Apps

Published on August 27th, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi

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Why is app development so expensive?

Anything ‘new’ is typically condemned for being too expensive, and while app development is relatively established now, the question of “why is app development so expensive?” is still often asked by those who are unfamiliar with the process. Today we are going to face that question head-on and review the service delivery of app design and the many touchpoints and professionals who work on these designs, but we are also going to look at ways that startups have been able to bring an app to the market for less by making a few sacrifices with these affordable alternatives.

Where is the cost coming from?

Any given app will have a software engineer, CX designer, coder, graphic designer and copywriter all working on the app to get it to a point where it is perfect. Each of these professionals is a specialist in their craft, and so their time, experience and unique style don’t always come cheap – and if it did, the market would be flooded with amazing apps. What you are also paying for is rigorous user testing and even focus groups that allow people to interact with your app and give their feedback, which your dedicated design team can take back to the project and re-engineer.

Consider a capital raise

If you are distressed about the price of your app build before you start, then there might be a couple of value adds along the way that you may not be able to afford to deploy, so it’s actually a good idea to add a small buffer to your app build budget. If this doesn’t seem possible for your current business and budget, consider a capital raise so that you can acquire the funds from potential investors and head into the app-building phase with the confidence that you have the funds and you won’t miss out on a single opportunity to produce a better app. Given you are putting together the app business plan anyway, you will have the information required to field meetings with entrepreneurs and fund managers.

Consider an offshore build

Many companies send their app builds offshore for a cheap build, but you must understand that this comes with its own risks, including the quality, communication and the logistics of future revisions after you receive your app. Unfortunately, many businesses have been in a position where they don’t get what they want and are left with an inferior app and a hole in their budget. Only pursue this route if you have had a few referrals that you trust, and can satisfy your requirements in terms of communication and approval stages.

Consider a partnership with a CTO

An app idea with no budget or technical support is just that, an idea. This is why many consider a Cheif Technical Officer (CTO) as their partner in this venture so that they can each be owners and bring respective skills to the table. The best-case scenario is to find an established app designer who is active in the area and sell them on your concept and get their honest feedback on whether your idea has legs, and if they would be interested in championing this app design with half of the glory and revenue offered to them.


As soon as you start engaging app design agencies and learning more about the intricacies that are considered and perfected below the surface – you will start to understand where the expense comes from and just how many professionals are touching this design. Consider these alternatives to expensive app design, but understand that they all come with their own trade-offs. You might also wish to get investigate each alternative option and then review them on their merits.

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About the Author

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.



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