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How much does an app development cost for a startup?

Even if your project is not a super technological, you still need your well-performed digital presence. Since you are a small business, here we won’t tell you what a good app you’ll get for a million dollars. We’ve prepared the affordable options here.

Statistics: average prices on the market

There are a plethora of factors the app development costs for a startup depend on, but if you need a rough fast answer — here you are.

1. Average mobile app development costs for a company in various regions.


Source: Statista.

2. According to the report, software development takes from 2-3 months for a small app, 3-6 — for an app with a standard feature-set, and 9+ — for a complex product.

3. Approximate range, based on a number of features, associated costs, and an app type:


Source: Consagous.

Startup app spendings are not limited to development itself

You should be ready to pay as well for:

  • design;
  • QA testing;
  • security;
  • architecture;
  • marketing;
  • following costs (App Store and Google Play fees, admin, servers and backend support, customer support, legal — a.o. intellectual property). Expect to pay about 15-30% of the initial sum annually on technical support. 

Why building software may cost more or less for a small business

Price greatly depends on the features you are planning to run in your app:

1. The most basic app: 3-6 screens, it doesn’t store any data, no network connection. Cost: $1K – 10K. Examples: SMS apps, camera, clock, local games.

2. Data-driven, dynamic app. It can store data locally and on a remote server. It includes such features as registration, sync data alongside multiple devices, connection to remote services, content and user management, etc. Cost: $10K – $50K. Examples: Google Drive, Pocket, loyalty apps.

3. Multi-Featured: processing a lot of data, commerce integration, social features, advanced design, interconnection with physical objects, etc. Cost: $20K – $500K. Examples: social networking, e-commerce, marketplace, IoT apps.

Other factors to consider:

  • Geography of specialists. We are talking about India with $10-75 per hour and US with $50-$250 per hour; 
  • Hybrid (cheaper) or native app. 
  • Number of platforms (iOS, Android, web, etc);
  • Custom features, unique elements;
  • Product launch time frame.

App development options for a small company


Source: Consagous.

1. If you already have, let’s say, a designer or front-end developer in your team, you can draw your attention to freelancers, outstaffing, or a technical co-founder.

2. Small budget. In this case, you can hire specialists either with limited experience, or from countries with lower rates, or a small agency.

3. You have enough money and want to be sure of app quality and receive organized assistance at all development stages. Therefore it is better to resort to medium development agencies.

All in all, don’t try to develop and fix all the features you’d like to have in your app. Start with key functions and a simple design. For sure, you wish to have a successful app like Instagram or Uber, but keep in mind that they’ve spent years and millions of dollars to achieve such perfection.

BONUS. To better understand what you want in your app and simplify your calculations you can use our software costs calculator. It is very user-friendly with explanatory notes for each development aspect, so you don’t get lost in technical terms.

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