AI App Development Cost: Calculations and Factors to Consider

CHI Software
6 min readMar 29, 2024


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AI app development cost breakdown

You’ve heard all the buzz about artificial intelligence and how it can transform your business. But before diving in, you need to understand as much as possible about the AI app development cost.

Sticker shock awaits you if you fail to grasp the factors affecting the price. Don’t let that be you! Arm yourself with knowledge before approaching vendors. This guide breaks down everything from rates for AI engineering to cloud computing expenses.

We’ll walk you through typical project pricing, where to find savings, and what adds to the tab. Most importantly, you’ll gain the clarity needed to budget wisely. So, how much does it cost to build an AI solution? Let’s find out!

AI App Development Cost Factors: What Has the Biggest Impact on the Price?

Building an AI-powered app is an investment, and its actual cost can vary significantly based on your app’s features and complexity. But not only them. Let’s not waste a minute to figure out all the details.

Factor 1: Type of AI

The specific type of AI you want to implement has a major impact on the AI app development cost. Some simple AI apps powered by machine learning models are more affordable than those powered by complex deep learning neural networks. Chatbots are typically cheaper than computer vision solutions. Robotic systems and autonomous vehicle technologies are on the higher end of the spectrum.

Factor 2: Amount of Data

Your AI model requires massive amounts of data to learn and improve. The more training data you can provide, the more accurate and useful your AI-powered system will become. However, data collection, cleaning, labeling, and management are difficult, time-consuming, and pricey. For startups or smaller companies, the data costs can prove prohibitive. Look for ways to start with a smaller, targeted data sample and scale up over time.

Factor 3: Integration Complexity

Integrating an artificial intelligence app into your existing infrastructure, software, and business processes adds to the total cost. The more complex the integration, the higher the price tag.

For example, incorporating an AI model into a legacy system written in an outdated programming language is more difficult and expensive than integrating AI into a modern, API-based platform. Consider how much your current systems can support AI before getting started.

Factors that influence AI app development cost

Factor 4: Customization Level

Off-the-shelf tools are the most affordable. As you add custom features, integrations, training data, and models tailored to your needs, AI app development cost climbs rapidly. Completely custom AI solutions built from scratch are the most expensive. Find the right balance between customization and out-of-the-box functionality for your business requirements and budget.

Factor 5: Regulatory Compliance

When developing an AI model, it’s important to play by the rules set by data privacy regulations, industry standards, and ethical guidelines. And guess what? Staying compliant involves extra steps of implementing data encryption, access controls, and audit trails to track data use. These measures add to the AI app development budget but are crucial for building user trust and avoiding hefty fines for non-compliance.

Factor 6: Deployment and Maintenance

Deploying an artificial intelligence system and providing ongoing maintenance adds to the total cost. Hosting AI solutions on robust infrastructure with fast processing power and storage implies monthly payments. Maintenance, which includes monitoring, troubleshooting issues, retraining models, and software updates, also requires engineering time.

Factor 7: Team Experience

An experienced AI app development team will likely charge higher rates than newcomers to the field. However, skilled engineers can also help reduce the AI development cost through optimized processes and by avoiding common mistakes. They can recommend practical solutions and caution against over-engineering.

For critical AI-powered systems, the additional investment in a seasoned development team is often worthwhile. For less complex projects, a lower-cost team or even one machine learning engineer may suffice if properly managed.

Your first step is to discuss all these factors with seasoned specialists. If you want, you can consult multiple development teams. Regardless of your goals, an intro call is always a good idea and won’t cost you any money. Leave us a message to start a conversation and get all your questions answered!

AI App Development Cost Breakdown

The total AI development cost will depend on the complexity of your app and the features you want to include. So, don’t be surprised by wide pricing ranges. As with any custom software, AI app development follows a typical process.

AI app development cost calculation

Discovery and Planning

This initial development process phase involves meetings with an engineering team to determine the scope of your project, set key milestones, and provide an estimated cost. For an AI-powered app, the discovery process aims to identify how machine learning, speech recognition, or natural language processing (NLP) can be leveraged to meet your needs.

At this stage, we usually collaborate with clients in two formats:

  • Pre-sale activities to provide project estimation based on thorough research and the market’s current state;
  • A separate discovery process if you want to validate your idea and find out if it’s doable, with no subsequent design or engineering.

The discovery and planning may take two weeks or more and will cost you between 3,000 USD and 7,000 USD.

UI/UX Design and Software Development

User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design are key to the success of any app. They define how your solution will look from the outside, i.e., for your customers. Regarding AI apps, the design must facilitate natural and intuitive interactions between humans and machines. What a task!

When design is ready, we proceed with the development itself. Here, we mean “traditional” coding which takes place before the AI part.

Complex apps with their core functionality will be on the higher end of the range, around 20,000 USD to 50,000 USD. AI-powered apps with a simple interface and basic features can cost between 10,000 USD and 30,000 USD.

AI Development Process

This is where the real work happens and a big portion of the budget is spent. AI app development requires data scientists, machine learning engineers, and software developers to build and integrate AI algorithms into an app.

AI app development typically costs around 10,000 USD if it’s a simple proof of concept (PoC) and can go up to 200,000 USD or more for highly complex apps. Exact pricing will depend on the number of app features and the amount of customization needed.

Testing and Deployment

Rigorous testing is essential to ensure AI apps function as intended before launching. This stage of the work can add from 5,000 USD to 20,000 USD. Deploying your solution will also need to be budgeted for 5,000 USD to 10,000 USD. The cost heavily depends on the deployment environment (cloud or on-premise). If you pick on-premise deployment, expect the price to rise.

Depending on the complexity, you can expect to pay an overall cost of between 33,000 USD and 287,000 USD or more for custom AI development.

In our original article, we also share the AI market overview, some AI development examples from our experience, and, most importantly, several options that allow you to cut development costs. Follow the link to learn more!



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