As more and more consumers become comfortable using their smartphones to accomplish everyday tasks, mobile device usage continues to rapidly expand. The trend is likely to continue as smartphone technology continues to improve, and websites become more responsive and mobile-friendly.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that many companies are responding to this trend by developing a mobile app that benefits their business. Mobile apps have numerous benefits. They are installed onto a user’s smartphone where they’re easily accessible and allow for functionality that interacts directly with the device, including push notifications.
While companies are right to capitalize on the trend towards mobile usage, many of them make the mistake of spending too much money on a mobile app that does not produce enough of a benefit to their business. Many companies in this situation are then forced to cut corners after their budget is almost used up to finish the product. The result is often that business owners sometimes spend large sums of money for a low-quality product.
These are a few tips to cut the cost of developing a mobile app without compromising on quality.
1. Ask for Per-Project Quotes
Many development agencies and freelance developers bill by the hour. The reason for this is that it limits their liability when unexpected challenges come up that require more of their team’s time to deal with. However, if you agree to be billed by the hour as a client, it can become difficult to create accurate financial projections of expected costs.
Developing an app is not easy, and unexpected challenges have a tendency to come up. These can range from bugs, compatibility issues, unsupported technical dependencies, and software updates. These things are natural to arise in the development process, but how big of a challenge they represent and the amount of time needed to deal with them can be difficult to predict. When bill by the hour, therefore, these added costs can add up very quickly.
Moreover, these issues can’t simply be put off. They must be dealt with for the app to function properly. As a result, many firms get stuck funneling more and more money into these development costs, sometimes with no end in sight. Such companies can end up in “development hell” – an endless cycle of spending more money without finishing the product.
According to Digital Authority, around out of every 10,000 apps built, only 1 will see the light of day and accomplish a successful go-to-market strategy. A big part of this is that many apps get stuck in development hell, and exhaust the budgets of business owners.
2. Try to Stick to One Team of Developers
The issues with open-ended hourly billing are made worse by the fact that many organizations see no alternative since switching developers comes with its own set of problems. Even if they’re tackling the same problems or building the same product, different software engineers will have their own tools, programming languages, frameworks, and logic that they’re familiar with.
Furthermore, different teams have their own way of notating the code that they write. This notation explains how the code is working and what it is doing. A different team of engineers might have real trouble comprehending this notation, especially if it’s not done in the modern, standardized format, which it often isn’t.
Even if the notation is crystal clear, the original team still brought their own preferred tools, programming languages, frameworks, and logic to the table to build what they did. It is sometimes more work for a new team to learn these different tools than to build from scratch.
These struggles are often mirrored by the difficulties of getting creatives and developers to work together, which is why it’s best to find a team that has experience working together. For more on that, see this article from Forbes.
3. Consider Finding a Technical Co-Founder
If you are an entrepreneur attempting to build an app from scratch, one cost-effective approach might be to recruit a technical Co-Founder to develop the app or lead a development team. A technical Co-Founder is sometimes willing to work on a project for reduced pay or for free in exchange for an equity stake in the company.
If you’re worried about parting with equity, you can set up a vesting period in which this equity is vested over time to a Co-Founder. This will limit the risk of giving away too much equity to the wrong person, or to someone that isn’t willing to invest their time in the long-hall of the venture.
A technical Co-Founder can not only help to develop an app, but also provide guidance around the technical sides of the business, conduct research, and explore new solutions to problems. This will save you from spending on an expensive consultant.
When searching for a technical Co-Founder, make sure to certify their ability to work with any required technologies, look closely at their background or past work, and try to get a perspective on their personality. You want to make sure your Co-Founder is not just competent, but also easy for you to work with.
For more tips for finding a technical Co-Founder, you can check out this article by Inc Magazine.
4. Consider Using a Cross-Compatible Framework
There are many different ways to build a mobile app. Many developers employ different technologies, programming languages and frameworks to deploy the app to different operating systems. So, many products have a web app, an iOS app, and an Android app that have each been developed as different code bases and with different programming languages.
In the past, this was one of the only viable options, since each operating system had its own specifications and requirements. There were no cross-compatible frameworks that could be deployed on these different operating systems. Luckily, this has changed.
Frameworks like React Native, Xamarin, and others allow for an application to be deployed across different operating systems, without having to build a separate app for each. Using these frameworks can often reduce development cycles, billable hours, and costs.
For more on how frameworks like React Native have changed how developers build apps, see this article from Entrepreneur Magazine.
In conclusion, it’s best to get started thinking about financial projections and limiting costs before starting to build a mobile app. These four tips offer a good place to start and will help you to stick to clearly defined goals and a set of costs that can be more easily predicted and accounted for. Avoid beginning the development process without conducting extensive research and getting quotes from developers that you can hold them accountable for.
Author bio: This article comes from Marina Turea, content manager at Digital Authority Partners.