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How to Reduce the Cost of App Development

How to Build It
Everyone seems to want to build an app nowadays. People with new ideas, those looking to take an existing one and improve it or the businesses building them to improve their internal processes. With thousands getting built each week, the focus turns to how you do cost-effective app development.

When traditional methods lead to costs starting at $25,000 and potentially growing to ten times that figure, app development for start-ups and other smaller businesses can seem out of reach, but that doesn’t have to be the case. 

If you look carefully, plan properly and take the time to do things the right way, you will find plenty of ways to reduce the cost of app development and to get you going, here are some great tips from our experiences.

Proper Planning Is The Key To Reducing Costs

Everything starts with a plan, or at least it should. The single biggest way to overspend on your app development is not having a plan. When you don’t have a detailed plan of what you will produce, you cannot budget properly and you will never know if you are overspending, and without a plan, I promise you will be overspending.

Your product requirements will need to be properly documented. It should include

  • A list of the features that are needed for the product
  • Any UI requirements you have to ensure a good user experience
  • The development broken into phases, with timelines against them
  • Agreement of the platform being used, as well as any add-ons or integrations needed

This document will ensure everyone stays focused on the end goals, including a timeline and most importantly a budget! By writing up these requirements before you start, you can objectively decide what is essential and remove ‘nice to have’ features that can come much later on.

Another part of the planning process should be prototyping. If you can utilise a tool like Adobe XD, you can quickly map out a clickable version of the app without the expense of doing this on a platform. It will enable you to swiftly test the user experience and make changes before the development begins.

You Must Build A Minimum Viable Product

Your minimum viable product is a great tool for reducing the cost of your app development because it forces you to focus on the things that matter and deliver a product as quickly as possible, hence keeping costs to a minimum.

The idea is to produce a version of the product that can be used by prospects to generate interest and revenues quickly. You get to then evolve it quickly based on feedback whilst still generating some initial money.

You also get to focus on producing a product that can attract interest and hopefully cash input from investors. By cost-effectively producing your first version of the product, you can then build a bigger and better one when you have a higher level of cash from showcasing your MVP - some of the biggest web successes launched this way, like Uber, Groupon and Airbnb.

There are so many great tools available to help you produce an MVP, so we collated the 15 best ones into this article that we believe will help you produce a quick and cost-effective product.

If you want to get an estimate of what your MVP might cost and help producing a roadmap for the MVP development, then talk to one of our experts and make the most of this free service by booking a call today.

Reduce Repetition

Automation is the friend of a small budget. The more that you automate repetitive and basic jobs, the less you are paying people to do them. Testing is a great example of a task that you can automate and reduce the need for costly people.

Automation also does everything to remove errors created by human intervention. A reduction in errors means faster development and making fewer changes, which all lead to saving costs.

One form of repetition that can save you money is utilising software and data that you already have. For example, if you have a database with key information, don’t rebuild this inside a new platform, make use of APIs and link your new app to the existing sources of information you have.

Build It And They Will Come - Or Will They?

Don’t build something that people won’t download! Might seem obvious but the digital world is full of apps that an individual thought was a good idea but they realised after developing them, that no one else did. With this in mind, one of the key tips for cost-effective app development is to ensure you do the proper research so you build something people want.

Know your audience

Understand who you are trying to attract with your idea, what their needs, pains and desires are. This will ensure you build something they will want.


You don’t need to spend money on an expensive agency to do this work. Understand what already exists, compare your idea and look for what will make you stand out and drive your audience to download your app over others already built.

Refine before beginning

Ensure you use the work you do above to then make changes to the product idea before you go into the build. There is no point in understanding the audience and market and then ignoring what this tells you. You’ll end up making these changes later in the app development and this will cost you much more.

How Is This Getting Built?

The biggest cost of any app development is the build. This is where your decisions will make the biggest difference to the overall budget. When you build an app as a start-up, you won’t have a massive internal team that you automatically turn to for the work, so you are left with a couple of options.

Choose the platform

You could employ a team of contractors or an agency and ask them to build you an app from scratch. This will be very expensive. If your goal is cost-effective app development then your best option will be to choose no-code development.

This means you’ll need to find a platform that works for you. There are many options available which can be overwhelming but if you’ve done a proper plan then you’ll understand what you need it to do and can select it based on where it has strengths. 

For example, if you are building an eCommerce app, then choose platforms that have good use cases in this field. If it’s an internal tool for improving productivity, then it’s likely a completely different platform will be your best option.

No-code development will drastically reduce your costs because the platforms come with inbuilt templates that save much of the development time; no-code experts are cheaper than traditional developers; many basic functions like logins and registration are already built; automation for things like testing are part of the platform. 

This all means that development will be much faster and less time will be spent on expensive developers and correcting mistakes on custom code that will need continual testing.

If you need help selecting the right platform for you, then use our free consultation service, where we will listen to your project needs and build you the roadmap towards your app and pick the right cost-effective developers for you.

Do it yourself

It’s tempting to try and do it yourself using some of the great no-code platforms but it is often a false economy. A job done right the first time will be much cheaper than one that needs continual correction. If you are not 100% confident in this route, it’s a dangerous one to explore.


If you are going to use a no-code platform, then you could choose a developer that has experience with this platform or even a small agency. This is a relatively cost-effective approach but does come with its own concerns.

Chief amongst these concerns would be the ability to cover all the needs you have and what happens if people get distracted on other projects, do you have others that will step in and complete the build. This might delay development and add to the cost.

If you are looking to hire remote developers, then the quickest and cheapest route will be using a platform like WeLoveNoCode, where we have already reviewed the freelancers and put them through a series of tests or training to ensure they are part of the top 1% of no-code freelancers available. Simply describe your project to us and we’ll match you up today.

Developer marketplace

With these marketplaces, you can select a group of experts and build a team perfect for your project. You can select all the different skills you need and build a team that you might have done if you were internally running the project but without the cost overheads of actually employing these people. 

Speak to the experts at these places and they will guide you through how to pull together this team and build your app for as little as possible. They can match you with the best freelancers and now you have the option to pick a ‘fixed price’ plan. With this we will give you an estimate and roadmap for your project, then the price won’t change - so much better for budget planning.

We hope that has helped you realise you can indeed reduce the cost of your app development without having to compromise on quality. Just remember to plan well, stick with a no-code development approach and find good people.