What are The Hidden Costs of Running and Maintaining an App Successfully?

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A fully functional app is a result of a great app idea, mindful development along with upbeat maintenance. Most business owners see the process of application launch as limited to app development, and tend to overlook the time and resources incurred by app maintenance practices while allocating finances for the process. It is imperative to reinvest, maintain & optimize the product you have developed for a seamless user experience. A big chunk of post-development app expense is the underlying technology that is invisible to the user but forms the scaffolding on which the final product runs. The result of such ignorance can be the downfall of what could have been a thriving app enterprise.


Thinking of an idea, planning, designing and developing an app based on the idea from the scratch constitutes the process of mobile app development. Most businesses consider app launch as the finish line of spending, however, they are wrong. Every live app requires constant updates and incurs significant expenses on its upkeep. App-based businesses, however, remain in awe because of their ignorance on the subject. Here we introduce you to a list of hidden costs of running an app successfully.



Hidden Costs of Running An App Successfully


The total cost of mobile app development is a sum of the cost of numerous individual components that are assembled therein. On a popular article published on www.clutch.co Dom & Tom CEO was quoted spilling the bean about the maintenance cost. He revealed that maintenance cost is approximately 50% of the product’s initial price in the first year, 25% in the second year, and between 15-25% for every year after. The long and short of it remains that every app that goes live incurs a maintenance cost. Here is a list of hidden costs that go into running an app:


A.) Cost Incurred by Functional Services

You may have invested heavily in building up outstanding features in your app, however; there is a bunch of functional services that are essential elements to bring out the features and utility that mobile app. The cost of these functional services often comes as a surprise to business owners who are ignorant about the intricacies of how mobile apps work. For example: To avail the benefits of push notifications you need services like UrbanAirship or PushWoosh and for email that of Mailgun or Sendgrid. To just develop a feature is not enough, you need to subscribe to a functional service that will provide a delivery mechanism for that feature to run on.



B.) Cost of Launching The App on App Store

Though not too steep, an app is launched on an app store at a certain fee. Before the launch, an app is also required to pass through a scrutiny on the app store, this process entails extra development time and cost. If your contract with an IT company mentions that they will hand over the app to you only when it has been published on the app store. Consider it is a good deal for you. However, businesses paying their team or freelancer on an hourly basis are likely to pay more because of more time is taken to improve the app design to suit the app store requirements. Moreover, app stores change their requirements from time to time and your app can face the risk of deletion if not upgraded. This is another hidden cost of maintaining an app to keep your app afloat.


Cost of Launching The App on App Store


C.) Cost of Making An App That Supports Different Platforms

To most businesses the knowledge that building mobile applications for multiple platforms and different mobile platforms will require different programming languages comes as a surprise. A native app can’t be launched on both Android and iOS simultaneously, as apps for both platforms run on two different programming languages.  A business that wants a cross-platform native application, needs to get a separate application for each. Similarly, if there is a need for applications to work on tablets, a different application needs to be developed for tablet platforms. To conclude, creating cross-platform native apps isn’t a single development project but is a combination of multiple development projects that need to carefully manage to ensure that they deliver the same result. This is another hidden cost that most businesses come to realise on a later stage of mobile app development.
Making an app that supports different platforms


D.) The Cost of Administrative Services

An intuitive, simple and seamless dashboard experience is what makes an app successful as it gives the business owner an easy access to the content publishing and editing process, app content previewing capabilities, syncing social media and engagement features etc. However, traditional app development process does not guarantee these conveniences. Not having this kind of access and control over the content, users and data can spell doom for the business today. This is the reason why most businesses have to spend on administrative services on an ongoing basis.


The Cost of Administrative Services


E.) Costs for Testing across Devices

Mobile testing is a complicated process. The vast variety of mobile available in the market each featuring types, screen sizes, OS versions, network speed, and more make it complex. However, testing remains crucial as it would entail how your app looks and feels on a particular screen. Testing cost also rises for each additional platform. Most businesses fall prey to underestimating the costs of testing for the lack of proper app development knowledge.


Costs for Testing across Devices


F.) App Maintenance Costs

Overtime some issues and failures tend to surface on the app that could not be configured prior to its release. Additionally, there is a consistent need to prepare your app for the next OS versions and provide its stability. A business needs to fix bugs, apply security patches, update the app with every new OS release, support users, add new capabilities, and more at every step. Marketplaces like Apple and Google play continue to improve their platforms and require the apps to adhere to their standards. Hence, constant upkeep is a kind of maintenance cost that cannot be avoided but which most businesses forget to consider.


App Maintenance Costs


G.) Data Storage Costs

If you are building an app that is data-centric, have you considered where would you be storing that data? Storing data incurs costs that most newbie app businesses forget to count at the time of planning. Storing data on a cloud gets you hooked onto a monthly hosting cost which varies for different service providers and according to the amount of data stored. This means the cost of storage increases as the business scales. Popular cloud storages also require businesses to pay separately for various manipulation with data like storage management, data transfer etc.


Data Storage Costs


H.) Software Licenses Costs

Paid Libraries and SDKs present ready-made solutions that solve specific tasks and can be customized to meet a project’s needs. They save developers a lot of time. While developing a feature for the app may incur a lot of time and increase the costs of development, paying a simple software license cost to use the ready-made solution is desirable due to minimal added expense it incurs.


Software Licenses Costs


I.) Cost Incurred by Mid-project changes

Initial cost estimation by IT firms or freelance developers is done on the basis of the initial specs. However, there always remains a possibility that specs change throughout the project. Most businesses underestimate these changes and how much would they cost. The cost escalates if developers have multiple “small” changes.



What is A Cost Effective Solution to App Building & Running?


Most businessmen come with a very limited understanding of how apps are made and assume that development cost is the real cost of getting an app to the market.  Are you a creative thinker brimming with an interesting app idea, ready to be built upon? Do you wonder how to choose to be a befitting partner for development and maintenance?


Most app development companies and freelance developers quote only the cost of app development in the form of ‘Fixed Bid’ while presenting their proposals and conveniently leave out crucial expenses like ongoing support and software costs only to be revealed on later stages. However, this app maintenance and running expenses add up to considerably and remain a recurring expense for the business.


At Promatics, we deal with clients keeping our professional ethics intact. We develop the app and provide the business owners with tools so as to give him control over the content and data, reducing risks all the while. We also maintain complete transparency about the cost of development and maintenance of the app as projected at the time of discussion.

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Rahul Singh

Sr. App Developer

Rahul has been associated with the apps industry for more than 9 years now. He has seen the apps economy grow from its nascent days to a full fledged industry with its complete ecosystem as of today. His interest lies in pursuing and getting to know the best app development technologies, processes and platforms. He is truly an app enthusiast. In his free time he loves playing console games and reading history.

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