How much does it cost to build an app?

The popularity of mobile apps is unlikely to slow down at any point in the near future. Apps serve a whole host of purposes for businesses and their customers. They can bring companies and their customers closer together, raise brand awareness and add real value to their users’ lives. The way that apps help businesses strengthen their brands and create loyalty has led to more and more SMEs wondering how much it costs to make apps. It can cost less than you might think to have a high-quality app produced for you. In this article, we’ll talk about the costs attached to building and maintaining apps and why these compact pieces of software can play such a big role in growing and retaining your target audience.

The cost required to make an app can vary wildly depending on what your needs are. Some apps with basic features will only set you back a four-figure sum, though some of the world’s biggest and most powerful brands pay more than one million pounds to have the right apps created. Factors that determine the cost of apps include the rates charged by developers, how complex the project is, how much time it takes and what kind of app it is. The platform or platforms the app is designed for will also influence cost, as will the number of pages.

You can reduce the cost of apps if you don’t require things like API integration and only opt for very simple features such as social login, e-mail subscription and calendars. A moderately-priced app may include things like payment features, custom UI features, back-end server and API integration. Complex apps tend to have features like custom animations, third-party integrations, complex back-ends, real-time features and multi-language support built in and can set you back a six-figure sum. All apps are different, which means it’s only possible to learn the exact price once a full specification of work (SOW) has been determined.

NOTE – Paying a little more and working with the right company can transform your app from a good one to a great one.


App design includes aspects like the user interface, user experience, icons, branding, logos, visual design and more. Let’s take a look at some of the key influences on app design cost right now.

The more experienced your designer is, the more you will need to pay. You could find yourself spending more than £100 an hour for the services of the most in-demand designer but could pay much less by using a skilled but less-experienced professional. Costs for designers around the world can vary wildly, with the most expensive being found in the US, Australia and Western Europe and the cheapest being located in places such as Asia and Eastern Europe. This is why geography is such an important influence on cost. Some people prefer to work with designers in their own countries in case they need to meet them face-to-face or have concerns about language barriers for instance.

Costs for popular app features

It’s said that around four-fifths of apps take more than three months to develop, with 40% needing six months or over. Those with limited app development knowledge may wonder why the process can take so long. The work that goes into developing and testing high-quality apps can be incredibly time-consuming, especially when requirements are complex rather than basic. Let’s take a look at some of the most common app features and the price tags that tend to be attached

to them right now.


Many apps require their users to login in order to access them. There are many reasons for this. Login allows users to create profiles and tailor their experience towards their needs, enabling companies to collect useful data. Social sign-in has become the most popular way of logging into apps over recent years, though some people choose to register and login with email addresses and phone numbers when possible. It can take around 20 hours to add social login functionality to apps, and this will usually result in a cost of somewhere between £350-750.

Push notifications

The app users of today expect push notifications to be added to apps. These notifications usually inform users when there is important news to relay to them and can also tell them about special offers, new features and more. It’s possible to send a number of different notifications to users. Types include simple text as well as notifications with action buttons and images. It can take up to 200 hours to add this kind of functionality to apps, with costs generally starting at around £750 and reaching £7,500.


It’s vital to outline the user journey prior to the development stage actually getting underway. App navigation is all about creating a smooth route for the user as they explore your app. Decisions about how users reach one screen from another, return to the main menu, perform certain actions and more all need to be made. Will users be able to swipe, scroll, use action buttons and more? What will happen when they do? Navigation work will normally take more than ten hours, which means costs often fall somewhere between £200-400.

Portrait and landscape view

It’s vital that we don’t underestimate the importance of the user interface when developing apps. When you work with an agency, they will ask you whether you want your app to be presented in landscape or portrait orientation. This work normally takes about 20 hours and will cost up to £750, though costs can start at around £400.

Media content

Media content such as videos, images, audio files and more are vital for creating a great user experience that keeps people returning to your app and brand time and time again. If your app includes social media and messaging elements, you may wish to add effects, filters, editing functionality, emoticons and more. Adding media content also takes about 20 hours minimum, so expect costs to start at around £750.


Geolocation is used for apps like business, dating, taxi and travel apps. It uses the GPS facility on the device, also depending on real-time permissions from the user. Adding this functionality to your app will normally take around 50 hours minimum, which means costs can start from around £1000.

Integration with Google Maps

It will take around 20 hours or more to have Google Maps integrated into your app, though this can be much more depending on what your specific needs are. You can expect to pay at least £750 for this. One of the benefits of opting for this is that you can benefit from the official services of Google.

Chat and messaging

The costs of adding chat and messaging to your app can vary wildly, with cost being influenced by factors like the chat type needed, whether users will be able to transfer files, whether messages will be saved or deleted, if you want to add emojis, notifications and more. In most instances, it takes at least 80 hours for chat to be added to your app. It will also take longer if you want to add notifications.


Many apps are supported by advertising. Ads can come in the form of banners, text, pop-ups and more. It can take between 20-50 hours to add ad capabilities to your app, which means costs normally start at around £750 and often go up to approximately £1,900.

In-app purchases

With in-app purchases, users can buy products and services directly from their devices. These purchases can come in the form of online content, new features, subscriptions and more. The time it takes to add this functionality to your app will depend on how many items you are selling via your app, but it often takes somewhere in the region of 30 hours, costing between £500-£1,000.

Payment methods integration

If users are to buy products and services via the app, you will need a payment system. Some of the most popular systems currently include Google Wallet, Android Pay, PayPal, Apple Pay and more. Gateway APIs can be used to integrate these systems into your app. Factors that determine time and cost include the way data is stored, the security of your transactions, compliance levels, processes and more. It can take approximately 50 hours to add a payment system to your app, with costs ranging from around £2,000 – £4,000.

Syncing between devices

Synchronisation between devices is an increasingly sought-after facility. If your businesses work across a range of devices and systems, it’s important to ensure that real-time information remains available. For instance, customers may need to know how many units of a particular item you have in stock if you are offering a retail app.

The price you pay to add a synchronisation feature to your app will also depend on various factors, including the amount of data and the way the data is structured. Expect to pay between £1,000 – £2,000 for this.


It can take at least 30 hours of development to add streaming capabilities to your app. Big-name apps that include streaming Netflix and Hulu. You will need to decide which audio and video files you want to support and whether you want to use the record-and-send option or send data to servers in real time. You will need to think about the settings that your users desire and consider their reliability and speed of their internet connections. Expect to pay at least £1,150 for this.

Multiple languages

Does your app need to be available in multiple languages? Are you offering it out to users in various different regions? Factors that will help determine the cost of adding multi-language support to your app will include the level of data and adjustments for UI. If interfaces do need to be readjusted to accommodate radically different languages, it will take more time to add this functionality. You can normally expect to pay a minimum of £2000 for multi-language support.

Offline mode

Does your app need to work without an internet connection? If so, you will need to add an offline mode to your app. Features like cookies and local caching can help your users gain access to certain information even when they don’t have a connection. You will need to decide which content you want to remain available offline and set specific rules. At least 40 hours will normally be required for this, costing you a minimum of around £700.


Database functionality can enable your app to store data on devices. Open-source solutions like SQLite are often used to make this happen. This is a compact embedded library that will store all the date from a single file. It will take approximately 30 hours to set this up, costing somewhere in the region of £550 – £1,110.

Usage of the phone sensor

More and more apps are making use of phone sensors to deliver a better user experience. The sensor can be used to offer accelerometers, digital compasses, GPS, barometers, brightness adjustment and can also enhance security, scanning fingerprints. Sensors have also been used to create leading fitness apps, with digital pedometers tracking steps taken by people during exercise. It will take around 10 hours to integrate app logic with sensors, costing up to £400.

Doze and standby optimisation

When devices are in doze mode to save battery and CPU, it’s still possible for apps to access networks proving everything is set up correctly. Developers may need more than 50 hours to determine how apps run syncs and jobs, which means costs can fall somewhere between £1,000 and £2,000.

User customisation

The user experience can be enhanced greatly when customers are able to change the way the app looks and tailor it towards their specific preference. They may wish to change the language, amend the way lists are presented and more. It will normally take around 20 – 25 hours for each screen, though 35 hours may be needed if you require reusable elements for future use. Expect costs to start at just over £1,100.


Another way to greatly enhance the user experience is to add a search facility to your app. This can make your app much more fun to use and encourage users to access it time and time again. Developers can create unique search systems for you that surpass the default search facilities on iOS and Android smartphones. Expect developers to need at least ten hours, and for costs to land somewhere between £200 – £400.


Following a series of high-profile data leaks, it’s vital that we don’t underestimate the importance of treating sensitive information with care. Data needs to be encrypted to the highest standard possible, with information being transformed into a code that can only be decrypted by the receiver and sender. When every message has a unique lock and key, this is called ‘end-to-end encryption’. It’s important that compatibility needs are met, as many users will have different devices to the ones the people they are talking to are using. You will need to decide what you want to encrypt too. Do you want to encrypt audio and video as well as text and images? You can expect the process of adding encryption to your app to take at least 20 hours and cost between £400 – £800.

Other features and facilities

The cost of creating an app can also be determined by many other factors, and these can include everything from project management and unit tests to code refactoring

and project management. It’s likely that a whole host of factors will influence the price that you pay to have a high-quality business app created for you. You also need to think about maintenance going forward. Let’s take a closer look at what maintenance costs and requirements are likely to be right now.


Once your app goes live and is made available for download from the leading application stores, you will need to think about maintaining your app so it continues to serve you and your users well into the future. It’s very important to keep your daily active users engaged, encouraging them to continue using it frequently.

You will normally need to pay around 20% of the app development cost annually to keep it maintained. This means an app that cost £100,000 to download will require £20,000 of maintenance every year. Costs that could make maintenance cost more include the use of powerful servers, payment gateways, emergency maintenance, payment gateways, app stores developer fees and more.

The final price that you will pay to build an app really does depend on many factors. Your requirements, the features your users are demanding and your willingness to make the most of the latest technological advancements will all play a big role in determining the price.

The complexity of your project:

You may only have to pay a modest four-figure sum for a simple app, though the costs could head into five-figures if you require an app of medium complexity. Complex app design can cost from £20,000.

IMPORTANT – When we deliver an app project we always give a fixed price and this way we can bring the overall price to a manageable level so whatever your idea its always best to get in touch with us.

If you would like explore how Appy Monkey can help then get in contact.