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Understanding App Development cost, budgeting and detail guide in 2023

Published: Mar 24, 2023  |   | 

APP Development Cost

I. Introduction

Whenever entrepreneurs think of developing an app, the first question comes to their mind is ‘how much does it cost to hire an app developer?’ In this mobile-driven world, no business can compete and grow without a feature-rich, user-friendly app. However, many business owners still sit on the fence because they have no idea about the cost of hiring an app developer. 

As per the report published by GrandViewResearch, this domain is expected to reach $565 billion by the end of 2030. Talking about revenue, the Statista Digital Market Outlook has estimated that the app market revenue will reach around $613 billion by 2025. Though all these figures indicate a promising future for mobile apps, it is essential for companies to know the app development cost before jumping onto the app bandwagon. 

The cost of developing a mobile app largely depends on the developer’s hourly rates. Other major factors that determine the cost of your mobile app are complexity, category, design, features, and maintenance costs. 

Let’s dig deep into these cost-determining factors for your mobile app project. 

II. Factors Affecting the Cost of App Development

factors affecting the cost of app development

Mobile app development cost depends on various major factors. You can get an estimate of development cost by understanding and considering these factors. Let’s dig deep into these cost-determining factors one after another. 

A. Platform (iOS, Android, or both)

It starts with selecting the platform on which you want to build an app. For example, if you want to opt for a native app, you need to decide which platform is more suitable to reach your target audience. If your target audience lives in the USA, Canada, and European countries, then it is beneficial to start with an iOS application. Whereas, if you want to address the Asian or African target audience, you can consider an Android app. 

Some SMBs and even startups opt for cross-platform app development to target both Android and iPhone users. Cross-platform apps can facilitate you to reach a huge audience irrespective of iOS or Android OS. Also, cross-platform app development remains more cost-effective than native app development. 

B. Complexity of the app

Another key cost-determining factor is the app’s complexity. If your enterprise-level app has many interrelated features and complex functionality then it takes more time to get developed. In such a scenario, you need to spend more money on its development cost. We can classify mobile apps into three categories based on their complexity level-

  • Simple app- It has a set of basic user features including a user profile, dashboard, and an admin panel with limited features. It costs you between USD 5000 to 40000. 

  • Medium complex app- It offers a plethora of features for engaging users and is capable of app monetization. It can have a payment gateway and social media integrations also. It costs between USD 50000 to 100,000. 

  • Complex app- These apps have integrated advancements in emerging technologies including AI, AR/VR, and ML. IoT-based and AI-powered apps fall under this category. It costs you between USD 100,000 to 300,000. 

C. Design and User Experience (UX)

This is another big factor to consider. After features and complexity, a mobile app development company considers app design and animation. When it comes to app design, the mobile app development company offers two options- Custom and Standard UI. Custom UI is difficult to design and more complex to implement than standard UI, therefore, it is expensive. Animation can enhance the user experience and increase the engagement rate, but it can increase the app development cost significantly due to taking more time. 

D. Development Team (in-house or outsourced)

You can either hire developers and make an in-house development team or outsource the entire app development project. Outsourcing is a way more cost-effective option than an in-house team because it enables you to get rid of purchasing cutting-edge tools and complying with legal formalities of keeping developers on your payroll. Outsourcing can also give an advantage of currency difference. In other words, the outsourcing model can save time and development costs for your app project. 

E. Location of the development team

It is also known as an hourly rate model for mobile app development. For example, if the development team stays in an Asian country, you need to give an hourly rate between USD 30 to 80, and if your team is in the USA then you need to pay between USD 150 to 250 per hour to individual developers. The location of developers plays a vital role in determining the app development cost for your app. 

F. Maintenance and support

Most custom Mobile App Development companies offer 24×7 technical assistance on an additional basis. In other words, app maintenance and support services are not included in the app development cost quote. You need to keep the provision for app maintenance and support costs to keep your app updated. It is necessary to retain users of your app for a long time with advanced features and seamless performance. 

III. App Development Cost Ranges in 2023

We can give a tentative range to make a customized mobile app based on various aspects related to hire app developer costs. A simple app costs around $50000 to $40000, whereas a business app with medium complexity can cost you between $50,000 to $100,000. However, if you want a complex and future-ready app with desired features, developers must spend more time. It results in a higher cost of developing a mobile app, which can remain between $100,000 to $150,000. In some cases, it can exceed $150,000 also. 

IV. Cost-saving Strategies for App Development

cost saving strategies for app development

It is fair to mention that hiring mobile app developers is a valuable investment. Just like your other projects, app development and hiring developers are necessary to ensure the growth of your business. Here are some of the tips or strategies that can help you save the cost to hire a mobile app developer:

Though feature-rich mobile apps are highly useful for forward-looking companies, such apps need a lot of money to be invested. Many startups and even SMBs also prefer to sit on the fence due to the increasing cost to hire a mobile app developer. Here we mention some effective tips that can help you reduce the cost of developing a mobile app. 

A. Start with a minimum viable product (MVP) approach

As the name suggests, MVP is a product with minimum features and limited functionality. When we apply this concept to the mobile app development domain, it is making a mobile app prototype with all the core features. An MVP application is cheaper than the original apps. It takes less time to develop and help entrepreneurs save money. An MVP approach can assist you to gain profits and get valuable feedback. 

B. Opt for a cross-platform development

Cross-platform app development is a cost-effective method to build an app that can seamlessly run across mobile and web platforms. When your target audience is platform-independent and consists of both Android and iPhone users, it is always better to build such apps because native apps are more expensive than cross-platform apps. Cross-platform app development saves big on app development costs and time by using a single code for all platforms. 

C. Partner with an experienced development team

Experienced developers can be great troubleshooters for your app development project. When you hire dedicated developers from a reputed development company, they can easily build an app with desired features in a given timeline. It can save your time and developer costs, so that it is imperative to partner with or hire experienced development developers. A leading app development company can enable you to choose the right developers. 

D. Focus only on essential features

Many mobile applications have redundant or unnecessary features. Such apps only make the user’s life troublesome. It is, therefore, necessary to include only necessary features that can increase the user’s efficiency and engagement. Essential features can attract more users and they do not have any negative impact on the speed and performance of the app so that users can stay connected through apps for a long time. 

E. Outsourcing is the best option to consider

Outsourcing is one of the most powerful options to reduce the cost to hire a mobile app developer. Countries with lower hourly rates for developers like India, the Philippines, etc. are good outsourcing destinations for North America and Europe regions. Outsourcing is an evergreen method to save costs and time while getting exposure to the relatively large talent pool across the world. You can get your application on time without spending any productive office hours if you stay in North America or Canada because of the timezone advantage. 

How do Reduce costs with offshore App developers?

Outsourcing mobile app development projects or hiring offshore iOS App Developers can be highly beneficial to reduce the app development cost significantly. You can choose dedicated offshore app developers from Asian countries for cost-effective processes and timely completion with the usage of cutting-edge tools. As compared to American and European developers, Asian developers take less hourly rates, which can help you reduce the cost of mobile app development. All you can consult is a reputed and renowned offshore software developer. 

Let’s segregate mobile app development into various aspects.

Cost of App Development by Type

The cost of developing a mobile app keeps on changing based on the type of app that you want to build. We can classify apps into different types based on their logic, objective, and function. Every app has differences in design specifications, functionality, and even market requirements. For example, educational apps are completely different from social media or productivity apps. 

Based on the following types, you need to pay different costs for building apps. Though it has nothing to do with the app developer’s hourly rate, some types of apps need more effort and take higher time to build due to complexity than other apps. It increases the cost of mobile app development. Here are the most common types of mobile apps. 

  • Education Apps

  • Social Media Apps

  • Productivity Apps

  • Entertainment Apps

  • Gaming Apps

  • Lifestyle Apps

Cost of App Development by Region

cost of app development

It is fair to mention that a high price does not mean that the quality of products is high. When it comes to mobile app development, the cost of app developers keeps on changing by region globally. For example, the USA has an hourly rate between $150-$250 and India has an hourly rate of $20 to $35. This difference has a direct impact on the app development cost. With the highest hourly rate, the app development cost in the USA is the highest in the world. 

After discussing some major cost-determining factors, let’s understand the hidden factors that can increase the cost of developing a mobile app significantly. 

Hidden App Development Costs You Need to Know

Most mobile app development companies do not include some costs in their quotes. These costs are known as additional costs or hidden costs. Let’s dive into each of these costs one after another. 

IT Support Costs

Even if your app has desired features with excellent performance, it cannot work seamlessly without technical assistance and maintenance. IT support costs include regular app updates, bug fixing, and maintenance of APIs. 

App Publishing Costs

Google Play and Apple App Store have different fees and charges for publishing an app. The Play Store takes a one-time fee of $25 when developers submit your Android app, whereas, an iOS app owner has to pay $99 every year on Apple App Store. We can also include license fees for some countries and other charges in the app publishing costs. 

Security Costs

It is imperative to ensure the safety of your application. Therefore, you should have a proper and long-term security plan for it. All security checks should be done during the development phase as well. Once the app is published, you need to spend money on ensuring data security regularly. These costs are known as security costs. 

How to Build Your App on a Budget

how to build your app on a budget

When you think to hire an app developer cost, you find a lot of variation as per the region. It indicates the importance of outsourcing your app development project. Here we mention some useful tips that you can implement while following the industry practices to build an app without spending a small fortune. 

  • Focus on quality assurance from the early stage

It is difficult to find and remove bugs after developing an app. It is time-consuming and expensive also. Therefore, it is better to keep the focus on quality assurance from the early stage of app development. 

  • Prioritize the app features in advance

All the features should be planned before the design and development stage starts. It is because once the wireframe is created and the design gets approval, it needs more time and effort from the developer’s team to add or modify any features in the app. 

  • Consider a cross-platform app

It is better to opt for a cross-platform app especially if you want to reach a huge audience at reasonable rates. A cross-platform app is cost-effective because it enables companies to address both Android and iOS phone users. 

  • Make a plan for the future

It is always beneficial to make a clear roadmap that includes the long-term goals and objectives you want to achieve using a mobile app. It enables developers and the management to understand the design and features necessary to build a successful app. 

V. Conclusion

When it comes to hire app developer costs in 2023, you need to consider multiple aspects. You also need to keep hidden costs in mind when asking for a development cost from a reputed mobile app development company. You can also implement the tips given here to keep the app development cost in control. Hope this guide to hire mobile app developers will help you get the best deal with proper planning and execution. 

Semaphore Software is a leading mobile app development company. We can assist you at every step of mobile app development with in-house teams of experienced app developers. If you want to know more about the app developer’s hourly rate or any mobile app-related information, just send us your query at info@semaphore-software.com and we will get back to you soon. 


How much does it cost to develop an app?

The app development cost depends on various factors including the complexity, features, and the platform you have selected for developing an app. Also, the hourly rate of developers impacts it. Considering various factors, we can assume that the cost of a simple mobile app starts from $15000 and the cost of a complex, feature-rich app can stretch up to $300,000.

How does the complexity of an app affect its cost?

More complex app can cost higher than the same with less complexity. It is simply because a complex app needs more time and effort from the developers that significantly increases the developer’s cost. Also, a larger number of integrations and interrelations can increase the cost of a complex app.

What is the difference in cost between developing for iOS and Android?

Though iOS and Android app development costs are mostly similar, iOS development can be more expensive due to stringent app review processes and other factors that require experienced developers.

How does the location of the development team affect the cost of app development?

The mobile app development cost depends on the location of the app development company or team. For example, the cost of mobile app development is way higher in North America and Europe than Asia.

Can I cut costs by using a template or pre-built app components?

Yes. A ready-made template or pre-built app components can reduce the cost of app development but they affect customization and uniqueness badly. If you want to ensure a seamless performance with desired features in your app, you should consider investing in custom app design and development. .

How does the cost of app development change over time?

Various factors like advancing technology, increasing competition, growing app demand, and economical situation with market trends keep on impacting the cost of mobile app development. It is, therefore, necessary for you to get a quote from a reputed mobile app development company when you want to go for app development.

How Semaphore is different from freelance portals for hiring Android developers?

Semaphore Software is a trusted outsourcing partner for mobile app development since its inception. It has set new milestones in delivering advanced app solutions on time with the desired features in a cost-effective way. As a robust offshore IT services provider, Semaphore can give all services related to mobile app development under one roof. In a way, it is way ahead of other competitors and freelance portals for hiring Android or iOS app developers.