9 steps to reduce your mobile app development cost

Table of contents

In my last post, I described the approach that has consistently been helping us to speed up out mobile app development processes, shortening TTM from an average of 18 to just around eight weeks. This time, I’d like to hone in on the costs your business needs to account for when building a mobile app and steps you can take to reduce this spend.

Without further ado, let’s start with the most pressing question all Appreneurs face sooner or later.

So how much does it cost to develop an app?

As usual, the answer is that it depends. Some of the common factors impacting the cost involve the app scope, platforms and devices it’s to work on, back-end and services that will need to be included, as well as technologies that will form its stack.

According to Clutch survey, in case of end-to-end development of a high-quality app could on average amount to anything between $200,000 to $500,000.

This will include strategy, design, development and QA, not only of the mobile front-end, but also the middleware and back-end. Quite a hefty expenditure, right? Luckily, there are ways to eliminate risks of a failed investment, but also reduce the overall mobile app development cost.

A bitter pill is better than none

Intrinsically linked with the entire app development process, our approach focuses on the continuous validation of assumptions, and iterative delivery of value for your business and users.

At Scalo, we follow the Always Be Validating rule. We believe it’s best to test your app’s market fit as quickly and often as possible, even if it proves that in its current form it shows no chances of a broader uptake.

Swallowing a bitter pill and pivoting at the beginning can save you a lot of money, hassle, and disappointment.

9 steps to reduce your mobile app development costs

#1: Nail down the problem you want to solve

Establishing the problem your app is to solve is a substantial matter, considering that 90 percent of business ideas fail within the first year, predominantly due to no actual market fit.

Every successful product or service needs to provide a solution to a real challenge, such as you want to move around the city easily, you request Uber (or Bolt, Lyft, etc.). So what is the exact problem you wish to address?

#2: Define your goals

Once you have clarity on the problem, pin down your objectives, which are twofold:

  • Your business goalsfor the app, e.g., opening a new sales channel, or increasing revenue by X percent.
  • Your users’ goals: e.g., making a purchase, sharing data, etc.

Being SMART about your objectives helps to determine which features will need your attention, and, subsequently, investment.

#3: Lay out your mobile app features

Define core features the app needs to attain your goals. Remove all the non-core stuff and never rush into its development unless you’re 100 percent sure how it contributes to achieving your objectives.

#4: Plan your user paths & prepare ux wireframes

Think about the ways you want your user to interact with the app – this is the time to create its first skeleton with wireframing. By viewing your app’s flow without the visual distractions, you can visualise and test your ideas before any technical work begins.

#5: Define your back-end needs & choose a development path

Now that you established user paths and a list of core features, it’s time to decide on technologies and development options, as well as start planning your back-end. Using the wireframes, and information about your users’ needs start matching it with your current or future(desirable) tech stack, existing solutions, APIs, and systems architecture.

These decisions will impact your overall spend, so don’t hesitate to seek assistance from experienced mobile app developers to make the right choices.

#6: Test and optimise your assumptions

Before you go any further build a clickable prototype using tools like Adobe XD or Invision. The beauty of such solutions is that you don’t have to write any lines of code, and the end user has the impression of using the real application.

At this stage, you’ll save the most time and money, as this will be the first real point of contact with the product and service you want to provide.

Swallowing a bitter pill and pivoting now is still way better than learning the hard way when nobody uses your app that’s just eaten your entire budget.

#7: Build your mobile app

This is the time to start the ongoing work with developers and designers to bring your pre-validated ideas to life. Invariably, as Scalo we recommend sticking to Agile and working in sprints of no more than 7 to 14 days to ensure regular delivery of value and match the ever–changing business needs.

Especially at this stage, you have to remember about Always Be Validating rule, as you’ll be tempted to fall into perfectionism thinking. This form of thinking will lead you to finish the entire scope and to polish every little detail, every little button before releasing it to the end users, which will also lead to generating increased costs.

Instead divide your backlog into small chunks of functionality, where each part will help end user is some way and will be a good test of our product and service – simply build and release an MVP, gather feedback and update your backlog.

What next? Build another MVP! Building your mobile application should be a process of releasing multiple MVP’s.

#8: Go for even more testing

Once development is done, it’s time for internal and external tests to eliminate any bugs and ensure smooth user experience. As a result, you’ll be able to refine the app and get closer to achieving the goals set in the beginning.

#9: Launch your app

The big day comes! Submit your app to the app stores, and start promoting it immediately to attract users. Never leave mobile app marketing to chance, ideally prepare some budget in advance, and follow these tips if on a shoestring.

As you can see, the Always Be Validating approach can positively impact not only the time it takes to develop your mobile app, but also its cost. Get in touch and let’s talk how it can help your business, too.

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