How to reduce mobile app development costs

Once you decide to create a mobile app for your business, you are probably thinking about how to minimise the costs or how to create the best possible product in a predetermined budget. We all know the costs cutting is the part of a plan for the project, so here are some ways for you to simplify the process.

1. Outsource your app development

Yes, you can hire a team of engineers, but putting a team together and involving necessary resources generates high costs e.g. in terms of equipment costs and team building. It also takes time and requires experience, so if hiring an IT team is not part of your core business, you can reduce costs of mobile development by commissioning app development to an experienced external company. More and more companies choose to outsource this task because of cost-cutting. You can also see our article 5 reasons why you should outsource your mobile app development to find out how else you can benefit from outsourcing your app development. 

Apart from the savings associated with renting and buying equipment, costs are also reduced by the fact that an experienced app development company will advise you on how to proceed. As a result, the product is at the same time in line with expectations and does not generate additional costs. You can avoid the possibility of generating any hidden costs as the company will also provide applicable calculations before they start the development, which will make the whole process transparent.

Remember to do a thorough research into companies providing services related to app development. There are many services that offer finding a development company according to your needs, for example Clutch.co, Develop4u, AppFutura. The best way is to choose the company with a full software development lifecycle (application logic, development, design, etc.). Then, you’ll avoid the risk of entrusting your project to a company that fails to proceed with it from the very beginning up to the point when it’s finished.

2. Decide about your app specification and do the research

Firstly, you simply need to know what you want for your project. If you decide precisely what the app is supposed to look like and what features you want it to have, it will be much easier to calculate costs. And once the costs are accurately calculated, it is easier to reduce them one by one, for example, by simplifying complex functions or complicated design elements and by implementing them faster and more effectively by an experienced team of experts. All this does not mean that your mobile app will be any worse! You only give up unnecessary, unprofitable or excessive things. 

Discuss the project details at its start. Doing research concerning similar apps and targeted users groups is very helpful. You can also organize workshops which is a great way to understand each other with the team. Once you know what is best for you, write down or draw all of the ideas. You can try to find some help from others, e.g. do a brainstorm with your co-workers. 

If you outsource the task, it will be very useful for the development team to have documentation with your ideas so they can plan their work effectively and therefore to advise you on how to cut costs. They will point out the ideas that would be hard to implement, they will know how to avoid mistakes concerning app design and overall, advise you to find the best options that also meet your requirements.

3. Consider Flutter as a solution for cross-platform app development

You can find thousands of articles complimenting Flutter as the most effective cross-platform framework. It’s a hybrid mobile app development platform from Google which lets developers create apps for both the Android and iOS systems. But here we’ll focus on one particular benefit of Flutter — it makes the app development cheaper. As it’s supporting both iOS and Android, Flutter saves developers a lot of time, as for simple apps and features, 90% of the code is shared between those two.

And it’s nothing new that time is money, because the less time you put in building an app, the less money you have to spend. Check out Why Flutter is a great solution for cross-platform app development and our case study Onoco for more advantages of using this solution.

4. Keep good communication with the development team

No matter if it’s an in-house or external development team — you have to remember that constant communication is essential to avoid any misunderstandings concerning features in your app. In case of making a mistake, the project delivery time will be extended. Also, the team has to understand your needs and expectations so that they’ll be able to implement it all in the best possible way. 

Get involved in the daily work of the team — participate in the team's conversations e.g. on Slack, Skype or Zoom and use the framework they provide to properly manage project priorities and costs. As a client, you have to try to be as precise as possible — describe your requirements concerning particular functions taking into account all ways in which you might be not understood. Consider all the angles, describe how it should work and why — just be specific. 

At FiveDotTwelve we always try to keep as good communication with the client as possible, having in mind that avoiding any chaos is very important. We create a separate channel on Slack, where anyone can place questions about the project, discuss the work status and plans for the next week. The client also has access to Jira, where they can see and/or edit the team’s tasks. 

5. Start with functional MVP

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product, which means that developers build the product with only the minimum but absolutely essential set of features. Why is it a good thing to do? Because it will help to validate the most important purposes of the app and it doesn’t mean your app will be unfinished or not functional. And when it comes to money, it’s cheaper to start with MVP. But it’s not only good because you can spend less. 

MVPs allow you to get projects through your pipeline more quickly and enable developers to create stronger products overall for their clients. When you start with MVP, you can test the viability of the concept, as the app is released faster, and add more features later. If it turns out that something’s missing in your idea, the team can easily change it according to your expectations. Moreover, you can verify the demands of recipients and make sure that the product provides a solution they want or need, so basically it’s a good strategy for product-market testing. It’s an opportunity to minimize the risk of putting your money into something unprofitable. 

As I have mentioned above, it’s worth checking if the whole concept for the app is cost-effective and viable first. Then, after receiving feedback from the audience, you can change and add features according to the expectations. You should also pay attention to the implemented design during testing. UX design is also in charge of whether the customer continues to use the application or removes it after first use. 

Remember that the construction of MVP is not the end of cooperation. With a well-built product, any software house can later easily implement further plans and your project can become more and more successful. The MVP is treated like any other product, which means that it’s fully supported and updated on a regular basis. In the meantime, the team can also keep developing the app or e.g. write a new one, so you develop your business and have the MVP in use at the same time.