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How expensive is it to build a mobile app? We know how to find out

"I wonder, how much will I pay for it?”
A question that may bother you since you get an idea about a brand new mobile app. The answer is not easy. After plenty of years in the mobile app development industry, we can tell you, how to get to an approximate and even more accurate price.

And what about technical specification?

Do you want to build a mobile app that becomes the foundation of your business? If so, you definitely have a unique idea that will help you roll over the competition. You may have an idea for Facebook for animals, Uber for planes, or Instagram for selfies.

If you send us an idea like this, we will probably disappoint you. We cannot tell you the price based on such a description, not even an informative one.

Why? Imagine you are building a house and you would be writing an email to a construction company stating “Hello, I would like a big house. Tell me how expensive it will be and when it will be done.” First of all, you have to send the whole project documentation in addition to all the necessities such as diagrams and drawings. Only then you may know the price.

It works all the same in software development. No one is able to tell you the price of the project without proper specification.

A general estimate is enough for me

Maybe you are telling yourself: “I don’t really need to know the final price. I just need a general estimate to decide if I want to do it or not.”
We can tell you if you need to prepare 5 000 or 500 000 euros, that’s not a problem. But you should keep in mind, that this estimate is unreliable and no developer can guarantee it. 

In reality, it looks like this:
You will write down basic requirements for your app, its functions, and your idea about design to a development company. Then you will write down functions X and Y and assume that function Z is obvious and won’t take a lot of time to develop. Developers will estimate the price and get to work.

After some time, they will hand you over the app and you will wonder: “Why can’t the app do Z?” you will ask. “Because we didn’t know about the function Z,” replies the developer. “We can add function Z to your app, but it will take another month and you will pay a quarter of the price more.” You couldn’t have known that function Z is really complicated to develop and that it will significantly increase the price.

Do you still want to know a general estimate? You can use our calculator. (But first, finish reading the article. The link for the calculator is also conveniently available at the end of this article.)

I want to know the accurate price. What do I have to do for it?

We are talking about custom made software, that’s why the technical specification of the project is essential to the pricing process. It should describe everything that the development team needs to know to develop the app.
For example, the description of:

  • individual screens
  • functionalities
  • technologies
  • user roles
  • and use cases

And a lot of other information.

Once this document is ready, you can celebrate a small victory. Other than a few additional questions from the development company, there is nothing to worry about. Soon, you will most likely get a final price of the mobile app and schedule of the development process.

How to prepare the technical specification?

“I have never done technical specification before, what should I do?”
Keep calm. Most of the project developed by our company comes without specification. We are making the specification based on workshops with clients.

First of all, we find all the important parameters. Furthermore, we make a proposal of ideal architecture and technical solutions. We take all these pieces of information and put them into a document – the specification. Based on this specification we will provide a price offer and schedule of the development process.

Dactyl suggests: Keep in mind that the price should not be the only decisive point when choosing the right mobile app developer (or software developer in general). Read more about it in our previous post How to choose a supplier for software development.

A suggestion at the end: how not to waste your money

When you get your idea for the next big thing, ask yourself this question first: “Do I need to start the development straight away?” Then think about these other questions:

  • For who and why am I developing this app?
  • What’s the minimum viable product? In other words: What features do I need to prove that my product is really the next big thing?

Only after that, think about other non–essential features.
You should not strive to create a perfect app with every function one can think of. Your goal should be to create the perfect app that people would want to use because only that app will bring you cash and pay back your investment.

We hope, that everything is a little more clear now. Send us a message if you want an experienced partner for your journey to the next big thing.
Do you still want to know a general estimate? You can use our calculator on the Mobile app development page.

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