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How much does it cost to hire an app developer?

Laiba Tariq

Updated: January 23, 2024

25 min read

Content

hire mobile app developer

You’ve thought of a great app idea. It’s going to make you tons of money, rake in millions in downloads, and it’s going to become one of those household app names. Now what? 

You have to build a mobile app development team, right? 

Cue that one obvious, glaring question you’ll have before anything else: how much should it cost to hire a mobile app developer? 

Where do you go to find the cost to hire app developers? How do you calculate every cost of your new project? These questions might be whizzing in your head long before you got to reading this, and the good news is that we’ve got everything answered here. 

If you’ve been all over the place when it comes to the cost of hiring your team of developers or what to financially expect in this process, keep reading this detailed blog on how much it will cost to hire an app developer!

Average rates charged by mobile developers

According to Clutch, the average cost of hiring app developers is between $25 to $49 per hour. They also mention that on average, most mobile app development projects cost around $10,000 to $49,000 to fully complete and launch. 

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But before you take these figures to heart, just know that they’re not drawn in the sand. You will come across and settle for a possibly different rate, depending on various factors. 

Some of the main factors that influence these average rates are: 

  • Experience level: Senior developers with experience charge more than junior developers.
  • Geographical location: Some countries will have a drastically changed rate because of currency conversions.
  • Type of app: iOS app projects and Android mobile app projects have different costs and rates. Similarly, native, web, or hybrid apps will bring you different rates.

However, they’re not the only factors that influence the average rates charged by mobile developers. I’ll be getting to that in a bit, though so keep reading!

Another thing that you should consider is that your average rates will fluctuate depending on the type of developer you’re hiring. According to Upwork, here is a general breakdown of the different types of mobile app developers, the skills they typically have, and the average hourly rate they’ll charge:

Type of mobile app developerSkills they haveAverage hourly rate
Basic iOS developerSkilled in Objective C, Swift, and Xcode IDE. Knowledge and experience working with frameworks and APIs like Foundation, UIKit, and Cocoa. Also familiar with Bugzilla, CocoaPods, and GitHub$45–$75+
Basic Android developerControl over Java, Android SDK, Android Studio IDE, Ionic, Corona, Material Foundation, Jira, Gradie and GitHub$35–$60+
XAMARIN DeveloperProgramming proficiency with C#, .NET Framework, Xamarin, and Visual Studio$20–$50
PhoneGap developerProficiency in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery Mobile. Can also know Iconic, BackBone.js, Swift and Java$16–$60+

How to calculate the cost of app development?

Beyond the hourly rates you have to pay to hire an app developer, there are many other costs and figures that you need to keep in check. If you’re like me, and you don’t like surprises, you’ll want to properly calculate the cost of your project.

I broke down that process into 4 steps and here’s what that looks like:

Define project scope

Clearly outline the project’s objectives, features, and functionalities. Determine the platforms (iOS, Android, both) and technologies needed. 

Break down the app into features, categorizing them by complexity (basic, intermediate, advanced). Understanding the intricacy of each feature helps in estimating the workload.

You should also divide the development process into phases, such as:

  • Planning, 
  • Design,
  • Development, 
  • Testing,
  • Deployment.
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Research developer rates

Explore hourly rates or project fees charged by app developers. Rates vary based on factors like location, experience, and skill set. Conduct thorough research to find suitable developers within your budget.

Reach out to multiple app development agencies or freelancers to get detailed quotes. Ensure these quotes include a breakdown of costs, hourly rates (if applicable), and any additional expenses.

Examine past projects from potential developers to gauge their capabilities. Discuss potential additional costs, milestones, and payment schedules. 

Speaking of payment schedules, now you have to choose your billing methods!

Choose billing methods

Understand different billing methods, such as hourly rates, per-project fees, or retainer agreements. Select a method aligned with your project scope, timeline, and financial preferences.

Now that you have how much you’ll be paying for the entire project, it’s time to understand the “how”. There are 3 different ways you can choose to pay to hire an app developer. 

First, you can hire an app developer on their hourly rates, letting them use time stamping software to record their hours. You can then review those hour logs and pay them for it!

Secondly, you can opt for a per-project fee as well. This one offers more stability in terms of the cost and suits best to freelancers if you choose to hire them. 

On a per-project fee, you can find and hire an app developer, agree upon a rate, and then pay once the project is done to your preference. It also gives you more control over the final product and helps you avoid paying for rework most of the time!

Last but not least, if the project is going to take months, you can choose to hire an app developer for a retainer agreement. You’ll have to draw up a legal agreement with informative clauses and agree to pay them a fixed “salary” or retainer amount per month. 

Use online cost estimation tools

Leverage online tools and calculators tailored for app development cost estimation. Platforms like “HowMuchtoMakeAnApp,” or “Clutch” allow you to input project details for rough cost estimates based on industry standards.

In these tools, make sure you account for ongoing maintenance and update costs such as bug fixes, feature updates, and platform adjustments after the launch. You should also account for any hidden costs such as:

  • Onboarding, 
  • Equipment, 
  • Software licenses, and 
  • Potential rework.

Factors affecting the cost of hiring an app developer

Did you know the cost to hire app developers is somewhat in your control too? Many factors play a role in how much it’ll cost to hire a mobile app developer for your project, and it’s a smart move to begin by understanding these factors. 

Here are the top 6 factors that influence your cost to hire app developers:

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Experience

The experience of an app developer is a pivotal factor influencing project costs. Developers with a wealth of experience bring a deep understanding of best practices, potential challenges, and efficient coding methodologies. 

Their seasoned expertise often translates to quicker problem-solving, streamlined development processes, and ultimately, a higher price tag for their services.

When we talk about experience, you have to take in their industrial vertical experience as well. Industrial vertical experience is when your app developer has experience in the same industry or field your project is in. 

Let’s say you are building a gamification app for K-12 education. App developers who have worked and developed apps in this niche will bring in a greater experience, resulting in possibly higher rates for their seasoned approach and industry expertise. 

Skills

The skills of an app developer, especially in high-demand areas like AI, blockchain, or AR/VR, can significantly influence the cost of hiring. Developers with specialized expertise command higher rates due to the scarcity of these skills. 

While hiring a developer with niche skills may seem costly, it is crucial for projects requiring advanced functionalities. Striking a balance between the required skill set and budget constraints is more important than it might seem. 

You should carefully evaluate their project needs to determine whether specific technical skills are indispensable or if more cost-effective alternatives exist without compromising quality.

Mobile platform

Choosing the mobile platform for app development—whether iOS, Android, or both—will significantly influence your costs. Each platform requires distinct development environments, languages, and testing processes. 

Developing for both platforms often incurs different expenses due to the need for specialized expertise and additional testing efforts, making platform selection a crucial cost consideration.

However, the cost to hire iOS developers will be less than Android developers because iOS apps are quicker to build and don’t require the same skill set as an Android app. 

Type of app

No matter what platform you choose, the type of app you’re constructing plays a vital role in how much money is about to flow out of your wallet. 

Gaming apps, for instance, often require intricate graphics and advanced programming, making them more resource-intensive and costly. Conversely, simpler apps with basic functionalities may incur lower development costs. 

It is important for you to carefully assess the app’s intended functionality, as more complex features generally translate to increased development time and money. 

Tip: Clearly define the app’s purpose and features upfront to manage expectations and app development budget effectively.

Geographical location

The geographical location of the app development team plays a crucial role in the cost of hiring an app developer. Developers in regions with higher costs of living and stronger economies typically charge higher hourly rates for their services. 

On the contrary, outsourcing to regions with lower labor costs may offer potential savings. However, businesses should consider potential trade-offs, such as differences in time zones, communication challenges, and varying standards of quality. 

Balancing the advantages and disadvantages of different locations is essential to make informed decisions and ensure the overall success of the app development project.

Project complexity

Your industry won’t affect the hourly rates but your app features will!

App complexity such as app features, design, and integration with other systems is a critical factor influencing the overall cost of hiring an app developer. More complex projects demand greater expertise, time, and resources to ensure successful implementation. 

For example, an app requiring intricate backend integration, sophisticated user interfaces, or real-time data processing will inherently incur higher development costs. 

To manage costs effectively, businesses should conduct a thorough analysis of the desired features, potential integration points, and design intricacies early in the planning stages. 

This proactive approach helps you make a more accurate budget estimation and minimizes the risk of unexpected expenses during the development process.

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Estimated costs to hire app developer depending on the region

One of the main ways you can decide how much you will inevitably spend on hiring an app developer is to pick the geographic region they belong to, proactively. 

Yes, the cost to hire an app developer varies in different parts of the world, even if they bring the exact same level of skill, expertise, and talent. 

In this section, I wanted to be specific about numbers so you get a realistic and quantitative idea of how much it would cost to hire an app developer for your project. 

RegionHourly rate in USD
Southeast Asia10–40
Eastern Asia20–60 
Eastern Europe30–50
Oceania40–70
Middle East40–70
Western Europe80–100
Australia100–120
United Kingdom100–120
United States120–150

Let’s break down the average costs a little bit further. 

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Cost to hire an app developer from North America

North America is the most expensive demographic you can choose to hire an app developer for your project, whether that’s Android app development or iOS!

If we talk about the US, the cost to hire app developers can range between $40 to $90— and this is just the base hourly rate. It doesn’t include any extra costs or fees that come with mobile app development projects. 

In Canada, the foundational cost of hiring an app developer is somewhere between $22 to $43, with the average cost to hire app developers being $30 per hour! 

This again is without any additional costs of hiring app developers for your project. 

Cost to hire an app developer from Western Europe

Right underneath North America is Western Europe, at least when we’re talking about the cost to hire app developers! This region includes countries like the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Netherlands, and Switzerland. 

  • When considering the cost to hire app developers from France, the range varies from $30 to $60 per hour, and the average rate stands at $35 per hour.
  • For those interested in hiring app developers from the Netherlands, the hourly rates span from $26 to $50, with an average cost of $40 per hour.
  • In Germany and Ireland, the cost to hire a mobile app developer is in the range of $30 to $55 per hour, and the average rate for mobile app developers is $45 per hour.
  • Switzerland presents a cost range of $40 to $60 per hour for hiring app developers, with an average rate of $35 per hour.
  • In the UK, app developers charge between $28 to $60 per hour, with an average cost to hire app developers being $40 per hour.

Cost to hire an app developer from Central and Eastern Europe

Central and Eastern Europe certainly has a lower cost of hiring the best app developers than Western Europe. Even those who know the nuances of cross-platform apps and have extensive software development experience will be cheaper to hire than in Western Europe!

Here’s a rough breakdown of what you’ll be paying if you hire an app developer from this region: 

  • Hiring a mobile app developer from Poland or the Czech Republic typically ranges from $25 to $50 per hour, with an average rate of $35 per hour.
  • In Romania and Hungary, the cost to hire an app developer varies from $30 to $60 per hour, with an average rate of $35 to $30 per hour.
  • Serbia and Belarus both offer a hiring cost range of $30 to $50 per hour, with an average rate of $40 and $35 per hour, respectively.
  • Ukraine and Russia share a similar cost to hire an app developer, ranging from $35 to $55 and $30 to $60 per hour, respectively. 

Cost to hire an app developer from South America

Being in South America, hiring an app developer from these countries will lower your cost of hiring for the entire process. 

You can still find and hire dedicated developers, skilled in programming languages and the process of being a mobile app developer. Here’s how much these 4 countries should typically cost you:

  • Brazil: $30–$45 per hour,
  • Argentina: $25–$50 per hour,
  • Mexico: $20–$40 per hour,
  • Columbia: $30–$50 per hour.

Cost to hire an app developer from Asia

Known for its cheap costs of hiring, Asia should be the first place you should be looking into if you want to hire app developers for some of the lowest costs possible!

It really doesn’t get cheaper than this— at least when we talk about hiring app developers and developing mobile applications on a budget. Think $8 per hour…

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Here’s a quick breakdown of what the cost to hire an app developer from Asian countries can look like: 

  • Indian developers often charge between $12 to $50 per hour, with $25 being the average hourly rate. 
  • The cost of hiring mobile app developers from China and Bangladesh spans from $20 to $45 per hour, with an average rate of $30 per hour.
  • In Japan, the cost of hiring mobile app developers varies from $30 to $60 per hour, and the average rate is $40 per hour.
  • South Korea presents a range of $18 to $40 per hour for hiring mobile app developers, with an average rate of $25 per hour.
  • The cost of hiring mobile app developers from Pakistan ranges between $8 and $40 per hour, with an average rate of $20 per hour.
  • The cost of hiring mobile app developers from the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore ranges from $20 to $40 per hour, and the average rate is $30 per hour.
  • Vietnam sets the cost of hiring mobile app developers between $10 and $30 per hour, with an average rate of $20 per hour.
  • Turkey offers varying costs from $20 to $50 per hour for hiring mobile app developers, with an average rate of $40 per hour.
  • The cost of hiring a mobile app developer from the UAE ranges from $26 to $50 per hour, with an average rate of $35 per hour.

I also want to shed some special attention on a few facts here. The cost of hiring talent from South Asia is the lowest globally so if that’s your goal, target countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore. 

But don’t be fooled by their low rates because they will have the right skills, experience, and access to market-leading technologies and frameworks!

Hidden hiring costs

Hiring an app developer involves more than just the negotiated salary. Uncovering hidden costs is crucial for an accurate budget, ensuring a smooth onboarding process, and mitigating potential financial surprises.

Onboarding expenses

Beyond the salary, onboarding costs can quietly accumulate. These include training materials, orientation sessions, and the time invested by existing team members to facilitate the newcomer’s integration. 

Investing in a comprehensive onboarding process can enhance productivity and reduce the risk of misunderstandings but should be factored into the overall cost of bringing on a new app developer.

Equipment and software licenses

Equipping a developer with the necessary tools extends beyond a computer. Specialized software licenses, development environments, and other critical tools may be required. For example, if you want an in-house team, you’ll have to incur costs of the set-up equipment and furniture.

These costs can vary depending on the developer’s role and the specific requirements of the project. Ensuring that the developer has access to the proper resources is critical for efficient and effective work but will add more figures to the expenses.

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Potential rework

Even with the most skilled developers, the iterative nature of app development may lead to unforeseen changes or revisions. Rework, whether due to misunderstood requirements, shifting project priorities, or evolving market needs, can result in additional costs. 

Project managers should allocate resources for potential adjustments during the development lifecycle to avoid financial surprises and maintain project timelines.

Team integration and collaboration tools

Effective collaboration and plenty of market research are key to successful app development. You might not see the costs associated with team collaboration tools, communication platforms, and project management software, but they’re vital for seamless coordination among team members. 

Just to name a few off the top of my head, I’m talking about:

While these costs aren’t going to be absurdly high, you can still expect them to add up a little bit. 

Security measures

As data breaches become more prevalent, investing in security measures is imperative. While not always visible on the surface, implementing robust security protocols, conducting regular security audits, and ensuring compliance with data protection regulations contribute to the overall cost of app development. 

If you ask this girl for advice, don’t ignore any of these hidden costs. Be upfront, include them in your financial planning, and be prepared to throw in a few extra dollars here and there! 

You don’t want to be stuck in a fizzle after spending hundreds to hire an app developer because you can’t afford a bit more…

Tips for hiring mobile app developers

Conduct technical interviews

Technical interviews are a litmus test to see if any mobile developer has the knowledge that your app development project will need. So before you hire any software developer or in-house team, make sure to conduct a technical interview and ask them tricky questions about programming languages, frameworks, and industry best practices.

Review past projects and portfolio

If you want to hire a junior developer from any freelancing platform for your mobile app development, this tip will come in handy. Always remember to check and double-check your developer’s past projects and portfolio.

Bonus points if they have industry vertical experience!

If their past projects meet your standards of work and align with your mobile app development process, you can hire them with the comfort of knowing they can do it. If not, maybe start searching on multiple platforms for experienced developers.

Weigh freelancers vs. dedicated development teams

For especially small or short-term projects, a freelancer is almost certainly the way to go. If mobile app development is your entire business, it probably makes sense to hire a full-time employee. The hard part is staffing up a project that’s in between those two situations.

For short- or medium-term projects that require at least a few months of significant bandwidth, you might benefit from hiring a dedicated mobile app development team. These kinds of teams allow you to achieve high velocity without hiring in-house. This is a strong option for when you need more than fractional help from a single freelancer. Hiring a dedicated team is often more expensive than hiring individual freelancers, but reduces the administrative burden of managing a team.

Final thoughts on app development costs

Hiring app developers for your developer team can be a confusing process, especially if you’re just dipping your feet in the app development world. But earning money from apps also isn’t as hard as you might think.

You can find professional app developers and even software development companies online on freelancing platforms, LinkedIn, and more. Along with finding flexible and cheap rates, you get access to world-class talent from the comfort of your home.

But you should also keep in mind that you’ll bump into several hidden app development costs throughout the process. However, with the right tactics, you can launch an incredible app for an even more surprisingly low cost.

 

FAQs

If you want cheap app developers and save money, you should hire freelance app developers from leading freelance platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. Finding top talent here is a straightforward process and since these platforms are review-centric, you’re more likely to get an excellent product in the end!

App developers have numerous ways to monetize their apps and multiply their income. They can choose to have in-app advertisements such as videos, banners, and images or opt for affiliate marketing. 

Of all the different types of mobile app developers out there, iOS app developers are often budget-friendly for most projects.  In general, their hourly rates are anywhere between $15 to $20 but can go up with their experience level or the complexity of a specific project. 
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