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Core Factors Influencing the Business App Development Cost in 2021

Wonder how much does it cost to create an application? That is the question everyone thinks about when there is a need to create an app – a mobile, web, or standalone product. The range varies greatly based on many factors. The app development cost can be from $10,000 to $250,000 and more depending on its type, technologies, development team, and many other aspects.

In this article, we will make sure to provide you with comprehensive information on what goes into the app development cost, how we usually estimate the cost and the rough estimation of the TikTok app.

Factors That Determine App Development Cost

An application is a complicated entity that consists of many logical connections and rules. The end-user has a set of business tasks that must be implemented in the app. Such a task forms a variable amount of logical connections. The more tasks, the more connections. At some point, there are too many connections and dependencies, so without a comprehensive software architecture design, further app development is impossible. And every such iteration increases complexity and requires special expertise. Both factors are directly related to the application development cost. Below, we want to discuss such factors in detail.

App Type (Interactive 3D vs Classic, Mobile vs Web)

There are many logical types of applications. Some have 3D graphics, others include advanced AI, and so on. But like anything else, there are various classifications, and some of them are united under common names. It is always good to refer to global market providers like Apple or Google. For example, Apple offers a great app classification based on app goals, its target audience, or the scope of its application. It applies to both mobile and desktop platforms.

Read also: How to Make an Educational App Like Duolingo?

Let’s discuss platforms later, but now concentrate on app types. Each category represents some sort of content and directly affects the app development cost. We all understand that calculators are probably less development time-consuming compared to a social network. Unless you’re building an alternative to a complex computation environment like Mathematica.

Now as we see app categories we can try to come back to types of apps. In general, types are a cross-category set of features within a selected application.

Classic Mobile Apps

Classic mobile apps are the applications that utilize default market interface guidelines, are lightweight, easy to use, and mostly rely on some sort of backend to fetch required data.

For example, the Paprika Recipe Manager 3 app is a great example of a classical mobile app. There are no complicated mechanics, only listings, organizers, photos, reminders, and similar content. Usually, it is easy to develop apps of such nature. The biggest time-consuming part is a backend (if needed) and third-party integrations, like social sharing, payments, leaderboard, and other services.

Interactive Apps

Interactive apps are a recently popular approach to create an application and attract more attention from the target audience. It is quite similar to classic mobile apps, but instead of text and photos, developers use more animations, artistic UIs, 3D objects, some sort of close-to-real interactions, when you need to place some parts using gestures. The idea behind it is to make an application immersive for the end-user and present content as it is in real life.

A good example is the 3D Engineering Animation app where developers decide to explain some engineering processes by using realistic 3D models and animations. This way users instantly understand how things work and there is no need to read blueprints and texts.

Another example is the well-known Uber app with fewer default interfaces and more interactive parts. The main element is the map where the end-user sees locations, cars, and ETAs which instantly gives a good understanding of the situation.

In terms of costs, this type is more complicated, but only due to content and interaction mechanics. UIs are usually more complex and require bigger design and development efforts to be successfully implemented. The selected types also often use backend and third-party integrations.

Web Applications

Web applications are a fast-growing trend that involves presenting the whole application on the web. These days web applications are almost identical to applications for computers or mobile devices.
A good example will be the Google Docs web app, an online competitor and, in many senses, the successor of any computer or mobile-based word processor application.

Generally speaking, web applications tend to copy the user experience of installed predecessors. Like any other application, in most cases, it requires a back-end part to function properly. Compared to installed applications, usually web apps are cross-platform and widely accessible from the most popular web browsers and platforms which gives more flexibility to users.

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CAD & Design Tools Apps

CAD and design tools apps is another type that from the beginning may look like a sub-type of an interactive application. But you better separate those, as CAD apps are usually way more complicated and require more skills from the end-user.

This type is not only about Photoshop and Autodesk 3ds Max, but there are also many other things like Home Design 3D Outdoor/Garden app where less prepared users can do their home design in 3D. Also, there are many examples of photo editing software like the Snapseed app.

As you can see, those are a bit more complicated than regular interactive apps. Most of such apps require at least simple training to operate. If you ask “how much does it cost to build an app” meaning CAD applications, they are way more expensive than the previous ones as they consist of many more interfaces and a lot of logic in core features, like creating 3D models, editing photos and similar. The price tag for such an app is usually high and significantly depends on core features’ complexity.

Virtual Reality Apps

Virtual reality apps are probably the most promising type, but still undeveloped from a hardware point of view. We all know about VR. The hype started when Google released Cardboard and turned every mobile phone into a simple headset for less than $10. After that, the industry started to grow fast, especially in games, training, and simulations. The biggest difference from other apps, except games, is that VR requires to build a 3D environment. Otherwise, the experience will be limited and thus not immersive.

Read also: How to Make an Interactive VR Whiteboard for Virtual Meetings

Another thing is that VR applications require different controls. In VR you cannot use traditional navigation, because you’re literally inside the app, so you need to use your hands to navigate through the environment. Those two factors affect the price the most. Apart from that, there is nothing complicated and the rest depends on the amount of content and app complexity as in any other application.

Augmented Reality Apps

Augmented reality apps, just like VR apps, are pretty new but already widespread. If you have an iPhone 6S or a newer Apple smartphone version, you have all the required tools to try the AR experience. A bit worse situation with Android devices, but the list is also growing – take a look here.

Besides mobiles, there are standalone AR ready devices like Microsoft Hololens or Magic Leap. Mobile AR solutions are usually way easier to develop compared to standalone as the last ones require the use of special hardware. At the same time, mobile audiences are mostly regular consumers, not enterprises, which gives you the ability to cover more users.

Often in mobile, AR is used as an advanced feature for an existing application. For example, you can shop online as usual, but be able to see desired goods on a real scale at your home just like an IKEA Place app offers. There are many other applications of augmented reality in apps. For instance, the Modiface app helps users to apply cosmetics with AR in realtime and instantly see the result.

As you can see, there are many AR applications. In general, it is pretty simple to develop an AR app as there is no big difference between an interactive app and an augmented reality app. But the devil hides in details – everything depends on the purpose of your app and the amount of content there.

Video Games

Video games are also applications that don’t have any common design patterns compared to classical apps. Interactive applications are closer to games in many aspects. They utilize 2D and 3D graphics with optional gamified mechanics. There are many classified subcategories for games like action games, adventure games, hyper-casual games, and many more (see the game classification from Apple).

Games development price tag heavily depends on a category. Another crucial element is game mechanics that affects everything in the game – from graphics to sound and narrative elements. Each game is unique and its belonging to a particular category is just a close guess. Games are harder to estimate as each one has something different.

There are many common mechanics and concepts across all games. For example, according to Wikipedia, there are different camera approaches and each one has a defined set of properties and functions. Quite often other modules have something in common as well. Separating ordinary and special mechanics in games helps with the estimation process.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is not just a technology, the increasing amount of applications are built around AI in whole or in part. AI elements are used in almost all spheres of our life. As an example, Bank of America develops a chatbot application that helps its customers.

Often AI is just a part of another application, where the main functionality is not connected to artificial intelligence but utilizes its capabilities for assisting in some other processes. For instance, the Youper app monitors the user’s health and AI provides some suggestions. So AI here is just a part of the entire ecosystem that can work without this technology. Here artificial intelligence is a value proposition, so the application is partially built around the AI idea.

AI apps usually are pricey. The main factor is the complexity of a task. Another one is accuracy – if it is okay to make 30% of errors, it is easier to develop such a solution compared to the one with less than 3% of accuracy. The cost of AI apps is formed depending on those two factors. The more complexity and accuracy you need in your business task, the more time is necessary for developers to teach the system to operate right.

Some parts of AI are fairly simple to develop, so the AI app development cost is more than adequate. There are many tools and libraries already implemented with many required techniques, so developers can concentrate on business logic, not infrastructure. For example, Core ML is a good base for primary and simple AI models.

Backend

Backend is also an application, but it is invisible to an end-user. At the same time, it is the brain of almost any app. Without a backend, it is impossible to maintain a consistent database or perform complex calculations in a matter of seconds.

Another valuable feature is verification. If you need to process payments in your application, it is a really bad choice to do all the logic on a client-side application. Any application accessible by a user can be easily compromised and data affected. The only way to do it securely is to build a backend application that will perform the whole logic and only receive information from the client.

From the standpoint of the development cost, the backend or the server is the most complicated and valuable part of most applications. But it all depends on the amount of logic you anticipate to process. If it requires to execute only a few operations you can easily use something simple like Microsoft Azure where you can make only one call to your server and use it to restore purchases, for instance.

Another great example is Google Firebase. You can build the whole ecosystem for your application or a game with just a small amount of effort. In case you need something even bigger, like a social network or hard loaded element of your application it is better to make a custom-built system, based on SDKs and platforms like Microsoft or Amazon.

Platforms

There are so many computing devices in the world and each of them requires some sort of operating system (OS). Let’s try to understand which are the most popular and where your business should put more attention to reach most of the future customer base.

At the first glance, we can divide all platforms into mobile and standalone ones. There are way more platforms and OS but let’s concentrate on the typical software consumer market that mostly requires the use of these two types.

Mobile Platforms

Per the GlobalStats research, there are two most popular mobile platforms:

  • iOS, market share 26%.
  • Android, market share 72%.

There are other players, like Samsung, Microsoft, but their roles are insignificant and their share is below 1%.

Market share is a great indicator, but it is not effective to measure only those values. There are more Android users, but iOS developers earn more money, despite this fact. According to The Verge, Android developers have earned $80 billion while iOS developers have gained $160 billion retrospectively. We strongly believe that any application must be released for both platforms simultaneously to reach the maximum audience.

Modern approaches help developers to build a cross-platform code without a huge impact on a budget and performance, receiving native-like applications as a result. But in case you decide to release to a specific platform, don’t forget that each country has its cultural preferences. For example in the US, iOS has a major share of around 60%, and Android only near 39%. But it may be different for other countries.

Another thing is store fees for each OS. Most of the mobile applications are shared through the official mobile application store, for iOS – App Store and Android – Google Play. Each one has its fees that are also different for each country due to different tax and monetization policies.

Web & Standalone Platforms

Now we know mobiles, but any ecosystem requires web and standalone platforms, to operate properly.
Web usually runs on mobiles or standalone OS, but each web browser is a system in the system.

According to another research, there are 5 major web browsers on a market:

  1. Chrome with a share of 63%
  2. Safari – 17%
  3. Edge – 5%
  4. Firefox – 4%
  5. Opera – 1%

The biggest problem when you develop a web platform is that you usually need to support all major browsers or at least the most popular ones. Another thing that you need to make sure of is whether your application is operational on all popular screen resolutions. And here is the issue: there is no dominant one, so you need to support as much as you can to present the most user-friendly digital solution.

Screen Resolution Percentage
1 1366×768 9.80%
2 640×360 9.74%
3 1920×1080 7.16%
4 667×375 4.89%
5 896×414 4.24%
6 1024×768 4.03%
7 812×375 3.32%
8 780×360 3.15%
9 760×360 2.86%
10 1440×900 2.76%

Also, you shouldn’t forget about the platform, as Chrome on Windows and Chrome on Mac OS are a bit different species.

Web applications are usually more complicated in development as opposed to mobiles as they require more effort to support a wider range of hardware and software.

The last but not least platform is a standalone one. There are 3 major market players:

  1. Windows with an 87% share. A huge dominance but at the same time an insane variety of hardware and software.
  2. Mac OS with a 9% share that is insignificant compared to Windows, but has a predictable amount of hardware.
  3. Linux with a 2% share is mostly used among technical experts. Sometimes organizations use it as a secure, stable, and free substitution of Windows.

Occasionally, it is better to build an application solely for standalone platforms. Usually, it is way easier to reach better performance within reasonable development time as developers have straightforward access to the hardware. Heavy and professional applications like Photoshop require a tremendous amount of hardware power and optimizations. There are mobile versions or browser substitutions, but still, standalone platforms are the best for such kinds of apps.

Technologies

There are so many technologies on the market that help businesses to operate properly. We will try to outline only a few major ones for each platform. You can dive deeper into this topic in another article about frontend tech stack. Additionally, you can see how some backend technologies help to reduce web app development costs in our article.

Cross-Platform Technologies

When it comes to a release it is better to capture as much audience as possible, but there are so many platforms. The software development market has a solution – cross-platform development kits. The main task of those kits is to help businesses reduce development costs by helping their development team to code once and publish everywhere.

There are some downgrades of such solutions. Usually, the binary size is larger, sometimes UI looks not so “native”, but on the bright side you can deploy on all supported platforms.

Let’s have a look at a few SDKs:

  • Unity3D is a great cross-platform development platform. With this technology, your development team can code once and deploy to all supported platforms with only minor adjustments for platform-specific features. Unity3D is capable of delivering highly interactive applications and games because it was created as a game development engine. Over time, it has transformed into a custom software development platform. Unity3D has a flexible license model with an affordable price tag.
  • React Native is another great example of a cross-platform development solution. The huge advantage of this technology is that it uses Javascript as the main language, which is extremely good for web developers. Another advantage is the binary size and operational speed that is close to native ones. At its core React Native uses a direct call to native libraries, so the user interface will look the same as in a pure native application. Also, it is possible to use all native functionality. It is a Facebook supported open source project, so there is no feed for licenses.

Mobile Native Technologies

Any native solution is the fastest one and the best supported. The only downside is that it is not a cross-platform solution so your team needs to build a separate solution for each platform which can cause various issues on different platforms. Overall maintenance and support are more expensive compared to cross-platform solutions, but if you need high-performance applications, it is the best choice.

There are 2 big players: iOS and Android. Each one has great development tools, documentation, and support.

Web Native Technologies

Web-native technologies share the same pros and cons as mobile-native ones. The web is capable of covering everything, supported by browsers, platforms. There are a few major players on the market:

  1. React
  2. Vue
  3. Angular
  4. Bootstrap

Desktop Native Technologies

Desktop platforms are the oldest ones. Those are Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. They have appeared far before mobile and web ones. That is why there are so many solutions – cross-platform and native, low-level, and high-level. With desktop platforms, developers have access directly to the hardware, that is why it is possible to do whatever you want. The downside of that is security, which can be compromised, because of such an amount of freedom.

Each operating system has its native tools, usually well supported and documented.

If we are talking about cross-platform desktop technologies, the top list will be:

  1. Xamarin
  2. Electron
  3. JavaFX

Features and Functionality of App

Every application is a unique set of features. But there is a lot in common among all applications.

Let’s try to outline common features and elements:

  1. Authentication – users must be able to use the application and store user-specific data. The only way to do so is to register and log in afterward. But they should also be able to retrieve the forgotten password. In some cases, it is more convenient to use Facebook, Google, Apple ID as single sign-on authentication methods.
  2. Payments & Subscriptions – most of the applications rely on some sort of payments. Taxi, pizza ordering, reservation, movie tickets, newsletters, and many others. All of them require the implementation of some sort of payment system. Usually on mobiles provide special in-app purchases, that are available through the market APIs. In some cases, it is PayPal or just a credit card.
  3. User profile – any user wants to see their profile and be able to review personal information, like orders, favorite videos, or any user-generated content.
  4. Notifications – it is hard to imagine the modern world without some notifications and sometimes it is extremely crucial to review them. Imagine that your taxi has arrived and the only way to know it will be checking the app every 10 seconds. Insanity, right? It is way easier to receive a reminder that will inform you when to meet a driver.
  5. Social integrations – any human being is a social creature so it is always great to share your order with your friends or just notify the closest ones about your taxi route.

There are many more common features, but those are the most popular ones.

Besides common things, there is always core functionality. Any application has its own, unique core idea and implementation. For TikTok, it is an ability to view videos. For Uber – taxi ordering.

Each app development process is separated into some sort of stages. It is the best approach to perform software development. Otherwise, there is a huge risk to receive an incomplete digital product and users won’t benefit from using that particular solution.

Let’s try to define those app development stages:

  1. Concept. It is extremely important to outline your idea on a paper and think through the whole solution before coding. You need to know every aspect of the future app before the actual app development gets started. Create mock-ups and wireframes. Do not worry, usually, the concept gets changed many times during future app development. It should evolve, but without it, you risk losing your budget and not receive the expected result.
  2. Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Once you have a concept, there is no need to rush into full-scale app development. Create an MVP to test your idea with a small budget. Show something that can present your core functionality, but without implementing the whole infrastructure. For example, if you’re doing something similar to TikTok, there is no need to implement a whole client-server infrastructure at the beginning, which is capable of hosting millions of users. You need to impress your investors and usually it is a small group of people. Drop server side if possible, re-upload content, show only the selected piece of functionality. The smaller, the better. But make sure it is partially operational.
  3. UX/UI Design. If you and your investors are happy with the functionality and idea, go ahead and outline user experience and interface design. At this stage, you will have a way better idea about what you’re doing and how your users use the app. Do not forget, you already have a small representation of your product.
  4. Development. At this point, you have everything to start the actual app development process. Be careful as well, perform in small iterations of 2-4 weeks. Each iteration must lead to a testable result. In this way, you will be able to adjust, tune small features to deliver more finished functionality to your end-users.
  5. Beta Testing. Once you have the product on your hands, don’t rush to release it. Test it, using beta groups. Adjust the solution and do the final tuning. Like any dish in any Michelin restaurant, your application requires a final touch.
  6. Release. You’re ready, it is the time! But again, release in a selected region first, get usage data, adjust, and only after that release the app worldwide.
  7. Analysis. Once your app is available on all required markets, get user data, analyze it precisely, make major conclusions, and get valuable insights.
  8. Upgrade. Further development and adjustments are a never-ending process. Once you get insights, you may want to polish your application. But if you’ve reached this step, you’re definitely on a road to success!

Any application looks like a house built of so many materials and features. Make sure you have a good foundation. Make sure it is beautiful, cozy, and warm. Do not forget to support it and it will shine for you!

Backend Infrastructure

Backend is the core element of any ecosystem. All business logic goes through it. Typical backends hold the most crucial information that will be used in business logic afterward. Data like user accounts, subscriptions, payments, and other sensitive information cannot be processed on the front-end side.

Backend or Server is not a single entity when we are talking about software development. Usually, it is the whole ecosystem of solutions that works in perfect harmony with each other.

The smallest backend solution may consist of a business logic application (the server) and a database. The database can hold the required amount of data for a long period. The business logic application will process the data and come up with results that will be displayed to a customer via any front-end solution. This minimal setup can guarantee any functionality.

Hosting

But in real life setup is way more complicated. First of all, even with a minimal solution, you need to host it somewhere. It may be a local machine or a dedicated server. In recent years, cloud solutions are way more popular as they are flexible and capable to host as many instances as you need at the moment. There are many cloud hosting and computing providers. The biggest and the most wide-spread are Microsoft Azure and Amazon’s AWS. Each one has a set of tools and protocols created specifically for hosting and processing any amount of data required by an application.

Scaling

When it comes to any business, the ability to rapidly adjust a whole system is crucial. Most of the backend solutions are designed to sustain a definite amount of users/operations. Some of them are extremely flexible and can grow and shrink in a matter of seconds based on actual demand.

Processor time and amount of storage define the price that the owner will pay to a hosting provider or invest in their hosting solutions. It is extremely important to allocate the exact amount of resources you need at the moment so that your business activities could generate more money than they consume.

Operational Speed

As hosting price is defined based on processor and storage usage it is smart to optimize your backend to be effective and thus reduce the hosting costs and maximize your profits. This is the part where architecture matters a lot. Clean and business-oriented software architecture defines the number of pitfalls of your solution.

With a bad architecture, developers ineffectively use the processor. End-users receive the worth of experience as delays and the amount of error will be bigger. That way creates a real threat in the digital world we have now. It can cost you the whole business. On the other hand, the well-implemented architecture will reduce waiting times to the minimum possible rate. The processor will be used effectively, so you can increase overall system efficiency and generate additional revenue.

Protection

Any system requires protection from fraud and direct attacks. A backend is an extremely sensitive part of any ecosystem as it is responsible for overall data storing and processing. It is the head-quarters of any business.

Organized criminals and amateurs will try to find a tiny breach in the system and use it to steal the required data that can be used against your business in the future or against your users.

Backends usually are the most protected places. It is achieved by a set of tools and concepts, starting from the system architecture, ending with splitting the server into many servers to make it harder to compromise the whole system at the same time as many other approaches.

When you think about any application or any software solution, there is a backend behind it. It is the brain of the entire ecosystem body and thus must be treated seriously by high-level experts only.

App Development Team

It is possible to create the whole application alone, but as everywhere it will be quite hard. Our brain is a powerful tool but united we can do amazing things faster, more stable, and better in general.

Let’s describe the minimal team that can guarantee the highest possible quality within a reasonable amount of development time.

The core element in every team is communication. Without proper communication, it is impossible to achieve something.

The person who is responsible for it is called the Project Manager (PM). This role helps to organize the whole project workflow – what tasks will be implemented in which order and when. This position requires responsibility for the final result. Usually, those are precise people who can explain, listen, and motivate the entire development team.

Another position is called Business Analyst that plays an important role as well. It is a supportive position for a PM. This person knows the project entirely, each aspect, every small mechanic, and helps others by forming detailed project documentation and tasks.

At this stage, we have a person who can glue everyone and set internal and external communications. A person who can explain exactly what to do. It is time to add someone who will develop a solution – Developer. In our minimal setup, we strongly recommend allocating at least one developer per solution module or technology.

For example, a pizza delivery application consists of 4 parts – Backend, Web frontend, iOS, and Android apps. So the best development setup will be:

  1. Backend developer (Node.js, .Net Core, Django)
  2. Web frontend developer (React, Vue, Angular).
  3. Mobile cross-platform developer (React-Native, Unity3d).

In some cases, it is better to allocate full-stack developers, who are capable of doing everything at once. It is a viable option and at times you get even better quality, but speed will be affected.

Once you have roles who can develop a solution, you still need someone technically educated who can lead developers, this is a Technical Leader. This person will be able to coordinate all other developers, help with some tough moments, and the most crucial – develop and maintain the whole technical architecture. Without it, there is a big chance that developers will be ineffective and can create a spaghetti code. That term means that code will be so chaotic, complicated, not synchronized with other parts that at some point it will be impossible to maintain it and there will be only one way – rewrite everything from the scratch.

Hopefully, you can get at least one technical leader on board. Once overall development is in progress, and you as a client start seeing some first releases, there will be not so many features, but a solution will start shaping.

At this stage, you will feel a lack of supervision in terms of potential issues and bugs. The role that can help you is called Quality Assurance Engineer. Those people are extremely precise to small details. Manually or with help of coding they can find many potential issues before the release and in this way improve the overall quality and end-user experience.

Read also: Security Testing or Top 10 Software Vulnerabilities

This team is minimally viable for any kind of project, it is possible to use only developers or exclude some roles, but in that case, no one will be able to guarantee the required level of quality.

How Do We Estimate the Cost of App Development?

Any relationships start somehow. When it comes to B2B, sometimes it is even more intricate compared to other areas of our lives including personal.

How Businesses Can Find The Tech Partner

Imagine you have a budget of a couple of thousands of dollars and you need to find someone who will implement your idea. Sounds like a complicated quest, especially when it is your funds.

One of the best things about working in a service field is that you meet a huge amount of people and new ideas almost every day. Each such meeting has a full story behind it, not talking about new ideas you see.

There are several stages in B2B relationships. Let’s try to outline those and add some best practices for businesses looking for technology services providers:

Discovery

Client and Contractor must find each other somehow. There are several ways to do it.

  • Google search. Use Google and find relevant information there. Usually, Google query will lead to a blog or website. Make sure to explore the content written on a site, ensure the information listed in the blog is up-to-date and relevant. Try to google it as well, see if it is not stolen. Check portfolio examples, not everything is listed in a public portfolio due to confidential agreements, but there must be some cases and something relevant to your idea.
  • B2B Reviews and Rating platforms. Clutch or Goodfirms are trendy, and there you will find many businesses with actual reviews and ratings. Reputation is everything, so try to work with those who care about it.
  • Freelance websites. One of the most popular websites is Upwork. It is harder to find big companies there, but it is really easy to find a small team that can develop your idea for a reasonable price.

First Contact

Once you have found and formed a list of desired companies, it is time to reach them. Try to outline your idea clearly, show some relevant examples. The more information you can provide, the better the company will understand you. After you have written an inquiry, check the response time, if the company is well organized and interested in new opportunities it will answer within 24 business hours. Later responses can be a bad indicator for you.

After you get the answer, the best is to set up a live meeting with representatives and discuss your idea. Remember, any responsible company will propose to sign an NDA, so you can freely share any crucial information that will help to understand your idea better and deliver better communication back to you.

Task Qualification

So you had a meeting with the potential contractor and explained the entire idea. Any business owner often has only 2 questions – how much does it cost to develop an app and how long will it take to implement everything. Any reasonable contractor must provide you a rough estimate that will outline the preliminary scope of work and present you with some budget expectations. At this stage make sure the other side understands your idea, make a few meetings, evaluate them as much as you can, and put your attention on their working process. If the team is precise even at this stage, you have good chances that your application will be implemented successfully.

Proposal

Before you can move forward with a selected app development team, you need to get a formal proposal. It can be a small email or a long-read document, but it must exist. As it is an extremely bad idea to start without finalized terms. The proposal must explain to you every aspect of future collaboration: how much will it cost, how long will it take, which resources will be allocated, what development stages you should expect, the more the better here.

Legal Negotiation

If you like the proposal it is time to sign a legal document that will lay your partnership agreement on paper. It is strongly recommended to have such a document. Without it, you’re not protected at all and in case your contractor is not trustworthy you will have no arguments.

Another point is your IP protection. Any service company must be responsible for protecting your IP. It must be clearly outlined in the agreement. Don’t forget, you pay for the service, everything accomplished for your money is your property. Make sure ownership transfer is also mentioned in the agreement.

At the same time, you cannot put everything in the agreement, no need to spend thousands of dollars to move the agreement back and forth too much. Make sure basic things are protected after it is all about trust, as in personal life.

Kick-Off Meeting

A partnership is in the act. All agreements are signed, prepayments are made, time to start a project. At this stage make sure you know who to write to. There must be one contact person who will help you in case you get lost. Usually, it is the same person who has been the main contact point during the sales process. Though it is not a rule, it can be an account manager or a project manager, but there must be someone.

Meet the team. Maybe there is no need to meet everyone, but you must know responsible people and leading managers/developers. Again, put your attention on process organization. If it is well performed and you feel that you’re properly notified, it is a good sign that again shows – you’re on the right track.

Support

Work is in progress, but any product is a living creature that requires attention. It is a good sign that you have a well-organized communication process with the development team. The finely-tuned teams usually have everyday meetings. You can attend those, but we wouldn’t recommend that as a client must be responsible for the strategy, not tactics. So better attend a weekly meeting, where strategy takes place. It will be efficient for the project.

Even after a release, you will need technical support. Make sure you have a contact person who can help you at any moment, or even sign an additional agreement for it.

The main goal of any relationship is to build trust between parties. If there is no such emotion at any stage it is trouble. Try to resolve it as early as possible. If impossible, you can always exit the relationship. Don’t wait until they become toxic, it is more expensive to fix problems.

App Development Costs Breakdown

Let’s concentrate your attention on the estimation process. An estimate is a complicated process that requires deep expertise in a field on one side and a great understanding of the project on the other.

Communication in the estimate is everything. Every business provides an estimation of effort for its customers. When you buy a subscription for your music, you see the estimation based on which you will know how much exactly you will need to pay. When we’re talking about B2B software development estimates it is not so easy to calculate the exact app development cost as any project has myriads of features and variables, not talking about third-party libraries and services.

To receive a good estimate, a person who calculates it must be aware of all those things. Usually, for such a task an estimation team is gathered. The best practice is when a team that is going to perform development estimates the effort. The business analyst gathers all required information from the client, writes documentation and once it is approved by the client, sends it to the technical team. The technical team estimates every feature.

Good manners here is to receive a range. In software development, it is extremely hard to say something for sure as many variables are on the table. The experienced team will give you two numbers for each feature – Optimistic and Pessimistic. The technical team cannot predict everything: the optimistic figures are formed based on experience, the pessimistic ones are based on assumptions.

In this way, the company can give you as a client a good understanding of the future budget and their vision of the project development.

How Much Does It Cost To Create an App: A Famous Example

The ratings of the TikTok app are impressive. So we couldn’t miss the opportunity to estimate this extremely popular app. Let’s see what goes into the app development cost of an app like TikTok.

The rough estimation of an app can be represented in the hours or days of app development. The TikTok app includes backend, frontend, design, and content for web and mobile apps.

If you assume that the popular development hourly rate among worldwide software development companies is around $50, the usual working day may cost around $400. Surely, the hourly rate of the US, UK, or Australian developers may start from $150 so the working day may cost from $1200.

For now, let’s assume that the calculated working day cost is $400 and use it as a foundation for all estimations.

Backend Development Estimation of TikTok App

Let us share our rough estimation of the backend development part first. Below you can see the main features of this stage and approximate development time which is represented in the working days for your convenience.

As you can see, the backend part of such a video streaming app may take from 108 to 154 working days of development. So the cost of backend development may vary from $43,200 to $61,600.

Frontend Development Estimation of TikTok App

The frontend part of an app is what users see and how they feel about your digital solution. Let’s see what usually goes into this part and how many working days may take the frontend development of web and mobile TikTok apps.

In general, the frontend part of such an application can take from 88 to 117 development days which reflects in the cost range from $35,200 to $46,800.

Design & Content Estimation of TikTok App

Design is what captures the user’s attention and makes them stick to your software product. Check out how much time the design and content part may take in the whole development process.

So you see the figures for this app development stage that hit the cost range from $28,000 to $36,000.

So how much does it cost to build an app like TikTok?

The total cost varies from $106,400 to $144,400 with the app development rate of $50 per hour.

How long does it take to create an education app like TikTok?

If you count the estimated working days, the total TikTok-like app development time will take from 266 to 361 working days which is a little bit more than a year. So if you wish to create a video streaming app like TikTok, consider starting right away when there is such a big hype around.

The best development team structure for a TikTok-like app is the following:

  • Project Manager
  • .NET Lead
  • .NET Developer
  • DevOps
  • QA Engineer

If you wish to see a more detailed estimation of such an application or get the one for your unique application, just send us a message here.

Сonclusions

Creating an application may be a complex task. Just like calculating the app development cost that varies based on numerous factors. Understanding the influencing aspects can make it more real and desirable to create an application that matches your business goals.

Of course, there are many choices to be made while you are in the process of your software product development, but with a professional development team that has vast experience in the sphere and can back you up at every stage, you can be sure to focus on the strategy part of the deal.

Eager to make an app in 2021? Let’s do it now!

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