How Much Does Mobile App Development Cost

November 30, 2018 | Sakshi Sharma

Many people get really excited about app development, mainly because they come up with an awesome idea and want everyone to use it. What happens next when they look into getting it designed and developed is they realize wow there is a lot more to this mobile app development thing. Then, they see the app development cost and flinch.

The first thing you have to understand is every app is different, even if they are similar there are differences that affect the cost. Some of the main items that can affect the app development cost are:

1. Number of screens

2. Number of API’s to be integrated, if any

3. Custom or using a template

4. How many primary and secondary functions the app has

5. How complex or simple each function is

6. Platforms you want to build on

Simple vs Complex

The app development cost of a simple 5 screen app is most likely going to be less than an app with 20 screens. If you have a big app that needs to have various APIs integrated with it because it must communicate with other items outside the app, it could get a little pricey. If you decide you want a template to be used to cut costs, you can and some people do that. However, a template limits your ability to do certain things which is why people tend to want custom apps so they can do what they want.

You always want to keep your app simple and easy to use but you also want to make sure it has everything they need. If you only have 1 function in the app it’s going to be pretty inexpensive. On the other hand, if that one function requires a massive backend and various other needs to make it work properly then it won’t be cheap.

Every function in the app requires a certain number of things to be done in the backend. While the front end may be very simple the backend may require a number of things to ensure that it works. For example, let’s say you have a list of options you want a user to choose from then click done. What the user sees is just 1 simple screen with a list of items to choose from.

However, in the backend, the system needs to have a profile created for every single user that knows what that user has chosen and what needs to be done because of it. Each selection requires a different action. That right there requires a lot more in the back end than the front end.

Another item that affects the app development cost is the platforms. There are 2 main platforms; iOS and Android. There are also various devices that you can build on as well. iOS you have various mobile devices and the different iPads. Android is the complicated one because there are hundreds of devices you can build on which is why many usually start with iOS because there are not a lot of different devices. If you decide I want to build on the latest iPhone and the most popular Android those are 2 different costs. The same goes for building on the iPhone and iPad or Android phones and tablets.


App design is very important if you want to gain and keep users. Depending on how simple or how complex you want the design to be, it’s going to change the cost. If you want major effects versus simple little icons you’ll pay more.

Do you need the mobile app development company to create a logo and/or app icon image? That will be taken into account too. Design plays a very important role in any project. You want to do it right and make sure users find it appealing otherwise they won’t use it.

The Cost

Now, let’s break it down for you. You will see the average costs for different sizes of apps. Of course, that is an estimate. Once you contact SDI to discuss your exact needs you will be given a precise cost but this will give you an idea.

Here is a quick breakdown of basic app development costs:

2 Screens, 1 core function is $5,000

5 Screens, 1-2 core functions is $11,000

10 Screens, 2-3 core functions is $17,000

15 Screens, 3-4 core functions is $29,000

That is the starting point. Depending on how complex the core functionalities are those prices will go up and vice versa. Now keep in mind your app may only have 15 screens tops but if those functions require a huge complex backend the price could be $100,000. If you are trying to build Facebook or Pokemon Go then we’re talking millions.

App pricing is not simple. When you explain what you are looking for a solid mobile app development company will review and give you a cost. If you are on a budget, companies like SDI can work with you and come up with a solution that works for you and decrease your cost.

There are companies that provide you with a very low app development cost, but be careful. Make sure they can provide you a lot of information, references, and ideas. If they say yes we can do it here is the cost you may want to look around at other companies. Sometimes if the price is too good to be true it probably is. Be smart when hiring a mobile app development company.

There are also companies that will charge you $10,000 just to do a specs document. A simple app could cost you $100,000. They go through a whole list of what they will provide and it sounds all great but you may not need all of that, plus many times their price just isn’t realistic. You will usually find good pricing and proper development from companies in the middle. Mobile app development is a crazy industry but definitely worth doing.

Maintenance and Marketing

Beyond just the design and development there is also app maintenance costs and app marketing costs. It’s not just about getting it created but also about what you need to maintain the app. The kind of server you need to make your app work properly will have a cost to it as well.

How much marketing do you plan on doing to get the word out there? There are a lot of things you can do for free yourself. If you want to push further or have someone else take over the marketing reigns you have to think about your marketing budget each month.

If you have a $2,000/mo app marketing budget we’re talking very basic marketing materials like blogs and social media. A good marketing budget is $25,000 /mo. Don’t get discouraged though, spending a lot of money doesn’t necessarily mean results. You can have a small budget and still make some headway. Sometimes just knowing where to place the right marketing materials can yield high results so that a $2,000 budget could work out in the end.

You can’t really think that an app can be designed and programmed for $2,000. Many people think that’s a thing. It’s not. Just designing a few pages will cost that much. There is a lot to take into account when it comes to app development. It’s not a simple process and requires a lot of effort and time. Make sure you are serious about it. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg but remember if you are on a certain budget you may want to be prepared to cut back on some things. You can always have a version 2, 3, and 4 where you add in other features.

If you are ready to discuss mobile app development with a professional company who can do design, programming, maintenance, and marketing then speak to one of our specialists today at 408.621.8481 or email at

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