5 Worst Hidden Costs of Developing an App

Written by Chloe Harwood

Apps are increasingly becoming a way of life for businesses today. While these apps streamline a firm’s operations and increases awareness, they can be darn costly.

With the app building business on the rise, software developers will often quote the total cost of an app, and demand more as the project progresses. Now, this could be due to your own lack of knowledge or just pure guile.

To understand the 5 worst hidden costs of developing an app, it is only important that we understand the software architecture.  Take a look.

1.Administrative functions of the app: Now these are the features that allow your app to manage updates, users, and create passwords. You will need a powerful and intuitive administrative function yet still user-friendly and simple.

This section of the app contains access controls, analytics, data segmentation, data dynamic updates and the dashboard emulator among other features.

2. Infrastructure: This is basically where the app is hosted. It also includes the whole environment from how data is stored and retrieved. Unless you are a company as big as Amazon, you will have to host with them or Azure or even Google.

Now, the annual maintenance cost of hosting in the servers is around $12,000. Maintenance is mostly one of the worst hidden costs of app development. Even in Rapid Application development approaches, maintenance would still take up significant portions of the budget

3. CDN: Because you will be having loads of collected data to store, this will additionally set you back $3600 annually. Similarly, the content delivery network (CDN) will cost you the same. Image management services cost $4,800. Development tools including library and support costs $1,200.

4. IT Support Services: When yours is an E-commerce mobile app dealing in payments and money, you will have to invest in an extra layer of security. It goes like the higher the risk, the greater the security measures.

These improvements will definitely cost you several thousands of dollars over time. iOS and Android updates cost $10,000, app update submissions cost $2,400, APIs cost $5,000, while fixing bugs costs 20% of the total development cost annually.

5. Functional services: These are among the most important features of the app. They add more value and bring more business due to their nature and functionalities. A feature like Push Notification costs $2, 400 annually, Social &Share feature that allows your app to share content costs $1,200, SMS integration costs $500, while Email integration costs $1,000 per year.

Handling hidden development costs

One of the best ways to handle these hidden development costs is to conduct a thorough research on what your app will need.  These include the administrative services, IT support services, Infrastructure services and functional services.

The software development life cycle is quite elaborate. And this is for a reason.  Because apps are quite costly to put up and maintain, you would not want to miss a step. Doing so would mean you dig deeper into your pockets to offset the mistake.

In essence, if you are planning to invest in an app, the safest bet is to conduct proper research on the particular app you would need to build. The internet is greatly furnished with a host of software developers.

You could request for quotes from as many software developers as possible to find out how much the app costs averagely.  But more importantly, you should get an accurate wireframe with the costing of each individual component of the app.


App development is a daunting venture that gives businesses a worldwide opportunity to expand and improve engagements. It could, however, be so rife with uncertainties and unforeseen financial shocks. To navigate these murky waters of app development, you would need to conduct your research extremely well.

About the author

Chloe Harwood