How to Reduce Mobile App Development Costs to Mitigate Budget Overruns

Updated 22 Aug 2023

13 Min




If you have landed here, chances are you have already finalized your mobile app idea, researched the average cost of developing a similar solution, and may have even requested a rough estimate from an IT provider. Now, you are likely wondering how to reduce mobile app development costs while achieving the desired app functionality and maintaining high quality. If that's the case, you've come to the right place.

In this blog post, you’ll learn 10 proven ways to reduce the cost of app development backed by our experience in optimizing development costs on the projects.

What Mobile App Development Cost Is Made Up Of?

Before going straight to mechanisms and strategies for reducing the cost of mobile app development, let’s overview the average cost of mobile development.

The development of a mobile solution consists of multiple factors, such as number of features, platform, development time, developers' rate, etc. to complete the whole project on time. Considering all of these factors, the price to build a mobile app is about $40,000 to $300,000.

Understanding the primary factors influencing the development cost that causes such a broad price range is vital. These factors include:

  • The set of features. The range of chosen features for your app is the most influential aspect. This includes all the buttons, dashboards, and the complete functionality that your app provides. Deciding the basic functionality in your MVP(minimal viable product) is essential, and then you can widen the feature range if needed.
  • The complexity of back-end infrastructure. Back-end generally stands for the databases, servers, and the inner structure of your product. The complexity of the backend logic, affect the time needed for app engineering, resulting in higher costs.
  • The mobile platform of the launch. Supporting several platforms may help you to reach a broader target audience. However, remember that it increases costs as you must cooperate with two development teams. Also, consider It is often more expensive to develop an iOS-related product than the same one for an Android.
  • Third-party integrations: Integrating with 3rd-party APIs or services (e.g., payment gateways, social media networks, mapping services) increase development time and requires licensing fees.
  • Security measures. Strong security measures can guarantee your product's success and your company’s high position in the market. Regardless of the type of app you’re working at, all the sensitive and personal data have to be safe. And sure enough, security plays a significant role in app development costs.

Learn about the cost of developing an app in our detailed article

10 Cost-Efficient Strategies For Reducing the Cost of App Development

Reducing the app development cost process requires specific actions. So, let’s move on to ten ways to lower the development cost of your mobile app.


Before considering ways of lowering the price, form a strong project plan. Do not underestimate the discovery phase, as this will determine the workflow, work scope, and final success.

The discovery phase stands for the definition of your target audience and its primary demands and needs. Carefully analyze who is your potential user, and then you’ll receive a direction to follow. This also helps to create a product that meets the user’s expectations.

Choose a tech provider who is able to accomplish your technical goals. Nevertheless, your tech provider will help you choose all the necessary tools and features, which will help to decrease the costs for app development. Also, make sure that you clearly convey your app concept to your team. This may exclude misunderstandings and speed up the solution delivery.

Note: You can always go through the Planning phase with your chosen IT partner. An expert team will perform your business and market research and competitors analysis to inform your project’s direction.

Choose a development approach

You can follow two routes: decide on native or cross-platform app development.

Native app development implies creating a solution that is fixated on a particular platform and device functionality. Usually, it’s considered more complex and expensive, as it requires the development of two separate pieces for each platform (iOS or Android).

Cross-platform app development takes less time to develop (approximately 50% less), as your team has to create mobile apps that are capable of satisfying both platforms' functionality. This appears possible as each iOS and Android can support the source code or some of its parts.

Native app vs. Cross-platform app

ParametersNative appsCross-platform apps





Swift and highly responsive as they simply cooperate with device's native core features

Has high-operation abilities, but still lacks flexibility

Delivery channels

Delivered from the digital store of certain OS

Delivered from the digital store of certain OS

When to apply

You want to receive full functionality of hardware

You plan to engage the maximum audience both Android and iOS users

Expertise needed

Android SDK, iOS SDK

Dart, React

Settle a clear and transparent communication

Every cooperation process needs a well-structured and solid plan and reliable communication channels. Your main task is to form a team that can perceive your values and share similar goals.

Including a PM (Project Manager) in your team is essential. This specialist is responsible for monitoring the workflow, including timely task delivery. Also, PM helps build a strong hierarchy in the team to minimize misunderstandings and confusion among other experts, which significantly reduces cost to develop mobile app.

Use open-source libraries and frameworks

There are already many pre-made solutions to integrate into the internal structure of your product. If you need an AI element or GPS, your developers don’t have to create these from scratch. Instead, they can access a great number of open-source libraries and insert everything needed into your project.

Nevertheless, you can significantly diversify your UI by inserting some ready-made patterns for graphical elements, enriching visual concepts in general.

Pass app development to outstaff or outsource

As mentioned above, modernity allows business owners to simplify the aspects of the cooperation process and development operations. Two popular cooperation strategies deal with various tasks and challenges - outstaffing and outsourcing.

The outstaffing model implies engaging experts with additional expertise to boost your current team. It is worth noting that hiring new specialists doesn’t require fixing them in your company. Meanwhile, outsourcing means you apply to a third-party organization that helps you form, monitor and manage a development team.

Outsourced IT vendors should be experienced in your domain, so they can provide you with a broader range of tech expertise and qualifications.

Choose the right team

To understand whether your chosen team is a match, several factors have to be considered primarily. Create a checklist that includes:

  • Offered IT services
  • Tech stack applied
  • Examples of earlier delivered solutions
  • Experience in your business domain

Overviewing the company’s and team’s past experience, pay attention to the feedback provided by the clients and the employees themselves. This will help you to build a realization of how good the team is in project delivery and what results they’re capable of providing.

Nevertheless, gathering people with similar values is a priority in any cooperation. However, in terms of developing a digital product, there is a methodology that helps to make a process go smoother.

The agile approach implies dividing project development into steps, which makes the process more structured. This helps receive superior project quality, risk reduction, cause decrease the cost for app development, and, nevertheless, obtain more control. Also, if the team shares your values and knows how to help you reach the necessary goals, it would be a moving mechanism for progress and general growth.

Create a mobile app MVP

Before trying to incorporate a massive product with an enormous amount of complex features, it is recommended to make an MVP version of your app. MVP (Minimal Viable Product) is a product that has enough functionality to satisfy basic users' needs. The main function of MVP is to receive feedback from first users to realize what strategies you need for further product development and growth.

This will help you to test your product’s concept and general demand for it. Then, you can implement new multi-layered features to stay competitive and meet your audience's requests. Also, after analyzing feedback received from the MVP launch, you may avoid repeating risks and downfalls that were already determined.

Use cloud services

Cloud services may add certain flexibility to data storage and access to it. Excluding the factor of the location or a specific device, you can access needed data — simply having an internet connection. This becomes a huge advantage, especially while working with a remote team, as cloud services help access information and share it simultaneously.

Make regular app testings

Testing stands far not only for bug fixing. This process allows you to improve the usability, functional abilities, and, most important, security of your product. Also, regular testing will assist you in determining particular issues earlier. Meaning that you won’t need to deal with them in the late stages of launch. It appears to be more massive and doesn’t help you to reduce mobile app development costs.

Maintenance and support

To stay competitive, support for your product is crucial. By maintaining your app, you are able to provide users with products of higher quality that will suit the current tendencies in the market. This aspect will help you to avoid major development difficulties if you will create a steady support cycle. In this case, periodicity is a flawless approach, leading to continuous improvements and solid success.

Success Stories of Reducing the Cost for App Development: Cleveroad’s Experience

Our team has experience in reducing app development costs for our clients.

Healthcare learning management system

Our customer is a US-based company that provides medical students with educational and training programs. Our task was to build a LMS system from scratch. The goal was to deliver a responsive solution enabling access to learning course materials with an educator module.

To reduce development costs and customer risks, we’ve decided to skip the Discovery phase. As the system development was divided into phases by itself (according to the Scrum), initial and discovery works were performed on sprints preceding the development sprints together with implementing previously approved functionality.

The quality of development and sticking to the Agile approach allowed our client to release the app quickly and avoid interruptions.

Read the full Healthcare Learning Management System case in our portfolio

Web-based marketplace for B2C customers

We’ve also cooperated with a US company willing to build an online marketplace to gather buyers and sellers in one digital space. The goal was to develop a custom online marketplace, fully ready to fight for a client on the market.

We started with defining the proper MVP scope and built an extended MVP marketplace with a thoroughly crafted feature set. The functionality had to be sufficient for a competitive but not excessive marketplace and guarantee a high ROI for each feature added.

Examine a complete Web-Based Marketplace for B2C customers case in our portfolio

Potential Risks That May Lead to Budget Overruns

Knowing about specific risks is sometimes, sadly, not enough to implement the algorithms to avoid them. Let’s see what exactly may cause budget issues in an app solution development and take you far from reducing mobile app development costs.

Risks that lead to budget overruns

Risks that lead to budget overruns

Financing an undemanded product

You’ll probably agree that the prolonged investment of time and money into a product that no one will use is extremely illogical.

To avoid making this massive mistake, consider the following factors:

  • Determine the value of a product
  • Make a detailed description of the feature
  • Define the leading features
  • Create a convenient user experience
  • Use MVP first
  • Try developing and implementing new system modules after the launch

Failing the deadlines

The development may take a very unexpected turn, but it is not always due to team failure. There are several widespread reasons for delays:

  • Overly-critical client attitude. You, as a business owner, want to receive profitable results. However, staying objective and not falling into perfectionism patterns is essential, as it may become a problem.
  • Adding excessive details. The product dev is usually walking along with a major ideas brainstorm. But note that all the ideas and conclusions should be carefully filtered to avoid the expression. Also, all the concepts should meet tech requirements to deliver a solution on time.
  • Wrong choice of an IT vendor. The only thing you shouldn’t cut costs on is specialists' expertise. Appeal to a company with great experience in your domain to avoid remastering the work of unqualified experts, which is not what we want in attempts to reduce mobile app development costs.

To accord to all deadlines, consider these aspects and make sure to deliver the concept of a project clearly:

  • Deliver the idea of a project clearly, and ensure that you were understood
  • Stay functional, but yet simple in functionality choice
  • Do not demand impossible actions from your development team
  • Apply to companies with vast project development experience

Customer rejections

Besides the other factors, the user’s rejection of a product appears to be the hardest to predict. For average users, it’s vital to ensure that the product meets their expectations and is capable of accomplishing their needs and demands. Even though it may be unpredictable, you can minimize risks by clarifying the project specification in the early stages and building strong contact with developers.

As you see, safely reducing mobile app development costs is more than possible. Note that only nearly 50% of your project success depends on specialists' expertise, the other half stand for advanced management, well-constructed communication, and the chosen approach.

It is crucial to incorporate mentioned above strategies to prevent budget overruns and increase ROI. An experienced IT provider is always ready to help you optimize expenses on mobile app development, applying multiple methods to decrease the costs for app development.

Mobile App Estimate at Cleveroad

Cleveroad is an outsourcing mobile development company that delivers digital solutions across various domains, including Healthcare, FinTech, Logistics, Education, Travelling, Retail, Social media, etc.

Backed on our 11+ years of experience in IT, our team helps businesses determine their primary goals for future growth and development. Also, we assist you in choosing correct, convenient, authentic, and practical solutions to obtain a solid positive reputation in their domain.

Here are the key approaches we apply to reduce app costs on commercial projects:

  • Deep requirements analysis by our Subject matter experts
  • Consultation from our Senior solution architect on the right tech stack for your mobile solution
  • Sticking to Agile practices makes it possible to reach the ROI goals faster. Due to iterative approach implementation, you can deliver the completed product more quickly, with the possibility of gradual further improvements
  • Cross-platform development services to cut development hours due to building a single app running on two platforms
  • Cloud-based services usage makes data access more flexible, regardless of location or device. Due to no need to use physical devices for storage, you as a business don’t have to purchase and maintain separate servers
  • Ongoing maintenance and support to help your final product stay progressive and competitive

We offer several cooperation models so you can choose one according to your needs and capabilities:

Staff augmentation

This model suits business owners who need to increase their in-house team's performance by engaging additional expertise. If you need unique knowledge for a particular project, you evaluate your current team's skill set and capabilities and then proceed with hiring the professionals required. Here, you pay for 8 working hours multiplied by the hourly rate.

Dedicated team model

Here, a company provides you with a specialist to cooperate long-term. It’s a flawless approach for large-scale projects where it is required to obtain vast expertise. The pay mechanism here is the same, 8 working hours multiplied by the hourly rate.

Time & Materials model

The major benefit of this model is the ability to provide a customer with a rough estimate and an understanding of the work scope. So if you have a limited budget, we can help you to form a product according to financial aspects. Also, if something unpredictable happens, we create a list of changes and estimate it additionally. Here you pay for hours spent on work multiplied by the hourly rate.

Cleveroad is ready to help you find the most cost-effective way to create a mobile solution meeting your budget and timelines. We will guide you through the most convenient options and get to the one you’ll be satisfied with.

Want to optimize app creation cost?

Contact us today and get a consultation on the optimal dev approaches to your budgetary optimization

Frequently Asked Questions
How reduce mobile app development costs?

Remeber, that only 50% of your project success depends on specialists' expertise, the other half stand for advanced management, well-constructed communication, and the chosen approach. To make all these possible follow the next checklist:

  • Do homework
  • Choose a development approach
  • Pass app development to outstaff or outsource
  • Choose the right team
  • Create a mobile app MVP
  • Use cloud services
  • Make regular app testings
  • Maintenance and support
What is the average cost to develop an app?

The development of a mobile solution consists of multiple factors, such as project size, complexity, and the work scope to complete the whole project on time. Meanwhile, the average pricing for a mobile solution ranges between $40,000-$300,000 and may reach up to $500,000+.

How to price app development?

It is impossible to estimate the price of each project, as all of them have their uniqueness and functionality. However, understanding the primary factors influencing the development cost is vital. These factors include:

  • The set of features
  • The complexity of back-end infrastructure
  • App’s maintenance and support
  • The mobile platform of the launch
  • Security measures
How much does it cost to make a simple app?

Deciding the basic functionality in your MVP is essential, and then you can widen the feature range if needed. MVP (Minimal Viable Product) is a product that has enough functionality to satisfy basic users' needs. The price of creating MVP ranges between $5,000-$50,000.

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About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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