It’s the passion for their dreams that encourage entrepreneurs to keep moving forward. It’s their hunger for building a groundbreaking product that inspires them to think outside the box. And it’s their vision of pushing the community forward that empowers them to innovate relentlessly.
Technology has offered limitless scaling possibilities to the ones with the right vision and support. If you end up with a wrong development company — outsourcing your app development could become an expensive, slow and tiring process.
And that’s not all.
One of the major factors that entrepreneurs find troublesome is the hidden charges in app development.
The development cost of a single app platform could vary anywhere between $10,000 to $1,00,000; in some cases, it may go up as high as $50,00,000. And when it comes to the time - the development can take anywhere between half a year to more than a year to complete.
However, that cost is just the tip of the iceberg.
The lifecycle of the app consists of 3 major elements:
While most entrepreneurs fixate on the development bit alone while budgeting for their app, it’s the cost of the latter two phases that wrecks their entire budget later on!
If you wish to save your money from going down the drain - you need to understand how apps are built, deployed and maintained.
Also, you need to know what is the relative cost for the aforementioned procedures!
So, here are some hidden costs that you would want to be mindful of, while budgeting for your app development.
Key Categories Of Hidden Costs:
The functional costs are generally the implementation costs of an app’s functionality.
Because making functionality in an application work is not a straightforward process - you need distribution mechanisms for them to work. And to get those, you might need to subscribe to a number of service providers that offer the mechanisms for your desired functionalities.
To integrate SMS services in your mobile application, you’d need to use a 3rd party tool such as Twilio, Bandwidth or Zipwhip.
If you optate to integrate the email feature within your mobile application for sending, receiving and tracking emails - you would need a 3rd party service like Mailgun or SendGrid.
While getting an app developed, you have to keep in mind that the incrementing popularity of tablets has spawned the growth of countless tablet-only users across OSs.
Thus, You have to ascertain the widest availability of your app - and for that, you have to review the supported devices list regularly.
This includes the expenses related to app hosting, data storage & delivery. Implementation of such services needs redundancies and load balancers for backup & security server purposes.
These costs play a major role in increasing both the cost as well as the intricacy of the application.
These are one of the most basic requirements when it comes to hosting the applications. The cost of servers varies as per the usage - the more you use, the more you pay.
Many developers now tend to use cloud services for data storage purposes. So for mobile apps, you must take account of the server costs. So as your more and more people start using your application, be mindful of the monthly storage costs in the cloud, so that your app is able to handle massive amounts of data and traffic!
Much like the servers, online cloud storage services are variable too. We all know how crucial data is and of course, your app would contain an abundance of it. Therefore it is important for you to understand how & where your data would be stored.
The price would also vary depending on your app time — an eCommerce app would have to pay more than a basic food delivery app because more data = more space = more fees!
Due to Google's & Apple’s guidelines and policies, to publish your apps across both the Play Store & the App Store, you are required to set up your own developer accounts.
It is a prevalent practice to have a website for your application as well for better marketing operations. And no credible website is complete without SSL certifications. Although these services are not expensive, they are highly paramount for your business.
Content Delivery Network
CDN is a framework that provides content for the application depending on the user's geographical location, the origin of the content and the distribution server of content.
So If you have users worldwide who keep revisiting your platform from a distant location for content access, odds are high that the application would perform badly without a good CDN. In that case, you’d have to use services of companies such as Akamai or CloudFront.
Development Tool, Libraries & Support
Just in case you use paid deployment tools for your application, you’d have to keep using them over the life of your application. But the silver lining here is that all such platforms have excellent lifetime performance and support.
Just to name a few, IBM MobileFirst & Appcelerator as two industry leaders in this segment.
3.IT Support Services
Even though IT support services are not a tangible part of any application’s architecture, they are important for your app as they play a major role in eventual deployment of the application.
Moreover, in the longer run - these services might consume a good portion of the overall budget of any development project.
iOS & Android App Updates
To make the user experience better & stable, both Android & iOS release OS updates on a regular basis. And to keep your app up-to-date with the latest software, you’d need to perform certain maintenance procedures so that you could offer your users the best services possible.
But offering best in class software experiences comes at a cost — you’ll need to update your app with almost every software update that rolls out.
Third Parties APIs
Commonly, every application has multiple 3rd party APIs. And any changes the mobile apps would demand routine maintenance of the APIs could cost you some bucks.
In addition to this, most organizations can increase over time the number of APIs that their app interferes with, thus increasing the cost of APIs. Some of the widely used APIs are via Google & Facebook.
On a fundamental level, every app has bugs from time to time & it is unhealthy to believe that app bugs could be avoided. This is because — app users are not kind to applications that deal with the problems they report slowly. So you need those bugs to be gone as soon as they appear!
When we talk about IT maintenance, we mean infrastructure costs such as servers, data storage and CDNs - since they all need monitoring and maintenance to some degree.
As a professional - you’d want to be able to access the data or update the content of your platform without having to contact the IT department every now and then. And for that, you’d need a simple, potent and intuitive administrative dashboard.
The cost of maintaining that dashboard comes under this section.
The thing about administrative features & services is that their cost is variable and solely dependent on the usage of these services as most of them are on pay-per-use model i.e the more you use them - the more you’ll have to pay!
Functional Service Management
For each of your services, different dashboards are rather unworkable. Functions such as social behaviour tracking and sending push notifications, emails and SMS are essential for your app, and that is why routine management functions of these services should be accessible from one unified dashboard.
Change is the only constant - this is the truth of being in the app business as there are new updates coming in every now and then. And each time a simple change in content is made, some applications have to go through an elaborated resubmission process.
And to deal with this - you'd need it built in a dynamic update process where, by just a simple click of a button - the dashboard rolls out the content changes in all your apps automatically.
Analytics Event Collector
Would you like to understand the in-app actions of your customers, such as basic events in the app, the number of installs, the screens that users use and more? Well, such information should be readily available to you.
You would want to categorize users according to their activities, profile and other metrics into separate classes. This is beneficial for sending messages and push notifications to individuals based on a segment they fall into.
How To Prevent Hidden Costs?
Choose Long-lasting Tech
Choose Long-lasting Tech
The technology you chose for your application will perpetuate to affect its success. And that is why you need to ensure that your tech and infrastructure are able to accommodate high-traffic operations even if you intend to scale-up your application in the future.
When operating with a broad user base, scalability and maintenance can be a concern. Make sure that you are using versatile and secure technologies such as React Native or Flutter for uninterrupted scalability.
Know The Key Platform
Do you wish to make your app available to every possible user? Well, initially having a holistic approach might sound appealing but over time, it could get really expensive to execute. So if you are low on a budget it is wise to do a thorough market analysis.
Don’t Rely Heavily on 3rd Party Tools
People generally buy 3rd party tools and subscribe to such services to improve the functionality of their apps. But we’d suggest you not to walk that path. Because implementing any SaaS solution would require a decent amount of planning, programming and testing to make it run as smoothly. Thus, first select features that directly impact your app’s functioning and then select tools that facilitate those functions.
These were some of the major hidden expenses which we would recommend you to keep a check on before you start getting your app developed. If you have the budget to support all these expenses — go ahead with the development now.
If not - we would suggest you to start now and keep adding the functionalities as your app grows. Keeping these costs in mind, will not only save you a lot of money but also protect you from a lot of distress later.