How Entrepreneurs Can Avoid Hidden App Development Costs

January 29, 2019 | Sakshi Sharma

How to Avoid Hidden App Development Costs?

There is a great deal that goes into making an app. You’ve got this idea that you are really excited about but don’t know all the ins and outs of what’s needed to get it created, especially if it’s your first app project. The first step is having the idea and a basic concept of the main functions you want to include. Then you research and try to find the right app development company to figure out how much the app development costs would be.

One of the main issues you want to avoid when it comes to app development is avoiding those hidden costs. More often than not you get into a project and find that there are all these additional fees you must pay to keep the project going. It can be shocking and costly. Then you feel taken advantage of (rightfully so) and decide to pay it or move to a different company to finish it. Either way, the goal is to prevent this from happening.

Know Your Budget

Before you get too deep into it, make sure you have a well thought out financial plan. Many entrepreneurs don’t realize everything that’s truly involved when it comes to app development prices. Do an analysis of your budget and list what you want to be accomplished before you start calling up app development companies. Keep in mind, there are multiple things you should do before hiring a development company.

Hire A Local Company

It’s easier for you to communicate with those who are in the same country as you. This is not to say that a foreign app development companies are bad and shouldn’t be considered, it’s just a bit trickier. Problems can consist of language barriers, time zone differences, and so on.

2 more important factors you must seriously consider are contracts and costs. The US has strict guidelines that companies must follow with regards to business dealings. When it comes to contracts everything is spelled out as to what will be done in the project, how much it will cost, and what will happen if a disagreement takes place. These must be followed in order to ensure your project gets completed on time and on budget.

The other side of finding the right company locally is the cost. It’s not about being the most inexpensive either. Locally you may even pay a little higher but you get your project done the way you want, without unexpected fees. When comparing costs you want to make sure you don’t go for the cheapest because often times you will end up paying more because of these hidden app development costs.

Specification Documentation

Before you or your app development team start the process, the app development company should provide you with a specification document which outlines the following:

-Design Practices to be used in the app -List of all the functions to be developed in the app -Technology to be used to build the mobile app -Testing details that will be included -Any maintenance that will be needed -A detailed cost which includes design -Optional technology stack information -Optional cost list of making changes

While you’re discussing with the development team about what you want you should ensure that what you are asking for is what your market wants. Think about what your audience really needs and how it can solve a problem for them. You want to truly understand the functions they need and want because you and the development team will be following this specs document to the letter.

Technology Stack Information

This part is key to understanding what is included in your first version and what will be done in later versions. Of course you can do everything you want in the first version, however, if it’s over your budget you can consider adding a technology stack that details out what will be done in future versions of your mobile app and the cost associated with those items.

This is going to be the most important part of keeping your app development costs exactly where you need them to be with nothing hidden. If you go beyond the scope of the document and ask for additional items then it’s only logical that there would be an additional cost. You don’t want your app development company to starting telling you in the middle of the project “in order to complete it please pay us more” any more than they want to hear you say “do the additional tasks for me but I won’t pay any more money for it.”

Minimum Viable Product

Another option you have to create a minimum version of your app to show investors, also known as a proof of concept (PoC). This is usually the most affordable option. It just has the core function of your app so that you can show the investors why this app should be made and have them provide you with the funds. It’s one of the best ways to present your idea to investors without having to spend too much.

This also helps you test the market. You never know how people will react to it. You can do a test with this PoC to see the response and then expand your app as the market grows for it.

Stay Focused

Once the final decisions have been made about what version 1 will be for your app it’s important to stay focused on what was discussed and in the specifications document. This is the part that can be the most difficult for people because your constantly thinking about what else you can do to make it better. Although that is great and you can work with your development team to keep a note of these ideas, you have to be careful. These ideas mean changes, which means additional app development costs you weren’t expecting.

1. Design

The app design phase will be first in the development process. You will spend some time going back and forth before finalizing what the design should be and that is fine. UI and UX is very important and should be done correctly. There are however problems that arise in this phase. You start to come up with some ideas you think is better and discuss it with your development company. Next, you decide you want these other things and then decide to make changes to the finalized design.

The problem with that is, there will not only be additional app development costs but also additional design costs. Changing your mind about something is not a problem but expecting it to be free is. The good news is there are companies that provide some changes for free but you should ask them ahead of time what the charges would be for design changes.

2. Development

This lends itself to design in that oftentimes a change in the design phase means a change in the development phase. Again, if you don’t want any unexpected app development costs it is crucial that you stick to the plan and stay focused. Much like in design if you decide you want to add something or make an important change don’t expect that for free. Sneaking additional stuff in is called project scope creep and it should be avoided to ensure your project gets done on time and on budget.

It is not uncommon to want to change things. Many people start talking about it with others and get their feedback and then decide to do things a little differently. To avoid any surprises in these types of costs as well as any other secret costs that development companies try to drum up, you should know the answers ahead of time.

You want to ensure you have a specifications document that lays everything out. Understand any additional costs that come with making changes and adding functions. The most important factor is hiring the right app development company like SDI who will provide all the information and help you create an app that you and your users will love.

If you want to speak with a specialist about getting your app created you can talk with one of our experts Sakshi Sharma at 408.621.8481 or email her at

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