How to Start an App Development Business in Kenya Everything You Need to Know

an app developer busy at work

Do you know to program?

Have you graduated from Computer Science class and are thinking of how to use the knowledge to build a profitable app?

Are you looking for ways to make money with your app development skills?

Starting an app development business is more than making money and becoming rich.

You have to know what customers want in order to create apps that solve customers’ problems.

Customers are in search of apps that solve problems for them – where to eat, what to read, get healthy, have a good relationship, shopping apps and finder apps.

The list of apps to develop is enormous and keeps getting bigger as the world becomes interconnected.

As technology keeps on changing and evolving, so do the needs for consumers to use different quality apps.

In this article, I will shed the light you need when starting an app development business.

I also give you tips and advice on how you can start and run a successful app development business.

Is an App Development Business Profitable?

Yes. An app development business is profitable – tech businesses are and will always be profitable.

You can make a lot of money by creating software applications and selling them to individuals or businesses.

Many businesses are technology-dependent and they need custom apps to run their daily business operations.

This shows you that there is a good customer base to start your business and grow your income potential.

You can start an app development business as a side job or as a full-time job and make extra income or earn a decent living from this business.

If you were having doubts about the viability and credibility of an app business – clear your doubts because you’re in the right business. Your app can change the world.

What is an App Development Business and How Does it Work?

App development is simply the process of creating, testing, distributing and maintaining an app product.

In an app development business, you need to develop software applications, test and fix them and then release this app to clients.

What happens is that your clients will give you a problem in their business that needs an app solution.

They may need a mobile phone app or a web app.

You will do your research, develop an app, prototype, modify, maintain and handle any other activities that result in your application product.

You will then get paid for your app development services based on the pricing model that you have agreed upon.

How Do I Start an App Development Business in 10 Steps?

Starting an app development business is not going to be an easy journey.

This, however, should scare you off from starting.

I will give you a quick step by step guide that is going to help you build a successful app development business from scratch. 

Do thorough market research and analysis

  Study your market.

Find out everything you need to know about your target customers and competitors.

Who are your target customers?

What are the problems they are facing with the available apps?

What are they lacking in the market?

What app programs do they need?

Establishing this is important so that you can get what your customers want.

You will also identify potential problems and base your app development idea on that.

You also need to study the competition.

Studying the competition helps you to understand the pricing models your competitors use.

Your competition helps you know how they achieve their success which helps you gain a competitive advantage over them when you start your app development business. 

Create a business plan

Starting an app development business will need you to have a well-outlined business plan.

You have to establish clear goals and objectives and have a way in which you are going to achieve them.

You also have to include your overall business budget if you are taking in bigger app development projects. 

Get the necessary education and training

If you have no experience in computer knowledge or any related field, you may want to take a course or get a bachelor’s degree to gain credibility.

You can also take a course and learn some important programming skills that will come in handy when you start your app development business.

Remember, it is a lot easier if you have these skills.

You can always hire skilled personnel if you run an app development company. 

Meet the legal requirements

Like any other business, get your legal paperwork done.

Before you start your app development business, you have to make sure that it is legitimate and in full compliance with the law.

Register your business depending on how you are starting it, as an LLC or a company, get your tax clearances and other necessary certifications before you start your app development business. 

Get necessary funding

As an app developer, you may want to start with simple projects or take on high-end complex projects and make a lot of money.

Depending on how you want to scale your business, you may need venture capital.

You have to know how you are going to get financial aid from investors to kick start your idea into something tangible. 

Determine the app you want to develop

Once you have identified the problems that businesses need to solve, you can choose the best app that you believe will obliterate all the challenges the businesses are facing.

You may need to hire skilled personnel to help you with the app development process.

Market your business

Promote yourself and your app development business.

You have to put yourself out there so that you may have customers and more people will know about your app development business or company.

Have good marketing strategies that will help you get your first clients and allow your business to grow substantially. 

If you want to run a successful app development business that is fully functional and operational, consider doing the following things.

Improve your skills

With app development, you have to keep learning.

Gain new skills and hone them if you want to run a successful app development business. Learn from industry experts.

Customer service

Practice excellent customer service skills with your clients and make sure they are satisfied and have the best customer experience when they interact with you and the app you have developed.

This will build customer loyalty and trust

.Use updated technology

Technology keeps on changing and improving.

You have to keep up.

Always check for any new technology updates and trends and see if you can incorporate that into your app development business.

You stand more chances to be successful this way.


Cybersecurity is an important part of ensuring app development business success.

You have to develop apps that are free from any cyber-attacks and cybercrimes.

Understand customer needs

Do not develop app programs that only meet your needs.

Always take into account what it is that your client wants and tailor that app to meet their needs.

Things to Consider When Creating an App

The most common route for most app developers is getting a degree in Computer Science or any related field to build credibility.

If you do not have a degree in any of these fields, you can still follow these steps and become an app developer.

  1. Do your research. Before you get into app development, decide if this is what you want. Do your research and find out what it entails. You have to cultivate interest if you are going to make it work.
  1. Take a course. If you do not have computer-related skills, you may need to take a course so that you may get the necessary educational information about app development. 
  1. Get certified. You can get yourself certified as an app developer by a recognised app development program and build your credibility in this way.
  1. Go through training. Practice what you have learnt and start developing your first app. This will help you know the app development process and it will also allow you to learn from mistakes.
  1. Market yourself. Position your skills as a business and start promoting your app development business to clients. 

What Will I Do in an App Development Business?

There are certain things that you will be doing on any typical day in an app development business.

  • Meeting and interfacing with clients
  • Managing your app development team
  • Creating apps
  • Improving applications
  • Finding clients 
  • Administrative duties
  • Promoting your app development business

What are the Requirements for Developing an App?

This is what you need to start an app development business. 

  • A reliable computer(s)
  • Rental space/Workspace
  • Desk and chairs
  • A suitable software program 
  • WiFi
  • A website 
  • Employees/staff
  • Business licence 
  • Business insurance

What are the Expenses For Starting an App Development Business?

It is very important that you know the initial startup costs and the ongoing expenses that you will incur when you start an app development business.

You do not want to end up falling short of your startup budget as you create your business plan.

  1. Computer expenses 
  1. Rent expenses 
  1. Monthly subscription to software program
  1. Licensing fees
  1. Internet fees
  1. Insurance premium
  1. Labour costs
  1. App maintenance expenses
  1. Cost of specialised programs that a project needs
  1. Copyright, trademark and patent fees

How Much Does it Cost to Start an App Development Business?

Starting an app development business needs high startup costs depending on how you want to later scale your business.

There are other higher cost app development businesses and projects that will need venture capital.

You will need to find a way to get the appropriate funding for an app development business.

How Do I Make Money With an App Development Business?

There are several ways you can make money with an app development business.

For starters, you can work for hire and get paid to create applications for businesses or companies.

Host advertisements in your apps and get revenue.

Another way to make money with app development is to introduce paid apps where any person who wants to use your app will pay for it.

This is most common in high-value apps that are used for a specific purpose.

Lastly, you can have your app available for free for a limited period, after which users will have to pay for premium offers. 

How Much Should I Charge My Customers?

The amount of money you charge your customers should depend on the following factors.

  1. The complexity of the project. If a business requires vet complex projects, you will charge them more than a business that only needs a simple app.
  1. Competition. I always advise checking what your competitors are doing, so that you may have a good pricing base from which you can charge your clients.

Charge by the hour or with your level of skills.

If you are just starting out, you can offer free trials to your clients so that you can build a customer base.

How Much Money Can I Make With an App Development Business?

An app development business is a lucrative venture.

The amount of money you make will depend on how popular your app is.

Remain committed, listen to customers’ needs and provide their needs to them.

Keep marketing your apps and adding features that solve problems.

You can make a billion or trillions with apps.

The amount you make depends on the type of projects and the clients you are developing apps for or how popular your apps become.

Be patient – no business gets you more money in a day or hour no matter how in-demand it is.

Legal Requirements For an App Development Business 

When you are starting an app development business, you have to make sure you are in full compliance with the law.

These are the necessary permits and licences you need to start an app development business.

  • Business licence
  • Business insurance 
  • Occupancy permit 
  • Service contract 

What Skills Do I Need to Start an App Development Business?

There are some skills and qualities that you need to have to start an app development business.

Great app developers have the following traits and skills.

  1. Programming skills. Programming skills are an integral part of the app development process. You have to know the latest and common programming languages to use to develop apps. For example, we have Python, Javascript, Java, C++, etc.
  1. Communication skills. Great app developers are excellent communicators. You have to have good oral and written communication skills in order to create good rapport on what your clients need.
  1. Technical skills. Since you will be developing apps, you need to know how to operate them. Do not be incompetent. Your customers trust you to deliver the best quality app products to them. 
  1. Time management skills. As an app developer, you will need to work on projects that are required to run at specific times. You must know how to beat these deadlines and submit the projects on time.
  1. Organisation skills. You need to be highly organised to handle different app programs of various clients. Plan your work schedule to avoid any type of confusion or inconveniences.
  1. Attention to detail. A great app developer must pay close attention to potential threats or attacks in order to develop the best app that is secure.
  1. Problem-solving skills. App development involves identifying business problems and solving them with the aid of app programs. You must have good problem-solving skills. 

How to Get Clients for an App Development Business

Your clients are individuals or business owners who need a specific app program developed to meet their needs.

Your audience can also be the general public who just wants to use a good app.

Landing your first clients for your app development business doesn’t have to be hard.

Here is how clients will know about your app development business and look for you.

  1. Survey clients Examine the prospective clients that you have and prepare survey questions for them. This will allow you to generate new leads.
  1. Ask for referrals. Have a referral program, whereby if a client is satisfied with the app you developed for their business, they can recommend someone else to seek and obtain your services. 
  1. Use social media. Use the connections you have built online to showcase your projects. Go to Facebook or LinkedIn and have your business advertisements set up so that people will contact you.
  1. Business cards. Have a business card with good branding, business details and contact information so that your clients will know how to reach you when the need arises. 
  1. Create a website. Your website should have good content for your app development projects and you should optimise it so that it appears on top of the lists when someone searches for it on Google. 
  1. Word of mouth. Be the expert app developer everyone knows about and within no time, people will start contacting you for your app development services. 
  1. Offer a free trial. We all love free things. You can give your first prospective customers a free trial on an app program that you have developed and see how they will respond to it.
  2. Networking. Connect with app development experts and participate in local and community events and meet new people. You will get more clients and leads in this way.

Advantages of Starting an App Development Business 

These are some of the benefits of starting an app development business. 

  1. High demand. App development is in high demand, especially with technological improvement and advancements. Businesses will always need app development solutions to their problems.
  1. Work from home. It is easy to work as a freelance app developer. You can set up your home office and your computer at home and develop apps for your business. 
  1. High salary. An app development business has high-profit margins. In fact, it is one of the most lucrative business ventures in this day and age.
  1. Flexibility. When you start an app development business, you may be required to travel to different places to meet with clients, share your ideas and work on projects.
  1. Work on your own. You can become a solopreneur with your app development business or hire a team of trained personnel to help you.
  1. Always learning. There is always something new to learn from an app development business. You will learn new skills and gain more experience in your years of practice. 

Disadvantages of Starting an App Development Business 

These are the problems and challenges that you will face when you start an app development business. 

  1. Working on many projects. app developers sometimes have to work on numerous client projects and this will cause a pot of burnout.
  1. Long working hours. You might need to work crazy long hours to get work done. This may take a toll on you if you are not built up to work under pressure.
  1. Constantly building your skills. With the changing technology, you must always build your skills if you want to keep up with the latest trends in app development.
  1. Meeting demanding deadlines. Some clients are demanding and they will have to submit app projects on a very strict deadline. You must plan your time well to ensure the timely delivery of projects.

Tips/Mistakes for Starting an App Development Business

There have been quite a number of failed attempts in starting an app development business for most people.

There are some common mistakes that app development business owners make and the mistakes include:

  1. Rushing the phases of app development. The app development process has very important phases. Do not rush through any of them. If you do this, you will not be developing quality apps.
  1. Using obsolete technology. If you use technology that is outdated, you will not develop the best apps that are going to match current problems and help you beat the competition.
  1. User input. When you are developing apps, it is good to have the user in mind. Since you are developing apps for them, make it user friendly. This is good for any business.
  1. Not reinforcing security. Since you are developing apps, you have to be well aware of cybersecurity. Keep your apps safe from any attacks by hackers or any cybercriminals.
  1. Untimely delivery. Failure to submit app development projects on time to your clients will make you look incompetent and you may lose some of your clients if you do this.
  1. Not marketing your business. Always market your business if you want to grow your customer base and expand your business.

Unique App Development Business Ideas

The app development industry is competitive.

When you are starting your business you need to come up with creative and unique project ideas that you can sell to your clients.

You do not want to copy what your competitors are doing. Imitation is a bad game.

The following are app development business ideas and they are:

  • Start a technical writing blog
  • Create a medical app 
  • Develop a call recording app
  • Develop a food recommendation  app 
  • Develop a voice translation app
  • Develop a virtual interior design app
  • Develop a meditation app
  • Develop a language training app
  • Develop a criminal alert app
  • Develop a contact tracing app
  • Develop a parking space finder app
  • Develop a book exchange app

FAQs on How to Start an App Development Business

How do I start my own app development business

Research the market

Develop the app

Release/launch a beta version

Understand the audience

Ask how will you monetise the app?

What’s your marketing strategy?

Ensure you pay attention to your app’s security measures

How much does it cost to start an app?

It costs millions to start an app – it all depends on the features

Is an app development business profitable?


What does it take to start an app development business?

Be clear, resilient and know the market.

How do free apps make money?

Free apps make money through advertising,

In-app purchases


Affiliate marketing

How many hours does it take to develop an app?

More than 100 hours depending on the complexity of the features

How do app developers get clients?

App developers get clients through advertising/marketing

Networking/building relationships

Facebook groups


Attending tech events

Social media

Can creating an app make you rich?


Why do most apps fail?

Most apps fail because they don’t have a marketing strategy

Developing apps customers don’t want – apps with the same features as others

Lack of innovativeness

No research to find out what customers want

No testing of the apps

Lack of customer service/listening to customers

What are the top richest apps?

The top richest apps – which I selected because they are familiar include




Google One


Technological advancements and improvements keep on pushing the growth of the app development industry.

Many businesses want to keep up with the trends of the ever-changing technological world and they need app developers to do the work for them.

App development is a lucrative business with stiff competition from free and advanced apps.

Before building your apps or when building apps for clients, ask them what they want their apps to achieve or what problem they want their apps to solve.

Also, build a Beta version for customers to test out.

A beta version helps you understand what customers like or dislike about your app plus it saves you money.

Pay attention to the launch of your app.

These days, you don’t have to rely on tech media giants but tech influencers when launching your app.

You pay them a certain sum then they help you market your app to as many customers as possible.

Be patient and dedicated because you will get tested; every entrepreneurial journey isn’t a walk in the park.

Put your ego out the window and be open to learning and understanding what customers want.

Your first app may not make you a billion dollars but your 10th app may. Be resilient and know that your innovative apps are changing the world.

Do you want to start an app development business?

Why do you want to start an app development business and what kind of app are you developing?

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