6 Biggest Hidden Costs of Developing an App & How to Handle Them

The development process itself is only one stage of the application life cycle. There is also the deployment and maintenance stage, which is critical to success. The costs of developing an app are divided in these two stages which can result in an unpleasant surprise if you are not aware of all that is involved. Here are some of the costs of developing an app that you might not expect.

1. Support for Multiple Platforms

You cannot create one application that will be universal across all platforms. If you were planning a product for the iPhone, you may end up having to develop a separate version for the iPad Pro, which will increase the cost of designing the user interface.

What if, in addition to the basic version for iOS, you also need an application version for Android? You can imagine how the initial development cost easily increases, sometimes substantially.

You can save money if you use cross-platform technologies, such as Xamarin. Unfortunately, this is not always possible because native development may be required to implement some functions. There are nuances with performance and capabilities in terms of expanding functionality.

You can always start with the highest priority platform. If market analysis shows the need to expand in the future to include another OS, this be considered when you hire a dedicated software development team.

2. Integration with Third Party Services

An application is often just one element of a much more complex system.

In the case of corporate mobile applications, it is not enough to create the mobile application itself as it must be integrated into the corporate IT infrastructure. Developing a mobile application that integrates with a corporate CRM or ERP system is quite common.

It is quite another matter when you already have an application, but the possibility of integrating it with something (website, CRM, accounting, etc.) was not initially considered and now there is a need for it. In this case, you’ll have to modify the application which can be a very time-consuming and expensive task.

If we talk about non-enterprise-level applications, but products aimed at a wide audience, the range of services connected via API can be quite vast. This is integration with social networks, the functionality of push notifications and SMS messages, receiving data from any third-party services, etc.

3. Infrastructure Components

If you are building an application that receives or gives information from a user, that data must be stored somewhere. If you’re dealing with a large amount of data, it is necessary to address the issue of synchronization in advance. You’ll also want to estimate the volume of requests for storing and processing information.

Before starting the development of a mobile application, you need to prepare a technical assignment for the “client-server” interaction. It will be necessary to lay the correct architecture on the server, specify in which tables to store data, the structure of queries, and identify which data is used more often.

If you postpone the dealing with issue of synchronization and do not make a competent client-server architecture, debugging an application can take a long time and seriously postpone the planned release. Ignoring these steps can result in large and unforeseen expenses.

4. Testing Costs

Testing is one of the key components of the software development life cycle and should be included in the initial project budget. Improving the quality of the final product ultimately provides a sufficient return on investment.

Many customers underestimate the importance of testing and do not realize how long it can take. Even if you are developing a native application for only one operating system, you will need to test how it looks and works on different types of devices.

If you need to make versions for two operating systems at once, it can cost even more.  You should also keep in mind when testing that the best user experience can only be provided on a limited number of the most popular devices. For the rest, you will have to be content with just a good UX.

5. Marketing Costs

It’s also important to understand how you will attract users and how much it will cost. With all the apps out there, it is naïve to expect that your product will immediately attract attention and become popular on its own. Deciding on a marketing strategy and figuring out the cost prior to launch will prevent any surprises down the road.

The most important way to attract organic traffic from an app store is ASO optimization. This includes working with text descriptions, titles, and visual elements. It is based on a set of keywords by which your application can be searched by your target audience.

6. Service Cost

The work on the mobile application does not end after its release. The more complex the project, the more costs will be required for its maintenance, including version updates, bug fixes, implementation of new or revision of existing functionality, fixing security problems, etc. which can be handled only when you utilize a dedicated development team.


This is not a complete list of possible hidden costs that can be encountered in the process of developing an application, but these are the main ones. By taking them into account at the start, you can avoid budgetary problems in the future and increase the likelihood of a successful project completion.

About the Author

Shahid Mansuri is the co-founder Peerbits, one of the leading offshore development team providers.  With his guidance many companies hire a remote developer team from Peerbits for their complex and customized projects. His years of hardwork, dedication, and experience has helped him in developing profound expertise for a wide array of technologies, tools, and platforms. He believes in sharing his strong knowledge base with learned concentration on entrepreneurship and business.

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