Optimizing the budget: how to figure out an adequate mobile app development cost


The new era of digital technologies promises people new experiences. Mobile apps have changed our habits everywhere: we resort to them in order to book tickets, get food delivery, make new acquaintances, find jobs, or invest funds. We bet you spend a share of time every day chatting with your friends via some popular messengers or social networks. Global restrictions caused by the pandemic paired with the skyrocketed expansion of 5G entailed explosive growth of the industry. It has been estimated that the global number of mobile users reached 4.28 bn, and they make more than 218 bn downloads per year. Since a bigger half of internet traffic is mobile, it makes sense to get interested in mobile app development. Nursing a concept of your own educational, recruitment, meditation or fitness app, social network or marketplace, dating or video streaming service, whatever it is, you’ll be definitely triggered by the issue of mobile app development cost. Let’s overview from which bricks it’s usually constructed, and how you can wisely optimize the finances your concept requires. 

How mobile app development is usually organized

Regardless of the type of product you’re planning to create, there’s the order of activities that provides a striking bull’s eye mobile app development. 

Devising a concept and market exploring

Articulate the concept of the product in a way that leads to a clear understanding: of what, why, and for whom you’re going to offer. Learn the best practices of the competitive solutions in order to emulate their strengths and avoid weaknesses. When you receive a well-marked vision of your digital enterprise, share it with an expert team in order to convert your idea into a tangible plan. 


Selecting a contractor and project estimation

Don’t underestimate the significance of a competent partner: high-fidelity mobile app development is expected if the team has a sufficient level of education, relevant experience, sincere enthusiasm, and interest in your concept, and can prove their fruitful cooperation in previous relationships through positive clients’ reviews. The well-educated contractor with deep expertise in the domain can’t be cheap, but keep an eye on the aim of collaboration: it’s not to pay as little as possible, it’s about receiving the results you expected. What’s the sense of having a cheaply tailored product that can’t take off? So put into the effort in finding an agency that understands your aspirations in a nutshell and is empowered to materialize them. 

When you know an approximate set of features the app will require, you can quote for estimation: defining time and cost limits. Purrweb has a transparent assessment system and calculates the cost of services for free. By comparing several offers, pick the team who is on the same vibe as you, and you feel the results will be mesmerizing. 


Devising a prototype

Here we move on to the commercial part of collaboration: every kind of service required for performing mobile app development takes a certain amount of time, and the cost is a result of the multiplication of the number of working hours by hourly rates accepted in the company. Though you can be teased by the idea of skipping the step of prototyping, try not to give in to temptation: the absence of UI UX design is like the absence of building plans for architects. You can construct something, but there’s no guarantee it will work. The harvest of UI UX design services is a project prototype demonstrating how the app will work and what it will look like. 


Attracting investment and development

If you’re working on a complex product, it’s usually hard to raise it on your own funds only. The prototype enables you to demonstrate to investors the solemnity of your plans and attract financial support for further development. At this step, engineers transform the prototype into a fully-fledged solution. As a labor-consuming task, it can take various slots: 600-900-1200 hours and more depending on the thickness of the product’s features. 


Quality assurance

QA services are an intrinsic part of user-loyalty-oriented mobile app development since you can’t go at risk and invite customers to a sloppy product. By testing, QA engineers search for the bugs and fix them in order to make the product work flawlessly. 


Product management services

Being a trained and talented intermediary between you and the development team, PM lets you avoid misconceptions and delusions during communication. As a rule, PM QA services are held in parallel with the other work, and on average they require 250-350 hours. 


Don’t write off the expenditures that the support/maintenance of the app will take: it’s a usual practice to fix bugs, add improvements and regularly update the product if you’re planning to stay in the market for a long. 

Technology stack

When you’re targeting mobile app development for various gadgets, you have to hire two teams of experts in order to make your android users as well as iOS ones. And what if you’re  constructing a product for two categories of users: customers and delivery couriers, sellers and buyers, and doctors and patients? Such an approach leads to multiplying the expenditures by four. The way to avoid overpaying is to hire a team who are great at mobile app development using cross-platform tools: the trick enables you to save up to 35% of investment and essentially decrease the timeline. A reusable coding base for various platforms is a cute advantage of React Native development – a favorite Purrweb’s framework. 


Must-have features 

The set of functionalities is traditionally determined by the type of the app. By comparing the repetitive functions in the reference apps, make the list of features available for an MVP. GPS tracker will be spinning around the map and specific opportunities for tracking the route, video streaming service will be honed for convenient edition and broadcasting tools, etc. 

But if we’re talking about an average app, it usually contains:

Sign-up page – the screen where novice customers can be taken on board by entering login and parole.

Onboarding page – the screen where the core idea and mission of the product are presented.

Catalog with goods/services if we’re dealing with a merchant or service business. 

Searching bar with filters – an irreplaceable function for resulting navigation in the plethora of data. 

Payment services – a built-in opportunity to pay for the selected items/service via bank card, e-payment system, or even cryptocurrencies. 

Think of which functionality is for your project and how to make them stand out from competitor’s ones. 


What impact the price of the project and terms

The reasoning about price-impacting factors leads us to the next chain: the cost equals the multiplication of the time the product requires by the hourly rates adopted by the experts. The amount of time for a product to perform regards the number of features paired with their complexity: more features – more time. Simple projects take approximately three months (1000h+), average – six months (1800h+), and complex – a year, and more (3500h+). Respectively, the average price for such types of solutions will leap from $40,000 to $85,000 and $150,000 and more.

One approach for optimizing a budget is to constrain the number of features at the initial stage and scale the product using reinvestment. 

Another approach is linked to the benefits of offshore outsourcing. The Eastern European programmers charge two to three times less than their American colleagues, keeping the same level of quality. That entails a tangible decrease in the budget the product requires. 

Whatever it is, it is up to you to decide which way of optimizing cost-effectiveness is optimal in your case. 



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