How Much Does it Cost to Maintain an App in 2023

How Much Does it Cost to Maintain an App in 2023

As an unwritten business rule says, only the open to change survive. The one who keeps exploring and improving.

You should make your app better every day and the users pay you off with their dedication and loyalty. That’s how you win the race with other players in the app market. By never stopping where you are.

So, once a custom product development stage is over, you already know that a new fascinating chapter is awaiting you – app maintenance. That’s a pretty complex process that ensures the whole app infrastructure works properly (as you maintain it) and users get the features they want (as you update it).

But how much will it cost you to maintain an app? Delve into this article and learn how to make an approx estimate.

Why Is Application Maintenance Important?

An app without proper maintenance is like a house without repairs. It will decay, whether you want it or not. So, you may want to invest in upgrading your digital product because:

  • Features. People will want to have new features to keep using your app.
  • Keep up with UI/UX trends. You may want to improve the UI/UX design, new trends never ask whether you are ready.
  • Bugs. There will always be bugs that needs to be fixed
  • Tech update. Your application uses libraries and other software that needs to be updated regularly
  • Integration maintenance. Your app might rely on 3rd party services, APIs or other forms of integration. Their services might change over time, and your code needs to follow
  • Security. The need to update the codebase to manage evolving security risks
  • You simply will want the app to evolve with your business – your business expands, and so should your app.
Find more on these and other reasons for app maintenance in this article.

But that’s not all.

Interestingly, Google Play Store keeps tabs on abandoned apps. If the app hasn’t been updated for two years – it will be hidden from users, making it impossible to download it until the maintenance job is done.

So, if you are not ready to lose all the investments you made into app development, users, and, in many cases, the source of earnings, – you know what decision to make. Maintain it!

Here Are Some of The Most Critical Aspects of App Maintenance Cost

Taking on calculating how much the app maintenance will cost is quite a puzzle. That’s because you may be uncertain about what pieces of the puzzle to put together. But the ORIL team is here to clear it up. Read on to see what facets of your app may require heavier investment and what third-party services to take into account.

Updates and New Features

There are so many things you may want to have updated and maintained in your app! Here are a few of them.

ActivityWhy to implementTalents requiredRate per hour*
Bug fixesTo ensure a smooth experience for users

To cover security gaps

QA engineer

Back-end or front-end developer (depending on the nature of the issue)

From $12 to $58 and higher

From $20 to $130 and higher

DesignTo follow design trends

Improve navigation and user experience

Align with corporate style changes

DesignerFrom $15 to $150 and higher
SecurityTo stay invulnerable towards new hacker schemes and technologiesDeveloperFrom $20 to $130 and higher
New featuresTo offer more functionality to usersDesigner

QA engineer

From $15 to $150 and higher

From $12 to $58 and higher

Back-end or front-end developer Project manager

From $20 to $130 and higher

From $19 to $45 and higher

*Hourly rates data is gathered based on some of the top search results on Upwork.

For instance, when you want to release a new feature, you may need to involve a designer, a QA engineer, multiple developers, and a project manager. The rate of these specialists will vary depending on their experience, location, and other variables. As you multiply their rate by the number of hours spent working on your project, you will get an estimate of the talent cost.

App Monitoring and Maintenance

The costs of maintaining an app are also associated with infrastructure maintenance. Which, by the way, incorporates many different things. Here are the things that may add to the amount of money you should be ready to allocate for app maintenance.

Expense typeExplanationCost
Maintenance feeA sum you pay to third-party specialists for the service they provide (database, app infrastructure optimization, tech stack upgrades, API upgrades, certificate and server updates).Varies based on expert’s hourly rates
Server cost for appEquipment procurement

Energy consumption

Asset maintenance, repair, and replacement

Varies based on app complexity, its usage, traffic etc.
Cloud hosting feeA fee you pay monthly or annually for using the provider’s resourcesStarts at $20 per month and goes higher
Third-party app feesA fee you pay for using third-party apps and services like payment gateways, push notifications, maps, etc.Varies
App store feesA fee you pay for listing your app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store$99 annually – for Apple App Store

$25 one-time payment – for Google App Store

SupportA payroll to support agents interacting with app users (if you have such a service)From $10 to $45 per hour and higher

Other Factors Affecting the Cost of App Maintenance

Some cost-formation factors are more explicit than others. If these things slip your mind, you should get back to re-estimating the cost of app maintenance.

Updates Frequency

Top Android apps sharing top positions on the Google Play Store get updates on average every 58 days – some do it weekly, others – once in two months.

How often you want to release updates is totally up to you. But mind that every update requires coding, testing, and deployment. Which may be time-consuming and costly sometimes.

App Size and Complexity

The math is simple – the larger and more complex the app is, the more expensive it will be to maintain.

The reason for that is pretty straightforward. A small app has less code and fewer features. And it means it requires less time for maintenance. With complex and sizeable products, more effort is required. Hence, the higher maintenance cost.

Platform

Your app can be deployed on one, a couple, or all platforms at once – Android, iOS, web, Windows, macOS, Linux, and others. Or you might have settled on a cross-platform product that allows running an app across different operating systems from a single codebase.

If your app runs on several operating systems, you will need to maintain it separately. Which is twice as expensive as handling one platform.

Marketing Efforts

Do you use any marketing tools to get to know your audience – for working out features tailored to their needs? Would you like to spread the word about a new super-amazing update that will drive more users? Then you should count these expenses as well.

Tips on Keeping the App Maintenance Cost Down

App maintenance may take 15% – 30% of the total annual business budget. But there are a few tricks that will let you reduce the cost and spend the corporate resources elsewhere.

1.Test Every Update

If you do not believe in the relevance of QA testing during releasing new updates, you’d better change your mind. It is much cheaper to fix an issue at the development stage rather than when it has become live. Saying nothing about the damage it may make to the reputation if the issue is severe.

Yes, the update release may take a little longer. Yes, you will have to reward a QA engineer for their work. But it is nothing compared to the amount of money you are going to lose once it turns out that the app is not working.

2.Consider a Cross-Platform Development Approach

Maintaining a few native apps is a luxury. Why do the same job for multiple apps if you can instantly update or fix the code for different operating systems at once?!

Today, experienced developers know how to manage a single codebase for different operating systems, including mobile and desktop. And a single source of code means less time to maintain. Which, in its turn, results in a lower maintenance cost.

3.Partner with Dedicated Teams

App maintenance require specialists monitoring app performance all the time. To release new updates, you will need developers, designers, QA engineers, and other talents.

Having them in-house may be irrelevant and expensive. First, because of the inconsistent nature of work – this month you need the service of a designer, another month – no.

Hiring a dedicated team is a cost-effective solution. You pay for the time every particular specialist works on your project, nothing more. Also, the flexibility of dedicated teams is truly amazing – you can add or remove as many people to the project on demand.

So, How Much Does It Cost to Maintain an App?

What level of app perfection would you like to achieve? If your plans are grand, this may cost you something. But the investment will bring you plenty of gains in the long run – no end to new users, a mountain of financial pay-backs, and a solid reputation of a company others look up to.

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