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So you want to build an app–congratulations! We’re big fans of apps, truly! Now to address the elephant in the room: how much does it cost to create an app? 

Well, as you may have guessed, the cost relies on a number of factors, and there is no set answer. However, we can give you a rough estimate and discuss the factors impacting the cost of building an app. Building an app can help take your company to the next level and may serve your clients even better than you are serving them now. Apps can be awesome!


Creating a digital product (a mobile or web app) is a super involved process, and each solution is totally unique. App-building requires in-depth discovery to understand what you need before doing any actual design. How complex is your app? How many bells and whistles do you want? How many bells and whistles do you need? Who will maintain it once it’s out in the market? 

I mean, let’s consider the least complex app, something like a calculator or a flashlight. A good app developer could whip that up fairly easily, and it won’t cost you an arm or a leg. You can create a calculator or a flashlight for less than $10k. That’s going to be the bottom tier of app-development costs. Considering the number of calculators and flashlights already in existence, it likely may not make sense to create your own, unless you just really, really want to. 

Now let’s look at the other end of the spectrum. If you are looking to create a video game or a social media app, prepare to invest considerably more. You can only hope it will hit the market and make an impact worthy of your investment. These are often the big winners in the marketplace, and so of course they are at the top rung of the complexity ladder. In 2022, complex apps can cost anywhere from $91k to upwards of $1 million, with most landing between $200k and $500k.

TikTok or Facebook, anyone? Heard of Pokémon Go or Zelda? These apps are some of the standard setters against which other people model new social media and gaming apps. A shopping app could run anywhere from medium to complex, but will more likely be complex, depending on the design, functions, options, operating systems, interactivity, and built-in maintenance and updates. 

Beyond the baseline functions and complexity level of an app, consider how you will develop the app. Will you create it in-house (do you have the right team for this?) or outsource to app development pros, like Rocksauce Studios? Taking advantage of a professional team’s expertise and know-how often can save time and money, because nobody has time to deal with costly errors.

Once you’ve determined the complexity of the app, then you need to create prototypes, get these in front of users for UX testing, then update designs, create a design library/language, and much more.

A mind-bogglingly large number of apps are on the market today, proving how vast the online space is. These apps can be used to make purchases, play games, watch movies, send reports, chat with someone on the other side of the world or in the office next to yours. As a result, apps are becoming a top priority for businesses to attract and engage their target customers.

This is why the question, “How much does it cost to make an app?” is always trending! 

Regrettably, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The cost will be determined by the industry, the objectives, the goals, application type, operating system, technical complexity, the design and architecture, and even the outsourced partner’s location. But here is some more food for thought for those looking to create an app.


The average cost of a simple app is between $8,000 and $40,000. The cost of a medium-complexity app ranges from $50,000 to $90,000. A complicated app can cost anything between $91,000 and $500,000–or more. Here we lay down some ground rules on what, how, and why the cost of an app is how much it is.


The cost of creating a mobile or desktop app is determined by several factors:

  1. App type: All apps aren’t created equally. The software a company selects as the basis for an app is crucial for maintaining and updating the app along the way. This is one of the main reasons app development costs vary so much.
  2. Features and functionality: Of course, the features and functionality are determining factors when pricing an app. These are some of the biggest cost drivers as they can take months to implement, depending on how original the app idea is. Basic math dictates that the more functions and features you want in your app, the more it will cost.
  3. Customization of visual design: How the user interface looks and works will largely drive the app’s success, along with the desirability of what the app can do for its users. Thereby, this affects the cost. The cost of designing an app incorporates the branding, visual complexity, and custom elements required.
  4. Backend infrastructure: Data interchange between the app and the database, content and user management, reporting, and custom marketing activities all help to determine the necessary backend infrastructure. Different sorts of backend environments and infrastructure are available. The more of these features you require, the more expensive your development will be.
  5. Platforms: Do you want to create an app for Android or iOS? The development cost of an app once depended heavily on the sort of app and platform you chose, although nowadays it is less of a cost driver. 
  6. App maintenance costs and additional services: It’s not usually a one and done situation to develop an app. Costs often continue after the app is released. Maintaining the app is essential, as well as incorporating desired or requested updates, and will also affect your bottom line when budgeting for an app.
  7. In-house or outsourced development team: This is where you need to sit and make a decision between using your in-house app developers or entrusting the project to an outsourced development firm. 

We can’t stress enough that unless this is what your company does, you are going to save money in the long-run by working with experts like Rocksauce. Better to invest up front than keep correcting errors along the way. Even the most experienced team hits roadblocks; best to start with a group that is asking the right questions and building from a wealth of knowledge and experience relevant to app development.


As you can see, app development runs the gamut between easy peasy and tricky as all get out. Yes, it can be an expensive option, but a well-designed mobile or desktop app can very well provide a healthy return on your investment. As a result, it’s critical to carefully consider all the factors before taking the leap, and you are almost always better off hiring the experts.

Contact Rocksauce today to get started on your app!


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