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How to calculate the cost of mobile application development

How to calculate the cost of mobile application development


"Should I make my own mobile application?" - such a thought in our time many people come to mind. Mobile applications are now undergoing the same evolution as the websites in their time: once they were a luxury, now they have become a norm of life for almost any business. Also, more and more people now think about creating an application, because every business, entrepreneur, brand or even just a person with an idea can find his audience in the world of tablets and smartphones.


However, there is a big gap between an idea and a ready-made application.

We face different cases, but they all come down to two basic situations one way or another:



The first one is that the idea of creating a mobile application takes a long time to come, and it takes months, if not years, before a person who cares and cherishes the idea will get a handle on the budget calculation.


In fact, do not hesitate: talking about the budget does not oblige you to anything, and during the consultation of an experienced specialist you can discuss the details of the technical implementation of the idea, which may affect not only the budget, but also the functionality of the application.


The second situation is the opposite - a person has a very general idea of the application, there is no understanding of the target audience, the peculiarities of using gadgets by representatives of this audience, ways of monetization, KPI, principles of involvement, hobbies and retention...


In general, when there is nothing, and the person addresses to the company-developer and wants to hear the cost, and also focuses on this cost as the main criterion of choice of the developer of the mobile application. And as the market at us in the process of formation, it is possible to find and freelancers, and even the companies which promise the gold mountains.

Check top financial software development companies which can help you


The professional will never name the price at once, not having worked out a big layer of questions, connected both with business part of conceived, and with technical part. Moreover, the business part is primary in relation to the functions, and there is no sense in evaluating the functionality, if the application is essentially insolvent. The professional will definitely say about it and advise to invest money, so the request for budget calculation is not only and not so much an estimate, but also an opportunity to get expert advice from a specialist.


No matter what situation you find yourself in, you should not hesitate with the budget assessment.

First, many agencies provide a free initial budget estimate. To do this, you need to fill out an application form, and the expert will contact you to discuss the details of the project or send you price options immediately. You should understand that this is the initial estimate, and it can be quite rough: guidelines are given, which are then, of course, corrected.


Secondly, consulting with an experienced professional will help you determine the key features critical to running the first version of the application, the platforms and many other issues. We discussed why it is dangerous to develop everything at once in the previous article, but now we want to talk more about the budget evaluation process.


How the developer company evaluates the budget

We don't make a secret of how we evaluate requests for mobile application development coming to us. If the purpose of the client is to know the approximate cost, we can give a "fork" (minimum and maximum) within 1-3 days. If a client needs a detailed evaluation of a large project, the preparation of such an offer may take from three days to 2-3 weeks. What happens over such a long period of time, how exactly the evaluation is done and what can be revived at the output - all this you can find out from our consultants or read a short overview in one of the previous articles.

How much should I count on?

On average, the development of a user application from drafting the terms of reference to the output of the finished product in the AppStore or GooglePlay costs from 500 thousand rubles and more. An application that is developed once (for example, for an event or promotional campaign) may cost less - 70-300 thousand rubles, and long projects involving the output of several versions of the application for different platforms or the implementation of complex technical functions, the budget may exceed several million rubles. And besides functionality, 3 factors affect the application budget.

1. Degree of readiness of an idea

The idea of discord: someone comes with a simple description, someone appends a detailed technical task to the letter, and someone handles ready-made application sketches or even elaborate design.


Often to the developers address the owners of already existing mobile applications, which require improvements, addition of new functions. For them the question, what part of the budget is the services of UI design and design, is also relevant.


In our experience, for an average application the cost of development will be lower by 30 percent, if you already have a ready-made design and it does not require additional processing for the mobile application interface. 


2. Platforms, aka operating systems

It is worth considering, under what platforms the application is written (iOS/Android, smartphones / tablets) and how many platforms are planned to run. If the development for one platform is already budgeted, then adaptation for the tablet of the same operating system will take from 15 to 60% of the budget of the smartphone version (and vice versa). Development under Android traditionally by 10-20% more expensive than similar work under iOS due to significant fragmentation of devices, different screens and a large number of "know-how" devices. 


3. Integration

Also unobvious for many people far from programming is such a factor as integration with the server or other third-party systems. Almost all offers require a server, and some simply can not work without it.


As examples of other systems, let's give the most often interesting social network API: in reality, integration of an application with each social network is a separate work. And since popular social networks at their own discretion change the principles of their servers, often a simple task "to make it possible to enter an application using a twitter account" may take a week of work and cost about 50 thousand rubles.


Understanding how the integration with other systems works will help to avoid unnecessary spending: for example, instead of integration with twitter, vkontakte, facebook and Google+ to choose only two networks that are most often used by the target audience.

Plans for the future

So, the process of budget evaluation is clear, 3 cherished factors that affect the cost of the application are known. Another noteworthy factor is the publicity of the project: for agencies, whose rating and popularity directly depends on the level of implemented projects, it is important to share the description of the case on the website and in your portfolio. Therefore, as a rule, the cost of closed cases that are not available for publication is estimated a little higher than the cost of open cases.

The last thing to consider is your plans to develop the application after its release. Standalone applications (for end users or branded applications) are usually not created at once, but involve several separate iterations. An application released in AppStore or GooglePlay needs to be constantly updated and maintained, responding to the demand and feedback from users, so we advise you to divide the project into several releases and, accordingly, form the price of each release separately, taking into account all the above factors.




Summing up, we would like to note that usually a client in one way or another has to revise the mobile project budget several times: not all the details can be taken into account in the original request, and some functions can be invented and developed on the fly. But you should not take it as a problem or planning inaccuracy: it is a normal state of any developing project.


Find developers where you can be sure that they will help you plan your initial budget, save money, and intelligently calculate your investment in future versions of the application. Be ready that the mobile project is like a long movie from several episodes, relax and have fun, but do not forget to follow the plot line. Then you will definitely succeed.