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How much does it cost to hire an app developer in 2017

How much does it cost to hire an app developer in 2017


It seems like every brand and every company has its own app in 2017. Probably even a local coffee house has acquired a similar one for ordering frappuccino at your doorstep or gaining bonuses. From time to time every IT-businessman earns on top app. So we decided to raise an eternal question of how to hire an app developer.

We are going discuss the main points like how to hire an app developer and where to find them as well as how to choose between a company and freelancers. Furthermore, we are going to address the typical mistakes in hiring. Let’s go!

How to find an app developer - the main methods

So, in a moment it comes “Yes, here it is! Here is an app that will change the world for the better and make me the second Zuckerberg”, you’ve got an idea of perfect app that will bring you fame and tons of money. But you know this idea should be checked.

But you are neither a geek nor a programmer so come on, Google something like “who can build me an app” or “who can develop my app” because Google knows everything. Or if you are more acquainted with the market, you had better seek “ios/android developer needed”.

Fortunately, worldwide developers have no disadvantages. Of any type, skill set and price policy. Of course, everybody has some definite disadvantages and cautions. So take these 3 main principles you should hold on before starting your quest.

  1. Let’s start fromf oundation. Find out the existing programming languages from mobile apps. Figure out what the platforms are and which you will choose for your app. Ask the price of hiring developers (even approximately). Who will be your users? That kind of things.
  2. Check the experience. You would not want to be treated by the doctor just finished the institute. The same situation is with your company - hiring someone make sure of his experience. He or she doesn’t have to be top experts but they must perform their portfolio with past works. You can even ask them their code examples.
  3. Build relationship and connection. Look for someone reliable, a developer interested in your company and the profit from your partnership, not only from development. You must get along to build a partnership with each other for app promotion. For example, language and cultural barrier can stand in your way.


Hire a developer: everything you would like to know about this but were afraid to ask.

Once you have learn out how to find an app developer, it’s about to get fun. It means that some circumstances and overlaps can arise that can distort the app idea. But do not despair, hire a developer who will be suitable for you best. Specifically:

  • Evaluate developer’s portfolio and dig deeper into their past projects. You can even ask him or her about past clients list. Check the site, if any, check the aspects of UX/UI apps that they have built, how good they look and how interactive they are. UX is half 
  • Study the developer’s creative contribution (or developers company’s) being put into original concept. Whether he/she/they took an interest? Based on primary interactions, do you feel the getting along?

And always remember: app development is a long-term process so look for friendly partners who will be kindred spirits with you and catch the meaning just at once.

And some more advice from Thunderrise

It’s right around the corner.

  • Define the way of contacting during the development period. Are there any differences in timezones?
  • What tools of communication you will use - email, Skype, telephone etc. What time exactly will you be able to speak?
  • Is it possible to call anytime? How will you control the process? All of this details are important.
  • Find out the developer’s cost and his payment terms. Firstly, you are probable to have a budget that must be limited. So you had better to disclosure all hidden fees, overworks, additional costs in advance. Nobody wants surprises when it comes to expenditures. Secondly, don’t bother with the cheapest app. You must have a good and presentable product but not the middle one with a lot of bugs.

At some point you can finally decide: “Do I hire a developer-company or freelancers?” There is no clear answer, everything depends on your preferences, budget, product specific and desirable development time.

Development teams

In finding and choosing app developers there is no clear estimation criteria. It is service, not a finished product that you could see. Whether you need iOS or Android developer, the choice implies reliability and more resources at hand.

Most of such companies have an experience in developing hundreds of mobile apps. It is a clear advantage. So what should be pointed out in choosing developers for your app? The first and the most logical is a portfolio. Find their page with projects, cases, personal products and study them. If there is a similar app to your, that’s great. Download some of their apps and test them.

What to check?

Check their team’s size and structure. A developers team usually have their own page or something like UpWork, Clutch, LinkedIn profiles where they provide a list of their services. If you need iOS developers, check their number. Also find out how many developers (front-, backend), designers, project managers, marketers work there. This way you will see what services you will pay for.

Pay attention to technologies package they use. Do they use the same package for all projects or choose by the project specifics? What technologies will they recommend for your app? Is there similar projects being used this technology?

Also, check their history and feedbacks. Many of them have boasted of experience, the number of top clients and developers on staff etc. on the market for ages. So it won’t be too difficult. Try also to find out how many reorders they had (that’s almost equivalent in a satisfied client). Check if they have any clients’ feedbacks on Clutch and UpWork.


The second option in hiring someone for your app development is freelancers. This choice can turn to be more worrying but it will cost less. Choosing Android / iOS freelancer is a great idea when you know exactly what app you want. Will you be able to manage the person completely and make all decisions on design, functionality, testing etc.

Frequent mistakes and how to avoid them

More than half of mobile apps bring less profit than their development cost. It doesn’t sound inspiring, does it? Why is it so? Most app creators put $0 into marketing, relying on its necessity at the same time. It can be low quality, with bugs, crashes and poor design.

Firstly you can build an MVP. Not as “most valuable player”, but as “minimal viable product”. Develop your app MVP with limited features for getting some inverse relationship.

When you place your job post on UpWork (for example) to find a developer, you will get lots of offers on the same day. So how to make the right choice? You need to understand what to do and NOT to do while searching a mobile app developer.

Find a mobile app developer

So, start getting in touch with all your old contacts, college friends, social network followers and remember: who can write iOS and Android apps. If you want, run a contest where the main prize will be your wonderful project development. But seriously there are a lot of specialized grounds for work performers searching: They Make Apps, work boards like Get Apps Done.

Do you need iOS developer? Try the forum iPhoneDevSDK.

Do you need Android developer? Android Forums or AndroidPit. Here are more common communities where you can find developers: Koding, Topcoder, NewAppIdea, Polycom. Also, official groups Google, Facebook, Apple, Windows.

You can also find a developer through the service LinkedIn, Indeed, Upwork and many other similar. The real experience, projects or code patterns must be checked at Gitlab or Github repositories. Use Clutch if you want to hire a prestigious IT company.

How to hire a mobile app developer in 10 questions?

Use such sites as Upwork, Toptal, Guru, Freelancer, ProFinder, Fiverr etc. to find and hire a freelancer for app development. They have an clear rating system, past works and feedbacks. Speak with several programmers, forget those ones who avoid the answers to your questions.

In short, here are 10 main questions which should be asked while hiring a developer:

  1. Could you provide the list with past and current clients?
  2. Can I take a look at your past works (links to App Store or Google Play)?
  3. Which platform do you prefer?
  4. What monetization strategy do I have?
  5. How will we be communicating during the development process?
  6. What additional features would you recommend? Will you cope with them?
  7. How will you conduct the testing?
  8. Are you able to add the app to the app store?
  9. Are you ready to sign an NDA?
  10. What is your rate and payment terms?

iOS developer hiring

Keep in mind that iPhone developers have strong demand. They can be picky and cost you above average. As a result, hiring iOS developer is worth only when your app is mostly and completely designed for Apple market. Look for some candidates in specialized communities like:

  • iPhoneDevSDK
  • MacRumors Forum,
  • Cocos2d
  • iOS Developer Forums
  • Stack Overflow

Study their activity beginning with blog and Twitter posts to the posted source code at Github. Ask what libraries and components would they use for your app. In addition, UpWork has monthly report of best iOs developers with orders success rate and hourly rates.

Android developer hiring

By the way, the same thing is with Android developers on UpWork. But what specificity do these guys have? Firstly, apps for Android are based on Java, so look for some talented ones according to this programming language. Secondly, Java itself isn’t enough. Good knowledge of open Android libraries ecosystem is a plus.

Do they have any experience in Java Native interface? Fine. Will the candidates be able to cope with new Java versions (4.0, 4.4, 6.0 and above) and their APIs? Are they familiar with app download intricacies on Google Play? Will they be able to help with its promotion there? That’s all important. Look for Android developers in some places like:

  • Toptal
  • GDGs – Google developer groups, tech talks, code sprints, etc.
  • Guru
  • Upwork
  • Android conferences, hackathons, meetups.

Explain your app concept

Let’s say, you’ve decided to hire an app developer and found someone for this. Now you should describe in detail your app idea as clear as a person could built it. The better the developer understands and meets your requirements, the better answer you will have. Consequently, you will be able to estimate the opportunities.

Proving the concept to your developer, give him an honest context. It means that you need to explain the problem with your app that should be solved, your purposes apart from the idea, target audience etc.

Don’t be afraid of telling it and getting a feedback from him. For example, if an app must work with payments, discuss what security measures will take place. Improve the idea together.

The context against the background of general idea is very important. It will help the developer to give you better proposals. For instance, depending on whether the context was aimed mostly at programming or sales/marketing, the inverse relationship would differ. Elaborate geographical and demographical aspects of your ideal client for target buyers. You can also describe the idea from the customer’s point of view. Explain the whole abundance of your app from the target buyer’s point of view.

Go through the app features separately, one by one. Work everything in detail so that the developer could reckon with the given timeframes and price policy. Explain how one feature must be combined with another, pay attention to obligatory features, separate the most important ones. In addition, define what features will be compiled into the app first version.

6 “yes” and “no” in the hiring

Only taking into account the expenditures or with the most expensive company / developer.

The quality doesn’t come with the lowest price and an optimum price is not always a success factor. But it also doesn’t mean that the most expensive company will make you the best product. Look for balance and decent people.

To hire someone who know a little or nothing about your company

Check if the company had developed any apps similar to yours. You will see lots of developers misunderstanding your requirements but still struggling for your project.

Not to reallocate the app budget

That’s obvious. And also, ask the developer for the pricing to avoid extra costs.

To hire a developer ready to start immediately

Mobile apps are complicated, there’s no hurry. It’s useless to start programming without technical specification.

To agree on the cheapest proposal

Of course, some developers from India/China/Pakistan will offer you the rate $10/hr or even less. Do you think you will get a qualitative product with a good UX in this case?

Not to pay attention to user experience

Many companies can have good programming skills but they can have lack of experience with users. Age, gender, region, sphere… everything matters.

After hiring

It basically defines how much your app will cost - $1000 or $5000. Do you remember how specific you were while explaining your idea initially? Now you will have to put 10 times more efforts into it.

Creating drafts or prototypes in detail, from colours, fonts to positions, transactions, errors etc. Every tiny thing is considered and must be closed. If only you want your app to be successful. Use Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Paint and something else to convey your idea.

Taken together, mention user flow - when a user pushes this button - next happens etc. Analyze similar apps-rivals to do your best. Look through every screen. Always pay attention to the design and interfaces.

Pay the intervals for every stage / iteration. Therefore, you have better control options for your product development. A good way to develop a positive relationship is to give a bonus for some good results, why not? If you consider your project need an NDA, make the developer sign it. Do not let anything sneak out.

We hope that this information will help you to find and hire an appropriate app developer. If you have additional questions, write them on our mail hi@thunderrise.com and our specialists will be glad to help you!