How much for an app

May 24, 2016

How much does it cost to make an app?

If you’re thinking about creating a mobile app for your business one of the first things you want to know is, how much will it cost?

We’ve heard of people asking this question in the Apple Store and receiving the response, “About £500.” You could even create a very basic application from as little as £99 through some online services. However, these estimates set unhelpful expectations if you want an app that is useful, pleasing to use, and most importantly brings value to your company.

This article considers the true cost of an app and aims to give you a realistic idea of the numbers you can expect to hear when you contact an experienced mobile app development company and ask them to provide a quote.

You get what you pay for

Imagine you’re looking to purchase a new company car.

You could probably find something in your local newspaper that’s selling for £500. The car might be several years old, have high mileage and show signs of wear and tear. But, it’s a car. It will get you from A to B and if you’re lucky it won’t break down on the way.

Now think about driving that car to an important meeting with a new client. What sort of impression would it leave and what assumptions would they make about your business?

The make and model of your car has a certain status attached to it. If you arrive arrive at that same meeting in a Mercedes or Jaguar you will create a better first impression. By demonstrating that you care about the way you present yourself and your business you imply to your prospective client that you will look after them too.

If you want additional features in your car, you expect a higher price tag. Climate control makes you feel comfortable in any weather, a built in sat nav makes it easier for you to find your way, and leather upholstery gives you a feeling of luxury. The better the driving experience you want, the more money you expect to spend.

An app with lots of features will cost more than a straightforward app that only does one thing

Apply the car buying logic to app development. If an app costs £99, or even £500, you can expect an app that performs a basic function. You might have an app that is ready for release in to the app store, but will it solve the problems faced by your business or your customers?

For an app to have value it needs to be useful. It needs to do something that will bring people back to it time and again; ideally it needs to become something they can’t live without.

Once you start thinking about what you want an app to do it’s likely that each of your suggestions will require additional features. Just like with a car, each one of these leads to additional development costs.

If the product, service or business process that the app seeks to assist does not already exist then time will need to be spend solving that problem.

If the artwork or branding isn’t already available, graphic designers and brand stylists will need to be involved in creating the visuals.

Cost estimates also need to provide flexibility to take advantage of any new ideas that you may suggest as the project progresses.

Other factors that influence the cost of an app

The ease of access to app creation software is a challenge for developers. Just because the tools are available doesn’t mean that everyone who can make an app knows what they are doing.

A properly developed app will integrate and undergo rigorous testing to avoid crashes, include reporting mechanisms to track its users, and identify any problems users may experience when using the app. Thought will be given to the user experience, making sure that things respond as expected, that the app looks good and works quickly. All these things require time and skill.

Experienced developers have spent many years understanding the problems faced by businesses and the expectations of app users, which means they are able to create apps that offer effective solutions. Moreover, well designed and well thought out apps should be easy to use, give the customer the best experience possible, and most importantly, give them a reason to return.

How much an app could cost

Development costs for applications that are created to solve real business problems, start at around £50,000. Just as with cars, the sky’s the limit.

If you are not comfortable with this level of investment in your business you should seriously consider your reasons for creating an app. Our article “Do you need an app?” will help you organise your thoughts and encourage you to think about the value that you believe an app is going to return.

If you’re still not convinced

Just like turning up to meet an important client in a banger, a poorly designed and executed app can give the wrong impression of your business. But, if you invest the money needed to enable the developer to design an app that truly addresses the problem you want to solve, you should see the rewards in optimised business processes or returning customers.

Fireseed director Mark Johnson has more than 15 years experience of creating apps for a wide range of business needs. He has produced the android and iOS apps for a classified advertising website, as well as released apps with top end sports brands, British sporting bodies, charities, telecoms startups and the UK’s leading classified car company.

Contact mark@fireseed.com to arrange a no obligation discussion about your app requirements.

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