How much does it cost to maintain a mobile app?
You developed a new app. It is complete and about to hit the app stores. And you are busy planning how you will promote your app and attract users. Your marketing strategies are waiting in queue to take users through the end of the sales funnel. You are waiting for the revenue to flow in as an ROI for app development.
What about app maintenance costs?
You know, there’s much more to an app than simply letting users enjoy it.
Tell me, how much do you invest to keep your home clean, maintained, and updated? Your app needs a similar investment to be up-to-the-mark. You may dream of the latest, flashiest app features. But how would that be possible over the long term without maintaining the app?
Does it mean that you have to start worrying about mobile app maintenance cost as well before you truly enjoy the upcoming revenue?
Not if you consider the app maintenance cost along with other development costs. Plus, you need to sustain the balance between app maintenance cost and app revenue.
Through this guide, we will teach you all the ins and outs of app maintenance costs so that you don’t end up scratching your head over sudden app charges coming from unexpected places.
Let’s set the ball rolling:
The art of balancing the app maintenance cost and app revenue
If you look at the thousands of apps – trying to rank well – in the app store, you will notice how much they are in dire need of updates and flawlessness. Just like you need a break to replenish your creative juices; your app is entitled to various maintenance costs that need to be accomplished at regular intervals.
Now the question arises: “how much mobile app maintenance cost should I estimate?”
Well, the honest and boring answer is it depends on a multitude of factors.
As the child grows up, their needs change based on their growing size, likes/dislikes for various foods, education requirements, etc. Similarly, as your app expands, your customers increase and so does the system need of your app. It may require upgrades to manage a larger customer base. Plus, if you go on applying various business tactics with your app, your app would require certain changes to stand up to your expectations. More on that later.
For now, let’s shed some light on how you are going to manage those expenses, especially if you don’t know how much you earn from your app.
It’s obvious that every business builds an app to generate revenue or at least spread brand awareness via valuable content (which must take users towards the end of the sales funnel). At the same time, businesses also believe that an app is not a money-making machine for their brand. It’s a part of marketing strategy like others.
“An app is designed to be monetized, not destined to be monetized.”
Keeping in mind the uncertainties of app revenue, you have to start collecting funds from the moment your app enters the market. This is the stage where you have zero revenue so having funds for sudden updates save your app from being labeled as flawed. Once your app starts generating revenue, reinvest some of it (or all) for integrating new features and fulfill backend requirements to ensure that you are feeding the app with necessary updates.
Long story short, you have to plan funds and revenue carefully to cover app maintenance costs.
Initially, you may find your bank balance in red, but in the long term, your app won’t struggle in the dark corridors of the app store and the same red balance will turn green, beyond your expectations.
How you can estimate app maintenance cost?
Put the ongoing development cost in your bucket list of app expenses for sure. This is an unavoidable cost as the more technology expands (say for example smartphones with updated technologies) the more updates/upgrades your app will need.
Regarding additional development cost, here are some factors to keep in mind:
- Rolling out new features to improve the user experience or further extend your brand exposure
- Development cost to make your app compatible with new devices arriving with new technologies
- Operating system updates necessitate updates for your app as well
- Sometimes issues arise when apps are used for wider purposes like for enterprise. Fixing them is essential if big clients are involved
- Change in policies also require code change in-app for proper alignment
Let’s deep dive in 4 major factors affecting the app maintenance costs.
4 factors to consider while calculating mobile app maintenance cost
It all starts with initial development sources, choosing the right equipment, and selecting the right hosting provider. Going further, it extends to code maintenance and accommodating various systems of the app according to your growing customer base.
Let’s break down each app maintenance cost factor for accurate calculation with startling development costs that appear from thin air.
1. Frequent annual iOS and Android app store changes (and app charges)
Where Apple and Android are known to upgrade systems each year for the sake of users and their security, the situation turns painful for app owners and developers.
Similar to Google algorithm updates, iOS and Android changes are unpredictable as they deplore frameworks or even force elevated standards demanding emergency changes.
The situation turns unbearable when some of the changes resulted in breaking an app entirely.
Fortunately, it didn’t require making a new app from scratch but small changes were required in apps to allow users to leverage Apple’s new features.
If you fail to integrate such changes on time, your app may end up in the flag section as per the Apple app store policies.
Android has similar stories worth-sharing. Google recently banned 600 apps from play store because of disruptive ads – for example, out-of-the-context ads. Google claimed to continue the investigation to find more alike apps and ban them immediately for violating Google policies.
Today and in the future, it won’t work like you create an app and upload it to app stores. You have to be extra careful that you are breaching policies and your apps are going along with updates that do require extra investment.
2. App maintenance costs originating from third-party plugins
Oh yes, those third-party plugins that you integrate with joy, thinking users’ will enjoy them as a part of the app, also give some spark to app maintenance costs.
Recently, Google Places (information used by the search engine to list your business) forced upgrades in its software development kit which created the big hustle in the development market as the apps using previous versions stopped working, pushing developers to review and rebuild the apps before they get kicked out of the App Stores.
Consequences of not paying attention to minor OS updates may result in a broken app. If you remain too busy to take notice of each update, you must hire a team of at least one designated person who keeps an eye on updates releasing throughout the year, conducts regular app testing, ensure all features are working properly and updates your app as per the policies and demands of major platforms.
For this entire scenario, you have to allocate funds for the team who take charge of your app’s movements.
3. Cloud hosting costs
Next comes cloud hosting service providers who host the code and store data information of your app. Each provider works differently and charges accordingly. Whoever you choose, make sure it is fully flexible with regular app updates.
Let’s take an example of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to illustrate what it means to have a hosting service provider that goes hand in hand with app updates.
Amazon RDS-A cost-effective Solution
Generally, an app needs a database like SQL Server, MySQL, or any other system to save and use data for various parts of the app.
Amazon offers Relational Database Services (RDS), a hosting service that enables developers to create, manage, and operate relational databases in the cloud for use in applications. An RDS setup works in sync with a virtual machine (VM) to host the code which runs the app. The major benefit of this option is it mostly removes database management, allowing developers to focus on other important tasks.
Amazon RDS follows a pay-as-go approach regarding pricing. It claims to charge clients the same way as utility charges like water and electricity. Clients will pay only for the services they use. Also, you are not bound by any long-term contracts or complex licensing fees. And if you stop using services, you don’t have to pay a dime. Amazon RDS charges can start from as low as $0.03 per hour and can go as high as $33 per hour, depending on the requirements of your app system.
Check the below-given screenshot to see the glimpses of Amazon RDS prices per hour based on the system requirements.
4. Storage extension cost
When your user base grows, your app will need more storage requirements to organize increasing data from users. Not only you have to increase its data storage capacity, but also you have to launch new versions that align well with new abilities which further multiplies the cost.
Now when the storage increases, the risk of slow speed always lingers in the air. Here again, your app needs additional resources to maintain the speed and quality of overall performance.
At this point, if you say, “Why not develop a new app from scratch?”. Let me answer you that just like you upgrade your home with less pricey things than buying a whole new one (which costs a fortune), you upgrade your app with small-price features than developing it from scratch.
It’s crucial to allocate funds for additional systems that may take place in your app in the future. Relying on a single system and estimating your maintenance cost accordingly will result in app failure. As the app needs a couple of updates at the same time, it’s best to be prepared for cost arising due to additional resources.
You don’t need to be afraid of sudden app maintenance costs, because the next thing you are going to learn is coping with such costs without harming your bank balance.
Have an app that’s already developed? we can help with on-going mobile app maintenance & support services for bug fixes and updates.
How TriState Technology grabs you out of the app maintenance cost confusions?
If this is the first time someone is opening your eyes towards what’s awaiting after the complete app development cycle, it can be overwhelming. Being entrepreneurs, we are fond of fantasies of increasing the number of customers from the app while turning a blind eye towards maintenance costs waiting to dig deep holes in your pocket. That’s why we follow the process of being as transparent as possible.
Being a renowned app development company, we solve the mysteries of before and after development app pricing. We take the load off your shoulders by choosing the best services, like hosting from Amazon that minimizes the maintenance cost without compromising the quality of the app.
Reach out to TriState Technology today to save your time and money from hidden app maintenance costs and clear the path of total pricing.