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Mobile App Development

Building an app for your business: How to budget for application development

Mansha Kapoor
January 5, 2023

A recent study showed that mobile phone owners use 9 apps per day and 30 per month. In 2020, the total global revenue generated solely from mobile apps was over 318 billion US dollars. With the ever-increasing preference of customers for mobile apps, developing niche-specific applications has become a done thing for businesses, be it new-age startups or big brands providing customer satisfaction and ease to their clientele. 

Applications help enterprises reach out to their target market faster and provide them with a platform to promote their products and services, build brand value and customer loyalty, and contribute significantly towards increasing lead generation and sales. 

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While developing an application for your business has its perks, it is still a challenging endeavor since there are so many factors you need to consider before you make the final decision. From determining the size of the application, target users, and key objectives behind the application to relevant features, data, and blueprint, it is a complex journey that you must endure in order to create an application that adds value to your organization, fulfills your business goals, and has significant ROI. 

Besides, keeping all the above points in mind, defining a budget is still the biggest roadblock when considering application development. There is no fixed cost to app development; however, you can determine the average expense by deciding a few factors.

Agreed, developing an application may be a challenge, but we can make it all the more convenient and simple! Read on to find out how you can create a budget for developing an application for your business. 

What are the factors that determine the cost of your application?

How much does it cost to create an application? How can you identify the factors that make your total cost skyrocket, and are they justified? Here are 5 factors that will help you understand the breakdown of your total application development costs and guide you in deciding what to add or subtract from your application blueprint.

1. Application Type

There are a number of types of applications that have different functions, designs, and objectives for their users. While some apps are developed only to interact with customers, some are created to provide essential services. Others are developed to provide an enriching, all-encompassing user experience with their diverse functions and sophisticated user interface. 

Basic applications are simple to develop and require no complex features. Therefore, these apps are the cheapest in the market. The key reason behind their low cost is that they do not require a network connection or any backend development, and it takes about a month for developers to provide the clients with the finished product. 

2. Business Model 

An idea about the target users, type of business, services, and features the application provides helps design a sustainable app budget framework. Be it an eCommerce application (customer service business model) or a social media app, or simply a data-driven application that may receive and give out a lot of information to the users- knowledge about the business model, objectives behind the app’s development, and notable features and services to be provided play an essential role in determining the average budget for its development.

For instance, an application that demands complex, numerous features and an elaborate user interface (e.g., Authentication apps) will take longer to finish, and thus the cost will be higher as compared to a simple application that focuses on one or two tasks (e.g., messaging apps)

3. App design, functionality, and testing 

While considering other factors is important when fixing a budget for your application, app design and functionality are the primary factors affecting your total development cost the most. Firstly, a unique, user-friendly UI and UX are vital for your app’s success.

According to the services the app is to provide for its users, advanced functionalities may be required to be added for fast and enhanced performance and a quality user experience. Of course, a detailed application design with intricate features supporting a user-centric objective will be expensive since it is far more time and resource intensive as compared to a basic application. For instance, apps that need a payment gateway, create a user data backup and manage the flow of the content require an intrinsic network operation and, thus, a sophisticated development plan and budget.

Testing is an important component of app development since the app's user experience, and popularity partly depend on the errors, glitches, and issues customers might face at runtime. An error-free app, however complicated or straightforward, needs multiple rounds of testing so that it does not encounter any glitches after launch. As the complexities and number of features increase in the app, the time taken to test the app increases and thus the cost as well.

4. Hosting and Security

Nowadays, applications have a lot of user data stored. The data might be confidential, search history, personal information, etc. To save their reputation and future in the market, businesses have to take extra precautions to safeguard their customers’ data and not make it vulnerable to cyber attacks, fraud, or theft while creating the app. Adding dynamic security measures that prevent any sort of malpractice is the mark of an efficient app with probable success. 

However, to ensure that the app is heavily secured, servers need to be rented as per the scale of the business and the density of the traffic that is foreseen on the app. Although it's more expensive than renting servers through hosting services, dedicated servers with advanced multi-layer security measures are recommended since they are known to deliver a smooth and uninterrupted service. That said, spending on hosting and security, i.e., employing authentication systems and protection security layers, is not a waste of money since this assurance that the app is a safe platform helps build customer confidence and trust. 

5. App Updates and Maintenance 

Apps must stay up-to-date with the latest features, trends, and interfaces and resolve bugs and glitches from time to time. App updates help businesses take their apps to the next level and tap a new target market. These updates often implement modern technologies to ensure smooth functioning and an improved user experience. Enterprise-level apps also need to maintain their APIs and kill hidden bugs, identify cyber risks, and secure the apps. 

To conclude, even after the launch, app developers need to provide technical assistance to update and maintain the app at regular intervals. Therefore, you might need to create a recurring expense column in your app development budget to keep your application updated and secured at all times!

3 ways to build an application

There are 3 ways to build an application. You can choose either of the alternatives according to your budget, requirements, and objectives behind building the application. 

1. No code app builder

No-code app builders are the most cost-effective and convenient approach to building an application. These platforms are used to create fast, basic, no-frills mobile or web apps that do not require intricate coding and complex features. As the name suggests, the builder’s easy interface and no-code development approach allow intermediate and amateur coders with essential or no technical expertise to create apps using drag-and-drop and pre-existing templates. The best part about using a no-code app builder is that you can add many features to your application without writing heavy and lengthy codes. These platforms provide templates for all kinds of standard niche/industry-specific features that you may need. Besides, no-code app builders are top-rated among large enterprises for developing simple but efficient apps to automate their workflows or improve team productivity and efficiency. 

However, there are some downsides to using a no-code app builder. Firstly, your app cannot have unique and sophisticated features since all features are dragged and dropped from the pre-existing templates in the builder’s library. It is not possible to edit the templates to great extents and customize them thoroughly. 

Another disadvantage of using no-code platforms for app development is that you don’t own the code or the app. Thus, if your app encounters a security breach or any technical issue, you will be dependent on the platform to resolve them- which might be unfortunate for your business if the technical bug occurs at a prime time, for instance, during festivals or special events. 

2. Hire a team of developers, Outsourcing

Hiring a capable team of experienced developers might be a good option if your business model requires your app to have a dedicated team working on it consistently. 

Many e-commerce businesses prefer hiring developers since their business revolves around the application. Additionally, they constantly need iterations and cannot afford bugs, app downtime, or security issues since much customer data is stored on mobile and web applications.

However, hiring a full-time developer might be expensive if you are just starting out or don’t want to invest in a separate resource for the app. Many app development companies offer a dynamic product portfolio and a satisfying customer experience. Development agencies are more than equipped to take over the entire product lifecycle, from design to launch and iterations afterward. 

3. Low code app builder

Low-code app builders are a middle path between hiring a development agency/hiring full-time developers, or creating an app using a no-code platform. A low-code app builder is used by businesses to create sophisticated and scalable applications in a shorter period. However, technical expertise is required to use such platforms; thus, this option stands between the abovementioned alternatives. 

Many enterprises use low-code app builders to develop fast and efficient applications for easing the workflow of projects or for special events. 

Final Thoughts

While the above article will help you draft a budget for building an application for your business, there is no fixed cost to developing an application, and it cannot be predicted accurately. The app development cost starts at $5000 and goes up to $50,000 and above. As we said, there are many factors to consider and several twists and turns you might encounter during the journey. 

CognitiveClouds is a SaaS company known for helping businesses grow with their web and mobile app development services and more. Want to scale your business with app development? Get in touch with our team of senior engineers today!

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Mansha Kapoor