How Much Time & Money Does it Take to Build Native Mobile Application?

A common saying in the development fraternity that the simpler and easier an app looks; the more development efforts are behind such an app project. This is why all the seemingly simple design and comfortable user experience of mobile apps involve considerable cost and development time. 

Are you curious about the key considerations and factors critical to the app development cost and time? Well, that’s why we are here to explain these factors one by one. But before that, let’s understand what native apps are and what value propositions they offer. 

What are The Native Apps? 

A native app refers to the mobile app developed for a particular mobile operating system like either IOS or Android. A native app built for a specific mobile OS platform can be downloaded from the respective app marketplaces such as the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.

Usually, superior user experience, smooth performance, faster loading speed and relative ease of use are the factors that make users opt for native apps. On the other hand, just because you need to build separate native app versions for separate mobile OS platforms, such app projects are also more expensive and time-consuming. 

In many US markets where app business is too competitive, cross-platform apps face huge competition. For a mobile app development company in Chicago, it is either the MVP app projects or cross-platform approach that is more useful to cater to startups’ shoestring budget. 

Factors Affecting the Native App Development Cost

Obviously, building native apps require a whole set of considerations, and there is a multitude of factors that influence the development cost and time. Some of the key factors impacting the development cost of native apps include the chosen business model, mobile platform, features and functionalities, app design, and the developer cost.  

Let’s get a brief idea about these different factors impacting the development cost. 

The Business Model of the App

Every app is a business, and hence it must be backed by a business model for earning revenue. Once you are sure of the app solution and its saleability for the specific user problems, you need to decide about your app’s effective monetization strategy. 

You can opt between paid or free apps first of all. While the paid apps are really straightforward, you need to decide about the price based on the cost of development, the user’s willingness to pay, your brand positioning, etc. It would help if you also considered your competition and opt for free or paid apps. 

Now, suppose you decide on the free app model. In that case, you need to have a strategy to push in-app purchases, in-app advertising, and affiliate marketing, creating some gated features that users need to buy, creating a two-tier subscription model with an option for Free app users to buy premium versions later, etc. 

Choosing the Right OS Platform

The second most important consideration for the cost of development is the choice of operating system platform. Since you have decided to build native apps, either you need to create two separate app versions simultaneously for iOS and Android, or you need to build apps for one platform at a time. The question is for which platform you should develop first, and what is more expensive? 

While both platforms have their respective advantages, you need to know the upsides and downsides in detail. 

iOS apps are less expensive and quicker for development compared to Android Apps. This is why it makes sense to build iOS apps first and later extend to the Android platform with a separate version. iOS apps also stay ahead of Android in terms of revenue earning and customer lifetime value (CLV). On the downside, the iOS platform is stricter in terms of quality parameters.  

As for the Android platform, the users of this platform dominate the mobile web and make the vast majority of smartphone users. On the downside, Android apps take more development time. 

App Features and Functionalities 

Another major consideration regarding the cost and time of development is the app features and functionalities. A native app can be a table or listing type, a dynamic one, a database based, or a game app based upon different features and capabilities.  

The table or listing based apps are much simpler, and they only showcase simple information. Database based apps are more complex that users can use to retrieve data from complex datasets. 

Dynamic apps are similar to database apps, but they need to integrate third-party APIs for additional features besides depending on a server hosted database. Lastly, game apps can range from simple 2D games to complex 3D and high animation games. 

Hiring Designers and Developers 

Do you want to go for DIY tools or hire in-house developers and designers for your project? Or, do you want to hire a development company or some expert freelancers for the project? All these choices are likely to influence the development cost differently.  

First of all, the Do It Yourself (DIY) approach can only be right if you have the necessary skills and experience in similar projects. If you hire Freelancers, you can save development costs, but the downsides of less commitment and lack of guarantee you need to bear. 

Large development agencies can be highly expensive, but they guarantee you assured quality and awesome support. A middle path can be hiring small development agencies with great experience and a proven track record.


Obviously, assessing the cost and development time of a native app is difficult without considering a multitude of factors that come into play. This is why here we explained the key influencing factors. 




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