Why is it so hard to get an accurate cost on a mobile app project? After all, most mobile app development cost are pretty straightforward.
Mobile app development cost
Website – Simple
Say, if you need to price out a new website, you can simply estimate the number of pages, hours and cost per hour. Done.
Mobile apps – Not so simple
But pricing out mobile app development cost is more challenging. People ask me, “why is that?” The short answer: there is a lot going on “behind the curtain” that you never see. Only your developer does. And I’d like to share the key pieces you should know about.
iPhone, iPad App
The actual mobile app that your users will install on their iPhones and iPads. Instagram or Yelp app.
A browser based web portal to administer your system. Tasks such as locking users out or unlocking them, financial reporting, usage reports, uploading content including images, videos etc. to make them available to your mobile user. For example: Instagram or Yelp support teams use to manage the entire system from their desktop browser.
Client web portal
In some cases, your users will want to administrate some functions from a desktop browser. This then becomes very critical. A client portal is also needed when you have a tenant-landlord model of apps. For example: Yelp desktop browser access for businesses to manage their accounts.
Cloud based storage of data, images, offers, information, bills, invoices, etc. Your mobile app will need to access this data for everything it does. For example Instagram or Yelp stores all pictures, business information and user info in a data store on their servers.
Hosting and Database
Most (90%) of apps have some hosting component. Even basic simple apps will want to store registration information including emails to do some email newsletter marketing. This cost can run into millions depending on how much traffic you are targeting.
Specialized apps like in healthcare or fintech will need extra layer of security for app, app transport and data-storage.
Sendgrid, MailChimp for email sending, Salesforce, Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics, SilverPop for CRM, Stripe, Autorize.NET, PayPal for Payment processing, etc. Each of these services have a setup/service fee that you will have to budget for.
The diagram below shows how they connect.
If you are truly interested in estimating your true cost, multiply 3x of whatever your mobile app developer or mobile app development company tells you.
Additionally, you can check out more info on the price of developing an app.