Most app development companies require a pre-development research or “discovery”stage with their clients to clarify project objectives and details and gauge client expectations, according to new survey data from Clutch (, a B2B (business to business) ratings and reviews firm. Nearly 70% of 102 app development companies surveyed say they mandate this discovery phase, which also helps formulate a realistic cost estimate for an app development project.

App development costs vary and are based on features, timelines, the type of firm employed, and other factors. Businesses can research app development prices online, but experts agree that identifying an accurate estimate is unlikely without completing the discovery stage in collaboration with an app development company.

“It makes sense to only give an exact [price] estimate after the team clearly understands what should be done,” says Dmitry Dobritskiy, CEO and Co-Founder of MindStudios, a mobile app development company.

Clutch’s survey of 102 app development companies helps businesses better understand the app development process and its potential costs. Certain app features, such as a web portal for managing an app and infrastructure for performance management and analytics, tend to increase the cost of a project. These features require backend integration and intricate coding.

Even simple features can add to the cost of an app, though, depending on the requirements. For example, one app development company reported that push notifications cost between $50,000 – $100,000 to build, even though push notifications typically are considered a simple feature. Experts caution that an app feature should not be assigned one specific price tag across all projects.

“Every project is different. The underlying process and layers of complexity required to deliver each particular feature will determine the cost just as much as the total number of features,” says Drew Johnson, Co-CEO of App Partner, a mobile app design and development agency.

App development experts say there are several common misconceptions among businesses regarding app development costs, including that many businesses don’t understand the investment required to build a meaningful app.

“Many businesses walk in thinking that an app can be built for $25,000 – $50,000,” says Nik Sanghvi, Head of U.S. Sales and Business Development at Robosoft, a mobile app development company. While Sanghvi acknowledges there are, “very simple apps that can be built within that price range,” for any ‘meaningful’ app development Sanghvi recommends that a company budget $200,000 – $500,000 from end-to-end to be successful.

Businesses interested in building an app with a professional app development company should be knowledgeable of the process and understand the investment required, according to Clutch.