How much does MVP app development cost? Top 5 cost factors explained

11 min read
March 15, 2024

In 2023, mobile apps generated $935 million in revenue – so building one should be a no-brainer.

And building a minimum viable product (MVP) for your app is the best way to ensure it can make it in the real world.

But, the cost of building one is a major concern.

Here, we’ll discuss how much MVP app development costs on average and the top cost factors that influence the cost.

Let’s dive in!

What is an MVP?

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a bare-bones version of your app that includes only its core features.

It’s the ultimate idea validation tool that will show you if there’s genuine market demand for your app.

But, building an MVP isn’t just about making a functional app and calling it a day.

It’s about creating a usable and appealing app that will resonate with your users and meet their needs.

MVP development approach

And you can build various types of MVPs, like:

  • Fake door MVP – fake door MVPs are usually landing pages built to gauge market interest before building an MVP or prototype
  • Pre-order MVP – a pre-order MVP is when you take pre-orders and crowdfund before actually building your product
  • Single-feature MVP – As the name suggests, a single-feature MVP has only the main feature of your product and it’s one of the most common MVP types
  • Concierge MVP – a concierge MVP looks like a normal app, but the back-end is run manually by humans

The type of MVP you build will depend on the type of app you’re building, your budget, and your unique requirements.

Building an MVP is the best way to make sure the app you’re building can be successful in the market.

And that’s why it’s so popular.

How much does it cost to build an app MVP on average?

Every app MVP has unique requirements and the cost of building one can vary wildly.

So, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer – the best answer is “it depends.”

That’s because there’s a number of factors that will influence your MVP’s cost, such as:

  • Market research and idea validation
  • Feature set and complexity
  • UX/UI design complexity
  • Size and experience of the development team
  • The tech stack

But, we can break down the average costs like:

  • A simple MVP – $15,000-40,000$
  • A medium complexity MVP – $50,000-80,000$
  • A complex MVP – $100,000+

Now, you could make a really simple MVP for $15,000 and call it a day.

But, quality matters.


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A high-quality MVP for a simple app idea can easily cost over $40,000 to build.

And for complex, enterprise-level apps just the MVP can cost over $250,000.

In short, there’s no easy way to pinpoint how much your app MVP will cost you.

The total cost will depend on many different cost factors – we’ll discuss the top ones in more detail and give you tips on how to reduce them.

Top 5 MVP app development cost factors

Now, let’s cover the top 5 factors that influence the cost of your MVP.

Market research and idea validation

Validating your idea and researching your market is a major cost factor when you’re building your app MVP.

And it’s a crucial step you need to take – 99.5% of consumer apps end up failing in the market.

Researching your market and validating your app idea is the best way to minimize the risk of that happening to your app.

It will also help you get to a product-market fit.

Here’s what Resonate’s founder, Davor Culjak, has to say about product-market fit and why it’s so important:

So, what’s the best way to validate your idea and get to a product-market fit?

There’s a simple answer – product discovery.

Product discovery is the process of researching your market and validating your product idea before developing it.

During discovery, you do:

It’s the best way to make sure your MVP actually resonates with your users.

And that’s why you should do it.

How to reduce market research and idea validation costs

  • Use existing data and research –  free reports, studies, and industry blogs are a great low-cost option for market research
  • Do social media research – you should engage with potential users on social media and get feedback on your MVP
  • Use low-cost research methods – using cheap user research methods like surveys and questionnaires is a great option if you’re on a tight budget

Feature set and complexity

The features you include in your MVP and the complexity of your app are the biggest factors that will influence the overall cost of your MVP.

For example, a fintech app will be much more expensive to build than a simple e-commerce marketplace.

Also, the platform(s) you choose will influence the cost of your app MVP, like:

Building two separate native apps will cost you more than building a single cross-platform app.

And building a cross-platform app comes with other benefits, too:

Cross-platform app development benefits

So, if you want to keep MVP development costs down, cross-platform apps are the way to go.

But, that’s just one solution – how can you manage the other costs?

The answer is feature prioritization.

The point of an MVP is to build a product with only the core features that bring value to your users.

And you need to be ruthless when choosing the features you want in your MVP – 80% of features in the average app are rarely or never used.

There are a number of feature prioritization methods you can use, like:

  • Kano
  • Value vs. effort
  • RICE (Reach/Impact/Confidence/Effort
  • MoSCoW (Must have/should have 

They will help you choose features your users will actually want to use.

And that’s the point of building an MVP.

How to reduce feature costs for your MVP

  • Prioritize core features – make sure you only include the most essential features in your MVP 
  • Avoid over-engineering – don’t invest in new features or functionalities unless you’re sure they add value to your MVP and meet your users’ needs
  • Use third-party solutions – if you use off-the-shelf solutions, you’ll spend a lot less time and money than if you build everything from scratch

UX/UI design complexity

Your MVP’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are essential if you want it to stand out from the crowd and succeed in the market.

And that’s not just idle talk.

A well-designed UX can increase the conversion rate by up to 400%.

And for every $1 you invest in UX, you get $100 in return – that’s an ROI of 9,900%!


So, investing in UX is an absolute must – but the costs add up quickly.

Building a fully custom design from scratch is more expensive than using pre-made templates and components.

And complex animations and interactive elements can significantly increase your design costs.

But, there’s an easy way you can reduce design costs, even if your MVP has a complex design.

And that’s thoroughly researching your target audience and getting their feedback early.

Target market vs target audience vs target personas

This way, you’ll make sure your MVP’s design and UX actually meet your users’ needs.

And getting it right from the start is much cheaper in the long run.

How to reduce UX/UI design costs

  • Keep it simple – designing a simple, user-friendly UI is not only cheaper but will also improve your MVP’s UX
  • Use pre-made templates – using pre-made templates and design elements is cheaper and faster than designing your MVP from the ground up
  • Reuse and adapt existing designs – building on and adapting existing designs based on feedback is cheaper than building it again from scratch

Size and experience of the development team

Another major factor that will influence the cost of your app MVP is the size and experience of the team you hire to build it.

The key is striking the right balance.

While a smaller team might be cheaper, it will take longer to build your MVP.

On the flip side, a larger team will work faster, but they’ll be more expensive.

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And a team of senior engineers will also work faster and make fewer mistakes – but that level of expertise will cost you.

According to Indeed, the average base salary for a senior software engineer in the U.S. is $145,390 per year.

So, what are your options when hiring a team?

The first is hiring a full in-house team.

But, just the hiring and onboarding processes come with a lot of added costs – the average onboarding cost for a new hire comes out to $4100 per hire.

Onboarding costs

So, if you hire a team of 5 senior engineers, just onboarding them will cost you $20,500.

And their yearly salaries will come out to $726,950 per year.

The second option you have is hiring freelancers to help you build your MVP.

They’re much cheaper than an in-house team, but finding the right group of engineers and coordinating them is much easier said than done.

And that’s why you should hire a dedicated team.

Dedicated team

If you pick the right vendor, their dedicated team will feel just like an in-house team.

Hiring a dedicated team is the most cost-effective long-term option – it’s cheaper than hiring a full in-house team and more reliable than hiring freelancers.

On top of that, you also gain a long-term partner who can help you build on your MVP.

And that’s why it’s the best choice.

How to reduce development team costs

  • Effective project management – effective project management is crucial if you want to reduce costs and speed up development
  • Use Agile methodologies – Agile methodologies like Kanban or Scrum support faster development, which will reduce your development costs
  • Hire a dedicated team – hiring a dedicated team is more reliable than hiring freelancers and cheaper than hiring a full in-house team, making it the most cost-effective option in the long term

The tech stack

The tech stack you use to build your app MVP is another significant cost factor.

With the right tech stack, you’ll be able to build it faster – and getting to market quickly is key when building an MVP.

But, let’s start with the basics – what is a tech stack?

A tech stack is the set of technologies used to build your MVP.

Here’s what a typical tech stack looks like:

Tech stack components

It’s the toolkit your engineers will use to develop your MVP – and you want them to have the right tools for the job.

So, how do you make the right choice?

There are several important factors that will influence your choice of tech stack, like:

  • Your MVP’s platform
  • The project scope
  • Your requirements
  • Your team’s expertise

The most important factor is using tools and frameworks your team is already familiar with.

If you do, they’ll be able to jump straight into building your product – and do it faster.

And speed is the best way to cut costs.

How to reduce tech stack costs

  • Use open-source tools – open-source tools, frameworks, and libraries are free to use and often have dedicated communities, so using them is a good way to cut down on development costs
  • Use no-code and low-code platforms – if you have a really simple app or want to quickly validate your MVP, no-code and low-code platforms are a good, cheap option
  • Use cloud services – Cloud services like AWS and Google Cloud operate on a pay-as-you-go model, so they’re much cheaper than physical infrastructure

How much does MVP app development cost: FAQs

A minimum viable product (MVP) is the first, bare-bones version of your product with only the essential features included. 

It’s one of the best idea validation tools you can use to prove your idea can succeed in your market.

On average, here’s how much building an MVP will cost you:

  • A simple MVP – $15,000-40,000$
  • A medium complexity MVP – $50,000-80,000$
  • A complex MVP – $100,000+

The top MVP cost factors are:

  • Market research and idea validation
  • Feature set and complexity
  • UX/UI design complexity
  • Size and experience of the development team
  • The tech stack

Need help building your MVP?

Do you have a great app idea but don’t know where to start?

We’ve got you covered.

We can help you build your MVP from start to finish, validate your idea, and help you launch your product.

If you want to learn more, check out our MVP development process and feel free to get in touch with us.

Written by

Ante Baus


Ante is a true expert. Another graduate from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, he’s been a DECODEr from the very beginning. Ante is an experienced software engineer with an admirably wide knowledge of tech. But his superpower lies in iOS development, having gained valuable experience on projects in the fintech and telco industries. Ante is a man of many hobbies, but his top three are fishing, hunting, and again, fishing. He is also the state champ in curling, and represents Croatia on the national team. Impressive, right?

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