Contact Us

Why Great Apps Cost So Much

Ryan Simon
Design  |  Development

Mobile apps have become essential for businesses to deepen customer engagement and offer innovative experiences. While their ubiquity is undeniable, the rising consumer expectations for quality have driven up development costs.

Developing a minimum viable product (MVP) app for Android or iOS typically costs around $200,000 to $300,000 and takes 6 months, based on our experience at Fishermen Labs. With firms like Pivotal Labs charging $60,000 per coding pair per month, it’s clear that substantial budgets are required for mobile app development. This is because creating great apps necessitates a diverse team of skilled professionals.

Beyond the app team itself, your business needs to allocate resources for marketing materials, provide feedback, and define feature scope. All of this takes time, and as the saying goes, “time is money.”

Key factors driving app development costs:

  • Talent: A typical app project requires UI/UX designers, product designers, copywriters, engineers, QA specialists, researchers, project managers, and product managers.
  • Feature Scope: The complexity and number of features directly impact the workload and timeline.
  • Communication: Effective communication between your business and the development team is crucial for success.
  • User Experience (UX) Testing and Feedback: Iterative testing and feedback are vital for refining the app’s usability.
  • Bugs and Scope Creep: Unforeseen issues and expanding project scope can significantly increase costs.

The Importance of Talent

Depending on your app’s scope and goals, the specific talent needed may vary. However, most apps require at least one professional in each of these roles:

  • UI designer
  • UX designer
  • Product designer
  • Copywriter
  • iOS/Android engineer
  • Backend engineer
  • QA engineer
  • Researcher
  • Project manager
  • Product manager

It’s also crucial to recognize the need for internal business resources to provide content and feedback to the development team. Communication is a cornerstone of successful mobile app projects.

Effective Communication is Crucial

While it would be ideal to simply send your app ideas to the development team and receive a perfect app a few months later, the reality is more complex. A clear list of specifications or use cases is essential for effective communication.

The development team, with their diverse expertise, may offer valuable feedback to enhance your app’s UX. Embrace these UX conversations to create the best possible app for your target audience.

Additionally, dedicated resources are needed to provide branding, marketing materials, in-app content, and other essentials for the app’s completion. Communication breakdowns, missing content, and a lack of dedicated business resources are common obstacles in app development. Ensuring your business is prepared to provide the necessary support from the outset is key to delivering a successful product on time and within budget.

Creating a Great User Experience

The most valuable feedback and effort often go towards perfecting the user experience (UX). Building an app is achievable, but designing a functional and engaging experience that retains users requires extensive research, experimentation, and iteration.

A recommended practice is to conduct closed testing with your target audience early in the development process. This ensures that you’re building features that people genuinely want to use.

Addressing Bugs, Edge Cases, and Scope Creep

Dealing with bugs is a costly and time-consuming part of building a great app. “Bugs” are often unexpected edge cases that weren’t planned for or considered necessary. While most bugs are discovered during QA, some frustrating ones emerge after the app is live.

Scope creep, the addition of work after setting an initial deadline, can introduce expensive bugs. For example, a last-minute idea that “must” be included before launch can disrupt the development process and lead to new issues. Avoiding scope creep is generally the best course of action.

Ensuring Your App’s Success

App development is a complex endeavor, and given the investment involved, there’s a strong desire to guarantee its success. At Fishermen Labs, our mission is to guide businesses in creating apps with a higher chance of success. If you’re committed to building exceptional user experiences, we encourage you to contact us.

If your company is looking to leverage XR (extended reality) solutions to enable your business or activate your products & brand in an innovative and experiential way, please contact us to see how we can help you!
Contact UsContact Us