How to hire an app developer - one of the first questions once you decide to create an app. Whether you are launching your startup or would like to digitize your current company, you will definitely need to hire an app developer to accomplish your business goals.

This question seems easier if you know what to do. step by step.

Our article aims to save you time by figuring out how to hire an app developer you will enjoy working with and providing tips that cover the following information:

  • Options to choose from when hiring an app developer
  • Benefits of hiring a dedicated app development team
  • Tips and procedure which help to hire an app developer
  • Questions to ask in order to detect the perfect candidate
  • Common mistakes during the process of hiring app developers
  • A solid checklist that can be used to hire an app developer

Hire an App Developer: 5 Options to Choose From

There are different options for hiring your perfect candidate. Initially, you can start looking for an app developer via personal recommendations and connections. As well, you can search for them on social networks like LinkedIn, Indeed, or even Reddit. You may also make good use of online directories that list app developers like Clutch, GoodFirms, and AppFutura.

Let’s now outline the 5 options you may choose from, with their pros and cons, when hiring app developers.

1. Hiring an in-house team
The first option is to hire an app developer internally. Based on your project, you may find that one developer is not enough. An app development team usually consists of 5-7 professionals like the Quality Assurance Engineer, Project Manager, iOS and/or Android mobile app developers, backend (server-side) developer, and the UX/UI Designer to cover all areas needed to develop a great application.

The benefits are that you can completely control the app development process and have close daily communication and cooperation. On the contrary, this is the most expensive and time-consuming variant. Consider additional expenses for office space, equipment, and taxes, as well as the organization of HR procedures, and the development process itself.

2. Hiring a local boutique team
Another option, which in fact saves you a considerable amount of time for the organizational process, is to hire app developers from a local boutique company. This option costs slightly less, but still requires large investments. The average rate to hire an app developer in the US ranges from $100-$150 per hour. Double this sum by the number of app specialists, and the final bill could total around $100,000+ per a small app project.

3. Hiring an app developer on a freelance website
Another alternative to pick from when you decide to hire an app developer is via different online platforms and sites like Upwork, Freelancer.com, Fiverr, etc. Usually, these resources represent the cheapest app development service, which is the single benefit of this category.

It is recommended that you hire an app developer from a freelance platform only for simple or short-term tasks. The biggest issue is the huge communication gap between the freelance app developer and the client. As well, all the management and the entire monitoring process lies on the client’s shoulders.

A general recommendation is to always check the reviews, tech tests, and completed projects. Though, be aware, many can show a non-existent portfolio and tests do not always show the bigger picture of the developer’s capabilities.

If you plan to hire an app developer from a freelance website, remember that there are sometimes ghost developers who hide behind low prices. There are potential risks with uncertainty and security, as these developers may sometimes suddenly disappear without any explanation.

Please note the following weak points when hiring an app developer this way:

  • Freelancers are not likely to provide a turnkey app solution, as they concentrate mostly on technically performing tasks
  • Freelancers do not follow app development methodologies or use project management tools
  • Freelancers may not keep track of your app project deadlines
  • Freelancers should be trustworthy to ensure that they do not use your app’s code, distribute materials, or perform other inappropriate actions

Lastly, if you are dissatisfied with the end result, you will need to start the process all over and hire an app developer again. In most cases, the code may lack sufficient quality to be used a second time. What might initially seem cheap, may turn out to be rather resource-intensive.

4. Check up on body shop companies
Along with the growth of the global IT market, lots of shady development firms have appeared. These teams typically provide low-priced app development services.

How do they manage to do this? The majority of these companies underpay their employees and use amateur or recent graduates as cheap app developers for their coding services. Thus, do not be surprised if your project ends up having deplorable code quality and performance. Think twice before hiring app developers from body shop firms. This article explains how you can identify a great vendor to whom you can outsource your app development.

5. Services of dedicated mobile app development agencies
Last but not least, you can turn to dedicated mobile app development teams. Such firms provide full-fledged service starting from app project concept finalization to the app release and further support & maintenance.

At the same time, depending on the region, these teams can have a very good correlation between the price and quality. For instance, Eastern Europe is well-known for its highly capable mobile app developers. An hourly rate to hire an app developer, let's say in Ukraine, is approximately $30-$50 per hour, meaning that the average price per app project will start at about $50,000+.

Moreover, these firms usually have a long-running history, 10 years of app development outsourcing experience with developers that are in-house employees. Due to harsh competition, they value their reputation, brand, and clients.

MLSDev is a dedicated web and mobile app agency that has been providing software development services since 2009. We definitely know how to reach our client’s goals and deliver high-quality quality products to their end-users.

As an example, check out our cooperation with McDonald's where we have implemented a loyalty application for the customers of the brand in the Baltic region.

McDonald’s Baltics: Loyalty App
McDonald’s Baltics: Loyalty App

Benefits of Hiring App Developers as a Dedicated Team

Reasons Behind Hiring a Dedicated App Development Team
Reasons Behind Hiring a Dedicated App Development Team

In this section, we provide a bigger picture in terms of the benefits received when hiring app developers in the form of dedicated service. The advantages include:

  • Allocation of app developers with necessary tech capabilities

  • Allocation of tech specialists with expertise in a particular field
  • Great quality-cost ratio
  • Time savings
  • Business support
  • Understanding user experience
  • Risk management
  • Project timeline management
  • Post-launch app support and maintenance
  • Fair app development estimate
  • Financial and legal support
  • Elimination of the hiring process & taxes on the client side

Are you searching for professional and capable app developers to hire?

Reach out to our team and we will provide you with a free consultation and explain to you all ins and outs of the software development procedure. We will assist you in finding the necessary specialists based on your criteria as well as calculate the cost of their work.

Get your consultation for free

To expand, first, the company validates and estimates all the tasks and plans the app development process. This helps to assemble a team consisting of just the right app development specialists, with the necessary skills and seniority levels. As a result, this results in a high-quality product at a fair price.

These dedicated agencies handle the app development process completely by utilizing project management tools and software development frameworks. Services such as Business Analysis and UX/UI Design are also involved. With these inputs from market research as well as interactive and intuitive design allows for useful and profitable apps to be built.

The team keeps the project’s security as a priority. The general practice is to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) before you provide insights about your app idea. In the end, the app materials such as concept, design, and code, are your property.

Bottom line: the company is working on your project’s success and looking toward long-term commitment.

Hire App Developers Wisely: Key Criteria

Let's now discuss how you can hire an app developer in a reasonable way. Before we proceed with a step-by-step process, it is important to clarify a few keystones. Primarily, you should define your project’s requirements and understand the app development process, at least superficially. These factors may help you to preliminarily allocate a realistic budget to implement your app concept.

Luckily, there are lots of available materials. The next article gives valuable insights into the app development process and costs: How Much Does it Cost to Make an App.

Back to the focus on the key criteria when hiring an app developer; the following are the sections of the information you need to collect and analyze while screening app vendors.

1. Information about the company

  • Check out the company's employees. Analyze the dedicated team’s representation on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) or the team’s page on a website to learn whether or not the staff is real and works in-house. It is possible that the team may have a local representative whom you can also address.

  • Review the tech stack, specialization, provided services, and experience in industries. The majority of professional app developers have a technical specialization. Therefore, if you are looking to hire a developer with specific skills (e.g. blockchain), take this into consideration.

  • Look at a portfolio, successful case studies, awards, and years in existence. These and other similar details can be checked on the company’s website.

Once you get a general overview of the dedicated software development team, the next step is to start contacting and arranging the interview process to hire an app developer.

2. Information about the team

  • Check out the team’s size and structure. Examine how many app developers the company has, their experience, and seniority levels (e.g. iOS and Android app developers, backend developers, etc.)

  • Arrange the interview process. In most cases, your initial contact point with a company is a sales manager. You can ask to schedule interviews with app development candidates; preliminarily, you can also request their CVs and code samples.

  • Evaluate the app developers. You may apply the following criteria: sufficient level of English, creative input to your app idea, critical thinking, and experience in your industry.

Interested in what questions you should ask during the interviews to hire an app developer who will be the perfect candidate? Continue reading to find out.

3. Information about customers

  • Check the testimonials and references. Research if the team has ever worked with a client from your location, ask for some contacts, and check the number of repeat deals.

  • What about big brands? Inquire about the top clients, their projects, and results. Give credit to those that have worked with well-known brands.

4. Information about the communication process

  • Level of English. Professional teams have management staff that are fluent in English. As for the developers, you will need to check their comprehension and expression of ideas regarding your project concept.

  • Communication tools. Get information about how the communication process is arranged inside the company, within a dedicated app development team, and with clients for timely updates. Tools for video conferences, like Slack or Skype, are quite widespread.

  • Time differences and cultural aspects. During the screening process, think about how convenient or not it would be for you to work with a team in a different timezone. As well, take into account the different cultural aspects, the way team presents information, and their style of communication.

5. Information about SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)

  • Gather information about project development process. Examine methodologies, frameworks and approaches applied (e.g. Scrum, Kanban), development and design guidelines (for iOS, Android apps), and allocation of a Project Manager. Check the communication and feedback procedures during all app development stages.

  • Troubleshooting and bug fixing services. Check how quickly the team is able to react to potential issues and perform quality assurance.

  • Project support and maintenance. With the app release, the main work has only just begun. As you are interested in evolving the project, get a complete picture of the app’s scalability and ongoing support process.

To get a general idea, you may check the information and general practices of providing ongoing support services at our website.

6. Information about fees and agreements

  • Rates and payment process. Discuss the hourly rates required to hire app developers, how clients are billed for services, and the flexibility of the payment process. The fairest payment structure is Time & Material; where a client is invoiced based on actual hours spent on a project with preliminary good-faith project estimates.

  • Agreements. Respectable companies readily sign the NDA agreement with you to keep app information confidential. Moreover, you can check the draft of the contract upfront to study the details inside.

The next illustration summarizes all the above-mentioned points to consider when hiring an app developer.

List of Criteria to Choose App Developers
List of Criteria to Choose App Developers

How to Hire an App Developer: Tips & Questions

If you plan to hire an app developer or a team of developers with vast experience, then check out the following aspects during the interview:

  • seniority level and years in the profession
  • technical proficiency and specialization (e.g. iOS developer)
  • number of successfully completed app projects
  • number of acquired achievements, awards, technical certifications
  • participation in specialized conferences, hackathons, meetups
  • deliverables provided (e.g. code sample)
  • experience working under pressure and with tough deadlines
  • interpersonal and communication skills

  • contribution to your project concept during the interview

Also, a general recommendation is to try to receive personal characteristics from colleagues or other people before hiring an app developer. Moreover, it is best to choose a professional with experience in developing an application similar to your concept or industry.

Hire an App Developer for iOS

iOS App Developer Technical Capabilities
iOS App Developer Technical Capabilities

If you have defined that you need to target the Apple mobile market, then you definitely need to hire an app developer specialized in iOS. A good iOS developer should possess tech capabilities and perform tasks like:

  • Solid knowledge of iOS programming languages (Swift, Objective-C)
  • Ability to develop an app for different devices: smartphones, tablets, etc.
  • Work with most frequently used APIs and open-source libraries
  • Knowledge of IDE, REST/JSON/XML standards; MVP, MVVM architecture patterns
  • Familiarity with iOS app publishing to Apple Store
  • Good testing and debugging skills
  • Application of KISS and SOLID principles in software engineering
  • Business and user experience knowledge is a plus

Capable iOS developers are in demand these days and it can be challenging to find a good one. As mentioned, a dedicated development team carefully selects programmers to fit your project and, at the same time, takes care of the development plan and growth of their developers.

Alternatively, you can also study the presence of iOS developers on tech communities like:

  • iPhoneDevSDK hosts
  • MacRumors iOS programming forum
  • Cocos2d for iPhone
  • Stack Overflow (search with tag- iOS)
  • iOS Developer Forums

During the interview process, you can check the following points:

  • Study their shared code contributions on GitHub
  • Ask for libraries, third-party frameworks, and other components that should be used to build your project
  • Inquire about how the developer sees the project’s implementation and its further evolution

Hire an App Developer for Android

Android App Developer Technical Capabilities
Android App Developer Technical Capabilities

If you are targeting Android mobile users, then you need to hire an app developer specialized in this platform. Great Android app developers are highly skilled in the following aspects:

  • Have a practical knowledge in Android programming languages (Kotlin, Java)
  • Operate in open-source ecosystems and libraries
  • Knowledge of Android NDK and architectural patterns - MVP, MVVM
  • Manage and work with Android version updates and their APIs
  • Application of KISS and SOLID principles in software engineering
  • Understand the app publishing on the Google Play
  • Good testing and debugging skills

Similar to iOS, you may check the following forums once you decide to hire an Android app developer:

  • Google developer groups
  • Android Development Community
  • Android Forums
  • AndroidPit

Questions to Ask When Hiring an App Developer

Continuing our guide on how to hire an app developer you will enjoy working with, here is a list of the most essential questions. You may use these when hiring an app developer on a freelance platform or during the screening process inside a dedicated software development agency.

Company-related questions

  1. Where is your company located? Do you have a local representative?
  2. What is your tech stack and specialization?
  3. For which operating systems are you able to build apps?
  4. In what industries do you have the most experience?
  5. Where can I check your completed app projects? Can you provide me with links to app stores?

Team-related questions

  1. How many in-house employees do you have?
  2. What is your company structure?
  3. Do you have enough iOS/Android developers to complete my project?
  4. Do your app developers have specific awards or accomplishments? What are they?
  5. How do you allocate suitable app developers for projects?

  6. Are a designer, project manager, and business analyst part of the team?
  7. What are your design and user experience capabilities?

Client-related questions

  1. Who are your key clients?
  2. Can you give a list of current and past clients?
  3. How did you add value to their project concepts?
  4. Can you relate to the clients from a similar business sphere?
  5. What level of involvement do you require from your clients?

Communication-related questions

  1. What level of English do you and your team have? Can app developers speak fluently?
  2. Is (particular time) suitable for our communication?
  3. How will you communicate during the development process?
  4. How will you keep me updated about progress and issues?
  5. What communication tools do you use?

App development-related questions

  1. What app development methodologies and frameworks are applied by the company?
  2. Which programming standards and guidelines do you follow?
  3. What are your design principles; how do you create an app design?
  4. How do you see the monetization of my app concept?
  5. What would you advise regarding my app concept monetization?
  6. What core functionality would you extract in my project?
  7. What additional features do you recommend that I include?
  8. What complex app functionality have you implemented already?
  9. How do you conduct app testing?
  10. How do you react to and fix issues on the project?
  11. How will you manage the project’s security?
  12. Do you help with app submission to the app store?
  13. How do you provide post-launch support?

Agreements-related questions

  1. Who owns the project materials (code, design, etc.)?
  2. Can we sign the NDA before we proceed with project details?
  3. What are your payment terms and processes?
  4. Can I check the draft of the agreement beforehand?

Common Mistakes When Hiring an App Developer

There are many aspects that may negatively affect the final app’s success. In short, it all starts with an incorrect or misused app idea, followed by poor-quality app implementation or zero budget spent on marketing. Luckily, you can prevent one global mistake, which is to hire an app developer that doesn’t add value to your project.

Our team worked out a detailed step-by-step guide on How to Make Your App Successful. Check out information ranging from choosing a great new app idea to free app promotion tips inside.

Look at the most common pitfalls when hiring an app developer and learn how to avoid them:

  • Decision to proceed with the cheapest option

Quality does not go along with a cheap price tag. Experienced and capable app developers definitely value their work and cannot charge only $5 hour. Besides, body shops or ghost developers may hide behind low-priced app development services.

  • Taking only price into consideration when hiring app developers

This means that you should not proceed with the most expensive option like a boutique development firm either. An expensive developer does not guarantee the implementation of a classy app product.

  • Lack of experience and no understanding of your business

It is better to hire an app developer who has worked on a similar app concept and is aware of your business niche. This helps to align business aspects and ensure a clear understanding of the technical requirements within a product.

  • Apps are not completed and delivered to the app store

Double check if the app developers you want to hire actually worked on the applications that are published in app marketplaces. You can always download and test these apps.

  • Start coding without proper project evaluation

Before any app development starts, it is crucial to complete a discovery phase. App developers should understand the full picture of the project based on the finalized concept, market analysis, and functional specifications. Otherwise, the coding portion can be thrown in the trash and the money will have been spent in vain.

  • Project budget and timeline are not established

Once you have discussed the project concept, defined the functionality, and covered all the important project details, ask for an estimate before hiring an app developer. Professional teams deliver an estimate and the next development steps in the form of a project proposal. Please note that good-faith estimates take time to make.

  • Not taking into consideration the post-launch app phase

Planning in a long-term perspective is also vital. Think ahead and understand how the app developer can help you with further project scalability, future product versions, maintenance, bug fixes, and troubleshooting.

How to Choose an App Developer: Summary

So, how do you hire an app developer? To sum things up, here is a checklist to help you form an opinion about potential candidates:

  • Understand your app project’s needs, requirements, and priorities
  • Check out the portfolio and other related information about the app developer
  • Collect references and feedback from top clients
  • Evaluate the team and each separate developer's input to your project idea
  • Involve app developers during project discussions

  • Assess the whole SDLC, including support & maintenance stages
  • Determine security matters during the app project development
  • Analyze the preliminary developer’s proposal with the project budget and timeline
  • Agree upon the pricing terms and agreements
  • Find a reliable partner interested in a long-term commitment

There is no issue in finding an app developer these days, but it can be difficult to select an app development vendor to suit your individual business purposes.

Hiring a dedicated software development team provides far more advantages compared with hiring an app developer on a freelance platform. The latter may look like the cheaper price is worth it, but a fully covered service with business analysis, project management, design, and ongoing support outweighs the low cost. Besides, there are many experienced app development teams working in outsourcing with an affordable price-quality ratio.

A dedicated mobile app development agency is ready to work on your app concept from its successful launch and onto its further growth.

Feel free to contact MLSDev

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the average app developers' hourly rate in the US?
If you consider hiring an app developer in the USA or Europe, the average rate for the service may range from $70 to $150 per hour. This results in the total minimum cost to build a simple application of around $100,000+.
How can you save up to 60% of your budget without loosing in software development quality?
The option is to turn to the dedicated mobile app development teams that provide full-fledged service from the app concept to its release and further support & maintenance. Depending on the region, these teams can have a great price-quality correlation. For instance, Eastern Europe is well-known for its highly capable mobile app developers with rates of $30-$50 per hour, meaning that the average price to complete an app will start at about $50,000+.
What benefits will I get from hiring app developers from the trusted app development company?
Once you hire app developers in the form of dedicated service you will get an advantage of saved time, project and risks management, business and legal support. This firm will allocate app developers with necessary tech capabilities as well as tech specialists who are experts in a particular field. Besides, if you hire such a team in Ukraine, for instance, you’ll receive a great price-quality ratio.
How to choose a proper mobile app developer?
To hire a proper app developer for your project it is necessary to evaluate aspects like tech capabilities and expertise, years in a profession, level of English, communication skills, and so on. If considering to outstaff a developer from the IT firm, you should also study the company’s website and online presence, portfolio, team size and structure, ask for references as well as software development lifecycle and development practices and tools used.