This is a question we get asked all the time. In theory it is simple:
Cost = Design Cost + Development Cost + QA Cost + Project Management Cost
If only it was that easy! Maybe then we could give the ballpark figure that so many of our potential clients ask for.
The estimation of a software project is a skill in its own right. It requires amassing a detailed understanding of your app and applying knowledge we've gained over years of developing apps to your specific needs.
Cost is affected by many aspects of the project. The list below is just an example, and is not exhaustive.
- The number of features required
- The complexity of those features
- Existence of back-end capabilities, their complexity, and if they will need modification (or development!)
- The number of platforms you require; iOS, Android
- Variants in the platform - such as developing for both handset and tablet
- The depth of UX and UI design work
Features drive cost. More features = more cost
The starting point of any app development project is deciding on the features; put simply the more features your project has, the higher the cost. We recommend if beginning, try to keep it simple.
Of course, no two features are the same. A feature may be something simple like a "more info" button, or a complex, machine learning image processor. This is why it’s difficult to give a ball-park figure for developing an app.
When considering the features within your app keep it simple, functional and enjoyable.
Native App Development
At Tapadoo, we specialise in native app development. This means we build apps specifically for the platform on which they run (i.e. on iOS or Android). In our experience, this means we get to provide the best user experience in a way that the platform designers intended.
Native apps offer superior performance, are faster and more flexible than alternative app types. Developing this way also means you have two codebases; one for iOS and another for Android. This means two sets of costs.
Most app development companies begin with a design sprint. This usually involves you and your colleagues participating in a half-day workshop with the app development company. After the workshop, user experience and user interface designers work on the process in-house. This part of the process takes between 4-6 days. The deliverables from this is your app mapped out in a set of wireframes. It’s these wireframes that form the basis for the development of your app.
The costs for this stage range between €3,200 - €7,000
No matter what company you choose as your app development partner in Ireland, they all offer a similar design process. When the design process is completed, you are given the total costs for developing your app along with a timeframe for completion.
While it's difficult to give a ball-park figure, we can say, however, that business apps cost a minimum of €20k per platform. This is due to their complexity, API and back-end requirements. The factors that contribute to the costs are roughly €5k per platform, €2k - €5k if you need help with back-end services, and €5k - €10k for 10+ screens.
Business apps also normally take longer and are ongoing projects. According to a 2019 Outsystems Survey, over 80% of mobile apps take 3+ months to develop, and 40% of apps are built in 6+ months.
Ongoing maintenance and support
Once the app is developed, it will need to be maintained. This is where the time & materials pricing structure comes in. It’s based on the hourly rate for the developer and the number of hours agreed each month. A developers hourly rate is usually between €50 and €100.
Choosing a pricing structure
When you work with an app development company you agree costs upfront and choose a pricing structure that suits your business.
Most app development companies offer fixed-price, time & material or a virtual team.
Fixed-price projects suit smaller app development projects. The scope and time of the project are set in advance of the project beginning. This type of payment structure doesn’t lend itself to projects that change scope midway, or larger and more complex projects.
Time & Material projects is a pricing structure based on the time & materials needed for the project and is usually charged at an hourly rate. It’s a pay as you go model. You agree the hourly rate for the developer and the number of hours required. There’s greater flexibility with a time & material project and would suit more complex and ongoing projects.
A virtual team is where you may need the help of designers, developers, QA specialists and project managers. You only pay for the agreed resourcing each month, similar to time & materials.
Thanks for reading the Tapadoo blog. We've been building iOS and Android Apps since 2009. If your business needs an App, or you want advice on anything mobile, please get in touch