How much does an app for small business cost – Engage your customers


In this article, you will find out more about how much exactly does it cost to make an app and what benefits the mobile app can deliver to your business.

How much does an app for small business cost

If you have stumbled upon this article then you are a progressive business owner interested in creating an app for your business. This kind of innovation takes a lot of time and money. But it is worth it. In this article, you will find out more about how much exactly does it cost to make an app and what benefits the mobile app can deliver to your business.

Reinforcing your idea. You should make an app for your business!

You cannot argue that nowadays everyone has a smartphone, thus everyone uses apps. But how much time exactly users spend using apps? Well, this study shows us that 90% of all time spent on the phone people are actually using apps rather than the web. Here’s a little secret, according to Flurry nowadays people spend more time on their phones than watching TV.

So, yeah, people use apps a lot, but how can it influence you, the business owner? When users are doing something in your app,  browsing, searching for something, or poking around you can gain profit or information.

Let’s take a look at the numbers. According to another study, the global mobile app revenue in 2015 was around $70 billion, in 2016 – $88 billion. And, trust me, it will not stop increasing soon.

But, cash revenue is not the only good thing about a mobile app. There is another, a little bit trickier side – information. In the modern world, information can be far more valuable than any amount of cash. Mobile apps can provide a ton of it, information about your customers, their taste, interests, plans, and much more. There are several ways how you can collect this info. Something simple, like a survey form, or something a little bit complex, for instance observing the behaviour of users using different statistical methods.

But enough about “Why?”, I can bet you are already planning out the functions and design of your app. So, how much does it cost to make a small business app?

Sure, developing a regular app for your business is not an easy task and there are a lot of things that small business should think about. To estimate the cost of developing a small business app, you need to have complete information about the future structure of the app and a list of specific features, and other details. More on that below.

Developing an app

In this article, I will not go into the details on the whole developing process. But it is necessary to mention some steps.

First of all, you have to do your research. Create your app concept, then make sure that there is nothing identical or similar already on the market. Also, you can develop a few core user cases, keeping in mind who will be using your app in the future and how.

Next crucial step, that will influence the cost of developing an app, is to decide which platform to build for. Currently, there are two options – iOs or Android. These platforms have their own SDKs and programming languages, so if you decide to build your app for both platforms – you are doubling the developing price. There is another choice, create a cross-platform app using HTML5. The downside of this approach is that you have fewer developer instruments and the app can suffer possible performance drop.

Another significant necessary expense is hosting. You need a cloud service provider to host, power and maintain the back-end of your app. As of today, there are three main players in this market:

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Rackspace

If you wish to give your idea a “test-drive” first then you should build an MVP. It will cost you a couple of thousand dollars but it provides a ton of critical information.

When any development team is calculating how much does it cost to build an app they will ask you following questions:

  • How many screens do you plan to have in your app?
  • What platforms should we developer for?
  • Do we need to integrate with some 3rd party API?
  • Do you need your app to work with some existing business system?
  • Are there any other supporting technical requirements?

All of the previous steps should set you on a budget between $50 and $25,000. You pay for what you get. So if your app has unique functions or needs more custom development it will cost up to $25,000. But, it is not a final price.

Maintaining an app

Any app is a living thing and it needs constant care. So, you have to make sure that your host can scale and push updates quickly. This is needed because maintenance is another necessary expense. Any app market is a very competitive place, so you always need to be on top of your game. Don’t forget, news travel fast, yet bad news travel even faster. It is in your best interest to fix any bugs as fast as possible.

The modern businessman has to understand, that fixing bugs is a natural part of the app lifecycle.

Thus, you have to add up the price of constant app maintaining and bugfixes to the total cost of a mobile app for small business. It can cost $1000-$6000 per year, depending on the complexity of your app.

Updating an app

As a business owner, you must realize, that if you are not progressing then soon you will lose the lead. The same rule is applied to app development. In order to keep up the interest of users, you must release updated regularly. Naturally, this process is not free, the budget for updates should be between $1000 and $10,000 per update cycle. How long is this update cycle? According to Sensor Tower, the average period between updates is 30 days. But, these are metrics of the top apps, you can update your app less frequently.


Now you should be completely sure that allowing customers to interact with your company through an app is mandatory. You can become a leader in your field and distance your company from competition if you engage your customers using modern technologies like push notifications. After reading this article you can calculate the approximate value of an app for your business. Now, make the interaction with your company via mobile app as easy and pleasant as it can be and ensure that your app provides a competitive advantage. Do that, and discover the true value of an app for small business.

Author: Alex Volski

Business analyst at ThinkMobiles with over 5 years of experience in all kinds of software development. I am excited to talk to you about new trends in app development such as AR. If you have any new ideas, feel free to contact me.


  1. This is such an important article and one that not many people talk about. The costs aside it is so important to have an App, even if it is very basic, for any business these days and a lot of people do not realize that. Thank you for the break-up of the costs and highlighting that besides having an App it also costs money to keep it running and updating it.


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