If you want to build an app for your business, you will naturally want to know as soon as possible what that will cost you.

We get it: it is a question every client asks us.

The problem with this question is that the answer depends on a variety of factors. This is not us trying to dodge the bullet. Cost is always dependent on the scope of a project, the each platform on which an app will be built (iOS vs Android), the development approach (native vs hybrid), the desired time to market, and more.

The best way to determine the cost of an app is a combination of two factors: knowing what questions to ask a development agency when asking for an estimate and having a clear scope for the work you want to be done.

So here are the main factors impacting the cost of a mobile app that you should look into BEFORE you engage with an agency while shopping for a quote. If you do this right from the start, you will get a more accurate estimate and also save time and money in the long run.

When clients ask the question “How much does it cost to develop an app?” we have to establish a few key points about the project. This information is usually compiled as part of the initial project meeting stage, where we establish a creative brief. Once a plan of action is in place, it is possible to break down the processes into tasks and get a more accurate picture of the entire mobile app development cost.

Much of the success of cost-effective app development lies with the foundation upon which the software is designed and built: the idea itself. You can view the design and engineering side of the build as the enabling forces to transform your vision into reality. The cost of developing an app is often dependent upon effective communication between the design/development team and its conceptual origins. An experienced agency with a track record of delivering engaging apps for blue-chip brands will be well practiced in working closely with clients to create a functional and flexible creative brief.

In short, the better understanding you have of the app you want to build, the user flows, the overall objectives of your app (what the user is expected to do, how, and at what stage), the easier it is for an agency to provide a more accurate estimate. That’s not to say you need to know everything you want to be built up front. But you should know the general direction you want your app to go before you sit down with any agency to get an accurate quote.

Furthermore, clients who get to keep the cost down for a mobile app project are those willing to go through the exercise of defining a realistic Minimum Viable Product. It is easy and natural to want to build out an ideal user experience with many different functionalities and user interactions. However, realistically, you can launch a product to market only with the most crucial user flows that showcase your idea and your value proposition. You can always add additional features down the road.

Finally, there’s the issue of the platform on which you should build your app. Should you go iOS first or Android first? Or both? Or should you consider a hybrid approach? Thankfully, due to the advances in mobile technology over the past years, Y Media Labs’ mobile developers are equally comfortable building on all major platforms, ensuring that there is little or no disparity between the iPhone app development cost and its Android counterparts in terms of hourly rate.

However, it is important to note that the Android iOS is used on a more diverse array of devices, and therefore your development team must ensure that your app is compatible across the board. The flip side of this extra cost to develop an app is that it provides broader access to niche markets and target groups that lie outside of the Apple demographic.

So now you know.

A larger investment to develop your app will likely deliver a more intuitive and successful finished product with longevity true to your vision.

Choosing a development agency with a proven track record, that specializes in mobile, will provide you with the security that your sizeable investment will pay off.