A Brief Guide to Web Application Development Cost

The first question people ask in 2022 while determining app development is its development cost.

Although this is a simple question it’s hard to answer. There are more than one answer to it, and all make sense. However, the best approach to figuring out a web application’s cost is to understand the queries surrounding the subject and cost of labor.

For instance, hiring offshore developers will be significantly cheaper than hiring domestic developers. Also, the upfront price quoted doesn’t tell everything. App development is getting complicated and building one is a hefty investment for companies. This is a major reason to consider an efficient web development company like Digitrends as your partner. 

To set the correct cost margin, it is first essential to understand types of web applications and factors affecting them. This article elaborates the kinds of apps commonly used, its emerging statistics and then top five factors that affect the app development cost. 

Types of Web Applications

Though websites and web applications sound similar, there’s a slight difference between these terms. Web apps are designed to be interactive, whereas a website’s purpose is to present information. 

There is a wide range of web applications, however, the most used top five types of web apps are:

  1. Static web apps
  2. Dynamic web apps
  3. Single-page apps (SPAs)
  4. Multiple-page apps (MPAs)
  5. Progressive web apps (PWAs)
  • Static web apps
  • simple
  • effortless
  • less expensive
  • languages used HTML, CSS & JavaScript
  • restricted content
  • no flexibility
  • Dynamic web apps
  • fetch real-time data per user’s request
  • technically complex
  • Technologies used: Node.js, Ruby on Rails, jQuery, HTML, CSS, PHP, Perl, Python, etc.
  • For example; Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Single-page apps
  • lot of information on a single same page
  • little information must be updated at a time
  • Technologies used: Meteor, React, Angular, Vue, Ember, and Backbone.
  • For example; Google Maps, Gmail, Netflix, Pinterest, PayPal, and Airbnb
  • Multiple-page apps (MPAs)
  • Reloads and displays a new page from the server if user performs a new action.
  • Technologies used: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, jQuery, etc.
  • For example; web portals, online stores, catalogs, marketplaces, enterprise web apps, etc.
  • Progressive web apps (PWAs)
  • Mobile application lookalike
  • allow users access to all information and features using mobile browsers
  • Technologies used: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • For example; Spotify, YouTube, and Tinder.

Some App Development Cost Statistics

2022 is certainly seeing exiting news and research statistics regarding the app development industry and costs. Below are some figures based on the different sources and methodologies.

  • Google Play releases over 100,000 new apps every month while Apple App Store releases 30,000 apps.
  • The most effective pricing strategies for most apps are free and freemium. For instance, free utilities in Apple App Store account for approximately 92% of the total. Therefore, free apps dominate the app development market.
  • In 2020, mobile app industry was successful in generating in revenue. If this is continued, experts believe this industry will generate almost $ 1 trillion in 2023.
  • Generally, 66% of smartphone users download games. At the same time, over 95% of all users download messaging, communication applications, and web browsers, etc.
  • People usually spend almost 90% of the time people spend on apps.
  • 18.4% is the growth experts believe this industry will reach by 2026. In terms of revenue this is $ 407.31 billion by 2026.

Factors Influencing App Development Costs 

Now that we know the common types of web apps and how crucial its development is in the emerging marketplace. 

Below are the five key aspects to be considered by developers:

  • Quality, cost, and speed.
  • In-house vs offshore app development.
  • Waterfall vs agile development procedures. 
  • Fixed fees structure 
  • Overall estimate of creation.

App Development Priorities: Quality, Cost and Speed 

Be honest and consider priorities while developing an app. Take three attributes: Good, Fast, and Cheap and pick any two attributes for the project. We can’t have all three attributes.

For instance, someone wants a quality app, and is given a choice between

  1. a larger budget with a shorter development timeline
  2. a smaller budget with a longer timeline

Preferred development timeframe from the developer’s side is no longer than 12 weeks. Therefore, the client’s timeline will be longer due to extra time occupied for design and product definitions.

Even if an offshore resource is used and the price is decreased, an additional 6-12 weeks will be added to the development timeline.

In-house vs Offshore App Development

Do your research before deciding on this factor as this will impact on the overall progress in the longer run. 

You are hiring a developer because they know how to execute and execute well. The only way they will build a core competency in programming software, is when the team is familiar with working outcomes. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy for a firm to say “Of course! All of our developers are in-house,” when that’s often not the case.

Some firms will say all their resources are on-shore. In reality, they may have their design resources locally but their development offshore.

Ask who the specific team members would be on the project, and ask to see what past apps they have worked on. You can also ask to talk to the resources and evaluate their communication skills.

Although offshore development is significantly cheaper, hiring in-house engineers will make a big difference during your design phase. It also will save you time and money down the road by bringing technical knowledge into the product planning.

A hybrid approach can work in some situations. Competent, onshore engineering teams can work on the most important parts of a project while using third-party resources for the more menial tasks.

However, without a true engineering team on-shore, this approach won’t work.Technical projects or product managers alone aren’t sufficient.

Waterfall vs Agile Development Processes

web application development

Agile development and waterfall development are the two most prominent methods of app development, however they’re vastly different.

Waterfall Development

Firstly this process has a clear documentation process laid out up-front before initiation of development. Secondly it is a process that should be followed closely.

Agile Development

In this type of development there’s hardly any documentation before starting. Developer’s works in 1- or 2-week sprints and figure out code as they go.

Iterative development

This is a hybrid approach of both development. Some documentation is done up-front, for instance, wireframes and mockups for key screens and functionality. However, details and certain aspects are left to be figured out by the team during development.

To sum up, in waterfall development there’s little flexibility but everyone knows how much it will cost all along meticulous record-keeping. But, this development can be difficult especially for a larger or more complex project.

Thus, the industry is moving toward agile development. This has incremental releases at the end of each development cycle. This results in timely release of the website.

Fixed-Fee vs. Time-and-Materials Costs

Many firm developers may charge extra for any new work or client-specific required changes.

Before setting the fee structure, ask these questions:

  • Are work orders billed at the same rates? 
  • How many of developer’s projects have work orders? 
  • How much is the original contract versus the cost with work orders? 

While a fixed-fee structure may seem like it limits risk the most, caution is suggested. Many times fixed structures exclude key elements that are charged externally, bringing the overall cost to a higher rate. Also, the quality and caliber of developers who work in a fixed-fee structure can sometimes be compromised. 

The development process discussed above also caters to the fee styles chosen by firms. 

For instance, in agile and iterative development processes, companies charge according to the task force and efforts applied to the project. Billing will be done at hourly rates. One key element here is confirming if the hired firm has any time tracking software in place and if you will be allowed to review it. 

The ultimate goal is to get a great product that will accomplish your business objective in reasonable pricing. 

Top web development companies like Digitrends typically prefer to work in agile structure with pre-discussed scenarios, keeping it safe for both ends. 

Estimate Creation 

The final factor that impacts an application’s cost is its process of estimate creation. The right app developer won’t be cheap, but it’ll be well worth the cost. Here are some questions to ask before initiating a partnership with a developer:

  • Who made the estimate?
  • Does that person have a thorough understanding of what we are trying to make?
  • Can I talk to that person?
  • Have they worked on similar apps and used similar technologies?

Consider how actual costs have compared to initial estimates historically to avoid any error in estimation. Lastly, always keep a margin of change which can be also assessed by reviewing prior projects of the developers and their success rates. 


Paying close attention to these factors will help people get a better idea of what an app development budget should look like.

Assess all potential development partners based on these five factors. Some will score better in one area than others.

Become more knowledgeable about what it takes to estimate a project with this brief guide. In conclusion, ensure that your organization is prepared to properly handle the unique challenges that comes with managing mobile app development.

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