Before you start on the road to developing a mobile application, there are a few things to consider. Right from the get-go, you should establish a clearly-defined budget so you know where you're headed and how much the project is likely to cost. Obviously, in most development projects, there's a certain amount of tweaking as you go, so you should definitely allow for some budget adjustments. And, as mobile app development projects are custom-built to a client's specifications, you can't apply a one-size-fits-all rule. Whether you're an individual looking to bring an idea to life, or a large-scale corporate simplifying operations, you need to keep the same set of factors in mind when it comes to budgeting for a development project. From function and features to labour costs, here's what to include in your mobile app development budget...
What to include in your mobile app development budget
1). Create clear goals
Before you you can give your development project the green light, you need to know exactly what you want your app to achieve. Not only will this give your project a clear direction, but it'll help you establish a realistic budget. A few questions to answer here are; Who is going to use your app? Who are your competitors? What is your unique selling point? What problem will your mobile app solve? What functions must it perform? And, finally, what results do you want to see? When you've answered these questions, you'll have a better idea of the timeline for your project, as well as how labour-intensive it's likely to be. Both big players when it comes to the budget.
2). Select functions and features
Sometimes, this is one of the hardest elements in creating a mobile app development budget, because you as the client might not know exactly what functions and features will be needed to bring your idea to life. And, every function or feature that your project incorporates will ultimately affect the budget. Things like a live-stream video platform (for something like Netflix), live GPS tracking (for Mr Delivery), privacy controls, multiple algorithms, and payment systems all need to be accounted for. The best thing here is to think seriously about what you want your app to achieve, and seek expert guidance if you're still not sure. The goal for any app development project should be to achieve optimal functionality with minimal features.
3). Decide on a platform
A simple aspect of creating a realistic budget, but crucial to your final product. According to the Global Stats statcounter for South Africa, Android and iOS own 99% of the mobile app development market. So, it's probably worth developing for both those platforms. However, if you're short on time or finances, you might have to pick one platform and launch on that first, before heading to a second platform further down the line. If you're faced with this dilemma, it's worth doing further target audience research to see which platform is more popular with your users.
4). Remember to include future costs
Mobile app development projects don't end once the app has been launched. Not only should the budget allow for things like alpha and beta testing, but also for continued maintenance and updates once the final product is available for consumers. And, because technology is always improving and you might want to adapt your product to suit new business goals, improvements to your app might need to be made down the line. Before you finalise a budget, find out how much these future costs are likely to add up to.
5). Allow for unexpected costs
You may have budgeted for certain development hours, even taking into consideration things like deployment, publishing, integration, testing, and quality control, but there are likely to be unexpected costs along the way, too. Rather than being surprised by the cost of extra modifications, try to set aside some funds before you start in case you want to make changes along the way. It never hurts to be prepared.
Because each app is different, it's almost impossible to give a general estimate about how much it costs to build an app. But, industry standards give guidelines that you can work from. For example, an e-commerce app built for a basic Shopify platform can cost anything from R12 000. And, with something like Uber where you have loads of functions and algorithms working together on Android and iOS systems, you're looking at upwards of R250 000. These are simply suggestions and, as we've seen above, everything from UX design to privacy controls and push notifications plays a role in the final cost. The thing here? Know what you want and what you're budgeting for.