It’s Going to Cost What?

Lady Retail Shopping with Mobile AppWhy is it so hard to get an accurate price on a mobile app project? After all, most software development projects are pretty straightforward.  Say, if you need to price out a new website, you can simply estimate the number of pages, hours and cost per hour. Done.

But pricing out mobile app development is more challenging. People ask me, “why is that?” The short answer: there is a lot going on “behind the curtain” that you never see. Only your developer does. And I’d like to share the key pieces you should know about.

  1. Data Storage: Cloud based storage of data, images, offers, information, bills, invoices, etc. Your mobile app will need to access this data for everything it does. For example Instagram or Yelp stores all pictures, business information and user info in a data store on their servers.
  2. Admin Console: A browser based web portal to administer your system. Tasks such as locking users out or unlocking them, financial reporting, usage reports, uploading content including images, videos etc. to make them available to your mobile user. For example: Instagram or Yelp support teams use to manage the entire system from their desktop browser.
  3. iPhone, iPad App: The actual mobile app that your users will install on their iPhones and iPads. Instagram or Yelp app.
  4. Client web portal: In some cases, your users will want to administrate some functions from a desktop browser. This then becomes very critical. A client portal is also needed when you have a tenant-landlord model of apps. For example: Yelp desktop browser access for businesses to manage their accounts.

The diagram below shows how they connect.

diagram