Mobile app development does not end at launch. Therefore, ongoing mobile app maintenance is critical to the continued functionality and success of any mobile app. In fact, for successful mobile apps, mobile app maintenance represents the most significant portion of the software development lifecycle and, in turn, the most significant expense.
So how much does it cost to maintain an app? The cost to maintain any mobile app depends on the quality of the initial development, the size of the application, the number of updates, etc. Therefore, you won’t find a generic app maintenance cost. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for this expense.
An effective way to estimate your organization’s mobile app maintenance costs is to figure an annual cost of 15-25 percent of the total mobile app development cost. However, in the first year of mobile app maintenance, this figure could be over 40 percent.
Estimating conservatively, if you spent 200,000 dollars on mobile app development, annual mobile app maintenance costs will range from 30 to 50 thousand dollars. Of course, app maintenance costs are also affected by the number of operating systems you have.
For example, if you develop multiple native apps, your annual app maintenance costs could be higher than 15-25 percent of app development costs.
Now that you know a little more about how much mobile app maintenance costs, we will explain the different types of app maintenance and some of the vital factors that affect the cost to maintain an app.
The Different Types of Mobile App Maintenance
There are several different types of mobile app maintenance services. Mobile app maintenance costs can be affected by the type of app maintenance you require. Therefore, it is vital to understand the different maintenance services, such as:
- Emergency maintenance
- Corrective maintenance
- Preventive maintenance
- Adaptive maintenance
- Perfective maintenance
Emergency app maintenance implies that an unexpected and critical error has presented itself and needs to be addressed promptly. Due to the urgent nature of an emergency, this type of app maintenance will likely be the most expensive.
However, depending on the maintenance contract you have with your app development company, emergency services might not cost more than other maintenance services.
Emergency maintenance can cover any aspect of your mobile app, but more likely than not, the issue is significantly affecting the availability or performance of the application and requires immediate attention.
Corrective maintenance addresses issues and defects in application functions. This type of app maintenance also addresses errors in design, app logic, and other coding issues. Corrective maintenance typically addresses faults that app users can see.
Fixing bugs is an integral part of corrective maintenance. Typically, companies will gather user feedback to identify bugs. However, using tools like Google Analytics can also help companies identify bugs if they notice strange user behavior in certain areas of their application.
Preventive maintenance is aimed at eliminating errors before they cause issues. Generally, developers will focus on reducing the complexity of the application’s code through refactoring.
In addition, preventive maintenance includes thorough updates to documentation and code optimization. Preventing errors before they can occur will reduce the costs of fixing them later on.
Adaptive maintenance ensures the application is up-to-date and compatible with the latest operating systems and technologies. For example, new OS releases can interrupt features like push notifications if you don’t keep your application updated.
Typically, new OS releases are announced ahead of time so developers are not blindsided and have an opportunity to prepare an update. However, without adaptive maintenance, your application will quickly fall behind the competition and struggle to perform adequately on new devices.
User requirements change over time as innovations emerge. Perfective maintenance is tasked with perfecting the User Experience by adding new features and integrating new technologies.
When new technologies are introduced, you don’t have to completely redevelop your application. Instead, your organization can add new features and technologies to its application with perfective maintenance.
Common Factors Affecting App Maintenance Costs
Beyond the considerations we have already laid out in this post, some other common factors affect the cost of app maintenance, including the following:
- Third-party tools
- Customer support
App hosting and server costs are necessary expenses you cannot avoid. There are several different types of servers at different price points. Your app development company should walk you through all of the hosting options available to your application.
Hosting costs will vary depending on the computing resources your application requires. Generally, this is a monthly cost, but some hosting providers may allow you to pay for a year of service upfront, which may unlock additional discounts for your organization.
Third-party tools are used in almost every mobile app. Therefore, the expense for APIs, software, and other third-party tools must be accounted for. Typically, each API will have a monthly cost. However, many charge based on usage, so you only pay for the resources you use.
The developers building your application should inform your organization of any third-party tools and the associated costs for your company.
Customer support is something many companies overlook, but paying for this service can pay big dividends in customer satisfaction. For example, if users ever have an issue with your application, a customer support team can help them out and create more detailed bug reports for developers to address.
The more feature-rich an application is, the more expensive it will be to maintain. However, maintenance is not something your company should ignore. If you have developed a successful application, maintenance will represent the majority of the life cycle.
Finding the right maintenance partner can seem complicated. Typically, it is best if the developing company also maintains it for continuity’s sake. However, it is not always possible to do this.