So How Much Does An MVP Cost?

March 8, 2021

SO HOW MUCH DOES AN MVP COST?Challenges are part of running a startup.

Bringing an idea into reality is a very satisfying concept. Combined with the financial rewards a business can produce gives us one of the best things in life. But having the idea is one thing, you’ve actually got to make the product to see that reality. One of the best ways to begin is to develop an MVP, but how much will an MVP cost?

An MVP has many benefits. You can test your product with potential users. To question your assumptions and improve your understanding of what your product’s strengths & weaknesses are.

How Much Does an MVP Cost?

The reality is, there is no definitive answer.

Why?

Because like fingerprints and snowflakes, MVPs are unique. You may need a small budget or a big one. It depends on what you’re planning to build and what answers you will uncover during testing.

The MVP cost for a virtual reality product compared to a video game, for example, will be radically different. Or whether you’re building a minimalist game application or launching a rocket. Depending on what product you’re creating will determine how much your MVP costs.

Yet, we can develop a range of what you’re likely to achieve with certain budgets.

Note: The following amounts are all in USD.

<$10,000

For $10,000 or less, you’re likely to be very limited in creating a minimum viable product. While it’s still possible to begin the MVP methodology, the final product is likely to resemble a prototype.

While an MVP is a lite version of your final product, it still needs to contain some sense of functionality, User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX). This is very difficult to deliver with a limited budget.

However, a prototype developed for $10,000 or less, can be used for introducing your MVP to focus groups or even presented to investors.

Remember an MVP’s job is to question the assumptions of your product, iron out the kinks and find out exactly what it is your customers are looking for.

If your budget is below $10,000 and your intention is to use your MVP to pitch to investors, work with minimum viable product development services. This will ensure you’re producing an MVP that will actually work!

$10,000 – $25,000

Now we’re talking. With this kind of budget, you can start to get a fully-fledged MVP up and running. While working with minimum viable product development services you’ll be able to:

  • Analyse the market
  • Wireframe the MVP
  • Write the technical specs
  • Code the MVP to test with early adopters and focus groups

However, one caveat with this budget is that you will not be able to go cross-platform or across devices (Web, iOS, Android).

With a budget of between $10,000 – $25,000, you’ll be limiting yourself to one device or platform to focus on. While this is not the end of the world (See Clubhouse’s success on iOS), it may limit you in the long run.

As for which device or platform to focus on…that’s a problem for your MVP development service.

$25,000 – $50,000

So now you want to play with the big boys. With this budget, you can negate the problems encountered with a smaller budget and develop your MVP across many platforms or devices.

You can even develop a web-based application AND a mobile application.

However, just because you can go across platforms does not mean you have to go all out for a fully-featured product. Remember an MVP’s job is to question the assumptions of your product, iron out the kinks and find out exactly what it is your customers are looking for.

An MVP cost of $50,000 will be able to do this. It will give your customers a professional looking application that behaves and functions like a final product. Your early adopters will never know the difference.

$50,000 – $100,000

Now your MVP will be a cut above the rest. With this kind of budget, you’re looking at fully-featured product.

Developing an MVP with this budget will give you peace of mind. You can build a team or outsource to a development service since you can be certain your MVP will be of high quality.

You’ll be able to use it to pitch to those all-important early investors. You’ll be able to capture so much important information from your user’s behaviours. An MVP cost with this budget is a key driver to success. It’s well on its way to give you the information you need to make informed decisions about future development.

$100,000+

Can we even call it an MVP anymore? If you can develop a fully-featured product for between $50,000 – $100,000, imagine what you can achieve with $100,000+!

However, it really does depend on what kind of product you’re going for. Want to develop the next flappy bird or a rival to Grand Theft Auto?

Your product will determine what kind of budget you’ll need to allocate/raise for your MVP.

If you’re in doubt, talk to an MVP development service to find out how much you need to invest. A service will tell you what you need to get your MVP developed to a point where you can start collecting that all important information.

What Are Your Options?

Once you’ve decided on your budget, you have 4 major options when it comes to developing your MVP.

And like Goldilocks and the 3 bears some of them don’t quite work but one of them is just right!

Valuing your time effectively is one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make. Is sitting behind a computer and coding your product is the best use of your time?

1. Do It Yourself

This is by far and away the cheapest option. However, you need to consider the time it will take you to develop your MVP. What you must also take into account are the other activities that involve taking your MVP to market. Putting it in the hands of people who can physically test you product.

By developing the MVP yourself you take yourself away from being able to market your product.

Valuing your time effectively is one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make. Is sitting behind a computer and coding your product is the best use of your time?

2. Hire Freelancers

While hiring freelancers can be a cheap option, you’re playing Russian roulette with your MVP.

Freelancers often have many projects open at the same time and outsource their work to other freelancers. You may hire one freelancer but actually have no idea who is developing your MVP.

You may need to hire many freelancers to find one that can actually complete your work. There are thousands of horror stories about freelancers who cost thousands of dollars and failed to deliver.

3. Build An In-House Team

Without a doubt the most expensive option on our list. While building an in-house team allows you to maintain complete control, it comes with a significant price.

From buying hardware, renting office space, interviewing developers and paying salaries, an in-house team is a long-term expensive option.

An MVP is for development purposes. It’s to test assumptions and the market on your product. That’s why the next option, which, as Goldilocks found out…is just right.

4. Outsource To Minimum Viable Product Development Services

As we spoke about here (How to Build Your MVP, Scale Your Product and Win Your Customers), one of the best and most time-efficient ways to develop your MVP is to outsource to an MVP development service.

In doing so, not only are you gaining access to a range of skill sets, but you’re hiring experts in MVP development. Experts in a range of important areas required for MVP development.

MVP development services offer a host of benefits including:

  • Turnaround time
  • Technical diversity
  • Are thoroughly experienced
  • Affordable
  • Instil confidence and peace of mind

Minimum viable product development services also have a bank of employees that can take over in emergencies. This means qualified developers can stand in if a team member becomes unavailable due to sickness or other circumstances.

Final Thought

When developing an MVP there are a lot of moving parts. As an entrepreneur, decision fatigue is real. There are so many updates, developments, changes and hurdles to navigate. Tracking the financials of your business is so important to ensure you have a viable and sustainable business. Knowing your MVP cost can be difficult to calculate.

Minimum viable product development services can take this burden off you. With experience & history on their side entrepreneurs can be confident in knowing where their investment is going and what they will gain from it.

How much do you need for MVP development? Talk to an MVP development service first. Who knows, you might find out you need less than you originally budgeted for.

About the author: Joe Silk -

Joseph is a Start-up Consultant, Copywriter & Business Owner with 9 years of PQE. He is extremely client-centric, able to work on a wide range of topics and deliver high-quality standards on projects of all sizes for clients all over the world. View on Linkedin

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