Best Practices

How to Hire an App Developer for Your Business

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How to find an app developer? That is the question entrepreneurs face nowadays. Apps are dominating the digital industry, which means that tapping into this market is essential. Gone is the era of cumbersome software packages shipped in bulky CD-ROMS. In this age of screens and memes, every customer has a smartphone, which means that they can carry your business in their pockets.

If you don’t have an app already, then you’re losing valuable profits.

So, why do you need to hire an app developer?

It’s not necessary to hire an app developer. Some entrepreneurs with programming knowledge can create an app themselves, and this is made more comfortable with a vast array of free or paid development tools.

The problem is that most business owners either don’t have a computer background or they are unclear about what exactly they need to build the right app. Sometimes, the sheer magnitude of the project requires more than one person for the job, which means that even experts have to hire a team eventually.

There are three ways that you can go about when hiring an app developer:

Hiring in-house

This is commonly the traditional route that medium to large businesses engage in. If there is already an existing team, the gaps in labor can be filled by conducting a job interview, picking the right person for the job, and integrating him into the workplace with his co-workers. It’s the best option quality-wise but can be very costly.

hire app developer

Hiring a freelancer

This method is gaining popularity today. With the onset of freelancing websites, any business owner can hire a specialist online. A significant advantage of this option is the contractual nature of the agreement, which means that the owner doesn’t have to pay for vacation days, social security, and other benefits. Being cheap, however, is also a downfall, since many freelancers out there are simply underqualified for big jobs. Therefore, only entrepreneurs with pet projects that have a budget of less than $10,000 should go for this route.

hire app developer

Hiring an outsourcing team 

This piece together the best of both worlds. The business owner hires app developers team who are employed only on a contractual basis. It’s still less expensive than getting an in-house team, and because of the group setting, the product is usually better compared to hiring a single freelancer. Furthermore, hiring an outsourcing company is completely scalable, which means that you can expand or diminish the size of the team to fit the exact needs of the project, thereby saving resources in the long run. It’s the most efficient solution for entrepreneurs who want to keep operation costs down and have a strict timeline. 

Check out how to choose in-house or outsourced development.

Hire app developer

 In which cases should you go with the outsourcing team?

It depends. There are a few reasons why hiring an outsourcing team is the right way to go:

Budget constraints

Unless you’re running a Fortune 500 business with deep pockets, you may not be able to afford to have your dedicated departments for app creation. Apple reportedly has approximately 12,000 engineers working solely for them. Maintaining a private workforce like this is beyond the reach of 99% of entrepreneurs. Hiring an outsourcing team is, therefore, the most practical solution.

app development

Lack of available talent 

Specialists are challenging to come by. Even if you have your workforce, there may not be anyone in your team who has the necessary skill to create a particular feature that you want. Most outsourcing companies have a large talent pool for you to choose from, so contracting the job is often easier than having to train a member of your own company.

Launch deadlines

The problem with hiring a solo freelancer as compared to an outsourcing agency is that freelancers often work on multiple projects at a time and can overestimate their capabilities. Missed deadlines is, therefore, a common occurrence. On the other hand, outsourcing companies have systems in place that prevent slacking off. The larger workforce also allows them to keep things on time and schedule.

Lack of clarity 

Mobile app creation involves so many minutiae that it is simply beyond the capabilities of an entrepreneur to micromanage. Business owners should focus on the big picture rather than having to spend all their time nitpicking the details of an app. By simply giving an outsourcing agency your overall goal, you can then let them handle the implementation, freeing up your calendar for you to run the more important aspects of your business.

Overall, outsourcing your work to a remote team can be both cost-effective while still maintaining the necessary quality to make the app stand out for clients. While it may not be as cheap as hiring a solo freelancer, the work will progress much faster. If you pick an agency that knows what it’s doing, then they will often come up with an elegant app that can rival the products of even the most dedicated in-house designers.

Where to find an app developer

App developers come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention skill level and expertise. Just because someone’s resume looks good on paper, doesn’t mean that he’s the right person for the job. 

Ask a friend or colleague for references

Experience is the best teacher, so asking friends and colleagues for any referrals is the best way to find an excellent app developer quickly. With this method, you can save a significant amount of time from having to go through hundreds if not thousands of substandard worker profiles.

Research the hiring platform 

Quickly research through online platforms that allow you to hire app developers:

- Freelance platform Upwork

- Design communities Dribbble and Behance

Research the hiring platform

- B2B platforms like Clutch and Goodfirms

B2B platforms like Clutch and Goodfirms

No matter what you choose, consider the hiring platform carefully. Be especially wary of scam websites, and never put in a large down payment unless there’s an escrow or refund process involved.  

Step by step process of finding app developer

Examine the developer’s portfolio

Don’t take chances with app developers who are still fresh from college. Of course, there are some rare instances wherein newbies might prove to be extremely skilled, but they are not the norm. Take a look at the developer’s past work experience and portfolio to see how well they performed on other projects. You can get a lot from simply browsing through their website or Clutch profile.

dollar shave club case study

Check testimonials

The experience of previous clients will be invaluable in choosing an app developer provided that their testimonials are legitimate. It’s easy to get fake reviews, so while testimonials may be necessary, they should be considered along with other factors in this list.

Discover their development approach 

Different teams have different methods of approach. Whether or not you’re familiar with computer terminology, it’s still crucial for you to get the rundown on how the developer will manage the project. This will give you a reasonably accurate overview of how developers will shape the processes of product development.

Discover Technologies what they use

Just like every doctor has his specialty, every app developer has his own set of skills. Is your app web-based or not? What programming language do you need? Do you want a fancy graphical user interface or a basic one? The answers to these questions will narrow down the search of applicants. Remember: you don’t just want to hire a good app developer, but one that knows the particular technologies for your project.

Discover Technology stack

Look into the culture of the company 

Different app developers have different working atmospheres. Therefore, even if a particular company has superb talent, their culture might not be the right fit for you. To find a good match, you have to figure out your values, ethics, expectations, goals, and personality, then make sure that the developers that you are hiring are on board with them.

Talk with the team

Even when hiring remotely, you still have to interview team members. Testimonials and portfolio cases won’t be worth anything if the app developer is hard to deal with on a personal level. Be aware of potential difficulties or character flaws, as this might cause unexpected arguments down the road.

Keep communications open 

The problem with freelancers and contractual employees is that they work remotely, which means that email and calls are often the only means of contacting them. This difficulty is further compounded if they live in different time zones. Before hiring an app developer, make sure that these logistics do not hamper communication. Lastly, always make sure that communication is transparent! Agencies should be upfront with their capabilities and limitations, as well as their payment terms. Never work with anyone who seems to be hiding something.


Mobile apps form crucial support for the backbone of your business. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel—by hiring an app developer, you can simply tell them what you need and wait until they come up with the finished product. Since you’ll be working on a budget, getting it right the first time is necessary, and by using the guidelines above, you should be on your way towards a solid partnership with a decent app developing team.

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