Many people are very excited about developing a small app, especially if they’ve just come up with a cool idea and want to share it with the world as soon as possible. The first question that comes to mind is often “How much does it cost to make a small app?” Everyone knows that app development requires a lot of effort from a team that includes not only programmers but also UX and UI designers, QA engineers, managers, and more.
We’re here to show you that the saying “you get what you pay for” is true—and that app size doesn’t always matter if you want your app to have time-consuming features, top-notch design, and the latest technologies.
Two variables are involved in evaluating the complexity of an application: entities and features. The entities of a given mobile app are the data that make the app interesting for users—for example, cities in a weather forecast app or subjects in a timetable app. Features, on the contrary, represent what entities do and how they do it.
To arrive at a more detailed understanding of basic small apps, let’s briefly review their specifications.
Let’s take a look at some features that may be included in simple applications.
When you start thinking about app development, you can’t know exactly how much it will cost you. The development team you turn to should analyze the requirements first. However, there are some aspects that you should consider before even starting the development process. The most significant factors that affect app development costs are as follows.
One of the most important factors that influences the cost of developing an app is what you want the app to do. For small apps, we suggest that you choose only one main function. The more things you want your app to do, the more difficult it will be to implement.
Apps such as those listed above can be created for a few thousand dollars. They are easy to develop because they are based on simple functions and technologies. However, as the level of complexity increases, so does the app’s cost. If your app requires online payments, real-time GPS tracking, or push notifications, for example, it will be more expensive to create.
The next important decision is whether to make a cross-platform or native app, as these app types are priced differently.
A native app is a mobile app designed specifically for a particular platform (Swift for iOS or Java for Android), while cross-platform apps are essentially websites in a native wrapper. Both approaches have their pros and cons, so the discussion is still open.
Cross-platform apps are very attractive because of their quick time to market, single-source code, compatibility with web technologies, easy updating process, and lower initial costs. But in the long run, you risk spending a great deal of effort on endless fixes and improvements to user experience and performance.
At the same time, native apps offer more opportunities to access the device’s OS features (camera, GPS, contacts, etc.), better security, better performance, responsive UI, and seamless UX. Although they require a large initial investment, they’re likely to save you money in the long run.
For small apps, it’s redundant to apply sophisticated custom designs with complex visual elements made from scratch. You’re better off paying attention to the app’s UX so that you can provide users with a convenient product that simplifies their daily tasks and doesn’t create new problems. From a visual point of view, it’s best to create a minimalistic but intuitive interface that complies with platform guidelines.
Let’s find out who the members of a software development team are.
We don’t recommend that you remove any of these specialists from the team because, if each of them performs their tasks well, it will have a positive impact on the total project cost.
If your budget is tight, consider app development outsourcing to a region with cheaper hourly rates, including offshore (Asia) and nearshore (Eastern Europe and Latin America) regions. In comparison to onshore countries, their rates are often over three times cheaper.
Last but not least, you should decide whether your app will use a server. Apps that don’t use a server (called “serverless” apps) store their data on remote servers. They usually depend on remote servers for storage or connecting to an API.
On the other hand, server apps don’t store their data on third-party servers. They consist of the client side, which sends requests, and the server side, which responds to those requests. Once the user downloads the app to their device, everything that’s necessary is inside and ready to work. Although serverless apps may sound easier to develop, they can require more skills and significantly increase total costs.
In any case, there is always the option to develop an MVP (minimum viable product) for your app idea. It will contain only basic features, but they will be enough to set you in the right direction.
In most articles and app cost calculators, total prices can greatly differ from reality. This is because these quotes are calculated for a wide audience without taking into account the individual characteristics of each request. If you want to get an accurate estimate, follow the steps listed below.
List your goals. Choose the main category in which your app will be included and the main functionality that you consider essential. Be detailed! It might be obvious to you that the estimation should include the cost of creating both Android and iOS apps, but no one else will know until you mark these aspects.
Any software development company can give you an approximate estimate of the project cost. To speed up this process, however, you need to provide them with the maximum amount of information possible. Don’t try to use terminology that you don’t know; describe everything in your own words as clearly as you can. Let the professionals work with specialized terms when writing documentation.
You can either simply search for developers on Google or use specialized resources such as GoodFirms and Clutch to find companies by industry and see reviews and examples of their successful projects. Moreover, you can ask around for some recommendations. Maybe someone you know has already cooperated with a good software development company.
You can use multiple means of communication simultaneously: send an email to their general email address, contact their sales department, write a message to their social network accounts, or even ask for a call over Skype or Zoom. It’s up to you to decide how to reach out. Remember to ask about more than just the price tag—ask them to examine your brief carefully, outline what they would add or remove, give you some details about the work process, and explain how you’ll work together.
While numbers are your primary concern, you should also pay attention to how the developers communicate with you. Do they seem to care about your business? How long does it take them to answer? Do they try to offer the best solution within your budget? If the answer to even one of these is “no,” find someone else to work with.
If you did well in stage three, you’ve already found companies with experience working on projects similar to yours. Don’t take them at their word; ask them to show you the apps they’ve developed for previous clients. If possible, try to contact some of those clients to confirm that they would recommend that developer.
By this stage, you probably have decided what company you are going to hire. Congratulations! But don’t forget to respond to other companies from your list and thank them for their time. Preparing a proposal for you could take a fairly long time, so they deserve a grateful response from you. This step also enables you to retain relationships with other vendors for subsequent projects or in case something goes wrong with your selected company.
As mentioned before, the feature set influences the complexity and cost of the entire project. Some features may be simple and quick to implement, but others can take months. It depends on the instruments necessary to develop the feature: simple solutions require only standard tools and technologies.
Now let’s look at an approximate time and cost estimation for basic features for one platform.
|Local Web Server Setup||6|
|Database layer implementation||20|
|Search + filters||20|
|CRUD for messages||10|
|CRUD for users||18|
|Total Development Efforts||168|
|Sign in/ sign out||20|
|Document filling by typing||65|
|Sharing the document with someone||9|
|Sharing the access into the team||7|
|Total Development Efforts||360|
|Predicted Total Efforts (man/hours)||628|
|Predicted Project Cost||$18 480|
Creating a small mobile app for one platform will therefore cost you approximately $19,000. To obtain a detailed project cost estimation, contact our sales managers. They are always available and ready to discuss your ideas.
Here, we’ve given a detailed answer to your initial question: “How much does it cost to create a small mobile app?” As you can see, creating a simple mobile app doesn’t cost $1,000—it’s a complex process with multiple steps and aspects to keep in mind.
Our 17 years of experience show that the best approach is to treat the money that you spend on app development as an investment that is sure to pay off. It’s important to choose a reliable partner who will manage the development process from start to finish. You will therefore feel that your app is in good hands and have access to top-quality skills whenever the project needs them.
At VironIT, we are always ready to help you with any type of software development services. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free consultation: tell us about your business idea, and we will estimate the cost of its implementation.