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How Much Would Your Web App’s MVP Cost You

MVP Development Cost Explained for Your Web App

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Aamir Qutub

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World Wide Web is an intricate and extensive network of ideas that are a product of subtle human intellect. And the idea that your own web app based out of business or a hobby will make an impact on people seems very fascinating.

So you’ve come up with a surefire idea of a web app and have a good speculative data of how it should work, look & feel, you’re immediately onto the next big step. Building an MVP. Great, now it’s time to find a development company to build the MVP for your Web App. But how much should your MVP cost?

Some developers may tell you it should cost $5,000 to $15,000. An experienced CTO will tell you it should cost between $50,000 and $150,000.

Which one is right? Are they even talking about the same thing? And what is the reason for such extensive gaps?


A Recap

MVP app is a minimum viable product; that is rolled in the market prior to the final app launch, to ensure the final product, goes well. Though MVP provides just the basic functionality of the final app, that is made in a minimum detail of custom coding and complicated functions, it just addresses the core problem for the users.

We will find out right here, through this article the answers to all above questions.

First, let’s see and understand, who needs to start with an MVP for Web App Development?

Today, building an MVP is a very prevalent method in IT industry and software development. So, for a startup, this is a good starting point which represents a proper plan for its launch and growth. An existing, well-established enterprise may go with an MVP when you are trying to bring a new product or a unique solution to the market.

In general, developing an MVP is a conventional method to start something brand new, and in some forms, you may implement this approach everywhere. Its principal aim is to decrease resources, save time and present your possible audience with a product quite quickly to get practical and useful feedback. Here is how IBM approaches to building Web App.


IBM Building Web App


CTOs who have produced several MVPs and transformed them into successful ventures when asked about an MVP are immediately thinking about building a team of professionals to design a satisfactory UX and deliver a test-driven technology platform which would sustain several iterations of backend and frontend culture while scaling in case of improving traffic and backend data processing.

Here’s what CTOs say when asked for a price tag on an MVP similar to the world’s biggest companies:

  • Twitter – $50,000 to $250,000
  • Instagram – $100,000 to $300,000 in 3-6 months
  • Facebook – $500,000 in 9 months
  • WhatsApp – $250,000 in 9 months
  • Uber – $1M to $1.5M
  • Pinterest – $120,000 in 4 months
  • Shopify – $250,000 and $300,000 in 4-6 months
  • Vine – $125,000 and $175,000 in 4 to 6 months


That doesn’t involve infrastructure scaling and hosting expenditure (Facebook shelling out $30M per month) or any operations & marketing related costs necessary to launch, operate and market the product (Uber funded with a quarter of a billion). Not considering backend supporting revenue sources, APIs, artwork, copywriting and all that. Timing, luck and talent also not included. And it helps to have all three.

Here is another snapshot that will give you a sneak peek at the timeline of MVP development.

Timeline of an MVP


So, how much does it cost to make an MVP for Web App?

The answer can be based on the approach to calculating the most accurate app cost used by us. We will be going through the same steps established by our process and proven by the project examples that followed it.

Let’s go through some of the factors that drive the cost of your MVP (Scope) :

  • UI/UX design – how the MVP will look and feel, the interaction of users with your website
  • HTML/CSS implementation of design – conversion of design to code
  • Back-end programming – the server side of your website
  • Front-end programming – coding the part that users see and interact with
  • Automation tests – getting rid of the majority of bugs
  • Manual tests – final stage, checking the flow and finishing with the bugs


First of all, we have to establish something. Every web app  must have at least two user roles:

  1. Visitor
  2. Registered user

Let’s discuss these points in detail:

1. UI/UX design

It involves defining UX scenarios, creating the logo, picking the working month’s scheme and establishing a style model if required.

Estimates: 4 story points


2. Database and Web Application Design

This stage comprises a configuration of development backend and frontend tools, database configuration and running deployment scripts.



UML Model

Estimates: 4 story points

Now we can continue to the functionality implementation.


3. Payments & subscription plans

Any web app provides some value, and if you’re planning to get money in exchange for providing that value, you’ll need to let your users pay for that app via one-time payment or via subscription offers (which is a most common option).

Site visitors must be able to:

  1. See detailed information on website services
  2. Order an aid from the website by choosing a service plan
  3. Provide a payment using their credit cards

Logged in users should be able to:

  1. See the history of their transaction on the settings page
  2. Manage payment methods
  3. Change/Pause/Stop their subscription plans

Estimates: 9 story points


4. Dynamic content

Dynamic content is the data that can be updated and edited by end users. For instance, you may want to allow your users to post articles with images, or publish a portfolio with a detailed description. That needs the respective functionality to be implemented.

Here is snapshot:


Dynamic Content

Logged in users should be able to:

  1. Add a content on the site: title, summary, media content (images, video, audio), geolocation
  2. ‘Browse/Change/Delete your earlier added content

Site visitors must be able to:

  1. Filter/Search for specific content
  2. See search results using Filter/Search
  3. See specific information about a content

Estimates: 15-20 story points.

The final volume of story points depends on the required functionality. Apparently, if you want to allows users to post media-rich content (like in blogs), it will need more time to implement, than to allow, say, simple text messaging (like in chats).


5. Commenting

Logged in users should be able to:

    1. Comment a content on the website

Site visitors should be able to:

    1. See comments made by other users

Estimates: 4 story points


6. Liking

Logged in users should be able to:

      1. Like/dislike content on the website

Site visitors should be able to:

      1. See likes/dislikes made by other users

Estimates: 2 story points


7. Messaging system

Logged in users should be able to:

      1. Send messages to other users
      2. Reply to messages from other users
      3. See an account of conversations with other users
      4. See notifications for new messages

Messaging System

Estimates: 8 story points


8. Friendship and Following

If your web app enables social interaction, then definitely you’ll want to allow users to friend and follow each other.The Internet is flooded with these apps. One of them is Skout.




Logged in users should be able to:

      1. Add additional users to their friend lists
      2. Remove users from their friend lists
      3. View activity of users from their friend lists

Estimates: 4 story points


9. Static content and landing pages

Any web application has some static and landing pages assisting site visitors to figure out the aim of the web application and decide whether to sign up or not. Usually, one of such pages is the main page.

Here is how it might look like:

Landing Pages


Site visitors must be able to:

      1. See the main page of the website and its data with concise explanation of website’s idea and website’s services

Estimates: 2-3 story point


10. Authorization and security

Site visitors should be able to:


      1. Sign up for the system with email and password or a social media portal
      2. Log in to the system with email and password or a social network
      3. Reset their passwords in case they forgot it

Logged in users should be able to:

      1. Update the settings (name, email, password, etc.)
      2. Make the private data unavailable to outside users

Estimates: 8 story points

Here is how to secure connection is established:


Authorisation and Security

This forecast transforms on the grounds of the complexity of the primary page and may increase with the amount and the complexity of the additional settling and static pages you may wish to have.

Having this list in mind, you can quickly figure out how many story points it is roughly required to implement your sole minimum viable product. But what to do next with it? While a particular story point may take from 2 to 16 hours to achieve the required functionality when it comes to a total amount we can easily equate it to around 12 hours/story point.

Here is a country-wise categorisation of pricing for your convenience:


Web Development Rates

Hiring Your Professional Developers

As you see, most of the choices do require some investment, and this is an excellent point to be ready to establish a realistic budget that you are going to spend on your MVP.

At this stage, it is also essential to know how to pick an app development company. Once you find some choices, feel free to share your needs and funds info so you can arrange a productive conversation with your next partner. App development organisations provide useful and valuable insights as well as list and explain details on a process which is more fitting for your MVP.


How long does it take to develop an MVP Web App?

Taking into consideration the Lean Startup method simultaneously with our expertise and experience, we can deduce that the first variant of MVP should not take more than four months. It must be considered that this time involves not the only development in the semantics of programming but also planning stages (UX/UI) that are an essential part of developing an app.

Approximate MVP Cost

So if to suppose that MVP development cost is based on the timeline from 2 to 4 man-months, there is a likelihood to calculate an approximate budget using average rates of mobile development companies.

To give you a realistic idea, here is the cost of some of the MVPs we have built in the past:

  • An MVP for a two-way marketplace between suppliers and customers- $30,000 to $60,000
  • A Multi-vendor customised eCommerce MVP- $15,000 to $30,000
  • MVP for Audit management system- $20,000 to $40,000
  • MVP for Task Management – $7000 to $30,000
  • MVP for communication management between different stakeholders- $20,000 to $80,000
  • MVP for Booking platforms similar to Airbnb- AirBnB type- $25,000 to $75,000
  • MVP for apps like Uber (Single platform) – $50,000 to $200,000


Summing Up

You shouldn’t presume impossible things from your development team if you have decided to stuff your project with everything at once. In this case, the time for development will be longer than the period described that will respectively increase the price. The set of requirements and features should be limited and possible to implement within 2 – 4 man-months to meet the above-stated budget.

Moreover, getting touch with some experienced and smart professionals will help you nip in the bud the nasty cost calculations. So find your team and get going!

Picture of Aamir Qutub
Aamir Qutub
Aamir Qutub is the founder and CEO of Enterprise Monkey, has a sincere passion for innovation and startups. With an experience of around a decade, he is a proud co-founder of 4 technology startups, focusing on real-world problems and their solutions. He also loves to cook and spend time with his onlyborn.
Picture of Aamir Qutub
Aamir Qutub
Aamir Qutub is the founder and CEO of Enterprise Monkey, has a sincere passion for innovation and startups. With an experience of around a decade, he is a proud co-founder of 4 technology startups, focusing on real-world problems and their solutions. He also loves to cook and spend time with his onlyborn.

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