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 – $175,000average cost to make a mobile app

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$50,000 – $175,000 average cost to make a mobile app


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Kristen Cramer
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App development cost

App development costs $50,000 to $175,000 on average, depending on the type, features, complexity, developer rates, and whether building for Android or iOS. The cost to make a simple app is $40,000 to $60,000, while the cost to create a highly complex mobile app is $150,000 to $300,000+.

Average cost to create an app - Chart
Average cost to create an app - Chart
Average cost to create an app
App complexity Average cost Timeline Examples
Simple app $40,000 – $60,000 2 – 3 months Calculator, alarm clock
Medium-complexity app $60,000 – $150,000 3 – 6 months McDonald’s Loyalty app
Complex app $150,000 – $300,000+ 6 – 10+ months Uber, Instagram, Airbnb

Cost to develop an app by type

Cost to develop an app by type
App type Average cost Examples
Simple app or tool $10,000 – $25,000 Calculator, clock, to-do list
Social network app $50,000 – $300,000+ Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
eCommerce app $30,000 – $300,000+ Amazon, Alibaba, retail stores
Marketplace app $125,000 – $300,000+ Airbnb, eBay, Etsy, Booking.com
On-demand service app $50,000 – $400,000+ Uber, GrubHub, Handy
Game app $50,000 – $300,000+ Angry Birds, Pokémon Go, Candy Crush
Audio/video streaming app $60,000 – $300,000 Spotify, YouTube, Netflix
eLearning app $50,000 – $230,000 DuoLingo, Udemy, iNaturalist
Health/fitness app $50,000 – $300,000 Headspace, MyFitnessPal, Strava
Dating app $45,000 – $350,000 Tinder, Match, Bumble

An app development team working on mobile app features.
An app development team working on mobile app features.

Enterprise app development cost

Enterprise app development costs $100,000 to $500,000+. Enterprise apps are large-scale programs built with corporate needs in mind and often integrate multiple systems, including messaging, billing, project management, content management, and marketing.

Get free estimates from app developers near you.

Cost breakdown to create or make an app

Cost to build an app
Stage Length Average cost
Planning and analysis 2 – 4 weeks $10,000 – $20,000
Design / UX and UI 3 – 12 weeks $10,000 – $30,000
Development / coding 4 – 26 weeks $20,000 – $95,000
Testing 1 – 3 weeks $5,000 – $15,000
Deployment / launch 1 – 3 weeks $5,000 – $15,000
Total 11 – 48 weeks $50,000 – $175,000
Maintenance / running Annually 15% – 20% of development cost

The following factors affect the cost of app development:

  • App type – Developing a game, marketplace, or social networking app costs more than a simple calculator or to-do list app.

  • App complexity – Complex apps with multiple features, screens, and third-party integration cost more to develop than basic apps with only a few screens and no integration.

  • Development team & project management:

    • Developer location – Developer rates in the U.S. and Australia are significantly higher than rates in Eastern Europe, India, and Asia.

    • Freelancer vs. agency – Hiring a freelance developer typically costs less than an agency but may not provide the same quality and reliability.

    • Development team size ­– Developing a complex app requires multiple areas of expertise and may involve several developers, designers, a business analyst, and a project manager.

  • Platform – Native apps are designed exclusively for Android or iOS, while cross-platform or hybrid apps function on several platforms.

    • Native app development costs more and takes longer but offers higher performance and more functionality than a cross-platform app.

    • Cross-platform app development costs 25% to 35% less than creating two separate native apps but may require sacrificing some of the features, responsiveness, and design.

  • Design (UX and UI) – App design is the process of creating the user experience (UX) and visual design or user interface (UI). Complex apps with many screens, custom illustrations, and detailed layouts require more design time.

  • Third-party integration – Features like geolocation, social media integration, and in-app purchases require third-party API integration, increasing development time and costs. Many third-party services also have recurring monthly or annual costs.

  • Database complexity and encryption – Many mobile apps require one or more secure databases to store data such as user login information or sync data across devices. Apps with many users or a high volume of data generation typically require a high-performance database with greater storage.

  • Compliance and security requirements – Apps that are subject to mandatory security protocols like HIPAA or GDPR require extra development time, increasing costs.

  • Admin or content management system (CMS) – Adding a web portal or CMS to manage the app increases development costs.

  • Performance management and analytics – Tracking a large number of user behaviors and parameters to assess the app’s performance costs more.

  • Scalability – An app with a large number of users requires added database storage and server and performance upgrades.

  • Ongoing app maintenance – Maintaining an app costs 15% to 20% of the original development cost per year.

Cost to plan and start an app

Planning an app costs $10,000 to $25,000 on average and takes 2 to 4 weeks. The planning stage—also called the discovery stage—typically includes:

  • Market analysis to determine the target audience, market size, demand, and current trends

  • Competitor research to assess similar apps and how they perform

  • Setting a business goal

  • Scope definition to document the project requirements and complexity

  • Cost analysis and budgeting

  • Cost to design an app {#design}

App design costs $3,000 to $30,000+, depending on the features, complexity, number of screens, and customization. App design includes user experience design (UX) and user interface design (UI) and takes 3 to 12 weeks on average.

  • UX design ensures the app is user-friendly and provides a smooth an enjoyable interaction. UX designers create mind-maps, sketches, wireframes, and prototypes to show the app’s layout, navigation, placement of key elements, and the user’s journey through the app.

  • UI design incorporates color schemes, fonts, illustrations, and animations to create the app’s visual design and overall appearance. UI designers create detailed mockups to preview the app’s look and feel.

An app design team planning a mobile app's layout and style.
An app design team planning a mobile app's layout and style.

App design often includes the creation of a custom logo, matching icons, and other unique branded visual elements:

  • Logo design costs $300 to $1,500 on average.

  • Graphic design costs $20 to $150 per hour, depending on the designer’s location and experience. Graphic designers charge $200 to $1,000 to design the app’s launch icon and $10 to $200+ per icon for other in-app icons.

  • Website design costs $3,000 to $10,000 for a small business site or $10,000 to $40,000 for a larger or more complex site.

Cost to code or program an app

The cost to code or program an app is $20,000 to $95,000 on average, depending on the features, complexity, third-party integration, and infrastructure requirements. Coding or programming—also called developing—takes 4 to 26 weeks and makes up 40% to 50%+ of the total cost to create an app.

Cost to develop app features
Feature Average hours Average cost @ $40/hour Average cost @ $100/hour
User registration / login 20 – 40 $800 – $1,600 $2,000 – $4,000
Profile setup and editing 30 – 90 $1,200 – $3,600 $3,000 – $9,000
Push notifications 25 – 30 $1,000 – $1,200 $2,500 – $3,000
File uploading 15 – 30 $600 – $1,200 $1,500 – $3,000
Search 10 – 20 $400 – $800 $1,000 – $2,000
Chat / messaging 80 – 170 $3,200 – $6,800 $8,000 – $17,000
Video / audio calls 250 – 350 $10,000 – $14,000 $25,000 – $35,000
Video / audio streaming 90 – 150 $3,600 – $6,000 $9,000 – $15,000
Map / geolocation tracking 50 – 150 $2,000 – $6,000 $5,000 – $15,000
Payments 40 – 80 $1,600 – $3,200 $4,000 – $8,000
Sync across devices 40 – 160 $1,600 – $6,400 $4,000 – $16,000
Offline mode 40 – 80 $1,600 – $3,200 $4,000 – $8,000
Data storage 20 – 60 $800 – $2,400 $2,000 – $6,000
Data encryption 20 – 60 $800 – $2,400 $2,000 – $6,000
Mobile ads 10 – 20 $400 – $800 $1,000 – $2,000
3rd party API integration 40 – 80 $1,600 – $3,200 $4,000 – $8,000
CMS / admin management panel 50 – 150 $2,000 – $6,000 $5,000 – $15,000
Performance management and analytics 20 – 80 $800 – $3,200 $2,000 – $8,000
Scalability for large number of users 100 – 200+ $4,000 – $8,000+ $10,000 – $20,000+

App development and design in the wireframe stage.
App development and design in the wireframe stage.

App testing, deployment, & launch cost

App testing costs $5,000 to $15,000 and takes 1 to 3 weeks on average. Testing ensures the app’s functionality, stability, speed, performance, and usability meet expectations. Greater complexity, more features, and a larger number of screens increase the testing time and cost.

Deployment costs $5,000 to $15,000 on average and takes an additional 1 to 3 weeks. Common costs to launch an app include:

  • Licensing and publishing to app stores – Apple charges $99 per year for a developer account to publish apps in the App Store. Google charges a one-time $25 registration fee to publish apps in the Play Store. Both stores allow unlimited free app updates.

  • App store optimization (ASO) costs $40 to $250 per month for a subscription to a tool like AppTweak, ASOdesk, App Radar, or AppFollow. Optimizing your app increases the chance that users will discover it in the App Store and Google Play.

  • Marketing – App marketing costs $20 to $1,000+ per month, depending on the method. Common marketing methods include:

    • Social media

    • Paid ads

    • PR agency outreach and press releases

    • Influencer marketing

  • Legal feesFiling a patent costs $5,000 to $35,000+, depending on the complexity. A trademark costs $275 to $660 to protect the name of your business or a series of themed apps.

Cost to run and maintain an app

Maintaining an app costs 15% to 20% of the original development cost per year and includes ongoing updates, bug fixing, supporting the latest OS versions, and developing new features. Running an app also involves recurring costs for hosting, licensing, payment processing, and push notifications.

  • App hosting costs $20 to $150 per month on average but can exceed $300 per month for apps with a large number of active users. App hosting prices depend on the amount of storage needed, the number of users, and the number of data requests and transfers.

  • Push notifications or SMS messaging cost $10 to $200 per month, depending on the number of users.

  • Payment gateways charge 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction to process in-app purchases.

Cost to build an app by developer type

Developer rates are one of the biggest factors impacting the cost to create an app. Outsourcing to an agency in another country or hiring a freelance developer is significantly cheaper than hiring a local agency or building an in-house development team.

App developer cost per hour by type - Chart
App developer cost per hour by type - Chart
Outsourcing, in-house, and freelance app developer cost comparison
Developer type Average hourly rate Pros and cons
Outsourcing to another country $20 – $60
  • Cost-effective
  • Large pool of candidates from around the world
  • Offers flexibility
  • Slower communication due to time zone difference
  • Lack of personal control over project
Local agency $100 – $150
  • Faster and easier communication
  • You can work with the developers in person
  • Team has experience working together
  • Expensive
Freelancer $20 – $80
  • Cost-effective
  • Not as much accountability or reliability
  • Quality may not match that of an agency developer
  • May not want to maintain the app long-term
Build a local in-house team $100 – $150
  • Smooth communication
  • Allows more direct control over the project
  • Team understands the company’s values and culture
  • Most expensive option
  • Additional costs for equipment, office space, and employee benefits

Freelance app developers cost by location

Freelance app developers cost $20 to $150 per hour, depending on their location and qualifications and the platform you hire them through. Freelance developers are quick and easy to find but may not provide the quality, accountability, or reliability of an agency developer.

Freelance app developer cost per hour
Region Average hourly rate
United States (USA) $100 – $150
United Kingdom (UK) $70 – $120
Australia $90 – $120
Western Europe $60 – $100
Eastern Europe $30 – $60
South America $35 – $55
India $20 – $50
Southeast Asia $25 – $35

Cost to hire in-house app developers

Hiring an app developer costs $100,000 to $120,000+ per year in the U.S. Building an in-house team gives you direct control over the project, and employees are typically more invested in the product. However, expenses for recruiting, equipment, office space, and employee benefits increase the development cost.

Cost to hire app developers
Developer type Hourly rate – United States Hourly rate – Eastern Europe Hourly rate – Latin America Hourly rate – Asia
Business Analyst $80 – $200 $30 – $65 $40 – $55 $20 – $45
Project Architect $100 – $300 $40 – $75 $45 – $75 $25 – $50
Project Manager $90 – $230 $35 – $70 $45 – $70 $30 – $50
Lead Developer $90 – $180 $40 – $70 $50 – $70 $30 – $65
Sr. Developer $80 – $160 $35 – $70 $45 – $65 $30 – $50
Mid-Level Developer $70 – $140 $30 – $55 $35 – $60 $25 – $35
Jr. Developer $50 – $120 $25 – $40 $30 – $55 $20 – $30
Senior QA $90 – $170 $35 – $65 $40 – $60 $25 – $35
Mid-Level QA $70 – $110 $30 – $50 $35 – $45 $20 – $30
Junior QA $60 – $90 $20 – $40 $30 – $40 $15 – $25
Graphic Designer $80 – $160 $25 – $55 $40 – $70 $20 – $50

Frequently asked questions

How much should I charge for my app?

Mobile app prices range from $0.99 to $9.99 on average, depending on the features. Before setting a price for your app, analyze the target market and compare prices for competitors’ apps to determine what users are willing to pay.

Mobile app pricing typically follows one of these models:

  • Free – Free apps are often attached to an existing service, such as a banking app, retail store app, or on-demand service like Uber.

  • Free-to-premium – “Freemium” apps give users access to some features for free but require purchasing the app to access the full features. Some freemium apps allow full access to all the features for free for a limited time instead.

  • Subscription – Subscription apps often start as a freemium app by offering users a free trial for a limited time before charging a monthly or yearly fee. The subscription model is commonly used for music streaming, dating, and newspaper apps.

  • Ad-supported – Many free apps generate revenue through in-app advertising. Some apps allow users to pay a fee to remove the ads.

  • In-app purchases – In-app purchases allow users to buy extra content, goods, or services from directly within the app. For example, in many mobile games, users can buy powerups and access to additional levels not available in the free version.

  • Paid – Apps that require upfront payment are less common because most users aren’t willing to pay for something they haven’t tried yet. Paid apps require a much higher marketing budget than freemium or subscription apps.

  • Paymium – With “paymium” apps, the user pays for the app up front but can also access additional features for an extra cost. This model is typically used only by established brands with strong reputations, such as well-known game companies or celebrities.

Is iOS app development easier and cheaper than Android?

iOS app development is typically cheaper and faster than Android app development due to the smaller number of devices supported. iOS uses Swift, Apple’s native programming language, which many developers find easier to work with than the Java and Kotlin languages used in Android development.

How long does it take to develop an app?

Developing an app takes 2 to 10+ months, depending on the features and complexity.

Get free estimates from app developers near you.
App development time
App complexity Development time
Simple 2 – 3 months
Medium 3 – 6 months
Complex 6 – 10+ months

Getting estimates from mobile app developers

Before you hire a mobile app developer, be sure to:

  • Review the company’s portfolio. Confirm their apps are functional, well-designed, and easy to use.

  • Read reviews of their previous apps from other users in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

  • Read the company’s reviews on Thervo and Google.

  • Interview the developers personally.

  • Ask about the company’s privacy and data security policy.

  • Confirm the developers are willing to sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements.

  • Get a detailed contract and timeline in writing before the project begins.

  • Confirm you will retain ownership of the finished app.

  • Never pay in full up front. Follow a payment schedule instead.

Questions to ask

  • How long have you been in business?

  • How many apps have you developed?

  • Have you worked with clients in my industry before?

  • Can I see your portfolio?

  • Can you put me in touch with former clients?

  • How large is your development team?

  • Will you handle the entire design and development process in-house or outsource some of the work?

  • Should I get a native Android or iOS app or a cross-platform app?

  • How long will it take to develop the app?

  • Can you walk me through your development process?

  • What is your communication process?

  • How do you handle quality control and testing?

  • How will you get feedback from potential users before launching the app?

  • How will the app keep my users’ data secure?

  • What is your pricing structure and payment schedule?

  • Do you offer ongoing maintenance and support? If so, how much extra does it cost?

  • Will you submit my app to the Google Play Store and Apple App Store?

  • Who owns the app when it’s finished?

  • Will you sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements?