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How much does it cost to build an app like Tinder?

How much does it cost to make a Tinder / Uber / Airbnb / XYZ clone? It’s a well-known question which most software development companies heard at least once.

How much…

How much does it cost to make a Tinder / Uber / Airbnb / XYZ clone?

It’s a well-known question which most software development companies heard at least once. There are also many variations of this question like:

How much does it cost to make Uber for X, or Facebook for Y?

but they are all heading to one thing: You have your own idea, but you want to have a cost reference point – and what’s better than comparing against a popular app used by million of users?

Before we move on, I want to make sure we are on the same page – I am not going to estimate the costs of an app like Tinder as it is today. The company hires around 200 engineers and has done countless iteration of its initial product. There are lots of magic going on behind the scenes – advanced machine learning for matching algorithm, complex data-driven real time decisions, and so on. Therefore, I am going to focus on the cost estimation of a minimum viable product (MVP) that Tinder might have been during their very early days.

Tinder – the most popular dating app on the market with many cool features like the famous card swiping

In short, the cost of a Tinder clone MVP or something very similar depends on a few factors:

  • features
  • company you choose
  • your technology requirements
  • the complexity of a design

If you want an app for one platform (iOS or Android) and we will assume an hourly rate at $50, it will cost you at least $35,000.

Ok, so let’s take a look at this and calculate it more precisely.

Tinder features

Tinder idea is very simple; swipe between profiles, like or dislike, if you like someone and other users reciprocate, you have a match, and you can start chatting with this person. Let’s make a list of the most important features in Tinder:

  • Authentication
  • User profile
  • Notifications
  • User settings
  • User location
  • Card swiping
  • Chat/messages with other users
  • In-app purchases with premium bonuses
  • Business logic (matching with other users, likes, dislikes)
  • Other features like reporting other users, fake accounts
  • Saas integrations

Besides that, you will need a simple admin panel/dashboard where you can manage users and maintain your database.

Team composition

For a complex project like this, you will need a little bit more than two freelancers 😉

Your team may consist of:

  • 1 project manager
  • 1 designer
  • 2 iOS & 2 Android developers / or / 3 React Native developers
  • 1 QA
  • 2 backend developers

Ok, we have a features list, we have your team in place, now it’s time to prepare the estimation!

Cost estimation

Every functionality will take some time to prepare and develop.

  • Design [ 80h – 100h ]
    • Main screen
    • SignUp / SignIn screens
    • Settings, User profile
    • Chat screen
    • In-app purchase screen
    • Landing page
    • 3 revisions
  • Mobile app development [ 452h ]
    • Authentication – 14h
    • User profile – 50h
    • Notifications – 20h
    • User settings – 40h
    • User location – 8h
    • Real-time Chat / messages with other users – 110h
    • In-app purchases with premium bonuses – 40h
    • Logic (matching with other users, likes, dislikes) – 100h
    • Other features like reporting other users, fake accounts – 38h
    • Saas integrations – 20h
    • Multi-language – 12h
  • Backend development [ 238h ]
    • Authentication
    • RESTful API
    • Database structure
    • Services
    • Web UI
    • Admin panel
  • Devops [ 25h ]
  • Testing [ 36h ]
  • Release [ 20h 
Type HoursPrice
Design 90 $4500
Mobile app development [Android or iOS] 452 $22600
Backend development 238 $11900
Devops 25 $1250
Testing 36 $1800
Release 20 $1000

Is it possible to make it cheaper?

Not all ideas require to spend 100k to build your app. Sometimes you can choose other technologies to reduce the cost of development and it’s worth to build a simpler prototype (you can read more about it in the 3rd episode of Altabits – our Short essays on building tech products). To build an application cheaper than in the above estimation, consider:

  • Simpler design. Everyone loves beautiful apps, but crafted, the polished design isn’t cheap. If you reduce the complexity of your design, you can cut costs
  • Reduce functionalities. Focus on the most important features; don’t overcomplicate your app. You can try to add new features if you get some traction.
  • Instead of two separate native codebases, you can use react native, and share 80-90% of code between platforms. The full price will be around $30000 for both platforms, while the native code will be $22600+$22600 = $45200. Of course, there are some limitations to react-native. Read more in “React native or native app development.”
  • Find a cheaper agency, or negotiate an hourly rate

The app is ready. What next? 🙂

This article focuses on the cost of the development of the mobile app MVP itself, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Another important cost is the cost of attracting enough users that using your Tinder clone makes sense. Let’s assume your dating app needs 1M users to be profitable, and the average user spends $0,5 on your app for premium features/bonuses e.t.c. It means that you can afford to pay around 25 cents per user to get them by commercials, ads, and various marketing channels. That’s another $500,000 cost you should have in mind when you’re calculating your budget.

Ready to build your app? → hello@altalogy.com or you can find out what can we build in your budget → https://mvpbudget.com

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Thank you so much for writing this blog post on cost to build an mobile app like tinder. I am planning to build similar app due to the large audience over the internet. Thanks for sharing keep it up.

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