How much does it cost to build an app?

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Bruce Peck

Nov 10, 2022 · 3 min read

One of the most frequent questions we get asked at Approachable Geek, is, as you may have guessed, “How much does it cost to build an app?”

The answer is… it depends. And I’d like to show you what it depends on so you can make a more informed decision when it comes time to build your app. (And if you’re considering building an app, I’d recommend checking out 3 Questions To Ask Before Making Your First App as well.)

First, where will the app be built?

  • In the states
  • Outside of the states

The advantage of hiring devs in the states is generally they have a similar cultural understanding and expectations as their stateside clients, the disadvantage is of course you generally pay more money for them.

The pros and cons reverse for development agencies outside of the states, it is frequently less expensive but often can have cultural or time differences.

Second: Who will build it?

You really have three main options here:

  • Freelancers
  • Employees
  • Software Development agency

The least expensive route you can go, at least on an hourly basis, is either to go with freelancers or employees.

The challenge with freelancers is that many software development projects are too complex for a single freelancer to complete within a reasonable time and with a high degree of quality. But, if you are doing a small project they could be great.

Hiring employees, if you don’t have a background in hiring tech talent is definitely a more challenging process, since at the beginning it may be hard to tell who is good and who is not.

Then, you have to learn how to manage and lead coders, which is a full skillset in and of itself. If you are building a start up that will always require tech talent and are very well capitalized this may be a great option.

The final option is working with a software development agency. On an hourly basis they are generally more expensive than the above two options, but, what you are paying for is efficiency, quality and ease.

An agency presumably ships many projects similar to yours each year and can get you from where you are now to having a full product rather effectively.

To explore this topic more in-depth check out this article.

Third: How many and how complex are the features for your app?

The more complex your custom app is, and the more features you have. The more your app is going to cost.

Every new feature that you add to an app adds expense in at least 4 ways. First, the feature needs to be designed, second it needs to be coded, third it is testing and fourth the feature can add complexity to the interactions inside of the app, making other features more complex to code.

With our experience the average feature request we get takes between 8 - 10 hours to complete, so if you are coming up with a lot of features you can kind of get a fit for how these projects start to balloon in size.

Typical costs for an app

Generally, at least with Approachable Geek to have us develop an app takes somewhere between $30,000 and $120,000 to build out, depending on the complexity of the project.