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How to Find an App Developer for Your Startup?

How to find an app developer who suits my project? That is the tricky question many startup founders and business owners face nowadays.

On one hand, as a business owner of a startup or a small business, you have to optimize costs, as the economy is slowing down and investors are becoming more meticulous about where to invest. On the other hand, you need to grow and scale fast. Quite challenging, isn't it?

To that challenge, IT outsourcing and staff augmentation offers a number of advantages, such as fast and quality app development at a reasonable price, access to the best tech talents worldwide, and many more. But the question is how to find app developers that will perfectly suit your startup or a small business.

In this article, I'll explain how to find app developers in 7 steps and share tips that will make the hiring process easier. You'll get to know the difference between the developers' rates by region and more. There's a lot to cover, so let's begin!

how to find app developer


How To Hire App Developers in 7 Steps?

"How to hire an app developer?" can be a tricky question if you don’t know where to start. Just because someone's resume looks good on paper doesn't mean that that's the right person for the job. So check out these 7 stages, and start your search today.

Step 1. Define your project requirements

Before plunging into active search, take a while and make some things clear.

Firstly, what do you expect your future product to look like? Think of the features you want to be implemented, the platforms (iOS, Android, or cross-platform) involved, and the user interface you envision. Now, put it on paper (or a digital doc), and try to be clear and concise.

Second, set your budget. Be honest and rational, and consider how much you can spend on app development, including the maintenance and updates stage.

Wondering what is the average cost to develop a software project? Check our article!

Step 2. Decide on the Partnership Model

There are 3 ways that you can go to find a mobile app developer or a web developer team for your project:

  • in-house;
  • freelance;
  • outsourcing.

Let’s dive deeper into each!

Option 1: How to Find App  Developers In-House?

The most common option is hiring an app developer as your team member. If there is already an existing team, the labor gaps can be filled by conducting a job interview, picking the right people for the job, and integrating them into the workplace with their co-workers.

In-house hiring is costly as you need to offer a working place and accommodations, spend time&money on hiring and onboarding, and cover medical insurance and taxes. Well, everything that the government requires in your region.

hire an app developer

Uptech Tip: Hiring an app developer in-house is effective when you have a big budget or a stable source of financing. That makes it a great option for mature businesses, enterprises, and startups at growth stages.

Pros of in-house hiring:

  1. The total commitment of the employee;
  2. The employee integrated into the company's culture;
  3. More input and involvement;
  4. Higher awareness of the development processes of the company.

Cons of in-house hiring:

  1. Hiring and onboarding expenses;
  2. Costs of providing suitable working conditions and equipment;
  3. Limited to the local tech talents;
  4. Only full-time employment option.
Hesitating between in-house vs. outsourced development? Read the article to make the best choice!

Option 2: Hire App Developers On A Freelance Basis

Another option how to find app developers is looking for freelance contractors. This method is gaining popularity today. With the onset of freelancing websites like Upwork, any business owner can hire a specialist online.

hire an app developer

A major 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 freelance app developers for hire out there are simply underqualified for big jobs.

Uptech Tip: Entrepreneurs with pet projects and a budget of less than $10,000 benefit a lot from finding app developers on a freelance basis.

Pros of freelance hiring:

  1. No need to provide working equipment;
  2. The employment model is optional;
  3. Access to talents worldwide.

Cons of freelance hiring:

  1. Less commitment due to other projects;
  2. Complicated onboarding process;
  3. Suits only medium and small businesses.  
hire app developer

Option 3: How to Find Developers As An Outsourced Team?

Outsource app developers or outstaff the part of your tech team that pieces together the best of all the hiring options. You hire app developers who are employed only on a contractual basis. It's still less expensive than getting an in-house team, and you are free from all the employee hiring/firing expenses.

Furthermore, hiring developers on an outsourced basis is completely scalable and flexible, which means that you can expand or diminish the team size to fit the project's exact needs, thereby saving resources in the long run.

It's the most efficient solution for:

  1. Startups series A+ that want to scale and grow fast but want to decrease expenses and need extra hands.
  2. Business owners who already have an established company but have an idea for a new project and need extra hands.

Uptech Tip: Hiring app developers as an outsourced team is a great solution to fill the gaps and move with the product idea faster and with fewer expenses.

Pros of Outsourcing
  1. Lower hiring and onboarding expenses;
  2. Contract-based collaboration;
  3. Access to professionals worldwide;
  4. You may choose a team with unique expertise;
  5. No responsibility and costs on the working equipment and documentation;
  6. More time to focus on the business side of the product;
  7. A new perspective on the product idea;
Cons of Outsourcing
  1. Need to manage a team;
  2. Possible communication issues.
Learn how to solve 10 most common problems of outsourcing!
Form of hiring Pros Cons Suits Best Non-Match
In-house Deep understanding of business needs High cost, low flexibility Long-term project with high customization requirements Short-term or one-off projects, limited budget
Freelance Affordability, flexibility Security issues, minimum commitment Short-term projects with flexible workload management Long-term development projects, highly sensitive projects, ongoing support and maintenance
Outsourced Team Expertise, stability and flexibility, no additional expenses, commitment Cultural gap, possible time zone Large-scale projects, short-term or medium-term projects Highly specialized or niche industries, local service businesses, highly regulated industries

Step 3. Research and Shortlist Candidates

Now, it is time to start your search. Luckily, you do not have to wander around the streets putting up posters “App Developers Wanted”. There are plenty of online opportunities you can use to find the right app development team for your project specifically. Make sure to leverage all of them:

  • Online Platforms: Upwork, Clutch, or Toptal are convenient online aggregators of app development companies and agencies with reviews, portfolios, and ratings to help you make up your mind.
  • Referrals: do not underestimate the power of networking. Ask around your network for recommendations of reliable developers, and some advice can be valuable.
  • Portfolio Review: finding the one team takes time and a meticulous attitude. So, take your time to assess the teams’ experience and expertise in a portfolio of previous cases.
how to find an app developer

This step can last a while, but profound and thorough research is the basis of the right choice.

Uptech tip: In your research prioritize teams with relevant experience, like startup development or a specific industry. It is very important that the team you outsource understands the pace and challenges of a niche market that you’ll work with.

Step 4. Asses Skills and Availability

As you’ve shortlisted your favorites, it is time to look closely at their tech skills, communication, and problem-solving approaches. To make your choice more informed, make sure to take the following steps:

  • Run interviews: take time to talk to potential candidates in person;
  • Discuss their development approach: try to look at how developers approach their work, communicate, and get business needs;
  • Compatibility check: ask specific questions on the candidate’s work ethics.

At Uptech, we take pride in our streamlined work ethic and understanding of clients’ business needs. And our clients often highlight that in their reviews on Clutch, for example:

“They ask questions, provide suggestions, and learn about our business to make a proper product.”

Indeed, we put our client’s business needs first and build our strategy based on what the company wants to achieve in the shortest and longest perspectives. What mainly helps us to be business-oriented is building products ourselves.

Since 2026, Uptech has launched such successful products as Plai, Dyvo.ai, and Rozmova. This entrepreneurial experience gives us a firsthand perspective on how startup development works and gives us an understanding of other businesses’ needs.  

Uptech outsourcing tip: While assessing the team’s hard skills, do not underestimate the importance of the communication approach of developers. With the remote format of work and different time zones, clear communication is the key to project success.

Step 5. Sign the Contract and Make Sure All is Set for Work

Once you’ve made up your mind about the team to hire, make sure all the necessary paperwork is done. By paperwork, we mean two main deliverables: a contract and an NDA. When signing those, make sure it outlines:

  • The scope of work
  • Timelines
  • Payment terms
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Form of partnership (fixed price, dedicated team, or time&material)

Uptech tip: Consider signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in order to protect your business’s confidential information. NDA ensures that all your trade secrets, proprietary methods, or intellectual property shared with the IT company remain confidential. This is especially crucial for startups that often have unique business strategies, software algorithms, and innovative product designs.

Step 6. Make Your Goals Clear

At this stage the development starts, so congrats! If you hire an app development company that handles the communication and management processes (like Uptech team does), then your job is almost done and you can focus on the business development.

However, there are a few micro steps, that are important for an effective product development process:

  • Put your goals and objectives forward;
  • Share your requirements with the team;
  • Outline your expectations;
  • Set up the communication channels;
  • Make sure all are on the same page;
  • Transfer all the documentation and knowledge you have.

These are pretty simple but essential steps to take after you hire app developers for your project.

Uptech protip: Set up regular performance review calls with the team to check how fast and effectively you’re moving towards the goals set at the beginning. Such systematic meetings help to identify the areas of improvement and celebrate small victories of the process.

Step 7. Plan Post-Development Process

The post-development process is a stage in the product development lifecycle when the development team maintains and updates your project. This stage usually includes bug fixes, updates, adding new features, or implementing new iterations of the existing features.

The maintenance phase is critical not only to ensure bugs are fixed. Businesses nowadays need to stay ahead of the competition and iterate their products continuously. So, for the best app performance, a dedicated team should run regular monitoring and leverage an iterative approach to nail new challenges and match emerging needs.

We at Uptech prioritize app performance at any stage: whether during the development or the maintenance phase. For instance, at the Aspiration project, we managed not only to ensure excellent app performance of the app released, but also to provide 99% bug-free app performance after the release.

Uptech tip: The post-development phase is a perfect moment to plan scaling your app. The preparation for scaling would include optimizing code, increasing server capacity, and ensuring that the architecture can handle the growing load.  

Alternative Platforms to Hire App Developers: Top 5 Places

Besides “how to find app developers”, one should also ask “where to look for app developers?” In this block, I’ll cover the second one.

So here is the list of the best platforms to hire app developers.

Best Places to Find Freelance App Developers

There are many platforms where you can hire app developers on a freelance basis, we have picked the top 3 for you to save you time. Check them out!  

1. Upwork

Upwork is a freelance marketplace with talent from all over the world. You simply sign up, post your project, and requirements to an app developer you’re looking for then review proposals to find the right independent contractor for you.

2. Fiverr

Fiverr is one more popular freelance online marketplace with professionals from different corners of the world. You can hire freelance app developers on Fiverr either by placing your requirements in the search bar or looking for the app development category.

3. Freelancer

Freelancer allows you to post your project, and requirements to an app developer you’re looking for and find freelancers from a choice of bids. You simply need to set a budget for the work you want to be done, create a job description, post your offer, and find the best app developer among the people who apply to your offer.

Best Places to Hire Professional App Development Companies

Finding a professional app development company is harder. It requires more time and research, and it’s better to have a separate person in your team responsible for the recruiting process.

But we have made a list for you that will be handy if you decide to hire an app development team on your own.

1. Clutch

Clutch is a B2B review platform where clients share their experience working with development companies. It’s a nice place to check the company’s portfolio and real-life feedback on their work.

Uptech also has a profile on Clutch. You are welcome to check it and see our portfolio, clients’ reviews, and the list of our services.

how to find an app developer

2. Goodfirms

Goodfirms is a B2B research and review platform for top technology, software & eCommerce development service companies.

Similar to Clutch, you should pay attention to the company’s reviews, portfolio, and expertise.

Here’s Uptech’s profile on Goodfirms.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an App Developer

How to find app developers that will cost affordably while delivering a solid result? It largely depends on the location of outsourcing.

Thus, hiring app developers in the US will cost you more than hiring in Eastern European countries. It's a fact! The app developers' rates differ from country to country, and of course, the rate determines the quality. So your task here is to find the best price/quality ratio.

hire an app developer

Let's look at the app developers' rates in the different regions. If you're outsourcing to a seasoned developer in the US, you'll be charged $135 per hour on average. Hiring an app developer with similar skills in Western Europe will only cost you around $45- $90/hour. Meanwhile, if you decide to hire developers from Eastern Europe, where the main part of the

Uptech team is located, and you'll pay around $40 per hour.

Outsourcing to India will cost you in the range of $15 - $40 per hour. In China, IT developers charge $25 an hour on average. While the lower outsourcing rates are indeed attractive, you'll need to consider cultural and language differences when working with different countries.

Why Uptech Is A Good Place to Hire App Developers

We have been empowering startups and established businesses with the best app developers for 7 years. We developed apps for eCommerce companies like Dollar Shave Club and GOAT. We have been working with clients from the fintech industry, like Aspiration, for 6 years, and we treat their product as our own. We recently finished another fintech project for the US neobank – Cardless. After working with two big real-estate projects, Yaza and Nomad, we're experts in building apps in this niche.

Check out more of our cases!

Here's the feedback from our client, Emanuel Possnert – Сo-Founder of Eatable – foodtech company in Sweden. Check it out!


We develop web and mobile apps of different complexities for both platforms (iOS, and Android). Our company is powered by a team of highly skilled multi-discipline IT experts. As far as programming tech is concerned, we're well-versed in popular languages and frameworks, including Kotlin, React, and Node.js.

Check our tech stack for mobile and web app development.

how to find an app developer

We have been the preferred IT outsourcing partner for our clients throughout the years. We helped startups develop the MVP to raise the next funding round and supported the existing business with our tech expertise to scale their products quickly. At Uptech, we don't blindly develop your project, we treat it as our own. We propose new ideas and solutions to meet your business goals.

Summary

App development forms a 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 toward finding an app developer who will take your business up the notch.

Book a call with our Biz Dev Manger, tell about your project briefly, and we'll be happy to help you scale your business faster!

FAQs

What is the best method to contact an app developer?

Finding a good app developer requires searching among the hiring platforms featuring large pools of app developers. You can contact app developers through these platforms:

  • Upwork
  • Clutch
  • Goodfirms
  • Fivver
  • Freelancer

Should I opt for hiring app developers 'near me' instead of looking worldwide?

Looking for app developers worldwide makes sense when you want to save your budget, when your project doesn’t require the specialist to be in-house, when you are okay with time-zone issues, and when you don’t have needed expertise “near you”. The outsourcing and outstaff cooperation model suits best in this case.

Is the concept of 'cheap app developers' a myth?

There’s no such thing as “cheap app developers”. The cost of hiring an app developer or a development company varies widely depending on the cooperation model you choose, the location of developers, their seniority level, and some more factors.

For example, in Eastern Europe, the average hourly rate for a middle app developer is around $50, while in the USA it will be $150. Though, the quality of work can be the same.

What defines professional app development?

Every person will have a different definition of “professional app development”. But some common steps that the app development process must have to be professional and they are:

  • Well-done product and user research;
  • Good UX/UI design;
  • Scalable app infrastructure;
  • QA testing;
  • Debugging process.

Should I additionally hire a mobile app designer?

To make your mobile app intuitive, valuable, and user-friendly it’s not enough to hire just an app developer. You need a professional who will research user flow, analyze users' scenarios, create a product's logic, conduct A/B tests, and design a product. And this person is a mobile app designer.  

A mobile app designer will design a prototype, and an app developer is responsible for the coding and functionality of an app based on the design created by the app designer.  

Is hiring a hybrid app developer more expensive?

A hybrid app developer is a professional who can develop an app using native and web development technologies and develop apps across both Android and iOS devices.

To make a traditional hybrid app, an app developer should know web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which are then encapsulated into a container called a webview.

To be a hybrid app developer you should know more programming languages and skills, logically hybrid app developers often can be more expensive.

Are 'app coders' and 'app developers' the same thing?

An app programmer, also known as an app developer or, more generally, a coder, is a person who develops computer software. So basically, yes, it’s the same.

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