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Darshan MhatreDirector, Code-B Technologiesauthor linkedin

Cost Structure for Flutter Development

Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google. It's used for developing applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Google Fuchsia, and web applications from a single codebase.

Because Flutter is a dynamically evolving tool that allows one to create cross-platform applications, it is a popular choice for several projects as it turns out to be quite an efficient undertaking.

Additionally, an easy-to-understand architecture, quick development turnaround times, and native-like performance are all very strong reasons to build your next application on Flutter.

There are a few more reasons that make Flutter a great option for mobile application development, folks over at Pixeled Apps have done a great job explaining this on their YouTube channel



Since you're already on this page, it looks like Flutter is one of the frameworks or toolkits under your radar, so you're already on the right track!

To plan this better, it will help to understand the costs of developing an application on Flutter.

Naturally, the complexity and features involved in the specific application, the integrations, assets, expected user-base etc are all aspects that can vary significantly; so we will breakdown the factors that influence the pricing and finally, we will review some apps like Uber, GrubHub, and E-commerce stores and estimate their pricing. While at it, check our Flutter Development Services to understand the Flutter development process and its costs.

Factors Affecting Development Cost

It is important to understand the drivers of cost when it comes to developing a Flutter Application, this will help us get a sense of where to optimize for costs and where to compromise during the entire application development cycle.

Server Costs

No matter the type, nature, and user base of your application, it will need a server to host the files so it can retrieve and show the users. In the last few years, server costs have reduced drastically thanks to stiffer competition and newer technologies. 

Most applications today will be built on cloud applications that may require multiple external servers.

The nature of the files, the number of active users, their usage pattern, and their projected growth and usage are all aspects to consider.

An E-commerce mobile application with a couple of hundred thousand active users is likely to spend around $350 on server costs alone. Naturally, multiple choices for server types are available each with its pros and cons

Labor & Man Hours

The project management and the hours spent in development effort are easily some of the more driving factors that will impact the cost of developing the Flutter application. 

The hours spent on development can be broadly categorized into;

Front End Application Development

This will mainly include aspects like the UI, functionalities and navigation of the flutter application. Naturally, the greater the number of frames, design requirements and functionalities; the greater the front-end aspect of the overall application development cost.

Back-End Application Development

The back-end will include aspects like the integrations, databases, servers and APIs. The more the number of integrations, products and sub-products, dynamically generated content requirements etc, the higher the back-end application development cost will be.


Maintenance

Generally speaking, the maintenance of the mobile application is co-related to the total application development cost. On a yearly basis, you’re looking at spending around 5-10% of the app development cost on maintaining the application end-to-end.

Some of the more shoddy agencies and development companies may quote an abysmally low number to win over a development project and intentionally leave bugs or develop the application in the first place using poor quality coding practices. Only to begin over-charging the client later on since the dependency has already been established

App Release Costs

Although this cost can be subsumed as a marketing spend, some product companies and projects would also want to ascertain the cost of releasing the application on app stores like Play Store or App Store.

Google Play store, for example will charge a one time fee of $25 to release the first application on the store.

Similarly, Apple's App store will charge $99 a year for distributing your application on their portal, regardless of whether it's free or not.

But there's more ...

Both these platforms additionally charge a flat commission fee for in-app purchases.

Although these expenses aren't really part of the development cost, here's are the commission structure details of all the popular app stores.


Application

Flat Fee

Variable Cost

Google Play Store

$25 One-time release fee

15% commission fee for all in-app purchases

Apple App Store

$99 Yearly

15% commission upto $1 Million in revenue & 30% following that

Amazon App Store

Free

30% commission on all payments

Microsoft App Store

99 for an enterprise account

12% commission on gaming applications and 15% on others. Non-game publishers can avoid commission altogether by using their own payment system

Samsung Galaxy Store

Free

Commission sharing fee is agreed with Samsung


Development Complexity

This is closely tied in with the User Experience, Interface, and the planned designs for various screens

The higher the number of screens, user paths, and variations between each screen, the higher the UX/UI effort and the development bandwidth needed to code it into reality

Applications with complex logic require various back-end & front-end integrations with other languages like Python or an API or any third-party integration which brings the need for additional skill sets of developers, these integrations and complexities bump up the costs in the form of salaries and fees.

For instance, it's easy to understand why building a stock market trading application is much tougher than building, say, an exercise routine application on Flutter. However, hiring a third-party development firm may relieve you of many burdens when developing your app.

UI UX Requirements

Typically, flutter application developers require pre-built wireframes, screens, stills and a detailed understanding of the user flows, interactive elements, and triggers for which a particular action should follow.

Back in the day, this was done by simply preparing a graphic design document either on an xD file or any other application and the details of the flow were detailed in another document by a product or project manager.

These days, however, things are slightly different. Several applications exist that allow for prototyping and wireframing in great detail within an application itself.

Specialized design professionals like UI/UX developers are solely devoted to these tasks and the most popular application used for this purpose is a Figma Application

Generally, the UI/UX related work accounts for 5-10% of the total flutter development cost, and this can increase or decrease depending on whether

  1. One is comfortable with off-the-shelf designs or one has to enlist a UI/UX developer for a custom design
  2. The total number of screens, stills, and wireframing required. Some applications are complex due to the very nature of their service. On the other hand, several applications may have fixed templates that don't need much custom design. For example: E-commerce applications on Flutter can be built with a relatively low volume of design work
  3. Variations between each screen, user paths, and interactions. Standardizing these elements would translate to direct cost savings due to reduced UI/UX development

Integration with Other Services

The more integrations (payment gateways, social media, etc.), the higher the cost

Managing Flutter Development Costs

Now that we have a firm grip on the various costs involved in developing a Flutter application, we can take a look at how we can optimize costs without compromising on the result.

Cost of Flutter Developers Globally

stats

Data Source

Naturally, labor costs and also the total available talent pool of Flutter Developers is something that varies from region to region quite significantly

In these cases, if one is willing to sift through multiple agencies, vet them, and verify their authenticity and expertise, the cost-savings, and ultimately, the relationship can pay dividends for a long time.

North America

Flutter being a product of a North American Company (Google), it is no surprise that some of the most skilled and adept flutter developers are from North American Countries.

Naturally, the difference in cost of living when comparing North American countries with the rest of the world inevitably results in higher developer costs.

But this is only half the story, the demand for Flutter development services in the United States, Canada, and even Mexico has grown tremendously over the last few years and, while the existing supply is generally some of the best quality, it is also scarce. This simple supply-demand trend has resulted in prohibitively high flutter development costs in the United States in recent times.

A study by Glassdoor indicates that the average junior flutter developer's base salary starts from $70,000/year and a senior developer's salary can go as high as $1,80,000/year.

Cost and a lack of breadth of talent pool (developers or agencies who are also skilled at related languages, frameworks, and tech stacks along with Flutter) continue to be the most limiting factors for developing Flutter applications within North American regions.

Europe

Europe, in particular, eastern Europe in recent times has witnessed a rapid rise in Mobile application developers, flutter included.

The story in Western Europe is not much too different from North America since annual salaries start from €60,000 and can go all the way up to €1,40,000 However, in recent times, countries in Europe, particularly countries like Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Lithuania have emerged as technology hubs where companies can find a great balance in managing costs and quality.

Some of the drawbacks of going this route can include

  • Communication issues and differences in working styles
  • Lack of breadth of technological expertise
  • While deep-tech talent is undoubtedly on the rise, finding niche-specific talent, for example, flutter application developers specifically, can be a bit difficult

India

One of the most widely preferred options for offshoring mobile development, and for good reason.

There is a bundle of reasons why one should strongly consider working with a Flutter application developer based out of India.

Costs: As per Glassdoor, The average salary of a junior flutter developer in India starts from ₹5,08,569 per year, and can go up to ₹2,000,000 per year for expert flutter developers which roughly translates to $6,000 and $22,000 annually.

Depth & Breadth of Technical Expertise: Similar to the trends in Eastern Europe, Israel, and Poland, India too went through an IT boom starting in the early 2000s, this trend has continued till today and the market has matured to a great extent. India today is the largest exporter of software services. The talent pool is more or less evenly spread out among most regions within India and finding and vetting any agency or well-known developer is quite simple.

Communication: After Hindi, English is the second most widely spoken language in India, this is also partially what led to the IT boom in the early 2000s. Western companies will find communicating and working with Indian talent and Indian software companies quite simple

Some of the Drawbacks

1. Timezones: Easily one of the most inconvenient drawbacks of working with a flutter app development company based out of India. For companies based in the United States, especially the West Coast, the timezone overlap with India is barely a couple of hours.

This is still manageable for folks on the East Coast and Europe since the overlap in general working hours is much higher for these time zones.

That being said, almost all software companies, agencies, and development centers are aware of this drawback so many of them are more than happy to adhere to flexible timings.

2. Quality Standards: Unfortunately, there can be several bad apples in a country as large and diverse as India. Few agencies may exercise poor coding practices, lack adherence to security protocols, and have an all-around poor experience.

This is why controlling costs for any flutter development initiative, especially by way of offshoring requires a minor level of commitment, research, and vetting from the client's side.

If done well, the cost savings can be enormous, and in most cases, companies that have managed to find the right flutter development partner in India have found it far more advantageous to offshore all development efforts into the country

Sample Costs of Applications Developed in Flutter

To better help you understand the costs of developing these applications, we've taken the examples of a few popular mobile & web applications and broken down their development costs.

FaceBook

Assuming a reasonable number of users and basic external integrations, building a social media application like Facebook can cost anywhere between $35,0000 to $200,000, depending mainly on where the development team is based out of.

Uber

Developing an Uber-like application involves creating two separate interfaces – one for the customers and one for the drivers – along with an admin panel for managing the system. This complexity affects the overall cost.

We're assuming that essential features like GPS navigation, fare estimation, payment integration, rating system, user profiles, ride history, etc. are built into the application, thus increasing development time and cost.

More advanced features like ride sharing, scheduling, or premium vehicle options will further add to the cost.

In any case, we're looking at a development cost between $450,000 to $250,000 depending on the complexity and the location of the development team.

WhatsApp

Building a simple messaging application like Whatsapp is much cheaper than one might think, assuming basic functionalities, the cost would range betweeen $15000 to $80000 depending on the location of the development team.

While the above applications can be built on flutter, none of them are really are. Here are a few examples of applications actually built on Flutter and their indicative costs.


Application

Indicative Cost (North America & Europe)

Cost (India, Pakistan, Philippines)

Google Pay

100K to 200K

80K

AliBaba

$70k to $140K

60K

E-commerce Applications

40K to 140K

45K

Stock Market Application

120k to $250k

100K