Is it all the same?

How much does it cost to make a mobile application?

This is the question we are asked daily. And after each quote we provided, the next one was done 1% faster.  Why does it sound so easy? Because we have a niche.

When you work with predefined types of business, a specific stack of technologies, a proven team, and tens of projects done - the estimation process becomes a standard procedure.


So in this article, we will share with you the basic logic of estimation which we use to estimate the cost. Once this estimation is done - we consider it along with another metric - Client’s Score, which can decrease or increase the price. And together they form a commercial proposal which we send to a prospective customer.


Usually, on the pre-sale stage, we use the BANT framework ( Budget, Authority, Need and Time).  Let’s assume that we talk to a decision-maker, and the Need really exists.


So, we need to calculate a realistic timeline and the cost of each feature. Additionally, we calculate risks, urgency, complexity, deployment and communication hours. 

Sounds easy? Or no?

Simplicity is deceiving, so let’s split these tasks into two steps - calculate regular repeating features and processes, and then - add situative coefficients. 


Any mobile app has 3 main components:

Regular(Obvious) features+Unique(Killer) features + Business logic and goals.


Regular features, that you’ll find in 95% of apps are: 

- authorization

- user profile and user roles

- settings

- history

- notifications and chat 

- payment module

- support

- social media sharing

- permissions of usage of smartphone firmware


Unique features - here are several examples:

- video editing or streaming

- AI-based training programs

- offline dictionaries

- IoT integrations  - smart home apps


And the third component, which more than the previous two defines, whether a product will succeed or no. Business logic comes out of business model. This includes the following:

- what community is a product target audience

- audience requirements for a product look

- requirements for all related devices 

- requirements to security

- requirements to infrastructure

- application complexity

- product algorithms

- business goals

- and many many more

The last point rather goes to non-functional requirements, but at the end of the day is the most important.

So how the cost and time estimation process usually goes?


Step 1

Estimate regular features

Step 2

Estimate unique features after an obligatory clarification.

At this stage it’s important to define which technical solutions are supposed to be custom, and which ones - from the box. 

Step 3

A session with the prospective client to collect business requirements. This defines the coefficients to be used in a commercial proposal.

More about this in our next post!