While developing the MVP for Instagram, its creators probably would have never thought, down the lane, Facebook would acquire it for US$1 billion. Same is the case with LinkedIn, which was acquired by Microsoft for a whopping US$26.2 billion.
But the above-discussed applications weren’t just apps or more precisely, app source codes. They already had millions of users before they were famously acquired – hence the hefty sum.
Nevertheless, mobile app development can be expensive or let alone time-consuming. Of course, you can always outsource app development requirements for a lower cost, but that again can be time-bound, if you’re in a hurry.
For that matter, the most straightforward answer is to buy apps from developers. And if you haven’t tried out this option before, don’t worry! This article will equip you with everything you would ever need to know about buying apps from developers, the best platforms to do so, and the critical things to be wary of.
If you’re still skeptical about buying app source code rather than developing one on your own, here are some points to solidify your decision.
Why Buy Apps From Developers?
Before that, there’s another thing you need to consider. Buying apps from developers doesn’t necessarily always mean you are buying an entire application. You can buy the source code for particular components as well, for example, code that will enable the search functionality.
However, the constituents of the purchase will be the same. You’ll get the source code and other requisite files (discussed later). Let’s take a look at the enthralling reasons why buying apps can be a better choice than building one on your own.
1. It Will Lower the Total Cost of Investment
Both time and resources are quantifiable investments you make towards an application. The app development cost of a high-functionality application like Uber or Instagram will cost anywhere between US$70,000 to US$100,000 and months to develop.
If you’re planning to create an app from scratch, you may face several challenges, including the time wastage associated with the trial and error method, recruitment and management of resources, and setbacks if a developer quits the team.
By buying an app from a developer, you get the advantage of not having to develop an application or facing the inconveniences as mentioned earlier. Creating from scratch also means, at times, you may have to go back to square one due to irreparable mistakes.
2. Finding the Right Team Can Be a Nightmare
The cost of hiring and maintaining an in-house team for a month will undoubtedly cost beyond thousands of dollars. Additionally, the quest of finding the right team of developers and designers can be more challenging than you think.
Talent and the right skillset alone won’t do the trick here. You need the members of your team to gel with each other and with you as well. If that doesn’t happen, trying to put together a team will do more harm than good.
Of course, you can always hire freelance app developers for that matter. But if you reside in the US and hire someone from Indonesia, for instance, you’ll only have a tiny window of time to communicate with each other, considering the time zone differences.
3. It Will Reduce the Time to Market
Even if you have a full-fledged team, developing each and every component of an application can be time-consuming and daunting for the developers.
By relying on code marketplaces, you can reduce the execution time by purchasing the source code of commonly used components. This will be especially useful when developing large applications, and the time at hand is minimal.
4. Easy Refund Policies
The most significant advantage of buying apps from marketplaces is the easy refund policies that come along. If you aren’t satisfied with the deployed code, in most cases, you can request a refund within the stipulated time.
5. You Can Choose the Best and Ignore the Rest
Just like buying high-quality products and ignoring the mediocre ones in an online store, app marketplaces allow you to do the same. You can also look around and purchase the works of experienced developers from anywhere in the world and depending on the platform, can also receive customization from them.
Similar to reading a product review on Amazon, you can go through the positive and negative feedback from the verified buyers and make an informed decision before each purchase.
If you’re still hardly convinced and want to build an app on your own, we recommend our all-embracing guide on how to become a mobile app developer. If you’re impatient to learn app development, have a look at our guide on how to create Android apps without coding.
How to Buy Apps From Developers?
If this is your very first experience of buying an app, there are some critical terms and conditions you need to be informed of.
Firstly, there are numerous terms such as user-centred design (UCD), iterative design, and affordance, that you may come across while planning to buy apps from developers, as well as while developing apps on your own. We recommend you to check out our article on UX terms for that matter.
Secondly, the platforms from which you buy apps are generally referred to as code marketplaces. They are websites that enable sellers to showcase their offerings and meet with prospective buyers.
And not all marketplaces are similar.
Some of them will allow you to buy apps that are already published in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store (or any alternative app store) – meaning, all intellectual property (IP) rights governing the app will be transferred to you – just like buying a house that was previously occupied by someone else.
Some of the marketplaces will allow you to buy pieces of code that will enable a particular functionality of your app – thereby reducing the time of development.
And lastly, several of the app marketplaces allow you to buy app templates, which you can rebrand and modify to your liking by app reskinning – which is essentially the process of changing the colours, graphics, and sounds associated with an application without changing its functionality.
When discussing each code marketplace, we’ll inform you which category it belongs to. Similarly, clearly understanding the license agreement is equally important so that you don’t get into any legal trouble down the lane.
If you’re buying a published app, logically, you’ll be granted the exclusive rights to it. When you buy reskinned apps, the number of times you can use it will be specified in the agreement.
Generally, there will be a “Single License” that will allow you to use the app source code in a single project. And the “Multiple License” will allow you to use the app source code for multiple projects. However, in most cases, you won’t have the authority to resell it.
If you want to know more about how to protect your brainchild (your invention), we have a comprehensive guide that discusses all aspects of how to patent an app and whether it’s worth doing so.
Top 11 Marketplaces to Buy Apps From Developers
Have a look at 11 marketplaces that allow you to buy apps from developers.
SellMyApp is one of the biggest and most famous marketplaces that allow you to buy app templates. You can buy the source code of both apps and games, and the platform also offers a team that will help you with reskinning and launching. If you buy a game template, you can rebrand it and incorporate in-game advertising to gain revenue from it.
App templates are available for iOS, Android, and iWatch, built using frameworks including Unity, Native Android, Native iOS, Cocos2dx, libGDX, and BuildBox. If you’re an app developer wondering “where can I sell my app?”, this platform is equally useful for that as well.
CodeCanyon is an app marketplace from the Envato family that lets you buy ready made apps for affordable price options. You can purchase using PayPal, and there is even a buyer protection policy to make the refund process hassle-free.
However, unlike SellMyApp, CodeCanyon doesn’t offer any reskin and launch services, but the sellers of the app templates might provide such services. The sold app source codes are of high-quality and will include features such as ad network integration.
Unlike the previously mentioned marketplaces that sell app templates, Fliptopia lets you buy apps from developers that are already issued in the app stores. And it’s not just the application source code – you get to purchase the entire app, its user base and of course, the IP rights associated with it.
For that reason, Fliptopia may seem to be an expensive platform to buy apps, but once you purchase an app, you become its sole proprietor. If you market the app effectively and perform app monetization, you can earn from it.
But again, how well you profit from the app depends on the average daily active users (DAU) and the customer lifetime value. We advise you to thoroughly review an app before purchasing and take professional support for better clarity.
Along with app templates, Codester offers a wide range of scripts and code on almost every mobile app programming language you’ll ever ask for. You can buy source code for even as low as US$4.
The marketplace also offers free files for a limited duration and is equally beneficial for developers who wish to showcase a readymade app for sale.
Flippa is a marketplace to buy websites, games and mobile apps from developers. Just like Fliptopia, this marketplace allows you to buy published apps in its entirety – which will include the current user base and app marketing positions.
In Flippa, the apps are sold via an auction system, and the marketplace will act as a moderator in case of disputes. If you’re a developer, you can post your apps for sale on Flippa as well. Visit flippa.com to know more.
The majority of app source codes available in AppsFresh are meant to develop full-fledged games. This marketplace allows you to buy reskinned apps, but it doesn’t offer any launching or reskinning apps services.
Since the majority of apps comes with ad networks and in-app purchase integration, you’ll be able to quickly earn by publishing them. The platform also offers a few courses to learn app development. There is also a section to buy optimized keywords for App Store Optimization (ASO).
iBuildApp is a bit different from the other code marketplaces discussed in this article and is not particularly aimed at buying and selling mobile apps. The platform offers native open-source code for iOS and Android with more than 40 features. And 90% of the code can be reused throughout your mobile app development endeavour.
The platform is also useful to develop and distribute enterprise mobile apps and comes with a monthly subscription model. Developers can use the mobile SDKs offered by the platform to create, test, and deploy apps.
Game Gorillaz is a mobile app marketplace that lets you buy application assets as well. Source code is built using development platforms such as Unity, BuildBox, and Cocos2d. You can purchase mobile app design assets, game backgrounds, and even game art from this marketplace.
Along with services, the platform also makes it easier to avail services from renowned developers and game studios. You can also place your app for sale in this marketplace.
Meetsource is a marketplace to buy Android and iOS app source code. The majority of the applications sold offer single or multiple app licenses to choose from. You can also buy APIs and pieces of code that fulfil a particular functionality of your app. The platform also allows you to purchase published apps as well as reskinned apps.
SellMySourceCode is another marketplace that allows you to buy and sell source code, especially that of game applications. It also offers bundles of app source code for discounted rates and has a hassle-free 14-days money-back guarantee policy.
You will also receive support from the app creators, and for a higher price, you can avail reskinning and app store submission services.
Dovemobi is an app marketplace that makes it possible for anyone to publish apps on the app stores. The platform is predominantly filled with game applications and also has a 14-day buyer protection policy. You can also place your mobile applications for sale on this platform.
You can buy reskinned apps to satisfy both iPhone and Android users, and there are even readymade apps for sale. The platform also offers ASO, including localization services in multiple languages, helping you to broaden your opportunities for app user acquisition.
Things to Consider While Buying App Source Code From Developers
1. When you buy app source code, make sure the file (most probably a zip file) contains the full source code files, images, sounds, vector graphics, documentation, tutorial (if applicable), passwords and admin dashboard information.
The documentation must also contain end-user guides as well as technical documentation that will explain the source code and every other component of the application.
2. If you’re buying an already published app, you must make sure the exclusive IP rights are transferred to your name (or company), and you remain its sole proprietor.
If you’re confused about the IP rights you can be entitled to, we recommend reading our article on how to patent an app.
3. The application must be compatible with the latest and oldest version of Android, iOS, or any particular operating system, currently supported by the creators of the respective OS.
4. The source code must be clear of bugs or any other dependencies that will hinder the application’s execution. If you do find any bugs, the code seller must review and resolve such issues at zero cost.
5. The app templates must be fully customizable, and there should be no difficulties to remove the seller’s name from the app UI design.
7.Be clear about the number of updates you’ll receive for the source code and how frequently.
It would be unfair if we ignore the advantages of coding an app from scratch. If you want to deliver a unique user experience and build an application that precisely reflects your vision, then developing from scratch is the only and best way to do so.
But if time is a precious and scarce commodity, then buying apps from developers is undoubtedly an excellent method to fulfil your application requirements by cutting out weeks (or even months) of development time.
Nevertheless, app marketplaces can be as dangerous as the old wild west, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. If you’re extra cautious and have someone experienced to guide you, you can access a wide variety of templates and source codes for prices that may seem too good to be true.
If you know the basics of development, you wouldn’t even have to hire any freelance app developers and can benefit from faster time to market. The key is to be diligent and think twice before making a purchase decision.