App budgets explained

app budget

It’s by far the most frequently asked question we get at Shareforce. What budget do I need for an app? But this question is as hard to answer as “what does a car cost?”. Because it depends on a large number of variables. In this article I will try to state the most important ones, but also give some averages and price ranges we see at our customers.

In general, the budget you will need for app development depends on the following variables:

1. Number of platforms
This is the most important variable. Do you want an app for Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad), Windows or Blackberry? Each platform has it’s own programming language. You can compare it with learning English versus Spanish. You have to start all over again. The code for each platform has to be re-written. The only thing you can re-use are the logic, parts of the design and of course the choices you make in the project management. General rule of thumb: each platform you add increases the budget by 75%.

2. Design
No design is the same. Some are simple and follow the design guidelines of a platform (= cheaper); others aim for a unique user experience (= more expensive). The more screens your app has, the bigger the budget. Often, new views have to be programmed to support both portrait and landscape modes. Menus, icons, special effects and backgrounds can also add to the complexity and budget of your app.

3. Features & functionality
The simpler the app, the cheaper it is. If you go all out on features, you will need more budgets. The more specific assets of the smartphone you want to include in your app, the higher the price. And with assets I mean stuff like GPS, camera, push notifications or the usage of pictures, movies and address book from the phone.

We often use the following formula to calculate the pricing of an app:
Budget = platform x design x features x functionality

A common misunderstanding is that the smaller the screen, the cheaper it will be. A TV commercial costs tons of Euro’s. A website thousands. So most people think an app will be cheaper. But this is not always the case. An app needs a lot of intelligence per square millimetre to make the life of its end users easier. 

At Shareforce, we develop apps from € 3.000. Because we think this is the minimum budget to deliver quality. But we have also developed multi-platform apps for more than € 30.000. And we support clients that spend a yearly budget of over € 50.000 to deliver new features for their current apps. What about the average app? We think its between € 10.000 and € 15.000. Apps are just like cars. You can go the budget way or go all out. In any case the investment is considerable. That’s why we advise to start small. Keep it as simple as possible! 


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