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.
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.
|Activity||Why to implement||Talents required||Rate per hour*|
|Bug fixes||To ensure a smooth experience for users|
To cover security gaps
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
|Design||To follow design trends|
Improve navigation and user experience
Align with corporate style changes
|Designer||From $15 to $150 and higher|
|Security||To stay invulnerable towards new hacker schemes and technologies||Developer||From $20 to $130 and higher|
|New features||To offer more functionality to users||Designer|
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.
|Maintenance fee||A 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 app||Equipment procurement|
Asset maintenance, repair, and replacement
|Varies based on app complexity, its usage, traffic etc.|
|Cloud hosting fee||A fee you pay monthly or annually for using the provider’s resources||Starts at $20 per month and goes higher|
|Third-party app fees||A fee you pay for using third-party apps and services like payment gateways, push notifications, maps, etc.||Varies|
|App store fees||A 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
|Support||A 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.
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.
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.
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.