How Much Does An App Cost To Build?

By far, one of the biggest questions we get asked as a Calgary App Developer is how much does an app cost to build? This is an incredibly important question that you as a potential app owner need to understand in order to plan and budget accordingly. Check out the full article here:

“How much does an app cost to build” is by far the question we get asked the most. Although it may seem like a simple enough question, the answer itself is not simple at all. We like to use the comparison of buying a car. When you buy a car, you can’t just walk into the dealership and ask “how much for a car?” You need to know what type of car, what features you want in it, and what extras you want to add on as well. The same goes for mobile applications. So how do you figure out app cost?

Who’s Going To Make It?

First off you need to decide who’s going to make it? Are you going to invest in a developer that will give you a Ferrari of an application? Or are you going to outsource it to get a second hand beater application? I will never disrespect good firms overseas. In fact there are a few that are just as good as our Calgary App development team. However, I guarantee, they will be the same if not more expensive than we are. You generally have 4 choices when it comes to app development:

  • Outsourcing – Hiring a developer overseas
  • Agency/Firm – Hiring a local company that specializes in mobile application and software development
  • In House – Hiring developers to work beside you as part of your company
  • Freelancer – Although these can generally be lumped in with either outsourcing, or an agency, sometimes hiring a single, self employed developer for a one time contract can fit your needs

So who do you choose and what are the costs associated with it?

Outsourcing – $10,000

We have seen the horrors that 9/10 times happens when clients choose to side with outsourcing. By the time they come to us, they’ve lost a lot of money for an app that’s been slapped together and barely performs basic functions. Again, this is not to discredit good firms overseas, but majority of the time, it’s a huge risk. The one upside to app development using outsourcing is that it is typically cheaper. You could get away with outsourcing to an overseas team for roughly $10,000 – $20,000. Although it is possible to get something made for less than this through outsourcing, its wise not to side with those people, and you should budget higher for legal fees, financial assistance, and marketing upon completion.

Agency/Firm – $50,000

As a Calgary App Developer, we may be a bit biased for this option, but we wanted to be an all in one solution people could side with, without breaking the bank. When it comes to hiring an agency, I would recommend budgeting at least $50,000. As a word of warning, make sure you research and ask questions to whoever you choose as your agency, as they may be just a front for outsourcing your project overseas. Although $50,000 is a rough estimate, sizable apps can breach $100,000 depending on their size, scale, and functionality. Typically though, the end result is an awesome app that’s supported by the developers, leaves room for growth/changes, and has a speedy turn around time.

In House – $65,000/developer

It’s tough to accurately predict how much an in house development team will actually cost. Depending on their experience, local developers can be a bit pricey, but definitely worth the investment if the project is big enough. A newer developer usually costs $65,000 but will definitely increase as they become more experienced. Apps of this scale are apps like Pokemon Go, Instagram, or Facebook that require large dedicated teams in order to function.

Freelancer – ~$15,000

I wanted to make a quick point about Freelancing.This method of mobile app development definitely has its own ups and downs. Freelancing is incredibly cost effective but puts all of the pressure to get your app done on the individual. Freelancers can cost anywhere between $5000 – $15,000+ the closer to home your freelancer is, the more expensive they can be. The problem with freelancing is that even though you may pay a lower per hour fee, the initial estimate could be way off, and you may pay more than you originally thought, or wind up broke with a half completed application. This shouldn’t scare you away from freelancers as there are awesome ones out there, but to make an app from only a base idea takes a team effort.


Hopefully this gives you an idea regarding your options and the costs associated with each. Again, costs can vary for each but its important to know the rough starting point to prepare to budget accordingly. If you’re interested in discussing your app’s potential cost, visit the Contact section of our website, our team would love to chat about how we can turn your app idea into a reality! At Vog we build more than apps, we build businesses.