Custom design & development
There are many different companies that will be able to help you at each stage of the development process. The difference between these companies can be vast. They will have a variety of ways of working, along with differing levels of quality and cost. Opting for working with an experienced android or iPhone app development company can be a big investment, so it’s worth thinking about the different options available. You can also find out more about choosing a good development company here.
Some development companies will be able to offer both platforms to be built from the same “codebase”
A few years ago, many companies would have chosen to only build an app for iPhone. As Android continues to build its strong user base, it’s more important than ever to seriously consider developing an app for both.
You might consider which platforms are relevant to your audience. Having both an iPhone and Android app with the same or similar features have come to be expected by audiences lately. Some development companies will be able to offer both platforms to be built from the same “codebase”. This usually brings some cost-saving, and also makes it easier to release new features across both platforms.
A big factor that can play into not only the cost of the project but also its overall success can be choosing a delivery strategy that fits well.
The more traditional way to deliver an app is to follow a “waterfall approach”. This is where you start by defining and solving the problems first and then implementing that specification exactly. It's all about designing first, and then delivering what has been outlined. For some smaller apps, this approach may be the simplest, and can often be the cheapest. It’s important to spend the time up-front when taking this approach so that you can have higher confidence that the time in development will bring results.
A much more effective way to build most apps is by using an “agile” approach
A much more effective way to build most apps is by using an “agile” approach. At its core, this takes the waterfall stages and iterates through them many times to adapt the final product throughout the development phase. This can often lead to a longer development phase, and slightly more cost, but normally yields a much better outcome.
With either of these approaches, it can be useful to firstly focus on building a “minimum viable product” before putting a lot of time and money into a long development phase. This not only helps you to get your product out to market much more quickly but also enables you to get some feedback from your users about the app. As a tip for deciding where your main focus should be with an MVP, try aiming for either the more difficult problems, or the unique differentiators (often the same thing!). It can be tempting to get an MVP out with some of the simpler parts, but if you end up finding that the differentiators are more difficult than planned, it can help with ongoing decisions for if it’s worth it.
Be wary of a ‘cheap’ solution
you’ll often “get what you pay for”
In a very broad sense, as with most service providers, you’ll often “get what you pay for” when choosing an app developer. That’s not to say that you can’t get good value for money, but it’s definitely worth digging into any quote to understand what you’re getting for your money. Many of the better agencies will be upfront about the expected length and complexities of the project and help you to understand the risk that either side will be taking on. This is important, as some cheaper quotes can often come from inexperienced companies, and may lead to longer development times, or a larger bill at the end due to unexpected costs.
As we’ve discovered, there really are a variety of features that will ultimately affect the price an agency will charge. That being said, here are some indicative costs of the development phase:
Basic app, with core functionality only, taking 2 - 4 months to build: £40,000 - £90,000
Mid-level app with a larger feature set or more complexity, taking 3 - 6 months to build: £90,000 - £150,000
Large, complex app, taking 6 months plus to build: £150,000+
As we’ve also seen, approaching a project with an agile delivery mindset may help you to break a larger project down into smaller chunks. It will also let you test your assumptions along the way.