Whenever we invest our money and efforts in something, we make sure to cover all the aspects related to that particular investment. So, why not think about the hidden cost of mobile app development before you invest thousands of dollars?
But there are a few things that skip from our minds and later on cause major/ minor problems. It’s like going on a vacation with full preparation but forgetting something relevant at home.
It goes the same with the app development process. You might have estimated the overall budget but missed anticipating some unseen expenses which may create trouble in future proceedings.
To eliminate the surprise attack of concealed app development expenses, you need to understand how much an app costs first.
What is the Cost to Develop an App?
App costs are largely determined by the hourly rates of developers, which vary depending on different locations. For example: building an app in India is 5 times less expensive compared to the USA.
Other than hourly rates there are additional factors like project size, UX and UI Design, features, etc. that affect the app development expenses.
In the app-building world, it is natural to expect surprising outlays that may occur in the later stages of the process. To eliminate those factors let’s focus on the hidden cost of mobile app development that you need to add up to your final budget.
Types of Hidden Cost of Mobile App Development
For our ease, let’s categorize the hidden cost of mobile app development into four categories:
- Functional costs
- Administrative costs
- Infrastructure costs
- IT support costs
- Mid-project change
Let’s discuss the above-mentioned parameters one-by-one
1. Functional/Third-Party Costs
Third-party expenses or functional costs are service-based integration which is done to make the particular functionality work. There may be some mechanism you need to include in your app that requires a subscription.
There are endless numbers of such integrations that may cause hundreds of dollars. The following are some examples of the cost of the third-party service:
- OTP Notifications
- Push Notification
- Social Media Integration
If you are just getting started with your app idea, we recommend you read this guide on how to build an app prototype.
2. Administrative Costs
Administrative services are those that provide you with updated data on your end user. Such costs are hard to predict but these expenses are proportional to the type of application you are building.
Costs like these add up, and you’ll have to pay them regularly. An example of such a paid administrative service is:
- Content management tools
- Dashboard emulators
- Functional services management
- Dynamic updates
- Analytics/event collectors
- Access controls
- Data segmentation
3. Infrastructure Costs
Hosting, data storage, and data delivery costs are included in infrastructure costs. In addition to redundancy, backup and security servers require load balancers. As a result, a project becomes both more expensive and more complicated.
Here are some examples of infrastructure costs:
- Content delivery networks
- Data storage
- Image data
4. IT Support Costs
Maintaining any app requires continuous technical support. You can’t make a high-quality app without IT support. In the long run, mobile application costs may increase.
The following are examples of IT support services:
- App update submissions
- iOS and Android updates
- API Maintenance
- Bug fixing
Are we talking about IT support here? Let’s not forget the cost of tools required for smooth app functioning. Tools like AWS, Stripe, Mixpanel, etc. But if you are working with Applify, you don’t need to worry about these! As we can help you get up to $200K of credits and discounts from such top platforms for free, subject to your eligibility! To know more, get in touch.
The above mentioned costs are those expenses that will occur during the time of development. Now let’s understand what types of hidden costs of mobile app development are associated with launch.
5. Mid-Project Changes
Changing the project scope or addition of new functionality in the middle of the development process can add extra expense to your wallet.
During the start of the development process, you might have a different perspective but later on, you may need extra features in your app. Such initiatives can cause overlapping of work and as a result, there will be more hourly rate charges.
If your scope is not clear, experts will always advise you to start with a minimum viable product or MVP.
When building a market-fit product you can identify your idea with the end users first and then add extra features based on the requirements.
Hidden Cost of Deploying a Mobile App
Now you know what expenses you need to cover during the development part. Let’s explore the various aspects of deployment cost.
Once your app is ready to be deployed there might be some extra cash you need to spend and consider it in your overall budget. Here are the factors associated with the hidden cost of mobile app development while deploying it on various platforms.
- Publishing the apps in the app stores
- Software licenses
- Hosting and servers
Let’s discuss each of the above-hidden factors one by one
1. Publishing the Apps in the App Stores
While creating any app the developers make sure to follow the set of rules and instructions set by the Google and Apple app store. Publishing the app will not cost you much, as the Google Play store charges $25 for the lifetime whereas Apple’s app store will cost you approximately $100 a year.
For $299 a year, you can join the Apple Developer Enterprise Program and distribute your app via the App Store exclusively within your organization, although this service is free on Google Play.
If your app offers products or provides in-app purchases or subscriptions, the Google Play Store charges a 15% to 30% transaction fee.
Additionally, you’ll need to go through an approval process before your app appears in the app store. This procedure can be time-consuming.
In other words, if you don’t meet the platform’s rules or requirements, your app won’t be accepted. This can lead to your mobile app developer putting more effort into making the required changes, hence the cost can increase.
When your app is finally live on the app store. The next step is to increase its reach among your target audience. Marketing includes all those activities that will help you to stand out from the competition. But it will cost you a lot of money.
Basic PR support will cost you about $1,000 – $2,000. Other than that, there is ASO (App Store Optimization) which will help you to generate traffic organically.
However, you might require some additional support from experts to market your app on social media platforms and engage in other marketing activities.
Operating systems like Android and iOS keep on releasing new updates in order to improve the user experience and security. So it is important to match those updates by updating your app accordingly.
For example, Apple launched a new iOS 16 version and on top of that in their latest iPhone model 14 pro they have provided an amazing notch feature called “Dynamic Island”.
If your app is updated according to the latest OS versions you can integrate some cool features and improve your app’s user experience.
On the other hand, if your app fails or crashes due to the latest OS update that might break the app breakdown cost.
Many development companies provide maintenance and support services and some don’t. So before you sign the final deal. Make sure your support team provides you with this solution.
4. App Security
App security includes tons of monitoring and code reviews. Consider it as a continuous process or a long-run process.
App security plays a key role for your end user. It builds trust with your audience and provides them a sense of relief that their data and information are safe with you. However, this will cost a lot of money, again depending on the hourly rate of your development team.
Note: You must also stay compliant with any applicable laws when building your app.
5. Hosting and Servers
After your app has been developed, you will need a place to store and process its data. App development also involves this cost. Servers typically store all data (photos, videos, locations, etc.). Servers run software to handle requests and return a response.
Cloud services are the best way to store all the necessary data for an app. You can use AWS or other cloud services.
6. Software Licenses
SDKs and libraries may be needed when developing a mobile application. They are mostly free and open-source. Some, however, charge for the limited free version or offer paid upgrades.
Most businesses prefer to use paid or pre-built solutions as they save time and money. Nonetheless, you should consult with app development experts before making any decisions.
If your project scope is not clear, prototype app development is the right thing to do!
Ways to Prevent Hidden Cost of Mobile App Development
Before we brief you about the prevention methods make sure to add all those hidden cost factors while creating the final estimate of your app.
Or if you haven’t done it yet, check out our mobile app cost calculator to get an approximate idea of the amount you will be spending on your digital product development. But before you leave, don’t forget to check out these prevention methods to save money in your app development process.
1. Finalize Scope of Work
Imagine a building is made using any blueprint or proper planning. There are higher chances that the building won’t solve its real purpose and might cause inconvenience in the future.
Similarly, whenever you start visualizing your app idea, make sure your app is solving a certain problem even in the long run. Plan everything in advance and be prepared at every stage from designing to deploying.
Brainstorm first and finalize the scope of work. This will help you to define the purpose of your product and will save you from spending extra on rebuilding your concept from scratch.
2. Choosing the Technology Stack
Shifting from one technology to another is a costly affair. It’s better to make this decision wisely by consulting with experts in the industry.
Rather choosing a technology that can be cost-effective at the moment, but not scalable in the future, maybe the wrong decision for your digital product. So, we always recommend choosing the right technology based on your project requirements and scalability scope in the future.
Suppose you want to skip consulting with experts. In that case, hybrid app development technologies like React Native or Flutter are flexible, reliable, and scalable as they are backed up by industry leaders Facebook and Google.
3. Be Careful not to Rely too Heavily on Third-Party Tools
Building solutions on third-party apps can be useful, but these solutions are not that flexible. Make sure to avoid building core applications on these platforms.
It is possible for the costs of using a given 3rd-party platform to increase dramatically at some point during the growth of an application. If you scale up, you may discover that a specific solution is no longer cost-effective.
The major factor your app cost depends upon is the type of idea you have. From development to deploying everything revolves around the complexity of features, the quality of experience you want to provide to the end users, and of course experience of your developers, as it is directly associated with their hourly rate.
Make sure to consider all the given information while developing your app.