Cost of Developing an App in Android

Brett MillerAndroid Development, Mobile Development, Software Development

When analyzing Android App Development Projects we are asked many questions, the most popular one and hardest to answer is: “What is the cost of developing an app in Android?” This is akin to asking, how much does a car cost?— It depends on what kind of car you are looking for. Are you looking to buy a nifty little Dodge or perhaps a sleek Porsche? These cars look different; have different functions and definitely different costs.

Android App Development is no different. What functionality are you looking for? Is your app purely informational? Is it a game, perhaps even a 3D game? Regardless of the difficulty, here are some general guidelines to access Android development costs.

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.

Android Development Costs…A Rough Estimate

Simple Static Content Apps: $4,000 to $10,000

Data Driven Apps: $6,000 to $40,000

Games: $8,000 to $100,000+

Apps with Device Driven Capabilities: $6,000 to $40,000

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

Getting Your Development Money’s Worth

Yes, developing an Android App can be expensive, so here are some tips to help you get the most from your money.

Seek References – Speak to business colleagues about referring a developer they have worked with directly.

You Get What You Pay For: Typical App developers in the US charge about $100/hour, you can find a developer offshore with theoretically lower costs, but remember, you get what you pay for. It’s not always cheaper to hire a developer for $20 per hour than a developer for $100. Typically the more costly the developer, the faster (in man hours) and more impressive the results will be. Clear communication is critical as misinterpretations of requirements have caused a significant number of projects to run over budget.

Check Development Portfolios: Any reputable Android developer should be more than willing to show you their portfolio. If you like their past work, you will be more likely to be pleased with the product they create for you.

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.

We are always happy to take on new Android development projects. If you have something in mind, email us with some specifics, including timeframe and budget. This will allow us to determine the best way to assist you.