How to Outsource MVP of Your Mobile App Under $20k? A Comprehensive Guide for Low-Budget Entrepreneurs

Who should read this blog:

Entrepreneurs – Who wants to build an MVP mobile app for their startup ideas within a predefined, strict budget.

Nowadays, mobile apps are one of the most common products built by entrepreneurs as well as all kinds of businesses. But many times, entrepreneurs often come up with a mobile app idea that requires a big budget to get it developed. And after discussing their idea with a couple of app development agencies, most entrepreneurs usually get shocked when they learn how expensive it can be to get their mobile app idea fully developed.

Therefore, we’ve written this blog to help every low-budget entrepreneur who has a strict budget of $20K and wants to build an MVP mobile app for their idea.

An Overview of What is MVP Mobile App

If you’ve ever heard about Lean Startup then you might already be familiar with the term – MVP (Minimal Viable Product), but in case if you are not familiar with Lean Startup, then you might have a question – what is an mvp.

MVP mobile app is a ‘light’ version of your app idea that can be developed inexpensively.

MVP is used to describe the smallest iterations of your mobile app idea to test the fundamental theories about it. Or, in simple terms, it helps Entrepreneurs to validate their mobile app idea by building only necessary features first and test it out in the market with real customers.

At Space-O, being a reputed Android and iPhone app development company, we put the ‘Valuable Concept’ of your mobile app idea in the MVP version of your mobile app to identify the core values that your app is offering and map out the app necessities to communicate that value to your early stage customers who will pay for it.

This approach is not only inexpensive, but it also allows to build a ‘Finished’ product/app that is designed specifically for early adopters. And once you get positive feedback, you can always seek to fund from investors, add more features, and expand your user-base.

Now, there are a number of other benefits of building MVP app first, and most of you might already be aware of them. But apart from all those benefits, building MVP mobile app first has always proven to be a definite perk, especially for low-budget entrepreneurs who self-finance the development cost. This brings us to the main part of this blog, which is…

How to Build MVP Mobile App of Your Startup Idea Under $20K?

Before we get to the point, remember that the ability to build MVP mobile app under $20K requires a lot of understanding and experience of the mobile app development process and pivoting at several steps. And here are the thoughtful and deliberate choices that we suggest you take.

  1. Create a Priority Feature List

    Before contacting a mobile app development company, you must write a detailed feature list of your MVP mobile app. At this stage, you don’t really need to worry about whether your list sounds technical or not because that’s not the point of creating this list.

    All you need to do is write down the basic features list that provides the core functionality of your mobile app idea. This approach will help in a great way for trimming down the app development costs under $20K.

    Below is the grocery ordering app example of how your feature-list should look like:

    • User should be able to signup with both registration page and through social networks.
    • User should be able to see all the products that my grocery store offers, including out-of-stock items which user can request specially for the extra charge.
    • User should have the filter and sorting options in the main product list page.
    • User should have ‘get notified when available’ feature for all out-of-stock products.

    After you write down your feature list, you can reach out an mvp app development company to get the cost estimation. If they estimate your app under $20K, Great! Go with all features. But if the estimation is higher than your budget, try to cut down some features if possible.

    Suppose you’re building a taxi app like Uber and you’re integrating chat functionality to make communication between drivers and passengers transparent. But in reality, there is really no need to add that chat functionality. Instead, you can send a text message to both parties mentioning each other’s contact number so that they can directly communicate through a phone call, just like Uber.

  2. Keep The UI and UX design of Your MVP Mobile App Under $4K

    One of the most crucial aspects of cost control is the money spent on UI & UX design of your MVP mobile application. Now, it goes without saying that you can’t determine your mobile app design cost based on your features list.

    For that, you’ll have to create wireframes to visualize your exact needs and look and feel of your app. And if you have a clear vision of your app user experience should be, then it creates wireframes yourself to keep the cost down. To create wireframes all by yourself, you can use tools like or Balsamiq. It will take only a couple of hours to learn these tools through their tutorials given on their website blogs.

    However, in any case, if you cannot create wireframes by yourself, then you can also simply draw a sketch on a sheet of paper that can visualize your needs to mobile app developers. Just make sure that your wireframes are detailed enough so that the app developers can provide the accurate cost of your MVP mobile app.

  3. Find Out: On Which Platform Most of Your Early Stage Customers Are, And Build For Only That One Platform

    One of the most difficult challenges faced by most Entrepreneurs is figuring out how to gain traction with the early stage customers.

    More importantly, where to find them?

    What’s the best way to attract attention on a low-budget?

    Inevitably, these are the most common, yet challenging questions just about every entrepreneur asks.

    Now, to find out on which platform most of your early stage customers are on, you need to first know where are they located?

    If your early stage customers are outside of U.S., Europe, or Australia, then Android should be the right choice, as Android dominates the sales volumes in Asia, South America, and Africa.

    Now, since you’re on a strict budget, you want to build MVP mobile app for only one platform. We’ve been approached by lots of Entrepreneurs with the mindset that they can’t become successful unless they build an app for Android and iOS platform. But in reality, that’s not true.

    Remember Snapchat and Instagram?

    Both of these apps were launched on iOS platform only. And after only one year, they ended up being billion-dollar startups today. What they did is simple – they build their product on a single platform (iOS), validated their idea, and eventually created an app for Android after getting a positive market response.

    Moreover, starting with only one platform will help you cut down the cost to build MVP mobile app significantly.

    Once you launch your app on one platform, you will soon start getting valuable feedback from your early stage customers. And if your app becomes a hit, you’ll automatically know that it’s working with iOS customers and it will then be possible to replicate it on the Android platform.

    Also Read: How to Convert iOS App to Android App?

    On the other hand, if unfortunately, the iOS version does not work out very well, you’ll still have an insight why your idea did not work out. Furthermore, you’ll be then able to make changes accordingly and meet your customers’ expectations.

  4. If Your MVP Mobile App Needs a Backend, Use Cloud-Based Backend

    Nowadays, we rarely see a mobile app that works on a local database only. And if your MVP mobile app idea requires a backend to provide its functionalities, using a cloud-based backend like Amazon AWS, Backendless, or Azure will help you trim down overall mobile app development cost.

    All above-mentioned backend service providers offer databases, SDKs, APIs, and Integration that is used for building backend of your mobile app. In addition, all these backend service providers offer push notification design features that can be useful to add marketing functionalities.

    Not only that but these service providers also offer a free plan where initial fixed amount of storage and usage is free with features to send email or text message. Additionally, they also provide default admin panel to check and update the database. Take, Amazon AWS, for example. It offers first 12 months free following signup and other products that never expire.


  5. Partner With a Mobile App Development Company

    Some entrepreneurs hire full-time, in-house mobile app developers to get all work done onshore, which makes developing an MVP mobile app under $20K budget nearly impossible.

    A better option, instead, is to use companies that provide mobile app development services globally. Such companies have resources onshore and offshore and can also give the best quality mobile app for the limited budget.

    Space-O Technologies, for example, is already been well-established in India, U.S., Russia, as well as Canada. Moreover, by partnering with a mobile application development company, you’ll not have to interact with developers, designers, and QAs individually. You always just have to talk to the Project Manager who provides with all your app updates. And as a result, it keeps the communication easier between you and your hired mobile app development team.


    All in all, entrepreneurs need to rethink what exactly it means to build MVP mobile app for your startup idea in a limited budget. Of course there are other, different ways to build your MVP under $20K, but if you’re still getting cost estimation above $20K or your predefined budget, you can share your requirements with us. We can find various alternatives with experimentation and iteration to find you what works best in your limited budget.

    Just fill out the below form and drop us a line.

Author Bio
Bhaval Patel
Bhaval Patel
Designation: Director (Operations)

Bhaval Patel is the Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has over 20 years of experience in business management and sales. He has expertise in taxi booking app solutions and on-demand applications. Under his guidance, Space-O has developed 50+ Uber-like taxi apps on both iOS and Android platforms.