How much does it cost to build an app like Whatsapp?

CEO & Co-founder

You’ve probably wondered many times how much can cost mobile application, which will be used for communication (voice, video, chat) and which will allow you to transfer selected files on each type of device. Perhaps you might even have an idea for a startup, but you do not really know what the prices are.

We will take a look at several functionalities, the cost of hiring programmers, designers and testers, and we will try to bring you closer to this topic, so that you can make a good decision. Get Ready! Of course we will not talk about 1:1 Whatsapp copy here, although tens of developers work on its development everyday (mainly due to the scale of their business).

The most important functionalities and man hours

Let’s start with the functionalities. Your application (notwithstanding what audience you are trying to reach) can not ignore certain solutions that people got used to:

  • sending free messages,
  • importing contacts from selected social accounts and phone,
  • free photo upload, gifs.

These are just some of the basic features, without which every user of this type of application can not imagine living anymore. Certainly, in order to stand out on the market, the application must offer something innovative (eg. additional features, a specific group of recipients).

To make your order successful without any major problems, the team working on the application (programming, testing, management) should consist of the following people:

  • 1 x PM
  • 2 x Mobile Dev
  • 2 x Web Dev
  • 1 x Tester
  • 1 x Designer & UX

Approximately, if we focus on the basic function of the application, which is sending messages between users online, the programming team will need about 200 man-hours of work to accomplish it. This will be the basic function that allows you to send and receive text messages. Importing contacts, as well as uploading photos or gifs, account creation process – the team should close these matter in about 2 months (each team member works approximately 150 hours per month). Be aware these number might change depending on number of features or their advance level.

The application itself is not just software. The appearance and UX (user experience) are also important, which in a great part determine the perception, navigation and reception of the application. UI / UX is an average of 250 hours of work. In addition, 20% should be added to software testing and 10-15% to the project management itself.

Another thing you need to remember is the cost of maintaining the software. The estimated cost is around 50-100 man-hours per month. The number of man-hours needed is difficult to estimate at the beginning, but after 1-2 months you will know what funds you have to prepare per month.

Basic costs and valuation

If you have already defined more or less what type of solution you want to put on the market and planned all the basic and additional functions, you know more or less how many hours will be needed for the team and the time has come to focus on finding the software provider and determining the initial valuation of your application. Remember that you can find a service provider not only in the country where you live and run your business, but also abroad, where the cost of developing your application can be significantly lower, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

We suggest that you look at software vendors in different regions, because as we said before, we will certainly see some significant price differences. As for the cost of application development, it is usually measured in euros or dollars per hour for programming work.

The rates provided on individual markets are currently (2018) at the level of:

  • Central and Eastern Europe – 25-80 $ / 1h
  • Western Europe – 60-120 $ / 1h
  • India – 20-70 $ / 1h

In recent years, programming companies from Central and Eastern Europe have been at the forefront when it comes to the quality and price of the delivered software. The price-quality ratio is still very attractive there, so this factor is a decisive one in finding a supplier in that region.


We hope that this basic information helped you to illustrate how you should prepare financially for the implementation of your business idea (if it is similar to the WhatsApp functionality) and how, with a properly selected team, build a modern mobile application in a time that suits your needs.

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