How to sell apps and how much is my app worth

Eugene Virnik avatar
Eugene Virnik

A comprehensive guide on how to sell your mobile app online to get the most out of it.

As the mobile app market is on a rise, more people are getting involved in the industry. Sometimes it is better to invest some cash to buy a mobile app, improve it, add some marketing, and voila, you have a promising business.

If it were so easy.

Today we will talk about the other side. You have a mobile app with installs, reviews, maybe even revenue from in-app purchases, subscriptions, or advertisements. You have a digital asset, and as every asset, it is valuable, can be priced, and sold. The questions are:

  • How to sell apps online?
  • How much money can you make selling an app?
  • How much does it cost to sell an app?
  • How to sell an app to a company?
  • How do I start selling apps?

All these questions and more I found on Google, and in this post, I will talk about my experience and what I know about how to sell mobile apps.

Step one: app transfer criteria 

In fact, when you sell your app, you transfer it to another app developer account. You need to make sure you are eligible to transfer your app. 

At least one version of your app must be released before. Meanwhile, when you sell the app, it should have one of the following app statuses:

  • Ready for Sale
  • Prepare for Submission
  • Developer Removed from Sale
  • Invalid Binary
  • Developer Rejected
  • Rejected

Also, you need to check the following criteria:

  • No version of your app can use an iCloud entitlement
  • No version of your app can use a Passbook entitlement
  • You have accepted the latest version of your paid and free agreements in your App Store Connect account

You can see all transfer criteria on the Apple support page.

Can I ask Apple to help me? Shall I inform Apple about selling my app?

No and no. Apple doesn’t have any products to assist you to buy or sell apps. You only need to transfer the app to your buyer. That’s it.

Shall I sell my app? How to value a mobile app?

The value depends on many factors, and you never know the actual valuation. It’s all about numbers and negotiations. But you can use some “common” multiplicators to build on the numbers. 

The common multiplicator is a 1 – 5 year forecast or X12 – X60 of your monthly net revenue. Net revenue is what you get from Apple after they cut a commission. 

Let’s say you have $5,000 monthly revenue. You don’t do marketing, and all revenue is organic. You have monthly churn, but new subscribers cover it, so you still have 5,000 revenue per month. Don’t forget to cut your operational and developer costs to maintain the existing app. 

You can start negotiations from $5,000 x 60 (5-years multiplicator) = $300,000

Too expensive? In this way, your buyer has to explain why it is overpriced and make a counteroffer. 

Do not be afraid to start with the highest range to understand the real price buyers are willing to pay. Consider such factors as:

  • How unique is your app/technology? Apps based on templates are less valuable.
  • How many organic installs do you have? For example, if you have 1 million installs per month but your revenue is $5,000, your app has a huge upside to increase revenue with a new monetization approach. 
  • Do you have any leverages to increase your app’s revenue? If so, you have two options: add this knowledge to your offer or turn it into action and if it works, increase your selling price. 
  • Churn. Just keep in mind that apps with low churn have much more valuation than apps with one-time purchases. It also allows forecasting your subscribers LTV and get additional numbers to determine the value of your app.

The last thing to help you evaluate your app is monitoring other offers. 

Enough theory, let’s move to the practice

Now you are ready to list your app on marketplaces and send it to buyers directly. Below you can see the websites where you can sell your app:

I had experience with Flippa and had a quick conversation with Appbusinessbrokers. 

Also, you can check the following websites:

I haven’t had experience with them. If you had, text me at [email protected], and I will update this post with your feedback.

Publishers

If you are selling your app or game because you are stuck and do not know how to help it grow, you can try another way. There are plenty of mobile app and game publishers who are happy to help you and share the success. 

How does it work?

  1. You know how to build great apps or games but do not know how to do marketing.
  2. Publishers invest their expertise and marketing sources to grow your app or game.
  3. They pay you revenue share.

Sounds good, isn’t it?

Below you can find some companies I know:

Accelerator program by Appodeal (Monetization and mediation platform).

Publisher Studio Lion Studios by AppLovin (Advertisement and monetization platform).

Due diligence

Be ready that after you complete the negotiation with the buyer, he will ask you to do due diligence to check your revenue, user behavior such as DAU, MAU, subscriber base, and other metrics. You can use Qonversion to collect your subscribers and other data in one place and enrich other platforms you use with more data. For example, send revenue data to Amplitude or Mixpanel.

Have questions? Do not hesitate to text me at [email protected] or Twitter.