App build / 7 min read

Are you planning to build a member focused app?

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By Graham / February 10, 2023

Building a member-focused app in-house or outsource - pros and cons

So, your membership organisation needs an app. What are the options available?

  1. Build it in-house
  2. Outsource the build
  3. Out-of-the-box platform app
  4. Customised modular app

1. Building an app yourself

If the app is central to your business success it makes sense to build it in-house. It is a capital investment and your business plan will need to include not only the cost of the build, but also the development team to support, upgrade and maintain it.

But … developers have holidays, get sick and leave their jobs (frequently) - so you need a minimum viable team to even start.

Don’t forget that they also tend to specialise in either Android or iOS so you will need at least two developers. Read more here 'How much does it cost to build a mobile app'.

App developers are in very high demand and command premium rates. Assuming you are lucky enough to find and hire the ones you want you will pay from £50,000 to £100,000 each. Add overheads, recruitment, licences, and technical infrastructure and your starter costs are from £200,000 a year.

In-house apps require a hefty capital budget year-on-year



2. Outsourcing your app build

It's hard to find a development house that suits you and if you have never used them before its always a gamble.

But you can negotiate a fixed-price contract and are much more likely to get your app for the budget you planned close to a timescale you set. If the app does not meet expectations you have leverage by withholding payment. 

Just be aware once they have completed their job and been paid they will want to move on.

An app is like a baby - it cannot be expected to be left to sit quietly in a corner - it misbehaves, screams and needs constant attention. You will need to find someone to support, maintain and upgrade it.

Go shopping for a ready-made app



3. Out-of-the-box platform solution

If you work in a sector where companies have similar business models (like accountancy, law, or HR), it's likely there will be software houses who have ready-built platform solutions offering out-of-the-box apps in return for a licence fee.

You can apply some basic branding, add your content and you are good to go.

Your app is live for as long as you pay your licence fee and there is nothing to worry about because the platform owners keep it up-to-date with iOS and Android upgrades.



4. Custom-built modular apps

We at Reptile thought about all the pros and cons above and decided the best solution for customers is to have all the flexibility of a custom-build with all the economic advantages of a platform app.

Here's what you get:

An efficient build using modular components - think pre-fabricated panels. You bolt them together however you want them, but its much more efficient than building brick by brick.

And because we don’t just build any app - we specialise in apps for Membership organisations - we can share components, functions and improvements between projects. You don't just get what you want - you learn what is working for others as well.

Let’s build something amazing together!

Custom-built modular apps

About Reptile

Reptile is the perfect app design, testing and publishing platform and a leader in the no-code movement.

There are no limits on your creativity. Our powerful no-code platform Reptile with drag-and-drop widgets, custom fonts and CSS you can visualise any app, build, and publish it - without needing your own app developers.

We’ve built many apps that we’re proud of, and if you are interested, here is a link to a few of our recent achievements we’d like to share with you.

Design beautiful apps with us – call us on (+44) 207 183 3690 or send us an email


Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Photo by Jasper Garratt on Unsplash


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