​Once you have thought of an idea for your app, the next thing that pops up in your head is, “What is it going to cost me to develop this app?” The cost of your app is going to be dependent on the project size and its technical complexity. 
Project Scope

There are generally three categories of apps: small, medium and large apps.

Small Apps are typically:

  • Built for a single platform
  • Have limited functionality
  • Have fewer screens

They ideally do not require a login or a user authentication. For example, a weather application comes under the category of small apps. 

Medium Apps are typically:

  • Either a single platform with more features and user flows or
  • Two platforms with less complex functionalities

For example, Netflix would be a medium app.

Large Apps are typically:  

  • Complex
  • Require a lot of backend development
  • Offer more features

For example, e-commerce platforms such as Uber, an app that require separate interfaces for employees and customers.

The two most commonly used platforms to make apps are iOS and Android. If you wish to increase the app’s popularity, the best advice is to make it available on both these platforms. But with that choice, the cost of building the app also increases.
Tip: The most cost effective method is to build a multi-platform app that only requires minimum changes to get adapted on either platform.

It may not strike you as a huge factor affecting the cost, but devices also play a huge role while budgeting for an app. For instance, if you need to make an app for old devices with older operating systems, then the time to develop will increase, thereby increasing the cost of production and resources. On the other hand, if you are building apps for smart devices such as smart phones, smart TVs, tablets, etc. it will be much cheaper and faster.

Backend Infrastructure
Backend infrastructure includes things like user authentication, business integrations such as booking appointments, any notifications, messages, etc. There are two options when it comes to building a backend infrastructure for an application:

  1. Purchase an existing app infrastructure and modify it to suit your app.
  2. Build a backend infrastructure from scratch.

If you are going to purchase an existing backend infrastructure, and only modify it according to your needs, then the costs to build your app will be much cheaper. The only drawback is that the modifications will be limited. You will not have the authority to make any kind of changes and if any changes are required, you will need to depend upon the original app developers to make them.
The second option, i.e. building a backend infrastructure from scratch will definitely cost more, in terms of cost and resources. But the advantage here is that the system will be completely under your control. Any changes that need to be done as per the market demand can be handled by the backend team. This also makes it an exclusive app in the market, thereby, increasing its probability to scaling new heights in the app world. 

Content Management System
The most important costing that you must consider for your app has to be the Content Management Systems (CMS). This includes content for app settings, menu details, images and text content. 

Marketing Your App
Marketing is what makes or breaks your app. In today’s competitive world, it is imperative to invest in marketing the application correctly. If your end user, isn’t aware of your app, its functions or its USPs then the app is not going to be a success.
Some other reasons that the app could fail include lack of product definition or market viability, a lack of a clear business, monetization, or marketing strategy, or simply because there isn’t a strong product release plan set in place.
Running an awareness of the app is necessary from the time the app is in progress. This includes sending out teasers, early pages to sign up, press kits, marketing on social media channels, paid advertising, through website or landing pages and blog content.
Marketing is also an on-going project; hence, you must consider the same in costing. A yearly marketing strategy would help you gauge the costing for marketing on your app. Some of the factors that you need to consider are marketing for driving downloads, user acquisition and keeping the user retention rate high.

Post Maintenance Cost
Once the app has been rolled out in the market, you must consider the post maintenance cost of the app – i.e. supporting and sustaining the app. For this, you will need to invest in business functions such as IT, engineering, marketing and sales.
IT and engineering play an important role while budgeting the post maintenance cost. The backend needs to be constantly updated and the app needs to go through upgrades to add more features and fix issues/bugs that are logged by the users. If you have purchased a third party app, even then you will need resources to be involved and also pay them the post maintenance cost.
A long-term product vision that accounts for user demands, roll out product improvements or new features, and remain relevant in an increasingly competitive market are things that you need to remember even while developing an app. Many companies don’t account for this in their initial budgeting plans; however, it’s critical that you forecast the six month, 1-year, and even 2-year costs associated with maintaining and improving your product.

A long term strategy with a product roadmap and a phase-wise approach will give you an idea of the resources required pre, during and post the application is developed. The following checklist should help you budget your app correctly:

  • Knowing the right distinction between the apps and websites and understanding the requirements of an app correctly
  • Paying attention to the costs involved in backend development and infrastructure needs
  • Ensuring that you consider the cross department involvement that is required for delivery and on-going success
  • Taking into account the marketing budget to promote and educate customers about the mobile application
  • Updating the app as per user feedback and post launch of the app

​To understand the costs involved while getting your app developed, you can contact the App Scoop development team: https://www.app-scoop.com/contact-us.html

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