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How Much does it Cost to Build a Web or Mobile Application?

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How much does it cost to develop an app? The question, we hear every day from our potential clients who desire to get the web or mobile app developed by an outsource company and expect to get the precise answer at once.

Just know that when you ask this type of question, the sales manager has not the faintest idea what to tell you. You may ask how could that happen that the development company can not set the clear price for its services, where it claims to be an expert? But it’s the same as asking how much does it cost to buy a house or a car. Everything depends on the project and on the functionality you want to have on your future website.

So, how can you determine the web development cost?

Whether you are searching for a freelance developer or the web development company, there are two ways how the cost of the work would be presented to you: the fixed price or time-and-materials.

What’s the difference?

Fixed price agreement means that you get the price for the entire project including the whole scope of work. Some clients prefer fixed price because it’s:

  • Predictable. You have all the deadlines, requirements and the fixed price determined in the agreement. That prevents from surprises like missed deadlines.
  • Arranged beforehand. All the tasks are discussed before starting the project and as a result, are well documented.
  • Budget-oriented. The client feels more comfortable when he knows the precise price for the whole project. Moreover, all the extra expenses will be carried by the dev team if they make any mistakes.  

Fixed price is the best solution for the small projects like development of MVP, prototypes or any other project with the limited set of functionality. But choosing this payment model you have to pay attention to the specifications and set the reasonable deadline so that the quality of the final product doesn’t suffer in the end. Furthermore, no changes can be made during the development process and no extra features added or removed.

Time and materials model means you get the hourly rates of the specialists who are going to work on your project and the estimate of all the works needed to be done.

This payment model is more suitable for developing medium and big projects which include a wide range of functionality. Why it’s better for you to chose time and materials instead of fixed price?

  • Flexible. This type of contract allows you to add or change any features of an app on the go. That brings you the possibility to adjust to the developing process and bring the new ideas to improve the project.
  • Transparent. The development process is divided into milestones and the client receives the reports about the work done after finishing each step. He also can appoint meetings or calls with the project manager to be aware of the achievements of the development team. That means the client always knows what’s going on and is involved in the development process.
  • Reasonable timing. If you need your app to be developed as soon as possible and you want to skip the bidding process, chose the T&M contract. Paying hourly, you will exactly know how much time is spent on each milestone or commit. That will also motivate the dev team to work in the most efficient way.

Time and material basis is the perfect solution for large projects because nine times outta ten it’s very difficult to define the whole scope of functions and features in the very beginning of development. In addition, both sides get the deeper vision due to the frequent interaction and can both share and propose the new ideas and improve the project on the go. As the result, the client will receive the solution fully corresponding his expectations and the needs of the final user.

How much does it cost to build a web application?

A lot of clients who are not yet well oriented in the web development sphere are at a loss when trying to find out the precise price of web development. The reason hides in the huge price gap between outsourcing developers, freelancer and USA/UK based companies.

The average price range of an outsource team is $25-50 per hour and the rate of developers from USA and Europe is about $100-150 per hour.

But when searching for an outsource team you will definitely run over the cheap and “qualified” developers with the shockingly low $5 per hour rate who promise to deliver the project in a record time. Some may even fall for such tricks thinking “Why should I pay more?”. But always remember there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Are you ready to find out that your team has suddenly disappeared or provided you with the spaghetti code instead of the “project of your dream”?

What can be the consequences of choosing the middle-of-the-road dev companies:

  • Poorly designed app. Most likely it’s will look cheap and obscure. Such apps never get many downloads and due to the low rates in the app store.
  • Missed deadlines. Developing an app by inexperienced developers always takes much more time than by the pro devs. If you work on time and materials basis, you will pay for all extra time.
  • Not scalable app.Even if the app attracts users, you meet the next obstacle like lagging due to the increased traffic.
  • Regular bugs. With no testing or adding security, the app will constantly lag and you’ll find more and more bugs, but fixing them would be billed extra.
  • Security issues. If your app collects any user’s data but the code is weak, you risk to get attacked and have all the users data stolen which is absolutely unacceptable.
  • The code is not understandable. Even if you decided to change the team, the new team would have to develop everything from scratch.

And the same time, that doesn’t mean that the most expensive is always better. The company should always be able to explain the high rate and clarify all the procedures.

Web application cost estimation at Altamira

The final pricing always varies from project to project. To clarify the estimation we use a special formula: X+Y = project price, where X is development process itself and Y is the time of project manager.

At the same time, the development process consists of such stages:

  • Specifications
  • Preliminary works (development plan 50%, design 40%, prototyping 10%)
  • Slicing (slicing 70%, testing 20%, bug fixing 10%)
  • Development (frontend & Backend 70%, testing 20%, bug fixing 10%)
  • Final stage (admin 70%, final testing 20% (All project testing * 0.2 ),final bug fixing 10 (Final testing * 0.5 )

How we count the time of project manager? It’s X(development process) x 0.2

The estimation is transparent so the client is always aware of the amount of work and the current skills level of each developer, involved in the project.

How to get the most accurate estimate of your web development project?

The development process can be compared with love – both sides have to take steps towards to make it work. So the best things you can do being a client are:

  • Communicate in an interactive way with the team during preparing specifications, wireframes and designs to improve the estimates.
  • Tell us about your business goals to help us find the correct ways of achieving them.
  • Mention all the inputs available to clear up the vision of the project.
  • Try to take into account as much functionality as possible, because each change or adding the new features stretches the development time.

Communication is a key aspect of the successful estimation. The more features you talk over at the very beginning, the more precise and accurate the estimation of the web development project will be.


How to develop a web application and not to screw it up?

In order to achieve your final business goals and spend your money wisely, you have to consider many things during the web development process. Pay attention to the company’s portfolio, talk with the team and compare the web development prices. Never try to save money on development of your project unless you want to get the disappointing result.

And the last, feel free to contact us to get the accurate estimations and the reasonable prices for the high-quality web and mobile development.

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