How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App (and How to Make It Cheaper)?

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how much does it cost to develop an app bannerAre you considering launching an app for your business? Many leaders and entrepreneurs today want to develop an app because it can streamline operations and improve how customers interact with their businesses. However, it’s no secret that app development is a complex operation. So, one question to ask before starting this endeavor is, “How much does it cost to develop an app?” 

This article breaks down the intricacies of app development and factors that influence its costs, such as complexity, platform choices, and developer rates. Additionally, you’ll learn strategies to make this endeavor more affordable while meeting your business needs.

What Affects the Cost of App Development?

Understanding the factors influencing costs is crucial for effective budgeting and project planning of your app development. Numerous variables come into play, each impacting the overall expense differently. 

  • App type – Apps come in different kinds, such as simple informational apps, feature-rich gaming applications, and complex e-commerce platforms. Their level of complexity significantly affects the cost of development. 
  • Size – The scale of the app, measured by the number of screens, elements, or features it encompasses, directly correlates with development time and effort. Large apps with many extensive features generally incur high costs.
  • Features – The sophistication of your desired features, such as integration with external services or advanced functionalities like augmented reality, impacts development costs. Each additional feature adds to the difficulty of the development and, consequently, the expense.
  • Staffing – The expertise and number of professionals involved in the process, including developers, designers, and testers, influence costs. Highly skilled personnel command higher rates, while large teams entail increased labor expenses.
  • Maintenance – Post-launch maintenance, updates, and ongoing support are essential considerations for the total cost of app ownership. Factoring in these recurring expenses ensures the app remains functional, secure, and up to date—contributing to its long-term success and user satisfaction.

Average Cost of Developing an App

There are uncertainties when determining the average app development cost because of the diverse nature of projects, team sizes, and app complexities. However, some calculations provide rough estimates of costs based on specific data sets.

For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the mean hourly wage for software developers in May 2022 was $63.91. Dividing this along percentiles sets the following price ranges:

  • 10th Percentile (Low): $34.27
  • 50th Percentile (Mid): $61.18
  • 90th Percentile (High): $95.24

In addition, estimating development time is crucial. StartupGrind suggests building a small app takes approximately 12 weeks to complete, medium-sized apps 25 weeks, and large apps 38 weeks or more. Assuming a web developer works eight hours a day and five days a week, that’s about 480 hours for small apps, 1,000 hours for medium-sized apps, and 1,520 hours for large apps.


Low (10th Percentile) Mid (50th Percentile) High (90th Percentile)

Small (480 hours)

$16,449.60 $29,366.40


Medium (1,000 hours)

$34,270.00 $61,180.00


Large (1,520 hours) $52,090.40 $92,993.60


Considering hourly rates and development durations, you can gather insights into potential costs from these numbers. However, expenses can vary based on project specifics, team composition, and additional fees like maintenance and post-launch support. Rates for IT professionals and other experts can also differ.

How to Reduce App Development Costs

Crafting an app for your business translates to many advantages. But that doesn’t mean spending extensively outside your budget. Reducing app development costs is paramount to optimize resources and maximize returns. Employing the strategic approaches below can help you achieve your app goals without breaking the bank.

1. Simplify app design

Focusing on essential features and functionality significantly trims development complexity and associated costs. Instead of designing extravagant features, take a minimalist approach. Prioritizing performance and aspects aligned with user needs will shorten labor time and reduce expenses.

2. Utilize lean development methodologies

Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) or breaking your project into small, achievable tasks is an efficient and cost-effective app development method. This approach allows for continuous refinement based on user feedback, which avoids wasted time and resources.

The key is focusing on what’s most important, such as core features, and then using Agile methodologies like Scrum to improve the product as you go. Moreover, knowing tech stacks can help simplify your web developer’s job.

3. Automate where you can

By integrating automation tools like automated testing frameworks and deployment pipelines, you can streamline development workflows and decrease the need for manual intervention. They speed up the development process and lower the risk of errors and rework, resulting in long-term cost savings.

For instance, automating tasks such as app testing pre-release, milestone email notifications, and change alerts can save valuable time by eliminating repetitive manual work prone to errors.

4. Outsource all or some of the app development tasks

Tapping specialized firms or freelancers can yield significant cost savings, especially when needing more in-house expertise or resources. A good example is outsourcing to reputable vendors or remote teams to lower labor costs and maintain quality standards instead of hiring full-time employees for UI/UX design, backend development, or quality assurance tasks.

5. Recruit offshore software developers

Leveraging offshore software development talent from countries with lower labor costs is a common strategy many businesses practice to reduce app development expenditures substantially. With a vast global talent pool, you can better select skilled professionals at competitive rates without compromising quality.

Additionally, time zone differences allow round-the-clock development, expediting project timelines and delivering cost efficiencies. One way to jumpstart outsourcing tasks is by partnering with a recruitment agency in the Philippines.

Unlock Efficiency for Cost-Effective App Development

Engineering an app for your business can bring many benefits, such as streamlining operations and boosting productivity. Plus, living in the digital era makes having an app imperative. But developing one shouldn’t exceed your budget. Achieve your app goals while optimizing costs by prioritizing essential features, embracing lean methodologies, and leveraging automation.

Considering outsourcing options, like Manila Recruitment, can also significantly help. If you need to outsource and recruit offshore software development talent, contact Manila Recruitment. We can assist in building your dream team and bring your app vision to life efficiently and cost-effectively.