Statista informs that by January 2021, there were around 4.66 billion active internet users. That is why developing an app in modern times seems like a good idea for most businesses, even offline ones. N evertheless, custom app development requires significant financial investments and time. That is why every entrepreneur who wants to create an application looks for ways to reduce the budget required for such a project.
Custom app development cost may be higher than $100,000 which is too expensive for many startupers. However, how can you save money and get a quality product with all the necessary functionality? Even though reducing costs for app development may seem like a bad idea that will inevitably lead to app’s deterioration, several ways can help you save some money without influencing the product’s quality.
In the next paragraphs, you will find out about the most effective and safe ways to save money on custom mobile app development.
Filter out unnecessary functions and create an MVP
Many product owners make a huge mistake providing their app with a huge list of all kinds of tools and functions trying to make it as convenient and user-friendly as possible. However, the implementation of each major function significantly increases the budget. That is why the price for the development may appear to be too high as you finish with the planning stage.
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach will help you avoid this. MVP is the first version of an app that contains just one or a few core functions. By creating an MVP, you can find out whether there is a demand for your app without wasting your money on the creation of a full-fledged product.
Firstly, determine the main functions of an app without which it just can’t function. The “light” version of an app will help you determine its potential and estimate the level of customers’ interest. For example, if you are creating an online store, its MVP version should include no more than a home page, a product catalogue with a search function, a shopping cart, and a payment function.
After receiving the first feedback, learning statistics and collecting analytical data, you can start thinking about adding new functions. With each version, the functionality of an app can be expanded depending on the needs and wishes of the users. Such an approach allows you to develop an application inexpensively as it will include a minimal set of functions. Adding new functions gradually will also help you save your finances. Plus, you can use the money you’ve got after the MVP launch for further development.
The freelance market grows and develops very quickly. According to Statista, “in 2027, 86.5 million people will be freelancing in the United States and will make up 50.9 percent of the total U.S. workforce”.
To save money, many entrepreneurs choose to hire freelance developers. They don’t need a place in your office and ask for less payment than in-house workers. By hiring freelancers, you can save money on the development, management, and testing.
However, it also should be noted that a freelancer may turn out to be a low-qualified, unreliable specialist that will miss deadlines for no reason, or even completely disappear for a long time. Moreover, freelancers want their job done and aren’t interested in your product and its success. This way, it’s not a good option for serious long-term projects with tight timing.
Nevertheless, if you need a simple app (or just a prototype) and you don’t have any demanding requirements for its quality, hiring a freelancer may seem promising. It’s hard to tell how much it will cost to build a custom app with the help of freelance workers, but it may allow you to save around 80% of costs when compared to hiring an in-house team.
Resort to a small custom app development company
Outsourcing app development to large companies definitely won’t allow you to save money (although such companies can guarantee quality service). Cooperation with smaller companies is an excellent way to cut your budget. They usually offer qualified specialists whose services are relatively inexpensive. At the same time, such companies usually can offer a full spectrum of services required for app creation (data collection, layout creation, technical support, etc.). They also can give you valuable recommendations on how to reduce the development cost. However, finding such a company is not an easy task, as usual.
Use ready-to-go templates to create designs
Have you ever thought about how much it will cost to build an app’s design from scratch? A lot. It may even drain your budget. However, why spend a fortune on the app’s design if all that your users want from it is convenience and usefulness? So, if you are limited in budget, you can save money on the design by making it simple. There are many types of app designs that users are already accustomed to. Using one of them may appear to be a win-win decision since many users prefer a familiar design over a fancy one because they don’t want to waste their time and energy while getting used to it. Plus, an overloaded user interface will not only lead to unnecessary costs but can also tire users and result in dissatisfaction with your app.
That is why you can feel free to use a ready-made template when creating an interface. You may give it an individual style, colours, font, pictures, etc. Such a solution will help you create an application faster and for lower costs.
Fix all the bugs during the development process
Many entrepreneurs think that bugs should be discovered and fixed after the app is already finished. However, it’s not the case when you want to save money: fixing serious bugs when the app is ready will be very, very costly. That is why it’s recommended to hire a test engineer – a person whose work is to spot the bugs regularly after each stage of the development process.
Create an app for one platform
You can save twice by creating an app for only one platform instead of adapting it for both iOS and Android at the initial steps (you can do it later when you are sure that the users are interested in your app). If you want to get more financial profit from your app, choose iOS. If your main priority is to share your app with a wider audience, Android will be a better choice.
Use React Native
If you don’t consider building an app for only one platform, you still can save your budget.
React Native is a framework that allows creating mobile apps with great UI/UX design for both iOS and Android. Thanks to that, the developers can use the same code base to develop two separate versions which allow saving both time and money.
Many well-known companies use React Native. Let’s look at some of the best examples:
- Facebook. React Native is the only framework used for the creation of Facebook Ads.
- Skype. The company used React Native to create a new design and new functions (for example, adding the possibility to use GIFs in chat).
- Instagram. React Native was used to creating push notifications and SMS Captcha Checkpoint.
- SoundCloud Pulse. It was one of the first apps on the market that was built using React Native.
- Walmart. The company uses React Native to improve its app’s performance.
- Whym. React Native was used to develop the Android version of the app.
- Uber. UberEATS was developed using React Native.
- Tesla. The company used React Native to build an app for tracking car locations.
However, why do the most successful companies use React Native? There are a lot of reasons for that: the framework not just allows building an app for both iOS and Android, but also
- allows fixing all errors quickly
- updates regularly
- lets the developers make changes in code in real-time
Things you shouldn’t do when trying to decrease the custom app development cost
When you create an app for your business for minimal costs, you can make some fatal mistakes that will most likely lead to failure. Let’s look at some of them:
- Skimping on the initial stages. When you are thinking about the main functionality of your app, researching the market, and collecting information, you need to do everything possible to make sure that you are going the right way. Otherwise, it may turn out that you don’t need a custom mobile app for your business at all, or your idea is poorly thought out. To avoid this, you should start with a discovery stage and create the app development cost breakdown.
- Save money on testing. If you are a newbie on the mobile app market, the customers won’t forgive your mistakes: a couple of bugs can completely ruin the reputation of your app.
- Hiring in-house developers. It’s hard to imagine how much it will cost to create an app when hiring in-house workers. Of course, it’s a convenient and reliable option, but even the simplest project implies the presence of a project manager, analyst, designer, front-end and back-end developer, and testing engineer. Such a decision is relevant for large and complex projects but will be wasteful for an average app MVP.
There are several ways to save your budget on app development:
- By creating an MVP, you can save money on the functionality of the first version of your product.
- Hiring freelancers or developers from small app development companies will allow you to save money on the development team.
- The usage of React Native is a great way to create an app for both iOS and Android without spending a fortune.
- Using a simple design, you can make an app convenient for the users with minimal investment.
- By gradually fixing bugs, you can avoid financial problems in the future.