Let me provide an imaginary scenario so that my question is fully understood. Let's assume you are an experienced cross-platform developer for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

Someone asks you to make them a simple digital clock. Nothin fancy or special and not even a specific font is required. All they want you to do is make the application using Xamarin, and publish it to the app store on behalf of their company. Also, assume they've not published any apps before, so some of the requirement would be to setup their company on all respective app stores for application distribution.

In hours, how long would it take to complete such a barebones project?

Why do I ask?

I'm not a mobile app developer, much less a multi-platform one, but I've tinkered with some mobile app development in the past. I do, however, work as a business developer, so I have years of coding experience. Just not mobile app development.

A friend of mine is asking me if I'd be willing to make a dead simple app. It's not the one I outlined above but it is about as simple.

He's willing to pay. Since I'm completely green to multi-platform app development, I'm actually considering taking him up on this because I'd like to gain the experience of learning how to create such an app and publish it-- start to finish. My friend also understands that I don't write mobile apps professionally, but he knows me well, my level of professionalism and integrity and would prefer that I do this, over some other software development house.

I'd like to consider an up-front charge for the application that I will derive off of an hourly rate. This way if it takes me longer because I'm learning how to publish an application to multiple app stores or, I'm fiddling around with setting up and testing a cross-platform dev environment, I'm not charging him for the learning experience. That's a "cost" I'm willing to cover because, again, I'd like to learn how to do this and this app is just a good excuse to sit down and do it.

To be clear, I'm not even concerned that much with the monetary compensation. However, this friend is a business man and I think/know he'd want to give me "fair" compensation. In order to do that, though, I need to know how long it would take to reasonably develop a dead simple application by a pro whose been doing this for at least a few years. I can apply my own hourly rates to those estimates and give him a realistic, but fair, offer.


"... and publish it to the app store on behalf of their company"

Ok so the problem with this is that it is not something you can do on behalf of a random company. It involves bank accounts, taxes company registration numbers etc.

So you need the full cooperation of the company and realistically an executive officer of that company sitting down with you and setting passwords etc.

Additionally it may require the company to take steps which rely on third parties to complete. I had to send off for a number from the US tax authorities for example when I registered my UK company on the google store. Stuff companies will not be happy letting a third party developer do for them.

However, having said all that. If your company is responsive to these requests its fairly simple to jump through the hoops and set up store accounts. I would say a week or so max.

Once you have the account. Publishing an app also requires more input that simply uploading the code.

You will need screenshots and various bits of marketing copy, icons, support email addresses etc. Again, not hard if you have them all to hand but a source of endless delay if you need to source them from a marketing dept at the last minute.

I do think its a good thing for you to do though. I would be completely up front with your friend and go through the process together as a learning experience.

Just charge for writing the code. but make sure you start setting up accounts at the start of the project. Dont wait for the code to be finished.

  • Thanks. I think that helps a lot. The "company" is actually a company owned by my friend and he's either the sole worker, or he might have 3-4 employees under him right now. That doesn't address any legal issues, but he manages the business 100% by himself, so he'll be as responsive as he wants to be, in order to complete the project. For now, I'll educated-guess about 40 hours of work.
    – RLH
    Apr 17 '17 at 17:36

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