How Much Does It Cost to Build an MVP: Costs Explained

Sudeep Srivastava November 26, 2022

It is best to test the waters before taking a dip. The minimum viable product helps you do exactly that. It enables you to develop a product with basic features, test it on the ground, make changes according to the market analysis, and finally launch the final product. Even better is to follow the agile methodology that ensures that every input from the market is incorporated into application development while on the go.

While you might already understand the importance of developing an MVP before launching the final product, there still might be a bit of hesitance in taking your idea forward due to the uncertainty of how much money will be invested. This article aims to give you a comprehensive answer for just that.

Roughly, the MVP development cost can range from $15,000 to $150,000 or more, depending on various factors. Understanding each entailing factor in detail can help you arrive at a cost estimate required for your MVP project.

However, before we deep dive into it, we recommend you to go through this entrepreneur guide on MVP to gain a thorough understanding of the concept. Also, check out this blog on MVP vs POC vs Prototype, to gain a thorough perspective of the differences between the three app viability strategies.

Now, before exploring the factors that affect MVP app costs, let’s start by having a quick look at why you should plan your MVP software development budget in the first place.

Why do you need to plan your MVP software development budget?

Even though creating an MVP is less expensive than creating a full product, not everyone can afford the same with their funds. You must secure funding for it, either through an investor or another means. Prior to doing any of that, you need to have a clear understanding of the MVP budget and how it will be used.

Many products or startups fail because they run out of money during the development phase. So, before you begin spending, it is better to establish a realistic budget.

Know how to build an MVP that can raise money for your mobile app.

How much does it cost to build an MVP and what factors drive it?

Now, let’s come to the main question, how much does an MVP cost and what are the main factors that drive it?

As mentioned above, the minimum viable product cost can range from $15,000 to $150,000, or more, depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the app’s idea, functionality, design, and location of the MVP development team.

MVP development cost

Let’s have a look at each of these factors below.

Factors affecting the Minimum Viable Product development

When it comes to MVP pricing, you will receive a new cost estimate from every team or developer, even if you describe the projects the exact same way. This happens because there are a number of variables that determine the costs. Let us discuss some of these variables:

Factors affecting the Minimum Viable Product development

Application type

The complexity of the application is one of the factors that influence the cost of the MVP greatly. Simpler the product, lesser will the development cost and vice versa. Listing the required features before getting into budget framing is highly advised.

Now, categorize all the listed features into must-have, could-have, not-to-have, and good-to-have. Understandably, the must-have features should further be categorized based on user’s -input, action, activities.

Designing

Needless to say, the whole application’s success depends on the design. Thus, it should be created with careful consideration of UI/UX, wireframes, and expertise. It is estimated that this feature will have the highest stake in the cost contribution of the development.

With a robust UI/UX design, your product can create a substantial brand identity in the MVP stage itself.

Of course, the wireframe will hold the complete application, be the MVP stage or the finished product. Thus, it is important to structure the application thoroughly to depict the structure and the flow of the development  project.

Development team

Development teams are mainly of 4 types: in-house, freelancers, locals, and outsourced.

In-house team for MVP development

Several expenses are incorporated in the MVP development process when it is built in-house. These expenses consist of the developer salaries you pay, the setup fees for the IT infrastructure, the price of the hardware and software, the cost of technology training, any benefits you incorporate, and overhead expenses. In order to keep your team of full-time in-house developers, you should also give them benefits.

The MVP estimate cost for an internal team setup is around $150,000. You can refer to the table below for price estimates.

Variable Cost of In-House Development (Approx)
Cost per hire $3,500 – $4,500
Overall team salary $120,000 – $140,000
IT expenses $20 – $50
IT system $1,200 – $2,000
Technology training $800 – $1,500
Paid benefits $6,000 – $7,000
Software license $250 – $300 per person
Total $131,770 – $155,350

Freelancers

Choosing a freelancer’s minimum viable product app development services will surely save you money. However, the challenge arises with respect to their level of expertise, which is why many entrepreneurs don’t trust freelancers’ work. Sometimes lack of communication also becomes a challenge for the team.

However, talking about the costs at which freelancers can be hired, a full-stack developer can be hired on a monthly basis for about $5,000. This independent contractor will continue working on the job.

Employing a designer comes with a monthly cost of roughly $4,000. You must engage this professional as soon as the project is initiated. Additionally, you will require a tester on hand, which will cost you about $2,500 each month.

Overall, a freelancer would typically charge between $4,000 and $15,000 to create MVP software. Their knowledge, experience, and dedication determine a lot about how the project will turn out.

Local teams

Hiring local teams is also an alternative for businesses that cannot establish an in-house team but want to benefit from being in close contact with their team. They can get in touch with a local minimum viable product app development company. While you save money on expenses like infrastructure and hardware/software in this situation, it will still cost you more as compared to outsourcing your work to an offshore app development team.

The average cost of hiring a developer locally would cost around $150-$200 per hour. If you take into account the average cost of $150 and hire a team of 5 members, the final cost for developing the MVP can range between $160,000 and $180,000.

Outsourcing MVP development

Due to its viability, MVP outsourcing is the most liked option among all. Statistics show that 78% of business owners have been happy with their outsourced partners and an amount of $75.2 billion was spent on outsourcing security in 2021.

While there are different forms of outsourcing, many companies prefer an offshore product development firm that can employ a focused team to build their MVP. Additionally, a project manager serves as their point of contact and makes sure that the MVP development proceeds according to schedule.

Check the table for outsourced expenses incurred with a team of 5 developers, including designers and project managers.

Variable Cost of Outsourcing Development to India (Approx)
Cost per hire $800 – $1,000
Overall team salary $30,000 – $35,000
IT expenses No expenses
IT system No expenses
Technology training No expenses
Paid benefits No expenses
Software license No expenses
Total $30,800 – $36,000

Appinventiv helped JobGet with MVP app development that led to the client bagging a funding of $52 Million.

Appinventiv helped JobGet with MVP app development

Here’s an overall summary of the average costs you will get by hiring different kinds of development teams:

Type of Team MVP Development Costs (Approx)
In-House $132,000 – $155,000
Freelancers $4,000 – $15,000
Local teams $160,000 – $180,000
Outsourcing $30,800 – $36,000

Hourly rate

This format is advantageous as you pay only for what you get. The difference in rates is because of two factors- geolocation and developers’ qualifications.

Geolocation

Depending on the living conditions in each nation, your price will also vary, for the same reason as why $50 in the US is not the same as $50 in Taiwan.

This is why a Belarusian developer earning $35 an hour will make almost 7.5 times more money each month than his nation’s minimum wage. At the same rate, a developer from New York would make just $200 more than the minimum wage. An American developer must make at least $250 per hour in order to be 7.5 times superior to a Belarusian developer.

Here is an estimate of hourly rates in different areas:

Region Hourly Costs (Approx)
Western Europe $110-200
Eastern Europe $20-50
North America $150-230
South America $30-50
Africa $20-40
Australia $100-180
Asia $15-40

Qualification

The salary of your developer will also depend on their expertise and experience. Developers are typically split into 3 groups based on their level of experience:

  • Juniors (up to 1 year)
  • Middle (between 1 and 5 years), and
  • Seniors (no less than five years)

The price may also vary depending on whether special experience or abilities are required.

Tech stack required

stack required in your MVP software development

Based on complexity, you must figure out the right tech stack required in your MVP software development. Let’s look at a few good options:

Frontend interface – React.js, Angular.js, Vue.js

React.js

  • Provides one-way data binding
  • Simple to code and understand
  • Uses virtual DOM

Angular.js

  • Follows two-way data binding
  • Model View Controller (MVC) Framework
  • UI with HTML

Vue.js

  • Interactive and easy-to-understand UI
  • Open source and progressive framework
  • Strong computing properties

Backend interface – Python, Ruby on rails, Node.js

Ruby on rails

  • Can help create a secure and functional MVP app
  • Object-oriented nature
  • Developer-friendly syntax to simplify coding

Python/Django

  • Used in the fields of AI and machine learning
  • Prioritizes code readability
  • Can be used for both small and large-scale applications

Node.js

  • Based on Google’s V8 JavaScript engine
  • Excellent for real-time messaging or streaming web apps
  • High performance and scalability

Cross-platform technology- Google Flutter and React Native

React Native

  • JavaScript programming language
  • Flexible code sharing
  • Easily scalable

Google Flutter

  • Open source software development
  • Allows cross-platform code development
  • Easy third-party integrations and APIs

Type of contract

Your type of contract and contractual obligations are significant determinants of MVP pricing. The most commonly used is the Time and Material contract which follows the actual payment per-hour policy. It allows for flexible working and covers the minimum payable amount for MVP app development.

Other contracts like Fixed Price contracts are also available but not as regularly used since they have drawbacks, including the requirement for prior accurate scoping and a list of developer duties. Making changes while a project is being developed is a difficult method.

Post Development Factors that Affect MVP App Development Costs

After developing and launching your final app, there are a few inevitable but important costs you will have to bear in order to make your viable product a marketable product and gain high outcomes. These include 3 main post-launch costs:

  • Marketing – Your advertisement and marketing cost will come out to be roughly $10,000 on average. You must find a marketing partner who will advertise your product on multiple platforms to help your customers connect with you and your products. The marketing cost will vary depending on the type of marketing approach you select. Some options you can explore to advertise are through social media promotions, sponsored ads, or corporate events.
  • Sales – You need the right sales pitch to get your products through to the right customers and help them use your product meaningfully. On average, you will have to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 to conceptualize an idea that benefits sales through your MVP.
  • Maintenance – As an estimate, the cost of maintenance is nearly 20% of the MVP development budget you initially take. This will include the cost of server and integrations cost along with APIs that help you with interactions. The overall maintenance cost will eventually depend on the location of your team and the complexity of your app.

develop an MVP with Appinventiv

Convert your business idea into reality with Appinventiv’s MVP app development services

Appinventiv has customized solutions for both startups and established businesses across the globe with significant outcomes. We take pride in our work as you will have a 30% more chance of securing the investment by implementing and conceptualizing our approach.

One such solution was curated for JobGet, a marketplace for job seekers and suppliers. Our task was to bring down the duration of the job search process from months to days and make it more convenient. With the improvements in the app, more than 150,000 job seekers were able to get placed, and the app received over 2 Million downloads. AppInventiv was also able to help JobGet receive funding of $52 million and be declared the no.1 app for blue-collar jobs.

In a similar attempt, we also helped our client, Innovative Eyewear, develop a transforming social media app like Vyrb. One of a kind, this social media application is built to optimize with Bluetooth wearables. Our team not only understood the requirements but suggested an innovative user-friendly solution that helped Vyrb successfully secure funding of $1 million along with 50k+ downloads. The success was based on the suggested MVP version that was created based on prioritizing the features of the application.

use case study screen

In a similar manner, we can help you make an MVP for your products. We have the required expertise and experience to be your go-to MVP development company that can help you try out your product in the market and make necessary improvements to sell it ultimately. Leverage our minimum viable product development services and let our in-house team of developers guide you through the development process.

FAQs

Q. How much does MVP app development cost?

A. Cost of developing a minimum viable product is dependent on multiple factors. The primary factors to consider are the Scope of work, the technology stack chosen, the team required, contract obligations, the geographic location of the hired team, and more. However, on average, the cost may vary in anything between the range of $15,000 to $150,000.

Q. How long does it take to build an MVP?

A. Every project is unique in its own way and requirements. We can safely assume that, on average, it might take three to four months to launch the MVP version of the desired product/service. Having said that, the time frame may vary depending on its uniqueness. It will be apt to first discuss your requirements with the project team, based on which they can help you with the estimated time to build an MVP. Schedule a call with our experts.

Q. How to choose an MVP app development company?

A. Some of the basics you should know while choosing an MVP app development company are:

  • Defining goals, objectives, and timelines
  • Shortlisting result-oriented development companies
  • Checking the portfolio of the shortlisted development companies to match their expertise in the business domain
  • Knowing the approach and methodology that the development company follows
  • Knowing the tech stack the development company has expertise in
  • Checking on the security structures being followed
  • Finally, checking on the development companies testing, and post deployment maintenance services

Q. In which stage of development is an MVP created?

A. Once you have decided that you want to create a business and have conceptualized the idea and products, you can straightaway begin listing the main features and selling points of your business that you want in your app and create an MVP.

THE AUTHOR
Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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