The difference between successful and unsuccessful apps is not only in how they’re built — it’s also in how they’re maintained. But how much does it cost to maintain an app, and does it pay off in the long run?
The app maintenance cost varies depending on a number of factors, which we will explore below. We'll also take a close look at why you need to maintain your apps, the best practices, and the top agencies that can help you handle it expertly.
Table of Contents
- How Much Does App Maintenance Cost?
- Other Factors That Affect the Costs of Maintaining an App
- Five Tips on How To Minimize Your App Maintenance Costs
- Four Benefits of Mobile App Maintenance
- Four Types of Mobile App Maintenance
- Best Practices for App Maintenance
- Top Agencies to Help You Develop and Maintain Your App
- How Much Does It Cost To Maintain an App: Key Takeaways
- App Maintenance Cost FAQs
How Much Does App Maintenance Cost?
The industry norm is that the total cost of maintaining an app is about 15% to 20% of the original development costs. However, the cost of maintaining an existing app depends on many factors. There are four main categories of costs associated with mobile app maintenance:
1. Hosting Fees
Depending on the size and complexity of your app, hosting fees can range from $70 to $320 per month. If you have a simple app with no user login or database requirements, you can get by with a basic shared hosting plan.
However, if your app has more complex features like user login or an eCommerce component, you will need to pay more for dedicated or VPS hosting.
2. Updates and New Features
As time passes, you will want to add new features or update existing ones. Usually, the cost of updating an app depends on the wages of app developers. The average hourly rate for a mobile app developer in the United States is between $41 and $54. Therefore, the cost of adding new features mostly depends on the scope of the project.
Once your app is live, you will need to provide customer support. The cost of customer support varies depending on the number of customer service reps you need and the hours they work.
Customer support reps charge between $15 and $19 per hour, so again, the total cost depends on the project’s scope.
4. App Store Fees
Listing your app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store comes at a fixed price. For a developer account, you will need to pay an annual listing fee of $99 for Apple or a one-time fee of $25 for Google. In addition, both stores take a 30% cut of all in-app purchases made through their platforms, although there are some exceptions.
If you want to maintain a successful mobile app, you need to be prepared to invest both time and money into its upkeep. However, if you don’t have an in-house team, you can always outsource app development and get the expert help you need to maintain your app.
Other Factors That Affect the Costs of Maintaining an App
When it comes to the app maintenance cost, these factors also play a major role in the total cost of app maintenance:
1. Size & Complexity of the App
A small, simple app will require less time and effort to maintain than a large, complex app. This is because a small, simple app will have fewer features and less code, while the latter will have more features and more code. As such, the larger and more complex an app is, the more expensive it will be to maintain. If you plan to add more intricate features or interoperability, an experienced .net development company can add specialized expertise to the project.
2. Number of Users
An app with a large number of users will require more resources to maintain than an app with fewer users. This is because a large number of users can generate a lot of data, which can be difficult to manage. Of course, it can also lead to more customer support issues, increasing the cost of maintenance.
3. Frequency of Updates
An app that is updated frequently will require more resources to maintain than an app that is updated infrequently. This is because each update requires mobile app testing and deployment, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
To make things more complex, each update also has the potential to introduce new bugs, which can also increase the cost of maintenance.
4. Platform & Operating System
An app built for iOS will require different resources than an Android app. This is because iOS and Android are two different operating systems with different architectures. As such, an iOS app will need to be maintained differently than an Android app.
Five Tips on How To Minimize Your App Maintenance Costs
If you want to cut your spending, you should consider:
- Using a Cross-Platform App
- Relying on a Managed Service Provider
- Implementing an Agile Development Process
- Going for a Minimal Viable Product
- Knowing the Hidden Costs
1. Using a Cross-Platform App
A cross-platform app can be used on multiple operating systems, such as iOS and Android. By using a cross-platform app, you can avoid the need to maintain separate versions of your app for each operating system.
2. Relying on a Managed Service Provider
An MSP is a company that provides outsourced IT services, including mobile app development and maintenance. By using an MSP, you can avoid the need to hire in-house staff to develop and maintain your app.
Additionally, MSPs typically have economies of scale that allow them to provide their services at a lower cost than would be possible if you were to develop and maintain your app in-house.
3. Implementing an Agile Development Process
Agile development is a methodology that focuses on delivering software in short cycles, known as sprints. By delivering software in sprints, you can get feedback from users early and often, which can help reduce the need for major updates down the road.
Additionally, agile development processes typically require less documentation than traditional development processes, which can further reduce costs.
4. Going for a Minimal Viable Product
If you need to decide whether investing in your app is worthwhile, consider developing a minimal viable product (MVP). An MVP provides the smallest possible solution to the problem you're trying to solve, with basic functionalities. It helps you understand your audience's wants and needs, gather feedback, and modify the final product accordingly.
You can use your MVP to raise funds through crowdfunding platforms or angel investors. Here are three examples of mobile apps that started with an MVP:
- Uber: Initially, Uber only developed its app for San Francisco users. They added more cities and features based on the feedback they received from their SF audience.
- Instagram: Instagram began as a simple photo-sharing tool with limited filtering options. It gradually added editing, story sharing, and messaging features as its user base grew.
- Facebook: It may surprise you, but it also began as an MVP. It was initially a directory of Harvard students and later expanded to include other universities, eventually becoming the world's top social media platform.
5. Knowing the Hidden Costs
Most app solutions require four essential services:
- Functional services (such as push notifications)
- Administrative services (user administration and back-end)
- Infrastructure services (such as servers)
- IT support services (such as testing and updates)
To achieve the specific functionalities and features you desire in your app, you must consider services such as data storage, dashboard emulation, CDN, access control, API, libraries, tools, image data, and more. These hidden factors can significantly increase your budget.
Saving money is akin to making money. To obtain an accurate estimate for your project, talk to your development company to understand all cost factors. As your app grows, it will likely become more expensive. Negotiate with your outsourced partner to minimize hidden costs and maintenance expenses.
Four Benefits of Mobile App Maintenance
By regularly maintaining mobile apps, businesses can ensure that their customers have a positive experience and that their data is secure. Here are the most important aspects of app maintenance:
- Keeps Your App Running Smoothly
- Improves User Experience
- Increases App Security
- Helps You Stay Competitive
1. Keeps Your App Running Smoothly
Over time, as new features are added and new updates are released, it’s important to ensure that your app continues to run smoothly. Mobile app maintenance includes tasks like monitoring app performance, fixing bugs, and updating the app to take advantage of new features and devices.
By regularly maintaining your app, you can help ensure that it will continue working as intended and provide a positive experience for your users. What’s more, regular maintenance can help you identify potential problems early on, before they have a chance to cause major damage.
2. Improves User Experience
Mobile app maintenance is all about providing a good user experience. As users’ needs change over time, it’s crucial that your app meets their expectations.
Mobile app maintenance can help you add new features and functionality, as well as remove any outdated features, ensuring users always have the latest version with the best performance. If your app isn’t up-to-date or functioning properly, users will likely delete it and turn to one of your competitors’ apps instead.
3. Increases App Security
By regularly patching security vulnerabilities and updating the app with new features, businesses can help protect their customer data and reduce the risk of exploits. As new security threats emerge, it’s important to ensure that your app is protected against them. Mobile app maintenance can help you add new security features and update existing ones to keep your app safe from potential threats.
Moreover, you ensure that your app is compliant with privacy laws and regulations. This is especially important for businesses that may be subject to strict regulations governing the handling of customer data.
4. Helps You Stay Competitive
As the mobile app market becomes increasingly saturated, it is more important than ever to make sure your app is current and relevant. Aside from tending to the current users’ needs, maintenance helps you reach new customers, which in turn helps grow your business.
If someone downloads an app but doesn't use it or engage with it often enough, they won't see any benefits from using it or recommending it to others. That means less revenue for you.
By keeping track of how many users are using each feature within each update release (and making sure all features work properly), people will continue coming back after downloading the latest version. They may stick around long enough before needing another update.
Four Types of Mobile App Maintenance
The mobile world has evolved into a complex ecosystem of devices and apps. When it comes to mobile app maintenance, there are different types, and these are the four main ones:
- Perfective Maintenance: carried out to improve the overall performance of an app or to add new features. It is mostly used to address any issues identified by users and boost user experience.
- Adaptive Maintenance: ensures that an app is compatible with new versions of operating systems or devices. Usually, it is used to adjust certain components of the operating system or hardware/software environment.
- Preventive Maintenance: carried out to identify, prevent, and fix issues in an app and is based on active monitoring. As such, it is used on an ongoing basis.
- Corrective Maintenance: carried out in response to reported malfunctions. It is used to fix identified issues.
Best Practices for App Maintenance
Consider these factors to provide your users with a smooth and exceptional app experience by implementing the best practices:
- Adding New Feature Updates
- Keeping User Interface (UI) Updated
- Monitoring Performance
- Scheduling System Maintenance
1. Adding New Feature Updates
Keeping an eye on areas for improvement and exploring new features that can enhance your app is a wise decision.
2. Keeping User Interface (UI) Updated
To ensure the success of your app, it is crucial to keep your user interface up to date with the latest styles and usage habits. By staying trendy, you can keep your existing users happy and satisfied.
3. Monitoring Performance
Checking the performance of your app is crucial. This includes assessing loading times, lags, and responsiveness issues. It is essential to stay up to date by utilizing analytics reports. It is also vital to know your app's retention and churn rates, analyze customer usage patterns, and track your engagement and conversion rates.
4. Scheduling System Maintenance
Regularly scheduling system maintenance is a great way to prevent missing issues or bugs. It is essential to inform users about any maintenance-related system downtime to keep your app up to date. As an app owner, you are responsible for shaping the future of mobile by planning and efficiently implementing app maintenance.
Top Agencies to Help You Develop and Maintain Your App
Here are some of the agencies that offer app maintenance services and can assist you in the process of app development and maintenance:
- Applligent Technologies
- Expert App Devs
- Wolfpack Digital
- CodeLabs Inc.
- Essence Tech Labs
- Sector 7 Apps
- Strivemindz Pvt Ltd
- Front Desk Helpers
- Location: Madhav Club Road, in-front of Hotel Shipra Residency, Freeganj, Ujjain, 456006, India
- Average Hourly Rate: $25
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android App Development, Website Development, Graphic Design...
Applligent Technologies is a mobile app and web app development company that creates mobile apps in iOS, Android, FLutter & Ionic Platform and are also experts in creating web apps and backend in MEAN/LAMP.
The agency is the trusted development partner of many of our offshore clients from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Netherland, Ukraine, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, and Australia.
Their clients include Sanaz A., Joe C., and Olawale.
- Location: 39899 Balentine Dr, Newark, California CA 94560, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $100
- Expertise: Enterprise Mobile App Development, Website Development, Machine Learning, Blockchain Development
Calibraint is a young agency with the intention of producing a high-quality software product with a customer-centric approach. Pitching the market is never difficult because of their astute crew formed with software architects, technology experts, QAs, UI/UX experts, business analysts, and marketing specialists.
The team dedicatedly works towards the path of innovation that converts a righteous idea into an industry standard product.
- Location: No.8, Sokkanadhar Street, Thirunagar, Madurai, 625006, India
- Average Hourly Rate: $20
- Expertise: IT outsourcing, Mobile App Development, Android App Development, Enterprise Mobile App Development...
Appticz is a leading software development company that provides end-to-end custom software development services that add value to any business. 150+ expert developers have helped startups to large companies transform their ideas into great web and mobile app products.
Their passionate team of designers and developers can design, code, build, test, and deliver a quality product that satisfies any business needs and market demand.
Clients include Tree Bank, MMO Swap, and KCC Memepad.
- Location: Suite 1-454, 7558 W Thunderbird Rd, Peoria, Phoenix, Arizona 85381, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $50
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android App Development, iPhone App Development and Internet of Things...
Expert App Devs' customer base involves clients at both domestic and global levels. They invest in leading-edge and sophisticated technology solutions to accomplish business operations with acquirable results.
The company specializes in developing both Android and iPhone applications that enhance productivity and user-engagement for their partners.
Clients include Nyse, Infosys, and National Geographic.
- Location: Emil Racoviță, 37, Cluj-Napoca, 400165, Romania
- Average Hourly Rate: $70
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Financial App, Software Development, Internet of Things...
Winner of the European Technology Awards for the App Development category, Wolfpack Digital builds platforms that scale. The websites and apps that they've built now have over 4 million users/month.
Some of their apps have been featured in the App Store. They believe in high-quality integrated systems, which delight users through stunning visuals and a smooth experience. They aim to find the optimal balance between speed and quality and commit to building products that reach your business goals and can scale.
Clients include Studio British, The Bosco, and Amplicare.
- Location: 3rd Floor, Fusion Square, 5A &; 5B, Sector 126, Noida, 201303, India
- Average Hourly Rate: $10
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, iPhone App Development, Fintech Software Development, Software Development...
PixelCrayons are an award-winning software consulting and development firm offering end-to-end solutions to enterprises, ISVs, digital agencies, and startups. They provide end-to-end development solutions for web and mobile apps, eCommerce, CMS, frontend, Blockchain, AR/VR, IoT, machine learning, etc.
Since their establishment in 2004, they have serviced 5,400+ customers from 38+ countries. They have one of the best client retention rates (97%+) across the industry.
Clients include Vodafone, Adobe, HP, Volkswagen, etc.
- Location: 259 Mayflower Ln, Bolingbrook, Chicago, Illinois 60490, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $35
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, eCommerce App Development, Android App Development, iPhone App Development...
CodeLabs is a premier software development company, offering a wide range of web and mobile solutions across the globe. They have substantial experience building custom software solutions and a deep understanding of how businesses work, making them a successful development partner.
Clients include Humwell, MyWater, and Optix.
- Location: 1108 250 Consumers Road #541, North York, M2J 4V6, Canada
- Average Hourly Rate: $50
- Expertise: iPhone App Development, Android App Development, Mobile App Development, Educational App Development...
Essence Tech Labs is digital innovation and IT solution company building custom software for small and large enterprises in Canada. They provide services in mobile app development, UX/UI design, web development, startup consulting, custom software development, IoT development, software outsourcing, offshore software development, and digital marketing.
Clients include ShopIn Club, Other Ideas, and Value Walk.
- Location: 1201 E Jefferson St Suite #4A, Phoenix, Arizona 85034, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $165/hr
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android & iPhone App Development, .Net Development.
Sector 7 Apps is an award-winning app development company based in Phoenix, Arizona, with several years of experience in all things mobile app development.
Sector 7 Apps offers custom app development for iOS and Android devices and are experts in strategy, planning, and optimization. Additionally, Sector 7 Apps tackles your project with a proven process to ensure an excellent product and create a smooth and efficient development.
- Location: SF 38/39, Jaipur Textile Market, Jaipur, 302017, India
- Average Hourly Rate: $20/hr
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Game App Development, and Software Development.
Strivemindz has been a leader in the web, game, and app development industry since 2016. Their highly experienced team of professionals is devoted to delivering unique and visually stunning mobile apps, games, and software that capture users’ attention effectively.
Strivemindz has mastered the tech to develop reliable products for even the most innovative brands. Their remarkable portfolio includes app development for clients like Get Together Institute of Finance and CEEM, just to name a few.
- Location: 27 Avery Dr #1, Old Bridge, New Jersey 08857, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $7/hr
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Website Development, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing...
Front Desk Helpers has been developing its own proprietary telecom platform that combine with flexible human resources (HR) management. The agency focuses on business process outsourcing, which includes IT development and engineering, web and app development, and technical support.
- Location: 2803 Philadelphia Pike, Suite B 191, Claymont, Delaware 19703, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $50/hr
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Thunkable Development, Website Development, Software Development…
With a goal to untangle complex issues, Binmile serves Fortune 500 and enterprise clients by delivering cutting-edge solutions. Their offerings include mobile app development for iOS and Android, web and product development, software testing, cloud computing, and DevOps.
Binmile's app development is designed for scalability and high performance, and their expertise in technology and industry experience ensures the delivery of mobile solutions of any complexity.
- Location: 7500 Beach Road, #04-307, Singapore, 199591, Singapore
- Average Hourly Rate: $60/hr
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Software Development...
Since 2013, Edlution has helped many businesses and non-IT departments to create IT solutions, tailored to their unique processes to digitalize, automate, increase productivity, and develop their competitive advantage.
How Much Does It Cost To Maintain an App: Key Takeaways
Mobile apps are the future of marketing and how business will be done. As such, they are an investment that you can later profit from through mobile app monetization.
However, the only correct answer to how much it costs to maintain an app is: it depends. There are no standard fees — the costs depend entirely on what needs to be done with each individual case. As long as you are aware of your needs and the factors that affect the costs, which we've discussed above, you can plan your budget more wisely and work with the best partner to meet your requirements.
For specialized apps like banking apps, reliable maintenance is key. This is where finance software development companies excel, offering updates, security, and ongoing improvements.
App Maintenance Cost FAQs
1. Is app maintenance a fixed cost?
There are two types of app maintenance costs: fixed and variable.
2. How often do apps need maintenance?
Aiming for 1-2 minor monthly improvements is a good rule of thumb. These improvements may include minor upgrades, redesigns, or new features. Regular, incremental improvements are more effective than sporadic overhauls of the app. However, the frequency of app updates may vary depending on your goals and the functionality of your app.