App Development Cost: How Much Money Do I Need to Build my App?

app building costs

After you come up with your brilliant app idea ever and validate it, now you have a serious question that arises immediately. What can the app development cost amount to?

How much will it cost to build my app? There is no specific or approximate number that can be named because too much depends on the app functions that you want and the technologies that you choose. If you decide to outsource the development work, then the development team’s geographic location will play a major role.

Let’s look at factors that influence the app development cost and need to be taken into account when planning your budget.

Outsourcing: How to choose a development team

You made up your mind that you wanted to hire a development team outside of your organization. Most companies don’t want to spend more when they can pay less and get the same results. Creating a great app requires a serious investment of time and money. That is why it is common to hire developers from another region where more affordable options are available. 


It happens that developers from North America and Eastern Europe have similar skill sets and expertise, however, the prices for their work are different. For example, the starting price for an American developer is $90 per hour, while Belarusian or Ukrainian mobile app developers charge $35-50 per hour. Western European developers charge 60-80 euros per hour. This has nothing to do with the quality of work, but simply with the cost of living in each particular location. Most Eastern European countries have more affordable housing, lower taxes, and overall lower prices when it comes to food and clothes.

Team size

When you negotiate, keep in mind that you may be offered more people in the team to speed up the development process in case you have strict deadlines with your project. More people on the team will logically increase the app development cost. If you are not in a rush, the standard team size will deliver just fine. 

Freelance vs Agency

Generally, hiring freelancers is risky. Freelance prices may appear significantly lower, but that comes with consequences. Agencies usually have established processes, a growing client base, validated experience.  Most importantly, they care about their reputation and cannot simply disappear or deliver poorly. There are reliable freelancers out there, but as a client you are less secure in case of a conflict or a missed deadline. 

Checking out an outsource company

Let’s imagine you know where to hunt, now where do you go to look for a reliable development agency? A simple Google search might suffice, but once you narrow your list down to a few companies, check out the following channels.

LinkedIn page

Head to the LinkedIn page of the company you’re considering and see how active they are, how approachable they are, and if you see any blog posts or case studies that seem relevant, check them out. Business is about people, so if you get a good vibe and like the company’s communication style, you’ll probably have great relationships with the team you’ll probably be working with for months. 

Professional networks

Look at the company’s account at Behance or Dribbble. If the company is an expert in both development and design, then bingo! You can be assured that your app will be in the right hands. Mobile development is a lengthy process with many iterations and tests. When design and development teams work together, they are able to save time and implement changes in sync. Also, don’t forget to check review platforms like Clutch.

Behance design projects
Ein-des-ein profile on Behance

B2B blogs 

You clicked on the agency’s website and browsed it, now head to their blog to see whether you can find some useful tips or ideas for your business. Companies that are serious about their craft, write about topics they are experts in. Several useful articles may help you make up your mind.

Actual App Development Cost

The developer’s team costs are not the only component of the final pricing. Once you choose the agency, your final costs will be calculated based on several factors. Let’s briefly go over them. 

App Features And Functionality

A significant number of functions and the complexity of their implementation translates into a lot of work, and therefore a significant investment as well. Building apps like Uber or Whatsapp comes with certain challenges. 

Basic Apps

Simple applications do not cost too much. For example, calendars, maps, notes apps have only a few main functions, so creating them won’t be expensive. This is what some companies do when they need some market validation and pitch the idea to investors to get more money for growth. They create something simple first and then after receiving funding, develop their app further. The costs in this category may range from $10,000 to $30,000. 

notes mobile app
Notebook app allows creating simple notes, checklists, taking pictures, sketching, and creating audionotes.

Medium-Complexity Apps 

At this level, applications usually need built-in integrations with payment systems, extensive databases, and more advanced functionality.

Think of food delivery services, for instance, that are in essence customer-facing server applications. The prices may range from $30,000 to $70,000. 

delivery mobile app development
Uber Eats includes order placement, order tracking, payments, map navigation and rating.

Complex Apps

Complex custom applications usually require increased security, as well as more advanced integration. For example, IoT (Internet of Things) apps need AI algorithms and complicated architecture. This complexity makes an app a strong competition but impacts the app development cost. In this category, costs start at $50,000. 

AI mobile app development
AI-powered ELSA Speak app has speech recognition function to help users learn English by practicing dialogues.

Customization Of Visual Design

The more complex and modern your design is, the higher the application cost. There are definitely cases where design solutions out of the box are more than enough. However, the growing user demand for design and user experience suggests that it makes sense to create an individual custom design that is both beautiful and practical.

This is especially important for enterprise applications where it is necessary to preserve corporate colors and evoke the right associations for current and potential customers.


In most cases, development for iOS will cost more than for Android. This is because the first operating system places more demands on functionality, implementation, and security. So, it makes sense to either create a hybrid application or focus on one operating system to create a native solution if you are sure that most clients use either iOS or Android. Building native apps for both platforms will double your expenses but will ensure stable performance on each platform. 

App Maintenance Costs

The cost of supporting the application depends on what server hosting solution and API you choose. It is possible that at some point you will need to scale your solution and your application needs to be prepared to cope with the critical load. Providers like Amazon AWS and Rackspace offer cloud solutions for developers—the size of the cloud can be increased as the user base grows. Don’t try to save up on this if you know that your app is on the steady path to scaling. 

Final thoughts

Before outsourcing the app development work, think through your app idea and make a firm decision about what category it will fall into. Research the market and get a feel of the trends. Copy some elements you like in successful apps while adding your own original killer feature. Investing in a neat app solution has every chance of giving you a lifetime of dividends.

build your mobile app

Hope this article helped you get an idea about the components of app building cost. If you’d like a free consultation with us to see how much it will cost to build your awesome app, contact us today and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

What kind of app can be considered the most expensive for development?

The cost depends on app functionality and user roles. The more complex features are intended, the more time and resources it will cost. For example, an app like Uber or Lyft with its driver app, passenger app and a dispatch panel that manages user interactions, payments, and rides, may cost over $90,000.

What’s the best monetization model for my app?

This depends on your app. Some apps use a subscription model, some in-app purchases, others primarily rely on ads. It’s also common to mix monetization models (for example, in-app purchases + in-app rewarded video ads). 

Why is it cheaper to hire developers from Eastern Europe?

The cost of living, taxes, and housing prices are lower while the developers’ qualifications and experience are often equal to their counterparts in North America and Western Europe.