Are you planning to hire an app developer to build an app to power up your business?
In general, this would be quite a daunting task. You're hiring a team member who is critical to your business, but the quality of software developers out there sometimes leaves much to be desired!
But, we've now found a way to short-circuit the whole process, and still come out on top. All while getting to hire mobile app developers within your budget.
The key is to hire app developers from vetted sites.
So without further ado, here are the top sites, the price you would expect to pay and the key reasons why you should work (or not) with them.
Top 17 Sites to Hire App Developers (iPhone and Android)
Before we start describing each site in detail, check out this quick summary on where to hire mobile app developers.
|Rank||Site||Price Range||Quality Rating||What we liked||What we didn't like|
|1||High||5/5||Top-quality app developers||Not affordable for everybody|
|2||Medium||5/5||Candidates in less than 48 hours||Permanent basis hires only|
|3||Low to Medium||4.5/5||No intermediaries, direct to app developer||Significant variance in prices for app development|
|4||Medium to High||4/5||Very experienced app developers||Few candidataes in certain niches|
|5||Low to High||4/5||Good technical teams||Little industry-specific expertise|
|6||Low to High||4/5||Solid Reputation||Mostly Startup Jobs|
|7||Low to High||4.25/5||Full Management of Projects, including invoicing, escrow and payment||Freelancers only|
|8||Low to High||4/5||Available in over 60 countries||Access to resumes requires monthly subscription|
|9||Low to High||3.5/5||Jobs promoted to 3000 partners for 30 days||United States Only, some regions under represented|
|10||Low to High||4.5/5||Vetted expert development teams||No freelancers|
|11||Low to High||3/5||Trusted Development Community||No vetting|
|12||Low to High||2/5||Popular Development Community||No vetting, not many jobs|
|13||Low to High||3.5/5||1+ million job resumes||No vetting|
|14||Low to High||3.5/5||Reposting if not satisfied||No candidate matching|
|15||Low to High||3/5||Indexes jobs from 3rd party sites automatically||Syndication of existing posted jobs only|
|16||Low to High||3/5||350,000+ people/td>||Remote jobs only|
|17||Low to High||3.5/5||Free Job Posting||No vetting, need to run trials|
Let's now have a look at each of these sites that specialise in recruitment for app development, in more detail.
In order to understand whether the particular platform is right for you, we are listing the hourly rate or salary you'd be expected to pay when you hire app developers on such a platform.
The name says it all – Top Talent (Toptal).
Here you can find find the Top 3% of Freelance App (iOS / Android) Developers for hire because only the top 3% of all those candidates who apply, get through to become mobile app developers with Toptal.
You get the best level of work in a justified budget within a hard deadline. App developers at Toptal, bring with them unique perspectives and approaches.
They are extremely transparent about their fees and all and have an extremely good customer-centric approach. Mobile app development is one of their focus areas.
So there would be a Toptal representative who keeps a continuous track of how your apps project is progressing and what your confidence is about working with Toptal and the end-result.
That takes away much of the project management hours which you would be burdened with yourself if you had to opt for the typically hired app developer.
So how much does it cost to build an app with Toptal? Here is the average Toptal pricing for mobile application development:
- Average Hourly Rate: $65 - $95+ per hour
- Part-Time: $1000 - $1600+ /week
- Full-time: $2000 - $3200+ /week
Given that Toptal only hire the absolute best, Toptal pricing comes at a premium, but the quality is obviously going to match such premium rates.
With Gun.io you can quickly add firepower to your engineering team, whether you need app developers or other resources for your teams.
Gun.io is not a typical self-serve marketplace; instead, their primary focus is to help you quickly recruit more resources to your existing engineering team. If you are looking to hire mobile app developers on a permanent basis, or are looking to create a dedicated software development team - these are the people you should go to.
For teams looking to scale up quickly, let's say you're setting up an app development team, or parachute in additional expertise, Gun.io is a no-brainer. They help you find awesome mobile app developers for hire in no time at all, typically less than 48 hours!
They do the work of personally sourcing, vetting, and matching candidates for your team, so you can keep your teams energy focused on shipping your software product.
Gun.io is known for its rigorous vetting process, which is a 7-step, 360-degree approach designed to assess engineers as multi-dimensional professionals. Hundreds of successful client-engineer relationships have helped them understand the nuance of a fantastic match - beyond just skillset expertise.
Gun.io was built by engineers who understand the importance of collaboration, so communication aptitude and integrity are requirements to pass their vetting process. (And they've got raving reviews to boot, check out their score, 4.9 stars out of 5 on G2Crowd).
Plus, 90%+ of their talent community is based in the United States, allowing for close timezone alignment - if you want to hire from the United States.
The team at Gun.io works quickly to match an app developer with clients, and are usually able to do so within 2 days.
The best part?
Hiring a software engineer and/or finding app developers through Gun.io costs exactly the same as a traditionally-hired, full-time app developer, and without the usual cost of a hiring cycle.
And if retention is on your mind and you're looking for mobile app developers for the long-term - the tenure of a Gun.io engineer is 30% higher than their traditionally-hired peers.
Gun.io specializes in matching clients with freelance and contract mobile app developers, and clients have the flexibility to choose their hourly commitment - from part-time all the way up to full-time engagement.
The hiring process with Gun.io is expedited: you'll see candidates within 48 hours. From there, you can move as fast as you'd like to get started on your mobile app development needs.
How much does it cost to hire an app developer from Gun.io?
Hourly rates: typically between $75 - $150 per hour
Here is what one CTO said about hiring with Gun.io - very impressive result, we think.
And this is one of the reviews on G2Crowd:
3. Fiverr Pro
This is more of a platform that you would come across conventionally if you are looking for cheap jobs.
The only difference – you get vetted mobile app developers who have a proven track record and at what they do (hence why PRO), rather than the ones who you find on the usual Fiverr gigs.
So why are we suggesting that you trust the development of your mobile app to Fivver?
Simple. Because Fiverr Pro gigs are vetted.
If you hire app developers from here, you can be assured that their work has been validated and they have a proven track record.
(And yes. We have hired successfully from here - we've worked with a small business of freelance app developers from Mumbai at great prices. It was our first experiment with the platform, but following the great reviews, the app developer we worked with did excellent work for what we needed.)
So if you want to hire iOS developers, Android or just general freelance mobile app developers, there are specific categories that classify mobile app development freelancers, so you can focus on your app development needs.
Freelance app developers who are allowed enrollment in Pro are only sourced from the highest performers who have achieved top ratings and a proven record of delivering quality services.
Just to use a few statistics, only 1% of applicants go on to earn Pro status.
As with other gigs, it's the hirees themselves who look at your app development requirements in detail, and then each iOS and Android app freelancer who is eligible and would be best suited to execute your project will send an offer.
The nature of the platform ensures that finding idea candidates can be quite quick, even within a day. This is fairly quick.
Another positive – they have very good assurances and guarantees about any payments you'll make with them. They have different budget deduction statements, with the one we loved most was the 100% credit promise if the assigned freelancer you hired did not complete your project within the set deadline. This is a great guarantee, for two reasons:
- You can be sure that projects will meet their timeline.
- In the extreme case that they don't, you get your money back, and you can start the job with a different app developer.
Since the launch of Pro, Fiverr has acquired a name for itself for proving good quality services. One should note that Fiverr is mostly a platform for all freelancers, but we've linked you directly to the mobile development section, so you can go directly to finding candidates to work on mobile apps.
How much does it cost to hire an app developer on Fiverr Pro?
Fixed Price gigs: $1400+
All in all, that price to build an app would be quite cheap! Check them out and see whether you manage to hire an app developer at competitive prices.
This is more of a job marketplace having awesome mobile app developers for hire who, where companies compete to take people on board.
If you hire an app developer from their pool, they guarantee that only the top 5% of people who apply to be a part of their app development community are accepted, so once again, people are strictly vetted. This means that you can rest assured to only find the best people here - but most importantly, they match talents and skills to the jobs required, trimming down the time spent by both employers and hirees.
Hired have branded themselves to be a bit more inclined towards finding developers, good companies to work with. Only senior people with a good portfolio of diverse experience are taken in and then they are given a choice of companies who are good matches for them and ready to employ.
You can hire a mobile app developer and desktop application programmers on all models here: fulltime, contract, freelance to build your mobile app. As app development in such demand these days, Hired also have a good focus on hiring good mobile app development candidates.
The hiring process is quick, generally gets done quite rapidly - most companies save up to 45 sourcing hours per role filled. And throughout the project or the tenure for which you hire a freelancer, or hire an app developer, you can be sure that you will get quality work, deliver desired outcomes within a set timeline.
How much does it cost to hire app developers with Hired?
Hired do have a specific pricing system in place which depends on the type of contract that you have both with Hired and with the employee, over and above the price of the candidate.
Another trustworthy name when it comes to mobile app developement.
X-Team provides motivated and competent iPhone or Android application developers for hire. The company provides you with an account manager who is there to understand your requirements and who will provide you with a list of developers perfect for your project. When you choose your preferred developer (or team of developers), they will be devoted exclusively to your project.
X-Team is a fully remote company that cover all time zones in their operations. This means you can choose talented developers from all over the world and have them working on your project 24/7.
How much does it cost to hire an app developer from X-Team?
Hourly Rate: $65 - $125 per hour
The problem with Upwork and other Freelancing Sites
We've been through it, once, twice ... several times. And we sincerely hope that the headaches we've been through don't happen to you.
Finding a good (let alone a great) mobile app developer for hire and getting them to come onboard your project is in itself, a massive ordeal. We've had plenty of bad experiences: from hiring a mobile app developer who greatly inflated their capabilities, to others who vanished mid-project. Others plagiarised the project almost completely!
We've seen others who rolled out untested features, broken functionality, code glitches, we've seen it all.
All things that you never want when you're just trying to break into a market and you've just started onboarding new clients...this is the last thing you want to experience and have to deal with in the mobile app you dreamt of building your business on.
The key lies in knowing how to properly hire app developers.
Most platforms like Upwork have one singular problem that is so problematic, it can detract from the very essence of product development – a communication gap.
You are essentially given full responsibility to make sure that you choose the right mobile app developer from these platforms. But in reality, these platforms are more of an introductory meeting between a freelance software developer and their clients.
But you can't really be sure of your developer until you're well into the project, and by that time, you're already in too deep to be able to back out.
After hiring a developer you have to:
- deal with the freelancer of your own accord without any more guidance or help from the platform,
- have the patience to see through multiple development iterations and
- take the burden of extra hours’ of management that the programmer would demand from your project.
There are a lot of monetary and non-monetary costs that you pay over and above the fees of the platform.
In reality, the result is that what seems initially cheap can turn out to be not very cheap at all.
How much does it cost to build an app?
A simple way to calculate how much it costs to build an app is this. Estimate the number of hours required to develop each feature multiplied by the hourly rate of your developer. Ideally, you add a buffer of about 20% for testing and other issues that might crop up.
If you'd like to read more about how much it costs to develop and app and how much it costs to outsource development, check our article here.
Why hiring a freelance app developer who has been pre-vetted makes sense
Sometimes, we tend to be a bit short-sighted when we look at the hourly rate associated with hiring awesome mobile app developers. In essence, sometimes, when you're on a budget, it's hard to justify the cost of hiring a top coder.
Let's just go through a few of the reasons why hiring an app developer who has been screened already makes sense.
1. You will have the confidence in their capabilities
Mobile app development requires skills that are not as common as other generic development (such as web development). If you want to hire an app developer for your Android app, this is different than generic software development.
Done right, a high-quality Android developer or app developer in general will be a worthwhile investment.
If you want to make the app available in both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, you'll need somebody who understands the nuances and requirements of both ecosystems.
2. Cheap is actually expensive.
Not knowing who you are hiring, you might get lucky and find a good programmer to develop a mobile app. On the other hand, you may have a bitter experience as we did. Once, we had to contract more than 3 freelancers to eventually get a decent result.
This is besides all the hours spent trying to communicate and understand capabilities. This time, especially from project managers, is very costly.
3. Top iOS and Android app developers hired will bring more than just great coding skills.
You don't get to become a great mobile app developer through coding alone.
When you are an excellent app developer, you'll have acquired other skills. These skills will be critical if you want to deploy a successful mobile app.
Business knowledge, User Experience, experiences in understanding and preventing problems before they occur. That's so much time saved that it can't be quantified. We've always found that hiring excellent iOS and Android app freelancers returns so much more than trying to hire mobile app developers from cheap talent pools.
4. Missing the boat.
If you hire mobile app developers who are unknown, or cheap app freelancers, this will probably cost you a lot of time until you go to market.
Of course, being the first to go to market and being the first mover, with let's say a new Android app, brings about HUGE advantages which once again, are very difficult to quantify.
Suffice to say, if you delay the release of such an Android app by a few months, you might find that you've missed the boat altogether.
Remember that even getting through the approval and publishing process for the App Store can typically take months in a best-case scenario, let alone if you have to fix any issues that arise!
Five steps to hiring a reliable mobile app developer
If you’re in need of a mobile app developer, you have a few options.
Partner with someone who is an app developer, hire one to join your development team, or hire a freelancer to fulfill a temporary need. You can even work with a development agency / app development company if you want to avoid all of the hassles.
As this article is all about freelancers, we will concentrate on mobile app development that caters to that third option primarily.
There are estimated to be over 20 million people who class themselves as mobile app developers or hire themselves out as one. That’s a lot of talent to have to sort through to find the diamond in the rough!
Here is what we consider to be the optimum way to hire app developers:
1. Assess your needs
Your first challenge is to identify what it is that you want.
- What are your mobile app development plans?
- What problem do you want to solve?
- What service do you want to offer?
- What need do you want to fulfill?
- What device(s) or platforms do you want to perform them for?
The clearer the app idea you have, the better you will be able to outline your project.
There will be research involved and it should be treated as an investment in time and money.
If you know you want an iOS app, you know that Objective-C and Swift are going to be a key requirement. What about database skills? Security? UI/UX design? Will your app interact with others or require an API?
The better idea you have of your project, the easier you will be able to explain it in the project requirements. This benefits you as you will hire an app developer that is a good fit for the job. It will also benefit the app developer as they will have clear goals, clear requirements and an employer who knows what they want.
2. Outline your project
Clear, unambiguous communication is key when hiring freelance app developers.
They don’t know you. They don’t know your company or your culture and won’t know the content of the numerous meetings you have while putting this project together. They will only know what you communicate to them in the project outline.
Specification are crucial during all mobile app development phases. Both in terms of design and when it comes to testing an eventual prototype.
That project outline also has another key objective. It outlines in plain terms what is expect from that app developer and provide the basis for any action or legalities that may occur if things go wrong.
Putting the effort into outlining a clear, unambiguous project outline is a win, win for everyone.
Ask around how long is reasonable for a project of the scope of the one you want to complete? The last thing you want is to outline a 1-month schedule on a complex app that would take several months for a team to complete let alone a freelance app developer.
Be reasonable and be realistic. If you’re not, you won’t attract the top 1%.
Finally, once you have a good idea of your project outline, look at similar projects on freelance marketplaces to see how they are worded. Don’t be afraid to take useful terms or phrases and use them in your outline. Take ideas but make them your own and integrate them into the specification you publish for your project.
Add your notes, any terms or phrases you see on other marketplaces, add update schedules and meeting request schedules and you’re good to go.
3. Invite proposals/tenders
Once you have your project outline you can publish the job specification on a freelance website to invite proposals from a few mobile app developer candidates. The more background checking you do at this stage in mobile app development, the easier it will be later.
- Look at the candidate’s skill list to ensure they match your requirements.
- Check their reviews and feedback on the marketplace. Don’t be afraid to check with the client who left the review to make sure the review is real!
- Check their experience to make sure they have done what you need them to do in the real world.
- Ask them questions if you have them. Collect any questions you have and ask them all at once rather than taking up too much of their time.
- Google their name. A little underhand we will admit but very effective. Make sure anything published about them matches what they pitch themselves as.
Collect a shortlist of candidates and sift them again. Dig deeper into their skills and experience and perform searches on LinkedIn, GitHub, and other places where mobile app developers might hang out.
4. Set a test or small project first
Mobile app development and the release of a mobile app is not something you can reverse. So making sure you've hired the right person is key.
Depending on the scope or type of project you’re undertaking, you may want to set a sample project first. This won’t always be possible but if you have the time and resources, it’s a relatively low-risk way of finding a mobile app developer you can work with and who can work with you.
The sites we discuss in this piece, Toptal, Gun.io, Hired, X-team, and Fiverr Pro all pre-screen their freelance developers. That may not always include every single skill or programming language on their profile.
So while the hard work has been done for you, it still pays to make sure the mobile app developer can deliver on the project they are being employed for.
We are in favour of starting with a small mobile app development project first.
5. Hire the developer
Most good quality mobile app developers will appreciate a client wanting to be sure before they hire.
However, no app developer wants to jump through numerous hoops or perform dozens of tests or tasks before being hired. Balance is required to get a feel for the developer and hire them in a fast and effective way.
Once you have identified the talent you want to hire, waste no more time in letting them know and scheduling in your project.
Provide any NDA, IP protection or non-compete paperwork for scrutiny, add the project fee to escrow if necessary and give the mobile app developer the information they need to do the job.
Now that the groundwork is set, you can build your app!
FAQs around hiring app developers
1. How much does it cost to create an app?
App developers usually charge based on their skills and experience. The more experienced they are, the more they charge. The wider or deeper their skillset, the more they charge.
As an example, prices on Toptal range from $65 to $95 per hour. On Gun.io fees range from $75 to $150 per hour, XTeam charge from $2 up to $250 per hour. You get the idea.
A lot will depend on the complexity of the mobile app you’re developing and the language or platform(s) you’re developing it for. The more complex the app, the more it will cost to develop. Many freelance platforms will let you use fixed pricing rather than hourly rates so you could offer a fixed fee for a project rather than allow the app developer to bill hourly.
2. How do I go about hiring app developers?
Most of the platforms in this list use a similar setup. You sign up and register your business as a buyer of services. You then post your project and invite applicants or look at the list of available app developers and invite them to tender. Either way, you then should have a discussion with the talent to make sure they can do the job and can work with you on a professional level.
If your main project is complex, sensitive or critical in any way we also suggest doing a trial run first. Set a small project along similar lines to your main project that uses the key skills you require. If the freelancer performs well, they may be a good fit for your main project.
If they aren’t such a good fit or don’t deliver the quality you’re looking for, you can repeat the process with another freelancer. It does take time and cost money to hire app developers but at least you’ll know before you start them on your primary project!
3. What does a mobile app developer do?
A mobile app developer creates programs that enable devices to perform specific tasks. They can be written for mobile phones, cloud applications, desktops, office suites and any type of software or software environment. Those programs can be general programs to perform a specific task or deliver a specific goal for the customer or user.
Most application developers will lean towards a particular type of development such as mobile apps, desktop software, cloud applications and so on. They may also specialise further such as mobile apps for Android or specifically for iOS.
4. What skills does a mobile app developer need?
An experienced mobile app developer will need a range of skills. Some very specific like Android or iOS development languages such as Objective-C or Java and some more rounded such as project management, UI design, and user testing. The role of an app developer requires wearing many hats and no two projects will ever demand the same combination of skills.
A good mobile app developer will supplement those hard skills with soft skills like problem-solving, analytical skills, communication, creativity, and project management.
More advanced app developers may also need cross-platform skills such as Java for an Android app and Objective-C for iOS app. Database management, security, hardware interfacing, APIs and all manner of other skills.
5. How can I stop a freelance app developer from stealing my app idea?
If you have an idea for the Next Big ThingTM and need to hire a freelancer to bring this app idea to life, how can you protect that idea from being copied or beaten to market by the freelancer you hire?
Two legal documents should protect you from having your idea stolen and used by the freelancer you hire. A non-disclosure agreement and a non-compete agreement. Both of these may be available on the platform you use while you can always get boilerplate agreements drawn up by a lawyer.
A non-disclosure agreement ties the freelancer into never talking about the work they do for you and to not disclose the specifics in any way. A non-compete agreements bars the freelancer from taking that idea and releasing it themselves by competing with you in the same marketplace. Many established companies regularly use these two agreements when dealing with freelancers. We certainly have!
6. What are the typical roles and responsibilities of the application developer?
First off, there is not really such a thing as a ‘typical’ role for an application developer. The industry is so wide and so varied that it would be impossible to outline a job role that would fit every requirement.
As a baseline, you would usually require a mobile app developer to:
- Understand your requirements and be able to fulfill it.
- Identify key requirements and features of the mobile app.
- Design mobile apps that closely fit the client's vision while also delivering on the user goals.
- Write clean, competent code for the device or system in question that functions with the minimum of issues.
- Test the product and utilize testing results in improvements.
- Troubleshoot the product during user testing and after launch.
- Identify and address bugs and offer solutions for technical challenges.
This is far from an exhaustive list of what to expect of an app developer but you get the idea. There are lots of qualified resources online if you’re trying to put a project specification together.
7. What languages do different mobile apps use?
There are many languages used in app development. Much depends on the platform you’re developing for.
For example, on Android, an app developer would require Java and an understanding of APIs. Android apps used to support C and C++ under Android Native Development but Google no longer advocates using those.
For iOS, you would need Objective-C while it is still in use and the new Swift language. You will also need to know the Xcode platform and perhaps some C.
While we have listed only 5 primary ones, there are MANY more platforms like the above (which is way we added another 12 to the table) where you can find great app developers for hire both for iOS and Android, such as Gigster, and plenty of others.
What we did is opt for companies who we've actually worked with for our own mobile app development projects and found useful, or have first-hand experience of people working with them, so these have also been vetted by ourselves. We might eventually, add a few more to this list, but we prefer to keep it short and concise, to guarantee that you have a good result in your hiring app developers exercise.
So do head out to any one of the above, have a look at what they offer and get a good incubator of your brilliant ideas and products. It will be worth it when you find exactly the app developers for hire you need.
Please leave a useful comment with your thoughts, then share this on your Facebook group(s) who would find this useful and let's reap the benefits together. Thank you for sharing and being nice!
Disclosure: This page may contain links to external sites for products which we love and wholeheartedly recommend. If you buy products we suggest, we may earn a referral fee. Such fees do not influence our recommendations and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.