Statistsa reported that between 2019 and 2023, around 100,000 new apps go to market on the Google Play store every month, which translates to 1.2 million apps going to market every year.
Recognize that this number is mostly for customer-facing mobile app development. It does not take into account how many businesses have moved to the cloud and regularly develop mobile apps that help employees work more efficiently.
Chances are that you or members of your team want to develop a mobile app. But it’s difficult to know where to begin with mobile app development if you’ve never done it before or you don’t have a technology background. That’s why we put this article together to give you a primer on everything you need to know to help you transform your mobile app ideas into reality.
Myths about Developing a Mobile App
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about mobile app development, but let’s focus on three key myths:
- Low code/no code (LCNC) can build your whole mobile app
- Freelancers can build a mobile app on a weekend
- You can build a mobile app by yourself
Can LCNC Build a Mobile App?
Low code/no code (LCNC) platforms claim that anyone can build an app without having to write a single line of code. Can you use LCNC to build a functioning mobile app? Technically, yes, but there are limitations.
LCNC platforms were never designed to build complex mobile apps. Additionally, the platform can only build what you tell it to build. It’s a platform, not a person with decades of experience concerning user behaviors, business acumen, or UX/UI best practices. LCNC platforms are simply a sandbox for building basic apps, and there’s no guarantee that those apps will serve you or your market.
Can a Team of Freelancers Build a Mobile App in A Weekend?
Being that even the simplest mobile app takes 2-5 months to develop, it is highly unlikely that any tech team can knock out your app on a weekend. Anyone who says otherwise is probably trying to take your money.
Can I Build a Mobile App by Myself?
Some people believe that if they take enough classes to get coding skills, then surely they can build an app by themselves. Even in the software development industry, no commercial app is ever built by one human. At a minimum, web and mobile app development teams consist of:
- Project managers
- Scrum masters
- Software developers
- UI/UX professionals
- Quality assessment experts
Everyone has their specialty expertise that contributes to building an app, and it is unlikely that one human will have all those necessary skills. Sure, given enough time, a person could build a mobile app, but it’s difficult to say whether that app would function well for customers, employees, or other users.
What to Do When You Have an Idea for a Mobile App
If you have an idea for a mobile app, it’s recommended that you complete the following four steps before you pursue the mobile app development process.
Step #1 Do Some Research about Your Mobile App Idea
Remember that Statistsa states that around 100,000 apps go to market on Google Play every month. While your idea may be completely original, there may be an existing app already out there.
Just because a similar app already exists doesn’t mean you should give up on your mobile app idea. There may be a way for you to improve or create a better product. Additionally, if you’re thinking about a mobile app for internal business purposes, the already-made apps may not provide what you need. If you have unique business needs, you may need a custom software developer to design a mobile app solution.
Step #2 Verify the Value of Your Mobile App Idea
Before you truly commit to mobile app development, you must verify the value of your efforts. Determine what the mobile app will do to benefit your business. Next, determine if the value of that benefit is worth the cost of either developing the mobile app or purchasing a pre-made version.
It may be difficult to see the full value of the mobile app at this stage. You may want to consider consulting with a mobile app developer to get a better handle on the potential value.
Step #3 Create a Plan for Your Mobile App Idea
If your research shows that your idea is worth pursuing, and there is value in that idea, then it’s time for you to build a plan for your mobile app. Remember that you are most likely not a software developer, so you will not be expected to create in-depth workflows or mockups at this stage. That said, you should have a general idea of what your mobile app will do and offer to users.
Step #4 Build a Software Development Project Proposal
Even CEOs have to get their projects approved by the rest of the company, which means writing out a project proposal. Every business has different requirements, but most companies require a proposal that includes the following elements:
- Background context of the perceived problem
- Outline of the project solution
- Details of expected outcomes
- A list of who will be involved with the project (internally and externally)
- Details on budget and estimated timelines
How to Find the Right Partner to Develop Your Mobile App
For companies that do not have internal technical resources to develop your mobile app, your best option is to find the right partner and outsource the build. If you’ve never hired a custom software development company, you may be wondering how to find the right one to build your mobile app.
In a nutshell, the best way to find the right software development partner for your business is to do the following:
- Plan and write out the requirements of your project
- Review different custom software development companies
- Set up meetings with these companies to go over your project
- During the meetings, ask questions and verify their experience
- Attend additional meetings as needed to compare your options
- Request project proposals and bids to help you choose your partner
- Make your final choice and enter a contract
To better understand this process, we highly recommend that you read this article that goes into greater detail about how to find and hire the right custom software development company for your business needs.
How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Mobile App?
Research from multiple statistic gathering agencies and software development companies shows that the average cost to develop a mobile app will range between $40,000 and $300,000+.
But remember that this vast range covers everything from simple to complex mobile apps. The more complicated your app, the more expensive it’s going to be.
In terms of complexity, think of mobile apps in the following three general categories:
Besides the mobile app development cost, you may want to consider the timeline. While a simple mobile app may be built within 2-5 months, a complex mobile app often takes 10+ months to build.
During the entire build, you should be having regular conversations with your mobile app development team. For example, at AltSource, our project managers meet with clients on a biweekly basis and often demo the progress of the build. We do this because we prefer an active partnership with our clients. Additionally, by seeing the build at every step, it’s easier to make sure that we remain in alignment and pivot in real time if needed.
AltSource Helps Clients Make Successful Business & Customer-Facing Mobile Apps
Many of our clients have approached us with mobile app projects for both customer users and internal teams.
For example, National Hose Testing Specialties (NHTS) reached out because they needed a better way to collect and report safety compliance data. They were using paper forms, which required manual data entry and often delayed invoices and reports by at least 1-2 weeks. Find out how the native Android app that AltSource built for them streamlined and upgraded their entire process.