It would be a mistake to think of your mobile app design and development as a one-time cost. Creating the app will be the first step of a long journey.
In our previous post The Real Costs of Building Mobile Apps: Getting Started, we noted that a typical budget to build a quality mobile app can run in the range of $250,000-$500,000. A budget of this size can be a daunting figure even for larger companies. We see this challenge again and again with companies. There is a desire to create a fully developed app rather than developing for a minimal viable product. Further, the budget for creating an app can get out of control if you aren’t factoring in the cost after initial launch, which is where the real work often begins since you now have customers to answer to and support.
And while your app can truly become an effective tool for your business because you can now use data and usage trends to identify new features and improvements, it costs time and money to do this kind of analysis, long term planning, and product+project management. Here’s a summary of how we look at costs after development:
We recommend budgeting per month. On the low end, we estimate the cost to maintain and enhance a medium-sized enterprise application project to be in the range of $5,000 to $15,000 per month. Even the lowest estimate for a small project is not insubstantial at $5,000 per month — and a larger project ranges as high as $30,000+ per month. It’s important to remember that your app is one component of an entire platform and that you’ll be maintaining your entire platform not just your app.
Think and plan for several updates per year. According to an AnyPresence survey of enterprise mobile application development professionals, over 80% reported updating their apps at least twice a year and nearly a third were updating at least once a month. Frequent updating will be an ongoing investment for most. In particular, be prepared to update your app each year to account for major operating system updates to iOS and Android released by Apple and Google respectively.
Don’t forget about marketing and operational costs. Any product or service requires some basic level of marketing in this day and age. Your product is no different. Try to plan for at least a small marketing budget to start so that you can push yourself to get started. On the operational side of things, depending on your apps complexity, you may incur sizable server charges as well as storage and delivery charges for things like photos and videos. This can catch people by surprise so be sure to work this into your budgeting. You’ll also need to provide user support and potentially support your internal sales team depending upon your application.
The true cost of building your mobile app is sometimes a daunting prospect. But it doesn’t have to be. We work with enterprise and start-up clients to diligently walk through an initial product discovery where we review your goals, business model, timing, and budget to insure that we’re not just building software, but building the right software for your business.
Are you ready to evaluate the costs of building your mobile app?