How much does it cost to develop an app?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to develop an app?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to develop an app?

$50,000 – $200,000average cost to make a mobile app

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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$50,000 – $200,000 average cost to make a mobile app

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
Are you a service provider? Get new customers
Tamatha Hazen
Written by
Tamatha Hazen
Edited by
Tara Farmer
Fact-checked by
Kristen Cramer

App development cost

App development costs $50,000 to $200,000 on average, depending on the complexity, features, team size and location, and whether the app is made for Android, iOS, or both. The cost to create a simple mobile app is $10,000 to $50,000, while building a complex, multi-featured app costs $150,000 to $300,000.

Average app development cost
App complexity Average cost Description Time to build
Simple $10,000 – $50,000 Offline standalone, simple data-driven, or apps with limited features 2 – 3 months
Mid-level $50,000 – $150,000 Multiple feature apps with log-in and payment gateways 3 – 6 months
Complex $150,000 – $300,000+ Advanced apps with custom designs, multiple API integrations, advanced security measures, and scalability for large numbers of users. 6 ­– 12 months

Cost to develop an app by type

Basic standalone apps like calculators and clocks without a network connection are fast and cheap to build, costing $10,000 to $50,000 on average. Apps with login and authentication cost $50,000 to $250,000 for extra security infrastructure. Apps with payment features and social networking cost $60,000 to $500,000.

App development cost by type
App type Average cost Examples
Standalone, no-network app $10,000 – $50,000 To-do lists, calculators, clocks
Data-driven apps $15,000 – $85,000 Calendar, weather, stock market
Login/User authentication apps $50,000 – $250,000 Tinder, WhatsApp, McDonalds
Social network app $60,000 – $500,000 Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest
eCommerce app $60,000 ­– $500,000 Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, Home Depot
On-demand service app $60,000 – $400,000 DoorDash, Handyman, Uber, Fiverr
Mobile game app $20,000 – $300,000 Angry birds, Pokémon Go, Candy crush
Marketplace app $30,000 – $200,000 eBay, Etsy, Airbnb, TripAdvisor

Get free estimates from app developers near you.

Cost to create or make an app

The cost to make an app is $50,000 to $200,000 on average. Building an app takes 6 to 12 months. Developers often start with a minimum viable product (MVP)—a basic version with reduced features— to quickly get the app to market and improve the features as the app gains users.

App development cost by stage
Stage Average cost Timeline Includes
Analysis & planning $5,000 – $20,000 2 – 8 weeks
  • Analyzing current market trends and competitor products
  • Setting the project scope, budget, and timeline
Design (UI and UX) $5,000 – $30,000 2 – 3 months
  • Creating the app’s look, layout, and branding style
  • Building the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) using sketches and wireframes
Development (coding) $30,000 – $100,000 3 – 6 months
  • Programming the app features and integrations to run on iOS, Android, or both platforms
Deployment testing & launch $5,000 – $20,000 2 – 4 weeks
  • Testing for accessibility, performance, security, and usability issues prior to launch
  • Marketing, packaging, licensing, and uploading to the app stores for release
Project management $5,000 – $30,000 During all stages
  • Organizing and assigning project tasks to keep the app on time and budget
Support & maintenance* 15% – 25% of app cost
Ongoing after launch
  • Hosting services, data storage, third party integrations, security, and performance monitoring
  • IT support to fix bugs and keep the app up to date.
Total app cost
$50,000 – $250,000 6 – 12 months  

*Maintenance costs not included in total cost

App development and design of the layout, features, and interactions
App development and design of the layout, features, and interactions

The primary factors that impact the final app cost are the platform, features, and the development team used.

  • Platform

    • Native: Native apps are built to run on their specific platform and offer the best performance. Building for both iOS and Android doubles the development cost.

    • Hybrid / cross-platform: Hybrid apps are coded using the same front-end language and run on multiple operating systems. Cross-platform apps save money but do not perform as well as native apps.

  • Features

    • Basic features: Every app feature takes time to design and code, with most apps adding basic login, messaging, search, push notification, and feedback features at a minimum.

    • Complex features: Complex apps include social media sharing features, payment gateways, audio/video streaming, and geolocation that increase development time and costs.

    • Number of screens: Multiple screens are more costly to design and code but many are essential, with most apps including 11 to 20 screens.

    • Third-party integrations: Third-party integrations connect functionalities from different apps, like accessing the camera, calendar, and maps.

  • Development team

    • Foreign outsourcing vs. U.S. based team: Outsourcing to Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia is cheaper than hiring a North American based developer but may result in an inferior product. Additionally, language barriers and differing time zones may lead to miscommunications and costly fixes.

    • Freelancer vs. agency: Hiring a single freelancer or independent contractor costs less than contracting with a local agency. A freelancer may spread their time between multiple projects and take longer to complete the project, while an agency with a larger team will complete the project more quickly.

    • Junior vs. senior developers: Less experienced Junior developers charge a lower hourly rate than Senior or Lead developers, but their inexperience may lead to a slower development time or costly remakes, especially for complex apps.

Cost to plan and start an app

Planning an app costs $5,000 to $20,000 on average, or about 10% of the total app development budget. The pre-development phase, also called Discovery, Ideation, Planning, or Strategy, includes identifying who the app is for, what problem it solves, and how the app can earn money.

Analysis takes several weeks and includes:

  • Researching current trends.

  • Investigating competitors to see if the market already has a similar app.

  • Reading reviews for similar apps and planning features according to user likes and dislikes.

  • Defining the project scope and app requirements.

  • Setting a budget and timeline.

Cost to design an app

App design costs $5,000 to $30,000, with the highest prices for a unique custom design using local designers. App design takes 2 to 3 months depending on the number of screens and features. Design accounts for 10% to 15% of the app development budget and includes the following elements:

  • User interface (UI) design: UI designers deal with the appearance of the app, including color scheme, fonts, graphic elements, and animations.

  • User experience (UX) design: UX designers focus on how the customer uses the app, creating outline sketches, wireframes, and prototypes that show the screen layouts and user interactions.

  • Brand design: Branding incorporates the company's standard colors, typeface, and graphics into the app design to build brand recognition. Designing logos, custom graphics, and branded websites increases design costs.

    • Adding a custom logo design costs $300 to $1,500.

    • Graphic design costs $20 to $150 per hour to create custom graphics, or $200 to $1,000 to design an app’s launch icon and $10 to $200 or more for other in-app icon.

    • Website design costs $3,000 to $10,000 to build a matching website design for a small business or $10,000 to $40,000 for a larger site.

An app design team planning the style and design for a mobile app
An app design team planning the style and design for a mobile app

Cost to code the mobile app infrastructure

App programming or coding costs $30,000 to $100,000, or nearly half of the average app budget. Each screen, feature, or integration increases the development cost. Lower-budget apps may rely on foreign developers with cheaper hourly rates but investing in onshore development produces a better-quality product.

Cost to develop app features
App features Average build hours Low budget app
($40 per hour)
High budget app
($100 per hour)
Users & Accounts   
Login 10 – 70 $400 – $2,800 $1,000 – $7,000
User profile 20 – 50 $800 – $2,000 $2,000 – $5,000
File uploads 20 – 30 $800 – $1,200 $2,000 – $3,000
Mobile-specific features   
Sync across devices 20 – 200 $800 – $8,000 $2,000 – $20,000
Offline mode 40 – 80 $1,600 – $3,200 $4,000 – $8,000
Video/Audio streaming 30 –100 $1,200 – $4,000 $3,000 – $10,000
Dates & Locations   
Calendar/Scheduling 10 – 40 $400 – $1,600 $1,000 – $4,000
Maps & Geolocation 20 – 120 $800 – $4,800 $2,000 – $12,000
Social & Engagement   
Push Notifications 20 – 30 $800 ­– $1,200 $2,000 – $3,000
Chat/Messaging 60 – 160 $2,400 – $6,400 $6,000 – $16,000
Video/Audio calls 250 – 350 $10,000 – $14,000 $25,000 – $35,000
Billing & Ecommerce   
Payment processing 20 – 80 $800 – $3,200 $2,000 – $8,000
Admin panel/CMS 20 – 100 $800 – $4,000 $2,000 – $10,000
Performance dashboard 20 – 150 $800 – $6,000 $2,000 – $15,000
Security & Infrastructure   
Third-party integrations 20 – 60 $800 – $2,400 $2,000 – $6,000
Data encryption 10 – 80 $400 – $3,200 $1,000 – $8,000
Scalability for more users 100 – 200+ $4,000 – $8,000 $10,000 – $20,000

App deployment testing & launch cost

App testing costs $5,000 to $20,000 on average, or about 10% of the total app development cost. Developers run pre-deployment tests to check for problems with function, accessibility, performance, security, and usability prior to launch.

Pre-deployment app tests
App test Purpose
Functional (system) Confirms the app works as a whole
Compatibility Tests the app across different web browsers, operating systems, and devices to ensure it works the same in all environments and displays
Accessibility Tests the images, colors, and controls to ensure the app can be used by as many people as possible, including those with vision impairment, hearing loss, or other physical or cognitive conditions

Measures app responsiveness, includes load and stress tests to determine how traffic affects app performance, including:

  • How long the key pages take to load
  • How much slower the pages load when multiple users are active
  • How fast the app can recover when stressed with high traffic volume
Security Ensures user information is secure, especially critical if the app gathers sensitive financial or medical information
Usability Ensures the app is easy to use and interacts as expected. These tests typically occur during the iterative UX design.

Some common app launch costs include:

  • App licensing and uploading:

    • Android developers pay a $25 one-time registration fee to use the software development kit (SDK), which includes a Market Licensing package.

    • Apple developers pay $99 per year to license and distribute their app in the App Store.

  • App patenting: Filing a provisional patent costs $1,500 to $3,500 prior to app launch.

  • Beta testing: Test engineers charge $75 to $95 per hour to beta test with a small audience and adjust the app if needed before release to the target audience.

  • Marketing and PR:

    • App Store Optimization (ASO) tools cost $25 to $1,500 per month to ensure a high rank in the marketplace for improved discoverability by users.

    • Paid advertising costs up to $25,000 for a limited launch campaign to boost visibility.

    • Public relations schemes cost $100 to $300 per hour to reach out to journalists, bloggers, and influencers to create buzz and increase traffic and download rates.

App development project management cost

Project management costs from $5,000 to $30,000, or about 10% to 15% of the initial app budget. A project manager creates the development schedule, assigns tasks, monitors progress, and ensures the team stays on schedule and within budget.

Cost to run and maintain an app

The annual cost to maintain an app is 15% to 20% of the app development cost, or $7,500 to $30,000 per year for an average app. First-year costs include marketing and may exceed 50% of the original app budget.

Many of the app running costs are for infrastructure, such as hosting services, data storage, and third-party integrations. Ongoing IT support is needed to fix bugs, keep the app up to date with the latest OS versions, and add new features. Other maintenance costs include:

  • Administrative services

  • Customer service

  • Measuring and monitoring performance data

  • App security to protect company and user data

  • Future marketing campaigns for updates

A content management system (CMS) costs $50 to $500 per month and delivers content across several platforms at once. A CMS tool allows non-technical contributors to build and maintain content for the app without writing code.

Cost to build an app by developer type

An app developer costs $30 to $80 per hour on average, depending on location. Foreign outsourced developers are cheaper, costing $20 to $60 per hour, while U.S. based developers have the highest hourly rates of $75 to $125, based on their skill level.

App developer cost comparison
Developer type Average pay rate Average total cost*
Foreign outsourced developer $20 – $60 per hour $10,000 – $60,000
Freelance developer $30 – $80 per hour $15,000– $80,000
In-house team $75 – $125 per hour
per specialist
$425,000 – $575,000
per year for salaries & benefits
Onshore developer agency Time & materials,
or fixed price per app
$50,000 – $300,000+

*Average total cost includes 500 – 1,000 hours of development time.

Freelance app developers cost by location

A freelance app developer in the United States costs $75 to $125 per hour, with senior level developers charging the highest rates.A foreign developer in Southeast Asia costs $20 to $35 per hour, but the work may be inferior, and language and time zone differences slow down the project.

App developer regional costs
Region Average hourly rate
United States $75 – $125
Australia $40 – $110
UK & Western Europe $30 – $80
Eastern Europe $25 – $60
Latin America $25 – $60
Southeast Asia $20 – $35

Cost to hire in-house app developers

The annual costs to hire an in-house app development team is $425,000 to $575,000 for a small team of specialist developers. A typical team includes a project manager, UI /UX designer, mobile app developer, backend software developer, and quality assurance (QA) test engineer.

In-house development team costs
Team member Average annual salary Roles & Responsibilities
Project manager $90,000 – $110,000 Manage team communication and deadlines
UI/UX designer $75,000 – $125,000 Design the app layout with a user interaction focus
Mobile app developer
(iOS and/or Android)
$100,000 – $125,000 Write the code to create app functionalities, perform data integrations, and fix bugs
Software/backend developer $85,000 – $120,000 Coordinate communication between the app, server, and database
QA engineer $75,000 – $95,000 Test the code quality, app functions, and design features
Total annual team cost $425,000 – $575,000  

To save money on an in-house app team:

  • Build a native iOS app, since Apple products are currently more popular with consumers

  • Hire a developer that can build both iOS and Android.

  • Employ contract employees or part-time developers that do not require benefits.

  • Combine roles, such as having the software developer conduct usability testing to eliminate the need for a QA engineer.

An app development team planning the features and interface for a mobile app
An app development team planning the features and interface for a mobile app

Enterprise app development agency cost

An Enterprise Application (EA) development agency charges $60,000 to $600,000 to create business management solutions for entire organizations. EA apps are not used by customers but used internally at large companies to integrate core business processes like inventory, payroll, and human resources.

App development FAQs

How much should I charge for my app?

More consumers select a free app over a paid version when a similar free app is available. Offering a free app with paid features like a no-ad version is common, allowing consumers to pay more for a premium app that saves time and provides a better user experience.

Is iOS app development easier and cheaper than android?

iOS app development is faster, easier, and cheaper because the system has a standardized UI, with fewer customization options. Less development time is needed since iOS developers use Swift, Apple’s native programming language, which requires less coding.

How long does it take to develop an app?

Get free estimates from app developers near you.

A simple app takes 3 to 6 months to develop, while a complex app takes 9 to 12 months. Plan to spend a month or more on research and planning before design and development begins. Most developers start with a minimal viable product that is updated and improved over time.

Getting estimates from mobile app developers

When hiring an app developer, be sure to:

  • Determine whether an in-house team, design agency, freelancer, or foreign outsource team is best for your budget and timeline.

  • Look for app developers with at least five years’ experience building apps.

  • Ask a friend or colleague for references.

  • Search for developers on online hiring platforms like Thervo.

  • Schedule interviews with at least three developers with exceptional online portfolios and reviews from previous clients.

  • Select an app development team with a compatible development approach, work atmosphere, and technology stack to fit your project.

  • Get a detailed contract including the payment schedule and project timeline.

Questions to ask

Ask the following questions to help you choose a qualified app developer:

  • How much will you charge to build my app?

  • Do you handle app design and development?

  • What planning steps do you take prior to building an app?

  • How much time will you spend building my app?

  • Will you be working on other projects at the same time?

  • Will you manage the app launch as well?

  • Can you provide a portfolio of your past projects?

  • May I have a list of references?

  • Do you have experience in UI and UX design?

  • How often will we communicate, and what method of communication do you prefer?

  • How will you conduct usability testing on the app?