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How Much Does It Cost to Build an App for a Small Business?

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The app is nice, cause fashionable. A lot of businesses consider creating their own applications for different needs or just to stand out on the market.

To be honest, if you think that mobile app is something about making a step towards the future - you’re mistaken. It is a step towards being tuned with reality - nowadays, 60% of connections to the network are done through mobile. The trend of making apps touches upon not only big companies with thousands of clients. The app is often useful for even small businesses or startups.

 

Unfortunately, the app is not just a premium and very useful option - it is time and money consuming huge project. It is really important to understand it before you start working on project development.

 

Before we consider app budget it is important to think over a few important questions. At first, you have to think about the aim of the app - why do you need it? If it is just about your online presence and accessibility for users through smartphones - perhaps, it doesn’t worth it?

 

The thing is, app development should be clearly explained in terms of business strategy. It must be based on numbers and correlate with your business model. Moreover, the app shouldn’t be a copy of your website. It must have some special value. What do you potentially provide users with?

Some hints for you to consider:

  • GPS-based store finding

  • Customer recognition

  • Sale app notifications when the user gets within a certain radius of your shop

  • Perks for customers who use the app

  • E-commerce shopping experience

If you are not really interested in them - maybe, elaborated mobile adaptation of your company website will be enough and it doesn’t make sense to spend so much time and efforts? Otherwise, app development is the option for you.

 

Now, when we defined, what in general you are looking for - we can think about the budget for your project, to which extend your expectations correspond to realities, and in case there are some budgeting issues, how they can be solved to make the most of your budget.

 

When we come down to estimate, a few parameters of the project are considered:

  • Type of an app

  • Platform

  • Design and development details

As for the type of an app, there are few variants:

Web App.

Technically, a web app is not an app, it is a responsive website adjusted the way it is comfortable to use on any kind of screen.

Nowadays two types of web applications are trending. They are SPA (Single Page Application) and PWA (Progressive Web Application). 

 

Single Page Application is different from a website not even visually, but due to the used technologies - unlike the websites it doesn’t connect with the server after each interaction - application code is only loaded once, and when you interact with the application, what generally happens is an action performs on the server. The page is never completely wiped away. So popular resources as Telegram Web, Gmail Web, Google Maps Web are SPA.

 

As for PWA, it is the website that behaves like a mobile app - icon can be placed on the main screen, push-notifications sent and so on. Moreover, it functions offline. It is easy to find, it doesn't overload your smartphone storage - generally speaking, there are various benefits you can get from implementing such technologies. Airbnb, Uber, Twitter, Pinterest are the most popular examples of PWA.

 

PWA and SPA are great solutions for such projects as:

  • complicated services (implies a complex architecture, for example, a service for a hospital for keeping records on the patients, or for enterprise corporations internal systems /, SaaS, etc.)

  • solutions for newsfeed and media (online publishers, blogs, news resources)

  • simple solutions such as landing pages

Native App.

Native means that an app is built with a language that is native for a given operating system. Thus, if you want to make it function on different platforms - you have to build it twice.

 

Hybrid App.

A hybrid app is basically a website that is put into mobile app shell by means of browser inside a mobile app. This way access to the operating system and device features provided.

  

Cross-Platform App.

Application, developed using special frameworks that allow to create a single source of code and distribute it to numerous platforms. The solution that often pays off for small simple projects.

 

If you choose a native app, then you have to invest in development a few times - or pick the platform that is the most relevant for your product.

 

Nowadays, the most popular OS worldwide are iOS and Android. The first point to check up is what platform is more popular where you aim to work. For example, in North America iOS is more popular whereas in Eastern Europe Android is on a top position.

Except for it, there are some else features especially for each platform. For example, Android users run a great variety of OS versions, whereas most of the iOS users run the latest version.

 

There is less device fragmentation for iOS devices and more for Android, cheaper store publishing for Android and lots of other differences in the way users interact with an app and development process itself. You have to decide if you are ready to develop an app for both platforms or make a choice.

 

As for the scope of features that you need, obviously, they also have an impact on the price of app development.

 

So, if you stick to a budget, you have to carefully consider the scope of features that are essential for the product.

 

There is always a list of things basic for your type of product and something more than you may want to add to your product.

Thus, among the basics for some types of apps we can distinguish the next features:

  • Log in

The feature that is basic for practically any type of application. Whatever the user is going to use an app for, it is important to have a personal account. There is a lot of login types - password/username login, social media or 2-factor authentification - more or less complicated they require different effort and time to create.

  • Monetization/Payments integration

Obviously necessary for e-commerce apps or the ones providing in-app purchases. Mechanism of getting money for what you sell and the chance for the user to pay online is crucial here. So, shopping carts and payment systems integration is something you definitely need.

  • Search

One more important feature for multiple types of apps. E-commerce, galleries, social media - all of them must be easy to navigate. Search is a great feature to help the user get through the content and find what they came for.

  • Notifications

Feature necessary for any type of an app. It keeps users update about what’s happening to the app and the service in general. There are a few types of notifications - they may contain action buttons, pictures, etc. Also, who and when get the notification has to be decided.

  • Messaging

For some types of apps, such as social networks or any app that may require instant consultation, messaging is highly important. 

 

Among the other features, your app may include some others, for instance, it may be synchronization between devices, geolocation, streaming, offline mode and so on. The choice depends on the type of app and the budget itself.

 

For a small business, it is a good idea to conduct both market and user research and set for minimum viable product - an app with the least necessary set of features.

Thus, you can save money, stay in budget. Moreover, it saves time and efforts of the team and protects you from the possible mistakes at the stage of development and design.

 

Thus, the amount of money spent on app development may vary greatly.

To understand what actually you need and how much it costs it is better to apply for professional consultation.

 

We may help you to get the best option for your case and your budget.

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