Mobile Apps

How much would it cost to make and to maintain an messaging app like whatsapp?

Andrew Reed Cofounder

August 3rd, 2017

Cost of development of this kind of app and what will be app operating cost after it launched officially on play store/app store

Jack Larson Business Development Manager

Last updated on August 3rd, 2017

WhatsApp is a native instant messaging app with advanced multimedia features. According to the company WhatsApp Inc., on February 2016 the number of monthly active users has exceeded one billion. (Source – Statista).

A possible list of features for chat app like whatsapp includes:

  • Event management and calendar synchronization;
  • VoIP phone calls;
  • Video chats;
  • Group calls (including group video calls);
  • Encrypted chats;
  • Self-destructing messages;
  • Geolocation integration;
  • Cloud services synchronization (for the sent user files storage);
  • Support for various data formats (text, video, audio, emoticons, pictures, photographs, stickers etc.)

Let’s review some of the prospective real time chat app traits taking WhatsApp as example.

  • Account management, Facebook authorization routine implementation.
  • Server backend for messages and media sync between devices.
  • Contact management – import/export, sync with device’s contact storage/cloud accounts, modifying, grouping, black- and whitelisting.
  • Offline, server and cloud data storage/backup.
  • Contact and location sharing.
  • Message search.
  • Delivery and reading confirmations.
  • PUSH- and in-app notifications about app events.
  • Pictures upload/download.
  • Friend adding/server catalogue search.
  • Messaging.
  • Media sending (emoticons, stickers, pictures, audio, video, documents, files).
  • Voice calls/group voice calls.
  • Contacts/message marking.
  • Device’s calendar sync (appointments/meetings/reminders).
  • End-to-end conversation encryption.

The price of building a mobile chat app is made up of several components:

1. UI/UX design – up to 150 hours;

2. Development – up to 900 hours, plus 25% of PM and QA services.

The approximate cost of an App like WhatsApp is between $5000 to $13,000. Maintenance cost will be $300/month to $500/month. It will kick you off as an starting application like whatsApp.

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Oha Nelson Futuristic vision

August 3rd, 2017

I don't known but the cost implication will been much

Richmond Opoku Founder and CEO, dreamworld Inc

August 3rd, 2017

500$ is a good deal

Lucy Clarke IT Specialist

Last updated on August 3rd, 2017


Valentine Ike Oleka Cofounder & CEO of Factory Technologies Inc

August 4th, 2017

So, I'm going to assume you are not a developer (just so I can use non developer terms to explain).

Building a new Whatsapp would be freaking expensive because of how much you'd spend in infrastructure to maintain all the features Whatsapp currently has. But you can build a simple chat app for not so much money.

I know this because we just release the MVP of Factory. Factory is a project management tool build for organizations and teams to track their basic everyday work flow and meet targets faster. We under costed Factory when we started out and it cost us a lot of time to actually achieve all we set on the timeline. If we talk about funs spent or opportunity cost? It would be in the neighborhood of $150k, but we didn't spend that much though.

I think you should just decide exactly what you want to make and then cost it. WhatsApp has grown for nearly a decade, so you can use it as a benchmark.

Joseph Wang Chief Science Officer at Bitquant Research Laboratories

August 14th, 2017

Tens of Millions of USD.

The development cost and cost of maintaining a basic client would be quite low and could be done for about USD 200k and maybe USD 50k/year code maintainence. Also keeping up the servers is going to be a big pain.

The problem is that your big costs are going to be marketing and customer service. What you will have after you spend that money is a telephone that doesn't connect to any other telephone.

The other thing is that creating your own app is probably the wrong thing to do since you can build your app on top of Whatsapp.