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How to Reduce Costs of App Development

Transforming an app idea into a viable product is a massive investment. In the US, app development can cost between $16,000-$72,000, depending on the features and functionalities. Aside from the need to hire android developers or iOS developers for the coding and development work, a branding agency may also need to be consulted for the app's design and marketing. For startups, these costs can be prohibitive. But, with a low-cost mobile app development, it can be easier to get an app idea off the ground.

With the increasing demand for mobile apps, businesses and entrepreneurs are looking for ways to get low-cost mobile app development. Indeed, there are ways to reduce app development costs without compromising on quality.

Current State of Startup Funding

Over the years, venture capital investment has become the top choice for tech startups. Digital technology companies are consistently receiving the majority of funding. According to a 2022 Statista report, software companies in the United States attracted the most VC investment in 2021, with approximately $124 billion raised.

Meanwhile, the financial model for startups has evolved to various options, and other sources of funding are being explored time and again. They include bootstrapping, crowdfunding, grants, incubators, and accelerators.

In addition, there is a growing trend toward impact investing. Investors are seeking out startups that have a positive social or environmental impact. To understand the complexities of startup funding, one must have a nuanced understanding of the various factors contributing to it, such as market conditions and industry trends.

What Determines the Price of Startup Development

App features

The complexity and number of features in an app can affect its development time and cost. For this reason, the must-have and nice-to-have features must be carefully prioritized and evaluated during the app development process. This prioritization is essential not only to meet the needs of the users but also to stay within the budget for the app development.

Mobile operating system

All operating systems have different design requirements, development tools, and compatibility issues that can affect the mobile app development cost. In any case, startups often choose between cross-platform and native app development for Android or IOS.

Developing a native app for each platform can result in significant expenses since you would need to hire multiple teams of developers. Thus, it's worth exploring cross-platform solutions if you intend to release your app on various platforms. But you can as well move only with iOS or Android depending on your target audience preference.

Connections and server architecture

The budget for app development is incomplete without considering the number of APIs and data storage solutions needed to connect the app to other services. Each API and data storage solution may come with its own cost, licensing terms, and technical requirements. All of these must be factored into the app development budget. The rule of thumb here is only to add the most suitable or necessary ones.

App Security

The security of data that will be collected and stored in a mobile app is crucial for legal compliance. Besides, maintaining data privacy is needed to build user trust and enhance the reputation of the app and the people behind it.

Drawing from my experience, the security cost of an app depends on the complexity of the data collected and the expertise of security professionals involved.

App management

Regular updates and bug fixes are required to keep an app running smoothly with the latest OS updates and user needs. Apps with more intricate and advanced features may need more maintenance, impacting their overall cost.

Tips and Best Practices for Affordable App Development

For startups with limited resources, app development can be expensive. Nonetheless, with the right strategies and approach, it's feasible to reduce the average app development costs while still maintaining high quality and functionality. Here are a few proven steps that can be helpful.

Provide detailed project scope

Providing a detailed brief to the app development team can help speed up the development process. If the requirements are clearly stated, it can save time and reduce the need for revisions. An app cost calculator can help in this regard. You can use it to prioritize features and make informed decisions about what to include in the app.

Aside from the timeline and budget, The project scope should outline and include the following:

  • The features and functionalities of the app: e.g. push notifications, user registration, GPS tracking

  • Technical specifications: e.g. database management system, operating system compatibility, and the required APIs

  • Design requirements: e.g. responsive design for different screen sizes, color scheme and branding.

Look for outsourcing partners with scalable resources

Startups can leverage outsourcing to get low-cost mobile app development. The software industry is replete with outsourcing partners like Uptech who can give you or your in-house team access to a wider talent pool of skilled developers. At Uptech, we can help you reduce labor and infrastructure costs, offer flexibility in scaling your development team, and cut project management expenses.

Create a simplified MVP to test the market

To minimize app development costs, startups can follow the example of successful companies like Airbnb and Uber by building a simplified Minimum Viable Product. Flexibility in product concept and development is possible with an MVP, making it a cost-effective approach to app development. For one thing, it allows you to gather feedback and add features that are in demand.

Choose The Right Platform

Choosing the right platform for app development can help to reduce costs and optimize the app's performance. Native apps are ideal for businesses that require high-performance applications, but building them involves creating separate apps with different code bases for each platform. On the other hand, hybrid mobile app development offers a cost-effective solution that allows developers to share the product on different platforms, reaching a broader audience.


The best ways to optimize the app development process and minimize unnecessary expenses are to prioritize essential features, create a clear roadmap and project scope, select the right development team through outsourcing and utilize cost-effective development tools and frameworks.

Top comments (1)

sofiiasov profile image

Useful post, thanks! I would be interested to read in more detail about how much does app design cost, can you recommend an article?