How much does it cost to build an app?

The cost depends on many factors, including the number of features, the types of features, the user types and if low-code solutions can be used. The minimum cost for an app is $7,500. The average cost for a functional app is $20,000. An on-demand application like Uber will typically cost $35,000.

So how much does it cost to build an app? Unfortunately, there is no straight answer. Every app is different. So it’s like asking “How much does a house cost?”!

There are a lot of factors that affect the cost of an app:

The Obvious:

  • The number of features;
  • The types of features. For example, push notifications are more complicated than for example registration;
  • Is it just the frontend application or the backend/ hosting as well?;
  • Do we need to do the design, project management and testing as well?;
  • Integrations with other platforms;

The Less Obvious

  • The number of role-players. This is often overlooked. Some apps have people looking for a service, service providers, administrators, super-administrators etc. This can create a lot of complexity in building the architecture and security.
  • Administrative and reporting functions like dashboards.
  • The languages and technologies we will have to use, for example, if it’s an AI app it will probably require Python and Python developers are more expensive.
  • If we can use third-party libraries, plug-ins, templates and low-code solutions.
  • If we have built other similar apps or apps with the same features.

The Bad News

It’s Dangerous to Shop Based on Price - It has happened several times where potential clients don’t select us because we’re not the cheapest. But they contact us 6 months later when they realise the vendor they had selected was using a SaaS/no-code platform that couldn’t do everything they required or had expensive license fees. Or the developer just provided a low-ball estimate to win the gig but increased costs later once the client was “trapped”. Be sure to read the information on this website about how to get fair, comparable quotes.

The Good News

App Costs are Falling - App development has become simpler because of things like hybrid languages (such as Flutter or React), low code solutions (such as FlutterFlow), off-the-shelf hosting packages (such as Firebase/ Supabase), more/ better libraries and increased maturity of coding languages. And, whilst developing over 100 apps of our own, we’ve become a bit better and more efficient at how we work.

Don’t Ask Us to Build an App That Could Be A Website

Many clients have asked us to build apps and we tell them a website is a better place to start because it’s cheaper, people start their search in Google (which indexes websites, not apps) and having to download/ install an app is a barrier to discovery. In fact, we sometimes tell them to even just start with a WhatsApp bot!

The point is that we only build apps that we believe should be apps because they need to do things that apps do better than websites such as use location, push notifications, store payment details, use Bluetooth, be listed on the AppStores etc. 

We also (almost) never use white-label app builder platforms because of the issues they have around flexibility, license fees and IP ownership.

This means the apps we build tend to be more complicated and are built from scratch.

So, How Much Does an App Cost?

  • The minimum cost for a “built-from-scratch” app that requires design, development, project management and testing is $7,500/ R150,000.
  • The average cost for one of our typical relatively complex functional apps is $20,000/ R300,000.
  • An on-demand application like Uber which involves multiple role players, payment, geolocation, push notifications etc. will typically cost $35,000/ R700,000.
  • By comparison, we can build simple but functional eCommerce websites on Shopify for as little as $1,200/ R24,000.

What Is Your Hourly Rate?

Our hourly rate depends upon the role type and experience level of the team member, and the size/ duration of the engagement. We do offer hourly consulting, team augmentation and support retainers. The typical hourly rate for an intermediate front-end developer is $45/ R650.

Work With Us

Have a project? Let’s Work Together!

We design, develop and help you to launch apps, websites and bots.