Do you have an idea for an app you’ve been mulling over, but wondering if you have the right skill set to develop one?
Even if you’re a complete technophobe you can have a go at the app-making industry, and maybe even bring in a tidy profit.
Read on for our complete guide on how to create your own money-making app.
- Coming up with an idea for a money making app
- Types of apps
- How much can you make?
- Making an app for free
You can’t exactly start working on your app without an idea. For starters, think about what you would like an app for. Chances are, there are thousands of other people who are yearning for the same thing. Think about the community you live in. If you live in a big city that attracts a lot of attention from tourists, for example, then the options are endless.
Also think about your hobbies and interests. Let’s say you’re a frequent traveller and like to visit famous pubs around the world. You’ve acquired a list of your favorite locations. Why not turn that database into a map app for your fellow travellers?
Plenty of famous apps don’t centre around special interests, but they always top the charts. You probably already have them downloaded on your phone – Temple Run, Words With Friends, Minecraft. Gaming apps do tend to earn more money since users are more willing to pay for them, especially if they’re extremely popular among their friends. Lots of apps get their start just from word of mouth.
Don’t despair if you find something similar to your idea while searching through the app store. Learn to think outside the box. There are several apps out there that provide information and maps for all of the hottest tourist spots in London. But is there an app for locations off the beaten path that the average person wouldn’t know about?
Try to come up with an idea that won’t have a lot of competition with existing and favorable apps. But if you’re dead set in taking your idea to production despite the competition, take a look at your rivals and try to figure out what you can do to make your app bigger and better.
Here are some important points to consider while pondering over your app:
- Are you planning on taking on the work of developing the app yourself, or are you willing and able to hire a team?
- Who does the app benefit?
- Will your app require daily management?
- Does your app promote an existing service (such as your company), or does it stand alone?
- Hoe much are you planning to charge?
- Do you want your app to result in a full-time business, or do you want it to simply be a side project?
- What platforms do you want your app available on?
There are numerous categories that your app can fit under. Here are most of them, with examples of some of the more popular options.
- Games (Words With Friends, Draw Something)
- Travel (TripAdvisor, Kayak)
- Social networking (Facebook, Twitter)
- News (BBC, NYTimes)
- Music (Spotify, Pandora)
- Photography (Instagram, Picstitch)
- Video (Vine)
- Utility (Google Translate, Flashlight)
Now you have your idea. Great, that’s half the battle! But now what? We’re assuming, like most people, that you don’t have any experience in programming. And that’s fine! There are tons of options.
If you want to take a more expensive but convenient route, look into hiring an app developer. Sites like AppBooker let you enter your preferred platform, country, whether or not your app is freelance or for an agency, and your budget. They then provide a list of developers that suit your needs. By clicking through the companies, you can see a list of their clients and the types of apps they specialise in.
Another great website to check out is The App Developers. You can select if you’re creating an app as an indivudal, a business or an agency. They can create apps for mobiles, tablets and your average desktop computer. To receive any sort of price quote, you must fill out a form detailing your idea before they can get back to you. As we’ll cover later, the cost of making your app depends largely on how intricate you plan to be with the design.
Here are some questions to ask as you’re shopping around for a developer:
- What do they charge?
- Who have they worked for in the past?
- Are their apps successful?
- Will I have full ownership?
- Do they have the skill set to bring my idea to life?
- Which platforms (iOS, Android, etc.) can they build apps for?
You have to spend money to make money, as the saying goes. Turns out, that’s not entirely true in the app-making industry. But we’ll get to that later. For now, let’s assume you’ve decided to hire a developer.
Depending on the type of app you wish to develop, the cost can range between £700 to £170,000. This may sound like a lot of money, but bear in mind that the right app will bring in a profit that outweighs the development cost. Also, gaming apps – which will cost the most to develop – are also among the chart-toppers.
You will, of course, run into developers who will offer to make you an all-inclusive app for less than £1,000. Be wary of this, though, as you tend to get what you pay for. We think it’s best to pay a little extra for a quality product you can be proud of. Why waste nearly a £1,000 on an app that won’t sell?
If you can provide some of your own content (such as the layout and graphics), you can reduce the hefty fees. Another way to possibly shave off some costs would be to offer the developer equity. However, they’d have to really be sold on your idea and you’d have to be financially prepared for such an agreement.
If you want any specifc add-ons, those can cost you an additional £700 or more. Some of the more popular additions include GPS locators and the ability to share content over social media.
It costs approximately £66.50 ($99) each year to sell your product through Apple, who only list prices in American dollars. This cost is well worth it, though, as you’ll get tons of traffic.
Obviously, the money you earn from your app will depend largely on its popularity and how much you decide to charge, so it’s difficult to say. Unless you’re completely confident with your creation, it’s probably not best to quit your full-time job! A study from GigaOM Pro showed that more than half of their 352 surveyed developers made less than £400 a month. Not quite enough to live off of, but perfect if you’re just looking for a little extra cash on the side.
Of course, you could have the next Angry Birds and bring in nearly £660,000 a month!
- Make sure it reaches a broad audience rather than a niche market
- Start small just to get your feet wet, and then go from there
- Research the most popular apps on the store
- Currently, it’s easier to make money through iOS apps
- Encourage family and friends to leave reviews for your app
- Consider developing your app for the iPad as well
- If your app is for an existing business, be sure to advertise it on your webpage and through social media
When you sell your app through Apple, they take 30% of the profits and directly deposit your sales into your bank account each month.
Making money with free apps
You don’t have to charge your customers to make money. If you want to keep your app completely free, there are still ways for you to bring in a profit. By including adverts in your app, you can keep your app free of charge but still make some money.
Don’t want to spend thousands developing your app? That’s completely understandable! Maybe you just want to toy around with your idea before making a commitment. There are loads of programs online that allow you to develop an app free of charge. Here are some we recommend: