We live in a time of unprecedented access to information. A quick Google search yields dozens of mobile app development companies vying for your business. But how do you separate the exceptional companies from the rest of the pack? How do you know which one has what it takes to transform your idea into a successful app?
As with any complex decision, the choice of a development partner requires understanding the subtle factors that make some companies stand out. While specifications and cost are important, they only tell part of the story. You must look beyond surface attributes to discover the true qualities that lead to excellent outcomes.
As an expert observer of business and technology, we have studied the app industry and discovered that, amidst the chaos, there are ways to distinguish good mobile developers from bad.
How long does it take to develop a mobile app?
This is a question that every entrepreneur and business owner wonders about when considering creating their own app. As with many creative endeavors, there is no single, definitive answer. However, after analyzing thousands of app development projects over the years, we have found that there are a few key factors that determine how long an app will take to build.
The first factor is complexity. A simple app with few features that don’t require much unique design or functionality will obviously take less time than a more complex app with many interactive elements, custom designs, complex back-end functionality, and other moving parts. A basic app could take as little as a month or two of development time, whereas a highly sophisticated app could take several months or even over a year.
Budget is another key consideration. App development cost is directly related to the amount of time and resources required. A smaller budget will mean fewer developers and less time devoted to the project, thus extending the timeline. With an unlimited budget, an app could be rushed to completion much faster by throwing large teams of programmers at it. Of course, few entrepreneurs have that luxury.
Platform choice – whether it’s iOS, Android, or both – also affects timelines. Developing for a single platform allows full focus on one codebase and design, while multi-platform apps require essentially duplicating some work across systems. Choosing to deploy on both platforms from the outset will usually at least double, if not triple, the estimated timeline.
The development process itself plays a large role as well. An agile approach with early user feedback integrated into iterative development will tend to lead to apps being built more quickly versus serial approaches where work is done sequentially with little input between steps. Additionally, starting development with a clearly defined scope, requirements, and design in place can prevent wasteful pivots or reworks down the line.
There is so much uncertainty and fluctuating estimates floating around the internet, that it’s no wonder deciding on a budget is a challenge. However, with a deeper understanding of the various factors at play, we can gain more clarity on this important business decision.
When considering the cost of developing a mobile app, the first thing we must acknowledge is that there is no single correct answer. The potential range is quite wide, from just a few thousand dollars up to hundreds of thousands or more for complex projects. So any estimate you find should be considered with this variability in mind.
Key factors that impact costs
There are several main determinants that will impact where your app lands within that broad cost spectrum:
Platform(s) – Whether it’s just for iOS or Android independently, or both. Building for both upfront naturally increases expense.
Features – A basic app with minimal functionality will cost far less than one aiming to disrupt its industry with novel features. The more complex the features, the higher the bill.
Design & Graphics – Polished, professional visual design and visual assets like images/video all require devoted design and media production time.
Development Time – More complex apps with many features will simply take longer hours of a developer’s time to complete. Time equals money in app development.
Location of Development Team – Using a domestic US team costs more on average than offshore teams in lower-cost countries.
The interplay of these key factors will determine if your average cost of developing a mobile app comes in on the low, medium, or high end of that overall spectrum. The simpler and more focused the initial app, the lower the budget needed.
Ballpark cost estimates
That said, here are some general ballpark estimates to give you a sense of typical costs:_
A basic app with minimal features and functionality – $15,000-$50,000.
An app with a range of features but still a relatively simple design – $50,000-150,000.
A more complex app or one aiming for high production values and polish – $150,000 and above.
As with any estimates, these figures could end up higher or lower depending on the specific factors for your individual app project. But they provide a rough baseline to start your planning process.
Tips to choose the top mobile app development companies
There are countless app development firms out there, so how do you separate the best from the rest? As with any complex task, a bit of digging can go a long way. Here are a few pointers to help you narrow down your options and hire a mobile app developer.
Do your research
Start by researching the best IT consulting companies in your area or those with a strong portfolio in your industry. Look at the apps and clients they have worked with in the past. This will give you a sense of their capabilities and experience. Make a list of 5-7 potential candidates that seem like strong fits based on their portfolio alone.
Read reviews and testimonials
Once you have your initial list, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Search online for reviews of each company on sites like Glassdoor or Clutch. Pay attention to both the star ratings and written feedback. Look for common themes around customer service, responsiveness, and project delivery. You also want to check if any clients were willing to provide public testimonials on the companies’ websites. Positive reviews and satisfied clients are good signs.
Ask for references and a portfolio
Don’t just rely on online reviews though. Ask each company for 2-3 references you can contact directly. Talk to past clients about their experience working with that specific company. Find out about their communication style, ability to handle scope changes, and overall satisfaction. Also, have them share more in-depth case studies and a detailed portfolio rather than just promotional materials. You want to truly understand their process and capabilities.
Consider experience in your industry
While a great developer is a great developer, having experience in your specific industry can be very valuable. Check if the company has worked on similar apps or with competitors in your niche before. Industry knowledge can help streamline requirements, catch industry-specific issues, and result in a more polished final product. When possible, prioritize companies that truly understand your domain.
Check cultural fit and communication
The best technical skills mean nothing if you can’t work well together. During interviews, pay attention to cultural fit and communication style. Make sure to ask about their development methodology as well as how they stay on top of projects. Can you easily reach them by phone, email, or chat during business hours? Test responsiveness before making your final choice. The top companies will have seamless collaboration.
If any of these pointers resonate or you’d like help evaluating your options, consider contacting Future Vision 360 LLC as your IT consulting company in the USA. Give our team a call or drop us a note – we’d love to discuss your concept and goals, and then craft a tailored proposal. Whether you need guidance selecting developers or want to leverage our in-house prowess, Future Vision strives to make the ideation-to-store process as smooth and productive as possible.