How much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer?
When it comes to hiring that mobile developer, how much they charge and your project’s budget are probably primary concerns. Whether you’re working with a native operating system or using cross-platform software, starting from scratch or adding new integrations, you’ll need a mobile pro with the right skill set for your particular project. Let’s take a look at the cost factors for hiring a mobile app developer.
1. Your chosen mobile platform—native, web, or hybrid?
Do you need a native app—whether that’s Android, iOS, or Windows—or are you looking to create a hybrid, web, or cross-platform mobile app? This can affect cost for a few reasons. First, creating a native app locks you into that specific platform. You’re creating a codebase that’s written for that mobile platform, and that mobile platform only. This means that creating a native app for each platform immediately adds to the timeline and budget of a project.
When businesses want apps that can run on multiple platforms, many turn to web, hybrid, or cross-platform options, whether those are web applications that run on any device, or apps created with Xamarin or PhoneGap that compile to run natively on a device. With one version of your app for all OS’s and devices, you’re saving time and money—and it can be easier to update down the road. But you should account for cross-platform apps being a bit slower, and the app will still need to be optimized for each device despite the promise of building once and running everywhere.
2. App project complexity and deliverables.
Laying out what you need from your mobile app will help you determine deliverables, phases, and the amount of time it will take to complete. Mobile app development projects can take anywhere from a week to six months, or more—it will all depend on what you need in terms of design, integrations, and other functionality. For example, a simple utility app may require no server-side integrations, but a real-time messaging app will need back-end integrations and database support.
Define what the mobile developer will be doing as more simple app development might incur a lower rate and shorter timeline. Are you converting your mobile app’s code to a newer version, like Swift to Swift 3, or updating an Android app to Kotlin? Are you making a few updates or adding integrations for resubmission? Or, are you starting an app from scratch? Will it handle sensitive data and require complex OAuth customization?
When Determining Scope and Cost
|Existing app: bug fixes, new features, or patches needed
|New version: with patches for resubmission
|Requires: API integration
|UI Design Updates
3. Developer experience, location, and rate
Much has been written about the cost of mobile app development. The cheapest, quickest option on the market today, is probably an app builder site like Buildfire or Apps Builder. If all you need is a simple layout with minimum functionality, app makers can be very economical with tiered subscription plans ranging from $10-150 per month. However, if you want full customizability, and are serious about incorporating a mobile app into your business, you’re going to want a developer.
Geographic location and local market conditions can also affect a freelance developer’s rates. Freelance Xamarin developers and PhoneGap freelancers charge anywhere between $10-$60 an hour, depending on location. Another factor is a mobile developer’s reputation. If they are still building their portfolio, they may price more competitively than experienced professionals. Who you need will depend on your app’s complexity—finding the right mobile developer should match your goals for your app with their related experience.
Typical Rates Charged by Mobile Developers*
|Type of Mobile Developer
|Average Hourly Rate
|Basic/Intermediate iOS Developer
|Beyond fundamentals like Objective C and/or Swift, and the Xcode IDE, also skilled in one or more frameworks and APIs like Foundation, UIKit, and Cocoa.Skills may include familiarity with bu tracking systems like Bugzilla, dependency management tools like CocoaPods, and version control with GitHub – technologies typically learned while working on project teams.
|Basic/Intermediate Android Developer
|Beyond fundamentals like Java, Android SDK, and the Android Studio IDE, also skilled with one or more frameworks like Ionic, Corona, and Material Foundation. Familiarity with bug tracking systems like Jira, dependency management tools like Gradie, and version control with GitHub – technologies typically learned while working on project teams.
|Programming with C# and the .NET framework, Xamarin or Visual Studio.