App Monetization

Selling Mobile Apps From Scratch: a Step-by-Step Guide

Lena Mikrukova ◽ Jan 5, 2022

Every app can be an asset that earns you money, whether that be through one-time purchases, paid subscriptions, built-in ads, or selling the app itself. The latter market is on the rise, with the industry attracting more and more people ready to buy an application.

That means that a good developer can build a business just through selling apps and receive funding for more ambitious, profitable projects.

Criteria for Transferring an App

In order for an application to be sold and transferred from one developer to another, it must meet certain criteria.

App Store Criteria

  • The seller and buyer accounts cannot be in a state of change or pending. All paid and free agreements in the “Agreements, Tax and Banking” section must be accepted.
  • iCloud rights do not have to be accepted.
  • There must be at least one version of the app in the App Store.
  • The app must be in a “Ready for Sale” status.
  • Products that can be purchased in-app must be in an “Approved” status.
  • Beta testing should be disabled. All data from Xcode Cloud and installation, except for the current one, should be deleted.

More information about App Store requirements can be found here.

Google Play Criteria

  • Both the seller and the buyer must have active Google Play Developer accounts.
  • The seller must have registration transaction IDs. These can be found in Google Payments.

If all requirements for a transfer have been met, then a special form must be filled out and submitted

More information about Google Play requirements can be found here.

If an app does not meet these criteria, then the only option is to transfer the entire developer account, including subsequent re-registration, change of bank details, and so on. The transaction becomes significantly more complicated for every additional app involved in the process.

Evaluating an App

“Your product is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it” - this somewhat pretentious business book wisdom doesn’t always work in reality.

The evaluation process should be impartial and fair. For example, if you’re selling an app that’s already listed on Google Play or the App Store, then it should be assessed as an active business.

Take the app’s gross revenue and subtract expenses, marketplace fees, marketing costs, and operating expenses needed to keep the app running. The resulting annual profit is multiplied by a factor of 12 to 36. Apps with unstable uploading or revenues are usually priced at the lower value. For a more detailed cost estimate, please refer to the App Business Brokers.

The second option is to compare sales. Find apps similar to yours and find out how much they sold for. To get a rough idea of ​​the market situation, you can check out the apps that have recently been sold on Flippa.

Where to Sell Your Mobile App

You have two options:

  • Sell directly
  • Sell through a marketplace

A marketplace acts as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller, helping facilitate quick and secure transactions. The platform receives a commission for successful transactions, usually 10% of the total.

Popular platforms: Flippa, SellMyApp, Codester.

Selling directly is the more profitable option, but only if you completely trust the buyer.

How much can you sell a mobile app for?

Here are some examples of apps sold on the Flippa marketplace. The main parameters include category, monetization method, age, and monthly revenue.

How to Sell Your App for More Money

Here are some simple guidelines that will help you sell your app through the marketplace faster and at a higher price:

  • Tell an honest story about the project. This establishes some rapport with the buyer.
  • Don't be afraid to start low. You’ll get more bids and rise higher in the rankings, allowing more potential buyers to see your lot.
  • In addition to the app itself, sell its associated social media accounts, growth plan, and consultations. This can significantly boost the final price.

Before entering into negotiations, seek advice from a specialist who has experience with these kinds of transactions.

A mobile app can be a significant asset that can generate a significant profit for the author, especially if the idea is unique and it’s development is high-quality. No-code solutions like app builders can significantly accelerate and simplify development. They don’t require any knowledge of coding or modern UX/UI design trends.

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