Pricing my OSX App

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by etroplus4944, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. etroplus4944, Dec 2, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011

    etroplus4944 macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2011

    I developed an application for the Mac, it is basically a Latex based word processor (a bit like Lyx, but much more Cocoa-ish). It took me about 3000 hours of time, many years. I am really happy with the result, and right now I'm beginning the beta process with friends.

    I really don't know how to price it. Should I ask for $1 dollar? $10? $40? (Of course, my goal is to maximize profit)

    It is a full application, that works fine, can work with big documents, lots of functionalities (behind a very simple interface). What I am trying to say is that it is a nice app, not crap.

    Does anybody have a hint?

    I'm sorry for my terrible English.

    Regards, Kurt

    PS: does anybody know where I can find a good developer forum for macs to ask things like this? The one at Apple didn't even work. I hope this is not a rude comment.
  2. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    The Macintosh Software Business (MacSB) group is the best place I know of for stuff like this.

    My own research and experience as an indie developer myself is that your tendency will be to underprice your app. You feel like if you made it, it can't be worth too much, or you'll drive customers away with a high price, etc. Be careful of that thinking. If your product is actually good and helps people get work done, people will pay for it. In fact, some people will tell you that experimenting with the price of their software has shown them that sometimes increasing the price actually leads to more sales (not just more money, but a higher number of sales). This seems to be because there's a perception that cheap software is probably not very good, while if something costs $40 or $50 (or more) it must be useful, well designed, etc.

    On the other hand, there's the app store "culture" that seems to encourage rock-bottom prices. I think this is partly because before the Mac App Store, it really wasn't feasible to sell an app for $2.99, even if that's all it was worth. Setting up payment processing, a website, licensing/copy protection code, etc. is ton of work, and you really couldn't justify doing it for $3 per sale. The app store takes all that work away, so it's no harder to sell something for $2 or $3 than it is to give it a way free. Still, unless your app is simple little utility with limited functionality and scope, I'd say a higher price is perhaps the better choice.

    My first commercial app took me about 3000 hours of work to write, and it too is a fully featured, document-based app with a lot of polish, etc. I have always charged $39 for it. It has been in the Mac App Store since day 1, and on sale on my website for three years before that. I've never once had anyone complain that it's too expensive, and it sells steadily. A few times I've had people compliment me by saying it should really be more expensive. The point is, don't be afraid to charge a fair price for a legitimately well done app.

    Finally, look at things from the customer's point of view. Makes sure your app is worth the amount you charge. If you decide to charge $50 for an app, it better work well, have good documentation/help, etc. Also, customers will expect technical support from you, and that turns out to be a lot of work if you have any success. Finishing development and starting to sell your app is certainly not the end of your work.
  3. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    It's far easier to start at a higher price and lower it as needed, than it is to start at a low price and increase it. People get angry at the latter.

    An "introductory discount price" is not the same as a low starting price. Intro discounts are limited-time offers.

    The best way to figure out a plausible price is to figure out who your audience is. If it's professionals who have a specific task that your software solves, then that's a different audience (and price) than impulse-buy entertainment.
  4. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Yes, my advice applies to something useful for getting work done. A LaTeX editor certainly falls in that category. My advice would be completely different if you had made a simple game or something.
  5. Mac_Max macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    You might enjoy this guy's blog:

    His advice (in one video) is to think of a price and then double it, and then probably double it again, and you're probably still under charging for it. In his case when he charged dirt cheap prices for his software, he got a lot of problematic customers ("How dare you break my google!" types). When he raised his prices he made more sales/money/got better customers. Granted every market is different and the app store does change some things. Emotionally however, my feeling is that I wouldn't charge less than $5 (and more like $15) if you feel the software will make someone productive.

    Just be sure to get the word out about your software. Try to get MacWorld and other sites/mags to review it, etc. The Kalzumeus blog also has some good info about marketing your app.
  6. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Why would people get angry?

    The early adopters usually feel like they got a great introductory discount.

    Whereas lowering the price a lot might make your current happy customers feel like they got gypped.
  7. etroplus4944 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2011
    Thank you very much for your answer! Lots of good hints!


    Thank you!

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