There’s an app for that. 

One of the most popular 21st-century catchphrases and something that millennials, Generation X’ers and Y’ers, as well as the baby boomers all understand. We have become wildly dependent on our phone apps for almost ten years.

In 2019, alone, people downloaded 194 billion apps. Apps that focused on various phone tool upgrades, communication, video play, editing, traveling, and social media were the powerhouse downloads that drove app sales through the metaphorical roof.

It’s no wonder that app sales continue to grow and continue to thrive. Today, the average American toting their beloved Smartphone spends almost 200 minutes per day on their apps and can use at least nine different apps on any given day.

Apps on phones are undeniably profitable. They are interactive, they are useful, and let’s be honest – they are fun.

Think that only professionals can create an app?

Think again!

Have you ever wondered: how much does it cost to make an app by yourself? If so, then continue reading to learn a few tips and tricks to create an awesome app.

Takes Money to Make Money

The price tag on a quality, well-developed app can be pretty steep.

Depending on how big, how interactive, and how aesthetically appealing you want to make it, apps can run a small company upwards of $50,000-$100,000. Big companies that need intricate, highly-responsive apps can cost $500,000 or more.

Apps are big business and can cost a good sum of money.

However, that doesn’t mean that other people can’t create an app on their own. People create apps every day. Many people create apps on a low to no budget.

As an added bonusĀ if you’reĀ making apps on a Mac, if you’re a student, teacher, instructor, or anyone that works in education – there’s an Apple education discount. This makes it extremely affordable to purchase a quality desktop computer or laptop to create those apps.

If you have asked yourself the question of how much does it cost to make an app by yourself, here’s everything you need to know.

App Sketching

Here’s your step one.

As with any idea or design, you need to have a brainstorming process. App sketching will help generate an idea or develop a working concept. You can’t begin any type of build without an idea, a plan, and a goal.

App sketches, or renderings, can help visualize where you want to go with your app and what you want it to do. Sketching basic designs, basic functionality, and basic interactive options can create a type of game plan.

Some things to remember when sketching your app:

  • Focus on one main task for the overall design (game, organizing, tracking, etc).
  • Focus on functionality (don’t overload what your app will promise to do).
  • Focus on a streamlined design (don’t make it busy).
  • Create a visually appealing color palette.

The best part about this planning step is that it doesn’t have to cost you much money at all. Grab a pen and paper for a free sketch. If you want to add a professional touch, you can use an app to design your app.

When beginning to sketch out your app idea, there are a handful of great programs that can help plan your design.

Cost: Free for basic options; a few hundred bucks or a monthly fee if you use an online program

Pick a Language

Apps are created using a handful of different coding languages.

Depending on the direction of your app design, you’ll be able to choose the right coding language that best fits your needs. Python, Java, C++, and Ruby are some of the most popular options that offer quite a bit of flexibility in design and programming abilities.

However, you can’t necessarily learn a new language overnight.

There are a number of books, online courses, and the always fabulous YouTube that can help you learn the basics of coding and programming. Cost-wise, these options can be pretty cheap (sometimes free). Plus, learning how to code and program an app is a great skill to have, especially if you may consider building more than one app in the future.

If you’re looking for a quality and professionally planned app, though, you’ll want to hire a coder.

Cost: Free for some self-taught options; a hired mobile coder could run between $500-$1000 (or more).

Market Research and Background Homework

This one is a no-brainer when it comes to planning, conceptualizing, building, and pushing out a new app.

If you don’t know your end-user or your demographic, then you’ll spend a lot of time wondering what you should add to your new app. There are millions of apps available for download. Successful apps are very specifically targeted and geared towards their end-users.

For example, if you’re considering an app that helps people log their activity and calorific intake, you already have a healthy competition of about 100 different apps. However, if you do a bit of market research, you can figure out what may not be offered with other apps. This will help your app stand out from the others.

It’s incredibly important to know exactly who you are targeting with your app, as well as what you want to provide within the app interface. You cannot learn this valuable information without running some data and learning about your end-users.

This process is another one that can be extremely cheap, and even free, if you know how to hone the internet as your research assistant. However, you may decide to hire a company to help you learn more about your specific demographic, as well as their needs when it comes to a mobile app.

Cost: Free if done on your own; a few hundred dollars for a hired market researcher

App Mock-Ups

You’ve planned your app, you’ve picked the perfect language to build your app, and you’ve done some great homework about who will use your app.

Now, it’s time to make your dream app become a reality.

Creating an app mock-up that can be introduced to the market will cost you some money. Sure, there are programs and other apps that can help you design a basic idea or format for your app. But, to actually push your app out to the world, you’ll have to spend a bit of money on this process.

The terms wireframing and prototyping are what you’ll hear the most when thinking about how to create a mock-up of your app. 

Although access to the wide world of Adobe Creative Suite costs money, if you are a subscriber, then you can use Adobe XD to create your app for free. This program can do everything you need it to do when it comes to designing, prototyping, and creating an experience for your future app user.

If you want to hire one of the many highly qualified freelance app developers in your area, then you’ll be looking at spending about $15-$50 bucks an hour for their time and expertise.

Cost: Adobe Creative Suite is about $400-$600 (there are discounts available); a few hundred to a thousand bucks for an app developer

Sell That App

It’s time.

Your app is market-ready. You have a beautiful design. Your app is responsive and interactive. Your app is ready to be downloaded.

But, you’ve got to get that app to the app store if you want it to see the tech light of day. This is not a super quick process. There are some things that you have to do, in order to ensure your app is downloadable from any mobile app store.

Here’s what needs to happen to get your app on the market.

  • Edit and proof to ensure there is no trace of any type of questionable content.
  • Test your app to ensure there are no bugs or glitches. Then, test it again and again to ensure there are no bugs or glitches.
  • Join Apple’s Developer Program ($99 per year).
  • Create your app store icon and prepare your metadata.
  • Upload your app.
  • Submit your app for review.
  • Release your app.

This process is definitely self-navigable, but it wouldn’t hurt to hire someone to double-check your work. This way, you can expect a smoother transition from app development to app release.

So, How Much Does It Cost to Make an App By Yourself?

Serious about creating an app for millions to download around the world?

It’s not necessarily a simple process, but it’s a worthwhile process. Plus, you are probably okay spending a little bit of money to make your app launch dream become a reality.

Exactly how much does it cost to make an app by yourself? Well, outsourcing app development to a third party, or third parties, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Some can even cost into the hundreds of thousands. So, creating and launching an app on a budget is always a great idea. It may just take a bit more work and effort.

Ready to dive into the app making business?

Log into your computer and start creating. You can’t sell an app until you make an app. Who knows, your app may find itself listed on the Top 10 Apps of the Year.

See you in the App Store! 


Nick is a Software Engineer. He has interest in gadgets and technical stuffs. If you are facing any problem with your Windows, feel free to ask him.


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