Costs to Build An Android App

Article written by Brett Miller

If you’ve been researching the costs of developing an Android App, you already know that the estimates can be anything but consistent.  There are three reasons for this:

1. It’s difficult to give pricing without knowing the exact requirements of the complete project (including various usage scenarios, back end functionality, general complexity and integration points).

2. App developers project rates (and abilities) vary a great deal based on their experience, geographic location and demand.

3. The quality of the graphic and app designs also affect the cost of the finished product.

A few questions to ask…

How the App will benefit your users and/or your business?
How will you evaluate those benefits against the development costs?
Do you have a specific marketing and business plan to follow to ensure you make money on your project?

Remember, cost evaluation is not a stand-alone consideration.  Measuring expected benefits (and potential profit) against development costs is only part of the success formula.  The final step is to have a solid marketing and business plan.  Thousands of Apps don’t get noticed because there were no solid plans for marketing or  promotion.

Type of Android Apps

Simple Static Content Apps:  Cost $4,000 to $12,000.  App displays the same content (which doesn’t change).

Data Driven App:  Cost $6,000 to $40,000. Basically for data retrieval and manipulation (customer data).

Games:  Cost $8,000 to $100,000 (and beyond). From simple games to complex player participation venues.  This includes simple card games all the way to graphic intensive 3D first person games.

Functional Need based App: Cost $6,000 to $40,000.  Apps designed to provide a solution to a specific need or problem (like locating store or making a purchase).

Android Design Principles

User enthusiasm is paramount. Their increasing usage patterns and positive word of mouth determine whether your App is a success or a flash in the pan.  Users want sophisticated functionality but they also want it to be easy to use.  They also want an attractive presentation that’s engaging and insightful.

Android Development Costs Factors

Scale of the project:  Larger, more complicated projects require more analysis, usually more integration and certainly more development time.

Devices types:  There are many versions of the Android OS and hardware manufacturers.  Limiting the testing of your Android App to the latest OS version could help reduce costs, but will also increase the chance that some users will experience bugs.

Hourly rate vs. Fixed Bid:  There are positives and negatives when you compare the hourly rate model vs fixed bid in the world of app development.  On the positive side, if there is additional unforeseen time required on a project, then the developer still needs to provide the deliverable at the same price.  On the opposite side of the spectrum, if the project proves to take less time, then the client pays for unneeded costs.  In the Hourly Rate model there must be a fair amount of trust the developer is doing everything they can to complete the project in a timely fashion.

App exclusivity:  Some developers will copy a design and use it over and over to save their client’s money (usually called templates).  While there may be some advantages to design exclusivity, keep in mind that there are no guarantees that someone else won’t copy your design and reproduce it anyway.

Graphics and Source Codes:  Some developers will include graphics and source codes and some will tell you they cost extra.  Without the source codes you are stuck going back to a single developer no matter what your experience has been with the development process … and what if they go out of business?  Always get the graphics and source code.

Warranty and Maintenance:  Apps are rarely perfect in their beta version.  The development company should bear the entire cost of rectifying any bugs that result from their coding.  The client should expect to bear the costs of any changes or updates to the requirements of the project

Android Development Cost Projections

A rough guide outlining Android App Development Costs:

Simple Static Content Apps:  $4,000 to $12,000
Data Driven Apps:  $6,000 to $40,000
Games:  $8,000 to $100,000+
Functional Based Apps:  $6,000 to $40,000

Final Notes on App Development Costs 

Beware of  app developers with prices that are too good to be true.  It usually means they are less experienced or  produce less than ideal results.  Highly qualified developers use experienced personnel who are capable of completing the work properly and do it in a timely manner.  Cheaper hourly rates usually don’t usually save you any money.

I would be happy to discuss your specific project so I can give you costs based on your exact scenario. I look forward to hearing from you.

One Response to “Costs to Build An Android App”

  1. I think it would be cool to see some posts on layout techniques and theming. There’s definitely a large gap between the basic beginner standard UI elements app and the high quality custom themed apps like Pulse. Perhaps a post showing how you would create a popular app’s UI (purely from a layout perspective). Android app development

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