You Need to Invest a Lot of Money When Creating an App

How much does an app cost? This question has around 94,800,000 search results in Google only. The cost spectrum of building software is immense. Obviously, creating an app like Uber or Lyft would be cheaper than building a simple gaming app like Lines. Great software can do a lot of amazing things. Yet, the question remains – why do people tend to devalue it? There are a few simple reasons for that:

Software Is Intangible

Unless you are a developer yourself, it’s really hard to estimate how much work goes into building even a seemingly simple solution. People already paid the top bucks for hardware, so why should they pay for software, which technically doesn’t cost anything to distribute?

The Non-Obvious Benefits

Great software is often synonymous to great experience. Some people don’t mind paying more for a premium up with better design, smoother experience and no ads. Others just don’t see the reason why they should! For the pretty same reasons non-Mac users often don’t understand iOS fans and why those opt to pay more for the same hardware. Yet, Mac users do understand that the experience is simply incomparable to any other device and hardly ever switch back.

People Undervalue Intellectual Property

The mind processes behind building an app a hard to measure. A standard mobile development projects typically includes gathering a cross-disciplinary team of UX, graphical designers, front-end and back-end developers to work over the tiniest details. Yet, this process stays behind the closed curtains for clients and end customers.  It’s often the development company job to justify the top price costs as those are based on years of experience, research and patterns that resulted into millions of downloads.

“We get a lot of inquiries from the buyers about why the two similar apps are priced so differently and the reason is that the first one was developed by one developer that works only on a native code for one platform like iOS or Android while the other was developed by a team; it’s universal meaning it is already cross platform and has many other features,” said Stav Zilbershtein from Sell My App, a popular apps marketplace for ready-made products.

So, How Are Apps Priced?

It’s easy to compare apps with cars. The price range is immense too and most of the times you get what you pay for. You can get a decent used car for $10.000 or less and feel ready to cash out for millions of dollars for a fancy sports/prestigious car.  Just as it is with cars, the following factors play an important pricing role for app:


A car assembled in Japan will cost you more than a car built in India – that’s a no-brainer. The quality is often respective (excluding custom-assembled cars from reputable non-mass market manufactures for example).

If you choose to outsource your app development, be wise when choosing the right region. Some countries have a great worldwide reputation of being top software hubs, while others will certainly save you a good check in the beginning, but may turn out to be a complete nightmare afterwards as the final product would be just non-viable. Hiring a professional is expensive, but hiring an amateur will cost you even more!

Company Reputation

Some car brands are immediately associated with top quality and immaculate design. The same is true for app development companies. History and experience are an integral part of the true reputation.

Proven development studios have already passed through the learning curve and have an established work framework and tested blueprints for building great products. They’ve made their bumps and learned the lessons with many products and clients. Younger players can still be struggling with getting things right from the first attempt and may need more management, guidance and time to figure out all the ends.


Some cars can drive miles through the deserts in hot or cold climates. They can be durable and 100% waterproof. Others are just good enough for a quick out-of-town getaway without much baggage or long hours driving.

The same is true for apps. Some products can handle extremely high-loads and still stay stable. They are built with a fact in mind that it may be built by millions worldwide. Other software is just a pilot project and would hardly be used by more than a hundred of people.  The development costs go up accordingly on how many people you plan to target and what kind of development would go into it.

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Written by:
Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien
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