How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Mobile App Developer in 2024?

Wolfmatrix Australia How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Mobile App Developer

The majority of people use mobile phones to browse. Hence, from a business perspective, mobile applications are crucial for staying relevant in the new age of technology, enhancing customer experience and increasing brand loyalty.

However, a catch comes with this shift— the mobile app development for your business.

How much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer? Is it worth paying more for an experienced developer, or should you opt for a more affordable one? Are there hidden costs associated with mobile app development?

Read on as we delve into every aspect of hiring a mobile app developer, from the factors that influence the cost to the price range for different types of developers.

Overview

Developing an app in Australia can cost between 32,000 AUD and 240,000 AUD. This number may seem overwhelming, but in reality, many factors play a role in determining the cost. The developer’s expertise, app type, platform, user experience, and server expenses are just a few of the many considered.

There are typically three categories of app development that most fall into:

1. Simple app development: This is typically the minimum viable product (MVP) with a basic user interface (UI) design. It is usually built for one platform and is either hybrid or native.

2. Medium app development: These apps generally have custom-made UI elements and more advanced features, such as API integrations. They can be hybrid or native and are built for only one platform. 

3. Complex app development: These apps often involve complex features and technologies like chatbots, high-quality UI elements, and native cross-platform support.

Looking to learn about the most popular app categories in 2024? Check out our blog post “Dominating 2024: Top 10 App Categories,” which covers the top categories for app development.

Factors that Influence the Cost of Hiring a Mobile App Developer

1. Complexity of the Mobile App

The more complex the app, the higher your mobile app developer will charge. The complexity of mobile apps includes:

  • Number of features your app has, as each feature requires design, development, testing, and potentially ongoing maintenance.
  • User interface design; simple design costs less than interactive and animated design. 
  • Integration with multiple systems or database services.
  • Implementation of robust security features.

2. Platform

When developing a mobile app, there are three platforms that your developer will consider as a platform cost:

iOS and Android use different programming languages, meaning developers must write code twice for each platform. To reduce costs, we recommend using a cross-platform framework. This allows developers to write the code once and export it as a native app for each platform, effectively halving the front-end app development cost.

3. App Functionality & Features

Each basic to advanced feature requires time and resources for design, development, testing, and implementation. The developing process becomes more intricate with additional features. Basic features like user authentication, data storage, and notifications are relatively straightforward. However, advanced features like geolocation, augmented reality, or machine learning demand specialised expertise, increasing development costs.

4. Third-Party Integration

Integrating third-party services or APIs can incur one-time or recurring license fees. Such APIs include a payment gateway, mapping services, social media integration, or email authentication. Discuss these aspects with your mobile app developer so costs fit your budget and timeline.

5. UI/UX Interface

How your app’s UI/UX is designed significantly impacts user engagement and success. Design complexity, including the number of screens, the intricacy of graphic elements and the level of interactivity, can affect development costs. The upfront cost may seem high initially. However, this investment pays off in the long run with positive user reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations and user loyalty.

6. Expertise Level of the Developer

Seniority is crucial in determining the cost of hiring a mobile app developer. With more experience and skills, developers demand a premium rate in the market. However, outsourcing to a mobile app development agency can be cost-effective. Such agencies can scale their teams based on the project’s requirements. This ensures efficient resource allocation and enables the development team to adapt quickly to changing project needs.

7. Hours Required

The time required for app development depends on its complexity, number of features, and platform. It includes initial development, testing, and ongoing maintenance. The longer it takes to develop, test, and maintain an app, the more expensive it is.

Here are some general estimates based on different types of apps:

  • Simple Apps (e.g., Basic Informational App):

Development Time: 200-400 hours

Timeline: 1-2 months

  • Moderate Complexity Apps (e.g., E-commerce App):

Development Time: 400-800 hours

Timeline: 2-4 months

  • Complex Apps (e.g., Social Networking or Custom Enterprise Solutions):

Development Time: 800+ hours

Timeline: 4+ months

Cost Components to Hire a Mobile App Developer

You must understand the payment plan before hiring a mobile app developer. There are two kinds of payment plans:

  • Upfront costs for the development phase
  • Ongoing costs for maintenance and support

1. Upfront Costs for the Development Phase

Upfront cost during the development phase includes concept design, user interface design, and mobile app programming. These costs are generally higher at the beginning of the project and decrease as development progresses.

2. Ongoing Costs for Maintenance and Support

Another important consideration is the ongoing expenses of maintaining and supporting the app post-launch. These expenses include regular updates, bug fixing, and responding to user feedback. Budgeting for these ongoing maintenance costs is crucial as they can accumulate over time and impact your overall financial plan.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Mobile App Developer?

When you are considering hiring a mobile app developer, there are five possible ways to do it:

  • Hiring in-house
  • SaaS (Software as a Solution)
  • Freelancer
  • Staff augmentation / remote worker
  • Outsourcing through agency

The budget for each approach is different depending on the project’s complexity, experience and the development team’s location.

1. Hiring In-House

The cost of hiring in-house mobile app developers for a medium-sized project could range from $100,000 to $1 million, depending on the project’s complexity. This is quite an expensive option, considering the benefits and overheads. It is also important to acknowledge that in-house development costs can increase significantly in case of project delays, requirements changes, or unexpected development process issues.

2. SaaS (Software as a Solution)

SaaS is a cost-effective alternative to hiring an in-house developer. You pay on a subscription basis, with total costs ranging from $80,000 to $120,000. Although SaaS is easy to access, it offers customisation options, which can be challenging if you have unique needs.

3. Freelancer

A freelance mobile app developer will charge $20 to $65 per hour. The cost can vary depending on the developer’s experience and location.

For a simple app, the total cost might range from $5,000 to $20,000. However, the price could increase significantly for more complex apps, ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 or even more.

4. Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation is a convenient, flexible, and cost-effective solution. It eliminates the hassle of hiring, reduces payroll and operational costs, and is adaptable to your specific project needs. The fees for staff augmentation are project-based and vary depending on the project’s complexity and the developer’s experience. With staff augmentation, you can hire a remote worker or mobile app developer for your project without committing to a full-time hire.

How are Mobile App Developers Paid?

Mobile app developers are paid in the following ways:

  • Hourly rate 
  • Fixed-rate
  • Consultation and resource price
  • Task-based rate
  • All-inclusive monthly rate

1. Hourly rate

As a client, you pay developers based on the time spent on your project. The hourly cost for app development comprises two components:

  • the mobile app developers’ hourly rate and 
  • the total time spent on development.

To calculate the application cost, multiply the developer’s hourly rate by the total development time. The formula looks like this:

Developer’s hourly rate x Total development time = Application cost

2. Fixed-rate

When opting for a fixed rate, you agree with the development team on a predetermined amount for the entire project. This payment model is more suitable for small projects with well-defined scopes.

3. Consultation and resource price

Whether you are building a new app, website, or software platform, developers offer separate advisory services beyond the actual programming work. These include IT consulting, focusing on design choices, identifying potential issues and bottlenecks, or advising on best coding and development practices.

4. Task-based rate

Developers bill you based on specific project tasks, such as resolving or troubleshooting issues, typically charging per support ticket opened. This payment model allows you to easily track and manage the work and adjust compensation based on completed tasks.

5. All-inclusive monthly rate

This pricing model is ideal for long-term projects requiring ongoing maintenance and updates. Your developers will provide a monthly invoice with a cumulative total of all charges based on the hours worked. This means that you will only pay for the actual time spent on your project, with no hidden costs or surprises.

Bottomline

Hiring the right mobile app developer for your business requires understanding the factors that influence the cost. It’s important to remember that app development costs are influenced by multiple factors, not just developer skills. These factors include the complexity of your app, required features, platform, UI/UX, third-party integration, developer expertise, and project hours. By considering these factors, you can create a realistic budget and timeline.

At Wolfmatrix, we understand that keeping development costs within budget is a top priority for our clients. That’s why we have the expertise and tools to help you achieve high-quality outcomes while keeping expenses low. Our exceptional App Development Services encompass everything from app design and integration to management and customer-oriented products for mobile users. Reach out to us today to receive an estimate!

FAQs on How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Mobile App Developer

Yes, small apps can make money through monetisation strategies. This includes paid downloads, in-app purchases, subscriptions, ads, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, data monetisation, and crowdfunding.

Yes, it’s possible to create your app even if you don’t have any prior programming knowledge.
Get the hang of programming basics, pick a development platform, try out app builders or low-code/no-code options, and tap into online learning resources.

A skilled solo developer can handle a simple app, while moderately complex projects may require a small team of 2-5. For complex apps, enterprise-level projects, or those with extensive features and backend infrastructure, you may need larger teams of 5-10 or more. Cross-functional teams, including developers, designers, product managers, and QA testers, are common in modern app development.

App development is expensive because the cost depends on several factors, including programming, the project’s complexity, the platform, security updates, and the app development partner. All these factors can significantly impact the final price tag.

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