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Sacred MVP: How Much Does It Cost to Build an MVP in 2023

There is a great possibility that you read this article because you have already developed an idea for your startup. Congratulations! Now it’s time to consider testing it. The easiest way to do so is to build an MVP. Hence this is the only way to realize if the concept corresponds to appropriate market needs and consider a proper budget. According to statistics, 41% of startups close up due to no market need and 38% because of cash overrun. 

Dewais company helps startups to grow from the MVP to profitable businesses by pampering the project through all organizational hindrances. We share our experience in this article with everything you should remember to estimate MVP app cost, choose the corresponding tech stack, and take account of possible challenges.

What is an MVP? Why is it so Crucial?

A Minimum Viable Product is not merely a model or a prototype. An MVP has to be as small as possible to save the money and time needed for a full-scale launch and as simple as possible to ease the pains of early users. A viable and tangible product is easier to sell, present to investors, or use for crowdfunding activities than a model.

Imagine you build a vehicle. At least you must construct a chassis with wheels, a steer, a motor, and a transmission to make it ride and drive. Without these components or features, the car will not move from the start. All these parts together are your minimum viable car. Now you can present it to customers to test and provide feedback. They may express their need for additional chairs to carry passengers, extra mirrors, or anything else from your product concept. After receiving the data, you decide in which direction to move the project and regulate an MVP cost.

Thus, a good MVP reduces the cost of the developmental process by testing assumptions before investing a substantial amount of time and cash. It would be devastating if your car is finished, but you need to rearrange something in its structure. 

Moreover, a good MVP shortens the time before recognition. It helps to conquer the market. Innovators and early adopters know the product on the stage of an MVP. Besides, the startup’s success is closely interlaced with how fast it enters the market. 

In general, the functions of an MVP are: 

  • To test product viability
  • To test assumptions
  • To test the market
  • To test product usability
  • To get user feedback. 

They all help to make the software perfect and wanted by the clients, lower an MVP cost and boost business performance. 

Technology Stack for MVP Development

There is a bunch of tech stack on the market. Which one is wise to choose in your case? Mind these criteria while deciding:

  • Overall goals
  • Environment
  • Time to market
  • Cost of development
  • Security.

Let’s have a closer look at each.

Overall Goals

The web or mobile app type is a cornerstone to selecting the technology for an MVP. The more abundant features, the more complex ones, the larger the process development and deployment. Thus, a more complex mobile app would need additional fittings such as phone camera access, gyroscope access, and cloud access. 

Despite MVP being a simpler version of the final product, businesses must clearly understand the product‘s objectives to correspond with MVP’s pricing. Developing an MVP is useless until the project‘s goal is specified. A clear roadmap eases the selection process and ensures the objectives are realized. 

Choosing the right tech stack for MVP (as all tech stacks have different scalability potentials), make sure of scalability. The software will grow in the future, so you should mind its future outlook but not the present size. It will help to provide a further stable performance of a product. Consider Angular or Ember.js for front-end after companies such as Blender, Forbes, BMW, Square, Apple Music, LinkedIn, and Twitch. 

Also, don’t forget to mind maintenance when choosing the proper tech stack to build an MVP. Businesses should refrain from using unique technologies and short-lived decisions as it could be costly in the end. An open-source technology (e.g. Django) will allow you to maintain your app easily and without any additional intermediaries like niche developers.

Environment

Typical framework trends change rapidly and leave a void tough to fill. Now there is no problem with finding and hiring another experienced Java or Python developer but not a specialist in Scala and Go. While selecting the technology, make sure it has a broader talent pool and community support. 

The latter means that the technology is well-documented, and developers find the right solution without a hitch. Also, it indicates that the technology has to represent a rich ecosystem of tools accessible to include all the required things in the MVP. The availability of the tools enhances MVP workability but also saves time and MVP cost.

Time to Market

Everyone in the industry tends to speed up their launches. To be the first to introduce your product to the market is more relevant than before. And it affects the way you shape your work plans. There are two approaches:

Hybrid apps use the same design and structure across all platforms. They are cost-effective, and they win with the tempo of development; thus, you do not need to do two separate codes for each platform. Hybrid apps positively influence how much MVP costs, but they lag in functioning compared with native apps

Native appsdesign differs from platform to platform for which they were developed. Native apps are faster in performance; however, they are robust and, for that reason, are easy and cheap to maintain. Usually, React Native is used as an open-source framework, enabling developers to use React along with native platform capabilities. But to create such kind of an app, you need to build each separate software for each platform. This will increase the MVP pricing for you in a big way. Thus, if you have a reasonable budget, you can go for native apps smoothly.

Cost of Development

Money is and will always be crucial in deciding the right tech stack for MVP. Some frameworks and technologies are cheaper, and some are more expensive. The majority of expense in these is the developers‘ salaries. Their hourly rate depends on their level of expertise in the language (junior, middle or senior) and hence a total charge. Thus, a winning strategy for building your MVP is to select a mature language that is likely to remain popular. You will have a broader range of specialists (and their needs) to choose from. 

Security

There is no good in underestimating data security. Businesses rise and fall due to hacker attacks and sue companies that failed to protect personal data. If your MVP collects data, you had better design your app structure regarding first security. Use protected frameworks and well-secured databases to build an MVP with high-security levels. Use technologies that follow the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and use stable technologies like PHP, Go, Java. 

Commonly, developers praise the following front-end frameworks: React, Angular, Vue.JS,  Ember.JS, jQuery. For back-end Django, Ruby on Rails, CakePHP, Lavavel, Express.JS are regarded as the best. 

If you feel unsure about choosing one framework over others in your startup, address Dewais as we work with all common techs. Our experts will decide on a specific framework applicable in your case regarding your business purposes. 

How much is MVP: What Influences the MVP Development Cost

In general, it will cost you, in general, USD 50,000 to develop an MVP for an app like Twitter, around USD 100,000 for an app like Instagram, up to USD 500,000 for an app like Facebook, and approximately USD 1,000,000 for an app as Uber. But when it comes to specific numbers, teams or experts may give different estimates. And that’s pretty understandable because the cost of an MVP depends on the scope of design and development tasks as well as on the type of development team and its location. Let’s consider those closely. 

The Scope of Design and Development Tasks

Simple MVPs Products of Average Complexity Highly Complex Apps
Cost in USD Time, hours Cost in USD Time, hours Cost in USD Time, hours
Research Phase, Estimation $350-

$700

10-20 $700-

$1400

20-40 $1400+ 40+
Development $8750-

$14000

250-

400

$14000-

$42000

400-1200 $42000+ 1200+
QA Testing  Can be skipped $1400-

$2100

40-60 $2100+ 60+ 
Total $9100-

$14700

260-

420

$16100-

$45500

460-1300 $45500+ 1300+

There is no need to mock that the willingness to get an all-in-one (fast, cheap, and stable) app is impossible. The relations among all three can be represented best as contradictory. Still, some statements will help to come up with a successful MVP development and choose one priority.  

Simple MVPs. The most basic app possesses a scope of limited features to contain several screens to cover the simplest functions, such as texting messages, plotting graphs, storing and ranking data, and so on. They are the cheapest, the easiest, and the quickest to build. The overall price is around USD 10,000, and the period of development is approximately 4-5 months. Some examples of easy-to-make apps are notes, a calculator, an alarm clock, etc. 

Products of Average Complexity. These products take around 6-9 months to develop. Moreover, the MVP cost, in this case, is mostly high, matching USD 10-50,000. These apps, unlike simpler ones, usually contain complex elements similar to access to data storage, API, location tracking, and so on. You cannot build a photo-sharing app, image editor, or individual corporative app without more complex features and technologies such as implementing security protocols like HIPAA or GDPR, exporting video in different quality, or logging in via various social media. 

Highly Complex Apps. These apps are complex, vast, and precisely organized. They are used for taxi services, food deliveries, enterprise-level, etc. These apps‘ complexity is super high, including time-consuming features like video calls, messaging, data sync, streaming, location tracking, in-app purchases, picture-in-picture, and many more. The databases of these apps are also enormous. These apps might cost over USD 100,000 and may take over a year to develop.

Type of Development Team and Location

You can use in-house, outsourced teams and freelancers to build an MVP. All three types are relevant for particular purposes. 

In-house development is all about having a full-time team in your office and directly managed by you. The idea is that your company is big enough to do that. Moreover, you don’t just hire them for specific projects but for your company in general. Like Zara, Zalando, McDonald’s, etc. This approach also is good because you own the code unquestionably and control its quality and structure for future improvements. 

Freelancers fit only small projects— they lack organization scale and consistency in oversized products. How do they lower MVP pricing? Little. 

Outsourcing is usually cheaper since you hire an already settled and worked out experienced team. Suppose you have a middle-size project with a reasonable amount of assumptions. In that case, it is better to hire a working team of specialists on a time and material basis. Our company is one of the others to provide a full-cycle MVP development. 

As developers can work from all around the world, it’s understandable that hourly rates can differ a lot. So, a developer from Ukraine with a USD 40/hour rate as their monthly salary will be about 7.5 times higher than the minimum monthly salary within the country. At the same time, their colleague from California with the same expertise and background will be just USD 200 above the minimum monthly wage. For them to have a salary difference of 7.5 times, their hourly rate would have to be at least USD 50/hour (which makes you an additional USD 6,900 to your monthly expenditure). But typically, the rate would be higher.

Average hourly rates for different regions for a comparison look like this (information sources via Glassdoor.com, Talent.com, Indeed.com, SalaryExpert.com):

North America – USD 100 – USD 180

South America – USD 30 – USD 50

Western Europe – USD 110 – USD 200

Eastern Europe – USD 25 – USD 50

Africa – USD 0-USD 40

Australia – USD 100 – USD 180

Asia – USD 15 – USD 40

Obviously, outsourcing is more attractive in terms of MVP cost

Challenges of Building an MVP

Building an MVP is costly and complex as it endures in time and takes the efforts of many people. Here are the main reasons for business failure among startups worldwide in 2021

  • Failing to identify the needs of your audience (No market need or pivot gone bad 41%)

Marketing research and a proper concept of your product are something that does not need a lot of money to implement but are still the biggest reason to ruin your company. 

  • Сash overrun (cited by 38% of startups).

Whether poor project management or unpredicted difficulties, more than a third of all startups fail for this reason. Keep that in mind. 

  • Get outcompeted 20%

This is why we consider the speed of implementation one of the most important metrics to follow. 

  • Flawed business model 19%

As well as marketing, a robust financial model will keep your startup healthy and sound. 

  • Regulatory/legal challenges 18%

Alas, not all reasons lie within your control. Some governmental and legal issues may prevent your success. So bear them in mind. 

  • Wrong product (mistimed or poor) 18%

The product should not only be wanted but also stand for the customers’ needs. The better your products solve problems and give away pain, the sooner it gets recognition. 

  • Pricing/ cost issues 15%

Pricing is a relevant part of a financial model. Be sure that it is not extremely low or high. 

  • Not the right team 14%

Be accurate in hiring a professional and skillful team—also, soft skills, like cultural similarity and the ability to stick to deadlines, matter. 

  • Disharmony among the team (burned-out passion, lack of interest from investors) 12%

The risk of being disappointed or demotivated is relatively high regarding real challenges. Think in advance about whether that is possible in your case. 

So How Much is MVP, and How could we minimize the MVP cost? 

To sum up, a simple app will cost you up to USD 35.000. An MVP of moderate complexity is up to USD 100.000, and a complex MVP app will cost around USD 500.000 or more.

MVPs are the best way to test your prototype and assumptions before full-scale investment into a new product. It may be costly, but with the help of accurate tools and determination, it will provide additional time on the market and product insights (hopefully). Outsourced teams from eastern Europe can be pretty skillful and experienced in developing medium-scale products on a time and material basis. Proper organization and communication among all the participants will help to choose reliable and visionary software that outreaches expectations. 

Address Dewais to develop a top-notch MVP exclusively designed for your business objectives. Whether making an MVP for your startup or looking for mobile app development, with us, you get support and guidance through every step of product development. You get a development team with task-relevant skills and receive a product that fits your requirements. 

Do not hesitate to contact our technical specialist for a detailed consultation. 

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