Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket these days. This frequent exposure to technology makes app development a lucrative business. However, just like any other type of business, it comes with a hefty price tag.

Apps can cost $5,000 or more to develop. This is well worth it for some. WhatsApp, Facebook, and Tik Tok are at the top of the market and have made quite a profit since their release. For others, an app is an excellent supplement to their business. A great example of this is when retail businesses create apps that customers can purchase through or track points with a rewards system.

This begs the question, though; why are apps so expensive to develop? What factors add to these costs?

Hourly Rates

Many people who come up with apps don’t necessarily know how to develop them. In these cases, you have to pay for someone else to bring your idea to life. This comes down to a simple equation:

App cost = hourly rate x development time

The hourly rate of the organisation you’re outsourcing to can vary. In North America, the price of hiring developers is pretty high. You can expect fees to the extent of $121 to $140 per hour. The price is much lower in Europe with an average range of $41 to $60 per hour.

As for the development time, this depends on a few factors. For one, the more features you want, the higher the cost. It can also depend on your choice of devices. An app designed for both Android and iOS is going to take longer to develop than one that’s limited to one or the other.

Other features for an app can include sharing multimedia files, notifications, and automatic synchronization.

Supporting Multiple Platforms

We touched on this a moment ago but it’s important to create an app for multiple platforms if you want it to be successful.

This doesn’t just include iOS and Android either. An app that works on a smartphone won’t automatically perform the same if someone were to open it on their tablet or desktop.

Since this comes at a significant cost, most businesses start small with an app for a phone and move up from there. While it still holds the hefty cost of extra hours of labor, breaking development up makes the additional expense more manageable.

Genre of the App

While they’re all apps, the style of the app you’re creating makes a huge difference in how much you’re going to spend bringing it to life.

Take gaming apps as an example. Gaming apps are one of the most popular genres right now ranging from matching games to theme park MMOs. Even simple games take a while to develop.

Flappy Hen, a clone of the popular game Flappy Bird, took between 40 and 50 hours to create. This increases hourly rates quite a bit. Gaming apps can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $250,000.

Cost of App Repairs

It’s happened more than once that a company develops an app only to withdraw it due to faulty features. One of the aspects of development that can cause this is hiring the cheapest developer.

If you don’t start off with someone who can create your app the right way first time around, you’ll find yourself paying for another developer to repair it. In addition, this secondary layer of labor is often spent on more highly skilled labor which adds to the hourly cost.

Freelancers Vs. Agencies

Freelance developers are becoming more prevalent because they do the same work as companies but often at a highly discounted rate. Of course, this benefit does come with some risks. The main drawback is that freelancers aren’t cleared in the same way a hired employee is. If you’re working for someone with a company like Netgen Apps, you know that you’re working with a professional that’s been through a rigorous hiring process.

Creating an app can be expensive but it can also be lucrative. If you want to reach these financial gains, you’re going to have to invest in your app to make it the best.