The Cost of Building an App

Trying to find a steady price for building an app can be daunting. There are as many app developers as there are “handymen” services for your home projects. Some good, some not so good but you tend to get what you pay for. The cost of developing an app can range anywhere from $1,500 – $150,000 depending on the features you add to it. With that range of pricing, where does your awesome app idea fit into the picture? How do you know if you are getting what you paid for? Does your handyman really know how to build a deck to code standards or is he just a fly-by-night con-artist who charges way too much and leaves you with a faulty deck that is not up to “code”? Oh and by the way, good luck with your (HOA) home owner’s association, i.e. Apple and Android, they may not like that deck (App) too well.

Most people use common sense when they pick their handyman. They look for qualifications like their training, portfolio, and references that are trustworthy. All of these common sense questions can save you money and time – and oh, by the way, you get an awesome product! The real question is, why don’t people use those same questions when searching for an app development company?

To stop the madness, we have put together an app calculator that helps you start to framework the scope of your awesome app idea. We have categorized it into 4 main sections: Platforms, Features, Administration “Back-end” Features, and finally Pricing.

Let’s take a closer look at these four categories:

  1. Platforms – When choosing a platform to develop your app for, it might be best to first think of your target audience. If your app targets the mass markets as a whole, you will want to make sure that the most popular platforms such as iOS and Android are your focus. If the corporate world is your primary target, corporate-based platforms like BlackBerry or Windows make a good choice. iOS and Android have the largest user base while BlackBerry and Windows take a significantly smaller share of the pie chart. According to Business Insider, Android has captured almost 80.2% of users while iOS trails behind at 14.8%. When choosing the appropriate mobile platform, you need to know where most of your users are going to be. This way you can capture them at the right place and at the right time. Ask yourself questions like, “Who is going to use this app the most?” or “Where will they be using this app, at home, on the road, or at work?”. These types of questions get you thinking about your audience and what devices they will be using and in what circumstances they will be using it.
  2. Features – What kind of features will your app have? A great place to start is by looking at apps that you already have. What is your favorite app and why? The features are the heart of the app. They should allow the end-user to get what they want, when they want it. The list of app features can be long and somewhat confusing, but our app calculator allows you to wade through the endless list of features and pick out what you really need in your app. Remember, stay focussed on what your audience wants, not primarily on what you want.
  3. Administration “Back-end Features” – Creating an app can be intimidating at first glance, however, there are many things that can make your life easy in the long-run in terms of managing the app. One example is having and administrative back-end panel for easy management of your app. If you have an app that accepts payments, who with monitor those payment on the back-end? Hopefully you will! Let’s pretend you have created an app that collects data from your front-end user, where does that data get collected? These types of scenarios will help you answer the big question, “Do I NEED an administrative feature in my app?”. Be prepared to pay more for these features. Often times these back-end feature are where the real work is done in development. Generally you will spend more money on these features than all the rest of your features.
  4. Pricing – So what will your awesome app cost out of pocket? We have an answer for you, the Möbius App Calculator. So go ahead and dream up your awesome app and see what it’s going to cost you to have it built by Möbius Learning.


App development is no different that hiring a handyman. Do your personal research on many different development companies. Take a look at apps you like and find out who developed them, then seek them out to quote your project. Don’t only compare quotes but also compare ability, references, and quality of portfolio work. Use common sense. Would you hire someone to build your deck if you knew this was their first one to quote? I hope not! Because we are software developers, we suggest you start here at Möbius Learning to get your first quote!

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