The 5 key cost- drivers of app development are


The 5 key cost- drivers of app development are


High level cost range excluding Vat (will vary depending upon your App Goals):

  • Simple App – R40 000 to R65 000
  • Moderate App – R65 000 to R100 000
  • Complex App – R1O0 000 to R285 000 Plus

App Development Cost Drivers:

1. Feature Complexity

The major factor impacting the cost of building a mobile app is the feature set you want to add to it. If you are building an app with very basic features, your development team will require fewer hours to build them, and hence, the cost of development will be less.

On the other hand, complex features in a mobile app require more development time. This, in turn, leads to higher app development costs.

What kind of features exactly fall in the simple category and which ones should you consider complex?

If you are building a mobile app for the users to engage, it should have a set of features that are core to the app’s functionality. In most cases, a mobile app is not really a user-centric app if it doesn’t have the following features:

  • User registration/log in
  • Profile completion/editing
  • Search
  • Basic customer support chat
  • Basic admin panel

A mobile app with the above feature is a simple mobile app. Building these features collectively takes approximately 4 weeks. On the other hand, a more complex app will include features like:

  • Push notifications
  • Geolocation
  • Ads
  • Audio or video streaming
  • Payment gateway
  • Personalization based on user data
  • Offline mode
  • Chatting
  • Connectivity with external devices
  • Third-party integrations -

Based on the number of features you include in your complex app, the costs will keep increasing.

That is why it’s important that you understand your target audience and streamline your app goals. Only then will you be able to prioritize the right features and reach the equilibrium for app development cost vs. potential ROI.

2. UI/UX design factors that impact app development costs

The UI design is the face of your mobile app and the UX design is how the user will engage with your app. Thus, app design is one of the most crucial factors of the success of a mobile app.

The cost of designing a mobile app is influenced by a lot of factors.

For example, the number of screens that will go into your app will directly impact the hours of work a designer will have to put into. Secondly, what kind of screens you want your app to have? Do you want to include modern graphic elements in your UI and ease the UX with lots of animations?

If yes, then that would be added to your mobile app development cost.

However, the most important consideration here is whether you want to go for native UI/UX design or a custom UI/UX design for your app.

Native vs Custom UI/UX design

Native UI/UX design is when the designer uses the readily available templates and UI elements for Android and iOS development. You can choose the UI elements from a number of libraries with different design patterns and solutions.

On the other hand, a custom UI design refers to designing the UI elements of an app from scratch. The app designer first creates the design architecture and then creates unique elements that fit that architecture.

A custom UI design facilitates distinguished user experience and solves navigation problems effectively. On the flip side, it increases your development cost and requires extra effort to ensure design accessibility.

A native UI design is generally considered to be more familiar from the user’s point of view and is also lighter on the pocket. But, it may not give your mobile app a distinguished brand identity and often encompasses a limited set of features.

It ultimately comes down to your business goals and the expectations of your target users.

We favour Custom UI/UX design as we offer a UI Design solution that is similarly priced to a native UI design.

3. Backend infrastructure requirements of mobile app development


Backend infrastructure for a mobile app consists of software that runs on a server. It is mainly used to enable the app to communicate with data sources in order to perform the following activities:

  • Data storage
  • Analytics for data
  • Data sharing
  • Storing and updating content to display on the app
  • Maintaining a centralized space for the business logic that can be reused for different apps connected to this space

Now, you have multiple options to empower your mobile app with appropriate backend infrastructure.

Backend As A Service (BaaS)

There are a number of ready-made backend solutions for different kinds of mobile apps. This software is called Backend As A Service (BaaS) because you are essentially using the services of a ready product.

Firebase by Google and Mobile Hub by AWS are two examples of prominent BaaS tools available in the market today.

BaaS software is very easy to set up and it can get your mobile app up and running in a very short span.

However, there is very little scope to customize the backend of your mobile app if you host it on a pre-built BaaS software.

Using a Cloud or Dedicated Servers

If you want the backend of your app to be more flexible, your best option is to create a custom backend infrastructure and host it on a cloud or dedicated server. Google App Engine and Amazon AWS are the two most popular cloud servers that large companies rely on for hosting their backend infrastructure.

Creating a custom backend for your app and hosting on a cloud empowers you with a lot of scope for customizing your app. Moreover, because you own this backend infrastructure, you can move it to another cloud server based on your changing needs.

4. Mobile app development security requirements

A mobile app performs various functions that may include the collection and storage of user or admin data. Any breaches in the security of this data can result in permanent damage to the reputation of your business.

That is why security practices may make up a fair part of your app cost.

Based on the scale of your app and the kind of user engagement it asks for, we can recommend the most important security best practices.

5. Costs to maintain a mobile app

As long as the app is out there in the market, you will have to keep maintaining and updating it.

The following are standard maintenance costs:

  • Upgrading the mobile app to the latest OS versions
  • Upgrading the third-party integrations (used for app development) to their latest versions
  • Identifying and fixing bugs

Along with that, you might also need to take care of the following advanced app maintenance tasks:

  • Adding new features and functionalities
  • Updating the tech stack with the latest technologies
  • Scaling the app architecture
  • Switching to bigger or better servers

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