You’ve determined that you need a mobile app for your business, what now?
What are your options? How much does it cost? What will it look like?
These are all important questions we are going to answer in this article. Let’s take a look at custom apps vs. the DIY route, and what those each look like.
Custom app development
Custom apps are built by experienced developers, and have a unique design and feature set specifically tailored to your needs.
They can look and work exactly the way you want, and the developer does all of the heavy lifting. Custom apps cost a good amount of money, so your budget will be the determining factor.
What should you expect from a custom app?
Custom apps generally include a custom design, icon and splash screens, API integration, custom feature development, testing, and submission to the app stores. It is everything you need to get your app done and into your customers’ hands.
Your developer should work with you to understand what you need and how to create that as efficiently as possible. Make sure to discuss your expectations and your developer’s expectations before committing to a project.
Custom apps are generally more expensive than websites. They are more complex to build and release, and they have more advanced features.
The typical custom app project is anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. Many agencies will not even entertain a custom app project for less than $100,000.
Here at AppPresser, our minimum requirement is $10,000 for a custom app, and most projects cost more than that.
You will also need an Apple and Google developer account, $99/yr and $25 respectively. Some companies may publish the app under their own name, but we believe it’s important for you to have full control of your own app. If at any time you want to switch developers, you can do that without an issue.
If you need push notifications, they require a 3rd party server which is about $49/mo.
The cost of a project depends on what features the app will have. Each component of interaction adds to the price. For example, if you need a login/registration feature, a photo upload, in app purchases, or custom push notifications, each of those items will significantly add to the total cost.
You can read a case study about the List25 custom app on our blog.
Do it yourself
If a custom app isn’t in your budget, doing it yourself is the next best thing.
Since a developer isn’t going to be doing this for you, it’s more important to realize the costs, and set your expectations before diving in.
Even if you don’t know how to code, it’s possible to build an app yourself using one of the many app builders out there. Let’s talk about how that works.
App Builders allow you to put together an app visually without writing code. It’s similar to how WordPress works for websites. You can choose your app pages, menus, colors, and customize it to a certain extent.
First, it’s important to set your expectations.
Many people come to us with lofty ideas for extremely complex apps, and expect that a DIY app builder can accomplish this for them. If you want to remake the Pinterest or Amazon app, you are going to need to spend 6 figures on custom app development. They probably spent millions.
If you don’t have the budget for a custom app, you may have to compromise on some app features to get on the app store. Don’t worry, you can still create a great app that represents your business well.
Cost varies widely from $20/mo to $667/mo, most fall in the range of $49/mo to $99/mo.
That cost includes the software you will use to build the app, as well as making changes and updates after it’s published. It also includes other things like stats, support, and new features.
Same as with a custom app, you will need an Apple and Google developer account, $99/yr and $25 respectively. Some companies may publish the app under their own name, but we believe it’s important for you to have full control of your own app. If at any time you want to move companies or change your app, you can do that without an issue.
Another major cost is push notifications. These require a special server that is setup to connect to your app and send the push notifications. A push notification server will cost you monthly no matter how you build your app, and this service is included with most app builders.
What is a mobile app worth to your business?
If you spend $49-$99/mo on a mobile app, is it worth it?
If you sell products or services on your website, do you think you could get one sale per month because you had an app? If you can send push notifications to your readers’ phones when you publish something new, would your engagement go way up?
The answer is unequivocally yes. You can reach new customers and engage existing ones better with a mobile app. If you still need more reasons to get a mobile app, read 4 reasons a mobile app can help your business.