6 ways to reduce web app development costs

10 min read
January 29, 2024

5.3 billion or 66% – that’s the number of people who use the internet globally.

And to use it they need a web browser – so that’s a huge number of people you can potentially reach with your web app.

So, if you have a great idea, getting in on the action and developing your own web app sounds like a no-brainer.

But, the costs of web app development can be a common problem – that’s why we’ll now discuss 6 ways you can reduce your web app development costs.

Let’s go!

How much does web app development cost?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer on how much your web app’s development will cost.

Each app is unique, and costs vary considerably, depending on a number of factors like:

  • Web app type
  • Design complexity
  • The team building the app
  • Updates and maintenance

But, on average, here’s a breakdown of how much developing a web app usually costs:

  • Simple apps – $20,000-$50,000
  • Medium-complexity apps – $50,000-$90,000
  • Complex apps – $100,000+

Mind you, these are just broad ranges – and these figures don’t include other services like product discovery or UX writing.

Luckily, there are ways you can reduce these costs.

6 ways to reduce web app development costs

Set clear goals and requirements

Clear goals and requirements are at the heart of every successful web app development cycle.

The stats prove it, too – according to the Project Management Institute, 37% of projects fail because of unclear goals and milestones.


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That’s why clear goals and requirements are so important.

So, how do you set clear goals and requirements? And how can they cut your web app’s development costs?

A good framework to use when setting goals is the SMART goals framework:

SMART goals

The goals you set will guide your development process and help keep it focused and on track.

But, just as important as your goals is your software requirements specification (SRS) document.

Think of your SRS as a blueprint that guides your development process.

It covers your app’s functional and non-functional requirements – that means they cover what your web app needs to work properly and meet your users’ needs.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of both:

Functional vs non-functional requirements

Together, your goals and requirements are the basis for:

  • The project scope
  • Your project roadmap
  • Your app’s development timeline

That’s why they need to be clear and easy to understand – they’ll help you build your web app faster and keep your development focused.

And that’s one of the best ways to reduce web app development costs.

Key tips

  • Set SMART goals – use the SMART goals framework to set focused and realistic goals for your web app’s development
  • Write a clear and concise SRS document – your SRS document should be written in simple and clear language to avoid confusion down the line
  • Regularly review your goals – make sure you review and change your goals on a regular basis to keep up with any changes made during development

Use open-source tools and frameworks

Using open-source tools and frameworks to build your app is a great way to cut web app development costs.

They’re freely available and often have strong communities behind them that maintain and update them.

And according to the Linux Foundation, if you use open-source software, you can cut your development costs by up to 55%.

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But that’s not all.

Some of the most popular web app development tools and frameworks are open-source, like:

And there’s another good reason why they’re so popular.

With open-source tools, you will avoid vendor lock-in i.e. not being able to switch vendors because of high costs.

In other words, you won’t depend on a single, costly vendor when developing your web app.

And that’s why open-source is the way to go.

Key tips

  • Choose tools with strong community support – tools and frameworks with a strong community behind them will be easier to troubleshoot and are more viable in the long-term
  • Regularly check for security updates – you should regularly check for security updates and fixes for every open-source tool you use
  • Understand the licensing terms – every tool and framework will have different licensing terms, make sure you comply with them to avoid legal issues

Choose the right tech stack

Choosing the right tech stack is another way you can reduce costs when developing a web app.

If you make the right choice, you will be able to develop your app faster and save money while doing it.

But, what is a tech stack, anyway?

A tech stack refers to a set of technologies used to develop your web app.

Here’s what a typical web app tech stack looks like:

Web app tech stack

In simple terms, a tech stack is the toolkit your engineers will use to build your app.

And you want them to have the right tools for the job.

But, how can that reduce costs?

One way is to pick tools and frameworks that support faster development.

For example, if they use Django (back-end) and React (front-end), your team will be able to build your app faster.

Django UI

But, make sure you pick tools, frameworks, and languages your team is most familiar with.

That’s another way you can speed up your web app’s development and cut costs.

And that’s why choosing the right tech stack is so important.

Key tips

  • Focus on compatibility – your tech stack should seamlessly integrate with your existing tools and systems
  • Prioritize fast development – use tools/frameworks that support fast development like Django (back-end) or React (front-end) in your tech stack 
  • Consider long-term costs – calculate the total cost of your tech stack, from initial development to long-term maintenance before fully committing to it

Hire a dedicated team

Hiring a talented engineering team to develop your web app can get expensive quickly.

According to Indeed, the average salary of a web developer in the United States is around $81,000 per year.

That’s just the average – your team will also have senior engineers who earn significantly more.

And that’s without counting onboarding costs – a SHRM report estimates that the average onboarding cost is $4100 per new hire.

Onboarding costs

Now, imagine paying that for a full in-house engineering team – those costs add up quickly.

That’s why hiring a dedicated team to build your web app is the best option.

Dedicated team

But, what is a dedicated team, anyway?

It’s a team of engineers who handle your web app’s development from start to finish – and it works just like an in-house team.

The only difference is that it’s formed by a third-party agency or service provider.

A dedicated team is a much safer option than hiring a bunch of freelancers, and it’s less expensive than hiring and onboarding a full in-house team.

And that’s why it’s a great option to reduce web app development costs without sacrificing quality.

Key tips

  • Set clear timelines and deliverables – make sure you clearly communicate the timeline and deliverables you expect
  • Ask about long-term support – check if the company you’re partnering with can maintain and update your web app after launch
  • Regularly review their work – you should regularly review and give feedback on their work to keep your app’s development on track

Prioritize developing an MVP

Developing a minimum viable product (MVP) for your web app is a great way to reduce your web app development costs.

But, how does it reduce your development costs?

An MVP is a bare-bones version of your app, and it includes only its essential features.

And this means you can get your app on the market quickly and start generating revenue.

MVP development approach

Also, an MVP is the ultimate idea validation tool.

You can use it to see if there’s a real demand for your app on the market.

And that’s a much more cost-effective approach compared to committing to full development before launching your web app.

Building an MVP first can save you a lot of time and money if your initial idea isn’t validated and you need to pivot.

And that’s why you should do it.

Key tips

  • Do market research first – research your target audience to understand your users’ needs before you start building your MVP
  • Prioritize core features – focus on building the essential features your web app needs to function properly
  • Create a feedback loop – you should continuously gather feedback from your users and iterate on your MVP based on that feedback

Regularly test your web app

If you’re worried about the long-term costs of developing a web app, regular testing is a great way to lower costs in the long run.

But, you need to do it from the start.

With regular testing and rigorous quality assurance (QA) you can prevent major problems when developing your app. 

Catching and fixing bugs early will prevent long and costly fixes later on in your development cycle.

That can save you a lot of money.

And, that’s just one benefit of regular testing:

Benefits of software testing

In short, if you regularly test your web app you’ll build a better and safer product.

And that can reduce your costs, too.

A high-quality, secure web app will be easier (and cheaper) to maintain and won’t be at risk of expensive security breaches.

That’s why investing in regular testing is so important.

Key tips

  • Test across different devices – make sure your web app seamlessly works on different devices, screen sizes, and operating systems
  • Start testing early – catching and fixing bugs early in your app’s development cycle means they’ll be cheaper and easier to solve
  • Don’t neglect security testing – regular security tests are crucial if you want to protect against vulnerabilities and prevent costly data breaches

6 ways to reduce web app development costs: FAQs

How much does web app development cost?

On average, here’s how much developing a web app costs:

  • Simple apps – $20,000-$50,000
  • Medium-complexity apps – $50,000-$90,000
  • Complex apps – $100,000+

How can I reduce the cost of web app development?

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Set clear goals and requirements
  • Choose the right tech stack
  • Use open-source tools and frameworks
  • Hire a dedicated team
  • Prioritize developing an MVP
  • Regularly test your web app

Can hiring a dedicated team really reduce web app development costs?

Yes, hiring a dedicated team is cheaper than hiring a full in-house team and more reliable than hiring freelancers – you just need to find the right company to partner with.

Need help developing your web app?

Are you thinking about building a web app for your business but don’t know where to start?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

We can help you bring your idea to life and build a web app that will resonate with your users.

If you want to learn more, feel free to get in touch with us, and let’s make that happen!

Written by

Tarek Saghir

JS Team Lead

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