One of the chief concerns when developing your corporate assets is always going to be cost. Building a mobile app is the same. Fueling this great debate is the wide range of offers and prices available, and the huge spectrum of suppliers out there. How wide is this spectrum? It ranges from freelance developers on Freelancer or Upwork, to professional web and app development companies, as local as your own city.

When managers go out scouting for potential app developers, they get what they are willing to pay for. To make a parallel between app building and the world of movies, a savvy manager is the person who sits through the end credits and appreciates how many people were involved in the production. A manager out for the cheapest price is like someone who believes you only need actors to make a movie.

What Does It Take to Build A Mobile App?

1. The Team

The moral of the parallel we’ve presented is that building an app is not a one-man show, and that its costs go beyond what is obvious when you start exploring the issue. Firstly, building a mobile app is very similar to building a website: it has a front end (what people interact with when they download and install the app) and a back end (what the company uses to manage its users, the shared content and promotions). Therefore, the cost of building an app includes two separate aspects:

Design: which should be directed in cooperation with your branding department, to comply with your corporate identity criteria.

Programming: where specialists recommend the most appropriate platform for building your mobile app, depending on your requirements.

First and foremost, building a corporate mobile app necessitates a team. At the minimum, this team should consist of four people:

1. The designer. The person who gives shape to the front end and is in charge of ensuring compliance with your corporate identity. This is done according to the best practices in user experience and user interface standards.

2. The programmer. The person who creates the unique code for your corporate mobile app, as well as performs the necessary tests before releasing it.

3. The account manager. This person ensures liaisons and open communication between your company and the app development team.

4. The product manager. Oversees all the aspects of the development of the app: implementing client’s suggestions, compliance with the brief, testing, etc.

One of the key differences between a cheap app and a professionally designed and coded app is the team of people working on it. Understanding this aspect is one of the ways in which a manager can correctly estimate the costs of creating an app.

2. The Platform

Most platforms for building mobile apps are not free to use. App development companies have to pay licenses for all of the programmers working on them. The more complex the requirements for your corporate mobile app, the more expensive the technical solutions and software necessary to build it. Cross-platform apps with enhanced graphics and embedded payment systems rate as some of the most expensive options. Native code programming can be even more expensive, because there are few true specialists and they set the price standard for their work.

Also, it takes more time to test an Android-based or cross-platform mobile app than an iOS app, as there are over 18,000 different phone models and screen sizes for the Android platform, and this extended testing time will be reflected in the final price.

3. The Cloud Storage

If the mobile app you have in mind will be collecting and storing user data, you should also factor in the costs for secure cloud storage in your mobile app cost estimations. These costs are ongoing (monthly or annual subscription), and they depend on the security offered by the provider for the data you store on their servers.

This is not an item where you’ll want to choose the cheapest offer, as a data leak of personal customer data will cause incalculable damages to your company.

4. The Future Development Costs

Last, but not least, you’ll need to invest continually in your mobile app, adding more functionality, updates, bug fixes, and making it compatible with future updates of mobile operating systems.

When you take into consideration all of these aspects, you can understand the difference between the prices you obtain from an overseas freelancer, and from a professional mobile app development company.