How Much Does An App Cost?

We are finally nearing the launch of Find My Train, in fact, we just submitted it to the Apple App Store! Since we've began showing more of the app, I've had numerous people ask how much it would cost to build them an app.

Since this is my first time working on a team developing an app, I do not have much to compare it to, so I decided to look around the web. Below is a modified post by Vlad of Darwin Apps, which I think does a great job creating an analogy to help bridge the tech to non-tech gap of expectations between product and price. (Perhaps I also enjoy this analogy because I am a huge car fan)

Getting back to the question, how much does an app cost? To put it plainly, about as much as a car, depending on what you want.

“I just want an app and I want it to work” - Used 1994 Honda Civic - $1-5K.

You just want a simple app. Nothing fancy, and you don’t really care who works on it. You can probably find a freelancer locally (hint: College students, trust the CS / engineering degrees first) or someone off odesk to do this for you. It won’t be anything amazing, but if you’re careful in finding someone and managing the process, you can get a few screens done on one platform, and in an app store (or on the web), and maybe even test if you can solve a problem effectively with said app.

[With enough searching, an old Honda Civic will get you from point A to point B.]

“I want something that works well on one platform” - Used 2007 BMW 335i - $20-25K.

You want something solid that’ll work web/ mobile web / iOS / Android.  Just one of those. It doesn’t need to be the most beautiful thing in the world, but you need it to be solid through one medium. It’s realistic to pay 20K+ for something like this.

[A used 335i will serve you well as a quick, decently luxurious car in good weather.]

“I want something that works on anything” - New Audi Q7 - $50-75K.

You want a solid app that’ll work on web/ mobile web / iOS / Android. You want to cover all of your bases, but you don’t need to be awesome in one specific concentration.

[The Audi Q7 will fit 8, is fast (S-line at least), comfortable, and luxurious.]

“I want this to be the best” - New Ferrari F12 Berlinetta - $400K+

You think your idea (better read: problem solver) will be the next big thing. You have the money (or investors) to back that up. This category is for someone coming to make the next Instagram / Facebook / Quora / Tumblr / whatever. You want to be the best in one specific medium, and the tweaking, specificity, and time necessary to think through / design / build / test / iterate can easily get you into the 100s of thousands. Hours behind deep detail dives and  and iterations can quickly sky-rocket prices.

[King of the castle]

So there you have it. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter, or comment on the original post by Vlad on Darwin Apps.