How Much Does It Cost to Make an App? The Expensive Way vs the Practical Way

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App? The Expensive Way vs the Practical Way

How much does it cost to make an app? This is such an open-ended question that finding the right answer is often difficult.

A simple bare-bones mobile app can cost you less than a thousand dollars, but the more features that you integrate into the app, the more it’s going to cost you eventually. Having a mobile app is critical to the growth of your business. With revenues going up in billions for mobile apps, it’s easy to understand just how much potential there is for businesses that want to grow by building their own mobile app.

While many developers will claim to make an app for you at a lower fee, you should know that it’s going to be severely lacking on features as well. After all, you will only get your money’s worth. But, in general, how much does it cost to make an app? In the following paragraphs, we will break down the costs associated with building a mobile app into separate phases.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App? Breaking Down the Elements

There are three major elements that you need to focus on: app development, design, and startup costs. The average cost of an app ranges between $80k and can go as high as $250k depending on the type of features you want to integrate.

The first stage is app development, in which the front end and back end of the app will be developed. Extensive testing will have to be carried out to iron out the creases and make sure that all of the included features are working properly.

Once that is done, the app will move into the design phase, where the visual design of the app will be configured. This includes working on the UX and the UI of the app, along with the design, logos, and other features. Copywriting services will be required as well to create the app’s content.

Once that is done, the next step is the startup costs. Marketing the app is going to be critically important. Without adoption, it’s going to be virtually impossible for the app to sustain itself. As a result, a significant amount of the budget is going to be set apart for marketing.

Then, there’s support. Problems with the app will need to be catered to, so appropriate support will be provided. An office will be set up to hire staff who will run the office and manage issues.

Now, how much does it cost to make an app? Here’s a brief summary:

  • Simple apps can cost a maximum of $80,000
  • Basic database apps can cost as much as $150,000
  • Apps with advanced features can cost as much as $250,000
  • Gaming apps can cost even more than that depending on the quality

However, there are other things to understand as well. App development is usually an ongoing process. Once the app has been built, it’s going to be refined and reworked over and over again, and all of this is going to require money. For instance, car dealers are going to need an app that allows them to show off their inventory easily.

Requirements for Car Dealers

There are several key features that you are going to want to include in your app for car dealers. You need to start by figuring out the number of platforms on which you are going to make the app available, and then determine the complexity of the app itself. Certain design elements are also going to play a role in the overall build.

Now, let’s take a look at these requirements separately for car dealers.

Platform Requirements

You can either create a native app for iOS or Android, or you can create a cross-platform app that is available on both platforms. As a car dealer, you need to understand that both iOS and Android are incredibly popular platforms. To allow more potential customers to view your inventory and access the app, you need to make sure that you develop apps for both of these platforms.

Cross platform apps are slightly more expensive, but they are definitely worth the money. You are going to have to pay a bit more, but it will also allow you to access a greater number of customers.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App? The Expensive Way vs the Practical Way
How Much Does It Cost to Make an App? The Expensive Way vs the Practical Way


How do you want the car dealer app to look? There are a few design elements that you need to include. For starters, the car dealer app should have an aesthetically appealing design. The look and feel should be in line with the aesthetic at your dealership for creating brand consistency.

That’s not all; you will also need to work on the user experience to make it as seamless as possible. Essentially, you have to understand that you will be listing plenty of cars on the platform. It’s important to allow for fluid navigation and lots of high-res pictures so that people can check and make a booking easily. They should also have an option to set up an appointment.


This is a slightly confusing part, but one that plays an important role. You might need to add integration for accepting payments online as well, especially if you are going to offer in-app purchases to your customers. Obviously, as a car dealer, this is a fantastic feature to add, but you may have to spend more money.

That’s why it’s important for you to evaluate whether such a feature is necessary or not, especially considering your target market. Most people will want to visit before they decide to buy a car.

If you want to avoid going through the traditional way, you should consider getting in touch with DealerApp Vantage. Our mobile app platform that allows you to build an app tailored for car dealers within minutes, without having to pay over the top. It’s a fantastic option for people who quickly want to build and launch an app to separate themselves from the competition.

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Mobile App Design and UX Best Practices

Mobile App Design and User Experience (UX) Best Practices

Hit the nail on the head with Mobile App design best practices to achieve a great UX (User Experience)

The market for mobile apps is growing by the day, and if you want to remain competitive in the business world, it is important for you to make sure that you come up with the right mobile app design for your business. If you are running a car dealership, it would be a great idea to come up with an app design that not only meets the needs of your customers, but also offers seamless compatibility. The result is, well you guessed it: a great User Experience (UX).

There are plenty of key features that you will want to incorporate in a mobile app that is primarily designed for car dealerships. Here are just a few.

Mobile App Consistency

Design consistency is perhaps of the utmost importance for making sure that users are able to easily recognize what the app is about. You will want to make sure that the typeface, the controls, and the colors remain the same on all platforms for which the app is created. Make sure that it is virtually the same app on both platforms. This is going to help get rid of confusion and make sure that users know your branding.

Focus on Eliminating User Doubt

An important mistake that many app developers make is that they do not provide enough feedback to the user who is engaging with the app. Eliminating user doubt is critical for the success of your app, and this is only possible when you are able to provide some sort of feedback every time a user interacts with the app.

For instance, a pop-up message should show up when a user fills out a form on your app. If a user is checking out cars available on your dealership in the app, every touch that they register should be confirmed.

Mobile App Design with Easy Navigation

The journey taken by your users to reach a specific goal is obviously important, and you need to take steps to minimize the number of steps involved in their journey. You have to make sure that you take appropriate steps so that the user is able to see different cars, place an order, book a service, or interact with your dealership in the most convenient manner. If they want to set up a meeting, they should be allowed to do that. The less steps a user has to take, the better it will be for your users. It’s only going to help in improving your contact with your end-consumers.

Simplify User Actions

Another thing that you need to do when creating a mobile app is to focus on breaking down the user actions. Instead of giving the user several actions on a single screen, provide them with a sort of home page and then focus on providing one action on each screen. For instance, if a user wants to book a service, they should be taken to a screen that allows them to choose from different options.

Once they click on a specific option, the user will be taken on a separate screen to show them all of the features within that servicing option. They can then make a booking through that separate screen.

The same can be applied for bookings as well. Users can easily make bookings for cars after checking the features and comparing them on your app. It’s a simplified way of making sure that you do not overburden the user with plenty of options.

The aim here is to make sure that a user has plenty of space to work with. Keep in mind that most users will be using the app on a screen not bigger than five to seven inches. That is why it’s important to keep the options minimal.

Focus on Different UI Elements

If you take a look at some of the most popular apps in the world, you will realize that they all follow a similar mobile app design strategy. All important elements are shown near the top of the screen, and then, they are broken down in terms of importance. More importantly, despite the limited space available on the screen, many of the apps also make use of whitespace in a very intelligent manner.

It’s all about prioritizing the amount of information that is shown on the screen. When developing a mobile app for your auto business, the focus should always be on providing relevant information. A lot of information might not be required, and can be easily omitted or shown on a separate screen. These are some simple design elements that your mobile app should focus on.

If you want a mobile app designed for your car dealership, you can always schedule a demo with us. We have built plenty of mobile apps in the past and are highly experienced in helping dealerships improve on their customer satisfaction by building tailored mobile apps.

How to Increase Fixed Ops Revenue with a Mobile App

How to Increase Fixed Ops Revenue with a Mobile App

How Does a Mobile App Affect Your Fixed Ops Revenue?

We’ve all been affected by COVID-19, and that is especially true for the business world. If you’re in charge of the fixed ops division at your dealership, you might be wondering how to keep things productive and making money during this horrible pandemic, especially since so many people are now working from home. 

But not to worry because since the digital world is here to help, the only thing you need to make sure your business stays afloat are a few tips, some suggestions and a good mobile app for your dealer.

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected with your customers. There are numerous marketing strategies that will help keep your sales numbers up and your service department busy. You can schedule a lot of these strategies via your cellphone, where you can also check the status and the analytics of each program you choose so that you know what your numbers are. 

For the most part, there are at least five different areas you can concentrate on to help all areas of your dealership survive and thrive during COVID-19. 

They are described below.

  • Become intimate with your inbox. Rather than only concentrating on sending out e-blasts and nothing else, you should go all out when it comes to your email marketing program. Compared to many other marketing programs, email programs that have a specific goal in mind go a long way in converting your current customers into customers for your service department. Send a targeted email out describing a service discount or sale. Most people need something done on their vehicle at any given time, so it should be easy to drive those people to the service bays.
How to Increase Fixed Ops Revenue with a Mobile App
  • Build up your service department so that everyone knows how great they are. By using a variety of online marketing techniques and your mobile app, you can boast about the many things your service department can do. Target people who haven’t had their cars serviced in a while and people who declined any type of long-term warranty. Current customers should be targeted because they are the most likely to visit your service department, if not immediately, sometime in the near future. New car buyers especially tend to be conscious about how well their vehicles are maintained, so make sure you include them in any digital marketing programs you initiate. This is something your fixed ops division can do that is both simple and efficient.

  • Enhance your website and make sure it is current and offers valuable information. Get online and update your site, making sure you highlight your service department. Make sure any service-related questions that customers might have are answered; in other words, try your best to be proactive. Customers will look to your website when they have any questions about any part of your business, and if service-related information just happens to be on there, they are very likely to go toward it. Even if they’re not currently needing service on their vehicle, they’ll remember that information for the future.

  • Think about your mindshare. When you plan your marketing campaign, try to utilize various platforms so that you reach as many people as possible. Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to keep your company in the back of their minds. We’re not just talking about current customers; this also means giving some attention to shoppers and other potential customers so that they remember you later on when they need you. After all, a fixed ops department’s job is to make sure all of the departments in the dealership are successful and thriving, and since you can do so many of these things on a mobile app, you can create and monitor marketing campaigns even if it’s the middle of the night.

  • Make sure you consider your search engine results page (SERP), which is crucial for bringing in new customers. This page is the first exposure they’ll get to your company, so you want to make sure it is absolutely perfect. Remember that this is the page they’ll be directed to when performing an Internet search, so you should use a combination of Organic, Paid, and Map Pack search results. You want visibility, but if your SERP isn’t tended to, viewers will quickly move onto something else.

deploy your auto dealer app with just a few clicks.

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A Few Final Thoughts

Managing your fixed ops department during the pandemic isn’t as challenging as you might think. All you have to do is set some goals and have a strategic marketing plan all laid out so that you use a variety of platforms to target certain customers. When customers download your dealership’s mobile app, you can interact with them from anywhere, which saves you a lot of time and helps you make money. No dealership has to go it alone, and if you’re curious about apps that work and you’d like to see a demo, all you have to do is contact us whenever you’re ready.

How Car Dealers Can Use a Mobile App to Keep Customers Engaged

How Car Dealers Can Use a Mobile App to Keep Customers Engaged

Mobile phones and their mobile apps are the most popular way for people to search for the services they want and need.

This offers dealers an enormous opportunity to establish relationships with customers and leads, and they can communicate directly with customers and people who might use their services. If you are looking to increase your engagement and build loyalty with your customers, creating a mobile app is a great idea.

Your Mobile App Creates Brand Recognition

When a customer finds your site, you should have an offer to download your mobile app. This way, the icon with your name is on the screen of their smartphones each time they look at it. This helps to create brand recognition so that when they need an oil change or want to look for a new car, they will think of your dealership. If the app is user friendly, they will use it before doing an online search. Your dealership name will stand out in their minds and they will refer you to their friends and families.

You Can Offer Promotions and Other Discounts

Another way to keep customers engaged through your mobile app is to offer promotions and other discounts. For example, if you have a promotion, it can show up as a notification on the app. Your customers will open the app to find out what it is. As long as you are offering promotions that your customers want, you will increase your revenue this way. This helps you to stay engaged with your customers, which helps to develop a relationship and build trust.

If you have a dealership, creating a mobile app for your customers can help you engage with them.

You Can Compile Data on Your Customers to Improve Your Business

When you have a mobile app, you get valuable data on your customers so that you can learn more about them. You can custom tailor your services and promotions to improve your customers’ experiences. The key to customer retention is making sure that they feel appreciated and valued, and when you have data that helps you to understand their needs, you can do this more efficiently.

How Car Dealers Can Use a Mobile App to Keep Customers Engaged

You Can Boost Engagement to Help Improve Your Business

In addition to offering promotions and discounts, you can conduct surveys and polls. You can find out what customers prefer, including size of cars, styles, colors, trunk space, how many people it holds, and more. This gives you more specific data on each customer so that you can send them information and offers that relate directly to their interests. This is a great way to build a relationship and create trust with potential customers.

You Can Entice Your Customers with High Impact Videos

Customers love to see videos of a test drive, interior features, and close looks at the exterior of vehicles. This gives them an opportunity to virtually experience a vehicle before they come in to make a purchase. You can include these types of videos so that customers can gather more information on cars they are interested in purchasing or leasing. This might help them to take that next step of coming in and test driving it or purchasing it.

You Can Use a Mobile App to Personalize a Customer’s Experience

Another benefit to a mobile app is that you can personalize your customers’ experiences. You will be able to address them by their first names, and you can customize the information they receive by tracking their preferences. You can simplify the process of selecting a car for them by helping them remember what they are interested in, and you can let them know when you offer incentives to purchase the model they like best.

You Can Create a VR Test Drive Experience

Virtual reality is becoming more and more common, and you can use it to provide your customers with a virtual test drive of the vehicle they prefer. The technology is similar to what you use in a video game, and your customers will enjoy seeing what it might feel like to drive the car they want to buy. This also gives you an opportunity to develop your brand name and engage with your customers.

Your Customers Can Build Their Dream Vehicles

Another feature that you can include is one where your customers can build the vehicle they desire. This allows them to see the car they want before they come in. They can match their version with cars you have available, and they can save it for future reference. They can make changes if they change their minds, and they can see the car they want to buy. This may help to give them the push they need to come in and see the real version.

Final Words

If you have a dealership, creating a mobile app for your customers can help you engage with them. This builds brand recognition and customer loyalty so that they will come to you when they are ready to purchase a car or need services performed.


Adapting to Covid-19

The Mobile Strategy

We have been watching what dealers have been doing on our mobile app platform to get ahead of this situation and we are impressed!​ Here are just some of the ways dealerships have been proactively adapting business needs with their mobile apps.


Push Notifications

Dealers have been able to communicate with their customers right on their mobile phone lock screens. Updating customers about extra precautionary measures at the dealership, changes in hours of operation, and announcing new servicing options available.

Pick up & Drop Off Service

Depending on their area, some dealerships are affected by shelter in place mandates. Affected dealers have been able to adapt by using the native built in pick up & drop off scheduler in the app, no 3rd party service required.

Loyalty Rewards

Some dealers have been mandated to shutdown showrooms and have been operating solely in the service departments. With the shift to service, what better time could there be to retain and reward your customers for their loyalty during these critical times with the native built in Loyalty Rewards system. Dealerships have been able to customize the program on the fly to handle new service incentives.

Digital Retailing

Some showrooms may be shut down but not the mobile app! Dealers have ensured customers and potentials have been able to browse LIVE inventory, view photos, ask questions, and apply for financing all through the mobile app. Others are utilizing the custom form builder to facilitate lease returns remotely.

The Bottom Line

We are very proud of how our dealers have been using the platform to get over these new hurdles. If you are currently a DealerApp Vantage customer, please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can continue to help you navigate these new challenges. If you are not yet a customer or were in the past, reach out to us and we’ll make sure you stay ahead of this curve.

Email inbox message list online interface

Don’t Get Lost In The Inbox

As every company is racing to send out important communication to their customers amid COVID-19 via email, the problem is EVERYBODY is sending emails. Your emails are getting lost in a sea of hundreds of other emails with a similar message. This is why standing out with push notifications is crucial!  Below we share the top reasons they work so well, especially during these times. 


The Numbers

The statistic speak for themselves. There’s a 75% opt-in rate for mobile users to accept push notifications, a 90%push notification open rate of those users, while more than 50% of them share their location data as well. The reachability and engagement of push notifications is often superior to email.

Direct Communication

When we say direct we mean DIRECT. Reach customers directly on their smartphone lock screens where they can see your messages before even unlocking their devices! This puts you in the front of the line when it comes to your customers attention which is crucial to always remain top of mind.

Geo Targeted

Since push notifications were bred from the mobile world, they can take far more advantage of mobile technologies. Push notifications can be automated based on customer location for hyper personalized experiences for example using beacons in your dealership or in conjunction with geo-fences using Google Maps.

The Bottom Line?

Email has and will always have its place and usage, but push notifications should be essential to your messaging. Contact us below to learn about how you can better connect with customers using push notifications


The Power of the Customizable Home Screen

Virtually every auto dealer has had to update their websites with new information due to COVID-19 or to inform customers of new remote digital sales & service options. Don’t forget to update your mobile app home screen for the same reasons.

M-Link was developed with on the fly customization in mind. It was made for times like this. One of our favorite features of M-Link is the Customizable Home Screen. The home screen can be updated or totally reconfigured in just a few moments from the DealerApp Dashboard. 


Step 1: Log into the App Dashboard and click Home Screen

Step 2: Select App and Location

Step 3: Begin customizing! Add or remove tiles, expand or shrink them, change graphic, text, photos and integrate videos!

The best part? Changes go live in MINUTES! No app update required. 

Don’t leave your mobile apps behind, need help or ideas updating your home screens?