Uber-like App – How Much Would MVP Development and Marketing Cost?

Every entrepreneur wants to develop a product that will both change the world and make him/her famous and rich. The Uber founders managed to do that. When we think about Uber, we consider that it will be too expensive and hard to develop something similar. However, it is not true. 

What is an MVP?

This term stands for a minimum viable product. It is a common approach that allows founders to develop a limited, but still functional version of the product. 

An MVP lets you enter the market and collect the feedback of the customers. If the product is accepted and worth paying for, an MVP can be extended to the full product version.

An MVP development is an irreplaceable approach if you want to launch a product without wasting a lot of money and resources. Thus, you can see if the idea of your product is viable and attract your early customers. 

Think of an MVP as a product that conveys your main vision, rather than an inferior one. There are a lot of products we use nowadays, that have started as an MVP. AirBnb, DropBox and Uber, – all of them started with a minimum features set which we took as a case study for determining an MVP cost.

What is the cost of developing an MVP?

The structure of the MVP budget includes development and business costs. The first one about prototyping, design, and coding. The second one is about customer and market researches, idea validation, marketing, and sales.

The product owner should also decide on the type of platform beforehand. Developing an app for both iOS and Android may be rather cost-effective. But today’s customer expectations are so high, that iOS and Android versions of MVP are literally a must-have.

The development of an MVP can be performed in four ways. Each of them has its own advantages, drawbacks, and cost. The options for development we consider are ⁠—  in-house teams, outsource companies, local agencies, and freelance specialists. 

In most cases, the development of MVP requires a project manager, full-stack developer, UX/UI designer, and tester. 

Though the prices on developing a mobile application can differ depending on technical requirements and project complexity, there is the benchmark cost you can take into account.

An average price for an outsource specialist in Ukraine is $30 per hour. Therefore, a price for a four-member team is $120 per hour. It is the best option for a tight budget.

Local agencies usually ask for a price of $360 per hour. Three times higher prices, however, are compensated by the reliability of their services. It is a good alternative for a product owner with a high budget.

If you want to save money, the best option is to hire freelance specialists. However, this way is tricky, since you never know whether the freelancer gets the job done. Unfortunately, the responsible freelance specialists you can rely on are rare.

You can also consider an in-house option, which is about two times more expensive than hiring freelance specialists. If you have a tight budget, this way is not desirable.  You would need to pay the specialists for the full-time job, bear holiday and hiring costs as well as many other expenses.

An average timing for MVP development is about 2 months. Thus the rough cost of development are:

  • Outsourcing ⁠— $35 000
  • Local agencies ⁠— $65 000
  • Freelancers ⁠— $13 000
  • In-house ⁠— $25 000

Uber MVP Cost

Let’s consider an Uber MVP case. Today’s technologies allow us to build an Uber-like app with little difficulty and expenses. But, first of all, we need to understand how the app operates.

Uber process flow comprises 6 main processes. They are:

  • Trip Request
  • Trip Confirmation
  • Matching
  • Ride
  • Payment
  • Rating

The implementation of these processes is possible because of various integrations and technologies. 

One of the main functions of an Uber-like app is geolocation. Uber uses the CoreLocation framework for iOs devices and Google Location API services for Android ones. It ensures the identification of device location. To provide point-to-point directions, Uber uses the MapKit framework for iOS and Google Maps Android API for Android.

The Uber payment process is implemented via integrations with e-commerce services. The app uses Braintree, Stripe and PayPal payment gateways and integrates with Apple Pay and Google Wallet for iOs and Android respectively.

Uber app uses push notifications and SMS, which is possible due to integrations with Apple Push Notifications for iOS and Firebase Cloud Messaging for Android. Both platforms also allow Twillio integrations for text messaging.

The first thing you need to pay attention to is that Uber has three roles of a user with their own features. They are ⁠— rider, driver and admin one.

An overall timing for Uber-like MVP development is about 1500 hours. What does this time include?

  • Development of two apps (rider and driver) for both Android and iOS platforms
  • Implementing the integrations and the basic set of features
  • UI/UX design
  • Project management
  • Quality Assurance
  • Code Review

Since we have time calculation, we can predict the cost of development. Let’s compare the prices among the four possible development options.

  • Outsourcing ⁠— about $45 000
  • Freelancers ⁠— approximately $30 000
  • In-house development ⁠— about $60 000
  • Local agency ⁠— roughly $150 000

The final cost of Uber-like MVP development certainly depends on the features you want to implement. Nevertheless, the approximate time and price calculations ensure that the complexity and high cost of building an Uber app are grossly exaggerated.

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