The Hidden Costs of Mobile App Development
Are you eager to build a hybrid, native, or enterprise mobile app for your company, but you’re worried about potential hidden costs? If you read our blog on mobile app budgets and now know what a mobile app may cost you – you may also be wondering if you need to pad that budget for surprises.
To assist you in your consideration, we’ve highlighted five potential hidden costs of mobile app development – that is, costs that may come up down the road, or those that you hadn’t thought of before you started thinking seriously about hiring a developer to build your mobile app.
We recommend that you keep in mind the following five criteria when discussing your mobile app with your developer:
- App Testing
When building your app with your developer, don’t forget that your app will have to be tested, and if necessary, modified, before it can go live. Both alpha and beta tests must be proctored by a professional. These are crucial components of the app development process – and they can’t be skipped. Ask your freelance or agency professional about testing and what kind of potential cost that adds into your overall budget.
- Unforeseen App Additions
You’ll likely receive feedback from your users that will prompt you to make changes to the app. This happens a ton – the app you may have envisioned may change because your users say so! You should also expect changes that need to be made regarding third-party APIs and new OS versions. You can also throw upgrades into this bunch.
- Deployment and Maintenance
Growth is the primary goal of the mobile app itself – but if your network rapidly grows in user size, you’ll need to expand the back end of your app so it can handle the load. This may be an ongoing maintenance issue. In addition, you’ll need to budget money for customer support. Providing quick response to user requests is crucial. If you are running an enterprise mobile app, you may also need to invest in employee training fees.
Don’t forget to consider app store fees for both native and hybrid apps. Apple typically charges about $99/year for a developer’s account, and $299/year for an enterprise account. On Google Play, you can pay a one-time, nominal $25 fee for an account, and Windows Phone Store fees are between $19-$99 annually.
You’ll also need to provide your users with up-to-date content. CMS management is also a consideration you may not have thought of before.
- Security and Challenges
You have to pay to play – and in 2016, security is going to be one of the most important places you spend your money in your app development budget. The more popular mobile apps become, the more that hackers are satiated by the prospect of taking your app apart and exposing your intellectual property, user information, or trade secrets. If you don’t want your company and app clients to be bamboozled by vulnerability, you’ll have to put the appropriate security measures in place. This varies from app to app, but it’s essential that your app is as secure as possible.
If your app goes down, or a user reports that it’s not working correctly, you’ll need your developer to assist. Expect to pay consulting fees or come to another agreement with your developer in case emergencies arise.
- Bad Apps
Worst-case scenario – your app was created by a shoddy development team, or it never served its purpose in the first place. Yes, it sounds bad, but we assure you, it’s indeed the worst case for a mobile app client and usually only happens because there is miscommunication on one end of the deal. Either the client did not research out mobile developers properly, didn’t ask the right questions, felt pressured into the exchange, or perhaps the developers weren’t briefed properly or don’t know how to brief in the first place.
Whatever the situation, there are times when an app is built by an agency or freelancer, and later on ends up being exposed by either the app’s user base, the next developer who works on your app – or maybe your business realizes your app is not really serving any purpose in its current state. All of these cases may result in extra costs – or the cost of a new app, with a new firm, entirely.
The Bottom Line
Some say, “you never put your wallet back in your pocket after building a mobile app.” While this may be true, the extent depends on the type of app you are developing and how crucial it is to your business goals. Obviously, the more complicated the app, the more security it needs, and the level of its marriage to your daily business operations will help you factor in long term costs.
Consult with your expert mobile app developer on these issues more closely – and ask them to quote your project, including the considerations above – before you dive in.
So – you’ve built a beautiful, innovative, user-friendly, crispy speed fiend of a mobile app – and you’re ready to start signing up some users! But wait – do you have an actual plan for new user onboarding?
If you are a business owner at the helm of your company’s branding and marketing strategies, you may feel as if your digital products (like your app, software products, and company website) are sending you full tilt into uncharted business territory.
The testing phase of the mobile app design process is one of the most crucial parts of an app developer’s work – for both short term and long term success in the profession. In fact, the testing phase is as vital as the development and design of the application itself. If you rush through the testing phase and launch an app before its ready, it may become a failure that your client – and your reputation – don’t recover from.