Hidden Costs of Product Development: Cut Overheads Safely

Product development can be a daunting process when it comes to managing costs. While many costs are visible and straightforward, there are also hidden costs that can quickly add up and impact the overall success of the project. Businesses need to consider these potential hidden costs early in the development process and take steps to mitigate them.

To gain a deeper understanding of the hidden costs of product development, we have gathered a panel of experts from various industries to discuss their insights and experiences. By listening to their diverse perspectives and expertise, we hope to provide you with valuable insights and strategies for cutting overheads safely. So, let’s dive into the roundtable discussion and explore the hidden costs of product development.

New Product Development: Ultimate Guide on Cutting Costs

Our panel of experts will share their insights and experiences on each of these hidden costs, providing actionable strategies for mitigating them and ensuring that your product development project stays on track. Whether you’re a seasoned product development professional or just starting out, these insights are sure to be valuable in helping you cut overheads safely.

So, read on for a brief overview of each hidden cost, and be sure to check out the quotes from our experts for real-life examples and in-depth insights.

  • Maintenance and After-Sales Services
  • Quality Assurance
  • Shipping and Import Fees
  • Hiring the Wrong Staff
  • Customer Acquisition
  • Code Refactoring Post-Release
  • Customer Support
  • Packaging Design

Product development can be a complex and challenging process, but with the right approach, businesses can overcome the most common obstacles and achieve success. If you want to get a more complex understanding, check on our Product Development Process: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions article that provides valuable insights for all the stakeholders.

Maintenance and After-Sales Services 

When a product is first developed, we put a lot of time and resources into making it perfect for release. However, what companies often forget is the cost of maintaining the product after they have released it. 

This includes providing customer support, issuing updates, and patching bugs. Sometimes, it can even mean withdrawing the product from the market entirely. All of these activities incur significant costs, which can eat into profits and cause financial difficulties for a company. 

As such, it is important to factor in the cost of maintenance when developing a new product. Otherwise, you may find yourself surprised by unexpected expenses down the road.

Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer

Quality Assurance

An often-forgotten aspect of product development is Quality Assurance (QA). This is a department that ensures that products are made to specification and that they function as intended. 

When budgets are tight, it is all too easy to overlook QA, but without it, there is a risk that products will fail, leading to costly recalls and damage to the company’s reputation 

To avoid this, it is important to have a clear understanding of what is required from QA and to ensure that the department has adequate resources to perform its duties. This can be achieved through automation, outsourcing, or other means.

Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely

Looking for a product development team to refine your ideas into strong-suited software?

Contact us
Flutter mobile development

Shipping and Import Fees

Most companies offer free home delivery of products, but sometimes it costs them much more than they have anticipated. For example, your customer is out of the country, and you are offering free home delivery. You face taxes and many other costs, such as cargo charges—shipping products from country to country via cargo ships. It may eat your entire profit from a particular sale and more

My advice is to offer free home delivery within your area to avoid shipping costs.

Gerrid Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Joy Organics

Hiring the Wrong Staff

Product development offers innovation to an organization, making it an essential organ for the company’s most significant resource. 

A product development team with the wrong staffing only results in financial bleeding and poor innovations. An under-skilled team does not deliver on its purpose. This means that the organization does not gain a return on investment on its input. 

Bringing in an external perspective to optimize execution efficiency, strategic decision-making, or even onboarding practices helps the company breathe life into the department and make the staff relevant again. External eyes help ensure the company avoids these hidden cost scenarios and improves ROI.

Yongming Song, CEO, Live Poll for Slides

Customer Acquisition

One hidden cost of product development that companies forget about is customer acquisition. 

Companies often focus on getting their product out in the market, but they may neglect to consider how much it will cost to gain customers and keep them engaged with their products and services. Companies need to prepare for customer churn by having strategies in place to keep customers and generate new revenue.

For cutting overhead costs in product development at the brink of recession, one comparatively safe option may be to focus on cost optimization by streamlining processes and systems. 

This could involve reducing redundant activities, improving scalability and automation, and using cost-effective technologies. A potentially more risky approach would be to eliminate or reduce staffing, which may have an immediate effect on the product development process.

Tzvi Heber, Founder, CEO, & HR Head, Ascendant Detox

Code Refactoring Post-Release

Many companies, especially in the software development space, don’t adequately expect the rigors of refactoring their product after launch. While some feel the work ends after producing and launching your software, experts advocate that the work starts after launch and even amplifies after growth.

Many ignore the future cost of refactoring their code. They forget that at the development stage, a significant chunk of the code was either hurriedly packaged to get the product into the market or met the lowest-allowable compliance benchmarks. When your customer volume and usage capacity increase, your code will struggle to cope with the exponential workload.

So it always makes sense for management to keep a keen eye ahead for refactoring and installing the necessary infrastructure in place. This way, it does not take them unawares when the need crops up.

Lotus Felix, CEO, Lotusbrains Studio

Customer Support/Marketing Expenses

It’s important for businesses to invest in after-sales support for customers, as this could be crucial for future sales and customer loyalty. However, customer support may be unexpectedly pricey.

While cutting costs is always attractive, you need to balance it. If customers are not serviced properly and their expectations are not met, they may switch from your brand and go to your competitors.

Therefore, when looking at ways to cut back on overhead costs during product development, a comparatively safer option would be dividing the cuts between support (less) and marketing expenses (more). This would enable you to keep customer service intact, while having more funds available for other areas, such as research and development.

Jamie Irwin, Director, Straight Up Search

Packaging Design

Packaging is an important step in making your products look good. Almost everyone checks the packaging of the product first and then thinks about the purchase. 

Most companies use simple packaging, which does not appeal to consumers. As a result, it creates a stone in the way of product development and your product does not sell in the market. This gives you less profit. 

So, it is better to hire a graphic designer to handle the packaging process of your products. Place your company logo, and some user guidelines, to make it easier for users to use. This step helps a lot in product development.

Kristian Longden, Content Marketing Executive, James, and James Fulfilment

In conclusion, product development can be a costly endeavor for any business, and hidden costs can often arise, impacting the project’s success. However, by taking steps to mitigate these early on in the development process, businesses can ensure that their projects stay on track, and they can cut overheads safely.

More Product Development Insights from QArea

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our related articles on product development, where you can find even more insights and strategies from experts in the field:

Bruce Mason on Product Development Process: “You need to know when enough is enough.”

Bruce Mason, a seasoned product development expert, shares his insights on the product development process. He provides valuable advice on knowing when to stop investing in a project, how to prioritize product features, and how to keep your team motivated and focused on the end goal. If you’re looking for inspiration and guidance in your product development journey, this article is a must-read.

Experts on How to Make Product Development more Predictable and Cost-Efficient

From setting clear objectives and milestones to using agile development methodologies, these experts provide actionable advice for streamlining your product development process and improving your bottom line.



Hire a team

Let us assemble a dream team of specialists just for you. Our model allows you to maximize the efficiency of your team.

Request Specialists

Written by


Sasha B., Senior Copywriter at QArea

A commercial writer with 12 years of experience. Focuses on content for IT, IoT, robotics, AI and neuroscience-related companies. Open for various tech-savvy writing challenges. Speaks four languages, joins running races, plays tennis, reads sci-fi novels.

We Help With

Your tech partner needs to be well versed in all kinds of software-related services. As the software development process involves different stages and cycles, the most natural solution is to have them all performed by the same team of experts. That’s exactly what our diverse range of services is for.

The choice of technology for your software project is one of the defining factors of its success. Here at QArea, we have hands-on experience with dozens of popular front-end, back-end, and mobile technologies for creating robust software solutions.

In-depth familiarity and practical experience with key technologies are one of the cornerstones of successful software development and QA. But it also takes specific knowledge of the industry to develop a solution that meets the expectations of the stakeholders and propels its owner to success.

Web App Development

Web App Development

Reach out to an even wider audience with a custom, widely accessible web app.

Corporate Website Development

Corporate Website Development

Ensure an effective online presence for your business with a corporate site.

MVP Development

MVP Development

Take the first step on the way to a successful business with an MVP.

SaaS Development

SaaS Development

Meet your business goals with a powerful, custom SaaS solution.

Testing & QA

Testing & QA

Make sure the quality of your solution meets your expectations.

UI/UX Design

UI/UX Design

Beat the competition with a modern, breathtaking & user-friendly design.



Create stunning, highly functional, and easily scalable front-end solutions.



Build flexible, good-looking front-end solutions for any scale and purpose.



Construct a powerful, stable, and secure back-end solution for your business.



Take advantage of the .NET flexibility and scalability for your back-end solution.

React Native

React Native

Turn your mobile app idea into reality with a custom React Native solution.