Mobile Apps cost a lot more than websites & web applications. That is a fact that is well known to anyone in technology-related fields. For everyone else, it is still a big mystery why mobile apps cost so much.

A quick search of how much the initial versions of the world’s most popular apps cost will quickly show that developing the initial version (MVP) for each of them costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can read the exact amounts in this article by codementor: link

Why do mobile apps cost more!?!?

1. They are made fully custom
Mobile apps MUST be created from scratch. Mobile apps are only limited by your imagination and the imagination of the team that works with you. Unlike a web app/website, you cannot find a reliable mobile app code open source that will do exactly what you need it to do without heavily customizing it.
Mobile apps have no limits on what can be done with them: on how they look and how they behave.
Most websites have limitations on their capabilities – unless these websites are created fully custom. When a website is created fully custom it becomes a web app that still costs a bit less than a mobile app – see below why.

2. Mobile apps can do cool things that websites and web apps never can

Mobile apps can manage advanced features on your phone, on another’s phone, and on almost any piece of hardware in existence. Websites can never do that.

3. Mobile Apps don’t reuse code
A website can reliably use plugins, which are pre-built features that can be easily added to any website. As website plugins have been around for a long time and are stable and won’t crash. Also, website plugins have thousands of reviews to verify them.

Mobile apps plugins are much newer, for the most part, they have very few reviews and in general. Mobile app plugins are not stable, they can easily crash unless a developer spends hours customizing them.

Mobile apps are created line by line fully custom. Even if we created a similar app we will never reuse the code. To customize an existing code for a new application, even if they are similar, will take almost as long as to create the code from scratch.


4. Mobile App developers are more expensive

Web developers are easier to find and are a lot more affordable to hire than good quality mobile app developers. One of the reasons is that a good web developer can build a whole website on their own. But a mobile developer is rarely an expert on every technology needed to create a mobile app. Meaning there need to be at least two types of developers, front-end and a back-end, working together on the same project.

Since the pandemic hit everyone wants a mobile app, which caused the average cost of an expert mobile app developer to rise.


5. Mobile Apps require a lot more work than websites.

Every piece of technology has a front-end and back-end. The front-end is the part that the end-user interacts with. The back-end is the part the manages and manipulates the data. On a website/ web app, both exist on the same plane/level and usually require similar technologies. However, in a mobile app, the front-end and the back end have a completely different set of technologies. Each requires a specialist that spends a lot of time customizing that part of the app.

Therefore, mobile apps have a third component: the API (Application Programming Interface), which is a software intermediary that allows the front-end to talk to the back-end. Every mobile app front-end feature needs to have an API code written for it to connect it to the back-end where the action is actually made. Websites and web apps don’t need APIs, except for special cases.

API can be thought of as a “runner” that takes manages the actions that happen on the mobile app, and takes the data from each action and brings it to the back-end where either the data is stored and where it is manipulated, and then sent back to the mobile app to show the final result.

For example, when you log in with your email or social media handle on a mobile app, the button you press on the mobile app is the front-end piece. Then a custom API code takes your email and password to the back-end. In the back-end, a custom piece of code engages with one or several databases to confirm your login info and then sends it back to the mobile app to let you in – via the same API code.


6. Branding and design take a lot longer on a mobile app

On a mobile app, the colors and logos of your brand require a lot more designing and customizing to make them look good on every single custom screen of the app. As mobile apps behave in custom ways, in every single case every element requires time to look good and to match the color scheme.


7. Custom admin functions

Mobile apps enable their owners to have unlimited options in managing their apps. Options that are usually not available to websites. Options such as geographic user tracking, or the ability to see what a user does with their phone while they are on the app, and much much more. These functions take time to create.


If you are wondering how much your mobile app will cost you, please feel to call us or email us.

Boris Dehtiar