Nov 17, 2020 Written by goji

How to Find Affordable App Development in Los Angeles

A landscape of los angeles

As anyone who’s built an app can tell you, it’s expensive, and unless you can find affordable app development in Los Angeles, your project could be over before it starts.

After you pay for all the consultation, development, and testing, there are overhead costs for marketing and maintenance.

It kinda feels like the choice is between quality and affordability, doesn’t it?

Thankfully, we have some tips to help you find a Los Angeles-based developer with affordable services, so you can launch your app without breaking the bank. Time is money, and in this case, saving money means spending a little extra time, but the results are worth it.

Be Prepared to Spend More Up Front

A laptop sitting on a deskIf you want to build an app that can handle lots of traffic without glitching out, you should have a budget of around $10,000 ready to spend. Does that number scare you? Don’t panic!

With the right planning and execution, you may end up spending far less, but it’s important to know the facts before starting any work on your app.

Quality apps are expensive, sure, but they only need to be built once. Some people think they can launch a barebones product and come back to it once it gains popularity, but that approach ends up costing a lot more—and only if it works.

Your app is a way for you to connect with customers, so you should prioritize the same kind of quality they associate with your brand. Cutting corners doesn’t create a decent product, and it could end up driving your customers to competitors who made something better.

Do it right the first time, and you’ll be happy with the dividends.

Pay for Professional Ability

Working with a team of experienced app developers at, say, a design studio, can carry a high price tag. Some people try to get around this by assembling their own team of freelancers to do the same thing, and yes, it does save them money upfront.

But there’s another cost.

Many freelancers lack experience, leading to mistakes that can have consequences down the road. The freelancers that do have experience charge a lot more—comparable to what you’d pay with a design studio.

In some cases, people hire developers who work on opposite sides of the globe, resulting in major delays should any setbacks require a conversation. There are even differences in code standards that can create problems down the road for other developers.

When you choose freelancers, you become the project manager and are responsible for establishing timelines, expectations, and quality assurance. All the liability rests on you if there are problems with the project. Can it be done? Sure, but it’s a lot of work.

Plus, you still have to hire a team of different specialists, each of whom charges an hourly rate, rather than a project rate like you’d get with a design studio. If the app ends up needing more work, you could end up spending more than you budgeted for.

By working with a cohesive team of professionals, testing can be performed concurrently as new features continue to roll out. This saves time and money by fixing bugs right as they happen, rather than a few weeks down the road when a freelancer detects them.

Don’t Worry about Customization

A woman staring at a monitorBuilding your own custom app shouldn’t mean decking it out with crazy designs and features. While rich customization may seem exciting early on, it comes with high costs, and it may not appeal to you for long.

Once your app is launched, making changes is no longer practical, so all that customization you paid for ends up stuck until you pay extra to perform them.

Opt for a simple design—maybe even something from a template—that includes minimal bells and whistles.

Not only will this save you money on your app, but it also creates a better product. Instead of a confusing maze of commands that takes forever to load, you will have a streamlined product that attacks a specific need for your customers.

Building an affordable app in Los Angeles means getting creative. You will have to find elegant ways to solve your problems, preferably using solutions that already exist and can be easily incorporated into your app.

Use Other Peoples’ Software Whenever Possible

One way to utilize existing software is through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs). These little miracles communicate with other software so users can enjoy those benefits without having to leave your app.

Have you ever checked your stocks on a banking app? Chances are the app used a stock tracker API.

There are countless APIs out there, all developed as a way to get products in front of more eyeballs. Those companies are happy to share their software with you as a way to gain more users themselves.

It’s a win-win.

Sacrifice Customization for Adaptability

A woman in front of three computer monitorsThese days, apps are displayed on a variety of screens. In the old days, programmers would write code for all types of displays, but today, responsive design allows your app to change sizes depending on where it’s being seen. Not only does it work better, but it also costs less to build.

No, you won’t have as much customization with responsive design. Keeping your costs down means going with one basic design that will appear more or less the same way no matter who’s looking at it, but your customers will be glad you did.

Limit User Options

In software, every single detail has to be built. The fewer commands your app developer has to code, the less money you’ll have to spend in development.

Your app should be as straightforward as possible, so cut out all the custom features and extra options. And push notifications?

Let them go.

They cost a ton to maintain, and most people don’t want them anyway.

When developing your app, remember that less is more. Design works better with negative space. The most visually appealing apps have plenty of room in the margins, behind icons, and throughout the app.

Not only does this make navigation easier, but your app will load faster, improving bounce rate and ensuring that users keep coming back.

Plan Out Everything You Can

A black keyboard with blue lightWorking with a team of developers is expensive, as every hour they spend on your project costs that much more. One of the biggest wastes of money is brainstorming app functionality with your developer. It’s not their job!

Even if your developer has great ideas to share with you, they cost far more on their hourly rate than as a cursory suggestion to a well thought out plan. If you want to save money on your app, plan everything you can before you meet with a developer.

Start with a Template

Having a great idea for an app is just the beginning of getting it across the finish line. Sure, you know what you would like to see, but will it work for your customers? Will it be easy to navigate? Does it require new technology? Did someone else already do it better?

Unless you ask these questions long before working with a developer, you could end up spending thousands of dollars only to discover that your app isn’t viable.

Why not draw out some ideas? Search for apps you like or that perform a function similar to your idea, and identify what they do well. Millions of dollars are spent researching what users like and don’t like, so when you find an app that works, learn everything you can. Don’t be afraid to steal.

You can start designing a wireframe template like one of these to get an idea of how to organize your app. Sometimes you just need to see what your design looks like before realizing how it needs to change, and it doesn’t cost you a cent.

Flesh out your idea as much as you can before talking to your web developer. When it’s time to interview a team for your design, ask them about the viability of your design before paying for their services.

In this case, it might be useful to consult with a freelance UX/UI designer. Pay them for an hour or two of their time to go over your app and provide you with feedback. Conversations like these work great for generating ideas.  

Keep Changes to a Minimum

If you’ve planned your app out properly, you shouldn’t have to make any changes while it’s built. Some fixes are no big deal, like swapping out a color or an image, but others can take weeks to alter. You will lose a lot of money on changes if you make them too late in the game.

Cut down on headaches for you and your developer by sticking to a plan and seeing it through.

Ready to learn more about affordable app development in LA?
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