A Startup’s Guide to App Development Cost – 3 Factors That save Money and Boost Quality

Every startup needs an app that is high quality, has remarkable design, effortless navigation and everything else that can win over customers. At the same time, every startup wants to keep the cost of app development under control, without compromising on quality. Now you might have read that factors like the platform you launch on or the technology you choose impacts the cost of your app, but what can you really do to keep the cost of development for your startup or small business app under check? 

You will eventually need an app on both platforms. You will after all want the best technology. Those aren’t factors you want to compromise on for cost’s sake. What is it then that you can indeed control? Well I have good news. Here are three factors that influence the cost and quality of your app in a big way and you can save a substantial amount of your precious funding if you carefully follow some of these tips. So let’s dive right in.

1. Doing Adequate Research

There are very many considerations that go into quoting a price for app development, but just to get a fair idea, you will pay for all the hours spent working on your project. If you go in with a solid body of research, you give the development team a strong foundation to work with. This helps you save costs in many different ways. 

  • When you know enough about the product you want to develop, how it would essentially look and function and the target audience it is intended for, the development team has to spend that much less time researching, saving you billable hours.
  • When you’ve done your research, and given the team a substantial brief, the chances of going wrong go down by a mile. There are fewer reviews and re-doings, further lowering cost. 
  • With a fuller research, your minimum viable product (MVP) is ready for the market sooner, giving you a headway over the competition. In fact, you could launch the MVP and begin generating revenue that can be re-invested in further development. 

So as you can see, doing your research has a profound impact on the cost of your app. As a startup, it is also the single most effective weapon at your disposal to significantly bring down the cost, and develop a robust app that can beat the competition fair and square. So get down to it and start asking yourself the following questions:

  • What critical customer problem will this app solve?
  • What are the main features it needs to have?
  • Who is the key target audience?
  • What does this app do that the current competitors don’t? 

Don’t just answer these questions yourself. Ask your peers and analyse your competition. Then, round up a group of potential users and plunge into a preliminary round of user research. Prepare a skeleton of summary of your answers and turn it into a plan. You could even sketch out some simple wireframes that go a long way in defining the scope of your project (which we’ll talk more about in the next section).

When you go in with all that research, any good development company understands that you are a serious client and is compelled to quote you a competitive price. 

2. Clearly Defining the Scope of Your Project

If you say that you want to develop an ecommerce app for fashion, you are defining a very broad category. This not only makes development companies quote you a rather high price but also lacks the right initial velocity required to start moving in the right direction. Without narrowing down the specific features that your app must have, you leave the field open for frequent changes in scope, additional feature integration and complexities along the way, all of which translates to added billable hours. 

This is not to say that you shouldn’t add features that come up as essential as you go through advanced rounds of customer research. You will want to integrate nuances in your app as you proceed, and you must. The trick is to define your MVP very clearly right from the start divide the project scope into short releases that can be perfected with each iteration. This enables the development teams to stick to the course in a more organized manner, streamlining the development cycle and reducing complexity, thus limiting the cost of development. 

3. Choosing the Right App Development Company

With the explosion in app economy, app development companies have come up around the world, giving you a multitude of options to choose from. Which company you choose makes a very real impact on both the cost and quality of your app. 

To be fair, this could be one of your most complex decisions. On the bright side though, without being biased, I must say that you need to keep your filters open for offshore development companies such as those in India and other Asian countries. You could actually partner up with some of the most talented and more hardworking developers and designers at far more competitive prices that you would find in a US or Canada based development company. Just be sure to do your research and really pick a company with the right experience, a proven track record and a list of happy customers. 

Wrapping Up

So those are three ways to make sure you build a truly high performance app for your startup without blowing up your entire first round of funding. Balancing cost and quality is a continuous battle for startups and following the above steps diligently will help you cut out all avoidable costs and complexities, resulting in a product that gives you a real bang for your buck. Performing a preliminary round of user research and preparing a project summary, scope definition and low-fidelity wireframes help you minimize wasted hours and develop a tight project team. Choosing an app development company that works hard, has experienced developers and charges competitive lets you build a build a competent product without paying just for a certain brand name development company. And that my friends, is the secret to developing great apps without breaking the bank.

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