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How To Reduce Mobile App Development Cost Without Losing Essential Features And Quality

by : deepak-chauhan Category : Mobile Date :
how to reduce mobile app development cost

Ever considered how to reduce your mobile app development cost? Well, with a few simple yet effective strategies, you can achieve just that. It’s not overly complicated and the key here is to implement efficient practices. These help to save on unnecessary expenses which can overall make a sizable difference. For instance, decisions such as outsourcing or keeping in house development are important, as are the following methods:

  • Planning what product features you need: organisation is key
  • Select a cooperative model carefully: control your costs by applying appropriate plans
  • Deploy reliable technology: this avoids unexpected costs and safeguards your work
  • Interactive prototypes help to preview how the app will operate and perform prior to actual full development – akin to a teaser
  • Decide which platform to develop and host your app on: depending on demographics identified by conducting market research and consider using universal codebases
  • Begin with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP): only keep the crucial features required
  • Remove custom graphics and processes (use only essential personalisation and preset templates instead)

So let’s explore what you can do to reduce your app development costs and start saving you money!

#1. Preparing for successful mobile app development and also reducing costs

How to begin your app process correctly

Planning with a purpose

It’s simple: know what you’re creating and why – who’s the target audience; what purpose will it serve? Knowing and understanding these principles will definitely help you to develop something meaningful as well as worthwhile. It needs to be both ergonomic and engaging, so start considering what features you’ll add, how you may do this and why they’d be beneficial to the user. This way, you’ll have a focussed and efficient blueprint for your upcoming app, avoiding unnecessary deviations. Now you can begin exploring other associated aspects of designing your app. The prospect sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Understand the current market

Do your research! Talk to people and understand their preferences. What do people look for in a great app and what are the current trends? Examine some good performing apps which are highly rated. What’s the reason behind their great ranking and which platform are they using? What ideas can you take from these and how to replicate them (appropriately of course – without infringing any copyright!) The last thing you want is potential plagiarism which will only dampen your credibility. Try to formulate a concept which is both helpful and more importantly, popular. Review competitor apps within your market but also in other categories too. This empowers you with the knowledge of how people achieve a greater following.


Come up with innovative ideas to minimise spending where feasible, without compromising on quality. This may seem initially daunting but it’s definitely possible. All that’s needed is a clear focus of your aim, collating the tools you have and knowing where to source cheaper or even free help from. Be it asking friends, browsing and studying app development forums or simply drawing out ideas, it’s doable. You can design mind maps with decision making logic to target the problems that users seek solutions to. Not only will this help you to budget your expenses but also determine the cost benefit analysis for every resource that you implement. Ultimately, you’ll save time and money – which are both always welcome!

Sketch user flows

Define the features you need and the ordered processes required to be able to utilise them, finally reaching a desired outcome. Describing what a system does to either a developer or stakeholder helps to put the entire concept into context. These are known as case diagrams. You can even have flowcharts with data, screens and Entity Relationship (ER) diagrams. These demonstrate the relationship between objects and help you to identify what information needs to be collected. Wireframes are the skeletal interface of your app, while architecture including block or network diagrams simplify the entire process tree for anyone to follow.

Analyse your target audience

Evaluate what your target audience is already using – which type of apps and their experience with them. Once you have an idea of this, study the scope of your particular category. Is it a niche or already saturated market? Accordingly, source the best apps, check their designs and understand the success behind what they do. See what works best for them and try to create your own Unique Selling Point (USP). This’ll make you stand out from the crowd to improve your visibility and get noticed. Greater interest means more (favourable) reviews and subsequently, better exposure. Now this part is complete – job done!

Leverage qualitative data using app reviews

By reading the review of your competition’s apps who are offering similar services and products apps for their customers you can gather useful insights. Treat this information as liquid gold. Why do you ask? The answer is simple: these free sources of information essentially inform you what’s good about an existing app (and what’s not). It’s akin to free analysis of a product, from which you can take away a wealth of guidance. This helps you to understand and apply what should be there and how it needs to work. When to present a feature is also important. Doing so will also enable you to hone your own app design with the intention to produce a sublime end product! Now that’s a great way to smartly save…

Work with the tech team

Involve all stakeholders and the designers in the development process. Otherwise, you stand to omit something or make an error. This should always be a unified effort and expectation setting of what’s possible (and what’s not) is also imperative. Don’t ever make the mistake of shunning these guys and by directly collaborating with them, you stand to learn more. This encourages them to also give their valuable inputs which can even enhance the functionality of your app. It’s a win-win situation: guaranteed! Design and execution are both inseparable processes and synchronising these will curate a beautiful, seamless UX based app.

Apply suitable tools

Look for the tools that work for your app development. Whether it’s a simple drag and drop or something more intuitive plus advanced, just ensure that they serve their purpose. This is to help you to design your intended app as efficiently as possible. This saves time, cost, effort and leads to better results. It goes without saying that investing in the appropriate resources can go a long way with sustainable outcomes. If you’re looking to achieve a great, lightweight and methodically designed app? Then match the tools to the required features to fulfil building them.

#2. Interactive Prototypes prior to app development

You can save considerable costs by simply using software such as Adobe XD, Atomic or Figma to produce a working sample of your dream app. This does away with making last minute changes to the final product, which requires more time (and of course money). Experiment and tweak your variables as well as design with a prototype to plan well ahead of time. This helps to set expectations of how your app will perform, in terms of user experience, interactivity and general functionality. Without this, you’d certainly be hard pressed to predict what could possibly go wrong with your app, surely? It’s simply not worth taking a risk, right…

#3. Cross-Platform Apps are another way to cut costs

As aforesaid, applying the universal principle to host your app on multiple platforms achieves two things. Firstly, you reach a larger audience by being OS agnostic, hence better engagement rates and publicity. With greater visibility, you’re more likely to get noticed. Secondly however (and perhaps more importantly), you manage to save money by avoiding duplication of certain processes. You end up unifying and synchronising the technology , hence reducing the volume of separate apps needed to fulfill the requirements of each platform. Cross platform apps such as Xamarin, PhoneGap, Unity3D or Appcelerator all allow you to achieve just that. Good idea, isn’t it? Now, your mobile app development cost just became even lower, whilst updates are easier!

#4. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Implementing future updates and focussing on quality control are just some of the benefits of designing a basic beta app version. This is another mobile app development cost factor which when carefully executed, can save you substantial amounts of money. Why? Well put simply, it allows for extensive testing prior to final release, akin to the prototype principle as aforesaid. Real time analysis during development helps to gauge live activity and performance, whilst saving time and resources. This in turn cuts costs. Simplicity is often the best way to formulate a robust foundation for anything in the building process. It certainly reduces the volume of technical glitches encountered on the app too!

#5. Preset templates

Developing an app in its entirety can be costly, however preconfigured templates can be much cheaper. These just need some tweaking to deliver the desired functionality and results. Some vendors produce ready-to-use software products at reasonable prices.

For instance, rather than designing your own update or support framework, you may try an external third party plugin. Google cloud platform does this by offering backend services ranging from data processing, user authentication scaling and so on. This reduces mobile app development cost.

#6. Agile Mobile App Development reduces risk and expense

Benefits of an Agile Mobile App Development approach include:

Quicker development

With this model, the entire project is segmented into shorter modules akin to autonomous sub-projects. These are processes managed by different teams with minimal interdependency. This also establishes a better framework of various resource inputs and timelines, streamlining development overall. All developers can now do their part for prompt delivery.

Less risk

There’s always an element of risk associated with evolving market requirements and practices upon launching an independent app. Often, the market data applied during development becomes outdated during the actual app launch. This reduces ROI and market credibility.

However with an Agile tool, risk assessments are made possible and enhance your project’s market scope. This technique enables a brand to edit specific sprints without disrupting existing codes. This transforms the application’s market suitability.

Better quality

Agile is a distinctive development model as it doesn’t test the app towards the final phase but continuously in an integrated manner instead. This minimises glitches during quality testing of the full project. This also assists developers in inspecting app elements at all stages of the development process and tweak accordingly. The result? Better service quality.

Fluid project management

This becomes convenient to handle and collaborate with various teams. You can maintain and compile a record of the entire assignment, drawing conclusions based on comparison against the intended agenda. Then any gaps can be identified and fulfilled as necessary. You can monitor team productivity and hire experts more effectively.

Enriched customer experience

This approach focuses on people and collaboration, empowering development teams integrate with clients to understand their wishes better. Projects are delivered to the clients via multiple sprints, making the process transparent.

Furthermore, this equips teams to determine if both parties are calibrated and if not, enable them to synchronise prior to progressing. Now your launching app will fulfil all the required criteria and also enhance the user experience/journey.

Reduced development cost

As you’ll be able to track every stage in terms of resource and expenditure management, the unified Agile approach also allows you to raise funds or capital should the need arise. By continual calculated revisions, you eliminate the horror of having an abandoned project owing to such deficiencies.


Personalised development is possible with a mix of time driven technology innovations whereby apps are made to deliver without a hefty price tag or restrictive process and protocol.

Increased ROI

Agile frameworks allow mobile app development companies to penetrate markets using the most basic app (MVP) and revise with each iteration. This brings convenience for app owners to gauge ideas, collate pertinent data with insights, establishing a brand presence. Now ideal features can be produced according to customer needs and market trends. App stakeholders and associated development companies can now determine how to improve their market ROI.

Prompt market penetration

When segmenting entire app projects into submodules, Agile development promotes teams to deliver all parts within a specified timeframe. Hence the issue of lateness is eradicated. Consequently entire app projects are created and delivered in a timely manner (or even earlier). This means early market outreach.

This Agile methodology can vitalise your mobile app development. Nevertheless, it’s imperative to remember the ultimate aim and remain focused throughout the entire process. Provided that you’re cognizant of this, then there’s really nothing limiting you.

#7. No custom graphics or processes

It goes by the same aforesaid principle: keep it simple. Understanding app development cost is really important but easy to do. Just follow the sensible protocol of using UI/UX guidelines and perhaps seeking some (free) advice from a developer on how to do this. Standard interface, animations, buttons, accessibility and so forth are available. These all work just fine. So why not try this, as often practical functionality will not be affected (by much anyway). This just demonstrates how smart decisions can go a long way to save you from financial burden and unnecessary effort.

#8. Outsourcing mobile app development services saves money

Advantages of outsourcing mobile app development

1. Cost-effectiveness

Be it overhead, infrastructure or resource costs, outsourcing really does help to cut costs down.

2. Improved efficiency

With all the required tools and platform OS agnostic frameworks, dedicated teams utilise high fidelity equipment to deliver the very best performance every time. Their combined automated and manual quality control approach ensures that your app is honed to perfection through scrutinising checks.

3. Holistic team management

Workflow management drives efficiency with automation solutions to ensure timely and stellar team productivity all the time.

4. Robust security

Protecting your time and monetary investment into the app is essential. This is especially directed at business apps, being susceptible to cyber attacks, destroying or distributing sensitive information. Now an outsourcing mobility service provider company is in order!

With safeguarding mechanisms, legal documentation and non-disclosure agreements are all implemented for superior protective support.

5. Continuous operation

Offshore teams can delegate their work in such a way to deliver 24/7 service. Moreover, this speed is complemented by better resource management, as hiring, recruitment and training aspects are all addressed.

6. Dependable support and service

Throughout the lifecycle, this is taken care of from glitch fixes at inception to ongoing updates and maintenance. This’ll certainly put your app at the forefront of any platform!

How to outsource app development to reap the best results

1. Determine your requirements

Begin with a business plan to analyse your needs, capabilities and expectations. Project market and audience is important to understand prior to proceeding with either native, web or hybrid apps.

Native apps would warrant two separate teams and is the dearest option (although delivers qualitative results). Web apps are quick to develop and can operate on any running browser, although their functionality is limited. Nevertheless, they can be sufficient to gauge your ideas. Hybrid apps achieve a great balance between the other two, as they can be adjusted and are cheaper than native types. Unlike web apps, hybrids don’t encounter functional hindrances.

Whilst web apps are readily available for instant deployment, native are better to serve unique user experiences. Hybrid apps are OK but do also compromise on the exclusivity of their native siblings (although they’re quicker to develop). Either beginning with one format and then transitioning to another or dedicating a specified budget may be required.

Native apps require at least 2 different types of developers (Java or Kotlin in case of Android) and Swift or Objective-C for iOS. Web types require Javascript (Angular, React or Vue.js) and backend developers with server side Node.js or Laravel (PHP). Full-stack programmers are proficient in both domains, hence are more versatile. Hybrid apps also use JS, however deploy additional frameworks – Iconic or Cordova. React Native or Flutter mimic native apps.

Moreover, databases and cloud services are up for discussion, as are 3rd party integrations which offer time saving readymade solutions. Just ensure that everyone is calibrated about the end result to deliver a meaningful product. MVPs should be in place (as aforementioned) to ensure relevance. Seeking developers’ advice is always recommended, as their experience will guide the necessary steps. Don’t forget that personalisation will invite larger timescales.

2. Shortlist app development companies

You can select suitable candidates by doing the following:

Find outsourcing agencies on Upwork

Upwork is a discovery league for contractors as it details individuals and agencies with specific performance metrics (e.g. project volumes, ratings, etc). This guides prospective customers on making an informed decision. People are also safeguarded by their stringent policies.

Look at review websites

Clutch and GoodFirms are good starters. These sites allow clients to leave detailed reviews and describe their perceptions of outsourcing company work.

Google companies that focus on your domain

Considering building an Internet of Things product? Then why not try searching with these keywords as criteria: ‘best IoT app development companies’? Looking for a logistics solution? Search ‘logistics software development companies’. By doing so, your technology partner will have the required skills, building the best product on the market.

Ask for recommendations

Your connections probably have already handled outsourcing app development. Simply ask for advice.

Upon shortlisting development companies, begin preparation for interviews, portfolio reviews, and negotiations.

3. Collaborate with agency managers

Always consider these factors when deciding on a worthwhile outsourcing company.

Gauge the volume of questions which the company poses

Good brands seek detail on the product they’ll prospectively be working on. Many questions albeit awkward ones are suggestive of positive scrutiny.

Face these odd topics

The ideal vendor will appreciate your limitations and be willing to discuss them. Ultimately, financing skills and investing genuine productivity in your project is the way forward.

Avoid unilateral correspondence

Be prepared to not only address queries but to ask them too and question aspects too. Compiling these may influence your vendor choice and never hinder to put them on the spot.

Don’t immediately fall for kind words. Verify the competence of all companies on your agenda.

4. Analyse portfolios

All dependable providers will gladly share these.

Review the volume and difficulty of completed projects

Although brands may boast multiple work pieces, this is redundant if most are template based sites. Quality vs quantity does apply here and seeking those which tally with your desired outcome is imperative. Be sure to look out for ecommerce types, especially if planning to open an online store or marketplace.

Experiment with demo versions

With brief explanations of applications developed, an outsourcing agency should be willing to furnish access to a demo or beta version – check.

Check the brand’s published products

How widely available are the web and mobile apps a company has developed available to the market? Request links, install apps and garner an impression of how your creation may appear. Is it up to the mark?

See GitHub contributions

You’ll need some elementary programming knowledge or a companion who can assist you with organisation. Browse the code a company’s developers have produced and determine whether it fulfils your requirements.

Post seeing how your potential partners operate and their results, it becomes straightforward to decide.

5. Select a pricing approach

Fixed price

This model is feasible provided you’re clear about product specifications and that they’ll remain consistent. In such scenarios, you can set a price, definitive deadline and allow work to start. This is often selected when collaborating with an offshore company, giving a false impression of control over the process. Nevertheless, here app developers will need to overlook particular issues to fulfill agreed timelines and budgets. Such approaches are becoming obsolete, as time and resources enable consumers to reach better results.

Time and resources

With the inception of agile app development, flexibility has become essential. As stringent constraints and fixed prices restrict flexibility, this alternative approach has gathered much liking. It enables you to edit the initial plan, react promptly to any changes and tweak the development process. It’s difficult to foresee the actual product value against time and resources but the enhanced quality and tighter market fit will be worthwhile.

Fixed price

Operates well for products with particular specifications.

For changes to requirements, developers may need to compromise specific issues to fulfil agreed deadlines and budget.

Time and materials

Enables flexibility, focusing on the result.

Developers can promptly react to any market changes to assure high fidelity and product–market fit.

Upon choosing between these two pricing models, evaluate all possible factors, including previous experience with outsourcing web app development, budget and desired result.

6. Forge sprints and expectations


This is usually deployed when you have a fixed budget and tight deadlines. Here you can be aware of precisely how the result will appear and develop it stepwise without hindsight or significant changes.


An agile methodology creates flexibility as you divide the project into sprints, sequentially developing mini functional entities. The outsourcing team continually gauges and hones the product to enhance the market need fulfilment. Consequently, the final product might differ from the initial concept, nevertheless will meet end users’ hopes.

This is preferred for outsourcing web development, as it empowers you to adjust to any market changes and quickly adapt to innovation.

When is oputsourcing mobile app development suitable?

1. If time to market is tight

Outsourced teams have greater access to resources and expertise. Procuring and training employees to achieve this autonomously could incur major delays in project delivery. Hence, outsourcing should always be considered with limited manpower.

2. If the cost factor is crucial

In-house resources are often dearer. By outsourcing, your team can concentrate on product and company development, allowing the outsourcing company to solely develop. Furthermore, such companies have personal libraries, readymade solutions and robust IT-infrastructures that enhance the development rate, saving time and money.

3. If you require specific expertise

Certain projects require distinct skills like AI, ML, VR, AR or even Salesforce and DevOps that warrant on-off configuration and maintenance. Hiring such resources within the organisation is unfeasible when companies can offer on-demand engineers with these skills on a project contract or one-time basis.

4. If you’re an amateur

An outsourcing company can dedicate the time to upskill resources suitably. This ensures that your clients receive fidelity products or services more quicker.

5. If IT is not your expertise

Outsourcing companies can apply industry-standard best practices to ensure efficient software development process and design or enhance IT ecosystem performance and project scalability. Acquiring skills and building an application independently could be resource draining.

Factors impacting app development budgets

1. Investing in an undesirable product

Let’s face it – out of all the possible aspects, this is inevitably the most critical. I mean, who’d want to purchase something which doesn’t help them or is perceived as being unwanted (for whatever reason)? This can affect your workflow and of course the wasted investment in resources, including time as well as money. To try & minimize this occurring, why not devise the following strategy?

  • Explain product features and evaluate its market value, comprehensiveness, and industry standing. Ensure to highlight the worthiest traits of this
  • Consider and plot the user journey within your framework
  • Market penetration with MVP (minimum viable product)
  • Develop the new system modules only after post-launch results

2. Project implementation incurred delays

Almost half of all IT projects run the risk of missed deadlines. Whilst the reasons may vary and not always attributed to the contractor’s incompetency, these are some steps to avoid this:

  • Client’s high expectations can illusion developers into striving for something which is almost impossible. This ends up deviating from the actual focus, which is never good.
  • Creativity can go overboard, masking the functionality of an app. This stretches deadlines and consequently, adds to expenses.
  • Novice firms can underestimate the timelines which push operational aspects to the limits. Never compromise on your developers, otherwise be ready for an unpleasant surprise.
  • Understanding the clear aims of a project prior to development will help deliver better outcomes. This will encompass any limitations, whilst also fulfilling the requirements.

3. Exceeding the development budget

Missed deadlines are amongst just some of the reasons for this, although an incomplete blueprint: the client discovers that their needs aren’t met and often will bring new ideas to the table (by which time you’re almost or actually ready with whatever has already been created).

4. Modifying the product concept

As aforesaid, this impacts the deadline and consequently alters the projected budget too.

5. Developer team changes

Making an incorrect choice can induce further costs and waste time as well (as you source a new one).

6. Product acceptance issues by the customer

This is the cumbersome point where developers concentrate on project completion, while the client needs assurance that this fulfills their expectations. Hence effective communication and collaboration are key. Hence initial project plans and proactive discussion with developers throughout the entire process are key. This is yet another way to curb app development costs.


VOCSO is a professional mobile app design and development company in India also operating from the USA and UAE. A digital agency certified with ISO 27001 helps to build your digital business applications. We’re offering custom Android applications development, iOS app development, and Hybrid app development services for over 10 years across the globe. Here are a few reasons why people like our services:

  • Our experts are always involved, so you’ll receive a complete project fulfilling if not exceeding your needs and desires – each time.
  • We have many successful projects under our name, acquiring a sizable portfolio and market share. You may refer to our work here.
  • Various departments are excellent at what they do and actively promote teamwork. We drive efficient and dependable frameworks for stellar results.
  • We’ll always involve our clients to improve efficiency and uphold any budgeted plan.
  • All templates and plans are thoroughly reviewed prior to execution. This ensures complete synchrony with the client.

We also provide dedicated resources for hire:


Focus on quality and not quantity – avoid making silly errors by merely speaking to all stakeholders regularly, having checkpoints and reviewing accordingly. Being aware of the market with smart research, understanding the client’s perspective from the outset and continual testing with the development team will steer you clear from any mishap. Discussing the process and driving efficiency by setting surplus features/functionality until profit margins increase is always a good idea. Finally – only choose professionals to avoid amateur mistakes!

Deepak Chauhan About Deepak Chauhan Hi, I am Deepak Chauhan, a Digital Marketing Strategist. I'm the CEO & Co-Founder of VOCSO Digital Agency, a creative web design, development, and marketing agency based in India & USA.

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