With everyone using their mobile phones for pretty much everything these days, a lot of research and work has gone into making sure people have a great user experience on all platforms. Whether people use a phone, tablet, or desktop to to manage their banking, shopping, social, health or productivity, the experience needs to be smooth across the board for their convenience.
It's estimated that by 2025, there should be 5.09 million smartphone users in Singapore which is a drop in the ocean compared to it's neighbors Malaysia, Thailand, etc. This is important to note because most Singapore startups grow beyond the city state. This is a huge opportunity and if you are looking for an app development company to develop your app at an affordable cost, you are in the right place.
App developers usually charge per hour and the cost can range from S$10 to S$400 depending on the location, experience and reputation of the developer. The United States is easily the most expensive place to develop an app, with India on the bottom end of the scale. Singapore is not as expensive as the United States, and although the cost is lower, the standard is very high. Although the cost is lower in Singapore, it can still be quite high for many people. That's why it's important to work with a team who can present you with multiple options to get the most out of your budget.
So this is really about whether the company is just a development house that builds out features as you request or do they get more involved in the business and offer suggestions. A good developer has worked with many startups and some really big companies with apps that need to support thousands or millions of users. They have worked with the companies as they grew from the start and have seen what works and what doesn't. So a good developer should be able to pass that advice on to their clients. In Singapore, this is often called strategy or consulting. So yes, working with a developer that offers business advice is going to increase the price because their time is more valuable.
Developers know that planning is essential in the app development process. It helps to keep the development time and cost down as well as ensure that there are no unexpected issued. Usually when an app is first developed it is going to be built in stages. Version 1 will focus on the main functionality of the app, and later versions will continue to expand the features. However, it's important for a developer to understand the full vision on the app in order to build a foundation that supports the expansion of new features.
This is one of the easiest ways to see if the developer delivers high quality products. The design and usability of an app is essential today. Time is so valuable to people that if they had to struggle for a few seconds the app will be deleted of their phones. You'll find that by visiting an app developers website and portfolio you can get a feel for their overall understanding of design. In Singapore, many of the top companies set a high standard, but there are several companies based in India who try to compete. However they focus too much on making the apps low cost that the qualify is neglected. Working with a company that keeps ahead of the rest with the latest design trends will increase the price. It makes sense after all. The best designers and user researches will demand higher salaries for their work.
The type of app also matters. Native is basically building an app specifically to for the device. Cross-Platform is building an app for Android and iOS using frameworks such as Flutter and React Native. Hybrid on the other hand makes use of web technologies to make the app work on mobile as well. Generally the closer the development is to web, the lower the cost and the closer it is to native, the higher the cost. Web development is a more generalized skill and there are many skilled developers in Singapore, however mobile is more niche and mobile developers typically demand higher salaries. Along with the extended development time, that increases the overall price of the project.
The cost also depends on how many platforms you want to target. It's always suggested to have your service available to users on every device, but some services just work better on certain operating systems. Some people might go mobile only, some might go web only, while others want to target all. The more platforms you target, the more resources need to go into development, and the higher the price of developing the app. In Singapore, users like having a mobile app as the main access to a service, but being able to use the service on web as well when it is convenient for them.
As mentioned very briefly above, location does matter when it comes to app development. The main reason for this is because an app development company bills for time and resources. When you have an app developed a company will assign your project a team. A typically team consists of a project manager, software engineers, designers, and specialists when required. In different countries these workers earn different salaries, so in countries where tech workers are highly paid, such as Singapore, you can expect a higher cost to develop an app than a country like Vietnam for example.
Now the data needs to go somewhere and the complexity of that can also contribute to the overall estimate. If your company requires a complex backend structure and API, it will require more development time and the cost will increase. Many startups opt for using databases such as Firebase from Google, or MongoDB, which offers a similar service, but doesn't tie them to Google Cloud. They are free to host their data on Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, or Microsoft Azure. By using these solutions apps can be built much faster and you can also be sure that they will scale well as they are run by the biggest tech companies in the world.
You already know about a few factors that contribute to the quality, but a good app developer will ensure that each app is delivered with a polished finish. This requires internal testing and quality assurance. Some companies have a timeline by when they need an app to be completed. Usually with the standard team lets say for example the project is estimated to be completed in 3 months, but the client needs it completed in 2, it's possible to assign more engineers to the project to achieve that, but of course since more resourced have been allocated, the cost will go up.
Now this one is probably the most obvious one to non developers, but lets dive into exactly how these factor into the cost. So features are things like does the app includes maps, notifications, payments, calling, and more. The more features the app has the longer it will take to develop. Then another important point is the complexity of those features. For example delivering a push notification is pretty simple, but using machine learning to send a user specific notification about certain interests they have based on past app usage is a lot more complex. A simple camera screen is much easier to develop than a camera with multiple custom filters and Augmented Reality functions. Then also the more custom certain things are, the more time it will take to develop. Doing custom things are sometimes tricky to achieve, even for the best developers and require more time to build to ensure that it works smoothly. The more time it takes, the more the cost will increase.
Informational apps display static information about a business or topic of interest. Users can read about something and move to different pages and sections to learn more. The information is predefined or can be updated in intervals. The latter option would come at a higher cost. The cost of an informational app is around S$10 000 - S$40 000.
An example of an informational app in Singapore is a QR code menu. I'm sure you've seen this at a few restaurants. Sit down and scan a QR code and then you can browse the menu with your phone, removing the need to have physical menu's. This is not only great for the environment, but also keeps you from having to wait for them to arrive.
BeautyAsia, ITB Asia and World Food Fair are some of the largest conferences in Singapore. These events usually have developers create informational apps about the event. This can include anything from lineups and times to maps of the building and other important information.
Social apps allow you to create user accounts and interact with others. Some examples are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Discord, and Reddit. Users are able to interact with each other via text, photos, video, and voice. The cost of a social app is around S$40 000 - S$100 000.
A social app is usually split into 2 categories. The first being for communication. This Kind of app focuses on private messaging and the information can only be seen by the people involved in the chat. It could be in the form of text, or even video. But the main idea is that it connects people and allows them to communicate with each other. In Singapore, Whatsapp and Telegram are some of the most popular communication apps. The second category is for sharing content. These apps allow you to create content for the public to see. The content can also be in any form. Twitter primarily let's users send tweets, while Instagram users enjoy posting pictures and short videos. Users are then able to interact with other people's content, usually in the form of likes and comments.
Marketplace apps are used to connect 2 groups together. Hotel and traveler. Driver and rider. Buyer and Seller. Freelancer and Client. Some examples would be Grab, Agoda, Shopee, and Carousell. These apps often contain complex features that increases the cost such as payments, location, and analytics. The cost of a marketplace app is around S$20 000 to S$100 000.
If you've ever wanted to book a trip to your favorite vacation spot or even feel like a staycation in Singapore, you would have used Agoda. Agoda is an example of a marketplace app because it acts like a middleman and allows 3rd party hotels list their properties on their platform. They handle all the date reservations and payments through their platform and take cut from the hotels. Similarly Grab is the go to app for getting around Singapore. Anyone can can create an account and then book a trip from A to B. A grab driver would then be assigned to pick you up and after the trip they will earn income for their work and Grab will take a commission for allowing the driver to make use of their platform.
E-commerce apps are used for companies to sell products directly to customers with their own platform. Some examples would be a grocery store, café/bar/restaurant, clothing stores, and electronic stores. So instead of using a marketplace like Shopee or Amazon, customers buy products directly with the company. The cost of an e-commerce app is around S$15 000 - S$50 000.
If you've ever bought your groceries or sneakers online, you've most likely used an e-commerce app. These apps might sound just like Marketplace apps but there is a big difference. These don't sell 3rd party products. These apps are built just to sell products directly from the store.
Productivity apps are used to manage certain tasks and information. Use cases are file storage apps, timers, todo lists and calendars. These apps are made for 1 user and do not allow interaction with others. The cost of a productivity app is around $10 000 to $30 000.
With life being so fast paced in Singapore, surely everyone has made use of some productivity apps. An example that comes to mind would be a project management app. You can create tasks, assign them to people and once the task is complete they can mark it off on the app.
Business management apps are used internally by companies to manage tasks, processes and employees to improve productivity and efficiency. Some use cases are document management, logistic tracking, customer and HR management. The cost of business management apps can range from S$20 000 to S$100 000 depending on the functionality.
Life is becoming more and more digitized and businesses are starting to follow the trend. This can help them save time, keep better track of things and even save money by cutting down on staff and office space. These apps can be as custom as needed and can take time to develop so expect a steeper price depending on how much needed to develop.
The costs listed above are estimates and always depend on the specific case. When you develop an app with a company in Singapore, it's always broken up into versions. Starting with a simple version and adding new features in iterations as it grows. Building an app with too many features initially is not only costly, but also takes away from the user experience. As the saying goes, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. If you are looking for a team to develop your app, feel free to reach out with any questions you might have.