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"How much does it cost to make an app in 2021?"

A common question we hear around us, but where the answer depends on many factors. Especially since costs are often incomplete and then there are those nice surprises that come out of the hat.

Some apps are insanely expensive and then some are very cheap. Why are there such big differences and what has such a strong influence on the price? Apps can vary in price from $ 2,500 to $ 100,000 and even more.

Roughly speaking, we actually know three types within “app land”:

  1. standard apps
  2. custom apps
  3. Game apps

1. Standard mobile apps

Standard apps often have an existing construction method with limited options. Do you have very specific wishes or a totally unique and unique idea…. it will hardly be possible to build them in these kinds of standard apps.

How do those standard apps actually work?
These are predetermined formats of which you can determine the functionalities yourself. You can then fill this app with your own content in texts, but also in images you have chosen or created yourself. Seeing interactivity or messages from someone else is often difficult.

You can create standard apps quickly and easily with Pure App Builder. In general, these apps are very simple and resemble a website in structure.

You pay per month for the app as well as for keeping this app in the Appstore itself. Calculated back to a year, such a standard app costs between € 2,500 and € 5,000.

2. Custom mobile apps

If you have a unique or completely new idea for an app, you will almost always end up with customization. This takes full account of the wishes that exist, which are then translated into functionality in your app by a team of programmers who will build your app “from scratch”. The costs of a custom app are between € 5,000 to € 100,000.

Custom apps are the most common and therefore deserve some extra explanation in terms of costs. The costs of custom apps are often made up of the following cost types:

  • Development costs

The hours of an app are largely determined by three things: functions of the app, the number of data links and platforms.

Features include in-app purchases, checkouts and other specific features). Each functionality has an equivalent number of hours to build.

Data connections:
Suppose you already have your own database and a link must be made. Such links are often not standard and will therefore have to be tailor-made.

Is your app made for Android and / or iOS. You can roughly say that an extra platform doubles the costs. Android is often more expensive because due to the diversity of the different Android devices, more time is needed for testing and fixing errors.

Hourly rate development
Dutch hourly rates are between € 60 and € 120 per hour; based on the level of experience or specialization of the team. Experienced and specialized people are therefore more expensive; but also often provide better apps.

There are also developers in Eastern Europe or India that are much cheaper; but experience shows that in the end these are often more expensive throughout the entire process. This is due to communication problems and / or cultural differences, which ensure that development takes longer and more hours are spent on project management. There are developers who are successful in linking foreign developers with permanent office project managers in the Netherlands. That, too, is no guarantee for cheaper working!
The simplest custom app with few functions, hardly any data links for one platform made by an inexperienced developer costs approx. € 2.500,-. This is often only the beginning and then you will quickly lose more in subsequent steps.

  • Design costs

It is important to invest in a strong design of your app. This makes the app not only beautiful, but also (above all) user-friendly. It is important that you can retain your users for a long time and that the app does not lead to customer frustration. Never give the customer a reason to remove the app and go shopping with your competitor!

Even if you have experience with design yourself, it doesn’t hurt to hire a specialized app designer. He knows the requirements of an app like no other. This design work is different from the design of websites and sets special conditions for user-friendliness. Due to the design of buttons, icons and screens, there is still quite a bit of money in them. Think of amounts varying between € 500 and € 10,000 on top of the development costs. Add about 25 to 50% if you also need to have a design made for tablets or multiple platforms.

  • Maintenance costs

If you have an app that is in the Appstore, you also want the app to function properly. Apple and Google regularly roll out updates and you have to act on this again.

The developer will help you to fix such update, malfunctions and errors. In addition, the developer takes care of the hosting of the database (almost all custom apps have a database for, for example, data such as: customer log-in, location data, texts, etc.).

You conclude a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the developer in which you determine how your app is supported.

  • Other costs

Preliminary stage:
Before you make an investment in an app, you naturally want to know whether your app has a chance of success. In fact, you want to know how your app can be a success. You can determine how to do this PRIOR to developing an app by getting advice, market research and building a prototype. The big advantage is that through this research and advice you take the costs in advance, so that you can save a lot of money and annoyance afterwards. You can adapt your app in the preliminary phase to the wishes of your target group in such a way that you get more users who engage with your app. Adjusting afterwards not only results in double costs, but due to a knock-on effect on adjustments, it costs more than just the one-off adjustment. A preliminary phase will cost you between € 500,- and € 8,000,-

If your app is in the App Store and / or Play Store, you naturally also want everyone to know that you have an app. The popular App stores are full of more than a million apps. You can advertise in the App stores, but of course also via social media, word of mouth or Google.

In short, make a promotional budget available. Depending on your strategy, the costs vary from € 2,500 to € 25,000. Also applies here; get advice in advance.

In-app purchases:
In addition to the fact that Apple and Google ask for money to put your app in their store (annual fee), they also charge money if you make money in your app with so-called in-app purchases. If you offer a digital purchase and earn money with it, you have to pay 30% of this to Google and / or Apple. Not all purchases are included, but think especially of the sale of an app, a PRO version with more functions or extra virtual coins in a game.

3. Game apps

This category of apps are among the most expensive app types out there. Programming these apps is usually very complex because games often have many options and different functions. Examples of Game App Engines include Unity. Consider an app in which you can play a game of football with an opposition that you can invite to play. The invitation, the interactive part between the two parties, the different players of the teams, the options and possibilities in the movements, keeping the scores and any high scores in a competition, an online community, in short: imagine a game of football and consider what must be technically possible and therefore must be built.

Back to our reality: it depends very much on what kind of game you want to develop and how complex your game is. Are we talking about butter, cheese and eggs or are we talking about a game of bridge? In any case, more or less development hours of a programmer are required (and these are also considerable in hours and costs).

The costs for such an app can therefore vary greatly and range from € 10,000 to € 250,000 (and depending on various factors, possibly even more).


You have an idea for an app and of course the question is which development option you choose. Are you going to make the app online yourself or do you choose a tailor-made process? Depending on your idea you will have to determine what the best solution is.

We have years of experience in building custom apps and can of course help you realize your dream. Contact us to discuss the possibilities!

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