Mobile apps are sizable undertakings and are expensive to build and maintain. Apart from design, functionality, tech stack, and performance, the major challenge one faces while getting a mobile app developed is the associated cost of development. This article provides some tactics to help you reduce mobile app development costs without compromising the app’s quality.

Start with Must-Have Features

The biggest reason many businesses fail? The product features don’t align with what customer actually needs.

The first question every entrepreneur needs to ask is, “What does the customer need from this application? What does the customer want to get done with this application?”

Once you know that, your next steps are to conceptualize features that will help meet the customers needs. Always start with these “must-have” features.

Focusing your efforts on essential features not only saves costs, but also helps keep your mobile application clean and simple to use, which results in better customer adoption and an overall secure application.

Once your app takes off, you will have time to implement all “nice-to-have” features.

One way to focus on essential features is to create a Project Requirement Document (PRD). A PRD is a structured list of app features that list app objectives, features, milestones, timeline, and budget. This specific list helps eliminate communication gaps and thus reduces rework. It also helps you plan better for market reach, audience, and other commercial opportunities.

Minimum Viable Product First

A minimum viable product helps in attracting early adopters and investors. An MVP also helps in gathering user feedback to iterate and improve the product.

Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, defines MVP as the “version of a software product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with least effort.”

MVPs have lower risks and costs associated with testing your market, making it a straightforward way to safeguard your investments. It helps you avoid the gamble of how the customer will respond to your mobile app. You get a fair idea of how your mobile app will perform by checking user downloads and retention.

Apart from cost saving, there are other benefits to an MVP:

  • It speeds up the time to market.
  • You validate product viability.
  • You spend time on essential features.
  • You get user feedback; sometimes, users are satisfied with the scaled-back version.
  • Tested ideas are very lucrative for investors. An early investment solves most of the scale concerns.

Keep in mind, an MVP must be able to execute the planned features from beginning to end. It must reflect the user experience of the full-fledged application. And you should be able to sell an MVP.

Use Templates

Because you think your idea is unique, you may believe you need to create everything from scratch. But have you checked the templates available online?

Until a few years back, templates were limited to websites, but that quickly changed.

Today, you can get multiple, ready-made templates for mobile apps. Most apps are similar in features and typically cater to different domains like Uber for the NEMT space. Even if the app is not a clone, most of the components are the same or similar.

Mobile app templates have proven to be a game-changer in speedy development. Imagine you are building an application and get an entire app user interface off the shelf. You then integrate the backend logic and your app is ready to be published to the app store.

Some of the benefits of using a mobile app template include:

  • You can pick the feature off the shelf at a fraction of cost instead of designing it, and it is ready for integration.
  • You save weeks that you otherwise would have spent on designing and developing.
  • You can have a small team perform everything from selecting the component to customizing and integrating it.
  • It saves testing time, as these components have been well tested time and time again.

It may be possible that no template meets all of your requirements. Your application may have a couple of unique features, and that is your unique selling proposition. However, you can probably find a template that meets the majority of your requirements. Many features are standard across all the applications. There are many templates, libraries, frameworks available which are ready to use. Tweak them a little bit to meet your needs, and voila, your app is ready.

Because many data, technology, and logic permutations are possible, it may help to have an efficient developer who can integrate the frontend to the backend. The developer would also prepare your app for release to app stores.

As the demand for mobile apps grows, the use of mobile app templates will become more common. More businesses are moving online, for example. And more people need apps for events, conferences, schoolwork, and so on. Templates for mobile apps provide a quick solution to these types of needs.

Target Platform

With Windows fading away, the mobile app marketplace has two dominant players: Android and iOS.

Native mobile apps are built exclusively for a platform and use native platform languages like Kotlin or Java for Android, and Swift and Objective-C for iOS.

There are many advantages to writing a native app for one of these platforms. If your app has complex logic, needs data computation, or utilizes device features like cameras, GPS, accelerometer, and so on, creating a native app makes sense.

Native mobile applications often have more comprehensive functionality and better UI/UXs, higher performance, faster speed, stronger security, an available offline mode, improved store support, and more accessible updates.

If your application demands a native environment, choosing one platform to start with and picking the platform depends on your audience.

Test your idea first by getting user feedback from one platform. Once you know what you need to add or omit, you can decide to scale up to the other platform. This way, you will have a clear list of required features and functionalities. You will save a lot of effort while getting the application developed for the other platform.

For general applications, you can look at cross-platform technologies like React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin. Cross-platform apps use a single codebase across both platforms, which makes them faster and cheaper to build. You can save up to 40 percent of the cost of managing resources and infrastructure for two platforms.

In addition, cross-platform technologies are easy to support, need fewer tech resources, and have consistent UI/UX.

Outsource to Experts

If cost is a concern, outsourcing to an expert development team may be the answer. A skilled development team helps cut costs, accelerates time to market, allows you to scale faster, improves the user experience, and gives you a competitive advantage.

In order to realize these benefits, you need a partner who not only is experienced in developing mobile applications but also has experience in your industry or market. The provider should have a defined development process and be up-to-date on the latest technologies.

One example of how an experienced dev team reduces cost is that they can use existing digital components. In many cases, mobile applications are an extension of the software that your business already provides. The Facebook mobile app offers the same set of features as the web application, for example. An expert team can implement the logic and components of your existing software for your mobile app through an API. This provides a consistent experience to your users and speeds up the development.

There are also many standard modules used in mobile app development, such as user authentication, profile management, and notification management. An experienced tech partner would have these created beforehand, and with a simple modification, they can be implemented in your mobile app quickly.

An expert development team does all the heavy lifting—planning, design, development, and deployment. Not just that, experienced development teams have the knowledge and experience to know which architecture and technology stack to use, and which frontend and backend technologies will make your app fast, balanced, and scalable. These decisions have a long-lasting impact and can save you a lot money over time.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, multiple factors contribute to software development costs, such as target platforms, technologies, tools, third-party integration, the feature set required, and the infrastructure needed to support the expected number of users.

You can significantly reduce mobile app development costs by focusing on essential features, starting with MVP, using off-the-shelf templates, and choosing the right platform.