How Much Does It Cost to Create a Prototype of an App Like Uber

​The story behind Uber: how its founders came up with the Uber app idea

Visartech Inc.
5 min readAug 20, 2020


Everyone wants to know the cost of software product development even before an estimation for a specific inquiry is conducted. We have so many articles all over the web that illustrate the factors that influence the costs. There are also many data about rough estimations. Though no one can say clearly how much the resulting application will cost.

There's no wonder!

As indeed no one can accurately predict the numerous factors that may influence the final digital solution cost. That's because so many things can happen before the release. The most crucial situation is connected with the absence of demand in your final product.

Read more: How to Save Money on a Web Project for Startups and Enterprises

To mitigate such risks it's worthwhile to evaluate how the application will function and look like before the actual app development stage starts.

Here's where app prototypes are crucial!

They help to test the idea before wasting too much time and money on the final product development.

Idea owners get valuable customer feedback, re-evaluate the app functionality, and improve their value proposition along the way.

In this article, you will find out the cost of an Uber-like app prototype, see the difference between the final app cost and re-imagine your approach to app development.

What Is a Working Prototype?

Let's start with the definition of what a prototype actually is.

A prototype is a working application that is able to demonstrate that the main app idea works properly and solves a specific pain point.

It can be:

  • some sketches,
  • a mock-up,
  • a model,
  • a simulation,
  • a prelaunch interface.

It reflects your idea within a certain physical representation showing how the solution looks like its purpose and functionality.

Prototyping is a really important stage of the design process. It helps to experiment with the rough draft of the expected digital solution before the development cycle begins.

It also helps to gather early feedback from users, define strong and weak sides, and further polish it leading to a successful product release. So there is just a small investment into idea development and low risks of its failure. It is all possible due to the continued improvement of the idea and the product along the way.

Prototyping saves money, time, and energy.

How Much Does An Application Prototype Costs — the Uber Example

Let us first share a story of how Uber founders came up with the app idea!

The Uber App Background

They stuck in an airport in a foreign country. The local language knowledge was really poor. They couldn't explain their needs to the locals. The flight was postponed. Their only solution was to go to a hotel to stay for a night. The only transport that could get them there was a local bus or a cab. There is no guarantee that buses are on the route in such a late hour.

Actually, they had only two options: stay at the airport or call for a taxi. The first option was not attractive at all.

But calling for a taxi in an unknown country where people don’t speak English was a challenge.

That's when they figured out that they are not the only ones who may suffer from such a situation. So they've come up with an idea of creating an application that will help using a taxi anywhere without the need to speak to a taxi driver or anyone else requiring to order a cab. The only necessary condition was to have an internet connection. Plus no need to pay with cash especially when you don't have the local currency on hands.

That was a simple idea of Uber application.

The Rough Estimation of The Uber App Prototype

Let’s imagine that someone wants to create such a taxi booking application. They will need a huge amount of time and money to build it the way it is now from scratch. More than 500 hours of app development. The final app development cost will depend on the hourly rate of the chosen software development team.

Just think about it! If you pick an average mobile app development company with a rate of $50-$99 per hour. It would require you to invest from $25,000 to $49,500 at once. But who can grant you that the app will be useful to customers and gain the so desired revenue?

Wouldn't it be easier to start small?

That’s the moment when people decide to build a prototype.

The working prototype of an Uber application would be a simple app allowing cab drivers to register their own cars and provide taxi services to random people who order a taxi through the app.

The passenger can enter the initial and target addresses and make an order. No payment methods, no ratings, no fancy UI, no chat. Just a barebone application with the only core functionality. Maybe even a much lighter version.

As you can see, prototype development will require much less effort and money. The rough estimate of such an app prototype will take around 80–160 hours of development. With the aforementioned rate range, it would cost around $4,000 minimum and $15,840 at its max. Pretty big difference, right?

So what would you choose, $4,000 - $15,840 range for a lighter version and further improvement over time or $25,000 - $49,500 for a fully-fledged product from the start?

The difference is pretty huge! So act smart!

Ready to test your digital product idea? Let’s create a prototype first and scale upon success!

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Visartech Inc.

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