How to Create a Dating App from Scratch and Make Actual Money

Have you ever thought of creating a dating mobile app like Tinder, Bumble, or OkCupid?

According to Statista, online dating services revenue in the USA is going to reach $755 million by 2024.

online dating revenue in the usa


So, if you have an app idea, this is the right time to tap into the online dating market by developing a dating app.

With the help of our experienced dating app developers, we have prepared this guide on how to create a dating app from scratch without coding experience.

Let’s start with the step-by-step process.

How to Create a Dating App [6 Easy Steps Strategy]

how to create a dating app

  1. Find a Niche for Your Dating App

    The first step of creating a dating app like Tinder is finding a niche. Although the industry already has many dating apps, you still have the chance to find a niche. Decide your niche.

    Do you know what exactly a niche is that we are talking about?

    To find and decide on a niche, find the most exciting dating niches that are available in the market. Here are two examples of dating niches.

    NicheApp ExampleExplanation
    LifestyleEquestrian CupidA website for people who are horse lovers. This dating website is a great medium for meeting a cowboy or cowgirl.
    Pet LoversPurrsonalsA dating site where pet lovers get to connect with each other. This dating website puts cat owners together, so they look after their cats together.

    Niche or tailored dating apps refers to preferences-based dating application created for people who share specific interest or lifestyle. This makes the dating experience of users more engaging in apps because of like-minded people.

    So, to make your own dating app, you need to find a niche. In other words, you need to find the target audience for which you want to develop a custom dating application.

  2. Analyze Your Competitors

    If you are creating a dating app, take care of the following points addressed by The Manifest, a business news portal.

    • 25% of people uninstall a dating app if they get bored with it
    • 15% of people uninstall it if they get stressed out using the dating app
    • 14% of people uninstall it if they don’t find the commitment from their partners

    If you want to make your dating app successful, you need to focus on making strategies to reduce the uninstallation of your app. For that, you need to know what competitors are doing to increase their app’s retention rate.

    Use these 7 bullet points method to analyze your competitors by market research:

    • List out top dating applications and install them
    • Navigate through each app and study in detail
    • Check reviews of the users of top dating apps to know what users like or dislike
    • Note down the points that you want to integrate into your app
    • Know the top features of the best dating apps
    • List down the feature you want to integrate
    • Find out the trends in dating mobile apps

    Find the USPs of your competitors. After conducting market analysis, define your unique proposition value.

  3. Define Your Unique Value Proposition

    To make your app unique from your competitors, you must have a unique selling point (USP). Deciding on USP helps you to gain a competitive advantage. In addition, you have a clear vision of your app and what benefits you are going to offer your users. Here are some points that help you define the USP of your dating app.

    • Know whether you want to improve the entire user experience with your dating app
    • You want to improve the quality of matches by implementing a strong algorithm
    • You are looking to make your dating app by targeting a particular niche
    • You want to create a dating application that is completely free from fake profiles

    Here is a bonus point for you. A list of top dating apps and their USPs. Use this as a base point. Bookmark this guide. Recheck it when checking the USPs of the dating apps.

    Dating AppUSPDownloads (Google Play Store)
    TinderCommunication is only possible when both companions show interest100,000,000+
    BumbleOnly women send the first message10,000,000+
    OkCupidPowerful matches based on questionnaire10,000,000+
  4. Prepare UX/UI of the Dating App

    Once you list down the key features, design the user interface and user experience of your dating app. Preparing a design that makes your dating app appealing is essential.


    If you have ever used any dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, or Hinge, you might have noticed how smooth the user experience these apps have. From registering yourself to finding out a perfect match, the whole experience is seamless and effective.

    Make the user journey easy and understandable for the users to help them navigate your dating app efficiently. Make an intuitive user interface for your mobile app by implementing the latest UX/UI mobile app design trends.

    At Space-O, when developing a custom app from scratch, our designers use these two tools for creating prototypes to design an app.

    Design Tool NameDescription
    Adobe XDAllows creating prototypes, wireframes, and design of mobile apps and website
    SketchDesigning tool for preparing UI/UX of mobile apps and websites

    Once you are ready with the design, you need to convert this design into a live application with the help of a dedicated mobile app development team.

  5. Start Development of Your Custom Dating App

    At this stage, you need to hire a reliable and trusted mobile app development company for your project. Use the expertise of the app development team to convert your design into a reality, into a successful application.

    If you have a limited budget, then create an MVP version of your mobile app. The reason is you get into the market as early as possible without taking time to develop an application. It allows you to improve your dating app as per user-centric over a period. By developing MVP, you get your dating app ready to launch in the market within a limited time.

  6. Want to Create a Dating App Solution?

    Looking to validate your mobile application idea? We are a leading dating mobile app development company in Canada. Get a free consultation to discuss your idea.

  7. Testing and Launching Your Application

    Now is the time to start testing each functionality and feature of your dating application. Usually, the mobile app development companies have a dedicated QA team. Use their expertise to make sure your application is bug-free before uploading it to the Google or Apple App Store.

    So far, you have learned the dating app development process. But, how much time does it take to develop this dating app solution from scratch?

How Much Time Does It Take to Develop a Dating App?

Developing a dating app from scratch requires on average 3 to 5 months.

It includes integration of third-party APIs, developing features, and coding of the backend. Following are the necessary features that are included in a dating app.

  • Signup
  • User profile
  • Match
  • Chat
  • Geolocation
  • Live video chat
  • Accept or reject requests

You know the process. You know the dating app development timeline.

But, what about the cost? About the budget to develop a dating app?

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Dating App from Scratch?

The cost of developing a custom dating app like Tinder ranges from $25,000 to $50,000.

Certainly, the dating app development cost depends on several factors, such as features, functionalities, UI/UX, the complexity of features, and the location of developers.

Use this formula to calculate application development costs.

App Development Cost = Development Time x App Developer’s Cost Per Hour

For instance, assume an hourly rate of a developer is $50 – $60, and the app development hours range between 500 to 1000, then let’s calculate the cost as per the formula.

$50 developer rate per hour X 500 – 1000 development hours = $25,000 – $50,000 the cost of a dating app.

Tip: If you want to get an exact cost bifurcation for your app idea for free, book your free consultation. Get detailed and personalized cost details in your email within the next 24 working hours.

Get Exact Cost of Developing a Custom Dating App

Describe your mobile app idea to us. Let our developers help you to provide cost of app development.

Important Note: The app development time and cost per hour may vary on features, location of developers, dating app development team you hire, and complexity of your app.

What are the Core Features to Integrate Into Your Dating App

Make sure you integrate these core dating app features into your application.

Basic Features of Dating App
  • Sign-in/Sign-up
  • User profile
  • Geolocation
  • Swipe
  • Chat
  • Push notifications
  • Match profile
  • Social media integration

Tech Stack to Build a Dating App

Choosing the right technology stack helps you to build a successful dating app. Even it helps you to scale your mobile app in the future. Check the following technology stack used in developing a dating app.

Tech Stack to Develop a Dating App
Programming languages
  • Java
  • Swift
  • Node.js
  • Express.js
  • Next.js
  • React Router
  • PostgreSQL
  • MongoDB
  • Redis
Web Servers
  • Nginx
Cloud Storage
  • Amazon S3
General Utilities
  • Optimizely
  • Twilio
  • Google Maps
  • Google Analytics
Payment Gateway
  • Stripe
  • PayPal
Push Notification
  • Firebase (Android)
  • UserNotifications (iOS)

How Does a Dating App Make Money?

While thinking of developing a dating app, you also have this question – how do dating apps make money? It is also essential to decide the monetization strategy because earning money out of your dating app is your ultimate purpose.

Here’re some of the important monetization strategies that help you to make money from your dating application.

  1. In-app Purchases

    When any users want to access your advanced features, you have an option to offer those features via in-app purchases. For example, the Tinder app offers in-app purchases of its advanced features like unlimited swipes, sending a message before a match, and super like. Offering premium features allows you to monetize your dating application. Here’s the list of premium features.

    • Check who liked your profile
    • Unlimited swipes
    • Send a message directly without a match
    • Send gifts
    • Boost your user profile
    • Get read receipts
  2. Premium Access

    This is a classic monetization strategy to earn money from the most popular dating apps like Tinder or Bumble. Suppose a user wants to enjoy the premium features continuously, then they subscribe to your premium plan.

    For example, two popular subscription services have been introduced by Tinder: Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold. Imagine that a person unintentionally disliked or swiped left. But with a Rewind button, Tinder Plus and Gold users can take their last swipe back. This way, you earn money, and users get their match.

  3. Advertisements

    Offering advertisements in your dating app is the most effective way to monetize. Ads allow you earn money for your dating company if your mobile app has a lot of non-paying clients. You show native ads to users in your dating app.

    To get rid of ads, users need to purchase the premium version of your app. If you have targeted a large user base, integrating the in-app advertisements is useful to earn money instead of hindering users from accessing the features of your mobile app. For example, OkCupid uses an advertisements model and shows ads within its app while users swipe right or left.

  4. Third-party Gift Services

    Make your app profitable for your business by integrating third-party gift services in your dating apps. For example, users are able to purchase gifts, roses, and chocolates for their loved ones. Get a commission on each transaction on normal days as well as special days like valentine’s and birthdays. For example, the GROWLr dating app allows sending virtual gifts to show interest to other users and start a conversation.

    So, this was brief on the monetization strategy models. Want to know about the top dating apps? Check the following section, which briefs above the dating apps with their downloads, features, and app store links.

Best Dating Apps

Moving forward, here are some most popular dating apps that you may want to take a look at. This will help you to analyze your competitors. Analyzing different niche dating apps helps you to prepare a proper plan to make your dating application stand out from competitors.

App NameDownloadsFeaturesApp Store LinkPlay Store Link
  • Facebook/Google sign-in
  • Users profile
  • Location-based suggestions
  • Search with filters
  • Swipe
  • Match
  • Live video chatting
App storePlay store
  • Registration
  • Users profile
  • In-app messaging
  • Search with filters
  • Browse profiles
  • Notifications
App storePlay store
  • Users profile
  • Video chat
  • Custom search
  • Conversation starters
  • Virtual & in-person events
  • Access to popular dating experts
App storePlay store
  • Create and edit your profile
  • Advanced filters
  • Add new photos
  • Verify your profile
  • Message your matches
  • Backtrack on accidental left swipes
App storePlay store
  • Users profile
  • Edit permissions to restrict access
  • Phone’s location services
  • Edit profile
  • Work and studies/li>
  • Create a bio
App storePlay store
  1. Tinder

    It is the most popular application globally for dating. It has a wide user base around the world and makes it easy to find matches from anywhere. Whether you are looking to find a causal relationship or just a date, Tinder is suitable for your every option. Its easy and intuitive user experience makes the whole journey of finding a match seamless. Basically, everything you need for dating. Let’s now check the pros and cons of the Tinder app.

    Pros & Cons of Tinder Dating App:

    • Free and quick to download
    • Compatible both with Apple and Google Smartphones
    • Simple interface
    • Connect quickly with matches
    • Low-security checks and investment
    • Privacy issues
    • Low frequency of matches in free version
  2. OkCupid

    OkCupid is a U.S.-based social networking application that is well-known for finding friends, dates, and love. One of the uniqueness of the OkCupid application is it offers you a list of matches based on your questionnaire. Therefore, it has one of the most successful applications for dating in the market. Check the pros and cons of the OkCupid dating application.

    Pros & Cons of OkCupid Dating App:

    • Free registration platform
    • In-depth questionnaire
    • Connect people based on their interest
    • Messaging is free
    • You can message only if users ‘like’
    • You may find fake profiles
    • Unable to fix accidental swipes
    • Subscriptions renew automatically
  3. Match

    Match used to be familiar with its desktop edition from its early stage, but with both an iPhone and an Android app, the service has effectively leaped into the new century. Now, the app has made it simple for users to sign up, so you can create your profile efficiently.

    This is one of the most expensive dating applications on the market due to its advanced features. Also, Match is on the list of Editor’s choices Of PCMag because it excels in providing good matches. Following are the pros and cons of the Match dating app.

    Pros & Cons of Match Dating Application:

    • Simple to use
    • Free 6 months
    • Ad-free platform
    • Remove people from the search
    • Free accounts are mostly inactive
    • Profile approval takes time
    • Expensive app
  4. Bumble

    Bumble app for Android and iOS allows making new friends in your area. Simply, Bumble is a multi-nice dating app as it allows you to make new connections, friends, and valuable relationships. In addition, only women can start the conversation after a match.

    However, the app has a time limit to that, just 24 hours to send a message, or the connection will vanish forever. That means, within 24 hours, you need to send the message. Otherwise, that match is lost forever. It is the fastest-growing dating app startup. Moving further, check the pros and cons of the Bumble dating app.

    Pros & Cons of Bumble Dating App:

    • Woman-safety for a female user
    • Protection against harassment
    • Virtual dating
    • 24-hour deadline
  5. Happn

    Happn is a location-based dating site that shows you the profiles of other Happn users with whom you have crossed paths. Happn is a free dating application. It only allows users to start chat if both have matched. Happn is available for all platforms, such as Android, iOS, Windows, and web browsers. Check the following pros and cons of the Happn dating app.

    Pros & Cons of Happn Dating Mobile Application:

    • Available for free
    • Local singles easily available
    • Straightforward signup
    • Filter choice
    • Limited chat options for the user
    • Match shows only with GPS

    By analyzing these top dating apps, list the points you liked and implement them in your dating mobile application. To help you develop a successful dating application, here are five lessons from the top dating apps, Hily and Zooks, in the USA and Canada.

5 Lessons From Top Dating Apps Zoosk and Hily

  1. Use Advanced and Unique Technologies

    What makes Zoosk stand out from other apps like Tinder, Happn, and Hinge? It uses advanced technology. In fact, Zoosk’s Behavioral Matchmaking system has revolutionized online dating.


    It provides matches on the basis of their constantly changing preferences. This behavioural match-making technology constantly looks at all the matches and searches on the site. It is, therefore, able to suggest the best matches possible for a user, definitely better than most matchmaking apps.

  2. Make the App User-friendly and Secure

    It is extremely important to make an app user-friendly. Zoosk speeds the signup process by giving an option to connect the Zoosk account with a Facebook account.

    The safety standards at Zoosk are very high. No one can complain about it. All the new members are thoroughly vetted and verified at the time of joining.

    Zoosk representative does this by reviewing profile details by checking their text and running identity checks either by social media or by phone. As mentioned, now even by video verification.

    In this online dating app, the users have the option to browse privately, which ensures 100% protection of their details.

    Dating apps sometimes lack this very important factor. This is why when you create a dating app, don’t forget to prioritize security.

  3. Implement Smart Business Strategies

    To run a successful online dating app business, you need to have smart strategies. Zoosk is fully integrated with social media, which makes it interesting for the users.

    Zoosk Scientific Matchmaking Service (ZSMS) is one brilliant strategy. One carefully selected profile match is sent to the users from ZSMS. This makes the users wait for a match every day, and this is why it makes sure that users use the dating app daily. If both potentials get matched with each other, ZSMS will introduce the two daters.

    Browsing the profiles in the app is free, but to chat, users need to pay a subscription fee. In addition, these subscriptions pricing is kept reasonable, so users make purchases.

    Users also earn coins by completing mini-tasks that encourage more interactions. These coins are used to boost visibility, send gifts, and use premium messaging features. This way, the app makes sure people spend more time on the Zoosk app.

  4. Make Your App Authentic by Eliminating Fake Accounts

    Online app comes with many problems, such as fake profiles, data security, hacking, and cyberbullying. To overcome these issues, Zoosk comes with a unique solution.

    Let’s know how Zoosk and Hily make their app more reliable for users?

    Zoosk is a secure app in the dating industry. Its because this mobile dating app verifies profiles in a unique manner. To use the Zoosk app, you need to upload a seven-second selfie video that a human Zoosk representative compares to all the photos on the profile. After the process, your profile gets verified by the Zoosk team.

    Similarly, the Hily dating app has been working with artificial intelligence to assure the authenticity of the profiles being created on their mobile dating app. To use this Tinder-like dating app, users require to verify their identity by submitting a live photo or a copy of their photo identity or by connecting Facebook with their Hily online dating profile. So, it helps to ensure that users on this dating platform are real.

    Another thing about Hily is that it doesn’t allow people to upload an image without a face for their profile photos. So this means that you won’t have to look at any photos of dogs, cats, sunsets, or any other cliche images on this dating app for singles.

    This is a really smart move, and it makes people feel more secure and safe while using Hily’s dating app. Since people love this type of feature, they prefer Hily’s dating app more than other mainstream Tinder-like dating apps in the market.

    Lesson: Computer vision, which is a branch of artificial intelligence, can be used to enhance the safety and security of your adult dating app. When you create a dating app, it is advisable to use such technology.
  5. Conversation Starters in Dating App

    With so much pressure on what to text on Tinder after getting a match, it becomes a little stressful. The good news is that the Hily dating app’s developers know about this problem and have taken care of it.

    The Hily dating app has the option of icebreakers that users can try when initiating a conversation with someone on their online dating app like Tinder. These ice breakers are usually in the form of questions or funny statements that can help users know each other better and remove the awkwardness from the conversation.

    They also allow users to send audio, video, and GIFs instead of just texts. This helps users communicate with each other in a much more interactive manner, leading to better conversations and connections.

    Lesson: To avoid any kind of awkwardness and keep the conversation flowing smoothly, offer your users some new ways to talk to each other. This helps users generate interest in each other and create a better connection.

Have questions about creating a dating application? Check our frequently asked questions section to find the answers.

Looking to Hire Mobile App Developers to Build a Dating App?

Based in Canada, we are a leading mobile app development company. Let’s talk. We have a team of professional app developers to convert your app idea into a real solution.

FAQ About Create a Dating App

  1. How do dating app algorithms work?

    Tinder-like online dating apps algorithms benefit from the behaviours of customers. The algorithm compiles and measures information about users and how users communicate and help you with the profiles to appear in the timeline for finding perfect matches.

  2. How do I make the dating app successful?

    • Keep your app 100% secure
    • Analyze fake profiles and do the needful
    • Focus on the values
    • Think of consumer expectations
    • Make a solid marketing strategy
    • Design an interactive user interface
    • Provide customer support
    • Find the USP of your dating app
    • Select the right monetization model
    • Integrate conversation starters in your dating app
  3. Which are the core algorithms dating app developers use to create a custom dating application from scratch?

    Here are 3 algorithms on which dating apps works.

    • Location-based Algorithm: With the help of machine learning technology for location, dating applications appear to employ GPS elements. Creating a location-based app for dating helps you to determine who you want to initiate a conversation with from a list of nearby users and brief details about them.
    • Mathematical-based Algorithm: The mathematical matching algorithm links individuals by identifying correlations in the answers provided to a suggested questionnaire, and it is a commonly used method.
    • Behaviour-based Algorithm: This algorithm identifies the actions or behavioural points of users and provides suggestions for matches. A behaviour-based app algorithm matches perfectly when you want to develop an app depending on users’ reactions and responses.

Ready to Create Your Own Dating App

In conclusion, let’s recall what you have learned from the blog. We covered the following things to make a new dating app.

  • Process of how dating apps work
  • Steps to create a dating mobile application
  • Cost to develop a dating application
  • Best dating apps in the market

So if you are looking to develop your own dating app solution, get in touch with us. We have a team of experienced dating mobile app developers who have built solutions with modern technologies like Machine Learning, Big Data, AR/VR, and Artificial Intelligence. Based in Canada, we are a leading iOS and Android application development agency. Want to get a free consultation? Fill out the contact form.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies. He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311.