“Should I make an app? How much does app development cost?” If you started or own business, you and your peers may be asking yourselves these questions. Business owners need to grasp the potential required investment of an app development project. High-quality and original apps cannot be made quickly or for small amounts of money. Furthermore, there are endless factors to consider: What is the app’s initial cost to develop? Do I have the time and money to maintain it? What features are important? How will it interact with the existing programs I already have in place? Businesses not used to the app development process often do not know how app cost estimation works, and the scale that these projects operate on. They need to have realistic expectations regarding what scalability and functionality they can receive for a particular budget. Clutch, a B2B IT research, ratings and reviews firm in Washington, D.C., recently addressed this topic in their report, “How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App: 2017 Survey.” After reviewing the data collected from 102 app development companies from around the world, they found out that many businesses and entrepreneurs make common mistakes when it comes to app development cost. Here are three common misconceptions and some ways that you can avoid these roadblocks. #1. Customers Expect an App of “Uber” Quality and Success Uber is one of the most successful apps in modern times. It has completely usurped traditional taxi services and revolutionized public transportation. While businesses may want to replicate this success by approaching an app development company and asking for an app of Uber quality, they have no idea the investment that went into creating this modern phenomenon. It took years and billions of dollars to develop Uber to reach its current state. Rather than seeking to replicate Uber’s suite of intricate and powerful features, most businesses will find better success for their budget with a simpler app that is smartly targeted to their customers and business goals. “These days brands and startups need to be far more strategic. Where will their app be able to create value in the lives of their target users? How will they be able to measure and demonstrate that value?” said Drew Johnson, Co-CEO of App Partner, a mobile app design and development agency. #2. Customers Neglect Doing Their Homework Working with an app development company doesn’t just involve handing over a vague idea and expecting the company to do all the work. If you do that, you probably won’t get a product matching your expectations, and you may pay far more than you expected. Businesses should engage with their development company throughout the entire project and beyond. You should bring suggestions, ideas, and criticisms to the table. Being prepared and engaged helps you better understand app development cost and how you can best maximize your budget. For example, you shouldn’t push a certain budget or timeline without understanding exactly how that price tag or schedule will affect the final product. Working closely with a development company helps you decide on a price and timeline that produces a quality app, while also fitting within your business’ abilities and goals. Dominic Tancredi, CEO of end-to-end product development agency Dom & Tom, advises businesses to be engaged with their development company: “Businesses need to do their homework. The best clients have their vision and articulate it and do their homework. They’re prepared. The worst clients don’t do their homework. Don’t hold themselves responsible or accountable, and don’t bring their vision to the table.” #3. Businesses Fail to Consider App Marketing and Maintenance Many times businesses think an app’s development ends once the app launches. However, apps usually require maintenance and updates long after their initial launch to stay fully relevant. An app isn’t a gadget you can set and forget. Like any software or piece of technology, it needs to evolve, be reassessed for the job it was created for, and adjusted to work with the progression of your company’s goals. Think about the first camera app that you used on your smartphone versus what’s available now. In the beginning, you loved to take grainy photos with your phone. Now, camera apps incorporate intricate editing capabilities, fun stickers, and sharing features. You wouldn’t return to your original camera app when newer apps offer so many more features. Incorporating scheduled maintenance with your app will keep it necessary and adding or changing features will help your customers stay engaged. Furthermore, businesses sometimes forget to consider marketing as part of app development cost. They don’t reserve the time or budget for product promotion. Then, a perfectly good app fails simply because users don’t know about it. Pawel Josiek, Co-Owner and Vice President of full-stack software development company Future Mind, commented: “I’ve seen a lot of startups develop mobile apps to break into the MVP [minimum viable product] stage. Then, they suddenly realize that they are out of money, and they can’t start marketing activities before their budget is consumed.” This situation stresses both the business and the development team. “From our developers’ perspectives, it’s sad when months of their hard work and commitment just go to the trash,” said Josiek. So, What Will App Development Cost Me? Here’s the million dollar question: What will an app really cost me? Okay, so it may not cost you a million dollars, but the cost of an app depends on what you want it to do. You should keep in mind that an original and intricate app will cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in the current market. “Many businesses walk in thinking that an app can be built for $25,000 – $50,000,” stated Nik Sanghvi, Head of U.S. Sales and Business Development at Robosoft, a mobile app development company. “There are very simple, trivial apps that can be built for that range.” “But, more often, for a typical e-commerce company or a media and entertainment company, the apps are not going to be simple, trivial, or stand-alone,” continued Sanghvi. “Every brand should want to have a solution that is distinct from the competition and consistent with their branding.” During his interview, Sanghvi recommended that businesses budget around $200,000 – $500,000 for an significant app development project. “That range would help you factor in the strategy, design, development and QA, not only of the mobile front-end, but also the middleware and back-end,” he explained. Are you still not sure about how much an app will cost or where to find a trustworthy app developer that can fit within your budget? Leave a question in the comments section below and I would love to help you get started on finding the answers to creating your unique app. Clutch reviews and research includes thousands of mobile app development companies from around the world.