Cost of app maintenance and tech support in 2022
How much does the app cost? In our previous article, we defined the approximate cost of creating an app, but the expenses don’t end with the launch of your app. The development stage takes a substantial amount of money, but that’s not all. No less important and resource-intensive part of the mobile app project is maintenance and tech support. This applies to all sorts of applications – web or mobile. In this article, we will discuss what types of expenses you will have after your app’s successful launch and how much you will spend.
Why mobile app maintenance and tech support is essential?
An app is, though virtual, but the machine. And like any other machine, it requires constant maintenance and regular checks. If we continue the machine analogy, a regular car, for example, your money for the maintenance is fuel, software updates are like the necessary tuning, and the platforms your app is working on are the roads. And here is the main problem – these “roads” are constantly changing. Your “car”, once launched, should never stop, and thus, requires a solid maintenance plan.
The code of your app must always match the current tech requirements, which could (and will) change sometime. Because no matter how hard you try to create the code, that will work like a Swiss watch, this is far from reality. Your app will work on various platforms, hence with different software, which could interact differently with your code. Sometimes even with errors. All these circumstances force maintaining the app, constantly fixing bugs and creating regular updates. Not to mention, that someday you will want to add some new features.
What do the support costs include?
All the spending on maintenance and support of your app can be conditionally divided into several types – vital constant spending, secondary recurrent, irregular, and emergency spending.
Mandatory Fixed Costs
Vital costs are a list of expenses required for the application to operate as such.
On average, hosting server prices could range between $60 and $350 per month. But it is possible, that depending on the type of app, the quantity of content, and the number of active users, the price could reach more than $1,000 per month.
Most often, you need to update your app software to fix minor bugs and enhance the UX and maintain compatibility. The costs of regular updates may vary depending on the tech support services you have. If you have a developer in your company, such spending will be included in the specialist’s wage. But if you are working with some development agency, they will charge you due to their price list. Typically, the agency, which created an app for a company, then signs a long-term service contract and deals with all tech issues. The contract may, for example, include 20 hours of their specialists per month. And in that case, you can estimate by multiplying the average of a 1-hour pay rate by 20 and get the number. For Eastern Europe, with a $45-50/h pay rate, you will spend about $1000 per month.
In case you used any licensed technology for your app, you have to pay so amount monthly or yearly to its creator. Often, development agencies avoid using fully paid licensed content, not to depend on tech providers. Typically, developers use open source technologies with free licenses or such products, which can be purchased with a one-time payment. But, anyway, in the process of calculating the cost of maintenance, this point must be taken into account.
If your app is paid or allows the in-app purchase, you have to take into, that the app store takes a fee from each transaction. The Apple Store takes 15-30% of the total revenue of your app, depending on how much you make. Publishing your app on Apple Store (if it meets all the requirements) is free, but there is an annual fee of $99 (or $249 for the Enterprise version) for the Apple Developer Program. Google charges a one-time $25 fee for registration and then also takes 15-30% of your revenue.
Secondary support expanses
Additional recurrent expenses are those you have weekly/monthly/yearly for various additional functions and services you require for your app to work faster, more efficiently, and more conveniently for the users.
If you want to track your app properly, free analytics often isn’t enough. Using the additional paid services for tracking the traffic and users’ behavior could help you to improve the UX and gain more users.
Connection with the payment systems will cost you about $100 for registration and a certain percentage for each transaction. You may connect to the bank directly, in which case the bank will also take some percent for each transaction. Also, you have an option to create your own payment gateway, but it will take a lot more time and resources. And also you will need to meet all the requirements of PCI Compliance – standards of secure card transactions and personal data confidentiality.
For sending notifications to users, developers typically use third-party services, which are paid. Again, you can create your own system from the scratch, but ready-to-use service is faster and cheaper (~$10-20).
Irregular and emergency expanses
Irregular and emergency spending could be united in one group, despite the causes of such expenses. They appear unexpectedly, but you need to be always ready for them and have thoughtful action algorithms.
Emergency bug fix
Despite the reason, critical errors, that prevent proper work of your app, require immediate action – it is urgent to involve developers and fix everything as soon as possible.
Every platform your app will work on (iOS, Android, Windows) regularly updates its software. Sometimes such updates change the system significantly, so your code should be adjusted accordingly to continue working as soon as possible.
Adding new functions
Based on the development plan or users’ feedback, at some point, it is necessary to make changes to the appearance or structure of the app or introduce new features.
Implementing new features or new strategies in your app requires preliminary research. You need to find out is it really necessary to create these new features. Will these new features help to increase profits, and overrun the competitors? Such research is usually carried out by the marketing department. But such expenses can be attributed to the irregular costs of maintaining the application.
Security is one of the most important issues in any project, that involves personal data. Therefore, when calculating the maintenance and tech support costs for your app, it is necessary to take into account the cost of additional independent testing of security features. These tests are separate tech support activities and are not included in the list of standard developer services, thus are paid separately. On average, it costs $1000-$3000 to conduct such a procedure.
In a summary, as in a previous article about the pricing of app development, we have numerous factors, which could or could not affect the final price. But the good rule of thumb says that the average yearly cost of app maintenance and tech support equals 15-20% of the cost of initial development. So, taking the abstract number of $50,000 for the middle-sized app on Android and iOS, we get ~$10,000 per year for tech support without overcomplication. If you are planning to create an app and trying to figure out the total costs of such a project, we, at Code Harbor, are always glad to consult. Visit our website and let’s discuss your idea – set up a call and get a free estimation of your project.