You’re finally ready to take the plunge and move ahead with building a custom mobile app, but before you present your project to your company’s board of directors, you need one last thing: quotes on pricing. You’ve emailed a few developers, but the estimates vary dramatically. It’s got you wondering, how do developers determine how much to charge? What is the mobile app cost breakdown? In short, what are you actually buying?
Those are all good questions, and there are a number of factors that go into creating a quote for a mobile app development project, including (but not limited to) the app’s size and complexity. This is precisely where a pricing breakdown is useful, as it allows you to examine what factors will affect your development budget and timeframe.
Mobile App Development Cost Breakdown: How is the Fee Determined?
Some of the many considerations when it comes to determining development costs include:
- The size of the app: The larger the app and the more features are included, the longer it takes to build. In the case of an e-commerce app, you’ll need to consider how many products will be available for purchase through the app.
- The man hours required for the build: The app development fee will vary significantly depending on the hours needed to perform the build. This line item usually accounts for the majority of a project’s development costs. You may be charged a flat rate based on the company’s estimate, while in other cases, you may be able to pay actual per-hour costs (but if the project timeline goes over, paying per hour can be a disadvantage).
- Custom features or unique functions: If you’re building a “run of the mill” app, you’ll be facing a very different timeframe and cost range versus what you’d encounter for an app with unique features or functions. In short, if you’re asking your developer to create proprietary technology, you can expect to spend a greater sum than if you were integrating more common elements.
- The amount of testing and refinement required: Some apps require fairly minimal testing, whereas a more complex app—particularly one including unique features and functionalities—would need extensive testing to work out all the bugs. Some apps will also need open and/or closed beta testing, in addition to QA testing. Testing can be very time-consuming and will likely account for at least a couple line items in your app development budget.
- Whether you need a user-friendly app management platform: A client may require a user-friendly back-end platform that can be used to manage or moderate the app. For instance, an e-commerce app may need a portal that staff can use to add new products to the shop. Or a social networking app might demand user-friendly moderation tools. Other apps may not need a refined “back end” for management or moderation, which would result in a faster, simpler build.
- The project’s timeframe: If your project has a flexible deadline, then you will pay less than what you would spend if your project has a firm deadline or requires “fast tracking.” If time is critical, your developer may need to hire extra staff or pay overtime, resulting in higher overall costs.
Additionally, the app’s complexity and uniqueness will influence the per-hour rate for the firm’s developers. If your app requires a high degree of specialty or a rare skill set, the “man hours” portion of the equation will be greater.
Maintenance and updates are also a key consideration when crafting your development budget. Some developers may integrate short-term app maintenance into their build fee. For instance, your developer’s quote may include two months of app maintenance and updates. According to the industry standard, you should set aside approximately 20 percent of your initial build cost to cover annual maintenance-related expenses. So if your app costs $100,000 to develop, you would want to budget $20,000 annually to cover updates.
Reducing Expenses With an Open Source App Platform
At SevenTablets, we can cut costs and development timeframe by upwards of 30 to 40 percent thanks to our open source STAX platform. STAX allows us to leverage pre-built front-end and back-end platform components to craft your app in a more time- and cost-efficient manner. We believe there’s no need to re-invent the wheel when we’ve already developed the perfect one!
So if you’re ready to create your very own mobile app, turn to the talented team at SevenTablets. Based in the Texas Triangle, we deal with all facets of app development, including predictive analytics, testing, creative UI/UX services and more. Contact us today to learn how we can help you create a world-class app to suit your precise needs.
Lacey earned a B.A. from Baylor University. Sic'em!
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