How Much Does it Really Cost to Develop a Flutter App in 2021

11 min read
Feb 11, 2021
How Much Does it Really Cost to Develop a Flutter App in 2021
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Introduction – What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source software development kit (SDK) provided by Google. It is used for cross-platform mobile and desktop app development like Xamarin and React Native. It can be used to build apps for, at least, six different operating systems: Android and iOS, as well as Windows, Mac, Linux, and the Linux-based Google Fuchsia.

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However, its primary use is for developing mobile apps (Android and iOS). The main edge of Flutter over its alternatives is that one can program apps for these different OS’s through one codebase. It does this better than its alternatives (and predecessors) by offering flexible programming.

Features like customizable widgets allow for building natively-compiled applications and ensure a smooth user experience. This results in much better cost-effectiveness.

Flutter made its first appearance at the 2015 edition of the DART developer summit. Then, it was simply referred to as ‘Sky’, its codename. Also, it was available Android-only.

For three years afterward, there were multiple preview iterations until December 2018. That was when the first stable release was finally introduced. It uses DART and C++ as its official languages.

The past few years have witnessed a rise in Flutter usage. Of its many pros, the chief is this: offering better cost optimization. Little wonder that it is the choice platform of many big companies including Alibaba, Square, eBay, Tencent, and needless to say, Google itself, among others. Obviously, it is on track to becoming the go-to SDK for programming mobile software.

Why Should You Choose Flutter for Your Next Project?

  • Cross-platform programming: Flutter’s greatest edge is in the fact that one can build and launch a single app that works on multiple platforms (up to six) from only one codebase. Instead of creating multiple development teams per OS, companies can now hire a single team to carry out the tasks of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.

    The apparent benefit of this is lowering the cost of development greatly. Also, the time-to-market for apps is greatly reduced. Flutter is primarily worthwhile for startups who may lack the wherewithal to build apps via the native means.
  • On the side of programmers, coding generally is complicated enough, programmers always welcome innovations that make their work easy and without dumbing the process down.

    Native app coding requires development teams to utilize different codebases for all the operating systems upon which said app would be launched. Certainly, the alternative seems more convenient: designing a self-adaptable app via one codebase.
  • Superior performance. Perhaps Flutter’s most notable feature is hot reload. Developing an app (whether iOS or Android) natively requires, first, the compilation and then, loading of the app onto the device in order to review changes.

    In contrast, developers using hot reload can effect changes on their code while observing the same, and in real-time; that is, unaccompanied by the hassle of restarting the program. This enhances team collaboration and makes testing easier.
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  • Global Community and Google Support: the Flutter community is expanding rapidly, increasingly gaining the trust of mobile developers globally. So far, it has gained about 110,000 stars on GitHub. Likewise, Google has been consistently providing support for programmers via community platforms and regular updates.

    More so, the mere truth that it is an SDK backed by a giant like Google makes a huge credential. There are several officials as well as unofficial forums for Flutter coders to connect, interact with and gain lessons from each other.
  • In the cross-platform mobile app development industry, programs like React Native, Flutter and Xamarin have relatively bigger ecosystems since they have had longer lifespans. Nevertheless, Flutter has steadily climbed the table to gain an edge of both.

    Flutter app development cost is cheaper than Xamarin’s particularly when it comes to enterprise-scale software; likewise, Flutter boasts of a more seamless UI than React Native. All these contribute to reasons why programmers increasingly love Flutter more than its alternatives.

    As obvious from the chart below (a comparison of Flutter, React Native, and Xamarin), you can observe Flutter’s steady rise to the peak of the cross-platform mobile programming ladder.

It is not hard to see why the enthusiasm for and adoption of Flutter has been growing over the years. It is a platform that allows for faster and more convenient programming while keeping the cost to develop a Flutter app minimized.

Apps built with Flutter have better performance too. For your next mobile app development project, it definitely makes a perfect choice. No one can accurately predict the future, but as things stand now, it is certain that Flutter is heralding a new generation of technologies and ideas in mobile app programming.

What Affects the Cost of Developing an App on Flutter?

Building an app with Flutter is relatively more cost-effective than a native app building. However, it is not just a cheap option. Far from it. Some factors that can increase Flutter app development cost are just similar to the factors affecting other software development projects.

The Complexity and Functionalities of the App

Applications are classified into ‘low’, ‘medium’, and ‘high’ based on how complex is the programming required. The more features are required in the software, the greater the efforts and money to be expended on the project.

The architectural model deployed, the addition of functionalities and third-party integration tools are some factors that make the process more complex and may raise the cost of developing a Flutter app.

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For example, simple features like login require minimal costs; however, the costs go up radically when you need to create chat features (such as video calls) and even more for navigation and maps. The app categorization will determine the set of functionalities and features that it must have; that, in turn, informs the overall Flutter app development cost for the project.

Location of Developers

Flutter app development cost and even the cost of software programming generally, varies by location. Developers in North America, Flutter, or otherwise, typically charge the highest rates per hour, followed by Australia and Western Europe.

Eastern European countries such as Ukraine usually have cheaper Flutter developer hourly rates. However, this is not so much due to the quality of work as it is due to the availability of programmers in those regions.

Outsourcing, and indeed outstaffing, is a good choice when looking to hire flutter developer for less cost to build a Flutter app. Countries like Ukraine are top software development outsourcing destinations. You can expect the following Flutter developer hourly rates per region:

RegionHourly rates (in U.S. dollars)
The USA and North America$74-200
Western Europe$60-150
Ukraine and Eastern Europe$30-50
Brazil and South America$40-60

App Design

Everyone loves an intuitive and aesthetically-pleasing user interface, but it comes at a higher Flutter app development cost. The complexity of the design is a key factor. UI designing aims at creating a better outlook for the app while UX design makes users interact with the software seamlessly. Both are equally important to delivering a great experience for app users.

A Flutter-built mobile application for the Philips Hue

If you’re going to create a fitness app, for instance, features such as animations and interactivity increase the cost of designing the application. Gaming apps usually cost more than other software (for example, Messengers), especially when they require high definition graphics and animations.

Testing, Maintenance, and Support

No software is ever fully finished; the cost to develop a Flutter app (or any software at all) should also factor in the costs of updates and maintenance when setting your project budget. Most of the maintenance required would be providing updates and fixing bugs to ensure that it continues to function smoothly.

Also, changes in design are always necessary once in a while to ensure that your app continues to look attractive to the users. Therefore, it is not enough to limit your project to simply how much it costs to create a Flutter app; include the cost of future maintenance and error-fixing too.

How much does Flutter App Development Cost?

How much does it cost to create a Flutter app? Typically, to calculate the average cost of building an app using Flutter, you first calculate the number of hours it will take to build a particular feature or function.

Then multiply the figure by the Flutter developer hourly rates of those you have hired. It may even cost more; it all depends on the complexity of the app. That excludes additional expenses for future maintenance and the likes.

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Compared to the cost of building apps on other platforms (keep in mind that cost is multiplied by the number of operating systems you are building for), Flutter is pretty low-cost.

However, the costs depend on many factors and the range could be really wide. Therefore, instead of setting your mind on a particular amount, request cost estimates before embarking on a project.

At the initial stages (discovery phase), there should be meetings between business analysts, project managers, coders, etc. to analyze all the variables, set agreements (on aspects like the Flutter developer hourly rate), determine the project specifications, and set rough estimates of the time-to-completion and how much the Flutter app development costs.

Afterward, the developers create wireframes for the app concept. Once approved, the development stage is next. The Discovery Phase is very crucial because it gives the main direction for the project, even if minor details may change along the journey.

Let’s schedule a call to start a Discovery Phase for your project!

How to Reduce the Flutter App Development Budget: Practical Tips

As explained above already, using Flutter for your app development is itself a cost-saving measure because of its cross-platform functionality. However, you can still reduce your budget and ensure greater cost-effectiveness by outsourcing the development to an agency or hiring freelancers.

We examine the pros and cons of each option and also provide some other simple tips to optimize your budget.

Outsource the Project

One of the main benefits of outsourcing a mobile app development project to an agency is that you get a dedicated team for your specific project. Even though the acceptance of Flutter is rapidly growing in the development community, there are still not enough developers.

That is worrying, especially considering that Flutter is on its way to becoming the most important technology for mobile app programming in the future.

It is easier to find a software development agency with ready Flutter coders that charge less per hour than going through the hassle of full-time recruitment and onboarding of scarce developers.

Thus, in addition to dramatically reducing how much it costs to create a Flutter app, you can also reduce the time-to-market by hiring an agency with dedicated developers.

Even if you have in-house coders and engineers, you can keep them from being overwhelmed by outsourcing specific projects to their agency. Developers from an agency will bring useful insights and innovations that are particularly important if your app is expected to have an international reach.

Countries such as Ukraine, Poland, Brazil, etc. have a wide availability of skilled developers. That means you can outsource your projects for a reduced Flutter developer hourly rate in those countries who are just as skilled as developers based in the west. Thus you can drastically reduce how much it costs to create a Flutter app.

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Hire Freelancers

How much does Flutter app development cost on freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal, etc.? You can find skilled and reliable Flutter developers whose hourly rates hover around $35/hour or sometimes $30/hour.

Freelancers are a low-cost option for mobile app development using Flutter, especially when the project is of an application requiring low complexity.

Otherwise, you can hire different freelancers and have them collaborate on the project. For instance, if a project requires 300 hours of programming, one freelancer working 8 hours per day will need about 38 days to complete the project. That is not sustainable.

However, the second option of forming a team of freelancers is not entirely recommended. Of course, there is the possibility of freelancers bringing their different cultural perspectives to improve development. On the other hand, that can also be a disadvantage and hinder collaboration.

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In any case, hiring freelancers does reduce how much it costs to create a Flutter app on a per hour basis. However, you have to be clear about your goals and methods in order to ensure the success of the project.

Practical Tips for Reducing Flutter App Development Budget

Whether you use in-house developers or hire an agency or recruit freelancers, somehow it seems impossible to stay within the budget for any software development undertaking, and not just Flutter app development.

Note that cutting down your budget for Flutter development should not necessarily entail stripping your app creation down to the bare minimum. It should not mean hiring the Flutter developers with the lowest hourly rates either.

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Instead, it means maximizing the value for each dollar and every amount of effort expended for the project. It means optimizing how much Flutter app development costs.

The tips explained below will help you manage your Flutter app development budget better and create an amazing app:

  • Clarify project requirements and specifications. Omitting even the simplest of elements might cost you a lot more at the end of the day. Being explicit about all the details enables you to set a more accurate budget. Surely, there would be changes along the way.

    However, establishing a well-organized direction for the project from get-go will bring coherence and clarity.
  • Remove extraneous functionalities and features. Don’t include a feature unless it is absolutely necessary for delivering the perfect service to the user. When building your Flutter app, keep it as simple as necessary to save costs.

    This does not mean that you should build a bare-bones, boring app; instead, it means that you must tailor your app functionalities to the needs and experience of your target audience.

    Of course, to achieve this, you must have conducted detailed market research to understand your target audience and their needs.
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  • Implement an agile test-driven development strategy and fix errors as you go. Flutter’s hot reload makes it easier to execute the iterative CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous development) model; take advantage of this. The farther the Flutter app is at the stage of development, the costlier it becomes to correct eros and bugs.

Conclusion

Flutter makes mobile app development more convenient and less costly. Developing apps for multiple platforms at once via Flutter is already half the price (or less) of development.

However, you still need vigilance so that your budget is utilized judiciously and avoid wastage. One sure way to significantly reduce how much Flutter app development costs on your next project is to hire a development agency with skilled Flutter developers.

Let’s schedule a call to discuss all your needs!

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