Calculation of the cost of a mobile application

We know the cost of common goods and services that we regularly encounter: food, travel, movie tickets, and much more. However, how much can a mobile app cost? How much can it cost and from what components is its price formed?

Firstly, there is no clear budget framework here, as in any other comprehensive solution. The closest analogy is building a house. It is difficult to answer the question of how much a house can cost without specifying any details. It can be a one-story building made of timber. Or maybe a three-story mansion with a pool, garage, and helipad. Even the interior decoration can distinguish the cost of identical-looking cottages at times.

In order to understand why a particular service is worth certain funds, and to present the scope of a possible budget, you need to understand the pricing of this service. The cost of developing mobile applications, as a rule, includes the following components:

  • payment for the work of programmers;
  • payment for the work of the designer and project manager;
  • ensuring working conditions for the team (rental of premises, Internet, etc.);
  • social benefits and taxes;
  • organization profit.
  • All these components, in turn, depend on the working hours of the respective specialists. The more complex the task, the more working time is spent, and the higher the cost of their execution.

    We develop applications for startups and for an already functioning business. Which also affects the format of work on the project.

    The minimum cost of a mobile application

    Take, for example, a simple flower delivery application. The server stores a catalog of goods with images and prices. The application should display it, provide the mechanics of the choice (basket), payment and communication with the operator. The total time of work (preparation of technical specifications, preparation of graphics, programming, testing and preparation for publication) will be about two weeks of work. This is a good pace given the quick coordination of all points. Two weeks of work of two full-time specialists (project manager and programmer for the same platform) and one part-time (designer) will amount to at least 80-90 thousand rubles. Operating expenses, in this case, will add another 15-25% to the project cost. As a result, with a 5-10% profit margin, the cost of a project for one platform will already be from 105 thousand rubles.

    Can I make the application even cheaper? Yes, there are three options for this:

  • Minimize application functionality. In the vast majority of cases (almost always), the application has functions that do not affect its main goals and its success. Having removed all unnecessary, you can focus on the main thing, saving time and money. In the future, you can always make an update, based not on guesses, but on real experience.
  • Make the application cross-platform. The pros and cons of this approach were described in detail in an article about cross-platform and native development. In some cases, this approach makes sense.
  • Order an application on freelance sites. In this case, you do not need to cover operating expenses (there is no office, no social benefits, no taxes). Due to which the cost of work is markedly reduced. However, there is a downside: the studio is fully responsible for the project. In the case of freelance, there is almost always no contract. Which means the absence of your protection against failure to meet project deadlines and product quality guarantees. Future project support is also becoming a big problem. You do not receive any guarantees that your application will be created on the basis of standard technologies and will be well documented. If the specialist refuses further cooperation, it will be extremely difficult to find a replacement for him. Of course, among freelancers, there are first-class specialists who conduct their activities professionally and with full responsibility. However, they are much less common than customers who come to us from freelancers. The path to a good freelancer lies through an impressive period of trial and error.
  • If you are determined to create a high-quality application with guarantees for the implementation period, no errors and problems, then expect a cost of 70-80 thousand rubles.

    Maximum cost of a mobile application

    Two factors influence the formation of the maximum price: the law of supply/demand and common sense, which do not always go alongside.

    On the one hand, eminent large studios can afford to overestimate the cost of project development, setting a profit of 50-300% or more. The customer will receive a quality product. However, most of the budget is his peace of mind due to the presence of well-known customers in the portfolio of the contractor. That is, you buy a project and at least for the same cost, a sense of guarantee. The feeling, again, is not because it is imaginary - any well-known studio does its work extremely professionally. But because guarantees (detailed in the contract) you will receive in any other studio that has done 5-10 good projects. But the presence in the portfolio of Apple psychologically reassures more than any legal and image obligations)

    On the other hand, competition between studios leads to the maximum approximation of the project cost to the threshold of profitability. But how to determine this threshold and how to understand whether the project is overpriced? It is here that common sense comes to the rescue (and it comes to the rescue almost always). Its essence, in this case, is a rough understanding of the ratio of the budget to the total number of working hours. If 3 specialists have been working on the project for 3 months, then 1440 working hours, in principle, cannot cost 20 million rubles. In this case, either the cost of an hour of work should be almost 14 thousand rubles (and this should be a very good programmer who does one social network every day), or the number of hours is underestimated and in fact, not three, but 42 person at a rate of 1000 rubles / hour. Both scenarios are not realistic, giving you insight into overpricing. In general, if by multiplying the number of employees working on the project by the number of labor hours and the rate of 1-2 thousand rubles/hour, you get a figure of 2-3-5, etc. times less than the budget announced to you, you can be sure that if you wish, you can easily find the studio with the same quality of work, but for much less money.

    Therefore, to understand the budget, always study the estimate, in which the tasks and the corresponding volumes of work in hours are described in stages.

    The procedure for assessing the cost of a mobile application

    For example, you need to order the development of an application for iOS or Android, allowing users to arrange food delivery with quadrocopters. At the stage of a pleasant acquaintance, we determine that the mobile application should work on both iOS and Android. Adaptation for tablets is not required. The level of design development should be standard (unique interface elements are not created specifically for this application). Our managers immediately determine what should be the mechanics of registering/entering users, it is necessary to implement confirmation of some fields of the user profile (the specified phone number, it is possible to ring the delivery address), there must be a link to the server-side, through which the application will receive the pizza catalog and the list of free quadcopters ( let's say each of them must have its own name), as well as send formed orders with the ability to leave feedback after their completion. Based on an understanding of the necessary parts of the work, we tentatively evaluate the mobile application at 300-700 thousand rubles.

    After analyzing all the necessary details and drawing up a detailed technical task, we formulate an estimate for the design of the mobile application. And voice the value to the client. At the same time, the customer always has the right to refuse our design services and provide a ready-made mobile application design. Then we gradually calculate the programming work, based on the number of working hours of developers who will be spent on creating a mobile application for iOS and Android versions. Further assessment of hours for work on the server-side. Thus, we get the updated cost of developing a mobile application of 425 thousand rubles.

    Of course, rarely what kind of work is so predetermined. Often there are situations that require adjusting the amount of labor when developing a mobile application and, accordingly, its cost in one direction or another. However, just such a sequence of evaluations, which the given example illustrates, allows you to control the budget at each stage of work.

    The task of AppCraft Studio is to create a high-quality mobile application that will help the client in his business and bring the desired result. We are committed to a long and productive cooperation. Always open to discussion of the details of work, the specifics of specific tasks and estimates for the creation of a mobile application. And yes, we are always ready to meet them by offering discounts and bonuses.

    What else can affect the budget of a mobile application

    At first glance, insignificant moments can strongly influence the amount of application development. For example, if a client insists on some kind of design solution that cannot be implemented by standard means of a mobile operating system, then the amount of work to implement a simple element in principle (say, a dialog box) can increase several times.

    Another factor is the depth of the study of elements. If you try to calculate the cost of your project on one of the online calculators (on or, offered by some studios, you will be surprised at the cost of the same application icon at € 1000-1500. At first glance, it seems that creating one icon clearly should require less time (it is unlikely for a professional designer to take 12 full working days at a cost of 1000 rubles/hour). However, in this case, the actual rendering of the icon is only a small part of the entire calculation work. These 12 working days will take about 10 different options. Perform testing on the target audience, check the selection of the icon on the background of the icons of other popular applications, etc. That is, the icon, in this case, includes all the accompanying research work. As a result, there is always a certain scale for the depth of elaboration of each element. Using the example of an icon, you can choose different options,

    The budget may also be affected by time. The application does not exist by itself. It is designed to make up some part of the information infrastructure and is an integral part of it. Over time and with the progress of the application, various factors of this infrastructure may change. Which can lead to a change in the budget? For example, a new version of the mobile operating system may be announced, the functions of which will require a review of the terms of reference. Or competitors will release a product that will certainly exceed your idea. You will have to add some elements, reorient functions or completely abandon the project.

    Of course, all these factors do not mean that the budget may change, say, 2-3 times from the start of work. But, you need to understand that there are risks independent of both parties that we must jointly work out if necessary.

    Before starting any work,
    Cliffex Software Solutions LLP staff will advise in detail on all emerging issues. We can anticipate difficulties, give our recommendations and offer solutions to problems. And we are happy to share our experience with our customers. At the end of the project, the client will receive a high-quality, efficient and thoughtful mobile application.


    If you are planning not a one-time application, but still a working project, you need to plan a budget for its support. Of course, almost every studio gives one or another guarantee for the operation of its code. A mistake made by developers will always be fixed for free. However, again, the world around is constantly changing. New devices are released, operating system updates are released. Even just for the application to work as before, it is almost always necessary to release updates. At least once every six months. Business needs typically require much more frequent updates.

    Author's Bio: 

    Ankit Kharola is the Digital Marketing Manager of Cliffex Software Solutions LLP, a fast-growing IT solutions provider specializing in Web App Development and Ionic App Development Services. Ankit Kharola is a tech enthusiast and writes about the various aspects of eCommerce technology.