Understanding cost breakdown of an app via IKEA

A smartphone without apps and a home without furniture are of no use for the people living in it. Although living in a smartphone is metaphorical but it’s true.

A lot of things can go wrong when you’re trying to put together an app or IKEA furniture. Both these tasks have a buffet of customizations, making it even more difficult to stick to one’s decisions. And not to forget, more customization is synonymous with an increase in the overall estimated cost. 

To ensure that your estimated and actual costs are not miles apart, we have curated a list of major factors that affect the overall cost of building an app. With an IKEA twist. 

DIY or Outsource

Tools for furniture making

Besides modularity, digital applications and IKEA furniture have other things in common. And before you disagree with this, allow us to elaborate.

As a first time entrepreneur, you are all geared up to start building your own app, equipped with all the know-hows, and a good amount of experience, similar to a person who is all set to assemble their own Liatorp Entertainment System or PAX wardrobe.

But as both the DIYs project proceed, a realization dawns on the creators after the initial user research is carried out. Your app is not optimized for device performance and UI is poorly designed. The same way the sliding doors are not at all sliding, there seems to be shortage of screws despite having counted them before starting off. 

These results surface only after you are neck deep into both these projects and you start thinking if you should have hired the specialists altogether. 

Lucky for us, there are freelancers and app development agencies who are happy to complete your projects and get them up and running in minimum possible duration. Thus, take this decision before it’s too late and save your time and efforts.                                                                                                                       

Design Requirements 

Design inspiration on whiteboard

Your UI/UX design is what will differentiate your app online. Your design should minimize the cognitive load of your users. If you are looking for customizations like parallax scrolling, custom cursors, micro interactions and other animations, be prepared to shell out more money. Just as you would do for your PAX wardrobes. 

All these requirements will increase your design and development time, taking anywhere from 500 to 1500 hours, thereby increasing your cost accordingly. 

Yes, IKEA furniture can be hard to assemble at times, but once completed, it does make the daily life of the users easy.

Your app design should be on similar lines. It should become a part of your user’s daily life without their realization. And this can be achieved with an intuitive and easy to use app design. 

Type of Applications

Applications on a smartphone

This will be determined by your target audience and the quality of user experience you’re aiming to achieve, keeping in mind the available budget.  

Web app

A web app is the least expensive app version. It is an optimized version of your mobile website but with limited functionalities and minimum amount of complexities. The cost of developing a simple web app can range from $3,000 to $15,000.

Native app

Native apps are built in the languages specific to the platform(s) they are developed for. You can make a feature rich app and add loads of functionalities to it. They can be downloaded from the Apple app store or Google play store only. Since they have to be developed for the platforms individually, the cost of development is on the higher end. These apps can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 for each platform. 

Hybrid app

These apps are platform independent and are developed using a single language. It helps in catering to a larger audience from the start. The development and maintenance costs are also less in comparison to native apps. It ranges from $10,000 to $30,000. But it fails to beat native apps in the user experience it provides. 

Features and Functionalities of Your App

Utility and design of double bunk bed furniture

The estimated cost and time required in building your app depends heavily on the functional complexity and features. 

Think of Stuva loft bed. It comes with a table, wardrobe, open shelf and of course, a bed. Does your kid really need all this?

Relate this with your app. There are tons of features to choose from for your app. Like, user login, search option, social media integration, chat bot support, geolocation, Google map integration, multi language support, push notifications, payment integration and a lot of others. In the initial phase, you will not require all the functionalities. 

It is always good to see how well your app does after the initial releases by focusing on the core features of your app. This will also reduce your time to market. You can do the refining process in the next app releases. 

Selected Platforms for Your App 

Different models of smartphones

Selecting a platform for your app depends on who and where your target audience is. Android users exceed iOS users by a good number. But this does not mean that you take the android only approach.

Developing an iOS app is more complicated as it requires more expertise and needs to align with the strict App store guidelines. But an android app’s compatibility and functionality have to be tested across a wide range of devices and versions. And you can’t possibly test for all of the available devices.

If your budget allows development for both platforms, it is the best approach to go by. Ensure that you know who is your target audience. For example, if your target base is largely in Asia and Africa, then you must focus on developing an android app first. But if you are aiming for the US and Western Europe, iOS should be your priority for these regions.

When developing an app for any single platform, the cost variation is negligible. A simple app costs around $15,000 but the cost increases with more complexities. But in case you are thinking of developing for both the platforms, the cost will be doubled. 

Required Level of Expertise and Specialization

Expert guide

Assembling a PAX wardrobe complete with drawers, sliding doors, pullout trays, is a task even for the expert furniture assemblers. 

When developing an app, you will need a project manager, UI/UX designer, developer, and QA tester for starting off your project. Even when you are able to fulfill some roles, you will be required to hire experts for other fields to get the best results. 

Sure the cost of experts will be more, but your app will have a good headstart with such a team. And these requirements will keep on changing with your user base and your team will keep growing with your business. 

Location of Your Developer

Wooden map of the world with pins

Whether you’re outsourcing partially or completely, geography plays a significant role in deciding your app development costs. With density, competition also gets stiffer. For this very reason, development costs in Asian countries are much less in comparison to North American and European countries. The costs vary from $20 per hour in Asia to as high as $200 per hour in Europe.

There is no rule of thumb that says that lower hourly rates will lead to poor product delivery or higher rates will give the best products. You can save huge costs by researching and outsourcing to the right remote teams.

Hidden Costs 

An iceberg floating in open water

While you were busy buying your BESTA wall mounted unit, reading up on assembling guides and organizing the flat pack furniture on its arrival, you forgot to buy a drilling machine and the extra care essentials for maintaining that high gloss finish. 

Conceptualizing, developing and deploying your app is not when you get to take a goodnight’s sleep. Instead after the release of your app, you will have to keep some money aside for app maintenance and support. This would include fixing bugs, giving additional support for new OS versions and third party integrations, implementing new features, storing your user data and even monitoring your user activity are all a part and parcel of your app after it’s release. 

Thus, be it DIYing your own furniture or app development, these projects are no cake walk (but don’t forget to cut a celebratory cake after completion of the projects). Having an accurate estimation of time and cost is a good starting point for any app development venture.

Posted in Web


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