How much does it cost to build a mobile app in 2022 to save money and time? That is the first question most entrepreneurs ask when considering developing an app.
In this article, we will break down the mobile app development process, timeframe, team size, and the big question – cost.
Value to gain from this article:
- Requirements for a mobile app.
- Expectations from mobile app owner.
- Expectations from mobile app Engineers
- How Software development companies approach mobile apps.
- Cost to build a mobile app.
- Calculating the cost for a mobile app.
- Maintenance agreement for mobile apps.
Developing a mobile app can be a complex and costly project. Today software development can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 according to our counterpart over at Quantox. Numerous factors contribute to the cost of the build. The development company must consider the complexity, time and resources needed to make the product possible. This article will shed light on what to expect in this experience as the client and the development company work together to create the next big mobile application.
We will look at the process from both the perspective of the client and the development company.
Requirements for building a mobile app
Let’s look at the hypothetical for a minute – Bob is the owner of “Luxury Tours JA” a company that provides private tours around Jamaica using top-of-the-line, vehicles. Bob has a splendid idea for a new mobile app to be used in his touring business. Bob wants to create a mobile app that allows his clients to book the service, schedule pickup, and calculate the best route to give his customers the price right up front. He is elated to bring his idea to life.
Communicate what you want
Firstly, Bob should expect that once he makes that first contact with the software development company, he will have to communicate his general ideas about the new project and how it would add value to his business and customers. One of the main things he should expect is that it will not be a one-off conversation, but a constant dialogue until the project is completed. There are numerous ways to approach each project, and sometimes the ideas of the development team may not match those of the client so the finer details should be discussed at length. With the initial parameters established, Bob is expected to communicate his budget if he has any at this point.
This can be a deal-breaker so it is best to establish the financial capabilities of the client up front so both parties go into deeper conversations with clear ideas.
Availability for project
Bob would be best served by making himself, or a project representative, accessible to the development company as they will need to communicate various project milestones and requirements as they progress. These could be simple needs such as an email address, physical address, images, scheduled photoshoots, logos as well as more complex ones.
After the initial contact, Bob should expect that he will be one of the main contributors to the success of the project and his input will be required always. Quite often the development team is not an expert in the field that the application is being built to serve, so developers will need to rely on the expertise and guidance of the client – Bob.
Setting attainable targets
Furthermore, the Project Manager (I will use PM going forward) must spend the time between the initial meeting and the follow-up meeting researching the requirements to get the project started. He/She is expected to find software solutions that can be integrated into the project to make it a success. The PM should meet with the developers to discuss the time, effort and team size required to get the project’s Minimum Viable Product (MVP) ready by the discussed time. The PM would then calculate the manpower, tools cost, time to develop and in some cases consultation hours to generate the project estimated cost.
Additionally, Bob should leave his second meeting with a clear understanding of the cost, estimated time and what is required to get his MVP up and running. This should be communicated by the development team after they spend the time researching the project’s full requirements. The PM should act as a proxy between Bob and the developers.
Finally, both the development team and Bob are expected to communicate clear meeting dates and times so that the project flows smoothly.
How Software Development Companies Approach Mobile Apps
Most mobile app companies will try to work on simplifying the development process most effectively. One such way is the use of Agile development. As companies innovate, they will work on being as effective as possible. A software development company will dedicate teams to work on new projects as they come in. On a minimal software development team, they are structured as follows:
Firstly, the PM is expected to handle all meetings with the Project Owner. He/She is also expected to organize and plan the project in order of relevance. He/She is expected to ensure team goals are met by continuously dissecting each feature until they are at a small attainable goal level for the developers and testers of the team. The PM may also meet with the team to discuss the level of priority for each task.
The Graphic Designer is the engineer responsible for creating the wireframe, designs and theme that will guide the developers on how the project should look.
The Developers are the engineers responsible for converting ideas into machine-readable code.
The QA is a team of engineers who test the code that developers write so that they can spot any error or failure in each tool requirement.
In most companies, the complete development team use the Agile development flow where Project Owners, Project Manager, DevOps, Developers and Testers are all involved in an iterating manner to complete the desired project.
Calculating the cost to build mobile app
When building an application, the development team will consider a few things such as time, complexity and manpower. One effective way to calculate the project cost is to use the formula (Total time to develop * Company hourly rate = Cost)
The total time to develop consists of consultation hours, development, testing and demo. Calculating the total hour is important to get the correct cost to build a mobile application.
Remember, the company’s hourly rate includes the number of Project Managers, Developers, QAs and Graphic Designers and their total hourly cost, plus company markup.
Example Bob’s project requires a small team of 5 engineers, a PM, 2 Developers (IOS/Android), a QA and a Graphic Designer. If we should offshore the engineering work, we would have an approximate hourly cost of $50/h to which we add a company markup of $10 making the total $60/h. We estimate this MVP to be ready in 2 months (320 hours). Using the above formula, we came up a grand total of $19,200 = 320h * $60.
The above example should give project owners an idea of what to expect when building an application. This is a top-level cost of how mobile app development costs.
Maintenance Agreement for Mobile Apps
The job is not done once the application goes live. In today’s software development age one critical part of the development process is the maintenance of the project after it has been launched. For a deeper dive read more from Lookfar Labs. A project owner can expect to pay between 15-20% of the total cost of the application annually for maintenance of the project. Why do you need maintenance for your application? In a nutshell, the building blocks of application development use technologies that do require consistent updates to meet the necessary security standards and functionality. Having the development team on a maintenance retainer means you can expect consistent updates to the existing pieces and if these building blocks get obsolete then a suggested feature update may be suggested to the project owner at a discounted price (this is company-specific).
From the perspective of a software company, they want to provide the best services to their clients, satisfy them, and help them grow. Equally, the client will want to know that he is getting the best value for money and that his application will be supported once live.
Being in the IT industry for more than five years, Ricketts Technologies Ltd. is knowledgeable about the market. We will always provide the best services without compromising on quality. We spend time gathering as much information as possible to deliver more in less time than expected. Your satisfaction is our greatest achievement, but we consider your pocket as well. So, let’s have a chat and work together.