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August 18, 2023

Mobile App Development Costs

If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about developing an app. However, unless it’s a super simple app, you’re not going to be doing the job yourself. That means you need developers, so budgeting mobile app development costs is naturally essential to judging the feasibility of the project.

Here’s a breakdown of how much you should expect to pay for your nearshore mobile app development. We’ll also share with you why we think you should consider outsourcing and certain development methods to keep those costs as low as possible.


How Much Does Mobile App Development Cost?

This varies widely depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Mid and large-size companies vary in the amount they report paying for mobile app development. Most nearshore mobile app development will cost anywhere between $30,000 to $500,000. The app development industry has a wide range of costs depending on complexity, platform, and more.

Smaller companies obviously paid less, but even then, companies were routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars to build a quality app.

Mobile App Development Costs 1260x630


Native or Hybrid Mobile App Development?

One factor in the difference in rate is whether you choose native or hybrid development. Native development is where the app uses the native programming languages of the device to build the app, whereas hybrid uses web technologies for content delivery inside a natively programmed shell.

Obviously, hybrid development will be cheaper since web development is easier, but here’s a breakdown of the cost by the type of app you create. From a small minimum viable product app up to the largest enterprise apps, and an onshore, offshore, or nearshore firm, you’ll see there’s no shortage of options to consider.

1 Platform
Native App
Both Platform
Native App
Both Platform
Hybrid App
$21K - $152K $32K - $251K $22K - $162K





1 Platform
Native App
Both Platform
Native App
Both Platform
Hybrid App
$14K - $106K $28K - $175K $15K - $113K


Here, you’re likely looking at domestic (U.S.) developer rates of around $100 per hour and $25 to $60/hour offshore or nearshore.


Waterfall or Agile Development for Mobile Apps

Waterfall is a tried-and-true method for developing an app. It works by relying on rigid project specifications to guide the app’s design. If you’re budgeting, say, $10,000, waterfall methodology dictates to the dollar how you’ll spend those funds. Specifications are exhaustively designed and documented, allowing you to develop on an extremely limited budget.

While waterfall enables the nearshore mobile app development team to get started with a clear idea of deliverables, there isn’t much margin for error. If priorities change later on, the project may need to be redesigned. This can lead to potential cost overruns.

The waterfall method should only be used if you’re confident in your app strategy from the get-go. For those that might not have a solid plan yet or are rushing to get their product to market, agile development is a better option.

Agile development focuses on frequent iterations and consistent change. It allows developers to focus on select features for short periods of time without lengthy specs.

By testing the app frequently, the team identifies problems and can fix them in the workflow, trimming costs and streamlining development. The agile workflow requires excellent communication, skilled project management, and workers who can independently build and troubleshoot.

Case studies indicate that agile methods deliver a better piece of software in less time than traditional methods. That’s because the development team is always working on the most important features during each development sprint. Shorter turnaround times get apps to market faster.


The Argument for Mobile App Development Outsourcing

With so much of the mobile app development budget being employee and contractor costs, outsourcing is a great method to keep those expenses down. While outsourcing with a reputable, fully-vetted global team through Accelerance may cost you more than outsourcing the job to a freelancer on Upwork or other similar sites, you’ll get a skilled, knowledgeable development team at a rate 30px lower than that of domestic rates.

Here’s what you should expect to pay, and how it compares.

In House Developer Accelerance Verified Teams
 $95 - $150/hour  $25 - $60/hour


A word of caution, though, cost should never be the driving factor in software outsourcing; there’s much more to gain. Proven software providers all over the world bring considerable mobile development experience to your app - an experience that would be nearly impossible for you to develop with your own in-house team. 

Top software companies invest in great hiring practices, ongoing training and have broad exposure to industry needs and use cases. Nearly all the best software outsourcing companies are experts in both agile and waterfall development practices.

Accelerance software outsourcing advisory services ensure that your mobile app can be outsourced successfully with world-class results. Contact us and we can connect you with the right-fit outsourcing partner. 

Andy Hilliard

As CEO, Andy leads and advocates for the globalization and collaboration of great software teams with companies in search of talent, innovation and a globally-distributed extension of their engineering function and culture. Andy founded the ground-breaking nearshore software development services company, Isthmus Costa...

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