How Much To Make An App

*Easily* calculate the cost of a mobile app

#3 Product of the WeekJanuary 29, 2015
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Vibin@vibin_r · Android Developer, Meesho
It estimated $22,300 for a free beautiful Android app with icon, but no API calls, login, profiles, reviews. Isn't this weird?
Marco Paccagnella@emmestandsfor · Product and UX/UI Designer
used this a few times, lovely. the Crew guys are good at side projects :) (see Unsplash)
Mikael Cho
@mikaelcho · Creator of Unsplash
@emmestandsfor Thanks Marco :)
Ryan Bateman@rynbtmn · Technical Product Owner, Novoda
As much as I love the idea, this seems like a very dangerous and very strange tool. It fails to take into account developer talent, the market, agency vs. contractor, geography, maintenance, and so many other factors that it feels essentially useless. Yes, you can get a social-login app that allows a user to create an account and rate things for $45k from *someone* (I'd guess the company that built the site). But is it a codebase that's maintainable? Will what the client considers "barebones" design be the same as the person/agency who implements it? Will it to be a timescale that suits both the developer and the client? Or are all of these assumed? I have a fair amount of experience explaining and justifying app development costs and developer rates, so I'm quite happy to have these conversations with people, but they're very important discussions. This tool turns every discussion (like "here are the upsides and downsides of using agencies versus contractors") into "Yes, but this website said this is how much it should cost."
Ross@GoLocalApps@golocalapps · GoLocalApps
Funny I was playing with this the other night. For what we consider our basic app (geolocation directories) they estimated $30K, we tend to do them for $4-5K, and going up from there depending on custom work. Then again we build a framework that lets us do them in hours not days. Now considering a major price increase.
tom meagher@tomfme · now is good.
It would be neat if it gave an hours estimate too.
Mikael Cho
@mikaelcho · Creator of Unsplash
@thomasmeagher Hey Tom! Great point. This is something we're working on. How would you imagine it working to be most helpful for you? Like you could insert your hourly rate and that switches up the cost to build each feature? Thanks again for the input.
tom meagher@tomfme · now is good.
@mikaelcho Hourly rate factoring into cost per feature is an interesting idea. It would be useful to have a total estimated hours at the end along with the cost. Obviously would have to be a range, but it helps put the cost into context. The question after how much does this cost is usually how long will it take.
Steven Ritchie@staticsteven · Product Strategy @ Versett
@mikaelcho @thomasmeagher Is the target for this a potential customer looking to get a developer/designer? Or for freelancers to put together estimates? Seems a tad weird to me that you would need both an estimate of $ and time, just time makes a lot more sense since all developers and designers are going to charge different rates.
Mike Bestvina@mbesto · Professional Utility Infielder
@thomasmeagher personally, I'd stay away from this. A few reasons: 1. If you're developer estimating a large-ish ($5k+) job, I would never quote in hours (days are better). No reputable, working app gets built in hours. 2. During an initial quoting/estimation process, we developers are always overconfident. The hours are inevitably going to be off. 3. Some developers are quicker than others. Want to write a login page? Great, I can do that in Ruby and the devise gem in a few hours. A Lisp developer might do this in 2 days. (please don't turn this into a discussion about why you would never use Lisp to do this...etc) The only value of cost calculators is for framing, not for planning. Right now, everyone's frame of reference for the cost of an app is that "Mark Zuckerberg built FB in a weekend in his dormroom". This notion is extremely dangerous because it doesn't value developer's time and compensation.
tom meagher@tomfme · now is good.
@mbesto Completely agree. The real-world development process is highly variable and this model does not capture everything. Thought hours would be an interesting addition because it can be converted to days, applied to an hourly rate, etc.
Mike Bestvina@mbesto · Professional Utility Infielder
@thomasmeagher this calculator is good to get the base and frame expectations. I always recommend doing a 1-2 day planning session (paid on a daily rate) to mock and scope before doing any estimation to a client. you can sell this easily, b/c even if your estimation might not fit the client's budget, they can use the output artifacts (mockups, documentation) to send to another developer and so it's still time well spent for both you and the client.