Magento is a versatile eCommerce platform that enables you to develop online stores and add commercial features to existing websites. Magento is approachable if you have coding skills. If you don’t have the skills, experience or the time to do the coding, you have to adopt a different strategy. You need to hire a freelance Magento developer.
Magento freelancers are specialized professionals with extensive knowledge of how the platform works, its coding structure and the necessary best practices to deliver fully operational online stores.
It is always a good idea to hire a reliable developer for any customization, tweaking, or other tasks that involve coding if you don’t have the skills yourself. There is too much that can go wrong. Platforms like Magento demand a lot of time and dedication to master. Fine if you have the skills and energy, but out of reach if you have a busy schedule or other demands on your time.
You might be thinking that’s all great. I know I need to hire a Magento developer for my project. But where can I find a dependable freelancer?
That’s why we have put together this comprehensive guide to finding the best freelance Magento developers for hire!
First, we will cover where to find Magento developers. Then we will cover how to go about attracting, hiring and managing one.
Where to Find Magento Freelancers
When it comes to hiring a freelance developer, our obvious choice is Toptal. Their strict screening process and simple workflow ensure that we always get the best freelancers with relevant experience and expertise.
Check out the following sections to know more about Toptal and other methods to find freelance Magento developers.
Sourcing Sites Like Toptal
As we said earlier, Toptal is our preferred destination to find Magento freelancers for hire. The company uses a meticulous screening process to find the best developers. Through the process, only 3% of applicants are accepted onto the platform. That essentially means that any of the freelancers which get assigned to your project are going to be highly-skilled developers.
Due to the in-depth screening process, you can be confident in the competence and expertise of Toptal freelancers. That is why leading brands like HP, JPMorgan, Airbnb, Emirates, Zendesk, Udemy, and hundreds of others are employing Toptal developers.
Toptal enables you to hire developers on an hourly basis, part-time, or full-time. Hourly pricing starts from $60 per hour, while the part-time and full-time pricing starts from $1000 and $2000 per week respectively. There is a two-week trial period to help you find out whether the freelancer meets your requirement or not.
If you want a hassle-free hiring experience along with the best value for money, we highly recommend that you check out Toptal.
Toptal isn’t the only way to find good quality freelancers.
Magento Job Boards
There are several job boards that could be potential sources for hiring Magento developers. However, none of these job boards offer pre-screening like Toptal. That means you are responsible for finding out the most appropriate candidates.
Essentially, you'll need to perform the screening process yourself. That requires effective interviewing, researching feedback, talking to previous clients and perhaps by requiring a smaller job or paid trial first.
Magento Expert Forum
This expert forum is a well-known website for experts discussing themes, plugins, and tutorials. They also run a dedicated Magento job board. You have to be a member to post jobs but membership is free.
Smashing Magazine is another popular resource for both designers and developers. They also have a jobs board that helps the users to find designers and developers. There is a $75 charge for posting a freelance job.
If you have the time and patience to go through an extensive list of candidates and are able to screen the developers yourself, you can check out the following freelance marketplaces.
Fiverr/ Fiverr Pro
Fiverr and Fiverr Pro are two freelance marketplaces that have grown from a small job board specialising in development into a global brand covering most of the world with many thousands of freelancers on their books. Fiverr covers all aspects from freelancing, from web content or videography to Magento development. Fiverr uses verification to assure freelancer quality and have several developers on the site.
Upwork is the most popular freelance marketplace. You will find hundreds of freelance developers there but there is no guarantee about their quality. What’s more, there’s no dedicated job category for Magento development. Instead, you have to post jobs under the broader “Web Development” category and tag your posts as requiring specific Magento skills.
Freelancer.com is another well-known freelance marketplace. However, there is no dedicated category for posting Magento development jobs. On average, each job post receives more than a hundred applications. Be prepared to spend at least a day filtering through these applicants and finding the right developer for your needs.
Envato Studio is another freelance marketplace where service providers are hand-picked to ensure their quality. There is a dedicated section for posting different Magento projects including customization, optimization, security, migration and other key skills.
Magento development companies
There are a number of web development companies out there who do nothing but Magento or who specialise in eCommerce and/or Magento. If hiring a freelancer isn’t working out for you, one of these companies may be able to help.
Hiring a firm for a project will be more expensive than hiring a freelancer but should come with more convenience. Most companies will have project managers, a defined work process, predictable delivery schedule and guarantees of all work. You do pay for the privilege but if you haven’t found the right expert so far, a development company may be just what you need.
Some leading Magento development companies include:
- Rave Digital
- Absolute Web Services
Asking for referrals
Asking for referrals could be another way to hire a proven freelancer. If you have friends or any other acquaintances who know or who have hired Magento freelancers you can ask them for referrals.
Hire local talent
If you want to face-to-face communication with the freelancer, you can try to find a developer from your local community. Do some Googling, check out the local Facebook groups, or maybe try local directories.
Hiring a local might be more expensive than hiring a developer located abroad. At the same time you're going to have to perform the same kind of screening process because the local developer might not have that much experience in ecommerce development. You should be as careful in choosing a local developer as much as you have to be when choosing a freelance Magento developer from further afield.
So that’s where to find Magento developers. Now let us discuss how to go about hiring one.
1. Know Your Design / Development Requirements
The next step in hiring an excellent Magento freelancer is to know your exact requirements. You need to have a clear idea about the whole project along with the necessary skills required to complete this project.
- Are you just looking for basic theme configuration or configuration of a new plugin?
- Need an entire Magento store put together ready for launch?
- Are you tweaking a theme or plugin to suit your needs?
- Do you need to create a custom theme or plugin from scratch?
- Do you need to create a specific piece of functionality for your website?
- Are you planning to integrate your app/software/product with the WordPress API?
Read more: How to Hire App Developers (Freelance).
Since the scope of this ecommerce software is virtually unlimited, it is critical to know what type of help you are looking for.
Imagine this ad:
"I want to hire a Magento developer"
"We are in the process of creating a new, heavily customized Magento website for a popular brand. Based on a custom theme that was designed specifically for us, we now need to create particular functionality based on the needs of our users. We would like to put up a questionnaire or survey that adapts according to the questions answered. It would then trigger other surveys to eventually create a very specific pricing quotation based on all of the service options our company offers.
We would also like to populate each quotation in a database for eventual integration into our CRM, since we are able to close 60% of quotations which come through our website. We would like to hire a freelance developer who is familiar with the software and its API based on a fixed-price project. Our budget is in the region of $5000-$6000 range. We're looking to hire a developer within the next 3 weeks, with the work being completed in the next 2 months."
See the difference? Which one is most likely to find the better Magento developer for hire?
Only stating that you are looking for a freelancer or want to hire a Magento expert won’t lead you anywhere.
Instead, you should know what type of development your project requires.
A regular developer will be fine if you are only trying to perform some basic theme customization or configuring a new plugin. On the other hand, you will require a more experienced programmer for tweaking a theme, plugin or adding a new feature to your website.
It will be great if you can determine the type of skills necessary for your requirements. Get started by finding out if your work has any involvement with the server, the database and so on. Providing detailed information will help the freelancer decide whether they meet the requirements or not.
It might help you to understand some different types of Magento developer. They include:
- Front end Magento developer
- Back end Magento developer
Front end Magento developer
Back end Magento Developer
A back end developer concentrates on the core of the platform. The back end refers to databases, engine, systems, apps and the mechanics of how the site functions. Skill requisites can include PHP, Ruby, Python, Java,.Net, MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, Zend, Symfony and CakePHP among many others.
A full-stack developer covers both front end and back end development. They may specialise in one or the other but they work across both. The skills requirements mirror those above and there is a lot for the full stack developer to learn.
Many full-stack developers have a wide skillset across both front and back ends but won’t have the same depth of knowledge as a dedicated front or back end developer.
Freelancer vs agency vs in-house
We covered this briefly when discussing where to find a developer, but let is dig a little more into the question of whether to hire a freelancer, agency or hire a developer in-house.
Hire a Magento freelancer if:
You have a one-off project or only need a developer for a single project or short period of time. Or you need an emergency fill for illness, maternity or some other situation. Hire a freelance developer for a specific part of a project or to fill in skills gaps on your existing team.
Hire a Magento development company or agency if:
You have a more involved project or a project on a scale that a single freelancer wouldn’t be able to finish on time. Hire an agency or company if you need a wider range of skills than just Magento, or need access to test servers, want the build project managed or require other services a freelancer couldn’t provide.
Hire your own permanent Magento developer if:
You have an ongoing requirement for continuous development and have the budget to pay a professional a permanent salary. Hire your own if you need confidentiality, someone dedicated full-time to your project and will have ongoing development requirements over the longer term.
Even if you are not too technical, start your freelance Magento coder search by clearly defining the functionality "stories" from your point of view- in as much detail possible. At CollectiveRay.com, we've also got a bunch of resources for hiring for other platforms.
Check out some of our other guides here on our Web Design > Guides menu.
2. Identify necessary soft skills
Not all developer skills are made equal. We covered the technical skill requirements in the front end, back end and full stack section but those are not the only skills a Magento developer needs. There are other less tangible skills that also lend themselves to successful projects.
Those skills include:
- Industry knowledge
- Project management skills
- Communications skills
- Creativity and vision
- Ability to handle pressure
- Ability to work within remote teams
Websites and online stores are not built and used in isolation. They need to work with current browsers, use modern design standards, efficient database schemas, integrate with other frameworks or platforms, offer secure data storage, integrate with apps and APIs and other features. All these things may not be covered specifically by technical expertise.
Project management skills
Project management skills help contribute to an efficient job with the minimum of delay, overrun, scope creep and interruption. While not mandatory, working with a freelancer familiar with Agile principles or PRINCE 2 can help them integrate within a larger project or more effectively manage smaller ones.
Working remotely or as a freelancer requires superior communication skills. As you cannot see them working or see what they are working on, the freelancer will need to effectively communicate progress, demonstrate their adherence to the schedule and show themselves meeting milestones. All comes down to effective communication.
Creativity and vision
Front end developers in particular need to be creative and be able to envision your aims. Even back end developers can require creative solutions to problems and be able to envision how one platform will communicate or integrate with another. This is another soft skill that can prove as important as PHP or CSS.
Ability to handle pressure
Even the best planned and executed projects can go wrong, exceed their budget or begin running late. As the sole person responsible for delivery, the freelancer will need to be able to work under pressure and act professionally when everything is against them. This isn’t something tangible but is only demonstrable. This is ideally a question asked of former clients during shortlisting.
Ability to work within remote teams
The ability to play nicely with others won’t always be a requirement but it’s a good skill for a freelancer to have. The ability will include the basics such as how to use Slack or Skype to being able to act professionally with people you don’t know and hold your own on fraught conference calls. Again, an intangible skill you may have to ask a former client to prove.
3. Set a budget
Now you have an idea of what you need, who is likely to be able to fulfil that need and whether you require a freelancer, agency or permanent developer, you now need to set a budget.
There is a well-used analogy that sums up web development nicely, “You can have quality or cheap, choose one.” The phrase may not use perfect English, but it gets the meaning across. When hiring staff or commissioning a project, you have to prioritise quality or price. You cannot have both.
Whenever the project in question will come into contact with customers or the general public, we would always suggest quality.
A website with broken functionality, slow performance or functions that don’t work properly will do more damage to your reputation than not having a website at all. If you’re going to build an online store with Magento it has to work flawlessly.
Setting a budget is key
Visit those Magento development companies, freelancer marketplaces and jobs boards. Look for similar projects to yours and see what the budgets are. The more research you do, the more idea you will have of what is a fair price to pay for quality work. Look at reviews for that project and make sure the price offered resulted in a satisfactory outcome.
Now balance what the market is offering against what you can afford. Do they match? Can you reduce the scope of the project to lower the price? Can you remove functionality until a later time when budget will allow? Can the project be postponed until you have the budget? Consider all these questions before listing your job.
4.Create a Project Brief
Preparing a project brief and writing a great job description is another key step in hiring a Magento developer (freelance or otherwise). The job description is the foundation upon which your entire relationship with that freelancer will be based. It will also set expectations and define the roles you will both play in the project.
Writing an inviting, detailed and friendly job description is likely to attract high-quality freelancers towards your project. That’s why you need to take special care of the job description.
Incidentally, if you're looking for a project brief example, our previous example of the ad to hire a Magento freelancer can easily qualify as a good project brief. Ideally, you would provide something which is a little bit more detailed that covers each of the points below.
Here are the essential components of an ideal job description:
- Goals: This is the central part of the whole project description. You need to provide clear information about what you need. Explain what features, end results or other outputs you expect. Make it clear about the target audience and the ideal user base. If the job involves any designing, make sure you are providing the branding and user experience guidelines used on your website.
- Budget: You need to set up a realistic budget for the project. If you are confused about the amount, go through a few job posts that are similar to yours, and check out how they set their budgets. Keep in mind that hiring good resources will not be cheap. It is always better to hire a good developer and get the work done correctly. Otherwise you will find a mediocre programmer, get it done half-heartedly and have to hire another freelancer to complete it. Trust us, we've tried going down the cheap route, it's more expensive in the end. (Recommended Reading: How to hire a WordPress developer - a horror story)
- Deadline: The project deadline(s) should be clearly outlined in your job description. If you are in a hurry with the project, make it clear in the description. Most freelance developers are used to working at their own pace. It is also likely that they will work on multiple projects simultaneously. For all these reasons, it is crucial to explain your expectations clearly.
- Payment schedule: You should choose the payment schedule depending on the nature of your project. If this is a small, one-time job, you can go with a set budget and one-time payment. If it is a large project, you can divide the budget into milestones and release payments as the project advances. Or you can set up an hourly rate with the freelancer.
- Communication: A smooth communication channel is the lifeline for any successful project. Therefore, you need to establish your preferred mode of communication for the project. The commonly used methods include email, Skype, Slack and other messaging platforms. With offshoring becoming the order of the day, if you and the developer are in different time zones, you should set up a common time that works for both of you.
- Deliverable(s): In most cases, the deliverables are highly dependent on the project type. Take some time to define the deliverables of the project and mention these in the project description. Also, make it clear that you will own the intellectual property of the deliverable or other outcomes of the project.
- Evaluation: Evaluating the success is another vital step for your ecommerce development project. While your project description includes your goals, it should also contain the success evaluation methods. The developer should clearly understand what they have to do to make the project successful.
- Further support: In some cases, you might need additional support from the developer even after the project is completed. In those cases, it is better to get support from the original freelancer. We would always advise you to include any support terms in the project description.
The points mentioned above will help you prepare an appropriate job description and attract a selection of great developers!
5. Choosing the right Freelancer
Professional sourcing sites like Toptal make it a lot easier to find qualified Magento developers according to your requirements. However, if you are not using a pre-screening service, you have to perform some additional steps to hire a Magento freelancer.
If your new, shiny and informative job description has attracted some interest, you’re going to need to know how to sort the good developers from the not-so good. That’s what these next sections are about.
Shortlisting freelance developers
You're going to have to perform a bit of a balancing act between the price you're willing to pay, the experience you require and the reviews and rating of the developer.
The first step is to create a shortlist of potential candidates. You need to choose candidates with the necessary skills and experience. The best way to know that is to check out their portfolio. Find out if they have completed any project that is similar to your requirements. Also, check their feedback on the job board or marketplaces.
Read reviews and be wary of consistently negative feedback. Remember that most marketplaces are biased towards leaving positive reviews so consider each bad review thoroughly and decide on whether this reflects on the professionalism of the candidate.
Review and interview
Once you have created the shortlist, the next step is to perform interviews of the shortlisted candidates. This is when you get to know more about the approach, attitude, personality, and work experience of the developers.
This might not take the form of a formal interview, a Skype call is typically sufficient to understand whether the person is right for the job or not.
But do make the call. You will notice a few nuances which you might miss, organisation, punctuality, communication. These are things which can be seen during the call. They may indicate the suitability, or otherwise, of the candidate that their online profiles and portfolio won’t.
If you start noticing quirks during the interview or throughout the hiring process (e.g. the developer is not very responsive to communication), imagine what it's going to be like (how frustrating!) during the actual project.
It is always recommended to be prepared for the interview beforehand.
Go through your requirements, project description and decide which questions you want to ask. The main goal is to ensure that the developer meets your requirements, is going to be easy to work with and be able to deliver on their promises.
After you have conducted the interviews, the next step is to get these developers to do a trial project. Hopefully you will have mentioned a paid trial in your job description. Mentioned it again during the interview to let the developers know that the test job is paid and it is their path to landing the project.
At the end of the test job, you will have a clear idea about which Magento developer you want to go with.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to hire a Magento developer?
To hire a Magento developer expect to pay from roughly $60/hour, or $2000 per week for a full-time developer on vetted marketplaces such as Toptal. You could find cheaper prices on non-vetted marketplaces such as Fiverr or Upwork.
How to hire a Magento developer?
The easiest and safest way to hire a Magento developer is to go through a vetting company such as some of the ones that we have listed in this article. If you do not go through such a company, you'll need to perform your own vetting by giving them a small scale project and monitoring their performance, results, and output on that test project.
Where to hire a Magento developer?
You can hire a Magento developer from the following places in this order: Toptal, Fiverr Pro, Upwork. Toptal and Fiverr Pro are market places that vet their developers, while on Upwork you'll need to perform your own research, interviews and vetting.
Final Words: How to Hire a Magento developer
Hiring a professional, competent Magento freelancer sounds challenging. It becomes trickier when you have to go through the filtering and screening process by yourself.
That’s why we will always strongly recommend reliable screening sites like Toptal for hiring developers. They will handle all the filtering process and ensure that the candidate meets your requirements. Let them do what they do best, which is finding out the best talents, and save you the hassle.
So, have you ever worked with a freelance Magento developer? If so, how did you hire the programmer? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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