How to Build a Mobile Application

Michael Schneider, CEO of Mobile Roadie (, discusses the steps in order to build a mobile application. The process of building an app can be lengthy but will result in more traffic.

  1. Creater the app from the ground up
  2. Utilize tools like "Appcelerator" to help your developer
  3. Use a simple platform like "Mobile Roadie" to develop and build your app

So we get asked everyday what should a mobile app cost and it is sort of like asking what should a car cost. There’s a lot of different options out there.

The first option would be to build it from scratch. Whether you are doing it in-house or you are outsourcing it to an agency or a freelancer, you are completely reinventing the wheel from scratch.

I would not recommend that any business do that with two exceptions. If you are building a game, you probably do need to build it from scratch. And if your core business is apps, then you should probably own the intellectual property and actually build the app yourself. Other than those two specifics, it does not really make sense to reinvent the wheel and built an app from scratch.

So the second option is sort of a middle ground between building it yourself and using a self-service app platform. And it is giving a developer the tools to re-use certain components of the app.

A popular one is called Appcelerator. There are others out there. These are tools for developers. You still do need to hire a developer but can dramatically reduce your cost and time to market because they are re-using pre-packaged components for your app.

The third option is a mobile app platform that is for non-techies that anybody can use such as ourselves such as Mobile Roadie. What this is, is a way to build a mobile app totally drag and drop the same way you would type an e-mail or create a Word document. It is really, really useful for content-based apps where the functionality is predefined but it is customizable around your needs and you can make the app look and feel just like your brand.

That by far is the fastest time to market where you can build an app in just a matter of hours. And it is a fraction of the cost of doing it from scratch or even going out and hiring a developer.

So on the high-end of cost, apps can be millions of dollars. That is a pretty fancy app but that definitely exists. A custom app in general could be anywhere from twenty to fifty thousand to multiple six figures depending on what you are building. App platforms where you are doing it yourself and it is a content-based app could be anywhere from a couple of hundred bucks a year to a few thousand bucks a year depending on what you are doing. But if you can use a platform and you can reinvent the wheel, you are going to save a lot of money and time.