The mobile app market continues to grow in both revenue and popularity. But the development of an app—particularly its first version—is only the beginning.
“With iOS, if you build it, they will come.” That truism is no longer operative. Apple and Google have made major changes in their respective operating systems affecting developers’ update strategies. If you do not maintain your apps with new features and bug fixes, they may stop working.
Predicting future costs is difficult at best. But we can extrapolate from current statistics for a typical mobile app maintenance budget: $4000 per month.
The hosting cost should be included in the monthly maintenance costs. Hosting provides information on what servers are running which app and is included in the monthly data storage charge.
However, the hosting cost should be included in the monthly maintenance costs. Hosting provides information on what servers are running which app and is included in the monthly data storage charge.
The hosting cost ranges from $100 to $500 per month, depending on your customer volume.
Storage charges depend on how much information your mobile app stores and retains for its users. The more it stores, the higher your storage fee will be. For example, a photo-sharing app can range from 25 to 50 cents per user per year. A location-based social network may require at least one dollar each year per user. Sometimes more if push notifications or turn-by-turn directions are used frequently.
Network Bandwidth Cost
Network charges depend on how much information is transferred using your mobile app. The more data you send and receive, the higher your bandwidth cost will be. A location-based social network may require around five cents per user per month. While a streaming music app may require up to $5 per user each month. Video apps tend to keep their monthly costs lower. But this can still range from $2 to $20 depending on how frequently videos are viewed (and thus uploaded).
Testing & Monitoring Cost
Testing is an ongoing process that involves both functional testing (is it doing what it’s supposed to) and non-functional testing (how well does it work with different devices, connectivity speeds, etc.). It’s best for the developer to perform the first level of testing, but a second opinion from another company will help to ensure your app is ready for market.
Monitoring costs depend on how many devices you want to keep track of. For example, monitoring one device may cost $5 per month while monitoring five costs at least $25 (more if it’s GPS-enabled). Plus, some apps require daily visits, which generate additional fees.
Your initial mobile app development team should include programmers and quality assurance testers; plus an architect who can design the back end or database (if necessary). You may also need copywriters, designers, and marketing experts for post-launch support. Your own developers may not be available in the long term so your maintenance costs should include hiring at least one new developer each year.
If you have 5 programmers on staff, divide the $4000 monthly cost by 5 to get an idea of how much it would cost per person. The total will vary depending on the different salaries in your area. For example, if your app requires regular updates and bug fixes throughout the year, this comes out to about $166 per month per programmer.
Maintenance Costs for Games
Game maintenance is usually more costly than that of other types of apps because there are additional features involved: high scores; leaderboards; additional levels or expansions; online support; plus customer service (in case players need help). So game programming may require 6-10 people working full-time, depending on the logistics.
Maintenance Costs for Business Apps
Many business apps need updates about once a month, but this entirely depends on the customer’s needs and requirements. For example, a mobile application for restaurants should be updated almost weekly, as changes to menus, hours of operation, and specials are constantly being made. Plus, those restaurants will be checking in with their customers daily through social media – which means they’ll need an app that allows them to provide quick responses and announcements as well as manage events or offers. At the end of the day, these businesses may require two developers each working 40 hours per week (or $166 per hour) just for maintenance alone – not including design and copywriting – so it makes sense for them to hire an agency to build and maintain their app for ongoing support.
TOTAL PER YEAR: $4000 (assuming one developer is necessary) + $40 * number of users per year = $4140 cost per year, or $141.67 monthly
TOTAL PER MONTH: ($4000/12) + ($40*number of users)/12=$61.67 monthly cost per user. This means that a social network with 10 million members would need to spend about $6,000 each month on maintenance alone. Some apps offer an initial fee to cover ongoing costs (such as Gmail), but this isn’t always the case – even if the app offers value such as, say, access to your credit score or online storage space. It’s still a good idea to be aware of what you might have to pay for in maintenance.
An ongoing process that involves both functional testings (is it doing what it’s supposed to) and non-functional testing (how well does it work with different devices, connectivity speeds, etc.). It’s best for the developer to perform the first level of testing, but a second opinion from another company will help to ensure your app is ready for market. Monitor costs depending on how many devices you want to keep track of. For example, monitoring one device may cost $5 per month while monitoring five costs at least $25 (more if it’s GPS enabled). Plus, some apps require daily visits which generate additional fees. Your initial development team should include programmers and quality assurance testers; plus an architect who can design the back end.