Building a custom Android app can be expensive, but when you weigh that cost against the benefits, it’s usually a smart investment. A custom app can help your company or product stand out in a competitive market, increase productivity, and give you more control than you’d have with an off-the-shelf app. Let’s take a look at what custom Android app development looks like, what benefits it can bring, and what to expect cost-wise.
Why choose custom app development?
Custom apps are tailor-made for a specific purpose. For example, a bank might create a custom app for their clients to view banking statements and manage their accounts. An online marketplace might create a custom app for financial transactions. Sometimes, custom apps are created for use solely by employees, to help with business processes like security or content management.
The alternative to a custom app is a commercial off-the-shelf app, or an app that already exists and is available to a large audience. If an available app already meets your needs, it may be cheaper and easier to simply use that.
But there are times when an off-the-shelf app won’t work. For example, there may not be an app out there that addresses your needs. Or, maybe you want to create a custom app so you have greater control. Another reason to create a custom app is if you want to offer your customers a one-of-a-kind, branded experience.
Here are a few other reasons to create a custom app.
If your app stores personal user data, you need to make sure that data is protected. A custom app often provides greater security because you can build in safeguards like data encryption. Establishing security with an off-the-shelf app may not be as straightforward.
If your app is customer-facing, you want to provide a guided experience that analyzes user data and represents your brand. A custom app is the best way to do this. You can control every step of the customer journey, integrate analytic tools to track customer preferences, and manage the customer’s relationship with your company.
If you use an off-the-shelf solution, your control is limited. But with a custom app, you’re the sole owner. Among other things, this means you can modify the app at any time. If you need to add more features, fix bugs, or scale up or down, you can do so easily.
Understanding the costs of custom Android app development
One of the things that discourages companies from building custom apps is the cost. Creating a successful, one-of-a-kind app can be a big investment.
But that’s exactly what it is: an investment. A custom solution can give you a strong competitive edge. If you’re building an app to improve business processes, it can help increase productivity and efficiency, saving you significant time and money. If you’re creating a customer-facing app, you’re giving people a brand new solution that will stand out in the market. Because of this, a successful custom app usually ends up paying for itself.
But let’s take a closer look at the costs of custom Android app development. How much your app costs largely depends on two factors: what the app needs to do and who builds it.
Function and features
Your app’s main driver of cost is its function. If you’re building something simple, like a calculator or timer, it may only cost you a few thousand dollars
But if you’re building something that uses GPS, processes payments, or connects with the internet or other apps, you’ll likely end up paying more than just a few thousand.
The main reason for this is that complicated apps require more back-end development and more in-depth testing. App developers usually charge based on how long they expect the project to take, and naturally, a more complicated app or an app with more features will take longer to build.
Other things that may increase your app’s cost include design complexity, number of features, security, and architecture. More complicated apps usually require a higher level of design and architecture. For example, a gaming app will require a lot more design than a calculator, and therefore will be much more expensive.
Independent contractor or development team?
Who you choose to build your app also plays a role in cost. Assuming you don’t have an in-house development team, or that you want to outsource to save time and money, you’ll probably hire one of three types of developers to build your app: an independent contractor, a small app development company, or a big corporation.
Your least expensive option is usually an independent contractor, and this may work fine if you’re building a simple app. But if you’re building something more complicated, you may need to hire a full development team.
While you’ll probably end up paying more for a development team, there’s a very good reason for that. If you hire a company with a proven track record, you’re paying for that level of skill and experience. You’re also paying for greater support, a team that will finetune every detail of your app from UX/UI design to data encryption, and the assurance that you’ll get a high-quality, successful product.
How to find an Android app development company
Before you can choose an app developer, it’s crucial to know what you’ll need that developer or development team to do. List all the features you think your app will need. That way, you can better assess whether or not a development company is the right fit for your project. If you can’t tell from looking at their website, ask them directly if they’ll be able to fulfill your app’s requirements.
As you search for developers, there are a couple different ways to go about it. Often, the best strategy is to ask your professional network for referrals. If that doesn’t work, you might search on LinkedIn or Google.
Once you find a development firm that looks like a good fit, check out their portfolio or case studies. You want to choose a firm with lots of projects in their portfolio, and preferably, one that’s worked on something similar to your project. It’s also a good idea to read customer reviews and ratings.
Narrowing it down
When choosing an Android app development company, you want developers who understand the industry and marketplace. Building a custom app is different than building custom software, and building for Android is different than building for iOS. So look for a company with experience specifically in Android app development.
You also want to consider the industry and target audience. If a company has created apps for your target audience in the past, or at least for a similar audience, they’ll be familiar with what drives conversion for that audience and what doesn’t.
If you’re creating a gaming app, for example, choose a company with successful gaming projects in its portfolio. If you’re developing a business app, look for a company experienced in creating products for a professional audience.
You also want to choose a company that knows how to test. If this information isn’t available in the company’s portfolio or case studies, ask about testing at your first meeting. You might also want to ask about success rates for the company’s past projects.
Design is a crucial part of any app, so ideally you want a team that includes app developers and app designers. Again, you can look at a company’s past projects to get a feel for how competent their designers are. Even if you’re not a design expert, you can usually tell if a design is intuitive or cluttered and confusing.
Once you find a credible app development company with good ratings, find out if they can meet your deadline and work within your budget. Of course, you may need to be flexible, especially if you’ve never built an app before and don’t really know how much they cost or how long they take to deliver. But if a development firm is wishy-washy or gives you a deadline and price estimate that’s way outside your ballpark, you may want to choose someone else.
Most companies will be able to give you a quote after they learn the details of your project. If you get quotes from multiple companies, you can compare those against each other when weighing the pros and cons of each firm.
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By Band of Coders