Every company needs to keep its costs under control and be able to predict and provide for future expenditures. Thus, the cost of every item is extremely important, including software and app development services.

Estimating the cost of a mobile app correctly gives you an extra negotiating edge and, for this reason, everyone in your decision-making group should have a clear understanding of the different components which make up the final cost of app development services.

This is why we have decided to take an in-depth view of mobile app developing work and identify the most important factors which contribute to the cost you have to pay. These factors are:

1. Phased Priorities

Mobile apps are being continually improved and upgraded. The users expect this – at least once every few months. It shows them that your organization is truly committed to offering a great mobile experience.

Thus, the first version of your mobile app will not be fully packed with everything you have envisioned for it, because it would take too much waiting time until the app is launched and it would be more costly than adding new functionalities and design features in a phased roll-out plan. This is why you have to sort your priorities, and determine which is most important for the initial version of your app: great design, great user experience, and great functionality or a rich variety of features.

2. Locally Sourced or Outsourced

Costs per hour are very different from country to country. A US-based programmer will definitely charge more than one in Eastern Europe, or South-East Asia. If you are willing to take the risk and place the accountability for the adequate development of your company apps in the hands of an outsourced company, then your costs will be definitely lower.

However, you should not jump at the opportunity of hiring someone on Upwork or Freelancer, or even a small firm you found in Google search, without a rigorous analysis of the pros and cons of doing this. One major risk is that, in case you find it impossible to continue collaborating with your firm, a new company will find it very difficult to work on the existing code for your mobile app.

3. Content-Based vs. Back end

A mobile app with a back end is definitely more costly than a native mobile app. To understand the difference, an app which simply allows the user to browse static information, receive newsletters and notifications from your company is a content-based app. An app which requires the user to sign-in, or to connect using their social media account requires a back end where you store the login data and other information required for authenticating the user.

And besides the up-front cost for building your app, your organization will also incur ongoing fees for the secure data storage services which you also need to acquire.

4. Third Party Integrations

If your company mobile app needs to access third-party services, such as video streaming or live chat, your organization will have to pay extra for the integration of these third-party services. The third party provider will also ask for a one-time or ongoing fee to use their services.

For this reason, unless they are critical to the functionality of the app, third party integrations should be phased over a period of time, during which you can further analyze how critical and beneficial they are to your app.

5. Supported Platforms and Devices

There are currently three most popular mobile platforms: Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile. There is also Blackberry, but its overall number of users is quite small compared to the other three. However, since Blackberry is the preferred device for some business people and government agencies thanks to its superior data security features, your company may consider creating an app for Blackberry phones.

In conclusion, the larger number of people you want to reach with your mobile app, the higher your costs in building it to work on different mobile platforms.

Planning the launch of a mobile app needs to be analyzed carefully in terms of costs versus benefits, and the further development of the app has to be phased accordingly to balance your costs with the degree of user satisfaction you offer to people who install and use your company mobile app.