How much is the web development cost for building an online marketplace like Airbnb or Clarity? And how much does regular maintenance cost? I have no web development experience, so will need to hire others for this.
I've worked on marketplace projects and I can tell you that the cost of building a platform will be relatively minimal.
Essentially you're building a database with 3 tables: supply side (contractors), demand side (consumers), and activities that connect jobs/tasks/quotes between suppliers and consumers. Build a UI and a nice website and you're set.
That's the easy part.
The biggest struggle that marketplaces face is filling both sides so that there are enough contractors to fill the jobs and enough consumers asking for jobs.
Getting the supply side is relatively easy since there is often little risk for them using the service, but getting consumers to use the service is where most marketplaces struggle. Getting traffic and ultimately conversions is tricky and extremely expensive. The trick to overcoming this is to use email to activate and re-activate customers so they become repeat users. But getting them signed up for the first time is still going to be a huge challenge.
Before creating the platform I would highly recommend spending time building up a list of potential consumers before writing a line of code. That way when you launch you'll at least have a few people that can get started using it right away.
Hi, I've got a considerable amount of experience in assisting my clients with understanding what they are up against for many kinds of projects, so let me clarify the "It Depends" answer with some rough estimate $ Figures.
For a Wordpress experience where you take an exiting Wordpress website template, and add a plugIn with no customizations, and you use a well experienced consultant for an hourly rate, you can reasonable expect a $5k to $10k cost. Installation is fast and easy. Most of this cost will be for content setup. Corresponding maintenance is approximately $250-$1,000/year and will be focused on keeping plugins up to date and may include keeping you content up to date.
For a low scope of work effort, where features are few, functionality is easy and where custom coding is added to an existing website, and some content loading is needed, you can expect a $10k-15K cost. Most of this cost will be for coding and testing. Corresponding maintenance is approximately $1,000-$1,500/year and will be focused on adjustments to the functionality.
For functionality that is deeper and more robust, you may need to custom code a greater scope of features. This kind of online marketplace can be $20k or more. The greater your functionality needed, the higher the price will go. I cannot give you an upper limit here because the possible features are many. 70% of your cost will be for coding and testing. Corresponding maintenance is 5%-10% of your build price per year and will be focused on adjustments to the functionality.
A word of caution. Many websites promote low cost. This doesn't mean you will get the features you want or give your website users a friendly experience. This kind of low cost choice is a trap. If your website is intended to be your primary means of promoting your business, and generating revenue, you should pay a qualified professional to set it up in quality fashion, with the features you need and leave your users with a pleasant image of your company. That comes with a cost.
I cannot tell how old this question is, so my guess is that you have begun your build. Judging from the context of this question, it sounds like money is or was a concern. So, here is what I would do:
You mentioned AirBnB. There is a wordpress theme built to function almost exactly as AirBnB. I am currently using this theme as a directory site and it's wonderful: https://templatic.com/app-themes/spotfinder-responsive-directory-theme
If you mentioned AirBnB because it is the closest to what you'd like to create, then I'd strongly suggest starting with that^.
If you do, have a VA begin to put together .csv files using their bulk-uploader template found in the plugin:
This will allow you to get thousands of listings added to your directory in a matter of days.
Total cost for the theme, the install, customization and VA's time: < $500
(For a platform similar to Clarity, I don't believe there is a wordpress replica (yet). They used custom bootstrap, so check out CMS themes available here; https://wrapbootstrap.com/)
So you're off and running. Now you have your MVP platform to start selling, and bots starting to index your pages (speed this process up by submitting your URLs under Google's search console).
The important thing to realize here is that this is not your end-all-be-all. This allows you to get up and running, work out your sales process, find your early adopters and build up your search rankings.
The next step, as soon as you've proved your marketplace idea is competitive and/or in demand (from both user types), is to begin your custom build. For this, I still recommend going with a slightly out-of-box solution. Check out these two options:
Sharetribe.com (for more ecommerce buying/selling platforms)
Growthclick.com (for more service-based business platforms)
Both options will give you a stable and scalable code-base to work off of - and you can either license the code for one purpose, or buy it out completely. Sharetribe also has an open sourced code you can use if you are confident in your dev team.
Total cost for this option will either run you $10K-$50K, or $2-$500/month.
The point I'm trying to make with all of this is that, especially with online marketplaces, there are tested/proven options available you can and should consider before beginning an custom build.
In any case, your first platform is going to be your "beta." Whether you hire someone and paid thousands to build it from scratch, gave away a ton of equity and waited months for your new partner/CTO to build it him/herself, or decided on an out-of-box solution like the fore mentioned, you are still in the proof of concept phase. You haven't proven out your idea, team and business model.
Common [expensive] realizations that happen during this phase include:
1. "Why did we decide to launch with an iOS app when a mobile-friendly web-app would have been plenty?"
2. "We brought on a CTO who we thought could get us through proof of concept, but all they did was build us a working database with an ugly front-end. Now we need to pay to build what users want today - a secure, well-design, mobile-friendly platform, but we're out of money."
3. "Conversion to signup and/or order rates are low, but our dev bandwidth is all focused on building our flashy new mobile app, so we can't make the front-end changes we need to convert traffic."
4. "User attrition rates are high, but we blew through our budget getting through our big post-launch push, so we cant afford to make the changes we need to retain users."
5. And, "We found the brand new _____ platform that has the exact same value proposition as we do, but has already reached a substantial user-base and has been mentioned in the press."
My point is, right now you should be focusing time/costs/bandwidth on user acquisition and pushing as many transactions as possible through your beta. Get what you "need to have," not what you "want to have."
For more on this, check out: http://chickenandegg.io/faq/
I agree with Ian. It really depends on the scope. Definitely start small with your MVP, test user interaction and iterate from there. I caution against using freelance developers just because of your inexperience. You'd need a project manager that understands development to act as your intermediary, which will cost more. My company works closely with startups to build our first iterations and help them grow from there. Feel free to reach out with any questions or visit our website gaslightworkshop.com
With the project scope, it also depend whether you want a readymade script or a system from scratch. Building a system from scratch require lots of time and money so buying a readymade script is better option for small scale startup businesses. If you want to start a multivendor ecommerce marketplace then Yo!Kart "http://www.yo-kart.com" is one of considerable option for you. At $250 you will get a fully customiziable ecommerce platform with advanced features. Feel free to discuss or to share your queries
So you would like to know, How much does it cost to maintain a website?
I hate it when answers start with “It depends". But it depends.
Normally it's cheap. But there are many factors that affect the price of a webpage.
Here is the list of expenses you should consider while calculating the cost to maintain a website.
Ongoing costs to maintain a website include domain renewal, hosting, backups, license fees (if applicable), software updates and site maintenance. I'll cover each of these areas in this post.
Web Address renewal:
This is a small one in terms of cost, but it is of extreme importance. If your website and URL are new, you had to purchase the web address through a provider like GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc.
There are a myriad of hosting options available. The same companies that can develop your website also offer hosting. The cost for this also range from very inexpensive (for smaller sites in many cases it's less than $10) to somewhat expensive (hundreds of dollars per month and up). The range has to do with the size of your audience (web traffic) and the (literal) size and complexity of your site.
This is an area many companies don't think about until it's too late. It's ALWAYS a good idea to have your entire website backed up frequently, and a further suggestion is to have it backed up in a separate location from where your site is currently hosted.
License Fees / Software:
Unless you have a site that is built in pure HTML/CSS, you are going to have some type of software that facilitates some functionality. Even popular open-source CMS (content management systems) like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal require downloads of software and certain types of servers to function properly.
Software updates / Site maintenance:
There are many software and plug-ins which require updates and maintenance.
There can be many more factors (databases, firewalls,dedicated ip's, designers programmers, etc...) but to give a big picture I think this should be enough.
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