The Hidden Costs of Developing Apps

So, you have an excellent idea of the app you need. You understand how to communicate the idea with the development team and can be involved in the design process. You are pretty sure that the idea will succeed, or the app can take your business from where it is to where it needs to be. The next logical step may seem to be to pay someone to build the app immediately.

Many founders and business owners do not understand the full implication of building and running an app. They are also not fully aware of the cost of keeping the app active and relevant going forward. Most do not realise that app development never ends, so they forget about some of the most important costs of owning and utilising an app.

Once the App is Built

How long does it take to build an app? Well, it depends on the type of app and the features you want. For a smaller app project, 1 to 2 weeks can be enough to build the first version of the app. An important app with extensive features may take between 4 to 6 months to be built.

Now, the basic cost of building an app varies according to the feature list and scope of the app. Most developers will charge a specific amount to work on the app until it is launched. Once the app is successfully launched, we can say that it has been built. At this point, the contract with the developer has been fulfilled.

But that is just the Beginning

Most app founders erroneously assume that once their apps have been tested and successfully launched, that development is over and the cost of building the app has been covered. Wrong! This is just the beginning. The development process never ends throughout the lifespan of the app. This also means that the costs of development are not static. You will have to continue spending to keep your app running.

Initially, many potential app founders or business owners in need of apps will not understand this. As a result of that, they feel that the initial development fees will be enough to keep their apps running for years. If you are planning to launch an app, understand that development is never over. Again, never forget that the costs of app development will be spread throughout the lifespan of the app.

Cost Factors in the Development Process

The development process is not just a ploy to squeeze more money out of your pocket. Rather, it is a critical aspect of app development and maintenance that will ensure that the app users get the ultimate experience they desire and that the app owner enjoys the objectives of launching the app. Here, we will briefly discuss some of these cost factors and why you need them:

General improvement of the app

Finding and fixing bugs in apps is an integral part of the development process. Bugs are technical issues with the app that may impede performance. They need to be fixed from time to time. You may also have a few new ideas that will improve the performance and usefulness of your app. The need for new features can arise with time too. Even if you are short of ideas, community engagement with the users can provide insights on how to improve the app and deliver better services. Roadmap the ideas and incorporate them in the next version of the app.

Update in Operating Systems (OS)

Even if you have nothing new to add to your app (which is inadvisable), you will need to update it regularly to be in tune with regular updates in OS. Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and other Operating Systems keep upgrading to better versions with new features. You must also update your app to make the user experience smooth across the different platforms but also to capitalise on the new features made available. An obsolete app will have several technical hitches that will make you lose your users. Keep updating your apps to avoid such scenarios.

Important Integrations

Third-party integrations are being developed regularly and there is a high likelihood you will use a third-party solution when building your app. From AI to blockchain technology, no-code platforms, and other new tech, you will need to integrate whatever elements you think will improve the usefulness of your app to the users. Research the important information about these technologies and see if they will offer value to your users. You should also speak with a variety of people, including IT consultants and your users, to see if implementing new technologies to your project will be beneficial in the long run. 

UX Changes

You also need to be on top of the game when it comes to UX changes. User experience is very important, and most users are quite sensitive to trends. You need to be aware of trends and implement changes in design as early as possible. Regularly observe where you are currently and understand why your users are using the app, and why some may want to quit it. Regular UX updates can be immensely helpful in gaining more app downloads and keeping your users satisfied.


There is always room for improvement when it comes to streamlining. With new technologies and improvements in your business processes, you can identify tasks that are able to be streamlined. When there are possibilities of moving some processes back end or automating (things like prefilling), your app will need updated versions to accommodate these changes, which will ultimately improve user experience.


You shouldn’t forget about the most important costs of app development. They only come in after the app has been built and successfully launched. When you keep up with the changes and cost factors discussed above, you will give your app the chance to achieve your goals for the foreseeable future.