How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?

Updated on :October 19, 2023

With the prevailing immensity of smartphone usage, almost all consumer businesses now have mobile apps and should have one. And if companies choose to go mobile-first, they need to be clear and analytical about it. 

Getting an app developed is a complicated affair that requires a considerable expenditure of time, budget, and effort. And when the business itself is based on the mobile app, the development cost and time become the make-or-break point of the success.

How Much Does it Cost to Make an App?

Typically, a simple app can be made with a budget of $12K within 5 weeks. Although, a sophisticated app would require a budget of $82K and 16 weeks. Indeed, the time and cost of developing an app play a crucial role. But it's not that simple!!

Moreover, a huge difference exists in mobile app development prices based on geography, platforms, app complexity, and development phase. Our survey-based research discusses the breakdown of every significant factor affecting overall mobile app development cost and time. It offers detailed but simplified data and insights from 267 mobile app development companies worldwide.

In a recent GoodFirms survey, the participating firms were asked questions on two different decision-making data sets - Costs and Time - for roughly 80% of their projects.

Under the Costs section, the firms were asked to provide hourly rates to develop a mobile application based on the type of project (economic project & high-end project) and for platforms (iOS platform, Android Platform, & Cross-Platform). The type-based average hourly costs were calculated from the data collected for app platforms and different geographies.

Under the section of Time, the firms were asked to provide the minimum and the maximum number of hours they usually require to complete a specified development stage or a set of app features. From the data collected, the median minimum and maximum hour ranges were calculated, along with the highest maximums for certain required cases.

The resulting averages and medians were then worked to answer various app development costs and time-related often-asked questions. Some of these questions are:

Survey And Data Analysis

The mobile app development industry is one of the fastest-growing industries globally. Innovations and technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, etc., are driving the growth of this segment. Businesses utilize these technologies by developing mobile apps either through their developers or outsourcing. The primary concern for the development of mobile apps is the cost. 

This survey by GoodFirms titled: ‘How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?’ will help businesses determine the costs of developing a mobile app to grow their business. The insights will help business buyers have a top-level perspective on cost and time issues with a highly comprehensive yet, easy-to-digest analysis. 

Key Takeaway: How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App?

Simple calculation with the time taken and average hourly charges ($60) resulting from the survey, the average app development costs would be:

  • A simple app costs about $12,960 to $30,240, with minimum viable features.
  • A complex app costs from $34,560 to $60,480, with popular consumer features.
  • An advanced app costs about $56,160 to $82,080, with cutting-edge features.

Of course, these are estimated calculations. And there are many moving parts in the development process. Each of these variables is discussed and accounted for through the following app development cost breakdown.

Key Takeaway: How Long Does It Take to Develop an App?

Each stage in the development process takes different amounts of time to complete. It usually takes weeks - a ton of brainstorming, to-and-fro communications, development cycles, and tests - to build the finished mobile app.

Simple calculations from the survey figures reveal that the average app development time could be:

  • Making a simple app takes about 3 to 7 weeks, with minimum viable features.
  • Making a complex app takes 8 to 14 weeks, with popular consumer features.
  • Making an advanced app takes 13 to 19 weeks, with cutting-edge features.

The raw figures from the survey were in hours and converted into weeks. For this, standard practices are considered - simultaneous work on 2 development stages at a time and working time of 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Which Factors Influence the App Development Cost?

Generally, the cost of creating a mobile app is not fixed. And it ranges greatly: from several thousand dollars to insanely expensive prices reaching millions.

The basic app cost calculations depend on how many apps developers charge per hour.

Based on the survey responses, for economic app development, different companies around the globe charge between $10 to $200 an hour, with an average of $60 an hour.

While for high-end app development, the rates are anywhere between $10 to $400 an hour, with an average of $122 an hour. The team of developers will ascertain how many hours are required, and the bill is finalized based on the hourly rates.

Yet, the total app cost depends on several elements. Custom-made mobile apps come in a variety of scales, designs, utilities, and functionalities. Each lot of this variety demands another variety of development efforts. And each one of them influences the average app cost. Noting the various indications by the participants, here are some of the significant factors:

Factors that influence app development costs

Brandon Wilkes, Marketing Manager of The Big Phone Store, explains, “The complexity and quantity of features of an app determine the cost and time it takes to develop it. A simple weather app, for example, would require far less time and money to develop than a more comprehensive social networking software that includes texting, photo sharing, and other features. Business apps are the same way: those that are focused and basic will cost less than those that have various functionalities and integrations.”

With such a large number of variables at play, mobile app development varies for each project. The following sections discuss some of the factors in detail and give answers to how much an app costs based on the survey data.

App Development Cost by Complexity

The app's complexity directly decides much of the time and cost for app development.

User features, app functionality, number of pages, sophistication of design, and administration requirements all add complexity to the app. And with each layer of complexity, the time and effort required are manifolded.

Deviating from built-in UI patterns (for good reasons or not) also increases complexity because things then need to be custom built,” says John Myers, President of Tack Mobile.

The participants were asked to approximate the number of hours required to develop a particular set of features and app administration based on the app's complexity. Here are the approximate development time and cost required:

Mobile App Complexity
Features Included

Time Taken

(in Hrs)

Total Cost For Economic Project 

(at $60/Hr)

Total Cost for High-end Project 

(at $122/Hr)

Simple App
Basic User Features & App Admin
240 - 560
$12,960 to $30,240
$29,280 -  $68,320
Complex App
Complex + Basic User Features & App Admin
640 - 1120
$34,560 to $60,480
$78,080 - $136640
Advanced App
Advanced + Complex + Basic User Features & Admin
1040 - 1520

 $56,160 to $82,080

$126,880 - $185,440


Creating a Simple App

A simple mobile app comes with basic user features and limited administration.

User features in such apps include a login system, user profile facility, dashboard, necessary messaging, file uploading, search, and features regarding native devices. Most of these features are bare essentials for a user to make an account, navigate through, and gain adequate information from the app. At the same time, the back-end ability lets an administrator edit app content and handle basic business operations with a content management system, user management, feedback system, push notifications, ticketing system, etc.

Creating a Complex App

Further, a much more complex app includes many features for user engagement and monetization. 

Along with simple obligatory features, these apps have activity feeds, social media integrations, e-commerce, payment gateway, audio/video streaming, all device sync, user privacy, etc. They can use the device features such as camera, gallery, geo-location, and calling. Developers even get needful administration such as order & cart management, payment management, data collection & analytics, app security, etc.

Creating an Advanced App

These apps are integrated with the latest technology, or even pioneering ones, in the market.

The user features are often laced with augmented reality, multi-language support, high-end data logic, and much more. At the same time, the app administration includes applications of machine learning to enhance user touchpoints such as chatbots.

As you can see, the cost increase is sizable as you move on to more complex features. For a bootstrapped development, one needs to prioritize necessary features and bring initial success.

App Development Cost by Platform

The platform impacts the cost of app development in many ways. How much does it cost to make an app for Android, iOS, or hybrid? If you are planning to build an app for any one platform, there is no difference in development cost. But, if you decide to build an app for more than one platform, you need to pay for each individual platform.

Based on the survey, here are the hourly rates (average economic cost - average high-end cost) for developing an app for Android, iOS, and Hybrid:

Economic and High end developement project costs

Businesses need to take into consideration factors such as Android and iOS market share, target audience, a variety of devices, OS requirements, app services, and, most important - technical implementation. App development for these platforms needs different programming languages, utilizing different development tools and different APIs.

To enhance the user experience, native apps are to be developed for specific guidelines and device hardware. And thus, the development of such apps requires intensive programming and extensive time.

A rough estimate of how much it costs to develop an Android or iOS app ($90 an hour) individually gives:

  • A simple app would cost around $21,600 to $50,400.
  • A much more complex app would cost between $57,600 and $100,800.
  • An advanced app would cost much higher, starting from $136,800

Native apps can get expensive if you are developing for both Android and iOS. If the aim of the app is to reach large audiences, cross-platform or hybrid app development is a good choice. A single hybrid app is made to work on a variety of devices, so only one app is needed to develop.

App Development Cost by Geography

The most popular countries for mobile app development are the USA, Canada, South America, the UK, Ukraine, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia. And the hourly rates charged by app developers vary significantly among these countries.

Thus, the location of the mobile app developers also shapes the overall cost of developing an app. You should consider the location wisely according to the available budget for app creation and vice versa.

Based on the survey, here's the map indicating app developer's hourly rates (average economic cost - average high-end cost) in different countries:



(Avg. $/Hr)


(Avg. $/Hr)


(Avg. $/Hr)

90 - 120
80 - 140
90 - 120
60 - 120
60 - 120
60 - 130
Latin America
28 - 90
28 - 90
40 - 160
The UK
60 - 75
60 - 75
55 - 75
35 - 55
35 - 55
30 - 50
40 - 78
38 - 60
40 - 78
South Africa
45 - 80
40 - 80
40 - 80
22 - 90
15 - 25
20 - 30
Southeast Asia
23 - 55
30 - 45
30 - 45
25 - 35
20 - 30
25 - 35
90 - 120
100 - 120
90 - 120

Evidently, with $90 to $120 per hour, an average Canadian app developer and App developers from Australia charge the highest. Hence, development costs are the most expensive in these regions.

On the other hand, app development cost in most European and South Asian countries is usually less than $50/hour. Among these regions, Indian App developers ($22 - $90 per hour), Ukraine ($40 - $78 per hour), and Southeast Countries ($23 - $55 per hour) are quite famous for cheap and reliable app development.

Generally, prices do not necessarily guarantee the quality of your app development. Sometimes, cheap development costs may save you money, while expensive costs are for the name of the company.

So, how much does it cost to create an app in these regions?

Typically, the average app development cost in the USA would be around $19200 to $44,800 for a simple mobile app. A complex app with much-needed features would cost $51,200 to $89,200 in the States. At the same time, the cost of an advanced app laced with the latest technology would go beyond $83,200. 

Similarly, the app development cost in Australia and Canada for a simple mobile application would be $34,800 to $81,200. The cost of developing a complex app would be $92,800 to $162,900. And an advanced app would cost anywhere from $150,800 in Canada or Australia. App development companies in the UK charge somewhere between $23,000 to $55000 for simple apps. 

app development costs by region

How much does it cost to make an app in India? With $22 per hour for creating an app, the cost of building a simple app in India ranges between $4,800 and $11,200. The development of a complex app would cost $12,800 to $22,400, and that of an advanced-level app could cost at least $20,800. While these are the rates for iOS and cross-platform apps, Android apps come even cheaper.

If you want to get your app developed in Ukraine, developers charge around $50 per hour for a commercial project. Hence, the cost of building a simple app in Ukraine would be around $12,000 to $28,000 for a simple app. For complex apps, the development cost would be anywhere between $32,000 to $56,000. At the same time, an advanced-level app could cost at least $52,000 in Ukraine.

The costs are calculated with the average economic app developments mentioned by the surveyed companies. It's important to note that most common delusions, such as 'high price does, or young companies do not yield high-quality products,' may result in overspending or app failure.

App Development Cost Breakdown By Stages

app cost breakdown by Stages

Cost of App Development Planning

For most companies, app development planning is an indispensable part of the process. The intent is to clearly understand each aspect of the mobile app they’re going to develop. In a way, planning the outline of the entire project avoids costly changes to the scope of the project.

As specified by the participants, the planning phase includes, but is not limited to - 

  • Market Research & Business Analysis
  • Identifying Requirements
  • Defining the Scope of the Project
  • Deciding App Features & Goals
  • Deciding on the Tech Stack
  • Planning out Time & Expenditures

How much does it cost to make an app strategy? Typically, app development planning goes for 60 to 90 hours, while a much-demanding app can even require up to 260 hours. App strategy, calculated based on average hourly rates ($60/hour), could cost anywhere from $3600 to $5640 and can go as high as $15,840.

Planning times largely depend on the client and the app's complexity.

Jes Herman, President of Canada-based Oracast, explains, "Some clients are happy with what we produce right out of the gate. However, other clients are a little pickier and require multiple design revisions. Additionally, there is a small group of customers that think they know what they want but end up changing their minds multiple times throughout the planning phase, which can extend or delay a project."

Often, findings of the planning phase are well documented to guide clients as well as the whole development team throughout the other development stages.

Cost of Designing an App

Mobile apps need designing not just for how it looks but also for how it works. Thus, most development companies include dedicated efforts for researching and designing user experience too. In the development app, UI designing deals more with the presentation of the app.

App UX designing costs include:

  • User Research & Analysis
  • Information Architecture
  • App Navigation
  • Wireframing

According to the participating companies, it takes about a median of 90 to 140 hours (or up to 270 hours) to design an app's user experience. And thus, it can cost between $5400 and $8400, with expenses reaching up to $16,200 for highly user-optimized designs.

App UI designing costs include:

  • Brand Styles - Logos, Icons, Colors
  • App Interface - Visuals, Content
  • Rendered designs
  • Final Design/Prototype

Designing the user interface of an app takes around 40 to 100 median hours or up to 409 hours for superlative visuals. The average development cost translates into designing expenses of $2,400 to $6,000 and can go up to $24,540. Most participants vocalized that UX designing is a continuous process and depends largely on branding, business goals and needs, project complexity, number of screens, and functionalities.

Deepu Prakash, Senior Vice President of Fingent, described, "Often, for complex projects, these stages are iterative. For products, these stages iterate through the lifecycle of a project, and there is no maximum limit. The numbers vary greatly based on the target market and business model. For instance, a simple app used by one department within a corporate environment may complete this stage way faster than, say, a B2C commercial multiplayer game designed for a gaming firm."

App design includes both UI and UX. And overall, it influences the whole process of building an app. The more intricate the app design, the more costly your mobile application becomes.

Cost of Developing App User Features

As said before, the app's complexity decides much of the time and cost for app development. The user features that are to be developed contribute much to the complexity of the app. And so, no definite answer can be given until a set of features has been decided to develop.

Thus, to have a top-level perspective, the app makers were asked to roughly provide the time taken to develop three sets of user features - Simple, Complex, and Advanced. Each set included some of the most popular user features the majority of apps normally have.

The following table will show an approximate app development time and cost for each set from simper features to advanced features of user functionality:

Included Features
Time To Develop

Cost To Develop


Simple User Features
  • Login (Email/Social Media)

  • User Profile (Make & Edit)

  • Chat/Messaging

  • File uploading

  • Dashboard

  • Search

  • Native Device Features

70 to 105 Hrs
$4,200 to $6,300
Complex User Features
  • User Engagement (Social Media, Email, SMS, etc)

  • Activity feed

  • Camera/Gallery

  • E-commerce - Catalogs, Ordering, Shopping Carts, etc

  • Geo-Location

  • One-click contacting

  • Payment Integration

  • QR/Barcode Scanner Integration

  • Stream Audio/Video

  • Sync across all devices

  • User Privacy Setting

100 to 304 Hrs
$6,000 to $18,240
Advance User Features
  • Augmented Reality

  • Customization

  • Multi-language support

198 to 390 Hrs
$11,880 to $23,400

The numbers presented are aimed at getting a general understanding of an average app development cost. In fact, a single app would include multiple features and not necessarily from the same set or even complexity, as mentioned above. 

Suprit Patra, Co-Founder of Indian development firm Gleecus, explains, "Sometimes, a simple feature like Login can be quite complex if you are planning to build an SSO, AD, LDAP integration or use OpenID-based authentication and authorization. Allied scenarios like multi-device session management and security-based features might add to the hours as well."

Simply put, even a single feature can get complex depending on the app requirement and add cost to the development. Each of these features costs individually to develop. Thus, the total app cost actually depends on the exact functionalities to be included and their nature.

Cost of Developing App Administration

An admin panel adds further complexity to the app and is one of the most decisive elements in the success of a commercial app. Most of the features on the panel are related to managing either app content or users. These are aimed at marketing the services or the products better and monetizing the app.

To have another top-level perspective, the app makers were asked to roughly provide the time taken to develop three sets of administration features - Simple, Complex, and Advanced. Each set included some of the most popular admin features the majority of apps normally have.

The following table will show an approximate app development time and cost for each set from simper features to advanced features of the admin panel:

Included Features
Time To Develop

Cost To Develop


Simple Admin Features
  • Content Management System

  • User Management

  • Feedback system

  • Push Notifications

  • Ticketing System

50 to 126 Hrs
$3,000 to $7,560
Complex Admin Features
  • Payment Management

  • Order Management

  • Data Collection & Analytics

  • App Security

140 to 264 Hrs
$8,400 to $15,840
Advance Admin Features
  • Machine Learning

  • Conversational Bots

188 to 400 Hrs
$11,280 to $24,000

These features provide apposite controls for the app content, user data, and app functionalities that enable app owners not only to manage & analyze the app data but also to make essential business operations possible.

Most pieces of app administration are available as SaaS products or even previously developed, reusable components with the developing firm. "Sometimes it depends on third-party portals like payment gateways, analytics, etc., which contributes to calculating the hours.", explains Yulia Garanok, business development manager at Canadian development firm - datarockets, "And other times, reusable components, SaaS services, and prior experience can significantly reduce the effort required to create and deploy sophisticated features."

These kinds of available facilities can offer much-needed cost savings on the most expensive development stage.

Cost of Developing App Infrastructure

The technology, flexibility, scale, services, and all the other technical choices that a mobile app demands are facilitated solely by its infrastructure. And thus, developing the app infrastructure demands one of the largest portions of the development cost, third only to the advanced user and admin features.

The following are the minimum necessary elements of the app infrastructure on which the developing costs are based.

  • Database Setup
  • Data Storage Solutions
  • 3rd Party API Integrations
  • Data Encryption & App Security
  • App Scalability

For this set of infrastructure, companies generally take 100 to 200 hours to develop, the highest recorded time being 400 hours. Calculating the average developing cost of $60/hour, the cost of infrastructure would be anywhere between $6,000 to $12,000 and could go as high as $24,000 for a single app.

Participant Pablo Lecea, Director of Technical Consulting at California-based Belatrix Software, noted, "It is worth considering the time and efforts you should assign to develop the business rules, the logic layer of app infrastructure, and the APIs to consume them. These are some of the most expensive bits of app development and the ones that demand the best optimization."

As mentioned by several other participants, there are two goals while working on infrastructure development. One is to create an app for the uncertain future by building a flexible, pluggable, microservices-focused method. Two, to work towards a continuous development and deployment process.

Cost of App Testing

Rigorous testing of the mobile app ensures the quality of the software and the functionality of the features. It comforts users with a seamless app experience without UI walls, bugs, glitches, or crashes. 

The amount of time and cost required depends on the types of testing procedures, the purpose of the app, its complexity, the required quality, as well as the number of screens.

According to the participants, testing of the mobile app includes, but is not limited to -

  • Quality Assurance
  • User Experience Testing
  • Functional Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Device and Platform Testing

For simple apps, a few basics are run and thus require less time. But for, complex apps such as social media, interactive games, and financial or educational demand additional testing time and cost.

"We calculate a project's testing hours based on a percentage," stated Justin Evans, business development executive at California-based Mob Inspire, "so that it scales appropriately with different-sized projects. It's quite accurate; however, test cycles can last longer depending on client/stakeholder availability for beta test cycles."

In the same way, many other companies conduct testing as an iterative process and thus allow a certain percentage of the total mobile app development time to it. As stated, most companies take around 100 to 200 hours and can reach up to 400 hours for premium testing. So, how much does it cost to test an app? Based on the average cost of $60 per hour, testing and QA services require anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 and may reach up to $24,000.

An in-depth testing process assures that app users would face minimal issues such as glitches or crashes.

Cost of App Deployment and Publishing

Publishing an app to the app store requires the least time, yet it is a crucial moment. The process is detailed, requires a dozen pieces of information on the app, and directly impacts the success of the release. Apple App Store charges an annual developer fee of $99, and Google Play Store charges a one-time developer fee of $25 to publish a mobile application. But there is much more administration and optimization at work than just uploading the app to the store.

So, how much does it actually cost to put an app on the app store? Different platforms require different preparations, rule compliances, marketing, as well as review times. An average development firm usually takes 8 to 20 hours or 50 maximum hours to fulfill these administrative steps, terms, and conditions. Calculating the average app cost of $60 per hour, it costs around $520 to $1300, or a maximum of $3250, to put an app on the app store.

"Submitting app doesn't take long", Soumadeep Chatterjee, a business intelligence specialist at Vipra Business Consulting Services Pvt. Ltd mentioned, "but both the Apple Store and Play Store have a review TAT of 72 working hours. So even after submitting, you might need to wait for the app store team to review and make the app live. Additionally, upon rejection of the Application, it could be doubled or tripled."

But Soumadeep and many others on the survey mentioned that the app publishing cost is not subjected to these time changes, and most companies charge a fixed amount for the whole process.

Cost of App Maintenance & Support

Often overlooked, support & maintenance demands ample investment to sustain and thrill through the dynamics of the app business. And most development firms incorporate a maintenance cost (for some period) into the contract.

Some of the support & maintenance activities that participants included are as follows:

  • Infrastructure & 3rd Party APIs charges
  • Continuous bug fixing & app updates
  • Code optimization
  • App stability and performance
  • Emergency Maintenance
  • Scaling up the app
  • Developing new features
  • Updating for the latest OS versions

That’s why the association with your tech partner doesn’t stop right away from the app launch. Often it’s a continuous process and lasts much longer. Usually, companies charge an average of 25% of the development cost per year. That means if a complex app costs $85,150 to develop, it can be estimated that the app maintenance will cost around $21,287.5 a year. 

Developing new features or software scaling is not included and may drive up the costs of maintaining an app. "Support & mobile maintenance by itself isn't very much", added Shaun Murphy of New York-based AppsChopper, "however adding new features or additional phases to an app project can greatly increase the percentage of overall app revenue. But even if you have no plans for them, other app support and maintenance services are indispensable."

Key Findings

  • A simple app with minimum features costs about $12,960 to $30,240.
  • A complex app with popular consumer features costs from $34,560 to $60,480.
  • An advanced app with cutting-edge features costs about $56,160 to $82,080.  
  • Making a simple app takes about 3 to 7 weeks, a complex app takes 8 to 14 weeks, and an advanced app takes somewhere between 13 to 19 weeks.
  • Mobile App Development companies around the globe charge between $10 to $200 an hour, with an average of $60 an hour for economic app development.
  • For high-end app development, mobile app developers charge anywhere between $10 to $400 an hour, with an average of $122 an hour.
  • App Complexity is a top factor determining the costs of mobile app development.
  • Native apps get expensive when developed for both Android and iOS platforms.
  • The geographical location of the mobile app development companies also shapes the overall cost of developing an app.
  • Various stages of mobile app development take different costs and time.
  • App development planning may take somewhere between 60 to 90 hours depending upon the complexity, and the planning phase for a much-demanding app with advanced functionalities can even require up to 260 hours.
  • Developing App administration, user features, and app infrastructure take the highest time and cost of the app development stages.


The data and insights presented above give a rough, standardized idea of the time and cost of making an app, as mentioned by 267 leading development firms. The next step in the app affair is to look out for some of the best app development companies, evaluate them on several aspects, and pick the one that suits your business and its requirements.

Looking for mobile app development costs

GoodFirms presents you with a precise platform for all your app development market research and queries. Here is the list of GoodFirms' researched and client-approved top Mobile App Development Companies that would come in handy in your efforts. And if you already have a set of specifics decided and looking for elaborate categories, you can even look into directories of app development companies based on their locations, platform expertise, or industry focus.

About GoodFirm’s Mobile App Development Cost and Time Survey:

GoodFirms surveyed 267 mobile app development companies across the world to study prevailing project costs and time frames. Firms from diverse socio-economic geographies, such as the United States (27.54%), Canada (14.37%), Australia (12.57%), India (7.19%), Ukraine (5.99%), the United Kingdom (5.99%), Malaysia (2.40%), Uruguay (2.40%), Belarus (1.80%), Poland (1.80%), and Others (17.97%) have contributed to the survey.

The survey surmised data from all three of the small, medium, and large businesses: 13.77% of small firms with 2-9 employees, 56.29% of small firms with 10-49 employees, 22.16% of medium firms with 50-249, 6.59% of large firms with 250-999 employees, and 1.20% of large firms with employees more than 1000 employees.

Here is the full list of Research Partners who participated in the survey and provided thorough perspectives for the research.

Note: For 2018 Survey Data, Please click here. 

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