Developing a custom mobile app can be a costly endeavor, and it’s important to have realistic expectations when working within a budget. Whether you’re a startup or an established organization, creating a mobile app that’s both functional and user-friendly can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to keep costs in check.

Learn the realities of mobile app design versus your budget and explore some strategies for creating a functional and engaging app that doesn’t break the bank.

Plan Ahead And Set A Realistic Budget

Before starting any project, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the budget and resources available. When developing a mobile app, it’s important to factor in all costs, including development, design, testing, and marketing. It’s essential to set a realistic budget and prioritize features based on importance and budget constraints.

Know Who Your Audience Is and What You Want To Achieve With Your App

When it comes to creating a mobile app, it’s essential to keep in mind who your users are and what the app’s purpose is. Depending on your budget, you may have champagne taste with a beer budget, which can affect the app’s design and functionality. In this post, we’ll help set expectations about what mobile apps can do at various price points and help you be able to know what to ask your mobile app development company to create that meets your community’ needs. If you’re getting a mobile app created for your local municipality to serve the functional purpose of keeping residents informed, it may not need to be as fancy or flashy as an app for a music or entertainment brand. Instead, it’s important to identify the core features that are essential to the app’s purpose and prioritize them. This can help keep costs down and ensure that the app is functional and useful for residents.

Focus On Essential Features

When developing an app on a budget, it’s important to focus on essential features that are critical to the app’s success. Avoid adding unnecessary features that can inflate development costs and delay the launch of your app. Prioritize the features that will make your app stand out and deliver the best user experience. When in doubt you can always ask your mobile app development team for their recommendations.

Choose The Right Development Team

Choosing the right development team can make a big difference when developing an app on a budget. Look for developers who have experience building apps within your budget constraints and who are familiar with the specific features and technologies required for your app. They can provide guidance on which features are essential and suggest cost-effective alternatives for achieving your desired outcome. They can also help you navigate the app development process, from ideation to deployment, while keeping an eye on your budget.

Consider a Mobile App Platform

Another strategy is to consider using a mobile app platform. Apps built using a platform have pre-designed user interfaces that can be customized to fit your brand and app’s requirements. This approach can save time and money by eliminating the need for custom design and development work, while still allowing you to develop a mobile app that matches the look and feel of your brand and includes the features you need. Info Grove’s modular mobile app platform allows you to build an app with dozens of functions and link them together giving more information to your users, without the cost of custom development.

Be Prepared For Unexpected Expenses

Even with careful planning and budgeting, unexpected expenses can arise during the app development process. It’s important to have contingency plans in place and to be prepared to make adjustments to your budget if necessary. Usually 10% to 20% is a good range to cover most unexpected expenses.

Know The Costs

Now that you are about ready to start, how much will all of this work cost you? There are many factors that can come into play but here are some basic ballpark figures:

  • Complete Custom App – On average starts around $25,000 (if built by a reputable firm in North America) and goes up from there . Rule of thumb is $10,000 + about $1,000 to $2,000 per screen for an app with no CMS.
    Double the figure if you are looking to have a Content Management System built as well to help you populate the content/features of the app. Also any elaborate features required for one screen can make that per screen number go up rapidly. A screen with some fancy logic and lots of bells and whistles can easily cost you $15,000 to $20,000 alone.
    Furthermore, Integrations with 3rd party APIs will usually costs somewhere between $5,000 to $15,000 per API. So if you sum all of that, custom apps can be expensive. Figures like $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, $2,000,000, and $10,000,000 are not uncommon.
  • Platform App – Can be as low as about $1,000 per year (usually platforms require either a monthly or yearly subscription) and can go up to about $15,000 to $25,000 per year depending on the feature set, size of user base, and a variety of other factors. Note that a platform app costing you $25,000 per year will likely cost 10 to 20 times that figure to build as a custom app.
    Apps built using a platform will generally be cheaper, be launched faster, and will typically have more features. The one drawback is that the features may not be exactly how you require them. Some compromises will be needed here.

If you’re considering having a mobile app developed, but aren’t sure if you need something fully custom or if a platform like Info Grove could work for you, the best thing to do is book a consultation.

During our free initial consultation, we can dig deep into what your needs are to get an understanding of what kind of mobile app might best serve you. We’ll help you figure out how to achieve your needs in a way that best suits your budget.

Karim Mansour is an Inside Sales Representative at 14 Oranges, the creators of the Info Grove platform.

Unions & Associations: Get What You Want in a Mobile App Without Breaking the Bank