If you know nothing about development, however, you may want to think long and hard before partaking in such a ambitious endeavor. Here are some things to consider.
HOW DO I FIND A GOOD DEVELOPER?
Assuming you don’t know any recent graduates from a computer science program, or just want to find a development shop that will produce quality work, one simple starting point, is to find agencies that have either won awards or received ample press in tech-related news sites or blogs.
If their apps have a heavier programming or coding component to it, they don’t necessarily want to go after an agency that only has experience with more simplistic apps.
WHAT IS THE BASIC SETUP OF A DEVELOPMENT TEAM, ANYWAY?
A development team is not just a couple developers. It’s a much bigger team that makes everything operate. It’s sort of like if you think about a Broadway play. You have the actors on stage, but then there’s a whole bunch of stuff happening behind the scenes. An app that gets built properly is sort of similar.
In addition to developers, a team will almost always include one or more designers, who create all of the visual content to be coded into the project. Account managers, along with acting like a liaison for clients, work with product managers or producers to coordinate the completion of different tasks. Product managers are a bit like directors–they are responsible for the overall vision of the app. The stereotype is that designers and product managers are easier to find than developers, but when it comes to high-quality talent, finding good people on the creative side can be just as difficult.
WHAT IS THE COST OF AN AVERAGE APP, AND WHY?
You’re likely looking at around $120-150k to do that. So if you break it down, it’s basically 120 hours of work per week, times an average of 8 or 10 weeks. You have two developers working full time (that’s 80 hours), and then you have a designer and art director working half-time (that’s about 20 hours), and then you have a product manager and an account manager coordinating. And that’s the another 20 hours. And so that’s where you get 120 hours from.
If that sounds unfeasible, you can always go a cheaper route and hire a freelance developer, though quality can be highly variable and anyone unfamiliar with programming may have a difficult time properly assessing the quality of a developer.
Anyone who’s saying that you need less time than [8-10 weeks], or can do it significantly cheaper is cutting corners somewhere. Hiring a freelance developer online who’s in some far-off land and you’ve never met can be tempting, but will they really be able to properly interpret your vision and build the app you’re expecting? We’ve met a lot of people with stories of heartbreak and frustration with time and money wasted.
The most common success story involves a good beta-test or proof-of-concept that is good enough to get another round of funding and maybe even attract some press, but ultimately needs to be rebuilt from the ground up by a more experienced team.
Costs can depend on the type of project you wish to complete. Games are consistently among the most expensive products, since they usually require the most complex coding. The cheapest apps often fulfill one specific purpose, such as a calculator or flashlight. Other complexities are apps that require multiple interfaces for different users (think drivers, passengers, and admins on a taxi app, for example). Is your app tying into a third-party API? Are you using standard iOS elements or something completely custom? Ae you leveraging existing technologies or inventing completely new ones from scratch? Building a robust social network can be incredibly complex (just think of how many employees Facebook has!). But if you start with a proper MVP (minimally viable product) many of these issues can be mitigated, but it often means putting rand plans and expansive feature sets on hold for an initial launch.
There is a negligible difference in price between the construction of iOS and Android apps, although Android can sometimes cost a little more. This is due to the wider range of devices and operating system versions that an app needs to be optimized for.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a tech-savvy friend to do this kind of work for cheap or free. However, odds are it will be incredibly difficult to find someone willing to ignore the tens of thousands of dollars they could be making for a single app working for someone else.
It shouldn’t cost more than 50 grand to build a respectable app. Well, go ahead and try and hire two developers, one back end, one front end. With even $50k, if you’re paying a competitive salary, you’ll last two and a half months, maybe less.