One question that appreneurs ( appreneur is specifically an entrepreneur who works in the mobile device application industry) often pose is ‘How much does it cost to make an app?’ Yes, this is an all time epic. What comes as a good deal in dough? Well, in this era of mobile revolution, the costs involved in shaping a product or business are more or less the same; it’s just that the landscape has shifted towards different assets. The capital is now more centric on software and app development.

App that is simple, scalable, interactive and just class apart. Your app should place you as a competent player in the marketplace. Robust mobile apps are derived out of strong foundation, efficient planning, superb ecosystem and proactive personnel, both in the design and development department. Neglect any one of these factors and that’s where you risk the progress of your product.

First and foremost, conduct a thorough research of the market. Once an app idea strikes you, make sure that nothing similar is already prevalent. Having test runs are useful as they reveal the target audience’s reaction and the response of the app in short and long term. Another important factor to be considered is the platform for the app. Be it iOS, Android, Windows devices, all have their operating systems, SDKs and programming languages. By stating your market strategy and target market, you can ascertain which platform to go for. Further, finalizing your creative app development team is also a major task.

While everybody prefers multi-taskers these days, successful teams are those which consistent of people adept in their respective areas like visual design, user experience etc. After your team sets their foot, conceptualizing takes into form by sketching out the key areas, which is reformed through detailed wireframes and then finally visual design comes into picture. Now, all this of course comes with an investment that scales high as changes are enforced upon with time. Costs are determined as per features, complexity and platform. Also, updates, marketing, agency costs and salaries form a part of the budget.

Want to optimize your financial resources? Here are some factors that can prove helpful while planning your app development cycle-

1. Pick and Choose

You should know what you want. What comes before and after. Indeed, it is all about priorities. Good, Fast, Cheap; you need to decide any two parameters. You can’t have all three. Hiring a firm that delivers excellent quality apps and that too at dirt cheap price is in itself warning signal. Yes, fishy you can say…every bit of it. If you want a top notch app, there are two options to consider here, either a big budget with shorter development timeline or small budget with longer timeline.

Timeline can extend a bit longer if you include both the areas- design and product formulation. Offshore resources although can decrease the prices, but will further eat up more of your time.

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2. The Resource Factor

Hiring a developer can only prove worthwhile if they have in-house resources as then only they can build core abilities in programming. Firms usually project that most of their developers are in-house, while that is not actually the case. Appoint specialized people on the project considering their past experience in app creation. Communication skills are also one criterion that a professional should be evaluated upon. Nevertheless, offshore development is a pocket friendly option any day, recruiting in-house employees will be a lucrative decision from the point of view of product development.

Some firms might claim to have all their resources in house, but in reality they deal with design processes locally whereas take outsourcing services in development stages. This is their way of making profit by the so-mentioned development services. Collaborations can work very well in a way where expert engineers can handle the significant aspects of the project on-shore whereas third party resources can come into play for the minor tasks. But this will only work out if a competent engineering team is in charge in-house. Project heads or technical managers cannot fit in for the entire project.

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3. The Development Approach

The development process is undertaken either through waterfall method or agile method. Waterfall involves clear documentation beforehand and then subsequently takes on to development whereas in agile development, there is no documentation laid out before development; developers can prolong the process to 1 or 2 weeks and decipher as they go. What seems the most suitable option is iterative development where hybrid method is adopted in which prior documentation is done for wireframes and mockups, but details and other aspects are left to be interpreted as the development progresses.

Waterfall development predicts the results corresponding to the costs thereby enhancing the performance in the future. The limitation it puts is that there is a great amount of difficulty in digging all the minor details especially in a large-scale project. The firms, in general, are more inclined towards agile development. Lack of set structure and documentation can lead to various hurdles but anyways, there is a lot more flexibility in terms of feedback and changes. Agile also enables regular releases at the end of each stage until it is the time to launch and hit the market.

4. Fixed Vs Flexible

In waterfall development, there is a fixed payment for work. But what about changes then? Well, here comes- work orders.  In agile, you are paid for the amount of work done. The firm will clarify the rates which will be according to the performance given. Although a fixed fee structure seems less risky, still you must judge the situation wisely. Be cautious so that you are not deceived with a cost that also includes your future orders. On attainment of the business objective, the talent of the developer can be taken for granted and the fixed fee structure can be compromised.

5. Estimate it All

It is important to have estimates in app creation. Have a proper understanding of how the project will pass through different stages. There are chances that the use of avant garde technology can lead to misestimates as it is difficult to assess in such cases. Compare the actual costs with earlier estimates so as to avoid any miscalculations. On a safer side, always presume that your developer will go 20% above the estimated budget. This way, you are armored enough.

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Bottom Line

Note that the costs involved in app building generally go beyond the initial, UX, design, development and project management. There are extra costs hovering in for the ongoing updates and additionally, some server costs also amount up. However, there are some considerations that should always be kept in mind. You have to consider your payment, supportive costs relating to marketing and advertising and other comparable items.

If you are going for off shore development then these costs are any ways taken into account. True evaluations involve proper summing of costs. Always remember right development will not be cheap, but it will be worth the cost.

 

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Prince Pal

UI UX Consultant Helping Digital Startups & Stakeholders Grow Their Business at Think 360 Studio
For 15+ years I have designed, developed and marketed websites/apps startups in New York, California, Florida and in India. Always focused on great User Interface is key.

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