Tips to Plan Your Budget for Mobile App Development

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Posted: September 26, 2018

The budgeting for an app development must take into account several cost variables. These include rates of the hired web application development company, development timelines, app specification, and various odds and ends of an app development. The degree of accuracy in accounting for these variables determines how much bang you get for your buck.

But a cost-effective budget can get as complex and complicated as the project development itself. Top mobile developers reckon there’s no one-size-fits-all template for a cost-effective app development budget, as each app development comes with peculiarities such as utilities and revenue-generating capabilities. Nonetheless, to keep firm tabs on all phases of the app development, it’s crucial to have thorough insights into the variables that constitute the budget. Below are 6 tips for ensuring that your budget is well-knit and cost-effective.

Articulating the App Ideation and Purpose

The app market has grown by leaps and bounds for nearly a decade now, with this year’s projected revenue pegged at $110 billion. However, this fledgling sales performance is taking a toll on the average engagement time of app users. Now more than ever, it’s crucial for your app ideation to cut the mustard and deliver quality and intuitive user experience. 

Your app’s capacity to engage target users makes a huge impact on your budget. Top mobile developers reckon this is one of the most important things that must be well-articulated from the outset in order to increase the chances of whipping up a cost-effective budget. The degree of a budget’s cost-effectiveness depends on how well you define the scope of the app development. 

The app specification documents should be well-articulated. This also helps you minimize the rate at which unplanned elements creep into your app development’s scope at later stages of the development. 

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Choosing Functionalities and Integrations

The brass-tacks of any budget is the costs of labor and materials; functions and integrations constitute the ‘materials’ of an app. To create a cost-effective budget, you must have a carefully crafted list of features and functionalities that bring your app idea to life. 

The cost of integrations depend on the third-party system you source your integrations from. The impact of the UI features on the app development budget depends on the level of complexity of the app development. 

The hardware features which your app development requires in order to operate also creates a significant impact on your app development budget. So, if your app taps into many hardware features of a phone, including the camera, voice recorder, etc., there are going to be cost implications that you should properly account for.  

Choosing Platforms

The decision of the choice of platform might seem like a straight-forward affair. The proportion of your user base that can be reached via each platform should be the primary determinant of the choice of platform. However, there are cost implications to the choice of platforms, and an excellent app development company normally pays close attention to this. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s advisable to stick to one platform for starters, before branching out into other platforms, if possible. It’s never a bad idea to design an app that runs on multiple operating systems, but it can have an impact on the cost-effectiveness of your budget.

You also need to consider the cost implications of the range of devices which your app runs on. Android app developments are usually costlier because of the relatively larger number of devices and screen sizes which Android apps can operate on. You can also promote your budget’s cost-effectiveness by narrowing down the list of devices which your app can run on, based on market research analyses.

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Selecting Pricing Models

Hourly rates and fixed prices all come with their advantages and disadvantages and are more suited to certain app developments than others. A fixed price limits the degree to which you can explore room for improvement in your app development down the line, even though it can help you hire an excellent web and mobile development company on a tighter budget. 

To get around this problem, you can pad the fixed budget (more on this below) in order to prepare for contingencies. But that might result in a budget that’s much bigger than a budget based on an hourly rate pricing model. An hourly rate price model allows for the implementation of well-defined blueprint for the project, and also makes for flexibility in the aspect of the budget that takes care of labor cost, thereby facilitating easy modifications of the app development after the web and mobile development company signs the contract. 

Accounting for Maintenance Costs

An app development is usually a continuous process that goes on beyond the deployment of the app’s first user-ready version. The costs of maintenance and extensions can have a major impact on your app development’s budget. 

The maintenance costs are mostly recurring bills such as periodic payments to third-party service providers, hosting fees, and charges for the integrated payment processors. An excellent app development company ensures that you have a clear understanding of the variables that dictate the maintenance costs. 

Implementing an Efficient Risk Management Plan

A risk management plan pads the initial costs in a budget to make room for wriggle room to deal with unforeseen circumstances which might require close attention in the future. The first thing an excellent web and app development company does in order to construct an effective risk management plan is to define risk items and the potential disruptions that each of them can cause. 

These items include development tests, debugging, the app’s dependencies, etc. It could be tricky to put a finger on the right amount of money to designate for these risk factors. Most top mobile app developers use a fixed percentage of the budget (usually 5%) to cover for the cost which risk items may incur.


There are many top mobile developers who still struggle to come up with a thorough, cost-effective budget. A cost-effective budget isn’t rocket science, but it does require a lot of conscientious rationalization. And it requires close monitoring during its implementation, even if the pricing model is based on fixed rates. However, with the tips outlined above, a web and app development company can create a high-quality app sticking closely to a cost-effective budget. When you’re ready to get started, be sure to contact us and we’ll work with you to make your project a success.

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