Episode 3: Patrick goes through the source code he’s been using and the ones he developed. Also learn where he gets his game reskinning ideas from.
Mobile app flipping podcast episode 3.
Welcome to the mobile app flipping podcast, this is your host Yohann Taieb. My goal is to help you get the most out of reskinning apps. Whether you’re already a full-Time entrepreneur or trying to get a business going, this podcast is for you.
We will be interviewing professionals that are already doing app reskinning for a living. We will also invite source code sellers to get to learn about what they have to offer. And finally, we will talk to industry experts to learn how to become more productive at flipping apps. And now, without further ado, let’s get started.
Today we have an amazing guest, I have with me Patrick Schroeder and he’s been reskinning apps and flipping apps for quite a while.
Patrick Schroeder: Hello Yohann!
Yohann Taieb: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what’s your background?
Patrick Schroeder: Sure. Actually, it hasn’t been quite a while, it’s only been a few months. I did mostly internet and affiliate marketing for the past about 4 years.
So I guess reskinning mobile app development is something I got into fairly recently. Right now, I have 4 apps published, 2 more in review and 1 more that I’m waiting for an updated source code for.
Yohann Taieb: Ok, and from what I believe, your apps are reskinned apps, right? In the sense that you bought some source code and you started customizing it,
redesigning it and publishing it, am I right?
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah, exactly. I had looked into the possibility of buying source codes for games about a year ago and there really wasn’t anything of value
really available, so I kinda decided not to do it. Recently I looked back into it and there were more sources codes available of decent quality, so I bought like 10 of them.
Yohann Taieb: Wow!
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah, so my intention was more or less to reskin apps while teaching myself the language you know, trying to see various frameworks.
Yohann Taieb: Ok… Now question, what’s your background in a sense that it seems you bought so many apps like you got a whole plan already.
Are you some kind of a designer or entrepreneur, how do you do that?
Patrick Schroeder: Hmm, I’m not a designer by any means. I guess more like an entrepreneur, I’ve been doing like websites up until about 7 or 8 months ago.
It’s just really easy to rank websites in Google, and they kinda changed their algorithm, so that’s basically what I was doing.
Yohann Taieb: Ok…And what made you switch into the mobile industry?
Patrick Schroeder: Well, the decline in the rankings, cos Google changed stuff and I wanted to get into mobile development. I didn’t really think I was gonna do games.
Up until a few months ago, I wanted to get myself a really great skill of learning Objective C, and get into mobile development overall.
Yohann Taieb: Did you have any programming background prior to Xcode and Objective C or not at all?
Patrick Schroeder: Not really. I used mostly WordPress.
Yohann Taieb: Oh ok, PHP and HTML.
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah. Just a basic understanding of HTML, CSS. I figured I’d just go ahead and learn it you know.
Yohann Taieb: Do you mind sharing some download numbers of your apps?
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah. I guess when you first open a developer account, Apple seems to kinda push that first app more than let’s say Google Play. So the first app that I released,
as of about 1.5 months, it’s got like 2,300 downloads. And then I released 3 other titles. The latest one that I released that got approved about 6 days ago, already has maybe like 1,300 downloads.
Yohann Taieb: Ok.
Patrick Schroeder: And the other 2, I have one that was like “Ghost theme” or “Halloween style”, that one got about 1,000 downloads. And then the fourth one which I actually sold, got like 500 or 600 downloads.
Yohann Taieb: Oh ok. So you’re at like 5,000 downloads, right?
Patrick Schroeder: More or less, closer to 4,000 downloads.
Yohann Taieb: I mean what’s great about the Halloween style is that we’re approaching Halloween so you’re probably expecting the numbers to go up a bit, right?
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah possibly. I think a lot of it comes out to how much Apple decides to categorize and put your app in many ways.
You know like ranking for different keywords, ASO, because that’s kinda the main way to get downloads. You can do social media, stuff like that, but ultimately, it’s more or less quality ASO and getting ranked in Apple. Point being, that app is still getting maybe like 10 to 15 downloads per day. As I said, it’s a ghost game, and with this games I decided to make free versions and see how they do. I also released PRO version to one of them a little bit later then I released a PRO version for the ghost game which is yet to be reviewed.
Yohann Taieb: Ok. So let’s focus a bit more on your ghost game. What made you decide to specifically do this game first?
Patrick Schroeder: Well like I was mentioning, I did 7 apps in 1.5 months which I kinda did them all kind of at the same time and I hired a bunch of designers and try to flush out the better ones.
If you’re gonna do this whether it’s for app flipping or for longevity, I think it’s really important to get a really good design.
Because if you have a really good designer, even if the game is kinda meh…There’s gonna be that kind of perceived value.
Yohann Taieb: That’s right. It’s all about bells and whistles. Now tell me about the graphic designs. From what I understand you hired somebody, right?
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah, and for me I use Odesk. I think Elance might be a better platform for designers, but I’ve just been very accustomed to Odesk… So I’ve been trying as many people as I could on there and I found 2 who were pretty brilliant, both international. Maybe I spent too much money on testing various providers.
I’ve been contacted by many providers in the U.S with their own graphic designers, but the product is pretty inferior to if you can find those grade-A designers. There were two things that I did with this one app that I flipped, because it wasn’t making any money, I mean I got a total of 500-600 downloads. I was using my really good designer and I got a bunch of reviews for it.
Yohann Taieb: Ok…Did you have a budget in mind prior to creating the app and say…Ok, I’m gonna spend that much money on it and that’s it?
Such as getting the source code, redesigning it, editing the icons and screenshots maybe, or did you just go with the flow? How did you decide on that?
Patrick Schroeder: Well initially, I knew i would be needing some help here and there from programming even after you buy the source code. There are some source codes out there that are really easy and you don’t need any extra help. So I ended up going with a couple of source codes where the code was not just good enough for production right off the bat.
So, I had to spend probably a little more than I wanted to. I wasn’t as efficient as I could be as far as managing extra programming work. Which is to say that going forward now, my budget, if I were to reuse one of these sources codes, can be very certain. I know I’m only gonna spend let’s say $400 on design. So with that particular app I spent $200 to $300 for the source code, and maybe another $300 for extra programming. Which altogether ended up to $900 and i ended up selling it for $1,600.
Yohann Taieb: Ok, question…Why did you buy that source code or like did you find it online or you knew somebody?
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah. I found pretty much the main places where you can buy source codes, I used couple of different marketplaces, and I think that one website BlueCloudSolutions.
Yohann Taieb: Hmm yeah from Carter Thomas…So whenever you got that source code, did you have any kind of documentation or walk-through that was provided with the source code?
Patrick Schroeder: Hmm I think that there’s only one source code that I bought that had any decent documentation at all.
Yohann Taieb: Wow ok, so there’s a lot of you got to go with what you got, blindly…Sometime you don’t know if you may have to do a lot of tweaking on the coding side or not, right?
Patrick Schroeder: Exactly. I’m probably gonna try to sell the games that I have, like I said I have 7 that are ready, so I’ll hold on to 1 or 2 and sell the rest.
My thinking/assumption is that there’s people out there that are willing to pay a bit more. First there are not that many apps for sale, and second, by buying an already built game, you don’t have to go through that whole process. So yeah when I was buying these source codes…That was kinda my understanding as well when I get into it, was that I’m just gonna jump in and figure out everything as it goes. Which meant finding all my information through Google, YouTube, Stackoverflow.
Yohann Taieb: Ok, so you got some source code, you tweaked it, you got your own designer and programmer, and you made better out of it. Now you wanna resell it, right?
Patrick Schroeder: yeah, a few of them I definitely want to sell them. I’ll just keep one or two because reskinning apps is fun and I think you can make a little bit of money, obviously
through the flipping part. Then if you have a really good designer, then the value is right there.
Yohann Taieb: The value increases, that’s right.
Patrick Schroeder: But as far as making consistent revenue from the game, or from the app, you gotta have something amazing.
Yohann Taieb: That’s right, like we said in an earlier podcast, there are 2 different types of apps, the evergreen apps where you’re just gonna get recurring revenues for years to come, and on the other side, the kinda “Rocket launch” apps where you’re gonna get tons of downloads the first week, then it will just fade away.
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah. And even if with the “Rocket apps” as you say, from what I’ve seen, if you have an okay source code with a really good design, and maybe a free and a pro version, you
could still make money out of it by just flipping the app or reselling it.
Yohann Taieb: That’s right. We definitely would wanna know more about the apps you have for sale cos we have some listeners here and they probably have some interest in buying them. I’ll make sure to put that in the show notes, Ok?
Patrick Schroeder: Sounds good!
Yohann Taieb: Alright. Something I’d like to know, about the customization of the app, did you have a lot of images to deal with?
Patrick Schroeder: Hmm yeah. For a few of the the apps, there were a good amount of images. I did spend…Probably one of the first source code that I bought was more of a complex code and there were bugs within the code where the images didn’t match up the .plist file. So with that particular experience, it took a while to finish the app. But it was a good learning experience, some apps are gonna have more or less images.
Yohann Taieb: By any chance, do you have happen to remember how many you had in the ghost game? Roughly?
Patrick Schroeder: The ghost game wasn’t that many. It was maybe half as much as the game that I was saying it had bugs or problems for. About like in the 40 image range.
Yohann Taieb: Ok, not too bad! How about the audio? Did you have to create your own audio, modify it or whatever was there…
Patrick Schroeder: I got it from melody loops.
Yohann Taieb: Great, I’ll put that in the show notes. How about the difficulty of customizing the app? Was there any in-app purchase that was difficult to tweak, or any Game Center involved or any kind of game mechanics that was hard to deal with?
Patrick Schroeder: Hmm well, with that game in particular there was a Game Center, in-app purchase…You pretty much could set them up.
Yohann Taieb: Did you do that yourself or had your programmer do it for you?
Patrick Schroeder: Well, once you know how to do it, it’s just a matter of getting the in-app purchases approved and then just adding them. So, I mean once you’ve done it once, it’s pretty simple.
You just switch out the bundle ID’s.
Yohann Taieb: Correct! Once you know where to look, then you’re good to go. Especially if you’re reskinning the same app over and over.
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah, really any app. Once you’ve done it, you can see the bundle identifiers, source codes and relate the in-app purchases to them. You know, one thing for me is, that game in particular, well few others I mean with the changes in iOS 7, the dialog box doesn’t pop up!
So what I found was people don’t purchase in-app purchases unless the price is there first.
Yohann Taieb: Well I’m glad you got it working. Let’s talk about this specific app, the ghost one. Would you reskin it again or are you kind of done now?
Patrick Schroeder: I want to make some adjustments to it.
Yohann Taieb: Before reskinning it? Ok…
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah… There is another kind of similar source code I was looking to buy, but with this particular one, I was thinking about reskinning it, and I think it is a good source code, so I’ll probably try to sell it. But I may want to modify it slightly before reskinning it again.
Yohann Taieb: Ok. you just want to improve it before reskinning it. Got it. That’s pretty much all I wanted to know about that specific game.
Now, for someone who’s starting the app reskinning business, is there any book you would recommend, any PDF file or anything like that?
Patrick Schroeder: Honestly, I’m not really sure if somebody were…because I would assume that people would take whatever path that they’d want.
So my path was always like, okay, I’m gonna jump in and figure it out as I go. Maybe some people are comfortable with that, some would want more information about it, budgets are different, the books I had were concerning cocos2d, and the code itself.
Yohann Taieb: Oh that’s right, cos that’s what you wanted to learn on the way.
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah, exactly.
Yohann Taieb: Do you happen to know any titles of the cocos2d books you have?
Patrick Schroeder: I think one of them is just called “Learning cocos2d”. Another one is kind of a Ray Wenderlich walk-through of a particular game, it’s like a platform or game
Yohann Taieb: Yes, Ray Wenderlich, it’s a great website, tutorial website. Now can you tell us what you’ve been working on lately and what are you planning for the near future?
Patrick Schroeder: Sure. Well, I’m just waiting for the last couple of apps I have in review to get approved. I’m waiting for an updated source code for the last app that I have in order to launch that. And get together and start selling the 4 apps that I have approved in the last month and a half, and really my intentions would be…
First, app reskinning is fine, however you’re not gonna make a lot of money doing it. Even if you have a whole bunch of apps. In any kinda business you know, the cream rises to the crop, the good thing with bubble apps is that there’s so much room and the market is so big, so I would really like to make one or two quality apps based off Unity 3D. Either by Candy Crush or this cool multiplayer game called “Fun Run”.
Yohann Taieb: Fun Run. Yes, very familiar with it, excellent game, kids love it!
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah, exactly. So, the people that developed that…from what I was reading were just students. What they incorporated was a really really intelligent multiplayer system that most companies haven’t developed yet.
Yohann Taieb: Oh ok, so basically you want to spread your portfolio, you want some apps that you’re gonna be reskinning, but you also want some evergreen apps, apps that will grow over time and be more involved. Is that right?
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah, I mean ultimately just have one good app. You know, one really good app that either uses unity 3D, some kinda game like “Fun Run” that has really high quality built in,
multiplayer and social networking.
Yohann Taieb: I see. So you started with the app flipping to get a feel of the industry, and now you wanna go with heavier games and apps. Is that correct?
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah I mean, kind of a combination. I have maybe one or two games that can make a decent revenue monthly which I’m hoping and I’ll hang on to those. And maybe while I’m reskinning a couple of games, maybe flipped them and build some money while I’m teaching myself at hiring for the development of better quality games. Because as I said, reskinning is fine, maybe you could reskin 20-30 games and maybe make a $100 off of each game monthly, MAYBE. But you’re really gonna make your money with in-app purchases. All these reskins you know, the revenues are generated through advertising, right?
Yohann Taieb: Yes, advertising and in-app purchases as well.
Patrick Schroeder: From my experience you know, in-app purchases, unless it’s something of high quality, you know…
With these reskins honestly, the quality is so so. There’s a couple of reskins that I have that are coming out that I think are a little bit better quality, that might get more in-app purchases, we’ll see.
Yohann Taieb: You definitely have a point here in the sense that this industry is kind of new. The app flipping type of thing, so the quality is not totally there yet.
But as time goes by, things are starting to mature a little bit more and I think that the whole industry, the apps are just getting better and better.
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah for sure. I mean it’s really new. A year ago, none of these codes existed and now there’s a bunch of codes that I decided to go ahead and buy.
And for me, medium to long term, while I’m kinda learning the code of flipping these games, the real money you could say is if you wanna build something that’s a good quality that people wanna come back to, spend time on and do the in-app purchases on.
Yohann Taieb: Yes definitely. I wish you good luck and good success with your future plans.
If we wanna get in touch with you, how can we do that?
Patrick Schroeder: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yohann Taieb: Is that your website?
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah, it’s a website you know and to be honest, with these games since, I haven’t really tried to build a website.
Yohann Taieb: I see you’ve been focused on building a big portfolio first, right?
Patrick Schroeder: Yeah, mostly time, productivity and you’re gonna get most of your downloads through the App Store.
Yohann Taieb: That’s right. Well Patrick, thanks for everything and we keep in touch!
Patrick Schroeder: Sure, thank you.
Yohann Taieb: Thanks for listening to the mobile app flipping podcast, if you find this podcast interesting, please subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review. Sharing is caring, spread the word.
You can also follow me on twitter, at Yohann305. Also, come to appsfresh.com, you’ll find all the episodes, the show notes, and resources to make you more productive.
See you at the next episode!