Freelance App Developers: A Quick-to-Hire Guide

July 5, 2019

Countless universities now offer a direction in app development, endless tutorials are freely available online, and there is no shortage of premium learning platforms to gain a mastery of the various languages needed to create an app (let alone the many programs that allow you to do so without the need to even learn a language).

As a business owner your time is best used to make business decisions. Spending hundreds (or thousands) of hours learning the basics of app development means you’re missing on those vital moments when others need you to lead.

The solution is to seek out those skilled individuals in app development.

Hiring freelance app developers is easier than ever thanks to social media, personal portfolio sites, freelance marketplaces, and the like. This guide will help you find those individuals.

Before You Begin

Before you take the plunge into hiring developers to create apps it’s best that you have aligned your ideas and goals to the business (and kept them within reason toward your business plan, ideologies, dreams, and budget).

Ask yourself these important questions:

  • Does your business actually need an app (or are you simply going along with the flow)?
  • What problem does the app solve for the user?
  • How will this app engage and retain the user?
  • What is the competition doing (and how can I make it better)?
  • How much am I willing to spend (time & money) on app development?
  • What is the overall purpose of the app (sales, awareness, engagement, etc)?

Consider the difference in responsive versus app development since each create wonderful opportunities to reach your audience but will require a different approach.

Once you’re able to begin answering these questions (along with taking in input and feedback from your peers and employees) you will have an understanding of what to expect (and what’s needed) when you take upon this endeavor of developing an app for your business.

Sourcing the App Developers

It’s time to begin sourcing the ideal freelance app developers now that you’re dead-set on developing an app for your business. There are dozens of fantastic platforms for finding the right freelance individual if you choose to dig through the monster lists but to make matters an ease – let’s stick to a few that should not only help educate what to look for when seeking these individuals but could be the avenue for finding the right fit while you’re doing your research.

As for finding the right individuals – your best bet is through a combination of the following:

  • Social platforms (Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and LinkedIn (especially))
  • Personal portfolios (or found on reputable third-party web locations)
  • Freelance marketplaces and/or job listing boards
  • Referrals (or word-of-mouth)

Each of these will bring about a unique type of individual depending on the source.

Social platforms allow you to easily interact with a potential candidate and hear what their followers have to say; this helps greatly with peer validation which may not be as swayed as a testimonial that one may gain from a previous client.

Personal portfolios help you to understand existing (and current) work that an individual has undertaken. Since you can dig at your own pace you can really get to know the person through their work and then make a logical decision (doubly so if they happen to list rates).

Freelance marketplaces/listings are always a fantastic place to find candidates. Here you can place or browse through listings for qualified individuals, see their performance, read their reviews, verify their rates, and the like. For those just starting app development it would be wise to consider these avenues since you’ll be able to find an equal balance of skill and those that fit your budget.

Referrals are most likely your best bet since they come from those you trust. If you know they have done an excellent job for someone within your business network you could imagine they will do the same for your project so what’s not to love?

Check out the following links for more information on hiring freelancers (besides what’s covered in terms of where you are likely to find them):

Now that you’ve found the platforms for your freelancer and have started to source the right candidates it’s time to consider…

Team Integration & Beyond

You may hire a single individual to take on the task of app development. You could find yourself working with an entire team. Whatever the case may be there are challenges for any number of new freelance individuals you take on to do the task.

  • Team communication
  • Time management
  • Scaling
  • Security

Working with a sole individual will be the easiest since it’s just you and the other focused on a single goal but you’ll need to handle the same tasks as you would as working with a team so knowing the following is important no matter the size of the development:

Communication – It’s imperative that there are always open channels of communication throughout the app development process. Every detail of its development should be documented (not only to make the next easier but in the event the plan begins to fall apart and needs to be handed over to someone new). Communication channels such as instant messenger, internal social media networks, team management tools, or simple phone calls will need to be done to ensure your dev is meeting their mark.

Timing – You don’t want project creep because that’s wasted money and missed opportunities. The business owner needs to be fine with handing over the initial idea to the trained profession. The professional needs to be able to work on the project in a timely fashion. At no point should the individuals try to tack on additional features/elements before the core product has been created otherwise it will become a never-ending hell. Manage the time, set benchmarks to keep things tracked, and then decided what could be added only after the completion.

Scaling – Where will the app go in the next months, year, or beyond? What happens if it becomes popular and suddenly needs to support quadruple the users? Are there systems in place to accommodate for the scaling? Know the limitations and skills of your developer. Know when it’s right to hand the project to someone more capable. Scaling is important to reach critical mass and it would be silly to let it burn out because you haven’t the right person (or team) to take on the challenge.

Security – Is your code safe? Will the developer become a competitor? Do you have a system and policy in place to continually update bugs and security flaws (if they arise) post-release? Security is essential to keeping your app on the marketplace and in good light with the users so make sure that you’re working with someone that has the longevity to be there, make those updates, and be proactive with its development well beyond the point of release.

Obviously there is more to it than that as far as team integration and growth goes but a solid foundation in these main areas will allow you to move along with stability and learn as you go.


You will find app developers from all walks of life which will present one form of a challenge but if you understand what you need and whom of those that can accomplish those goals then you will be able to use these resources to your advantage and see your app come to fruition.

How do you go about sourcing freelance app developers?

Image by StartupStockPhotos

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