I often receive questions about SaaS and the cost of development. In this article, I’d like to share my thoughts on how much it costs to build a SaaS from scratch, based on my experience with usophy.com and uptimeline.com.
Forget everything you know
Building a SaaS is actually not that difficult, and not that expensive. I’ve done that a few times for myself: once for usophy.com and once for uptimeline.com.
I’ve done that a few times for clients as well.
The truth is that SaaS’ are all the same: authentication, payments, landing pages, and blog, and then the only thing that changes is the service offered inside.
People usually believe the contrary, and I think that’s because most startups take the hard route and reinvent the wheel.
What they’re doing is spending a ton of money to build the product (believe me, I’ve done it) because they feel like they’re different from every other service out there. But you don’t have to make the same mistake, so hear me out!
The common SaaS stuff
A lot of things are the same for all SaaS’ so I’m going to tell you about the common stuff first. All products have:
- Landing pages
So use a boilerplate! AsyncLabs’ SaaS Boilerplate is FREE and open source and comes with authentication and payments implemented.
Then use a cheap template, like Bulkit, which looks amazing, is incredibly customizable, and has all the components you will ever need. And you’ve got landing pages out of the way too. Or you can even use Unbounce or Wix.
Set up a WordPress blog and that’s done too.
Costs of the common SaaS stuff
So let’s recap:
- AsyncLabs’ SaaS Boilerplate costs 0$
- Bulkit costs 30$
- WordPress costs 0$
- you can find hosting for the above for 10$ a month
Your unique service
Assume you hire a senior developer from India for 15$/hour.
Unless your service is actually very complicated and hard to develop, chances are a basic version be developed in 100 hours or less. That’s 1500$.
That’s true for uptimeline.com, it’s also true for the majority of SaaS’ out there.
Let’s recap the costs
By hiring a freelance developer from India, you can get the core of your SaaS developed for 1500$ and you can instruct them to put together a SaaS boilerplate, a good-looking template, and a blog, which will take just a few more hours of the developer’s time, and you can host the whole thing for 10$ a month.
You’re under 2000$ in total. Doable.
The biggest mistake
In my opinion, the greatest mistake that most people make when first setting out to make a SaaS is thinking that tech is the challenge, and spending most resources on tech. Tech is not the challenge. Get it out of the way quickly and for cheap. The challenge is distribution. Spend your resources there. Figure out distribution, and you could make almost anything work.
The takeaway message of this post is that you don’t need a lot to build a SaaS. Just get at it. Cut corners wherever you can, done is better than perfect. And worry about distribution, not tech.
You don’t have to actually strip it down to 1500$ if you have more budget, but don’t fool yourself and think that spending 50k$ on developing your SaaS will pay off. Unless you’re developing Netflix, that’s not the case.
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