How Much Does it Cost to Hire an App Developer?

Nicola Quinn
Nicola Quinn
Published: 09.06.2022

“How much does it cost to hire an app developer?” is one of those complicated questions that doesn’t really have an answer. You can pay as little as $3 per hour to hire an iOS developer, but you’re unlikely to get the amazing app you’re looking for. On the other hand, you can pay $425 per hour for a multi-platform app developer and run out of funds before your app has been completed.

Read through this guide to discover the major factors that determine how much an app developer charges and a few examples to help you estimate how much it will cost to turn your idea into a real app.

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Average Hourly Rates of App Developers

To give you a general idea of how much it costs to hire an app developer so you can put together a realistic budget, here’s a rough guide to the average hourly rates:

  • iOS developer: $45-$75 per hour
  • Android developer: $25-$85+ per hour
  • React Native developer: $25-$70 per hour
  • Xamarin developer: $25-$50+ per hour

What Determines the Price?

Paying a freelancer or an agency to build you an app isn’t like ordering a product online. There’s no fixed rate that everyone pays when they choose to outsource their app development. When calculating how much it costs to hire an app developer, here are some of the things to take into consideration that impact the price.

Mobile Platform

The mobile platform you want to release your app on greatly influences the mobile app developer cost you can expect to pay. Are you thinking about developing an iOS, Android, or Windows app? Have you considered a hybrid or a cross-platform app? Which operating system (or systems) you choose will change the price you’ll pay.

Generally, it costs more to hire an app developer to create an Android app than an iOS or Windows app. This is because the Android platform is more complex and there are more things that need to be created in comparison to iOS or Windows which are simpler and less demanding.

Launching the app on one platform requires the least amount of work from the developer. If you want a native app that works on multiple platforms, this will take a considerable amount of time and will therefore greatly increase how much it costs to hire an app developer.

If you want your app to be available on multiple app stores, consider requesting a hybrid or cross-platform app. This will work out cheaper than creating multiple apps and the final product will be delivered much sooner.

Type of App Development

Mobile app developer price is also dictated by the type of app you want to create. If your type of app is in high demand, there may be plenty of developers able to build it. Because of this, you could pay pretty reasonable rates, since there are so many developers ready to do the job. But since your type of app is so popular, it may not turn out to be that profitable after it’s been created.

In contrast, if the type of app you want to build is obscure, there may not be that many developers qualified to do it. The ones that are able may charge a premium because they know you don’t have many other options. But as it's so unique, when your app is complete, it may make you a lot of money.

Project Complexity

How complicated your app is and how long it will take to complete the project also determine how much it costs to hire an app developer. A simple 1-week project will cost a lot less than a complex 12-month project. Similarly, it’s much cheaper to hire a developer to introduce a new feature into your established app than create a brand new app from nothing.

Your initial idea, development plans, design, features, integrations, and functionality all play a part in how much your app will cost. Having a thorough understanding of what you want to create will make it easier for the developer to estimate the development phases, technology required, methodologies needed, and the length of time it will take to complete.

The better they understand what you’re looking for, the more accurate a quote they’ll be able to provide you.

App Developer Location

One of the biggest factors that affect how much it costs to hire an app developer is where in the world the developer is based. Developers located in the US generally charge the highest prices, while developers in India tend to charge the lowest.

It’s important to remember that when it comes to app development, paying more doesn’t always get you a better product or service. Most mobile app developer rates are in line with the cost of living and typical salaries across the world.

You can expect a US-based app developer to charge more than someone living in the Philippines because both countries have very different living costs. Both developers could have the same qualifications, experience, skills, and feedback, but you’d almost certainly get a cheaper quote from the Philippines-based developer.

Experience and Expertise

Just like with any professional position, the more experience a developer has, the higher their hourly rates are going to be. If you want to keep your mobile app developer costs down while still getting a quality product at the end of the project, choose someone with 3-4 years of experience and great reviews over someone with 9-10 years of experience.

The skills they have and software they’re familiar with will also impact how much it costs to hire an app developer. Objective C, Swift, and Xcode IDE are considered the basics for iOS developers, while Java, Android SDK, and the Android Studio IDE are thought to be the foundation for Android developers. People whose knowledge is limited to these fundamentals should charge a fairly low and competitive rate.

However, iOS developers also familiar with Foundation, UIKit, and Cocoa will likely charge higher prices. Similarly, Android developers who can use Ionic, Corona, and Material Foundation will charge higher rates. The more tools an app developer can use, the more expensive they will be to work with.

man using his work computer and phone to compare a new development platform

Hire an App Developer Cost Examples

To help answer the question, “How much does it cost to hire an app developer?”, here are some real-life examples of the rates genuine freelancers are charging right now. Take a look and you’ll get a better understanding of how experience, location, reviews, and expertise impact their fees.

Example 1

JR is a virtual CTO (Chief Technology Officer) based in Seattle, US. He can turn any idea into an iOS app or build a new feature into your established app already on the Apple App Store.

He has 6+ years of experience working with Swift and specializes in building data-driven, real-time iOS apps with a user-focused interface and experience. App security is one of his strengths and he’s especially good at counteracting jailbreak exploits.

JR studied computer science for 4 years and has excellent reviews from more than 20 clients. He charges $425 per hour for app development.

Example 2

HK is a mobile app developer based in Mohali, India. She can build Android apps from scratch and is familiar with Android Studio, Flutter, React-Native, Firebase, and Sockets.

She has 4 years of experience and specializes in multiple payment gateway integrations, including Plaid, Stripe, Paypal, Paytm, and Google Pay.

HK studied computer science for 4 years and has 5-star reviews from six clients. She charges $10 per hour for app development.

Example 3

PB is an Android app developer based in Bristol, UK. He created the most fully-featured music notation Android app on his own and now creates apps from scratch for clients.

He has 14 years of commercial experience with C/Linux and follows sound software design principles, including SOLID, TDD, and Clean Architecture. He can pick up any new framework quickly and is up-to-date with the most recent Android patterns and components.

PB earned a Master of Computer science degree and has amazing reviews from 6 clients. He charges $45 per hour for app development.

FAQs About App Developer Rates:

There’s no straight answer when it comes to how much it costs to hire an app developer. There are so many different things that dictate the price, from the feedback the developer has received to whether or not they have a degree.

If you’re still unsure about how much you can expect to spend on app developer rates, the following questions and answers may clear things up.

Q1. How Much Are Mobile App Developer Hourly Rates?

According to salary.com, hourly rates for mobile app developers in the US range from $33 to $90, with the median being $47. Mobile app developer prices are determined by various things, including the complexity of your app and where in the world the developer is based.

The more experience, the better the education, and the more positive reviews an app developer has, the more it will cost to hire an app developer.

So you know exactly how much your app will cost you, it’s a good idea to agree on a fixed price for the project instead of an hourly rate. This way, even if the development stage takes longer than you predicted, you’ll still pay the fee you originally negotiated.

Q2. How Much Does a Freelance App Developer Cost?

It costs $18-$35 to hire a freelance app developer on an hourly basis. This is the median hourly rate that most people pay. You can often save money by working with a freelancer for your project, instead of outsourcing it to a big agency. According to upwork.com,

If you take a look at how much the freelance app developers on the site are charging, you can see the hourly rate varies from as little as $3 all the way up to $425. One of the primary things which determines the cost of a freelance app developer is where they’re located. Generally, you’ll pay more for a developer based in the US than you will in other parts of the world.

Q3. What Does the Average App Development Cost?

According to freelancer.com, if you hire an agency, you can spend $30,000-$700,000 for an app. Hiring in-house can be more cost-effective, with an average fee of $68,478 for an app. How much you spend on app development in total largely depends on how you decide to do it.

A better solution is to hire a freelancer to build the app for you. Do this and you can spend as little as $543 to have your app completed.

Alternatively, you can save a lot of your budget by building the app yourself. If you’re starting from scratch, you need to carefully consider how long the learning and developing process will take. Although there’s no physical bill involved, your time is worth the price and you should think about how much it will cost you if you decide to go it alone.

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