While talking with two boys who are getting ready to enter their junior year of High School, I was astounded to hear what they are planning to do with their futures. Instead of discussing what colleges they wanted to apply to, what careers they preferred to enter, or what sports activities they were preparing for this year, they shared with me their plans on having a mobile app built that will generate millions of downloads and make them both wealthy for life.
I began asking them questions to get them to think more logically: Do either of you know how to write software or design mobile apps? Are you planning on taking software development courses in high school or college? Are you aware of the average number of downloads for any given app offered by the App Store or Google Play? Do you know the average amount of revenue an app generates? Their answer for all of these questions was, “No.”
Their plan was that they would come up with the idea and then have someone else develop the app for them. They didn’t take into account the cost to the development team to write their app, the cost associated with marketing the app, or the fees that are required to be paid to Apple (if using the App Store) from each download. Basically, they had heard the one-in-a-million story of apps like Flappy Bird and wanted to do the same thing.
I explained to them that, as a software development company, we have people every year come in and talk to us about building a mobile app that is going to make them extremely wealthy. Our obligation as a company is to ask them questions to help them think more objectively about their endeavors. Who is your target user? Are there other apps that already do what yours will do? If so, how many downloads has the other app received? Will yours be a free app with hopes of receiving advertising revenue, or will you charge each user for your app? How much will you charge?
Over and over again, we hear the statement, “Oh . . . I hadn’t thought about that.”
Don’t get me wrong – there are opportunities within the mobile app market to make good money, but people need to be aware of what it takes to actually get to that point. People also need to be aware of what they can expect in terms of downloads and revenue for their ideas. According to an article written by Tristan Louis on Forbes.com, the average revenue generated per app on Google is $1125, on Microsoft is $625, and on Apple is $4000. That’s total revenue per app. Even if you developed five apps on the App Store, that’s still only $20K in revenue. I hardly think anyone can retire on $20,000 dollars – especially a high schooler!
Tristan Louis points out that everyone with a mobile app idea and every software developer hopes to create “the next big hit but, as is the case for any hit-driven market, a large group will be left behind with little to show for their efforts. At the end of the day, the model for mobile apps is no different than any other of the past: whether it is gold in the Yukon, websites in the 1990s, or app developers today . . .” Learn the facts, look at the numbers, think objectively, and consult with the experts. And, if you still think your app idea will work, then you can work to make it a success. But until then, don’t think you will get-rich-quick with a mobile app idea. Especially, don’t base you future on it!
Zenware, Inc. is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software. We also have a powerful line up of off-the-shelf mobile cloud solutions; ZenTouch, and ZWarehouse