About Semaphore Mobile

Semaphore Mobile, founded in 2002, specializes in the development of custom application software for iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices.

Follow Us


How Much Does It Cost to Hire an App Developer?

More people than ever before are accessing the internet from their many forms of mobile devices. Tablets, watches, and phones – the oh so many, are keeping people entertained, informed and in-tune.

The average American spends five hours each day on their smartphones, much more of that in app usage than verbal conversation. There are mobile apps for every purpose; email, banking, entertainment, health, shopping and so much more.  It only makes sense to enter this world and develop an app for your business, or organization, but how much does that cost?

Consider the complexity of the app

Take a look at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, and you’re sure to find apps of varying complexities. Some apps offer a single feature while others provide users with a more involved experience.  The first step to designing an app, once the topic and format is decided, is that you need to determine how many features you plan to offer.

Consider shopping for a new car. If you want all the bells and whistles, you’d end up paying a premium. The same holds true when developing an app. Whoever you hire to write the code and integrate all the features will base their price on the final product. The more you plan on offering your customers in the end, the higher the cost for development.

Location of the developer

The cost of living varies from one geographical location to the next and, as with most expenses in life, the expenses to have an app created, will vary.

Semaphore Mobile’s Dallas-based team, from the admin and project development manager to the lead developer and his team, are available to its customers.  Rather than hoping that you or your team on the other side of the world will be awake during working hours, you can be sure that this hometown, home team, will hit your time zone.

“About 30 percent of our customers have come to us as a second resource, their first ‘across the pond’ as they say,” said Semaphore Mobile’s Founder and President, Eric Silverthorn.  “Rarely is it cheaper, faster, or better when outsourcing development projects and we’re proud to have our team here in the Dallas area, available when our clients need to reach us.”

Freelance or corporate developer?

There is no shortage of app developers, but finding the right one may take a bit of searching. One thing to consider is whether you want to hire a team of developers or work with a freelancer.

The main allure of hiring a firm is dependability. These developers work together on a single project to create and implement code. They have the time and ability to perform plenty of user testing before delivering the final product to you. Semaphore Mobile’s team includes developers, creative support, project managers and others to help you create your best project.

Mobile development requires many skills such as project management, architecture, UI/UX design, backend development and perhaps native or ported development capabilities.  Contracting with an experienced firm, rather than a one-man freelance developer, gives you a better chance of having expert support in all areas of development.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you are confident those you are working with have your best interest at the forefront. Look for an app developer who will draft a budget for your app to prevent overspending, and one who will be honest with you about the expected success of your project. Make sure they have experience building apps that are similar in function and design to what you need and, finally, before assigning the job, have the developer sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect your intellectual rights.

The estimated cost

Imagine that hamburger that shows up on a menu for $5.  Once you add the cheese, mushrooms, onions and avocado – it could easily be almost twice the price. The same with an app – once functionalities are added, the cost can increase.  Just be aware and be sure the team you are working with, keeps you informed as the process continues.

It’s impossible to say exactly how much someone will pay to develop an app without seeing the specs. However, the average cost ranges anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000 depending on the factors above. Complex apps may push the budget even higher, with some on-demand apps topping $1.5 million.

A basic app with only a single function can run between $10,000 and $50,000. Apps that require user-authentication can push the price higher, closer to the $40,000 range and if you need something that requires data consumption, it is possible to spend up to $90,000. Apps that create a social media-style allowance can rise to $150,000. E-commerce and on-demand apps (such as Walmart or Uber) often cost the most, with some exceeding the one-million-dollar rate.  Again, pricing will change depending on the team you are working with, perhaps where they are located, and the experience they have to provide.

Hiring an app developer is a very personal decision. Make sure you interview several prospects and get quotes before you narrow down your choice, but realize cost isn’t the only consideration.

There’s almost always “an app for that,” and to be a part of industry that creates the new, the interesting, the needed and the exciting.