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How much does a Mobile App cost to Build?

Mobile app development often comes with a hefty price tag. You can expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a basic app from a reliable team of developers in Perth or Melbourne.
So, how much to build a mobile app? It depends.

The average development cost ranges between $50,000 and $250,000 or more. However, many factors influence the total cost. You need to consider the scope of the project, the complexity of the features, and many other details.

The following information sheds light on the true cost of mobile app development in Australia.

How Much Does Mobile App Development Cost?

The average app developer earns about $170,000 per mobile app development project. However, when you meet with an app development agency in Melbourne or Perth, you may not receive a price estimate during your initial meeting. The developers need to know more about your project before providing a rough estimate.

In Australia, businesses may spend $50,000 to $100,000 on a standard mobile app. Complex apps that require longer to develop may cost $250,000 or more. The top Australian companies easily spend $500,000 to $1,000,000 on each mobile app project.

Small businesses also have options. With a limited set of features, a simple mobile app may cost $20,000 to $50,000 to develop.

As with any business project, you should evaluate the entire cost of developing an app before moving forward. Along with the monetary cost, you may need to consider the time commitment and cost in labour.

The monetary app development cost impacts your bottom line and has the most variables, including the following nine details:

1. External or internal development
2. Mobile app platforms
3. Complexity
4. Third-party integrations
5. Back-end development
6. Front-end development
7. Localisation
8. Marketing
9. Maintenance

These factors also impact the timeframe for completing your mobile app. A simple app may only take 16 weeks to develop while a sophisticated app can take closer to a year.

Understanding the App Development Lifecycle

To give you a better understanding of how much it costs to build an app, here is a closer look at the typical app development stages:

● Defining business objectives
● Planning and market research
● Developing wireframes and storyboards
● Defining the back-end requirements
● Testing a prototype of the mobile app
● Designing the visual interface
● Testing the completed application
● Launching the mobile app
● Analysing the success of the app

Developers first need to understand your business objectives. Based on your goals, they start planning the development process and complete market research. Wireframes are then developed to outline the framework for your app. These steps help determine the back-end requirements, such as the use of APIs.

After developing a prototype, designers start coding the visual interface and creating visual elements such as graphics. When the coding is completed, the app is tested, launched, and analysed. Each of these steps involves different costs and timeframes.

1. Decide on External or Internal Development

One of the first decisions is whether to develop the app internally or hire a Perth mobile app company. Should you insource or outsource the project? Outsourcing offers significant advantages compared to relying on an internal team:

● A greater level of experience
● Flexible development process
● Cost-effective development
● Shorter timeframe for completion

Australian app development agencies stay up to date with the latest advances in mobile app technology. They have the experience needed to develop quality apps using specialised tools and software. This ensures that you receive a mobile app with the features that you require instead of needing to limit features due to the limitations of an internal team.

Working with an external team means that you do not need to devote as many internal resources to the project. This gives you more flexibility for completing the project based on your schedule.
Outsourcing tends to provide a more cost-effective solution compared to using an internal team. When you outsource the project, you do not need to deal with overtime pay, sick leave, and other employee benefits.

If you have an internal team of developers, outsourcing may still provide a more effective solution. The landscape of mobile apps is also constantly evolving and requires specific skills. Australian app development firms are creating more sophisticated apps with an increasing range of features. If your internal team does not have the necessary skills, the development process will likely take longer.

2. Choose a Mobile Platform for Your Application

Choosing the right mobile platform impacts cost and the success of your mobile app. The cost to build an iPhone app tends to exceed the cost to build an Android app. Developing an iPhone app costs more but allows you to reach different demographics.

iOS (Apple) is popular in Australia, Japan, Western Europe, and North America. The iOS platform also offers less fragmentation as almost half of all iOS devices run the latest operating system (OS).

Android is an open-source platform, allowing developers to customise the OS to suit their needs. Manufacturers tend to alter the OS based on the hardware of their smartphones and tablets. This requires developers to test and tweak apps to increase compatibility with a wider range of hardware.

What do these details mean for your project? Developing for iOS may take less time, which also decreases the total build cost for the app. However, iOS uses a proprietary program called Swift for coding the app. This increases the complexity of some mobile app projects compared to developing using Java for Android.

Another option is cross-platform app development. About 40% of all apps developed by Australian publishers are designed for both iOS and Android.

Developing your app for Android and Apple devices allows you to reach a larger share of the market. Keep in mind that this may significantly increase the cost and timeframe for your project.

If you plan on a cross-platform release, consider working with Perth mobile developers that use the Flutter framework. Flutter allows developers to create native interfaces on Android and iOS, simplifying the cross-platform build process.

3. Complexity: How Do Features and Functions Impact the Cost?

Adding features or specific functions may involve more work and increase the total cost. Each time that you choose to add another screen or push notification, you add more work for the developers.

A simple app may include four or five screens while a complex app may include dozens of screens. Along with the number of screens, the number of features and functions directly impact the cost.
Some of the most common app features and functions include:

● Login and registration
● In-app purchases
● Search features
● Payment options
● User profiles
● Basic chat features
● Push notifications
● Analytics
● Content management system (CMS) features

Adding just one of these features may increase the cost of development by hundreds or thousands of dollars.

For example, adding payment options typically requires third-party integration with a payment platform API. Additional security measures may also be used to protect customer data. These steps may increase the cost of back-end development by several thousand dollars.

4. Does Your Mobile App Need Third-Party Integration?

Third-party integrations may increase the complexity of the application. App developers in Melbourne or Perth need to spend additional time testing and integrating third-party features, leading to increased time and costs.

For example, your mobile app may need to communicate with third-party APIs to integrate data or features from social media sites, analytical tools, or eCommerce payment platforms. Some apps also rely on hardware resources, such as the GPS on a mobile phone.

Limiting external integrations helps keep the cost of mobile app development down. Whenever possible, try to find solutions that streamline the app development process. If a third-party feature is not essential to your end users, consider leaving it out of the design.

5. What Is Back-End Development and How Does it Influence the Cost?

Back-end development is the use of various technologies for communicating with your app. It is the architecture that allows your app to function as most apps are not 100% self-contained projects.

An application programming interface (API) includes functions to allow two applications to communicate. Most apps need to communicate with an API to extract data or resources from servers or other applications. Some apps may also rely on servers to handle processes that are too complex for smartphones or tablets.

Depending on the features that you need, your development project may require the creation of custom APIs. This adds to the total cost and time needed to launch your app in Australia.
If your app includes a variety of features, look for developers that utilise the Laravel development framework. Laravel helps to remove some of the work from implementing common features such as authentication and caching, which limits the need for back-end development.

6. Front-End Development Can Make or Break a Mobile App

Along with back-end development, front-end development is an essential part of the mobile application development process. Front-end developers create the visual interface for your app, which is what users see and interact with when they open the app.

The visual design of your application may determine the success of the project. If you release an app that works well but features an unattractive or unnavigable design, users may not enjoy the app. This is where hiring an experienced Australian development team pays off.
An experienced app development company in Melbourne or Perth can create original graphics and quality designs for your app to enhance the user experience.

Each graphic may require hours of work by a designer. If you create a visual-heavy app, you can expect to pay more compared to developing a simple app that mostly contains blocks of text and a few basic graphics.

7. Localisation Requirements Tend to Increase Development Costs

If you only plan on releasing your mobile app in Australia, you may not need to worry about localisation. Localisation efforts allow you to market your app in different regions. However, localisation also increases the cost and timeframe for the project.

Localisation allows you to target different markets by tweaking the design to appeal to the demographics in different regions. The most time-consuming aspect of localisation is translating your app for use in a different language.

You may need to optimise your app for different regions, dialects, and languages. When targeting customers in countries outside of Australia, you may also need to comply with various consumer privacy regulations.

For example, the European Union (EU) released the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), requiring websites and apps to follow specific requirements for ensuring the privacy of customer data.

While localisation increases the reach of your mobile app, it also increases the cost.

8. Do Not Forget to Account for Your Marketing Budget

It is easy to focus on the direct costs of developing an app when starting a new project but there are also indirect costs, including your marketing budget. If you intend to release the app to the public, you may need to develop a marketing campaign to generate interest.

If you spend $50,000 on app development and earn $75,000 in sales, you have a net profit of $25,000. However, if you spent $10,000 on marketing, your profits are just $15,000. Consider your marketing plans when analysing the cost and timeframe for your app development project.

9. Consider Mobile App Maintenance

Mobile apps also come with maintenance costs. As mentioned, some mobile apps require the use of APIs to obtain data or resources. If your app requires custom APIs, you may need to pay to maintain the servers that handle the APIs.

Ongoing maintenance is also necessary for addressing technical issues. While the typical app development process includes thorough testing, some glitches may not be detected until after launch. Melbourne app development agencies continue to resolve these issues as they appear.
Another concern is compatibility. Apple and Android release new versions and updates to their operating systems frequently. Depending on these changes, your app may also need updates.
The general estimate for the cost of mobile app maintenance is about 10% to 20% of your development budget. For example, if your app costs $50,000 to develop, you may spend close to $5000 to $10,000 per year keeping it running.

Benefits of Building a Mobile App for Your Business

After reviewing the potential cost, you may wonder if mobile apps can provide a good return on investment (ROI). With the right team of app developers in Perth or Melbourne, a custom app should offer the following business advantages:

● Increase the reach of your business
● Give your customers more value
● Stand out from the competition
● Boost customer loyalty and retention
● Upsell services or products to existing customers

An app gives you an additional point of contact with customers. You may use an app to streamline customer support, offer additional features, or keep your customers entertained.

The Australian mobile app landscape is growing and evolving. Over 20 million individuals own smartphones in Australia. A little over 87% of the population has a mobile device. Releasing a mobile app helps you connect with a larger segment of the population.

Mobile apps also provide an effective solution for boosting customer engagement. Apps help keep customers engaged with your products or services. You may even upsell other services to your existing customers through the app. This tends to lead to increased customer retention rates and higher average transactions per customer.

How to Find Reliable Mobile App Developers in Australia

Finding the right developers is an important step in mobile development. An inexperienced freelancer may lack the capabilities to develop a complex business app with a global reach.
About 76% of apps developed by Australian publishers provide business services or features while just 24% are focused on games. This means that local developers have experience developing business apps.

Hiring a mobile app development agency provides many benefits compared to working with an in-house team or a freelancer. You can expect better results, a faster development cycle, and the experience needed to meet your specific goals. The only drawback is selecting the right agency.
When comparing app development firms, pay attention to their past projects. Examining their previous work gives you a better indication of their ability to develop quality mobile apps.
After reviewing their portfolios, check references. Ask the developer to extend contact information from past clients, allowing you to receive first-hand feedback about the effectiveness of the development team.

While previous work is important, the main detail to consider when comparing app developers is their communication style. It helps to work with a company that you can effectively communicate with. You may need to make changes to the design or respond to the requests from the developers during the project. If the developers are difficult to reach or difficult to work with, you may not enjoy the development process.

Overall, the best Australian development agencies are the ones that can help turn your idea into a fully featured mobile app. Review their portfolio, talk to clients, and ensure that you can work with the team.

What Is the Total Build Cost for Mobile App Development?

Determining the cost of your project depends on many factors. If you want a rough estimate based on previous projects, the average mobile app costs about $170,000 to develop.

Keep in mind that some apps may only cost $10,000 to $20,000 while others can cost $500,000 or more. The total app development cost is based on the scope and scale of your project. The complexity of the app, the platforms that you choose, and whether you plan on hiring an external development team are a few of the main details that impact the cost.

To receive a more accurate estimate based on your specific needs, contact the experts at Itomic. We provide reliable mobile app development in Perth, Melbourne, and the rest of Australia.