How to reduce mobile app development cost in 2020?

Digital transformation has reached its momentum. It is not only a  necessity but a way to survive for many companies. With the growth of user demand for mobile solutions,  application development more often lays in the center of the digital transformation strategies. However, how much should you invest in the development of mobile apps? According to Clutch, a leading B2B rating portal, the cost of app development can vary from 5000$ to more than 700,000$.  But do businesses have such resources, especially now when they’re suffering from the crisis caused by the pandemic?  Is it possible to save costs while developing a quality product in 2020?

We want to share some strategies that will help you avoid overpaying for development services and successfully implement your digital transformation. 

Table of contents:

  • Consider outsourcing  
  • Hire freelancers
  • Start small
  • Choose technologies wisely 
  • Mind hidden costs

Consider Outsourcing

It is no secret that prices for services vary in different regions and countries. Demand for good programmers is growing faster than the market can provide such specialists.  Therefore,  the reasons for nearshore/offshore software development lay not only in cheaper labor and but also in access to tech talent pools.  Many companies partner with outsourcing providers from India, Ukraine, Indonesia, or even to open their own R&D centers there. 

Outsourcing has become so common that it is difficult to find a company that doesn’t take advantage of it. 

It’s crucial though, to choose your app development provider, based on comprehensive evaluation and analysis, considering factors as location, company size, focus, communication,  experience, tech skills, etc.

For example, big companies may not be so considerate to the specific problems of small startups, and small development houses do not always have the ability to scale resources quickly. So, a good idea is to choose an outsourcing company similar in size to yours. 

You can find listings of outsourcing vendors on platforms such as Clutch, GoodFirms, Appfutura, etc. They also make annual reports with the best software development providers from different countries based on the customer’s reviews. 

App development cost by region.

Hire Freelancers

There are many popular websites to hire freelancers such as Upwork, Freelancer. TopTal etc. You can post your job on one of these websites, gather proposals from developers, and invite specialists you find suitable.  This approach is convenient as you can see candidates’ previous experience, feedbacks, and hourly rate. The contract is also concluded through the platform, so it reduces some risks for both customers and developers.

But if you have no relative experience with software development or working with freelancers, this process can be complicated. After all, there are might be some cases when you have to act as a project manager or be fully involved in the process. It can take a lot of your time and effort. 

Another option is to hire freelance agencies, which usually consist of a team of devs taking care of the projects. They tend to have similar hourly rates but provide good customer guidance and support throughout the whole process

Start small

To understand how much you should invest in app development, you need to think about your product functionality.  More features automatically mean more time spent on development. And if the functions are quite difficult to implement the costs can easily reach beyond your expectations.

So before proceeding to the development of a fully defined product, you can start with creating  PoC or MVP and test your assumptions without spending a fortune. 

The Proof of Concept is used to prove that idea is appliable. It helps to choose the best-fit solution with minimal financial risks. Especially if the project involves making technical decisions that can affect project success. 

The second approach is quite popular among startups. The idea of the Minimum Viable Product is to develop the most necessary functions first, launch, and receive real users’ feedback. Then based on received information develop the rest of the functionality.

MVP gives the opportunity to test the idea quickly, without spending a significant amount of time and resources. One of the most significant things when developing a Minimum Viable Product is to understand what are the core features of the app, and what should be excluded.  

Many well-known companies have started this way. Among the most famous are Airbnb, Facebook, and Amazon. 

Choose technologies wisely 

Technical decisions such as choosing a Native iOS and Android or Cross-platform development can be quite a struggle. 

There are projects for which Native is the best fit or more cost-effective option in the long run. And for some cross-platform works just perfect. 

Cross-platform solutions are evolving quite rapidly. Among the most popular are React Native and Flutter. The last one seems to be very trendy in 2020, as more and more companies are developing their apps using this technology. One of the reasons is close to the “native” performance of the Flutter apps. 

If native development means creating an application for each specific platform and requires the involvement of developers with different skill sets. Cross-Platforms allow making an application with a single codebase. That’s why such an approach is considered to be less costly. It is perfect for projects at the MVP stage and other relatively simple applications. But in case the project is long-term, dealing with highly complex UI, sophisticated animations, or advanced integrations – Native development will be more beneficial. 

Notable the cheaper option may be more expensive later on and vice versa. So before choosing a technology, you should analyze the project, it’s goals, and of course, consults with the specialists.

Mind hidden costs 

Creating a mobile app requires not only initial development costs, but also spendings on design, application support, maintenance, and various integrations.

The cost of design services usually depends on the region. For instance, in Ukraine designers’ hourly rates are on average 20-25 dollars per hour. Speaking of the time, it can also range from 50 to 300 hours plus, depending on the complexity of the product.

If you’re publishing your application on App Store and Google Play, mind that these platforms charge small fees. In the case of iOS, it is 99$ per year, with a transaction fee  (subscription, in-app purchases etc) of around 15 %. Google Play has slightly lower prices. The one-time registration fee for a Google Play developer account is 25$. The Play market transaction price decreases from 30%  to 15% after some period of time. 

App Store and Google Play have approval processes. This mean app should meet the standards and requirements of the stores to get approved. So it can also take extra time and resources.

Any application whether it is mobile or web requires regular updates and support. For example, you have to upgrade your app to the next OS version, fix additional errors or issues. This can cost around 20% of the full price of the app per year. 

To conclude

So how to save on mobile application development in 2020?  First of all, discover all the benefits of outsourcing,  freelancers, or freelance agencies. Do not try to create everything at once.  Develop your product gradually, starting with PoC or MVP. Choose technology based not on the lowest price, but on how well it suits your project. And don’t forget to consider the hidden cost of the app development before setting up a budget for your product.

It’s hard to predict everything in advance.  We hope these tips will help to do cost-efficient investments, avoid some mistakes, and prepare you for the digital transformation journey. 

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