The two most common questions asked of app developers

Rob Borley
on 15 March 2012

In my role running an app agency I am frequently asked the same two questions by prospective clients.

  1. How much does it cost to build an app?
  2. How long does it take to build an app?

My answer is, more often than not, enough to scare off the prospective new client and they are never heard of again.

Apps are not websites!

Many such clients have had experience in running or commissioning web projects. This background tends to create a false expectation of both cost and timescales of an app project. Apps are fundamentally different to websites as they are real software. They are fundamentally more complex and require a more specialist skill set to design and build them. We have reached the stage with web technology that everybody has a brother, or an uncle, or a neighbour, or somebody that they know can knock them out a website in a few weeks for a couple of hundred pounds. Granted, a professional web agency will give you a better experience and an all round better end result for considerably more time and money but the cheap and cheerful option is available. This is not really the case when it comes to apps.

  1. How much does it cost to build an app?
    Between £7.5k and £50k+This is a typical custom developed app for your shop, sports club, school, college, news portal, music festival, organisation or whatever. This is the price for one platform. If you want you app to work on multiple platforms (windows, iOS, Android) then you need to multiply up the cost accordingly. The grand total will depend, obviously, on the complexity of the app and what other systems you might want to integrate with.
  2. How long does it take to build my app?
    2 – 6 months1 – 3 weeks to develop the initial wireframes
    2 – 4 weeks to complete the design
    1 – 4 months to develop the beta version of your app
    1 – 2 months to test and make it bug free.

You have been warned

Be vary wary of freelancers who promise an app for a couple of thousand pounds in a few weeks. There are a large number of freelancers out there who are biting off more than they can chew and you may end up paying a lot more than you bargained for over a much longer period of time. If you get anything delivered at all.

Consider yourself warned. *smile*


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