Table of content
- When to look for an app developer
- Who to look for hiring an app developer?
- How to select the right app developer?
- Where to look for web and mobile app developers?
- It’s just the beginning of an app adventure…
Where to Find App Developers for Your Project? A Guide Through Reliable Sources
According to Statista, mobile apps are the future. By 2025 mobile app revenue is predicted to reach 613 billion USD, which means the revenue will increase by 30% since 2022.
That means there’s still room on the market for new apps, but to create one, you need to choose the right contractor. This article won’t be focused on how to do that; you can check Mike’s Popov guide on that point. I’ll focus on where to find potential app developers and how to hire them.
When to look for an app developer
We have some clients that came to us with nothing but an idea, but in most cases, people have quite a clear view of their app when contacting a development partner like us. It has dark and bright sides.
It’s good that they know what they want to build before they find a good app developer: it’s easier to estimate the time needed to build the app. However, in many cases, there are a lot of assumptions in such requirements, including the target group’s needs or preferences.
I suggest primary focus on preparing a go-to-market strategy to investigate the target audience (Katarzyna, our Marketing Lead, describes how to do that; It’s good to start with at least some parts of it) and software requirements template for project details.
If you start with those, you maximise your chances for success. According to Forbes, 42% of startups fail because of improperly defined market needs, so you must be “sure it’s the right product for the right market”.
So, when to start looking for a developer? When having a clear view of the app or simply an idea?
If you have an experience in market research or marketing, or you have a business analyst on board, you can try to do that with the in-house team. However, if you don’t know what to start with, it might be better to entrust that analysis to professionals.
Who to look for hiring an app developer?
Freelance app developers
Hiring a single freelance app developer is a good idea for small and simple projects when you don’t need sophisticated project management. If you are to build a whole app from scratch, you probably need to hire a few freelancers, a designer and a QA tester.
Although you save some money on equipment (you don’t need to provide any), you may spend much on project management or hiring a project manager. You also need to invest in the hiring process. A team that consists of freelancers is fragmented. Those people are not used to working together, so they probably need some time (and so your money) to become a team.
Although you have access to a wide talent pool from all around the world, you don’t know how trustworthy and reliable they are. You cannot be sure they won’t leave the project after some time.
- good for small projects or specific tasks
- less expensive than an in-house team
- minimum of paperwork: you can hire the best experts through a freelance website
- not suitable for large and complicated projects
- people who do not work with each other might miscommunicate
- you don’t have much control over the project
- you need to manage the project or hire another specialist
- freelancers may resign from cooperation at any time
Thanks to an in-house team, you control the project (or projects), but it’s expensive. You must invest in the hiring process and provide them with equipment and software, pay salaries and taxes and guarantee all law-based privileges. It’s also important to note that once the project is finished you end up with an employee without “something” to work on. For the maintenance and hands-on fixes, you may still need 1 developer – but what with the rest? Will you still need a designer and a full-time tester once the project was deployed?
If your employees work from the office, they gain benefits from face-to-face communication and team bonding so they can work as one body.
Nowadays, when a remote job is normal, you can hire app developers from all around the world. That requires a good team leading to increase engagement but allows you to employ the most valuable developers. If you decide to hire a remote team from other regions, you can decrease costs but risk language or cultural barriers.
- control over the project
- smooth communication (in case of stationary work)
- the same communication problems as in the case of freelancers and development companies (in case of remote teams)
- more expensive than other solutions
- fragmented and unfamiliar team
- high engagement in hiring every single person
Outsourcing companies and Digital Project Agencies
When hiring an app developer, in most cases, you can choose the model of cooperation. If you need to manage the team, you can choose a dedicated team model. That gives you the control you need but decreases the costs associated with hiring an in-house development team.
As the company already has a well-established team that works with each other on multiple projects, you hire a well-oiled software development machine. That means they won’t lose time getting to know each other; they already have some teamwork experience.
They’ve also done many projects, so they know how to manage them effectively. You can also gain an advantage from their experience in development to make your app even better than planned.
You don’t need to rent an office, guarantee privileges (like paid leave or sick leave) or educate them – it’s up to your development partner. You simply pay for what is done or how much time the team spends on your project (depending on the billing model).
You can choose a company from all over the world, so you can pick the best one. There are some pros and cons of every solution, which you can read about in the article on onshore, nearshore and offshore outsourcing.
An experienced software development company will handle all potential issues like language barriers or time zones.
- the most cost-effective solution
- experience in project management
- a team that got used to working with each other
- you don’t need to invest in the team, and it’s up to your development partner
- you can choose the best company from all over the world
- you remain overall control over the project but don’t need to manage
- you can count on a better outcome than expected
- possible communication issues or cultural barriers
- you can choose the wrong partner
How to select the right app developer?
Finding a good outsourcing company or a freelancer to do software development for you may be very tiresome and is definitely not an easy thing to do when you have no idea how to get down to it.
The whole process of choosing a single candidate often takes up to a few weeks/months of work, so it is highly important that it is done right.
As a big shortcut, you should start with creating a so-called long list of candidates, which later on narrows to a shortlist by analyzing a few more factors. Getting there, you’re truly close to picking the right candidate for you.
There are a few stages when choosing an app developer. I describe those below briefly, but I suggest you check our 16 tips on choosing an app developer here.
Let’s have a look at the funnel model of finding the best software development company.
Good initial research is vital for creating a long list of software development outsourcing companies. It usually consists of about 10 to 15 positions – top software teams that match your general requirements and expectations. These may include tech stack, web/mobile specialization, geographical location, hourly rate, the size of their crew/company and more. Good practice is to look for app developers who understand the importance of user testing (they might mention it on their website or marketing materials).
Once you gather your possible custom software development partners together, it is time for you to contact them and start the process of narrowing your choices down to a shortlist of approximately 3 positions.
You may want to cross out all the software development companies that do not get back to you within the first 5 working days straight away. The other categories helpful in shortening your list are the quality and time of their reply, years of experience, their portfolio and major projects, or a tiny trial project that they could work on to show off their skills.
Once you get in contact with them all and verify all your selections, you can make a choice of the one custom app development company which will work with you.
No matter if one needs some tiny web design, UI/UX design or a large complex app for a few operating systems, it is essential to find a reliable development partner to take care of it. This is when the funnel model proves vital, as it is the most efficient and reliable way to do so.
Thanks to the internet era, it is very easy to quickly make even a very long list. But ask yourself if no-name websites that you have never heard of before or self-appointed ‘best software development company for mobile apps of 2020′ are a reliable source of information.
However, following the guidelines, lists and sources provided in this article, you will be able to find answers to where exactly on the internet (but not only!) you will find the most reputable development teams or the best outsourcing software development companies for your project.
Where to look for web and mobile app developers?
Is it a good idea to Google it?
You can also google some companies or read reviews on Facebook or Google, but those are not the most reliable sources. Being in top search results is not 100% about how good they are in the development field: SEO optimisation and social media opinions might not be reliable enough.
However, googling something is one of the most popular options and typing ‘outsourcing software companies in Warsaw’ will give you many great results of mobile and web software companies based on the exact geographical location etc. You can jump straight to their website (and then check their reviews on the portals mentioned below).
This seems so obvious, but not many people actually do it. Is there anything better than a web or mobile app developer that is recommended to you by people from your industry? Or by people from your Facebook group? Did one of your friends complete a web app or a UI design with a particular software outsourcing company and is happy with their development services?
You can be sure that they are reliable and know how to suit your needs or work with your content (that’s what custom in custom software development company stands for).
You can see their real-life portfolio, which may be in the form of a project similar to yours. Moreover, you get a first-hand review and can ask questions straight to their employer. It is, to a big extent, way easier to do a background investigation in this case.
Industry events and expos
You can participate in industry events and expo, but it’s expensive. The ultimate cons are that you can meet all those people face-to-face and talk about your case, but the truth is that nowadays, you can do that via online meetings as well (without spending additional money).
The disadvantage is that not every company can afford to attend such an event: they might not want to spend money for that, have ongoing projects that require their engagement or locate in a different city, country or even continent.
Unknown pre-made lists
This is also another way to find app developers. The question is how impartial such a ranking truly is. It is always hard to tell if the author of 10 trusted software companies of 2020 was paid to show particular unities in a good light or not. This is why one should use only curated lists from reliable sources, well-known and trustworthy websites, or authors.
Another point worth mentioning is that most of these lists will mention big or well-known top software companies. This may come together with the fact that hiring such an entity may often equal a bigger price or lesser availability. Sometimes it is good to rely on a smaller business to be your outsourcing partner that will provide you with the same (or even better) service quality.
The pre-made lists are, of course, a great time-saving solution that allows you to skip one of the early steps of your research when finding developers. They usually provide you with a short description and analysis of particular software development companies making it even easier for you.
Below you’ll find some reliable portals that gather information about development companies and put them into lists (in many cases, “Top” ones). Those websites, however, are specialised and use their filters and advanced search tools. They also rely on trustworthy sources of information.
I recommend you to check the below platforms for reliable information about app developers:
Platforms for finding full-time employees: Glassdoor, Indeed, Dice, LinkedIn, gun.io, github jobs.
I leave the job boards aside, as I’ll focus on outsourcing.
Below you’ll find a bit more information about how to find software development companies.
Platforms for finding a software development partner
Hiring an app developer, you can hire one software engineer or a whole development team, and you are sure they have the resources you might need.
Those platforms allow you to narrow your search to mobile app developers, web app developers, ios app developers, Android app developers and so on. You can find a specific listing that will suit your needs.
Clutch.co gathers companies from different fields like Development, Design and Production, Advertising & Merketing, Digital Marketing, and IT & Business Services. You’ll find here profiles of most of the outsourcing software development companies.
What differentiates Clutch.co from other listings is that app developers’ reliability is scrupulously verified. Every review added to the company’s profile is a written outcome of a direct conversation of cutch representatives with a client. For projects valued at less than $25 000, people are encouraged to sign the opinion online after signing with Google or LinkedIn account. Reading those opinions, you are sure they come directly from clients. There’s also an average rating from all opinions submitted.
Keep in mind, though, that number of reviews depends on the willingness of clients to share their opinion with Clutch.co. Not every company wants to do that, and not every project can be described (and publicly presented as a portfolio). For example, we have only 17 reviews, although we’ve done more than 85 successful projects.
There’s another catch in review scoring: don’t forget that people have different expectations and what one scores on 5, for someone else, it’s just a strong 4. It’s a good practice to read those reviews instead of just looking at aggregated numbers.
On clutch.co, apart from reviews and rating, you’ll find specialisation (mobile, web, custom software in case of development), portfolio, the hourly rate, number of employees, minimal project cost and more. You can also find out when the company was established, what clients they usually work with (small, medium, large), what frameworks they use and what kind of apps they build.
There’s just one thing you should be aware of: at the beginning of every “top” list, you’ll find sponsors who pay for being listed that high. If a company pays for being on the top, you’ll find the “Sponsor” badge in the profile view.
You can change displaying order at the top right corner of the list. Instead of sponsored, you can display verified companies first, those with more reviews, ratings or in alphabetical order. You can also sort them by the highest Clutch rank, which considers factors like portfolios, specialisation, reviews and badges.
Within the Clutch.io browser, you can also use a few very convenient filters, such as geolocation, services offered, project size, hourly rate, industries they worked for, reviews number and many more. You can also simply look through a particular category.
You can go straight to companies’ websites and contact them directly. Clutch.co does not charge you for matching with a developer.
By the way, here you can check out TeaCode’s profile on Clutch.
Average developers rates: <$25 – $300+ per hour
Additional fees: no
The Manifest is another listing where you can find reliable app developers. It gathers information from Clutch.co, but has separate listings (that are sponsored independently from Clutch.co).
From this listing, most likely, you’ll go straight to the company’s website, although you can read reviews from Clutch.co.
Like on Clutch.co, the first companies you see are those who sponsor the portal (see the badge in the top right corner). You don’t have any possibility here to switch the order.
Average developers rates: unknown (the same as on Clutch.co, but not displayed)
Additional fees: no
At GoodFirms you’ll find software development and marketing companies. GoodFirms verify submitted reviews, too. Although everyone can submit the review online, LinkedIn verification is required so you know those are reliable opinions of real customers.
You’ll find here app developers from all over the world that you can sort by sponsoring or most reviews. You can filter companies that meet your expectations in the case of hourly rates, size and location. Hourly rates vary like on Clutch.co: from less than $25 to more than $300 per hour.
GoodFirms offer sponsorship plans as well, so keep in mind that sponsors will appear higher than companies that don’t invest in paid promotion. However, apart from the “Sort by” feature, you’re not informed about that.
This portal doesn’t require any payments as well. You can go directly to companies’ websites and contact them on your own. There’re no fees associated with using this platform.
You can find some interesting information about each company: reviews, hourly rates, year of establishment, certifications, localisation and company size. You can check on which areas they concentrate, what clients they usually work with (small, medium, large) and what industries are they in.
Average developers rates: <$25 – $300+ per hour
Additional fees: no
Upwork is a great platform for searching for software developers. Although in most cases, you can find freelancers here, many of them work for software development companies and, hand in hand with their engineering team can build for you even complex and sophisticated apps (e.g. you can check our CTO Jakub Drynkowski‘s profile).
On Upwork, you’re looking for people who can investigate their skills. You have an insight into work history and reviews, so you can assess the quality of work.
There’s one catch: hourly rates. Although Jakub has been assigned an hourly rate of $75, he’s the CTO and only supports our teams instead of developing. The real rates vary from $35 for junior developers to $75 for senior lead developers. Keep that in mind while browsing Upwork.
It has one more advantage: as you’re talking directly with people, you can check their LinkedIn profiles to learn more about who they are and where they work.
However, Upwork provides an opportunity for searching for companies/agencies: you can find app developers, web developers, software developers and many more. In this case, you’re provided with the hourly rate, company size and location, and information about their performance: total earned money, total hours worked, and total jobs they have done. You can also see their skills here (by the way, you can check our profile).
You can’t contact freelancers and agencies directly. You have two options: chat with their lead or post a job and invite the company for it. Upwork gains a provision from such contracts
Average developers rates: the whole spectrum
Additional fees: yes (Upwork provision)
As you know, LinkedIn is a social network for professional purposes. It’s a great place to look for software engineers, but not only as an employee (which is an obvious association). It’s probably the broadest of all mentioned platforms but offers somewhat less adequate and neutral information (you can check the companies you choose in some mentioned listings).
On LinkedIn, you can also find freelance app developers and companies that can build complex apps for you. It’s extremely easy to find them, simply type in what you are looking for and choose options to search among companies. Remember, the more specific you are, the fewer search results you get and the more accurate they are.
Each profile has a main board, much like Facebook, on which the content creators are more or less active. But actually, what should interest you the most is probably their About page. There you can read an overview and find out the company’s size, exact industry, location, and specialization, follow the link to their website and more.
Their LinkedIn profile also allows you to check their years of experience, software products and global clients (if one claims to be an enterprise software development company working across the globe, it’s really important to do a background check on that).
Another pro of such solutions is that you have an insight into people who work there (just open the company’s profile and check all employees): regular workers, managers and chief officers. For example, here is our CEO’s profile.
Average developers rates: the whole spectrum
Additional fees: no
In 99firms you’ll find companies specialised in web & software development, advertising & marketing, design, IT and business services.
You can find out most information from the listing point of view: service focus, minimum project budget, company size, average rates and localisation. You’re provided with a direct link to their website so you can contact them yourself.
After visiting a profile, you can familiarise yourself with reviews and overall scores. The 99firms state that they track them to detect fake opinions.
Average developers rates: $25 – $199 per hour
Additional fees: no
It’s another listing that may be useful when looking for software developers. You’ll find here companies listed in a few categories: app developers, web developers and eCommerce developers. You can view those listings but cannot filter them or change the order.
You’re provided with website links and contact information to every company, their localisation, size, year of founding and average hourly rates. You can check their services and one client review. No sign-in is required.
Average developers rates: <$25 – $199+ per hour
Additional fees: no
Team hiring platforms
As they describe themselves, DevTeam.Space is a vetted community of expert dev teams supported by an AI-powered agile process.
You won’t find companies there, but you can request to find developers for your project. You need to fulfil a questionnaire based on which DevTeam.Space will hand-pick developers who will suit your needs best.
You can find out more about developers, how they’re performing and what experience they have. You can also check their response to an email or chat message to verify their level of communication.
When you’re project is ongoing, you have insight and are provided with all details, but it’s DevTeam.Space takes responsibility for project management.
Average developers rates: $50 – $99 per hour (according to Clutch.co)
Additional fees: unknown
x-team will provide you with a single developer or a whole team. After contact with them, an account manager will select developers suitable for your project. If you decide to hire them, they will be devoted to your project only.
They hire developers from around the world, which means you have access to a wide pool of talented developers and can forget about time zone issues.
However, it’s a bit expensive as it costs $65 – $125 per hour.
Average developers rates: $65 – $125 per hour
Additional fees: unknown
Founded in 2014, it’s another platform where you can find software developers or whole teams. Gigster will do a lot of work for you.
However, they don’t share information about hourly rates or minimum project size.
Average developers rates: unknown
Additional fees: unknown
Platforms for finding freelancers
Toptal gathers Top Talents from all around the world. As they claim, only 3% of all sign-in requests are accepted, and the acceptance process lasts from 2 to 5 weeks. Hiring a Toptal tech talent, you hire a pre-vetted freelancer.
They offer fair fees and keep deadlines. If you decide to hire a Toptal freelancer, a Toptal representative will monitor how your project is going.
By choosing Toptal you pay more than in the case of Upwork or Fiverr. However, you gain some kind of supervision. On average, you need to pay $40 – $80 per hour for full-stack, front-end and backend developers. The final price contains freelancers’ wages and Toptal fees.
You also need to provide a $500 deposit before you start (you’ll get it back if you decide not to use Toptal services or your first invoice will be decreased), although there are no fees needed to recruit or terminate the project.
You must sign in and share much information before browsing the full talent pool.
Additional fees: yes
It’s just the beginning of an app adventure…
Proper research takes a lot of time and may be a rather tedious task, but having all the mentioned platforms and solutions in mind, you should find it way easier and, more importantly, feel more confident about your choice.
It is really important to find a right app development partner or a freelancer to outsource, as having to re-code the whole project or pass it to someone else when the chosen candidate fails may turn out not only more troublesome but also way more expensive.
Why not be cost-effective with your outsourced software and get your mobile apps or web app, UX/UI and the whole design and development from one great development partner?
I keep my fingers crossed for your project’s success!