How Long Does it Take to Develop a Bubble App?

Compare Bubble app development and traditional coding—factors like complexity, integrations, team size, device compatibility, and budget impact the timeline. An estimation process and a three-stage development journey - planning, building, and testing - are recommended for efficient project completion.

Process

Himanshu Sharma
Himanshu Sharma
July 24, 2023

Have you ever wondered, "How long does it take to develop a Bubble app?" Well, you're not alone. It is a common question we get asked during our discovery calls.

The journey from concept to launch can seem like an eternity for new founders. But how long does it take? 

The short answer - it depends on your Bubble app's complexity and budget. 

The long answer? Let's find out.

Benchmark: Building a Coded Solution

Before we understand the timelines of a Bubble app, let's understand the economics and timeline of a coded solution.

According to Uptech, a leading software development firm that has worked with Dollar Shave Club and GOAT, the average time to develop a mobile app is 4-6 months. Another firm which has worked with EY, Pfizer and Novartis puts the timeline at 4-9 months.

And what about the budget?

The average budget for an app built by traditional agencies is $100,000-$500,000. GoodFirms estimates the budget required for simple apps like Tinder, WhatsApp and Uber to cost upwards of $100,000 and a year of development time.

But how is all this relevant? Once you look at the existing economics of an app, you'll appreciate the cost and time benefit of opting for a Bubble agency. 

Balancing Speed, Complexity and Core Features 

The timeline varies between 4 weeks to 2 months for a product of medium complexity built with Bubble. It can go higher for a highly complex product, but those are rare cases. 

The first version of your product should be a narrow version of your entire product.

Does it mean you should remove essential features? No

Does it mean you should prioritise the core features? Yes

If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late.
- Reid Hoffman

It's not uncommon for us to find out on the scoping call that people want to build the entire product in the first version. After all, there is never a shortage of things your product can do. 

Keeping this in mind and that no-code tools like Bubble allow us to build products 10X faster, we can build a moderately complex product in 2 months. 

Factors That Affect the Timeline of Bubble App Development

  1. Complexity: The more complex your product is, the more time it needs. Think of it like building a house. A small cottage is quicker to build than a grand castle. Similarly, a product with just a few functions is faster to build than one with many features.
  2. Third-Party Integrations: Sometimes, your Bubble app might need to work with other apps. It is like playing with a new kid in the playground; getting to know each other takes some time. These integrations can add more time to the timeline.
  3. Team Members Required: The number of people working on your app can affect the timeline. Imagine a football team. With more players, you can pass the ball around faster. A bigger team could mean a quicker build for your product but at a cost.
  4. Supported Devices: It might take longer if your Bubble app needs to work on different devices. It's like fitting the same clothes on other people; you need to make some adjustments. You need more time if your app needs to work on a phone, tablet, or computer.
  5. Budget: Your budget can also affect how quickly your app gets built. More money can mean more resources. It's like going shopping with more cash. You can buy more stuff and get it quicker.

The key to your Bubble app's timeline is balancing quality, speed, and cost-effectiveness.

How to Estimate the Timeline of Your Bubble App

The Bubble agency you'd be working with can give you an idea of the timeline. Still, it would be best if you had a high-level overview of how they will arrive at the estimate.

Steps to Estimate

  1. App Goals: They will discuss how you want the product to work. It is like planning your vacation destination - you need a clear end-point to start driving. The more precise your product goals, the easier for the Bubble agency to estimate the timeline and budget.
  2. Feature Prioritisation: Next, they will determine the necessary features for your app. They will typically create User Stories and split them into Releases. Remember to stick to what is essential – don't overpack with unnecessary features!
  3. Budget Check: You can add more features if you have more budget. But, if you're on a tight budget, you'll need to be more careful and strategic about the features you include. Your budget will help the Bubble Agency determine how many resources your product will need. 
  4. Tech stack: Some no-code tools are quick to build with, while others take slightly longer. For example, a product made on Glide will need a shorter timeline, while something built on Bubble will take longer. 

Missteps in Estimating

  1. Wild Guesses: Avoid ballpark estimates about the time and cost. It would be like guessing how long a road trip will take without a map or GPS. It's ineffective, and you likely end up far off the mark. Don't expect a Bubble agency to be able to give you an accurate timeline on the first call itself.
  2. Detail Disregard: Don't forget to account for the smaller tasks and details. The old saying goes, "The devil is in the details," and it's true here too. Small things can add up and affect your timeline and budget.
  3. Unrealistic Speed: Take your time with the process by doing one thing at a time. It's not feasible, and you'll only end up frustrated and exhausted. 

No-code tools like Bubble and WeWeb are incredibly fast to build with, but you should not expect an app in 2 weeks. 

Handy Framework for Estimating

Picture building your app as a journey with three important stages:

  1. Planning: Here, you'll define what your app should do, how it should look, and how it will interact with users. It may take around 1-2 weeks. You and your Bubble agency should sit down, have a few scoping calls and define the User Stories, Wireframes and Design.  
  2. Building: Now, it's time to hit the road. It is the phase where the actual development of your app happens. Depending on the complexity of your app, this can take around 4-8 weeks.
  3. Testing and Tweaking: It's similar to scanning your vacation pictures and selecting the best ones to share. You'll be testing your app, identifying any issues or bugs, and resolving them. This fine-tuning process may need 1-2 weeks.

Final thoughts

Let's remember the big picture. When building a Bubble app, consider the cost and time you save compared to a traditional coded solution. 

Imagine getting a product for $25,000 that could have cost $100,000 or more if you used traditional agencies. Plus, you get it in half the time! It's like grabbing your dream vacation package at a quarter of the price and getting there by a jet instead of a slow bus ride. 

Now, that's a sweet deal!

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