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How Much Does It Cost to Pay an App Developer?

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With most Americans now searching for service providers on their mobile devices, an app is a must-have for any go-getting business. So if you’re thinking about having an app built, it’s important not to skimp on your app development budget. Any upfront savings that you may realize by going with a low cost solution are likely to be a far cry to the potential revenue you would have amassed with a cutting-edge app, not to mention the reality of having to delay or cancel launches due to software bugs. If you have an in-house team of capable app developers, then half your worries should already be relieved. Most companies, however, don’t have that privilege and rely on outsourced talent to develop and maintain their apps. But how much does it cost to pay an app developer? This million dollar question has the notorious reputation of eliciting answers that mostly baffle the questioner. 

In the US, companies can pay an app developer up to $5,000 to create a basic application. A complex app, on the other hand, may require as much as $250,000 to develop. Such a huge gap makes it difficult for business owners to come up with a ballpark figure that’s reasonable for the type of app they want. Before you start negotiating with your shortlisted developers, this article will give you a broad idea of the factors you need to consider to figure out how much you should pay to get your app built.  

What’s Your Business Model?

The development process of pretty much every commercial app begins with a revenue plan. You need to figure out how the app you’re about to create will add value and make money for your business. Your business model and revenue plan not only influences how complex the app will need to be, but also determines the cost of creating it. You need to consider if your app is free or paid, if it’ll feature any advertisements, and if so, what products you’re trying to sell. Other features that’ll have a direct impact on the cost of developing your app include whether or not it’ll have in-app purchases, integrated devices, and complex technologies, such as Virtual Reality. The more complex an app is, the longer it takes to develop and the more expensive it’ll be to develop. 

Type of App Required

How much you’ll pay an app developer also depends on what type of app you need them to create. Web applications are simply mobile websites that are optimized for use on smartphones and tablets. If you sell physical products, then your customers are likely to interact with your business via your website. Besides being simpler and compatible with virtually any mobile device, web apps are the cheapest to develop. Online stores, service providers, and fast moving consumer goods companies tend to prefer native apps, as they create a permanent presence on customers’ mobile devices. These apps are typically more complex and provide a richer user experience. Native apps are much more expensive to have developed. Depending on the option you go with, you may have to have a different app created for each operating system. Hybrid apps can save you this headache, as they are simpler and are based on a single programming language. While the user experience isn’t as good as that of native apps, hybrid apps work on multiple operating systems. 

Location of Your App Development Team

Hourly rates are deeply entrenched in the app development industry. Considering that the typical app takes between 300 and 600 hours to complete, you can estimate the total amount of money you’ll have to part with. Depending on where your developer is located and the complexity of your app, you could be looking at an hourly rate between $10 and $300. These hourly rates may not necessarily be an indication of the developer’s expertise but more a reflection of the cost of living in their respective countries. US-based developers typically charge from $50 to $300 per hour. Australians and Western Europeans are happy with $30 to $200. If you’re on a smaller budget and don’t mind cutting down the frills, Indian and African rates of $10 to $100 are quite enticing. Whichever option you decide to go with, it’s vital to ensure that the developer has a verifiable track record. 


Virtually every modern business in the US either has or is getting some form of an app as a way to better connect with their customers. If you’re looking to have an app created, then you most likely have a lot of questions. How long does it take to have an app up and running, what type of app is best suited for your business, how much are you likely to spend, and more? While this article addressed a lot of these questions, the best way to get valuable insight is to talk to several app developers. When you discuss your precise requirements with experts that have knowledge of both the technical and business side of app development, you’ll come much closer to your figure. 

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