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How to Estimate the Cost of App Development for Startups

Dhaval Thummar

3 weeks ago
How to Estimate the Cost of App Development for Startups

Starting a business is an exciting journey, and creating a mobile app for your startup can be a great way to connect with customers. But, you can be wondering, "How much will it cost to develop an app?" This article will help you understand the cost of app development for startups, making it easier to plan your budget. We will also discuss the average cost of app development and how different factors can affect the overall price.

What is App Development?

App development is the process of creating software applications for mobile devices. These apps can run on smartphones and tablets. They can help businesses reach more customers, provide better services, and even make money.

Factors That Affect the Cost of App Development

The cost of developing an app can fluctuate highly. Here are some important factors that can affect the price:

Type of App

  • Simple apps like calculators or note-taking apps are cheaper.
  • Complex apps like games or social media platforms cost more.

Features and Functionality

  • Basic features like user login and simple navigation are less expensive.
  • Advanced features like GPS, payments, or real-time chat increase the cost.

Design and User Interface

  • A simple design is cheaper.
  • A fancy, custom design will cost more.


  • Apps for iOS (iPhone) or Android cost differently.
  • Developing for both platforms will cost more.

Location of the Development Team

  • Developers in North America or Europe charge more.
  • Developers in Asia or Eastern Europe can charge less.

Experience of the Developers

  • Experienced developers charge more but can build higher-quality apps.

Estimating the Cost of App Development

To give you a better idea of the cost of app development, let’s break it down:

Simple Apps

  • Cost: $5,000 - $10,000
  • Examples: Calculator, note-taking apps
  • Time: 1 - 3 months

Moderate Apps

  • Cost: $10,000 - $35,000
  • Examples: Small business apps, social media apps
  • Time: 3 - 6 months

Complex Apps

  • Cost: $35,000 - $100,000+
  • Examples: E-commerce apps, games
  • Time: 6 - 12 months

How to Save Money on App Development

Here are some tips to reduce the cost of app development:

Start with an MVP

  • MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product.
  • It’s a simple version of your app with just the important features.
  • You can add more features later as you get feedback from users.

Use Pre-built Solutions

  • Some pre-built templates and tools can save you time and money.

Hire Freelancers or Offshore Teams

  • They can be cheaper than hiring a full-time development team.

Keep the Design Simple

  • Focus on functionality first. You can always improve the design later.

Another cost of App Development 

When estimating the cost of app development, don't forget about hidden costs. These can include:

Maintenance and Updates

  • Apps need regular updates to fix bugs and add new features.


  • Promoting your app to attract users costs money.

Server Costs

  • Hosting your app’s data on a server can be expensive.

Legal Fees

  • Protecting your app with copyrights or trademarks may have additional costs.

Steps to Estimate the Cost of App Development

Here are the steps to estimate the cost of app development for your startup:

1. Define Your App's Purpose

  • What problem will your app solve?
  • Who is your target audience?

2. List Essential Features

  • Make a list of the must-have features for your app.
  • Prioritize these features to understand which ones are most important.

3. Choose a Platform

  • Decide whether you want your app to be on iOS, Android, or both.
  • Remember that developing for both platforms will increase the cost.

4. Get Quotes from Developers

  • Contact many app development companies or freelancers.
  • Compare their quotes and choose the best option for your budget.

5. Consider Additional Costs

  • Don’t forget about maintenance, marketing, server costs, and legal fees.
  • Make sure to include these in your budget.

Also Read - How to Build an MVP: A Step-by-Step Guide

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When estimating the cost of app development, here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Underestimating the Time Required

Developing an app takes time. Be realistic about how long it will take.

Ignoring Hidden Costs

Always remember to include maintenance, marketing, and other hidden costs in your budget.

Choosing the Cheapest Option

Sometimes, the cheapest option can end up costing more in the long run. Quality matters.

Skipping the MVP

Starting with a simple version of your app (MVP) can save you money and help you get feedback early.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional App Development Team

Hiring a professional team for your app development can be beneficial in many ways:

Expertise and Experience

Professionals have the skills and experience to build a high-quality app.

Time Savings

A professional team can work faster and more efficiently than trying to do it yourself.

Ongoing Support

They can provide ongoing support and updates for your app.

Better Design and User Experience

Professionals can create a better design and user experience, which can attract more users.

Tips for Managing App Development Costs Effectively

Now that you understand the basics of estimating the cost of app development for startups, let's jump into practical tips for managing these costs effectively. Developing a mobile app can be an important investment for any startup, but with careful planning and smart decisions, you can keep your project within budget without compromising on quality or functionality.

1. Define Clear Goals and Requirements

Before you start app development, it's important to define clear goals and requirements for your app. This includes:

  • Purpose: What problem does your app solve for your users?
  • Features: List the important features your app must have initially.
  • Platforms: Decide whether you'll launch on iOS, Android, or both.
  • Budget: Set a realistic budget based on your goals and expected ROI.

By having a clear vision upfront, you can avoid costly changes and scope covert into the development process.

2. Prioritize Features 

Not all features are created equal, especially when it comes to cost. Prioritize features that are important for your app's core functionality and user experience. Consider starting with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that includes only the most critical features. This approach helps you to launch faster, and gather user feedback, and feedback based on real-world data without overspending on unnecessary features.

3. Choose the Right Development Partner

Selecting the right development partner is important for managing app development costs. Consider factors such as:

  • Experience: Look for developers with expertise in building apps similar to yours.
  • Portfolio: Review their past projects and client testimonials to measure their quality and reliability.
  • Cost: Balance cost with quality. Cheaper isn't always better if it compromises the app's functionality or user experience.
  • Communication: Ensure clear communication channels to avoid misunderstandings and delays.

Whether you hire a local agency, freelancers, or an offshore team, make sure they understand your vision and can deliver within your budget and timeline.

4. Use Agile Development Methodology

Agile development methodologies like Scrum or Kanban can help simplify the development process and reduce costs. These methodologies enhance progressive development, frequent testing, and continuous feedback from stakeholders. By breaking down the project into smaller, manageable sprints, you can identify and solve issues early, preventing costly rework later in the process.

5. Optimize Design and User Interface (UI/UX)

While a visually amazing design is important, keep it simple and simple to reduce development time and costs. Consider using design templates or UI kits to speed up the design process without compromising quality. Conduct user testing to identify usability issues early on and refine the interface based on feedback.

Ending Things

Estimating the cost of app development for startups can be challenging, but understanding the factors involved can make it easier. By considering the type of app, its features, design, platform, and the experience of your developers, you can get a better idea of the potential costs. Remember that for hidden costs look for ways to save money, like starting with an MVP and using pre-built solutions.

Creating a mobile app is a big investment, but it can also be a great way to grow your startup. By understanding the average cost of app development, you can plan your budget more effectively and make your app a success.

Ready to turn your app idea into reality? MicraSol - App Development Company is focused on affordable and effective app development for startups. Whether you need a simple MVP or a feature-rich application, we're ready for it. Contact us today and let's bring your vision to life!


1. What factors influence the cost of app development?

The cost of app development depends on several factors:

Type of app: Simple apps cost less than complex ones.

Features: More features increase costs.

Design: Custom designs are more expensive.

Platform: Developing for iOS and Android costs differently.

Location: Developers' rates are different by region.

2. What is the average cost of developing a mobile app for startups?

The average cost varies:

Simple apps: Typically range from $5,000 to $10,000.

Moderate apps: Usually cost between $10,000 and $35,000.

Complex apps: Can exceed $35,000, depending on features and complexity.

3. How can startups save money on app development?

Startups can save money by:

  • Starting with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
  • Using pre-built solutions and templates.
  • Hiring freelancers or offshore development teams.
  • Keeping the initial design and features simple.

4. What are the hidden costs of app development that startups should consider?

Hidden costs may include:

Maintenance and updates: Regular updates to fix bugs and improve features.

Marketing: Promoting the app to attract users.

Server costs: Hosting app data on servers.

Legal fees: Protecting intellectual property rights.

5. How should startups plan their budget for app development?

Startups should:

  • Define their app's goals and required features.
  • Research development costs based on app type and features.
  • Allocate funds for both initial development and ongoing maintenance.
  • Consider scaling costs as the app gains users and features.
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