How Much Does a Mobile App Cost? Less If You Have Mockups


so much depends
a red wheel
William Carlos Williams

Lots of people have great ideas they want developed into mobile apps.  Queries about our custom mobile application development services almost always include a question about cost.  When asked to name a price, a software developer answers, "It depends." It is the correct answer.  However, it's a frustrating Q & A for both parties. 

What does cost depend upon?

We've had to learn the answer ourselves.  I first asked and answered the question, How much does a mobile app cost?, in November of 2010, three months after the launch of our first mobile app, a directory with contact information connecting the people and companies featured on Handshake 2.0.  I answered the question again a year and a half later in How Much Does a Mobile App Cost? A Case Study and shared the story of the design and development of our mobile app, Thought Full(R).

Today, instead of replying to queries, "It depends," I send the link to our case study about Thought Full and ask if the client has mockups.

The way to help get a specific, accurate quote from a mobile app developer is to figure out exactly how you want the app to work for the user, screen by screen, and create a model of the app with mockups – renderings of the idea in images – to show to the developer.

For example, here's a screenshot of the folder that contains early mockups of Thought Full, designed by Kelsey Sarles.

Mobile app mockups decrease development time

The greatest factor determining how much a mobile app costs is how quickly and easily the developer can start coding.  The more time it takes for a project manager or a developer to figure out what you want and what you want for the user to do with the app, the more the app will cost.  The time you spend thinking about your app and making mockups to show how your great idea for a mobile app will really work, the less your app will cost and the sooner your users will have it in their hands. 

. . . . .

First Bank & Trust CompaySponsored by First Bank & Trust Company, one of the top community banks in the United States, with office locations in southwest Virginia, northeast Tennessee, and the New River and Shenandoah Valleys of Virginia. You're invited to read more from First Bank & Trust Company on Handshake 2.0.

First Bank & Trust Company is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

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  1. Being a UX Designer for a national creative agency, Pappas Group, and designing iOS and web apps for Comcast, GEICO, Rosetta Stone and the State Department (so far, since June), I live and die by the wireframes I create and design comps myself, my designer, and the art director on my team create. Without them, everything would be lost, and the app would fail to exist.

  2. Thank you so much, Wade, for your comment! Just great to hear that others have had the same experience – and may ours save others time and money – and their apps!

  3. I couldn’t agree more! There is so much to be gained and better understood in the process of creating wireframes.

    This is what I love about Handshake2.0– great posts that provide the opportunity for developers, designers, and business people alike to discuss the best approach to implementing trending technology.

  4. Thank you so much for the praise, Kelsey – and for contributing your experience and expertise to the discussion!

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