Just a great idea is not always enough! To achieve optimal results, your budget and MVP must be planned together.
Whether you are developing a mobile app or a website, the cost of MVP development varies, depending on different factors, like the idea, design, features, technology stack, and time taken to build. In fact, there are various aspects to consider when it comes to a successful business app.
You can test the product without spending too much money or time on it, and that will present a clear picture of your idea. Further, you can also prepare an audit plan which will focus on the improvement areas and the next steps.
Minimum viable product is the ‘secret sauce’ when it comes to building a mobile app for startups. The process of building an MVP for your mobile app idea begins with choosing important features that help the customer solve their problems, and offering a unique selling point of your app.
To know how much it costs to build an MVP, we must first consider 5 main factors that determine the cost of MVP development.
Planning an Initial Budget to Build an MVP
There are different ways to build an MVP for your startup – hiring freelancers, managing the development on your own, or hiring a software development company. However, every option requires an investment of time and money.
While hiring a good company with an experienced team of developers, the quote can range between $5,000 and $50,000. The price range varies as per your requirements and budget. All you need is to choose the right MVP developer to bring in agility with the MVP development services. Usually, a mobile app or website development company tend to give valuable feedback and details on the development process.
MVP Cost of Design
The cost depends on the complexity of the design. The best approach to evaluate the cost of MVP design is to estimate the user interface (UI) to be used. Remember that the initial design has a separate cost.
To ensure an engaging user experience (UX), the user interface (UI) should be simple, easy to understand, straightforward to navigate, and must keep the users engaged.
Main components that decide the cost structure of UX:
Preparation plays a crucial role in deciding the cost of design. If you want to save time and money, it’s good to plan before you set up a meeting with the company that you’ve hired for the design and development process. Once the preparation is done, you begin making the wireframe and mockups to ensure that things are on track.
The wireframe is a kind of a skeleton for your app/website. It can be drawn rough, or even on a paper layout of navigation, screens, and elements in your app. It also outlines the features and the complete idea of your app or site. Tools such as Bootstrap can be used to create a wireframe. With available templates, you’ll be able to build a rough layout within hours, and for free.
On average, a wireframe may take 10–30 hours to develop. It may cost you nothing if you do it on your own. However, if you ask any software company, $500 and above would be the estimated cost, depending on the website or app engagement.
A mockup is an important aspect to design and present projects based on ideas to the clients for a better understanding. If presented well, a good mockup can help you succeed.
“In manufacturing and design, a mockup, or mock-up, is a scale or full-size model of a design or device, used for teaching, demonstration, design evaluation, promotion, and other purposes.”
It is expected that a mockup estimation of a landing page costs approximately $500. Every extra screen will cost an additional $50–$70. Based on these prices, you can calculate an estimate for your own. This is how software companies usually charge for their services.
However, if you are familiar with tools like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Experience Design, building a simple mockup will be easy. These well-known tools are very helpful and can help you save your money since Photoshop will cost you $10-$20, while Experience Design is totally free.
(iv) Interaction within the page
It’s not just about creating simple mockups, there is another way to improve interaction within the page. The interactive mockup is a good chance for you to enhance customer engagement. Customers or investors would prefer an interactive solution to a static image.
Tools such as Framer and inVision, are your best supporters to build an MVP platform. Interactive mockups cost a little more as compared to the standard mockup. All you need is your regular mockups and a subscription to one of these prototyping tools. Alternatively, you can outsource this work to the designer you’ve hired, and they will charge $100-$500. It could, however, boost your profits significantly by exploring ideas, understanding usability, improving functionality, and achieving faster time to market.
Number of Features and their Complexity
The next factor is the need to prioritize and list the number of important features for every phase of a user’s journey. The user journey has three important parts — the user, user actions, and story endings.
While MVP development, list all the “nice-to-have” features for your startup. Have this list ready to prioritize and ask questions to yourself like:
- What do you want your users to achieve with the product?
- What features need to be included in order to make the product more attractive and efficient in its final version?
Before your developer starts working on the MVP, it’s crucial to organize categories like ‘must-have,’ ‘nice-to-have’, and ‘don’t care.’ Then ask the developer to work accordingly. This will lessen the chances of failure.
Once the team of developers gains an understanding of what functionality and features are required, next you need to understand the user.
One of the main principles of any startup business is to understand the users well. Product development and customer development should go hand-in-hand. Both are very important and neither can be ignored. By testing your product, you get a clear understanding of what your users want and how well your product aligns with the market demand before it gets too late.
Next is the complexity of the MVP –
The scope of MVP development cost depends on the business requirements. If we take the example of an eCommerce website, the possible MVP options could be:
- The first version of the MVP is simple, where users navigate as per categories of the product such as apparel, appliances, healthcare products, etc.
- The second version might be more complex – collect data related to customer preference and make recommendations accordingly.
- The third version will be even more complex, keeping the business perspective in mind, which is more expensive to develop.
The type of platform to be built is also a key factor to consider when determining the MVP development cost. For example, gaming apps need lots of graphics and other built-in mobile mechanisms, whereas a business app deals with content, database management systems, and high-security features.
Technology Stack for your MVP
Organize and identify the estimated technology stack for your MVP. Whether you are a techie or pretty much unfamiliar with the latest technology, you can always ask for recommendations, and see what your development team suggests.
While planning MVP for a startup, you can consider a few tailored solutions that can be easily coordinated. However, if you want to avoid future challenges, take suggestions for whether you should use a native or hybrid solution.
Therefore, developers are recommended to use the right technology stack to make a final decision. This ensures the project quality and its future growth to create a good impression on the target audience.
Time Taken to Develop an MVP
The time taken to complete the first version of an MVP should not exceed much. During this time-period, development and design are used to build an MVP. If you consider that MVP evaluation either depends on a 2-4 month timeline or is based on agile methodology, you can likely calculate a budget by referring to different web or mobile app development companies.
The cost ranges from $15 to $75 per hour. The early budget varies a lot and relies on the company’s hourly rate and the number of developers associated with the project.
For example, a company works for 2 months with 8 developers at a cost of $20/hour, and another company works for 4 months with 4 developers at a cost of $20/hour, which one is better?
The answer is, of course, the former, because manual power was increased and the time taken to develop your product was decreased. This helps with faster time to market and a better ROI.
The price of a development company starts at $10000. This can be considered the average cost to develop a minimum viable product, but it depends on the complexity of the project. Each project has its own specifications, which further influence the timeline and budget of MVP development.
Major benefits of shorter development time:
- It leads to lower development costs.
- The faster you release the product to your target audience, the quicker you will get feedback. This enables you to make improvements and changes to your site or app and release the updated version in a matter of seconds.
- It reduces the risk of your idea being stolen.
Now that you have identified that factors determine the MVP cost for startups, you should figure out what is right for your business as per the quality that you desire and the cost that you are ready to incur. Remember that design and development are the two main aspects that allow you a margin for saving both, time and money.
To turn your ideas into reality and get onto your target audience’s radar, you need to formulate a business hypothesis, identify the main functions, and pick a good software development company for your project.