Android IOS outsourcing · App development

Is it worth developing my long distance relationship chat app?

Malia Choudhury Starting up iOS App Closer Than

June 29th, 2017

I’ve been investing lot’s of my time on this app I’m really passionate about. I’ve created a website and explainer video and attracted 500 people on a waitlist. My question is, is this app worth developing this chat app where the only revenue may be use of stickers? Do people buy into a monthly or annual subscription?

I plan to outsource the MVP version for $1000 and then seek funding to develop the full version. I can’t code but I have created all the wireframes and designs.

Has anyone outsourced a successful app?

Here’s my website

Here’s what I have asked for in my MVP job description

Luis Lalinde Innovator, Troubleshooter, Researcher, Team Player

June 30th, 2017

I read all the comments above and I would listen to every single one of them. As a person that is in your shoes, I understand that you are very passionate about your app but so are the 2,200,000 other people who release their app on the App Store. When you are in a relationship, love alone doesn't make the relationship work. One of the reasons why couples break up is issues with money/finances. So you may be very passionate and motivate but don't let that passion drive you blindly. You need to analyze how much time and money you are willing to invest before seeing a profit. Analyze and ask yourself the right questions. E.g. when do you see yourself breaking even or making a profit? How much are you willing to spend on marketing? Also do proper research and ask for estimates to get a better idea. $1000 is pretty low for an MVP and if you are outsourcing the job you might not be so happy with the end result or even feel you like you got scam because you expected a lot but are paying little value. Like Paul said, "Multiply the initial development cost of any app (anywhere from $10,000-60,000 depending on functions) by the number of operating system versions and devices you want to support, plus add on more to continue to support it."

Elian Dupre student, founder of various small businesses

July 2nd, 2017

Seems like you have an awesome thing going for you. Couple of things I might recommend in terms of funding. Never personally tried it before, but crowdfunding might be an awesome way of going about it. You already have the 'prototype' designed, explainer video made, and an awesome website with 500 people on a wait list. Think: if you can gather 500 people to wait for your product, you can probably get the same or even more to back you into making this into a real thing. Design an awesome Kickstarter or Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and get your wait list to contribute, as well as advertise it on your social media streams. It'll be another person's risk, not yours.

I can tell you're hesitant about this actually working but trust me; a crowdfunding campaign will tell you whether or not to keep going. It's the ultimate test of whether or not people think your product is going to work. If you get lots of funding and backers, then you've validated that people want it, and they are willing to pay so it can get to them sooner (pretty awesome if you think about it). But, if you struggle to crowdfund even a few hundred dollars, then there's something wrong with your campaign or your product in general. Hey, that's better than spending $1000 dollars out of your own pocket to find out it's a flunk, isn't it? I think a crowdfunding campaign is the best way to validate your idea with your end customers so consider it.

There's a couple of other things that might help accelerate your goal. If you haven't already, start a mailing list. Provide updates, contests, and anything to keep your wait list interested and excited about your product. Second, try a survey campaign to refine what your product will look like and the essential parameters it needs. Do most people who use it own an Android or Apple phone? This will help when you decide to build it the first time. What is the top feature people expect from your product? Things like that will go a long way. Talk to your customer.

Now I'm no specialist and certainly don't have the experience to guide or mentor, but I think these tips will surely help. Not much can be lost, other than your time and either way it's an investment leading to knowledge and skill.

Steve Owens Startup Expert

June 30th, 2017

The answer to "is it worth it" depends a lot on you. What are you trying to accomplish? Just money, learn, interest, lifestyle, etc. Even if it is just money, how much risk are you willing to take. No one can answer this question for you.

Write down all the things you want in life, and then all the choices you have for making these things happen and then compare and contrast each choice.

Of course, validate your market - which it looks like you're doing.

It is easy to outsource a app - plenty of great companies out there. Just make sure you pick the right one - spend a lot of time on choosing the right vendor. BTW - your budget is not realistic - add a zero.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

June 30th, 2017

I understand the focus of your app, but I'm not sure it's solving a real-life problem. There's a big difference between "I would try it" and "I couldn't live without it." The Apple iWatch lets users share their heartbeat with another user. There are schedule synching tools. And there are video chat tools. And there are probably even synchronized binge-watching tools.

Have you considered rather than re-inventing the wheel and slicing your way into a crowded market finding a way to expand one of the existing popular tools that already has a user-base to make it additionally functional (plug-in/add-on)?

For $1000 you'd be lucky to get a look-and-feel comped. Multiply the initial development cost of any app (anywhere from $10,000-60,000 depending on functions) by the number of operating system versions and devices you want to support, plus add on more to continue to support it. What happens the first time the heartbeat function fails and a subscriber panics, for example? Who it going to resolve the relationship fight when the shared video watching experience fails for one half of the couple? Could the app's synch feature be twisted to find covert times someone can cheat on their existing relationship partner?

Lots of thing to consider when you're responsible for everything. At present, if I were you, I might reconsider the foundation, and look at expanding existing functions of existing tools. It will likely be far less costly and give you a much faster start to adoption.

Consider also that developing an app on contract doesn't necessarily buy you the code that makes it work, it may only buy the finished product. To own the code, you typically pay triple what you pay to get a finished product. You'd still need to rely on the author to make updates and changes.

A Suresh

Last updated on July 1st, 2017

Hi, I work for one of top Software firms in the market.

A team in our company released an app similar to this and made the source code open source. It has chat capability, video synchronization(as you mentioned in the video). It is available on both mobile and web versions.

Better to look at those open source projects, instead of implementing from scratch. Also find out what exactly new you are bringing to the market that attract customers to buy your product, as there are many chat applications available in the market for free of cost.

I also say that $1000 for MVP is little low, unless you get a developer part of the team.

Eval Samuel Foodie, serial entrpreneur, solo developer, Design addict

July 2nd, 2017

I have. One, if you are looking for elegance, sophistication and all-round good customer service then go with a U.S based IT consultancy firm. However, that may cost you an arm and a leg. On the other hand, if you are looking for a lean and less expensive way of getting an app created, I say you hire a developer via Upwork or Fiverr. The merit to that is you get your app ( maybe not the way you anticipated and from a freelancer who is juggling around a ton of project and may not focus their dire attention on your work) Plus, there is also the chance of this freelancer bailing from the project and completely ghosting you which is something I have experienced myself. But all round I will still go with a freelancer. Ensure he or she agrees to an hourly payment arrangement and just make sure you read the feedback other buyers have left him or her. Also, look at their success rate. A success rate like 98%-100% means the freelancer has everything to loose if they mess up and if he or she has a success rate of less than 85% run as far away as you possibly can from the freelancer.

Hope that helps?

Ben (Xiaojun) Li Silicon Valley Startup Co-founder

June 29th, 2017

Chat app is a very crowded space and most people might have already installed too many of them on their phones, as a result, the bar for an MVP is pretty high. $1000 is too low for most developers to take a shot given the feature set you listed on your website unless some one has a pre-build app which can be easily customized or repurposed for your need. Another option you can try is to start a Kickstarter project for fund raising, you can ask $1.99 per backer and in return offer them lifetime free access to all features. With 5000 people already lined up on your waiting list, I guess you can easily hit the fund target of tens of thousand dollars. Then you will have budget to hire some developer to do a decent MVP. Good luck!

Stephen Findley Helping tech startups succeed by pairing them with awesome developers

June 29th, 2017

Hey Malia, I've got quite a spread of experience developing mobile apps for myself and working with small and large clients.

Firstly, I would be brutal about the waitlist you have - is 500 people made up of friends, family, co-workers etc? If so, how likely are they to actually use the app? Furthermore what are the chances they pay for it?

Personally, I don't think there's enough features within the app to make me move away from chatting via Fb messenger or similar for a long distance purpose. However, developing the app could be a great experience and great practice for you to learn about the process and understand more about app development.

For $1000 you're going to be getting offshore for development or using a friend. I'd recommend going through a thorough process of vetting the dev(s) - looking at case studies, experience, billing and payment terms, getting them to even perform some small tasks (although that might not be on the cards with such a small investment).

Be prepared to make lots of mistakes. Project managing mobile app development is a skill and you'll probably be faced with a variety of challenges around timelines, quality of work, payments etc that will be a steep learning curve. You may also find that the app doesn't function as you wish, testing could take awhile, and things like app loading speed could be a common bug that pops up. I'm not trying to sound negative, just realistic for that price of development. Good luck with the project and I hope it takes you forwards. Kind regards, Steve

David Yeng Entrepreneur

July 1st, 2017

I'm going to give a short answer. It's worth developing the app since there's a huge demand given the mobility of people. Outsourcing it is also a good idea especially if you have trouble finding a Tech Co-founder. Funding for the full version can come later. Get the MVP out, get the users to use and feedback, build a story from there and at the same time approach potential Angel investors.

Denis Zubkov Product guy for iOS & web

July 1st, 2017

Addressing the broader question "Should I develop an app X in an already saturated category?", one can say, yes it's a good idea provided you have a truly unique and novel approach that will either take people by surprise or astonish them with its quality. One has to be really idiosyncratic to be successful. I can see a few directions for your app to win the hearts. Cuteness (like having captivating and evolving artwork), humour (there are ways to add humour to the app) or technology (like having a virtual distant relationships assistant). None of those have easy off-the-shelf solutions and can make the app competitive. If you manage to make this kind of stuff happen, your app could be noticed and adopted.