The job of App developers isn’t over even after your app is published in the app store. The next stage involves the active maintenance and support of the app which obviously costs some money and time, but it is so important that it can’t be ignored in this competitive Apps ecosystem. Even if you are running low on budget, you simply shouldn’t skip the app maintenance part. It is equally important for your business growth and also keeps your app running smoothly in future even if there are some overnight changes in the technology ecosystem. So before outsourcing your mobile app development work, you must be aware of how much does it cost to maintain an app, and also if you will get some free maintenance and support services along with original App Development Contract or not.
We need to understand that Mobile or web App maintenance is an iterative process of upgrading app version in alignment with its underlying operating system version, third party libraries and also includes bug fixing, security flow hunting, and other tasks. Maintaining an app is equally important as it ensures that your app will continue to work fine even when you’re sleeping and not updating its code everyday. When an app is the core of your business and you want to get more daily active users and retain the existing ones, it is important that you hire an app development company to do regular maintenance of your apps and backend and therefore you should ask them how much does it cost to maintain an app along with asking how much does it cost to create an app . Generally, the Apps maintenance cost vary between 15 to 20 % of the total cost of app development, annually, though you can pay the same on monthly basis.
There are more chances that you wouldn’t be doing the app maintenance yourself if you’re not a developer, and even if you’re you might not be knowing all the technologies needed to support & maintain your app regularly and therefore you’d end up hiring either an inhouse team or a competent App development company doing the same. Most of such App development companies (including ours) would provide some free support & maintenance period of like 3 or 6 months for the apps development by them, and can cost the app maintenance at a regular monthly retainer kind of fee. A simple way to calculate the app maintenance cost is to estimate the number of hours needed per month for certain maintenance tasks, and then multiply those by the hourly rate. Now, to estimate real cost of App maintenance and knowing how much does it cost to maintain an app, let us quickly discuss some major tasks (but, not limited to) that are usually covered in app maintenance contract as follows:-
- Version upgrades as mobile OS upgrades: As Android and iOS get regular updates, it is always recommended to check if your app is compatible the latest version while ensuring backward compatibility. Although each new update comes with some backward version compatibility but upgrading to make app compatible to latest version would allow you to offer latest OS features in your app for your end users.
- Upgrading the Apps with latest version of third party libraries and services: We repeatedly educate our non-technical customers that an app is a combination of the code written by your developer, and the various public or private third party libraries and services. For example, the FB based signup is a third party service that we use in the apps for user’s sign up while google maps API is a third party service to enable map based features in the app and there are many others for lesser famous purposes that app developers use in the apps frequently. So whenever there are newer versions of such libraries are available, it is beneficial to upgrade your app accordingly and keep at the cutting edge of technology.
- Bug fixing and troubleshooting: No Live app can afford to have broken functionality, not at all when your live users are reporting that and therefore you need a competent technical team on standby to handle all such user or tester reported issues on top priority and with quick turn around. No matter how good testing you do before going live, there are chances of something not working perfectly for various reasons, ranging from as silly as something that was skipped in testing to some related to the breaking of any third party service being used in the app. This is the most important factor in determining how much does it cost to maintain an app.
- Researching on new technology alternatives: It is important and beneficial to allow your App developers to research on newer technology and tools to replace some existing and under-performing tools and technologies with latest ones, and ofcourse to save the cost at times. You should ask your app developer to include this research & consulting task as a part of the app maintenance contract. A relevant example is one of our Apps known as barnow, where we suggested the customer to replace the library that we used for phone based authentication to the newer one launched by the Facebook, it saved customer’s cost, time and offered better performance.
- Code optimization: It is something which is not always an urgent task, but should be a part of the app maintenance contract since there is always a space to improve and optimize the code of your app and the backend. You should ask your app developer to figure out the areas where the code can be optimized and propose the right way to fix the same, and then get the job done.
- Important promotional features addition:there are scenarios where you want to push sales and promote your products during festive seasons like Black Friday, Christmas, Diwali, etc., then you will need an app maintenance company to quickly write some magic lines of code and push it to users without actually updating the app by rolling out a new version in the app store. For example – keeping the sales on hold on an ecommerce app before the sales starts, or putting a banner of sales before customer actually enters in the app etc. The main idea is to grab the user’s attention. Thus, you need app maintenance services for this type of seasonal tasks too.
- Analytics: Most app publishers aren’t aware of all the key metrics to track the performance of their app, nor all app analytical tools offer everything in right manner. In that case, an app development agency will do the analytics on your behalf and share the report, which is less daunting and easy to understand.
- Data backup: No matter if you do it manually or ask your cloud provider to do the same (which is sometimes costlier), you should be doing a regular data back and restore of your app. We had a bitter experience when one of our customer’s live dating app got hacked and they were asking some bitcoin grands as ransom to restore the data, but since we had taken the data backup just one day before we restored everything without paying anything and then reinforced the security at AWS and App side, so that such hacking never happens again. This data backup allowed us a lot of benefit at the most crucial time.
Please note that these App maintenance tasks are completely different than App enhancement tasks, and the latter are not part of app maintenance agreement generally. App Enhancements are usually new features that developers write on the top of existing features after a design and user experience flow is identified, and therefore should be considered as “new feature development” than “app maintenance tasks”. When I answer how much does it cost to maintain an app, I’m considering the only the tasks mentioned above and some related ones, and not at all the new feature development related tasks.
Now some numbers to answer the question, How much does it cost to maintenance an App –
We at Agicent App Company, offer a 3 months free support & maintenance service along with any new app development project, and after that we charge as low as $ 500 to $ 1000 per month to maintain the app. A 60 hours per month app maintenance contract cost $ 500 monthly while and 120 hours one cost $ 1000. When the work exceeds the hourly cap, then we either do it in next month or do as an extra work if customer asks us to do it in ongoing month itself.
You can download and go through this Sample Mobile App Maintenance Contract to understand the simple terms & costing we sign for regular App maintenance agreement, and figure out How much does it cost to maintain an app yourself by calculating the hours you’d be needed per month for the same.
You can feel free to ask us to do the estimation of hours needed to maintain your app on monthly basis, and we’d be doing it for free for you even before you offer us any hiring commitment, we shall also calculate and let you know How much does it cost to maintain your app, so drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org whenever you need to.
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