be worth exploring Low-code development platforms as they may provide a potential solution. If you are interested in this type of solution then we would recommend you make yourself aware of the potential functional and scalability limitations which you may encounter if you choose to use this method.