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How To Reduce Software Development Costs & Build a Cheaper And Faster App

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Apps have become an essential staple for companies looking to improve their customers’ experience and reach their business goals. These can help companies stay connected to their clients, automate actions and offer broader services. Even though the development of an application may sound alluring, non-IT companies may not know what it takes to build an app from scratch, including the process involved, costs and development times.

In fact, not infrequently after doing some research, they realize that the process is time-consuming and expensive, and often look for alternatives to reduce costs.  Unfortunately, they sometimes decide to adopt magic solutions that seem more attractive, but ultimately result in poor applications that do not meet their needs and they end up wasting money and time.

The good news is that, although the implied budget may seem rather high, there are a few strategies you can implement to reduce costs, reaching your business goals while keeping your expenses at bay.

How much does it cost to develop a mobile app? Main considerations

For people unfamiliar with app development, one of the first questions that typically comes to mind is: Why are development costs so high? The truth is that despite the apparent simplicity of an app, there are several aspects to take into account that can make the development process more or less expensive.

Project scope and requirements

If you are planning to create your own app, you probably already have an idea of what you want it to offer. What functions will it include? Who will use it? What benefits will it offer? These are some questions you need to answer for yourself before contacting a team of developers. They will then analyze the complexity of that idea and what is needed to build it.

Technology stack selection

In development, one size does not fit all. Different functions require different technologies, and developers usually specialize in a specific set of tools. For this reason, one of the first steps to take before starting the development process is for the team to understand your needs, select the right technology stack, and appoint specialized staff for the task.

Team composition and skills

Based on the features of the app, the team will appoint a few developers based on your needs and their skills. Most projects often require at least two developers and a tester, who will check for errors and troubleshoot the app once it is finished.

Project management methodologies

Whether or not you have a development team within your organization will change the way the app is developed. For example, you might have an expert in-house to be your point of contact with freelance developers and manage them. Or you could completely outsource the service, hiring a dedicated agency that will work on your behalf, bringing you only the final results.

App maintenance and update

Once the application is working, you will probably receive feedback from users about errors and opportunities for improvement. In addition, security parameters usually change over time. Therefore, ongoing updates and maintenance are necessary to maintain a high-quality user experience.

How long does it take to create an app? Key points 

Time is money, and reducing processing time will help you maintain a smaller budget. Here are some of the factors that affect an application’s development time.

App size and complexity

The duration of app development largely depends on its size and complexity. A simple app with basic features may take a few months, while a more complex app with advanced functionality could require a year or more. Complexity is not only about functionality, but also about integration with existing systems and databases.

UX/UI design requirements

User experience and UI design are critical to the success of an app. These elements require careful planning, prototyping, and iteration, which can add considerable time to the development process. An app that is visually appealing and easy to navigate may take longer to design, but is essential for user engagement.

Security requirements

Incorporating robust security measures is non-negotiable, especially for apps that handle sensitive data. Ensuring data encryption, secure user authentication, and compliance with privacy laws can be time-consuming, but it is essential to protect users’ information and win their trust. This will help you protect the confidential information of your users and your company. In addition, security guidelines are constantly evolving, so you need to keep up to date even after your application is fully developed. The guidelines are different depending on the industry you are in. For example, healthcare applications must comply with HIPAA guidelines, while fin-tech companies must follow other regulations. Hiring an agency with industry experience will help ensure that these requirements are met.


Thorough testing is essential to ensure that the application is bug-free and user-friendly. This includes unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing. The complexity and number of features of the application will determine the length of the testing phase. As a result, it may be necessary to iterate the development phase to ensure that all functionality works properly.

Duration summary

Here are some estimates of the duration of the different phases of making an app:

Small-sized appMedium-sized appBig-sized app
Scope and requirements1-2 weeks2-3 weeks3-4 weeks
UI/UX design2-3 weeks5-6 weeks9-10 weeks
Testing6-7 weeks14-15 weeks20-22 weeks
Deployment1 week2 weeks3 weeks

Software cost reduction: 5 best strategies

Although the total cost of developing an application is, indeed, quite high, there are some strategies that can be put in place to avoid stretching the budget. Here is how to save on software development costs:

Defining project duration

Clearly defining the project duration in advance can help manage costs effectively. Longer projects often incur higher costs due to extended work hours and additional resources. Establishing a realistic timeline can help in budget allocation and prevent cost overruns.

Using open-source languages

Using open-source programming languages and frameworks can greatly reduce costs. These tools are usually free and supported by large communities, which provide extensive resources and support, reducing development expenses.

Implementing pre-built features

Integrating prebuilt features or templates can save time and money. Rather than building each component from scratch, using existing solutions for common functionality such as login screens or payment gateways can be cost-effective. For example, Fleksy’s virtual keyboard SDK provides all the pieces you need to build your own in-app keyboard with a strong autocorrect and text prediction engine, along with a security-oriented approach and customizable layout and design. Learn what is a virtual keyboard used for and how it can help improve UX.

Outsourcing and hiring globally

Leveraging outsourcing in countries with more affordable labor costs can lead to substantial savings. Moreover, tapping into the global talent pool allows for access to highly skilled developers, often at a more economical rate compared to local recruitment. Specifically, hiring developers from regions like Latin America or Eastern Europe can offer a balance of cost-effectiveness and high-quality service.

Avoiding fixed price

Opting for a flexible pricing model instead of a fixed-price contract can be more cost-effective. This approach allows adjustment based on actual effort and can adapt to changes without significantly raising costs.

8 ways to reduce development time and build an app fast

Developing an app does not happen overnight and could take several weeks, depending on the size and complexity of its functionality. Fortunately, there are some strategies that the development team can implement to reduce time and, consequently, costs.

Adopting Agile Methodologies

Adopting agile methodologies, like Scrum or Kanban, focuses on iterative development, allowing for quicker release of smaller, functional parts of the application. This method greatly shortens development time by centering on high-priority features. Therefore, we highly advocate for engaging an agency that specializes in managing projects using these agile approaches.

Leveraging automation & AI

The use of automation tools and artificial intelligence can speed up the various stages of development, from coding to testing. Automation of repetitive tasks frees up developers’ time for the more complex aspects of the project.

Using third-party APIs and SDKs

Incorporating third-party APIs and SDKs can expedite the development cycle. These ready-made components enable developers to add intricate features without the need for building them from the ground up, thus saving a substantial amount of time. For instance, the Fleksy keyboard offers a time and cost-efficient solution, allowing developers to integrate a custom keyboard effortlessly, bypassing the challenges and intricacies involved in creating a virtual keyboard from scratch.

Testing early

Implementing continuous testing throughout the development process helps identify and fix bugs early, avoiding the delays that occur when problems are discovered at later stages.

Starting with a minimum viable product and beta versions

Initiating with an MVP can accelerate your market entry. This lean version, equipped only with core features, facilitates early user feedback, allowing for rapid improvements and ultimately saving time. Providing a select user group with access to the beta version further aids in collecting real-world feedback for necessary adjustments.

Reviewing past project timelines

Evaluating the timelines of previous, similar projects offers valuable insights into potential challenges and efficiencies, aiding in more effective time management for the current endeavor. Even for those new to application development, consulting with your developer team about their past experiences can be instrumental in mapping out a clear, informed path forward.

Creating Gantt charts

Using Gantt charts for project management helps you visualize timelines, understand task dependencies and identify potential delays, leading to more efficient time management.

Keeping an effective communication

Ongoing communication with the outsourced team will keep you up to date on news and process steps. That way, if there is something that is not going as planned, you can work on it together before getting to the final stages, which would involve extensive rework.

How to save money and time with a virtual keyboard SDK?  

Incorporating a  virtual keyboard SDK into app development can be a budget-friendly approach. These SDKs come packed with various customizable keyboard functionalities that can be seamlessly integrated into your app. This approach saves the time and effort needed to build a keyboard from the ground up. Key virtual keyboard benefits include:

  • Strong autocorrect and text prediction engines
  • Customizable layout and design
  • A security-first approach to ensure privacy compliance
  • Multi-device compatibility
  • Enhanced accessibility

Case Studies: Fleksy’s applications

Fleksy’s innovative technology is utilized in numerous prominent products within the keyboard sector, thanks to our white-labeled keyboard SDKs. Fleksy offers support across various industries, including healthcare, cybersecurity, banking, and many others.

Our solutions enable businesses to minimize development time and costs, allowing them to concentrate on their primary competencies. This approach has proven beneficial for companies like Social Keyboard, created by former Apple and Facebook employee, and Ksana Health from the University of Oregon’s Center for Digital Mental Health. Here’s what the Co-Founders of Social Keyboard says about his experience with Fleksy:

Before Fleksy, we spent months integrating other third-party solutions or developing our own. Fleksy provided the foundation we needed, allowing us to concentrate on creating and promoting the unique features of our product.

Final thoughts

App development is a significant investment in terms of time and resources, but with the right strategies it is possible to optimize both. From adopting agile methodologies to leveraging third-party APIs, there are numerous ways to build an app faster and cheaper. Remember that the goal is not only to save time and money, but also to deliver a high-quality app that meets the needs of your users.


What are the direct costs of software development?

Direct costs include expenses such as developer salaries, software licenses, hardware, and any outsourcing costs. They are generally simple to calculate and have a direct impact on the project budget, whether the team is in-house or outsourced.

How can we reduce dev cost?

Some of the main strategies a development team can implement to reduce costs are to reuse existing code, APIs, and SDKs. Creating one’s own virtual keyboard, for example, involves a myriad of resources and development time that can be easily reduced by “buying” a pre-built version to adapt to the needs of one’s users.

What is concerned with cost-effective software development?

Cost-effective software development focuses on optimizing resources and budget without compromising software quality and functionality. It involves strategic planning, effective resource management, and intelligent decision-making. Magic solutions usually offer perfect software at a low price, which results in poor results or even cheating.

What is a proven cost-effective approach to improving software development?

Agile methodologies are a cost-effective approach. They allow flexibility, continuous feedback, and iterative development, resulting in more efficient use of resources and time. 

How can software programs help manage project costs?

Project management software programs can provide real-time information on budget allocation, resource utilization and progress monitoring, helping to make informed decisions to manage costs effectively.

How to measure ROI of cost reduction strategies?

Measuring ROI involves comparing the cost savings from these strategies to the initial investment and the overall value brought to the project. This includes assessing the impact on development time, quality of the final product, and any long-term savings in maintenance and upgrades.

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