November 30, 2020
How Much Does It Cost to Make an App by Yourself?

The mobile app industry is booming day by day. In 2018, global mobile app revenues amounted to over $365 billion, and mobile apps are projected to generate more than $935 billion by 2023. Undoubtedly, this is a great time to invest your effort and money in app development.

Do you have a great idea for an app, but you just don’t know where to start? You find yourself contemplating how much it will cost you to make an app by yourself because you don’t want to outsource your project, either because the app development agencies are too costly or because you want to begin your own app development journey.

While an app development company can cost you anywhere between $5,000 and $250,000+, making an app yourself can cost you as little as $99. The cost of app development depends on the complexity of the features and functionality of the app. When you assign your mobile app development project to a company, they charge you based on the number of hours the app development will take and the hourly rate of the developer. However, when you’re making your own app, the cost of app development depends on the equipment you will use and your software development skills. Time is the biggest cost you’ll incur when developing an app by yourself, as it takes around three to nine months to develop an app, on average.

Cost Breakdown of App Development

The cost of developing an app by yourself can be estimated based on the following factors:

  • Equipment
  • Development Skills
  • Development Time
  • Developer Program (from Apple or Google)
  • Assets
  • Server
  • Software

 

Equipment

Computer

It is quite evident that to develop an app by yourself; you’ll need a computer. Typically, a MacOs computer is used for app development, but Windows or Linux can also be used. If you own a computer already, you can disregard the cost of equipment while estimating the total app development cost. However, if you don’t own a Mac computer, buying a new one can add significantly to the overall cost of the app development. A MacBook Pro is an ideal computer for app development. It has the following specifications:

  • 8 GHz Intel Core i7
  • Intel HD Graphics 630 1536 MB
  • 16 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3 Memory
  • 15-inch screen

If you want to build an app for Android only, then you can use a Windows Machine and do not necessarily need a MacOS computer.

Cost: It will cost you around $1000 to $3000 to buy a new MacBook. You can buy a pre-used or refurbished MacBook on Amazon for a much lower price.

Mobile Device

This one’s a no brainer. You’re making a mobile app; how is it possible to make one without a mobile device? A mobile device is needed for app testing purposes. Assuming you already own a mobile app, this shouldn’t cost you a dime.

Cost: If you don’t have a mobile device, it will cost you around $200 or more, depending on the device you wish to buy.

Tablet

If you want to develop an app that is compatible with tablets, you should consider buying a tablet.

Cost: The price range of Android tablets starts at $200, and the cost of iPad starts from $500.

Development Skills

You can’t develop an app without software development skills. If you’ve decided to build an app, chances are, you already possess some development skills. For refining your software development skills, you can use plenty of resources available online for free. If you have no prior experience, you can opt for online courses that teach you software development skills from scratch. Online courses are recommended because they provide a more structured learning path that could save you a lot of your time compared to learning development through free online resources on your own.

Cost: Online software development courses can cost up to $500.

Development Time

The time you will spend on developing the app is the biggest cost you will incur because development is a lengthy process. Coding is an extremely complex task. It can take years to develop a complicated app with lots of features. Estimating an app’s development time is a vague and tedious task, especially if you’re a beginner. Breaking up the project into small, achievable, everyday goals can make the process of estimating app development time easier. People approach the app development process in different ways. If mapping out the whole app development process is confusing you, use our app development process to help you with it.

A basic application can roughly take about a week to develop, while a complex app with advanced features and functionality can take years to develop.

Here’s a rough estimate of how many hours it will take to complete the fundamental steps of a basic app development process:

Wireframing 24 hours
UX Design 24 hours
Visual Design 36 hours
Backend Infrastructure and Admin Panel 65+ hours
Basic controls 12+ hours
Third-party APIs 24+ hours
Dedicated Administration Panel 40+ hours

 

Developer Program

If you want to develop an app for personal use or an app that is only dedicated to your friends and family, you do not need to sign up for a developer program. But if you have bigger dreams for your app and want to generate revenue through the app, you need to release it to the public. For this purpose, you need to signup for a developer program offered by Apple or Google.

Cost: Individual developer license from Apple costs $99 to release an app on the App Store, while a developer license from Google costs $25 to release the app on the Play Store.

Assets

Logos, app icons, graphics, templates, and so on, all of these together make up the assets. If you choose to create them yourself, you will save up on the cost, but you’ll be paying in terms of your time.

Freelancer platforms, such as Upwork, allow you to hire experienced freelancers who can design templates and logos for you. This is a cost-effective option. If you choose to build templates, logos, and app icons yourself, you’ll have to pay for a graphics software subscription.

Cost: Templates cost approximately $50 to $200 while using graphics software such as Adobe Photoshop to build it yourself will cost around $30 per month.

Server

Backend servers are used to store users’ information and to access third-party APIs. Your app will require a server to connect with in order to store data and retrieve it from the database. Google Firebase, AWS Mobile Hub, and Apple CloudKit are some of the options that can be used for server hosting.

Cost: It costs around $5 to $100 per month.

Software

If you want your app to monitor and analyze user data, you can use services like Mixpanel and Crashlytics. Analyzing data will provide better insight into user behavior, and help you to improve your mobile app, ultimately increasing user retention.

Cost: These services are provided for free for new apps, but they start charging as your app’s user base grows.

Conclusion

We have outlined the factors that affect the cost of app development. Keeping these factors in mind, you can have a rough estimate of the cost of developing an app by yourself.  Creating an app indeed sounds exciting, but it’s an intricate process that requires thorough planning. If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of developing an app by yourself, get in touch with our best consultants to help you transform your idea into a top-notch app.

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