Cost-Effective Mobile App Development

Dos and Don'ts for Your Project.
December 11, 2023

Comprehending Mobile App Development Cost

Gaining insight into the cost-effectiveness of mobile app development involves understanding the key factors that influence development expenses. Exploring the major determinants of the price range is crucial:

Choice of Platforms:

  • Deciding between a native app for iOS, Android, or both, or opting for a cross-platform approach can significantly impact the overall cost.

Technological Considerations:

  • The selection of technologies, tools, and integrations plays a pivotal role. Factors such as cloud platforms, third-party system integrations, development kits, and advanced technologies like AR or machine learning can influence costs.

Project Scope:

  • The complexity of functionality is closely tied to the scope and number of features. Generally, a larger scope requires more time and resources, impacting the overall cost of app development.

Vendor Selection:

  • Rates and collaboration strategies offered by your chosen vendor contribute directly to the project cost.

Scale of Operations:

  • Considerations like the size of your audience, geographical reach, and outreach are contingent on the type of app and the nature of the services offered. These factors play a role in determining the overall cost.

Let's explore the financial landscape. According to research conducted by GoodFirms, a substantial price disparity exists between simple applications and those enriched with features. GoodFirms suggests that the cost of creating a basic, market-ready application may fall within the range of $40,000 to $60,000. In contrast, the development of a sophisticated, globally-oriented app is projected to require an investment of approximately $100,000. It's important to note that this estimate is not a definitive upper limit. The expenses associated with building a high-capacity application featuring an advanced frontend can surge significantly, potentially reaching as high as $200,000 to $300,000.

Nevertheless, there are strategies to streamline costs to a more reasonable minimum. Here's what you should be aware of.

6 tips to reduce the cost of app development

1.Choose the right platform

This is one of the first choices you will make when starting a mobile development project. There are many factors to consider, e.g. your audience, device preferences, geo, specifics of the design, goals of your project, etc.

If you need a consumer app that should cover a wide audience from the moment it gets to the market, you probably will go for both Android and iOS. In this case, you can save up to 70% of time and money by opting for cross-platform development. This is, in fact, one of the most popular strategies to decrease the costs of app development. Modern toolkits like Flutter allow you to build sleek and powerful applications that look and feel good on both iOS and Android devices. Not to mention you will work with one design for both apps.

However, cross-platform is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and we will talk about it later in this post. If you go in favor of native mobile development, consider starting with one platform only. Developing two native applications is roughly twice more expensive. You can save up to 50% by choosing only one platform for the first version of your application. This is usually a good strategy if you are working on an MVP.

Once the app is out, you get to test it, receive user feedback, figure out what you need to amend and omit. When the time comes to develop an application for the other platform, you will have a very clear understanding of what features and functionality to invest in.

2. Use libraries, frameworks and third-party services

Utilizing libraries, frameworks, and third-party services is a key strategy to expedite the development process. The abundance of open-source tools and services available today allows developers to bypass the creation of custom components and features for typical app functionalities. Instead, existing solutions can be harnessed, modified, and seamlessly integrated, resulting in significant cost savings during app development.

For instance, if your app requires voice messaging functionality, there's no need to build it from scratch; you can leverage services like Twilio. Introducing AI capabilities can be streamlined by tapping into versatile services offered by major cloud platforms, such as Google Vision on Google Cloud. Additionally, you have the option to enhance your app's user interface with ready-to-use components, including graphic and visualization tools. This approach not only accelerates development but also enhances overall efficiency and reduces costs.

3. Reuse existing digital systems

Frequently, a mobile application serves as a complement to the pre-existing software within a company. Consider a scenario where a web system is already in place, and there's a desire to extend to mobile to establish an omnichannel experience for customers or staff. In such instances, it becomes advantageous to repurpose certain logic and components from the existing system—pulling data from an API, maintaining business logic on the backend, and reusing third-party libraries and integrations from web systems, among other strategies. This approach not only streamlines development, saving time and reducing costs, but also contributes to the creation of a more uniform and seamless experience for end-users.

4. Carefully prioritize features

Thoughtful feature prioritization is a fundamental element for the successful execution of a project. It plays a crucial role in cost management and ensures optimal time-to-market.

Rather than attempting to incorporate all features in the initial scope, the approach involves identifying the necessary functionality to launch a functional application. Subsequently, the application is tested in the real-world scenario, allowing for iterative development based on user feedback. This iterative process can yield significant savings in terms of time and costs by avoiding the inclusion of unnecessary features that might have been assumed to be essential.

Various techniques and methods are employed by project managers to prioritize requirements and establish an efficient development strategy. For further insights, you can explore this article on managing product requirements.

5. Start with an MVP4.

Initiating with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is an extension of the earlier recommendation. Instead of launching a fully developed mobile application, the focus is on creating an MVP—a product with the minimal set of features necessary to reach the hands of early adopters or investors.

This approach is particularly significant for startups and entrepreneurs aiming to validate their ideas before committing to the full-scale development of a market-ready product. For instance, if you're working on a novel concept like an Uber for agriculture, beginning with MVP development requires only a minimal investment initially. By creating an MVP with basic functionality, you can gauge its viability. If the concept proves successful, you can then explore additional resources for further development.

6. Outsource tech expertise

Consider outsourcing your technical expertise by engaging a tech provider for either the entire project or a specific segment. Depending on the project's intricacies and your available resources, you can choose between a dedicated team or a team augmentation model. Employing a sound outsourcing strategy can significantly reduce the overall cost of app development.

A comprehensive team, proficient in various aspects of development, can take your project from the conceptual phase through Discovery, refining ideas, and ultimately transforming them into a fully functional system. An experienced tech provider brings both technical and market expertise to the table, assisting in crucial architectural decisions, stack selection, and optimizing development costs.

For instance, a diligent outsourcing partner can advise on front-end and back-end allocation to ensure the app is fast, high-performing, well-balanced, and scalable. Making informed decisions in these areas is crucial, and with the right approach, you can avoid the need for expensive remodeling down the line.

Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Cut the Cost of Mobile App Development

Having discussed some strategies to effectively reduce the cost of mobile app development, it's essential to highlight a few approaches that may not yield the desired results.

Skipping or skimping on the research phase
Neglecting or cutting corners on the research phase is a critical oversight in software development. The research phase is where you gather essential insights needed to construct a robust and valuable application. Skipping or skimping on this phase is, indeed, one of the least advisable methods to minimize the cost of app development. While it may save some time at the project's outset, it significantly heightens the risk of constructing an entirely irrelevant system, ultimately leading to wasted resources.

Skipping or skimping on the research phase
Neglecting or cutting corners on the research phase is a critical oversight in software development. The research phase is where you gather essential insights needed to construct a robust and valuable application. Skipping or skimping on this phase is, indeed, one of the least advisable methods to minimize the cost of app development. While it may save some time at the project's outset, it significantly heightens the risk of constructing an entirely irrelevant system, ultimately leading to wasted resources.

Going for cross-platform without proper consideration
Opting for cross-platform development without thorough consideration is a decision that requires careful evaluation. While leveraging cross-platform tools is an effective strategy for cost reduction, it may not be suitable for every project, as mentioned earlier.

For instance, applications demanding intensive and dynamic user experiences, such as image/video editors or mobile games, might find cross-platform solutions inadequate in meeting requirements for high performance, responsiveness, and fast rendering. Instead of achieving cost savings, you might end up investing more in addressing issues related to imperfect user experiences and delays. Ultimately, this could lead to the need for a complete rebuild of the project.

Miscommunication between contractors

Incorporating multiple contractors to leverage cost differences can be a practical approach. However, establishing effective communication practices among all parties is crucial. It is essential to delineate areas of responsibility and ensure that everyone involved is aligned. Failure to do so can result in miscommunication and a lack of transparency, adversely impacting the project timeline and potentially leading to increased costs.

Closing Thoughts:

With significant experience in mobile app development, it feels like we've seen it all. We've had the opportunity to build applications from the ground up and breathe new life into apps requiring extensive fixes and costly repairs.

In many cases, cost has been a crucial factor in decision-making. Mastering the art of optimizing expenses without compromising product quality is paramount for successful outcomes. This demands not only big experience and expertise but also a forward-thinking approach and genuine dedication to the project's success.

If you are currently working on an application, let's explore how we can assist you in developing a mobile app in a cost-effective manner. Our comprehensive services cover both native and cross-platform development, telemedicine app development, medical application development, and customer engagement app development.

Reducing the costs of mobile app development isn't governed by a one-size-fits-all formula, given the uniqueness of each application. Unfortunately, there's no universal solution. However, there are valuable tips and hacks that can optimize development time, enhance efficiency, and consequently lower expenses. In this article, we will delve into these strategies.

Let’s talk about your project

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.