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How To Hire An App Developer On A Budget

Developing a mobile application for your business can be extremely time consuming and expensive.

If you have come to the conclusion that learning how to code and developing the app yourself is not something you are willing to commit to, the next best option is to hire a professional developer.

Fortunately, thanks to the surge in popularity of online freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer, it’s never been easier to find a qualified app developer at a moments notice. The issue, however, is finding the right one.

To find a developer who you can trust enough to accurately transform the thoughts and ideas that are swimming around in your head, into a fully-functional mobile application, it’s crucial that you understand what questions you need to be asking yourself prior to offering the position to someone.

Choosing the wrong partner, regardless of how cheap or experienced they may seem, can be detrimental to the progression of your business, so it’s important to understand exactly what it is you are looking for.

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To help make your decision a little bit less stressful than it has been for us in the past, here are is a quick breakdown of the most important questions that you need to be asking yourself, prior to offering the position to anyone:

Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing The Perfect App Developer

1. Does the developer have a lot of experience? 

Although the amount of experience a person has does not necessarily translate into them being more skilled 100 percent of the time, you will often find that it is the case, so choosing a developer with a lot of experience will probably be more fruitful.

2. Does the developer have experience working in my specific niche of industry?

If a developer has experience working on similar applications, in the same niche as yours, you will often find that they can not only work faster and more efficiently, but they can also provide their own input based on their previous experience working on similar projects.

3. Does the app developer have a portfolio?

Not only does a solid portfolio demonstrate the depth of the developer’s experience, but it also gives you the ability to zone in on the user experience elements of the applications that they have built. No amount of interview questions will give you a better understanding of how good a developer is, compared to looking at their previous examples of work.

4. What about references?

Contacting any references will allow you to understand how responsive, efficient and reliable the prospective developer is. You can’t find out this information from an interview or a portfolio.

5. Do they have any specific skills that are transferable to your project?

Although transferable skills are not a necessity when hiring a developer, they can be a huge bonus. For example, if the developer has experience in graphic design or copywriting, you can rely on them to provide useful feedback that could ultimately improve the final product.

6. Is the developer available long-term?

Building a mobile application, unfortunately, is not a one-time investment. Application owners must constantly test new ideas and features, and constantly update the application based on the feedback they receive from its users.

Working with several different developers can cause nothing but headaches, so we always recommend finding a developer who can work with you throughout the entire process.

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How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Reliable App Developer?

For most individuals or small business owners, the main concern when it comes to outsourcing any aspect of a project is the cost. Unless you are a national brand with an unlimited budget, the cost of hiring an app developer should be at the forefront of your mind.

With that being said, if your mobile application is going to be driving a lot of your revenue, or if it is a crucial component of your business, it’s obviously not something you want to skimp on.

App development can range anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars, all the way up to five figures and beyond. Knowing exactly what you are looking for from a developer can drastically reduce the chances of you wasting money on things that you don’t need.

If you are on the hunt for an A* developer, but don’t fancy paying any more than you have to, here are a few questions you should be asking yourself before you begin your search:

1. Do I need someone who is within close proximity to my location?

Hiring a developer from your home town, or your home country for that matter will drastically increase the cost of the project at hand.

According to the salary calculator created by, the average salary for a mid-range developer in the United States is between $90,000 and $116,000.

Compared to Ukraine, where the average salary for the same level of skill is around $15,000 to $27,000, you can see how the savings will start to add up if you decide to hire off-shore.

2. What platforms will my app be available on?

The two main platforms that app owners currently focus on, are Apple and Android. Both platforms have their own set of pros and cons, but they are extremely similar for the most part.

One major difference, however, is the fact that the Android platform is considerably more diverse than Apple, so you have to make sure that any applications that you develop for Android are compatible with all variations of the operating system. This constant testing and tweaking, as you would expect, can increase the time of development quite substantially.

According to research conducted by the freelancing platform, developing an app for Android devices can take at least 30% longer than developing an app for the Apple store, so keep this in mind when considering which platforms you building your app for.

3. Do I need a fully functioning application or a minimum viable product?

Depending on what stage your business is currently at, it could be a good idea to just focus on creating something simple, and easy-to-use that you can throw out to test the marketplace.

What would be the benefit of investing several thousands of dollars into an app, that when you release it to the public, you find out that there’s no demand for it?

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4. Will I be utilizing a bespoke design or an open-source template?

The design and usability aspects of your app are just as important as the features when it comes to how well your app will be received by the marketplace. An app that performs well and solves a problem for the end-user will still inevitably fail if the design and the UX are not up to scratch.

With that being said, it’s not always necessary to invest in a completely unique, bespoke interface and design. Choosing to build upon an existing open-source template is a great way to save money, while still developing a good performing application that is unique to your business.

To Wrap Things Up…

Finding the perfect developer to work with can be a daunting task for those who have never outsourced a project before.

However, if you keep the aforementioned questions in mind when you are shopping around, we promise that you will make the right decision.


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Sean Casto
Posted By

Sean Casto

I am the founder and CEO of, the leading mobile marketing and discovery platform. I have been a guest speaker at industry conventions for Microsoft and Samsung and lectured at Universities such as Northeastern and Harvard. I have acquired a deep understanding of the struggles developers face and a passion to serve the growing mobile app community.

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