Mobile App Development – Risks & Costs

The massive shift from laptops to mobile devices started a few years ago but it’s now becoming very real for a lot of businesses. As a result of this transition the types of inquiries we get here at Apex Digital Media has shifted from web design & SEO to responsive and mobile app development.

Responsive design is something we’ve already covered at length here on the Apex blog, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to educate the average customer on Mobile App Development. It’s a rapidly growing area and a functional app isn’t necessary for businesses but it can be extremely helpful if you are a tech business trying to build and hold an audience or customer base.

Have a Clear Picture of What Your App Needs to Do

One of the biggest setbacks we run into with customers of all stripes is that they know they need an app or website but they haven’t really thought about what that contains or how it should help them to achieve their business goals. Before you start checking prices on getting an app built it’s important that you have a clear picture of what you need from it. Do you need something that allows customers to create and edit their own accounts? Do you need the ability to target customers based on their location? A good practice is to make a list of all the things you want out of your app and then to the right of these items the type of functionality that might be necessary.

Know the Cost of Mobile App Development

An industry survey conducted in 2015 pegged the average cost of developing a mobile app at a whopping $270,000! The New York based company, Fueled recently shared this information about what their clients pay for mobile app development:

“Although Fueled has built version one products for as little as $150,000, the agency has also catered to customers who had more extensive requirements for their minimum viable product – costing them as much as $500,000 for their first version app.”

Another similar company, Savvy Apps, in 2015 described its app development services as costing “anywhere between $150,000 to $450,000.”

So as you can see, developing a mobile app is a costly endeavor. It’s important to understand this before you you spend $10,000 on a custom app with a developer you found on Craigslist who is based in Bulgaria – and are expecting average results… The type of results that businesses are paying upwards of $200,000 for on average.

Average Cost for Mobile Apps

On the other hand, you can also start with something that is very simple, stripped down and “build” on it with each release. Many tech start-ups have been able to develop their mobile brand incrementally in this fashion. Whatever you decide arm yourself with knowledge before you begin your search and remember that sacrificing cost up front could mean a much more expensive development process in the long run.

The Median Price of Mobile App Development

Another firm that we are big fans of, – also recently conducted a survey of the app dev landscape and found the median cost to be around $171,000. In addition to this, Clutch also broke out the data into the widest ranging cost components of the development process. So if you already know a great design firm and a great development firm you can break the process up into chunks and have separate companies handle different parts of the development process. Whatever you decide, we thought we’d also include Clutch’s chart that details the cost ranges. You’ll notice that things like UI / UX design are on the cheaper side while things like “Access to Enterprise data” and “Internal User and Deployment Testing” are where the costs really start to skyrocket.

Mobile App Dev Costs - Item #2 – widest ranging cost components


There are several paths to take and a lot of different ways to save money but if you have lofty goals be cautious. If you need an app that gives consumers access to a customizable profile or to large swaths of public data be prepared to spend. We hope this article was helpful and that you can use to make an informed decision when developing your business’ mobile application.

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