How much does it cost to develop a mobile app? 

This is a question we have often encountered. In fact, every client call that we take ends with this question. And yes, why not? We would say, after all, money does matter. 

According to popular B2B sites like Clutch and GoodFirms, the cost of app development in the UK ranges between £15,000 and £100,000 on average but it highly depends on the concept and here is where the factors determining app development cost come into the picture.

Thus, coming to the point, with this blog, we have detailed all the points that might influence the cost of developing an app in the UK, mainly the app development cost breakdown of your project.
 

3 types of apps and their cost

Your app idea can be classified into 3 categories. Based on the category, manage your budget accordingly: 
 

  1. Simple application type
    A simple app like a weight tracking app comes under a simple application type. The app is fuss-free, with minimum features and 5-7 screens.

    The layout of the app will also be basic, with primary engaging features, and can run on a limited number of mobile devices.


    Startup app ideas or MVP app ideas can be counted under simple app types. The cost of basic or simple app type lies around £5000 - £20,000. 

  2. Middle-level complex app
    Apps developed based on bulk data or APIs are considered middle-level complex or medium-complexity apps. It has sophisticated features and a custom UI and works on multiple platforms.

    In order to operate the app, the user must use their phone’s camera or a stable connection. However, middle-level complex apps can be operated from anywhere in the world and are internet driven. Custom business or consumer apps can be classified in this category.  

  3. Complex app
    Here we come to the large and complex app type. Complex apps have many features & functionalities and offer numerous custom animations and designs. 

    Complex apps are highly built and have a diverse support backend to carry out complex tasks. It has a bespoke UI with several third-party integrations and highly advanced functionalities that raise the total app development cost.  

    You can consider the cost of a complex app type between £75k - £150k, but the good part is the greater ROIs you are going to get. Blink, blink ;)


Interesting fact

As per Statista reports, 27.6 billion apps were downloaded from Google Play Store, and it continues to grow, with calculations showing over $613 ROIs to be generated by mobile apps alone, a whopping number indeed! 


This doesn’t end here. Nor does ‘How much does it cost to develop an app’, end at a specific number.

Many factors affect the cost of app development in the UK. From your idea’s complexity to the developer's hourly rate, creating a mobile app is based on different aspects. 

Here’s a list of factors that will largely affect your development budget. Make sure to have a clear understanding.
 

Factors that affect app development cost UK

  1. The mobile app development platform - Native vs. Cross-platform.

Let’s consider you have an ‘awesome’ app idea. You want your app to make a dashing impression starting in the UK. Based on your budget and your audience, you will have to choose whether to go native or cross-platform. 

In accordance with what you choose - native or cross-platform, your average app development cost will be determined. To simply put, native app development is more expensive than cross-platform app development. 

One may ask why? Because if you opt for native app development, you will have to create separate apps for Android & iOS and thus spend simultaneously for two apps. While choosing a cross-platform framework means you get two apps from one single code, you can either go with React Native app development or Flutter app development.

Moreover, native apps are specifically made for that particular OS, and offer better performance, greater security, improved scalability, and enhanced user experience. Whereas cross-platform apps, or hybrid apps, are written in one single code base and therefore act as a great cost-effective option.  

If you aim for improved scalability and have a handsome budget, choose native application development. While you're looking forward to engaging with a greater set of audiences cost-effectively, going for cross-platform development is the best way out.

  1. Complexity & type of mobile app development platform 

    Another factor that largely determines the cost of developing a mobile app is the complexity of your app. The more your idea is complex, the more you will have to invest in getting your idea live. 

    For example, if you have a gaming idea, naturally, the cost of app development would be much higher compared to a simple messaging app. 

  2. Features & functionalities

Features determine your app, your app type, and at the same time, the cost of making an app. To create an app that is wonderful in every way, having remarkable features supporting your app idea is the priority. 

Features in a mobile application can be divided into two categories - the must-have features and USPs. 

Must-have features are the important features without which your app will be incomplete, for example -

  • push notifications
  • easy navigation
  • payment option

Whereas USP - Unique Selling Proposition is that feature that makes your app one step ahead of your competitor.

It is to be noted that with increasing features in your app, the expense of app development is bound to increase. Depending on your need and requirements, choose wisely which feature to include and which can be added later or discarded. 

  1. Integration of futuristic technology - AR, VR, AI, ML

    An application that is attractive, user-friendly, runs smoothly, has fantastic features, and becomes a user favourite in no time. The same goes for an app with unique elements like beautiful animations and AI & ML-induced high audio-visual effects. 

    But in order to create a unique app filled with fantastic elements, one thing is for sure, your app development UK budget is going to increase. Yes, sad thing, we know. 😣 However, we have good news, too - An app that is highly customized and built with high-end technologies has the probability of raising the maximum funds from clients. 

    Now, did you realize why games have the highest app development cost? Because games are highly animated and filled with interactive, attractive features, that increases the cost of app development exceedingly. 

  2. Hiring models

The main factor that plays a pivotal role in app development costs UK is the hiring option you have chosen for making an app. From the developer's hourly rate to the engagement model, your budget will be largely dependent upon what you choose and how you would like your app development to go.

App development agencies generally offers the following hiring models: 

To hire developers, you must choose the hiring model that best suits your needs. Except for these hiring models, you can also choose to hire freelancers. The hiring models have their own set of advantages & disadvantages; you can go with one that fits your bill.

  • Dedicated hiring model

If you’re looking to hire a dedicated developer who works exclusively on your project, then Dedicated hiring model is the best bet for you. 

The dedicated hiring model makes app development totally flexible for you and your team. Moreover, with a dedicated hiring model, you have full control over your app development journey & of course, your development team.  

  • Hourly rate hiring model

In the hourly rate hiring model, you only have to pay for the hours your development team has worked on. Depending upon the experience and mastery of the developer, the hourly rate is decided. 

In the UK, the hourly rate to hire app developers is £30 - £75. You can go with an hourly rate hiring model if your project is undefined and complex.  

  • Fixed priced model

If your sphere of activity for app development is fixed, then the fixed-priced model is specially curated for you. It allows you to hire developers for an extended period of time at a fixed cost, no matter how much time it takes to bring your app idea to life. 

However, you should only go for FPM if you are sure there wouldn’t be any alterations in your scope of work.  

  1. The tech partner you choose 

    The tech partner you have in your stride will further determine the direction of your app development journey. 

  • In-house development team

    An in-house development team or insourcing means having your own set of developers onboard working with you right at your company. To build an in-house team, you will need to make a team from scratch. First, advertising your requirements on job boards, then shortlisting candidates, interviewing them, testing them, and, after going through this arduous process, onboarding them and making them a part of your team. Still and all, you would have complete control of your app development process, albeit high-priced.

    Pros of an in-house team

  •  Direct communication channels

  • A hand-picked team 

    Cons of an in-house team  

  • Higher app development cost
  • Difficulty in hiring talent
  • Cost of maintaining the team
  • Complete control of the project

    Outsourcing your project

    A cost-effective solution to strategically develop your app using external sources. Through outsourcing, you can outsource your project to an external team who will create an app for you. 

Based on the company’s rating and reviews, you can hire a mobile app development company that is excellent at developing your app for your business. From B2B directories to different app development sites, outsourcing is a great way to reduce costs and, at the same time, get end-to-end mobile app development. 

Pros of outsourcing your project:
  • Access to skilled, talented resources
  • Increased efficiency & faster services
  • Reduced cost of development
Cons of outsourcing your project:
  • Communication issues

  • Quality drawbacks

How much should you keep your app development budget? 

  1. Experimenting with your newly founded app idea? Or creating an MVP of your app idea? 

  • Keep your cost minimum, based on your state of affairs, keeping your cost anything between £10k - £50k.

  • Include only those features that prove your idea; 1-3 code features are good to go. Eliminate the unimportant features which can definitely be added later.

  • Regarding the platforms and devices you want to target - There are 4 prominent techs in the market, Android, iOS, React Native, and Flutter. Flutter & React Native are cross-platform technologies, meaning choosing Flutter or React Native for your app development, you can get one single app that will work on both Android & iOS. 

  • Whereas going for native development will help you have a separate app for iOS & Android. The choice is yours; we recommend only covering the new versions of the latest and most used devices by users to make things easy for you on your product. 

  1. A consumer-oriented product.

This is where a product that is already built in the form of your business or an existing app comes into the picture. The cost here is bound to increase because your plan is to reach a wider audience and expand your growth. 

  • More user-oriented features and quality products are what you should focus on. 

  • Your product should be widely available; thus, having your app on the major mobile platforms - Android & iOS is a must.

  • As you’re aiming for consumer-oriented products, having more and enticing ones will definitely help you in the long run. 6-12 exceptional features can be a good package for your user to download your app.

  • To top everything, make your app customized from front to back. Your app should represent your business; thus, making it according to your business will stand a high chance of winning your audience. 

  • Having a budget between £50k - £100k is a good start.

  1. Already have a great existing app? Looking to revamp it?

    Here you have made a mark in your market; you must be widely recognized. You have successfully passed your test. Now it’s time to show off. Get in a race with your competitors. 

    And be your competitive best. 

  • Introduce new features, unique ones, to be ahead of your competitors.

  • Research their weak points and your weak points and how you can improve them and get started. 

  • It’s time to consider your users’ feedback, check what they want and how you can accomplish your vision at the same time your users’ demand, which will help you be truly successful.

  • Having a budget ranging between £75k - £150k. 

How to calculate the cost of creating an app in the UK? 

Here's an example of how to calculate the cost of app development:
 

Total app development cost= 

No of developers

X

Total hours required

X

Hourly cost

3

500

£36

£54000

How to reduce app development costs?

To keep your application cost down, we imply that you make use of the different resources & ways & make it work to your best benefit. 


  1. MVP
    To put it simply, MVP is the 1.0 version of your app idea, with only the important features & functionalities, along with one prime USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your app. 

    If you want to keep your budget less, you must go with MVP, and reduce your extra development cost. Ask your mobile app development firm only to keep important features in the initial stages.

    What’s more, you can test your app idea in the market, and know the market fit of your app in the starting itself, thus, helping you save loads on your investments. Moreover, with MVP, you can always add other features in the later phases, helping you plan your app journey strategically. 
     

  2. Go for hybrid apps

    Another way to reduce your cost is to go for hybrid app development. Hybrid or Cross-platform development allows you to have two apps in one single code that works amazingly in your favor when you start out. 

    Over the years, you can always go for native app development both for Android & iOS and give your users a total native experience. 
     

  3. Choose to outsource over in-house.
    Having a team is great unless you have to pay them monthly when you have just started out making an app. So instead of going for an in-house team, choose outsourcing instead.

    Outsourcing enables you to have a talented, skilled team in your stride who knows app development in and out. Moreover, outsourcing your project relieves you of the burden of managing a team and catering to their needs. 


How should you start with app development in the UK? 

App development in the UK is an easy process compared to other countries. Here you can simply connect with your app development company and get started. A bit of research, along with some careful analysis, will help you reach your goals. 

At Imperoit, one thing we advise to our clients is always to have a clear scope of work, and the roadmap of your further journey clarified, and this is how you can sail even on a low app development budget. 

Our app designers and developers are maestros in Android and iOS, having helped more than 350+ clients get a beautiful app in their stride. Leveraging the full potential of native & cross-platform technologies, Imperoit is an app development firm recognized in the UK for delivering user-focused awesome apps with a strong emphasis on commitment to excellence. 

FAQs

  1. I have an app idea, but I have no idea where I should begin from. 

    Start by writing your app idea on paper. Focus on the features you want & need. Decide your target audience. Get clarity over your thoughts. Once done, this will be your Scope of Work. The next thing you can do is, check Google and look for ‘app development companies near me.’ Connect with some top mobile application development companies, and explain your idea to them. Check their portfolios, test them, & go for a development partner that you feel will get your idea in the best possible way. 

  2. Which platform is better for app development - native or cross-platform? 

    Native development is regarded best if you’re aiming for an app that is high performing and is specially optimised for Android or iOS. If you want your app to be released on both Android & iOS with one single coding & in a cost-effective way, then going for a cross-platform app solution is the ideal way out. It’s best to do your part of the research, and choose a platform that is successful, stable and gives you an excellent mobile app.

  3. If I choose cross-platform, then which development framework should I go with? 

    If you want cross-platform development, you can go with React Native or Flutter. React Native is by Meta, released in the year 2015. Subsequently, Flutter is a recent cross-platform framework released in 2017 by Google. Both have their benefits; you can choose what best suits your requirement. Consulting a mobile application development agency regarding this matter will be an ideal solution.  

  4. Which app development approach do you follow - Agile or Waterfall?

    We follow Agile and Waterfall approaches based on app requirements and the client’s demand. 

  5. Are there any extra app development costs I need to take care of? 

    At Imperoit, we offer end-to-end mobile application development services, from designing your app to launching it on App Stores. However, other than development costs, you will have to invest in marketing & maintaining your app, which will follow up once you have launched your app.

  6. How much time does it take to create a mobile app? 

    App development is a process, with each phase requiring its own specific time period. A simple app with basic features can be developed in 2 - 3 months. An app with a strong front-end and back-end system, with loads of features, might take up to 3 - 6 months to develop. Whereas, if you have a complex app idea, the time to create an app would be around 6 - 12 months. You can also fasten your development process by choosing to hire a dedicated development team.  

  7. Will I be profitable in my app venture? 

    How much profit you gain or how much you will get return on your investments largely depends on your app idea. If your app idea is unique, is first in the market, genuinely helps people, and has great features & functionalities, then the chances are good that your app might be successful and profitable in the long run. It’s necessary to research well and plunge on your journey with a growth mindset. 

  8. Does your company provide mobile app support & maintenance services? Will I have to pay for the maintenance of my mobile app? 

    Yes, we provide 3 months of complimentary support & maintenance services, where we solve client issues that include updates, queries, and other issues clients might face.

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Written by
CEO
Tech entrepreneur & Founder of Impero IT Services - an award-winning software development company! Raza has worked with 500+ clients, from Startups to Enterprise levels. Raza's key expertise is around tech consultation, where he assists businesses by creating a roadmap for their digital journey. Raza and the team at Impero are also greatly recognized by Forbes and Clutch for their outstanding services!

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