Mobile Apps

App Development Costs

5 Ways to Crush the Cost of App Development

Have you got an idea for a mobile app, but you think it’s just too expensive? Your next mobile app might be cheaper to do than you think. It might just even be free. Read on dear friend, for I will reveal 5 of E7 Systems’ most closely held secrets of affordable app development.

Reusable Software

After a decade of app development, we have automated all the core functions found in most apps. For your project, we can piece these functions together and add your unique ideas to our base.  Our reusable codebase includes: admin dashboard, user management, notifications, blogging, user messaging, bar codes, RFID, geo-fencing & more.

App Content Manager

Does your app idea contain a lot of content, articles, video?  Check out E7’s  content management system for mobile apps.  Our customers can now define their own content without programming. Adding and updating content in your app is as easy as filling in a web form.  There’s no need to pay a programmer to do what you can do for yourself, unless you want to.

Shared Hosting

Configuring and maintaining a separate host for each and every application takes time.  For a simple app with no special hosting requirements, we add the app content to our shared app server and in no time the new app is ready to go.

Client Partnerships

Have you got an idea for an app that’s worth investing in?  Then contact us.  We have recently worked on 2 great apps where we partnered with the app owner to share revenues.  In my next post, I will introduce the perfect partner app, a 30 Day Weather forecast.

App Leasing

Your app will give you many years of value. Why pay for app development all up front?  E7 Systems can work out an app lease, where you pay for your app over time.  We can work out a plan where the monthly payments are in balance with the income or savings that the app brings to your business.

Mobile App Cost Calculator

If you want to see what your app might cost, come visit the App Cost Calculator at


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Mobile App Dev Cost Calulator

Mobile App Cost Calculator

E7 Systems has developed dozens of mobile apps and with each one we have simplified the development process and added to our collection of reusable code. We can now estimate the cost of many apps with simple formulas.  Try our cost calculator with your app idea. Just select the parameters that describe your mobile app and see the effects on cost in real time.  The parameter explanations are below.

Content Delivery FREE $0.00
User Management FREE $0.00
Admin Dashboard FREE $0.00
Broadcast Notifications FREE $0.00
Blogging FREE $0.00
Notifications User Alerts NoneMany/Complex $0.00
Geofence $0.00
Community Messaging NoneComplex $0.00
External Data Gateway NoneComplex $0.00
Custom Functions NoneComplex $0.00
Post to Your Existing App Store Account $0.00
Set up Your New App Store Account $0.00
Host on Your Server SimpleComplex $0.00
Ads NoneComplex $0.00
In App-Purchases NoneComplex $0.00
Free & Pro Versions $0.00
Native Coding $0.00
High Design Template NoneComplex $0.00
Simple Content Pages NoneAround 20 $0.00
Complex Content Pages None4 or so $0.00
Likely totals $0.00
Contact Information How much is my app worth? How do I make money on my app? How do I promote my new app? For the answers to all your app questions, complete the contact info and get a free consultation call with an app business & development expert.
App Description

Here is how E7 estimates the cost of a mobile app, repeatedly and accurately.  If you want to skip the explanations, you will find our app cost calculator at the bottom of this article.

Bidding a Mobile App

In creating a bid for an app we nail down 10 variables which determine your cost of building the complete app.

  1. Functions
  2. Content
  3. App Hosting
  4. App Store Posting
  5. Paid or Free
  6. Native App or Cross Platform
  7. Client Factors
  8. Interfaces
  9. Fixed Price or Time and Materials
  10. Discovered Requirements

App Functions

What is the app supposed to do? The most basic app functions are now standardized and fairly cheap, e.g. streaming audio/video, GPS and notifications.  

Many other app functions are already encoded in the E7 Systems code base. They merely need to be turned on for your app.

  • User registration
  • Location
  • Content pages
  • Business directories
  • RFID

Completely custom functions, like calculating the grams of carbs, fats and proteins in any meal, those are more expensive, possibly as much as $20k.

App Content

Sometimes clients ask us to build beautiful apps, filled with detailed content. Collecting this content and bringing it to production quality can be enormously time consuming.  Fortunately, many customers already have most of the photos and articles they need. In the case where  you can supply their own content, you only pay a small price to format it for mobile.  

To further reduce costs, we created The E7  Mobile Content Management System, which enables your business to enter your own content via your web browser and to update it as frequently as you’d like in the years to come without the cost of programming or releasing new versions.

System Interfaces

Does the app need to share data or functions with another system or piece of hardware?  Some interfaces, such as encrypted credit card readers or managed care providers can be very difficult to work with.  Other platforms, like web point of sale systems, can be fast to Integrate.  In this we let experience be our guide to best suit your requirements.  

App Hosting

Nobody thinks of hosting costs, but most every app needs interaction with the outside world. For example, our weather app needs a new forecast every day.  Does your app require users to log in, send messages,etc? If it does then it will need a host.  Hosts can be rented for $20-$200 monthly, depending on the workload and size of your user base.  Setting up a cloud based host in the customer’s name will cost between $500 and $1000.

App Store Posting

Mobile Apps are distributed via the Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android.  In the simplest case, we can publish the app in the E7 developer accounts for App Store and Play.  If  the app is designed to generate revenue, then you will want your own App Store & Play accounts. With simple apps, the store posting and launch can be 30% of the work.

Paid or Free

Choosing the right revenue model is key to the success of any app.

  • Free – if you want a large audience.  
  • Paid – for exclusive experiences & specialized functions
  • In-App purchases – Offers revenue & large audience
  • Paid by advertising – Monetize your free app.

These models can be mixed in many creative combinations. Here’s how they affect cost:

  • Free – no additional cost
  • Paid – small additional cost in posting
  • In-App purchases – more costly, must design packages and add logic for “fulfillment”
  • Paid by advertising – small additional cost – mostly design

Having launched dozens of apps, E7 can assist you choosing a revenue model best suited to your app..

Web app, Cross Platform Mobile or Native App.

Web Apps

Do you really need a mobile app?  E7 can save you 75% by creating a responsive web application that looks just like a mobile app.  Mobile apps are only necessary when you need a store presence or need direct access to deeper functions within the phone.

Cross-Platform Apps

If you want to reach everyone with an Android or an iPhone you need to create 2 different apps.  When possible E7 uses Ionic, cross-platform development tool, to write the app once and publish it to each store and even the web. There is a small cost in performance and user experience, but a cross platform tool, like Ionic, can save 30% on app development.  

Native Apps

Native programing (Swift or Java) is used to get the best app performance, slick user interfaces (think games) or deep sensor interaction.  Native programming is the most expensive as we need to write the software twice.

As a part of our service we help you to determine the best platform formatting for your app.

Fixed Price vs Time and Materials

Do you  insist on fixed price?  If so, most contractors build in a safety margin. We prefer time & materials so that we can accomodate discovered requirements and provide whatever level of service the client desires.  E7 time & materials contracts always state an estimate which we will not exceed without your permission.

Discovered Requirements

At the start of a project there is no way to foresee all of the features that you require.  Inevitably, good ideas come to light when we hold our new app for the first time.. At E7 we try to account for discovered requirements in our bidding process.  

Our discovered requirements budget is based on 2 factors, feature set and agility in purchasing.  

Some apps have features that are open to discovered requirements, like games. Apps like engineering calculators have fewer discovered requirements.

Larger companies who have only one chance to budget may need more funds set aside for discovered requirements.

Client Factors

A realistic estimate must account for the following questions:

Are you  in a rush?   Rushing is great for amusement apps. For financial transactional apps rushing can increase costs by 200%.

Are you  good at communication? You’ll want to be available  to discuss, review or approve your work.  Are you  a large organization or a smaller business entity? Will there be multiple parties involved in app approvals?

E7 Systems’ App Pricing Process

E7 Systems has built apps that forecast the weather, apps that stream audio and video, apps that track your adventures, apps that track your diet and calculate your nutrients, apps that configure solar systems and water blast tools.  Much of the non-proprietary software we have created in 15 years is available for reuse.  Reusing core features saves every client thousands of dollars on their new app.  E7 makes every effort to save your app project budget.

Here is a menu of costs in creating an app based on the criteria above.  Each item has a low to high range.  Of course, there are exceptions, but these ranges represent 90% of the projects we encounter.



Low Price

High Price

App Functions



App Content



App Hosting



App Posting



Paid or Free – In app Purchases



Native App or Cross Platform


Project overhead


Discovered Requirements



Fixed Price Safety Margin


Likely totals



An example mobile app for the low range price of $5,000 might be a content app where you have time to communicate. You have well organized content.  Maybe your app requires a simple data feed and the ability to communicate with users.  A marketing or training app might be a good example here.

An example of a mobile app that costs $175,000 would be a product like a point of sale app for restaurants that has extensive features and is entering into a market with several competitors.

Right-sizing your mobile app budget

Over the years, we have developed products for many startups.  Although the technology is the core of their business, our clients regularly spend 20% on technology and 80% on business development.  There is little to gain by trying to cut the 20% to 10%.  

Many new clients come to us after another developer has failed to deliver. Inexperienced developers frequently underbid apps and lose interest when the budget is gone. In many instances we can take the knowledge learned from an incomplete app plan and expedite its proper final development phase.

No matter who you choose, please budget a reasonable amount for technology.  It will help ensure you pay for your mobile app development just once.

E7 Systems has developed dozens of apps getting more efficient with each effort.  Every app we build incorporates new innovations




Store Posting

After developing our first few mobile apps we discovered that there was too much duplicated effort.  So we set to work making the process more efficient.  After developing a few dozen apps, we now only have to develop the modules that are absolutely unique to your app.  We handle all web services from an existing cloud server

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Mobile Audio Streaming App

Cost $$$$

Calendar Time: 3 Months – 3 years.

Technologies:  Android Java, iOS Objective C. Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, DotNet C++, Barix InStreamer, specialty WiFi hardware


  • Native audio streaming app (iOS, Android)
  • Private Ad Network.
  • E7 Systems Social Networking Suite.
  • Web Business Directory for Venues.  
  • Advertiser’s Portal for purchasing and analytics.  
  • Integrated digital signage network.
  • Producing Trade Show Experiences.  
  • Video, graphic and animated content for signage network and general marketing.


MVP delivered and deployed in 3 months. Multiple patents awarded. Capital raised. Deployed production system to bars and health clubs nationwide.



Bring them your ideas and dreams, and if any team can help you realize them, it is E-7 Systems.

Cordell Brown - CEO Airborne Media Group


Created Web portal and business directory to bring all venues together and provide access for content management and network configuration.  Mapping features showed closest venues to any point.


Illustration of Social Chat on the digital signage network


Example of custom skin created for a customer venue.



3D Animation created for digital signage network. (@ Web resolution)


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