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    App Development Agency Pricing Models: Which One Should You Choose?

    Tuhin Bhatt's image.
    Co-founder of LAD

      Published on May 15, 2024

      6 min read

    Do you want to build an app, but are worried about the costs?

    You’re not alone.

    Many business owners are often struggling with figuring out the whole app development cost.

    One of the reasons is app development agencies usually use different pricing models, which can be confusing and make it hard to predict the final bill.

    Four pricing models are commonly used by app development agencies, which are Fixed, Hourly Rate, and Time & Material (T&M).

    In this article, we’ll help you understand those pricing models.

    So, you can make informed decisions and keep your dream app within budget.

    Let’s get started!

    What is a Pricing Model?

    A pricing model is a framework that determines how an app development agency charges for its services.

    It defines the structure and variables used to calculate the final cost of your app development project.

    Different agencies may offer a combination of models, and they essentially determine how much you’ll pay and under what conditions.

    Understanding pricing models is important for several reasons.

    It will help you:

    • Negotiate Effectively: With a grasp of pricing models, you can have informed conversations with the app development agency and negotiate a fair price that aligns with your project needs.
    • Avoid Cost Overruns: A clear understanding of pricing models will help you avoid situations where unexpected fees derail your project or push it beyond budget.
    • Choose the Right Partner: Different pricing models cater to different project types and budgets. Understanding them allows you to select an agency that offers a pricing structure that aligns with your specific requirements.

    Most Common App Development Agency Pricing Models

    Now that you understand what pricing models are and why they matter, let’s delve into the pricing models commonly offered by app development agencies!

    1. Fixed Pricing Model

    The fixed pricing model is a popular choice for app development agencies and business owners alike.

    Because it offers cost certainty and a clear roadmap for project completion.

    In this model, the app development agency will agree to build your app for a predetermined, fixed cost.

    This price typically includes the entire development lifecycle, from initial planning, to development, testing, and launching.

    Pros of the fixed pricing model:

    • Budget Certainty: You know exactly how much the project will cost from the beginning. So, you’ll be able to plan your budgets easily.
    • Predictability: With a fixed price in place, you can predict your cash flow and manage project expectations with stakeholders.

    Cons of the fixed pricing model:

    • Limited Flexibility: This model offers minimal flexibility once the scope is finalised. Changes to features or functionalities after the agreement is signed might incur additional charges.
    • Less Ideal for Complex Projects: Fixed pricing is best suited for projects with well-defined requirements and functionalities. Complex apps with intricate features or integrations can be challenging to accurately estimate upfront.

    2. Hourly Rate Pricing Model

    The hourly rate provides a pay-as-you-go approach, which is ideal for projects with evolving requirements or uncertain scopes.

    So, the app development agency will charge you based on the number of hours they spend working on your project.

    Usually, the agency will provide estimated timelines based on the plan, but the final cost hinges on the actual hours invested in development.

    Pros of the hourly rate pricing model:

    • Flexibility: Since you’re billed for the time used, you can easily adjust project scope and features as needed throughout development.
    • Ideal for Uncertain Projects: The hourly rate model is well-suited for projects where the app’s scope is not fully defined at the outset, or where there’s a high degree of uncertainty about the features.

    Cons of the hourly rate pricing model:

    • Budget Uncertainty: It’s difficult to predict the total project cost, as development timelines can be challenging to estimate precisely.
    • Less Transparency: This model requires a high level of trust with the agency, as you’re relying on their time tracking and project management to ensure efficient use of resources.

    3. Time & Material Pricing Model

    The time & material (T&M) pricing model shares similarities with the hourly rate model but with a twist.

    It bills you based on the actual time spent by the agency when working on your project.

    However, it goes a step further by also factoring in any materials or resources required for development.

    Pros of T&M pricing model:

    • High Degree of Cost Control: You’re only billed for the resources and time used on your project. By tracking them, you can monitor project progress and identify areas for potential cost savings.
    • Ideal for Agile Development: Agile development uses iterative cycles, which allow you to adapt new features as the project progresses. The T&M model accommodates these changes in real time.

    Cons of hourly rate pricing model:

    • Budget Uncertainty: As with the hourly rate model, it’s difficult to predict the final project cost due to potential variations in development time and resource needs.
    • Requires Active Management: This model demands active involvement from you, the business owner. Regular communication with the agency and close monitoring of time and resource usage are important to manage costs effectively.


    Which pricing model should you choose?

    Well, it depends on your specific project requirements.

    Here’s a quick recap to guide your decision:

    • Fixed Price Model: Ideal for projects with well-defined requirements. It offers upfront cost certainty and reduced risk of overruns, but limited flexibility for changes.
    • Hourly Rate Model: Perfect for projects with evolving app ideas or uncertain scopes. Because it provides flexibility to adapt features as needed but comes with the risk of budget uncertainty.
    • Time & Material Model: Excellent for agile projects and those requiring granular cost control. It allows real-time adjustments but demands active management from you.

    Looking for a reliable app development agency with flexible and cost-effective solutions in the UK?

    Look no further than LAD (London App Development)

    We’ve built mobile apps for 30+ industries since 2014.

    Moreover, our 40+ skilled UK app developers are ready to help you create high-performing and easy-to-use apps.

    So, let’s bring your app idea to life.

    Contact us now!

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    Co - Founder

    Tuhin Bhatt is a co-founder of London App Development (LAD), a leading Web and Mobile App Development Company. He helps passionate entrepreneurs build amazing tech products. Tuhin being a peoples man who has a passion to share his technical expertise with clients and other enthusiasts.


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