Before You Become a Freelance Mobile App Developer

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Mobile app development has come of age today. With the ever-rising demand for smartphone apps, this field is full of Apple, Android and BlackBerry developers. Submitting your app has become much easier, with the major app stores relaxing their restrictions. Most app stores charge a nominal registration fee, which makes it more lucrative for the app developer. But can a freelance mobile app developer really earn that much from his independent occupation? Is it worth becoming a self-employed, freelance mobile developer? What are the pros and cons of becoming a mobile developer?

Here are things you should know before you decide to become a freelance mobile app developer.

Each App Store Has Its Drawbacks

Each of the major app stores comes with its unique drawbacks.

  • The Apple App Store still continues to slap several restrictions on app developers. Besides, the huge number of iOS developers would make it difficult to make your mark as an independent mobile developer.
  • The Android Market is easy to enter, but the mobile platform is fragmented, thanks to apps for too many types of mobile devices.
  • BlackBerry World is not systematized enough. Besides, this has to be installed on the device before use.
  • The webOS and Windows Mobile 7 are much lesser saturated.

Registration Fees

Most mobile platforms require you to pay up an initial registration fee. While the Apple App Store charges developers an annual fee of $99, the Android Market is much cheaper at a one-time $25 registration fee. The BlackBerry World charges a one-time fee of $100. Nokia Ovi charges a one-time registration fee of $73 but adds on other signing fees as and when applicable.

As you can see, you also need to consider the cost you will incur as regards registration and signing fees for each of these app stores.

Company Registration Fees

Some app stores also charge you what is known as “company registration fees”, which is a fee to certify that your app has been “verified and tested” in their marketplace. At this point in time, Symbian is one platform that charges a hefty company registration fee. The Apple App Store charges you a fee to sell your app in their store. Most other platforms are free and you can download and use their SDK without fearing the above restrictions.

Of course, paying certification fees is optional and only required if you want to access certain advanced features of that particular app marketplace.

App Store Commission

Most of the major app stores charge you a 30% commission on the sales of your app in their marketplace.

The BlackBerry World charges only 20% commission.

The webOS pays their developers via PayPal, which decreases your commission further. Hence, this one may not be an extremely viable for you, returns-wise, especially if you are a US-based mobile app developer.

Breaking Even

It is important for you to consider the pricing of your app, as you finally need to break even vis-à-vis your expenses and returns.

Most of the major app stores stipulate a minimum price point of $0.99. Only the BlackBerry World has a minimum price of $2.99.

This shows that you will be able to recover your initial investment without too much trouble. So there is no major risk factor involved here.

Actually Earning From Your App

Your aim is not just breaking even, but also making a decent sum every month, from the sales of your app. For this, you will first have to decide a target sum you want to earn and based on that, see if you can manage to generate the volume of sales required to make that much amount of profit.

While you are projecting this figure, you will also have to look at the size of the particular marketplace that you are targeting. Right now, Apple and Google are at the very top of the rung. Hence, these also have the highest number of app users, which means, you have that much more chance of making profits in these markets.

Get Your Apps out There

In conclusion, you can definitely make profits being a freelance mobile app developer. But how much you can make each month depends on your costs, your marketing efforts, the volume of sales, and so on. Analyze each mobile platform in detail before selecting your chosen platform or platforms and then go ahead and develop apps for the same.

All the best in your venture!

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