Building a startup is tough and it is tougher if you’re doing it for the first time. As an entrepreneur you may have wondered how to find an App developer for your startup fast. Someone who shares your excitement and vision.

Exploring options is a good investment of time because things can go wrong if you don’t have the right developer.

I’m sure you have already heard and read a lot about this topic, and probably ended up finding yourself flustered. 


US startup statistics


In the words of Edward R. Murrow:

“Anyone who isn’t confused doesn’t really understand the situation.” 

Your confusion means that you are in the right direction. You understand the challenges of going ahead with your startup’s business plan. With a little clarity, you’ll be on course.

These questions will help you get off on the right foot. At least from now onwards!

  • What type of developers do you need? What technical skills are required for your startup’s app?
  • How would you want to engage the app developers? Do you want to build an in-house team? Or are you looking to outsource app development?
  • Where to find an app developer? Are you confident enough about online sources? Do you need to make in-person efforts?
  • How to find an app developer that does justice to your startup’s idea?

There are chances you may be familiar with the technical aspects of app development. You’ll need to balance your tech-skill requirements, budget, and the time available to find the developers. That’s of course after you decide how many developers you need and the engagement model. Follow this by deciding the region you want to source from and domain expertise.

So, if technical terms don’t scare you, we suggest you skip to the relevant section by using the Table of Contents below. Time’s precious! 


How to hire an app developer

Table of Contents

Before how to find an app developer. What to find in an app developer?

App developers are techies. They live by their technical skills which you need. It’s great if you have already figured out the tech-stack you’ll need for your startup’s app. That will determine the skills that your app developers should possess. 

At the basic level, the app development tech stack should comprise:

  • Framework
  • Programming Language
  • Database
  • Web Server
  • Operating System

Before finding app developers, you’ll also need to finalize the type of app you want for your startup. Do you need a native app or a hybrid app? In case you need a native app, which one do you want to begin with, iOS or Android?

Making a list of the technical skill requirements for your app’s first version is a step in the right direction.

Soon after, it’s time for the roads to diverge! You’ll have to make the most important decision about your startup’s app development. To build an in-house team or to outsource?


Inhouse developers or outsource to an app development company?


How to find an App Developer for In-house or Outsourced App development?

Imagine a team of devoted app developers working their hearts out. Brainstorming ideas, improvising, and working on the minutest of details to achieve perfection. An in-house team your competitors envy. Your startup dream becoming a reality under your direct supervision. 

Who wouldn’t want that? 

Unfortunately, an efficient team of in-house app developers remains an ambition for most early-stage startups. 

Hard truths, ground realities, and forthcoming challenges push us to make decisions we wished we never would have to! 

Should your startup ignore the idea of building an in-house team and look elsewhere?

Let’s get the basics straight and see!

Developing your startup’s app in-house is about building a team. 

Outsourcing app development is about building relationships with individuals and organizations. 

Now, let’s weigh up the options!

Find In-house App Developers

To dispel any misconceptions, ‘in-house’ does not mean ‘in-office’. In-house means within the company. Therefore, you can have a completely remote in-house team! (a trend accelerated by the pandemic and still in vogue.)

In-house app developers will join your existing startup team. They will become a part of your growing organization. In-house developers work closely with your other team members on a day-to-day basis. As an entrepreneur, you can oversee their functioning and reorient their efforts any time.

You will need to treat your in-house developers like your employees, providing them with benefits, perks, insurance covers, etc. You can exercise complete control over the app development process owing to easier communication, flexibility, and adaptability.

If you are choosing to go ahead with in-house app developers, be ready to hone your team-building skills. Building a startup team is a challenge and with an in-house team of developers, you’ll have to be extra attentive. Besides Human Resources Managers, you’ll need to take part in team-building activities yourself.

Benefits of Finding and Hiring in-house App Developers

  • In a growing startup, a Find a team of in-house developers helps in building a culture for a fully-fledged organization.
  • In-house developers share common goals, purpose, and motivation, which improves the quality and customer-orientation of the product.
  • In-house teams help in brand building.
  • Better communication and free flow of ideas bring the best out of collective efforts.
  • Individual and team knowledge grows fast, equipping the startup to handle tougher challenges.
  • In-house app development teams can be efficient in maintenance of apps, launching updates, adding new features, and catering to customer demands.

Downsides of Finding and Hiring In-house App Developers

  • Hiring in-house app developers is time consuming.
  • An in-house team of developers costs more. Besides paying for office space, the startup will have to bear the costs of paying higher salaries, taxes, and employee benefits, etc.
  • In-house teams require Human Resources Managers, which adds to the costs. Besides, entrepreneurs have to work with them directly, which can be an extra burden.
  • It’s hard to up-scale with in-house teams.
  • In-house teams have limits to their skill-set and experience, which can impact startup’s growth.
  • In-house teams are less capable of handling large and complex projects.
  • Holding together the in-house team requires extra effort. It’s difficult to find replacements and the hiring cycles become longer as the startup grows.

In-house App Developer Team Models

You can choose any of the following In-house App Developers’ team models:

Co-located In-house App Developer Team

A Co-located In-house app development team will require a Project Manager, and maybe a CTO too. In-house app developers work as a close-knit unit under your direct supervision.

In-house app development teams can communicate more often and stay motivated. You can prioritize tasks, regulate the project’s pace, and attend to finer details. 

In case brand identity is your priority, then you should find app developers willing to join you in the office. Also, if you are working with sensitive data, look to build a team of on-site in-house app developers.


Cost comparison between co-located and remote app development team


Remote In-house App Developer Team

There’s no doubting the fact that remote work is on the rise, even after the pandemic. Startups can build remote in-house teams much more easily than ever. With the right motivation and team spirit, remote teams can function as efficiently as Co-located teams.

Finding remote app developers and hiring them into your startup is a good idea. It allows wider access to talent while being cost-effective compared to setting up a team of Co-located app developers. 

Remote in-house app developers are good for startups that want to build an efficient team but cannot afford office rent. If your startup is based in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles etc. and you don’t want to be paying high office rent. That’s where a team of remote in-house developers can be the best option. Pay them good salaries and benefits and build a team that’s ready for challenges!


Table: Comparing Co-located and Remote In-house Teams

Co-located In-house TeamRemote In-House Team
High costsLower Costs
Long Hiring ProcessShorter Hiring Time
Direct SupervisionLimited Supervision
Easy Communication and Better exchange of IdeasCommunication is not easy and can be time consuming. Only limited exchange of ideas possible.
Similarity of experiencesVariety of experiences
EfficiencyEfficiency with Distractions
Team spirit, Motivation, DynamismExtra effort to keep everyone motivated


Mixed In-house Team

An in-house team that has both office based and remote app developers can show great flexibility if managed well. It can bring together the benefits of Co-located teams and remote teams to boost productivity, communication, and problem-solving.

Very often, mixed teams are not a choice, but a compulsion owing to a lack of space or funds. However, growth stage startups that began with a Co-located team of developers can experiment with mixed teams. 

When to opt for in-house app developers for your startup?

Find in-house app developers for your startup if:

  • You have no shortage of funds. 
  • You are sure of ample funds in the future.
  • You value stability and consistency over money.
  • You have an excellent HR and recruitment team.
  • You want to build a brand from the beginning.
  • Your customers often demand new features.
  • You are not confident about data security while working with a third-party.

When to avoid in-house app developers for your startup?

Don’t look and find for in-house app developers if:

  • You are facing or likely to face budgetary constraints before finding an app developer.
  • You don’t have professional HR managers and recruiters in your team.
  • There’s a lack of local IT talent.
  • Your startup team is full of all-rounders.
  • There are possibilities of early up-scaling.


Hourly costs of in-house and outsourcing app development


Find an App Developer in an  Outsourcing Agency

Outsourcing app development means hiring an individual/s or an organization to carry out app development without joining your organization. You will be contracting third-party app developers or an app development agency. The contractors will use their human and technical resources to develop your app.

While outsourcing app development, you have limited control and influence over app developers. There’s no scope for overseeing their day-to-day work. 

The outsourced project is often divided into assignments. Each assignment carries detailed specifications of work you expect to be accomplished. Project specifications, deadlines, and task details matter more than discussions and flow of ideas.

The chief aim of outsourcing is to hire specialists with experience and necessary skills that your app’s development demands. These specialists may be programmers contacted through social media, app developers found on freelance platforms, or specialist app development agencies.

When you outsource, you may not build a team, but you can still extend your in-house team! App development shows the highest outsourcing rate for US-based companies. US Companies outsource over 70% of app development. Outsourcing app development tops the list. Over 50% of these companies outsource a larger part of their app development.

Benefits of Outsourcing App Development

  • Outsourcing saves costs and provides the option of getting app developers from regions offering services at lower rates.
  • By outsourcing, startups can hire app developers with a wider skill-set and relevant app development experience. 
  • Scaling the team of app developers is possible and easy.
  • Many contracted app developers aim for permanent positions, so they are more productive.
  • Access to a better talent pool. Thanks to the long-pandemic, app developers are refusing to commit to stricter routines!
  • Outsourced app development can be round-the-clock and therefore faster. So your app development continues even while you sleep!
  • As a startup, outsourcing allows you to devote your time, money, and efforts to building your core business.

Downsides of Outsourcing App Development

  • There is little control of entrepreneurs over third-party app developers. They are more likely to work for money than for the startup idea.
  • Outsourcing carries information security risks until you put proper mechanisms in place and sign an NDA.
  • Differences in time-zones may reduce the opportunities of communication.
  • Outsourced app development may lack originality owing to limited communication and engagement between developers and your core team.
  • If your Business Idea is unique, outsourcing carries the risk of leaking the idea.

Outsourcing to Freelancers

43% of US startups rely on freelancers. Freelance app developers come in handy when you have to plug the skill gap and don’t have time for hiring. For example, your frontend team has a JavaScript expert, but you need an HTML expert. Urgently and for short-term!

There’s no dearth of sources to find freelance app developers. Many talented app developers offer their services freelance to enjoy greater freedom, earning opportunities, and exposure. Freelance app developers can create fresh apps or carry out app maintenance tasks at low rates. Many startups opt for freelance experts for bug-fixing and UI testing. 

A lack of accountability and control will always linger while working with freelance developers. You can find app developers for your startup on reputed freelance platforms. but that only solves the problem of availability. The main problems with outsourcing app development to freelancers like reliability, project understanding, and communication remain.

Find a freelance app developer for your startup when you need a very specific skill. Your current team may lack such expertise and hiring may take time. 

You can choose to work with freelance developers if you want to devote personalized attention to an app development task. In such a scenario, you can let your core team of app developers continue their work without interruption.

Outsourcing to Agencies

Outsourcing to agencies means contracting a third-party to develop your startup’s app. For startups, outsourcing mostly means Offshoring Outsourcing. The app development agency will assemble and provide the human and technical resources for app development. 

When startups outsource app development to an offshore location, they do that to benefit from the lower developer charges. 

Unlike outsourcing to freelancers where you have to find individual app developers, with agencies you get ready-made teams. When you outsource to agencies, you get expert white-label software developers, UI/UX designers, QA engineers, back-end developers, and project managers, etc.

A dedicated team of developers brings its experience and specific skill set to your project. In fact, they may share ideas and suggestions to make your product or service better. You pay for the app development work, but you also get lessons, ideas, suggestions, and improvements as a bonus.

Agencies are accountable for the work they perform, so outsourcing app development ensures better quality. App development companies are bound legally to complete the development project within a set timeframe and without compromising on standards. They are also bound to ensure information security and to protect your startup idea. 

Scalability and continuity are huge advantages of working with app development agencies. As a startup, you will be building an app that will scale later. You can always re-engage the agency when you want to add new features to the app. Similarly, since you don’t have to pay upfront, you can pause the project anytime.  

With clear and regular communication, a team of app developers from an agency is as good as a remote in-house team. If the agency has built apps similar to your startup’s, then their team of app developers may even be better. At less than half the costs!


Table: Comparing Outsourcing Agencies and Freelancers

Outsourcing to App Development AgenciesOutsourcing to Freelancers
Good for building the Startup app from the scratchGood for plugging an urgent skill gap for minor tasks
Project understandingFocus on specific task only
Proper Communication CadenceMinimum Communication
Scalability and Continuity of TeamNo surety about future availability
Higher level of expertiseAverage expertise
Full benefits realized with long-term engagementLess opportunities of long-term engagement
Guarantee of work qualityNo guarantee of work quality
AccountabilityNo Accountability
Information SecurityLittle or no Information Security


When to Outsource App Development or hire App Developer from an App Company? 

Find an app development company to outsource to when:

  • You have budgetary constraints that don’t allow you to maintain an office and pay employee salaries and benefits. It may be the case that your startup idea is unique and requires aggressive marketing and a big sales team. In such a scenario, you can keep an in-house marketing and sales team while outsourcing app development.
  • You want to save long-term costs because of errors or difficulties in understanding other team’s or developer’s code.
  • You cannot compromise on the functionalities, features, and UI/UX quality.
  • There may be a dearth of local talent. Your region may not have many skilled app developers. The few available may charge too high.
  • You are unsure that your list of app features will make you competitive. So you need a team of developers for inputs and immediate scaling.
  • Your startup app is complex. In such a scenario, you require experts that have technical and industry experience from developing a similar app in the past.
  • The whole app development plan is not final and you would need flexibility. Agency- based app developers are experts in carrying out projects with an agile approach.
  • You want to avoid the hassle of managing a team and project.
  • You have to launch the MVP, the app, its new features, or upgrades in a strict deadline.

When to avoid Outsourcing App Development?

Rethink outsourcing app development to an agency if:

  • You want to supervise app development down to the minutest details.
  • You are unsure about the list of development tasks that will make up the whole project. In such cases, you may end up paying hidden costs.
  • Your startup idea is absolutely unique and you cannot afford to expose it to a third-party from another region.
  • You have sensitive data that will require sharing over the internet with the app development company.


Six Benefits of Outsourcing App Development


Whether you want to build an in-house team or outsource before beginning to find an app developer for your startup? Be sure of it before you begin!

Let’s see the options.

Where to find an App Developer for your Startup?

Hiring Platforms

You’ll need the right hiring platform to find an app developer for your startup. Starting from Google search can be time consuming and overwhelming. So we are listing the online sources available for hiring app developers.

Freelancer platforms are best if you want to find a developer to fill the gap in your existing team.  

If you are looking to outsource app development, then your search shall begin on websites that list IT vendors. 

How to find Freelance App Developers

There are two types of freelancer platforms to find app developers for your startup. 

  • Platforms to find freelance Developers
  • General Freelance Platforms 

Platforms to find freelance Developers

Toptal,, Turing, TopCoder, and YouTeam are some of the best platforms to find app developers for your startup. On these platforms, you can find developers, designers, project managers, and product managers. 

Freelance developer platforms use a vetting process involving in-depth testing of technical skills, language, and personality. They also ensure that the freelance developers on their platform are project-ready and possess problem-solving skills.


TopTal means top talent. As the name suggests, they accept only the top 3% of the applicants. You can find the best on demand developers and designers on TopTal. No wonder it is the top choice of organizations when they need to fill the talent gap urgently.  


TopCoder works on a community-based model which allows it to provide hard-to-find skills to organizations. Their model has been delivering successfully for over two decades. If there’s some rare skill that your team is lacking, TopCoder is for you! focuses on matching freelance developers with the right organizations. It can be a good option for building an in-house team in case you find long-term prospects in a freelancer. You can hire them as your employees directly from the platform. Though you’ll have to pay a fraction of the first year’s salary you offer.


YouTeam is another place to find freelance developers and engineers for your app. They focus on helping companies and startups hire offshore contractors.

General Freelance Platforms

There are plenty of freelance platforms with experts offering a broad range of skills. Freelancer platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour, and We Work Remotely can help you find app developers for your startup at reasonable rates. 

If your startup’s app is not complex and doesn’t require advanced technical skills, then these platforms are a good option. They are also useful for finding low-cost freelance developers for basic technical tasks.

Unlike the platforms devoted to hiring coders, you can find app developers for startups at lower rates from these websites. However, the reliability and accountability of developers from these websites may be lower than coder dedicated platforms.

In case you have wasted your time finding freelance app developers, we have a way out. You can hire app developers on a monthly fee.


Table: Comparing Developer specific and General Freelance Platforms

Freelance Developers’ PlatformsGeneral Freelance Platforms
Save timeTime consuming search
Vetted DevelopersLess guarantee of skill proficiency
Reliability and AccountabilityLow reliability and accountability
Hire whole teamsHiring teams is not feasible


To find Agencies for Outsourcing

Clutch, TheyMakeApps, AppFutura, and GoodFirms are some of the best websites to find IT service providers. If you want to outsource to a ready-made team of expert app developers, then these review sites are for you. These companies run background checks for authenticity before listing app development agencies on their websites. 

IT services and app developers’ listings outline the company’s strength, areas of expertise, and past projects, etc. They also provide the minimum project value with the listings. You can read reviews from past individuals and organizations who have worked with any provider listed on the websites. To ensure that startups engage with and outsource to only the best developers, they carry out a review verification, too.

Check these websites if you are looking to outsource your startup’s app development to an agency.


Clutch solves business challenges by listing various IT service providers in a B2B marketplace. Their carefully vetted short-list ensures that you choose from only the very best in business. You can look for app developer agencies based on the services, your budget, hourly rates, and reviews.

Company listings on Clutch include detailed profiles, portfolios, and verified client reviews. Once you find the right company for outsourcing app development, you can also start a conversation on the platform itself.


Agicent profile on Clutch



As the name suggests, TheyMakeApps is a listing website for companies into app development. The UI/UX is as simple and straightforward as it gets. Justifying the name, perhaps! This website showcases app developer agencies and their portfolios with minimum navigation. You can search by location or by your budget.

TheyMakeApps provides the option of directly contacting the app agency, but it doesn’t provide client reviews. However, you can see the past projects and how much the agency charged for them.

Find App Developer via Theymakeapps



AppFutura is a developer review and project listing platform. It helps you find the right mobile or web app development company. You can post your app development project along with ideas and specifications and wait to hear. You can also view the listings and find the agency that suits your requirements. 

AppFutura works closely with IT service buyers and providers and runs a thorough review verification process. Concentrate on client reviews and ratings and check company profiles. If you find an agency that fits your needs and budget, you can contact them directly from the website. 

Don’t let the rankings provided by the platform mislead you. They don’t reflect the quality of services.


Find App Developer from Appfutura



GoodFirms is a review platform for IT Services and Software. You can find app developers for your startup based on the type of app you need. The good thing about GoodFirms is that it speeds up your selection process. On each profile, you can see the agency’s focus based on three important criteria. 

Each agency’s experience is reflected by the percentages of different services offered, business sizes, and industries of clients. GoodFirms also provides elaborate client reviews and an interview with the company’s CEO.


Find best App Developer from Agicent via Goodfirms


Job Portals

Freelancer, remote employees, or Co-located team members, job portals are the evergreen place to find talent. Job Portals are designed for job seekers. They can help you find an expert with a particular skill or a whole team of app developers.   

Platforms like Dice focusing on tech job seekers are a great source of reliable app developers, or you may consider broader remote job boards with candidate databases like HireBasis where there are over 9,000 IT and Development professionals including hundreds of app developers from around the world.

Wellfound focuses on Startups, helping them build fresh teams or up-scale their existing teams. They also offer some tools to save hiring time and effort.  

If you want to assemble an efficient in-house team quickly, check Blind, which brings the advantage of a vast professional community. 

Websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and SimplyHired etc. are visited by millions of skilled professionals looking for the right opportunity. Your startup could be that right opportunity. All you have to do is post a job! 

Mention the skills, experience, engagement type and other relevant details to receive resumes. You can start the selection process simultaneously or wait for a date to receive all the applicants. 


Agicent profile on designrush


B2B Directories for IT and Software

B2B directories like DesignRush, BusinessofApps, and WADLINE etc. are extensive directories of IT and Software companies. Check these websites if you are planning to outsource app development to an agency. 

IT and Software focused B2B directories are designed specifically for businesses looking for tech service companies. Their aim is to help organizations find the right agency to onboard for their IT services and software development tasks. Startups can explore these options to find the right app development company.

Each agency profile carries the services offered, industries served, and reviews from past clients. Unlike agency hiring platforms, you cannot directly contact the agency through the directories. However, you can find the contact information to start the conversation.


Table: Comparing Developer Hiring Platforms and B2B Software Directories for IT and Software

Developer Hiring PlatformsB2B Directories
Designed to help StartupsDesigned to help businesses in general
Only agencies with highly skilled developersLow to high skill level agencies
Extensive verified background information, reviews, portfolios, and past project informationLimited background information and past performance data
Messaging from platformOnly contact information


More ways to find an App Developer for your Startup

There are a few more ways to find the right developers for your startup’s app. Some of these methods, like finding developers and agencies on Code Repositories or Q&A Websites may require technical knowledge. Social Media and local colleges can be reliable sources of app development talent. They can be timesaving and cost-effective too.

How to finding an App Developer on Social Media

LinkedIn can be a good place to hire an app developer for your startup. As a professional networking building platform, it helps you connect and interact with individuals based on their industry and profession. That makes it a decent choice to hunt freelancers. 

You can also use its powerful ‘search’ function to find app development companies. If your Startup already has a LinkedIn profile, just ‘post a job’ and you’ll have interested app developers knocking at your door. Post the required app development skills, the type of app you want, and the engagement-model in relevant groups will also yield results. 

Reddit is a networking website, social media, and a mini-search engine, all rolled together as an online forum. Well, you knew it, but we mentioned that to outline its potential to find an app developer. 

Finding developers on Reddit is about finding the right subreddits, joining the community, engaging, and interacting. For example, you can find subreddits by the skill gap you are looking to plug, like a JavaScript developer. Or, you can simply post your requirement in subreddits related to jobs, recruitment, hiring, etc.  

Joining ‘app development’ and ‘startup’ related communities can be rewarding too.


GitHub is an open-source code repository platform with millions of users. All of them developers! It’s a great way to source professional and hobbyist app developers for your startup. 

It will take some time and effort to find an app developer for your startup on GitHub. However, it can be very rewarding. Especially if you or someone in your startup team is comfortable with technical terms.

On GitHub, you can search for repositories of open-source code and projects by language, location, and followers. Please note that language here means ‘programming language’. 

You can find the ‘users’ and continue your search for a suitable app developer. Exploring repositories will tell you about the contributors and lead you to their individual profiles. Each profile mentions the repositories and projects for that developer. Finally, you can find the developer’s email address on the profile and initiate communication.


Stack Overflow is a Q&A forum-style website for coders. Programmers post questions expecting to get help from fellow-programmers. A great place to find expert developers!

So, how to find an App Developer for your startup using Stack Overflow? It’s simple. 

Stack Overflow has a job board companies can use to hire talent. As a startup, you can create your company page and post jobs. You can also advertise your company page and job posting on StackOverflow through a special request. 

By paying for the premium options, you can access the advanced search features. It would be a hiring investment to make, but it can lead you to the perfect app developer for your startup.

App Development Conferences can tell you how to find an app developer

App Development Conferences are networking events of developers, entrepreneurs, and tech leaders. Professionals from across the region or globe attend these conferences to exchange ideas and knowledge. Leading app development agencies showcase their achievements, plans, and upcoming products in these events. 

Many app development conferences are open to all. As an entrepreneur, if an app is important for the business, then it’s a good idea to attend these events. You will have a chance of meeting some of the leading app developers, app agencies, and app business experts. 

Droidcon Events focuses on the community of android developers. It organizes various conferences and events all round the year in different locations. Android developers catch up in Droidcon events to exchange knowledge and push the frontiers of Android App development.

In 2023, a Droidcon is lined up in San Francisco in the month of June. Later in the year, New York will host another Droidcon conference in September.

Nyswifty is a promising new conference for iOS developers that is open to all. 

These conferences offer excellent opportunities to meet and hire top-notch app developers or find referrals to reliable agencies. You’ll need some basic app development knowledge and a bit of courage! 

Tech Blogs

We’re talking about serious tech blogs. 

Most developers blog to network by solving problems. The logic is similar to Q&A forums and GitHub, etc. 

It’s easy to find blogs by app developers. You can always drop a mail and check if they are interested in your startup idea.

Local Colleges and Universities

Local College and University campuses can be sources of enthusiastic young developers. Many students agree to work at startups to support their studies. You can begin by building the app with them cost-effectively and later offer them employment as a reward.

Computer Science and Engineering students begin their professional networking towards the final years of their graduation. They look for internship opportunities and projects to get hands-on experience. Your startup could provide that platform for a potential long-term team member.

Process to hire an app developer for your Startup

After taking the two key decisions to find an app developer for your startup, it’s time to move towards hiring. Before you finalize the app developer fit to start building your app, or entrust an agency to turn your idea into reality, it’s good to short-list the options. After that, you can assess your options, and finally look at a few more questions for assurance. 


Steps in hiring an app developer


Short-listing App Developers after finding them

While short-listing the potential candidates (individuals or agencies) to build your app, you need to look at three things

  • Skills
  • Experience and Niche understanding
  • Reviews and Testimonials

Skills of the App Developer and their Team

The skills you will require will depend upon the type of app you are building. Programming languages are the base of any app’s development and performance. The platform/s for which you require the app decides the programming language proficiency and skills expected from the developers. These platforms may be Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, etc.


Programming LanguagesPlatforms
SwiftiOS, iPad OS, watchOS, tvOS
Java and KotlinAndroid
C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, PythonWindows

Programming languages alone cannot build an app and make it ready for your users. It requires a whole tech-stack. You’ll also need to check that the developers you hire for your startup are proficient in the following frameworks.


Frontend Frameworks

React NativeJavascriptiOS, Android
FlutterDart, C, C++iOS, Android
IonicHTML, CSS, JavascriptiOS, Android, Windows
AngularTypescriptOnly hybrid apps


Backend Frameworks

Express JSNodeJs


Experience and Niche Understanding of the App Developer

An app is not merely a code that is expected to enable functionality for users. It is a way of taking your business and brand to your customers. For this reason, besides the logic and business process, a UI/UX has to be built into the app. UI/UX determines the interaction of your customers with your business without revealing its inner workings. 

Experience in app development counts because it helps in bringing an organic unity between your business idea and your customers’ perception of it. It also saves time, brings more ideas for improvement, and keeps the development process smooth.

Experience in app development operates at three levels. Industry, business, and niche. While short-listing the potential candidates and/or agencies to build your startups app, assess their experience.

Industry-level Experience

At a broader level, you need to see if they have worked for or with your industry earlier. It’s always advisable to work with developers who have developed apps for your industry before. Which industry is yours? Finance, Healthcare, Entertainment, Retail, or something else?

Business related experience

Your startup’s business type or domain will have some special requirements. Try to short-list the candidates that have experience in developing the type of app you want. For example, you may have made a list of healthcare app developers. This list may have developers with experience in women’s healthcare apps, doctor-on-demand apps, dieting apps, and fitness apps etc. Try to figure out the category and subcategory into which your business idea and app fit! 

Experience in your Niche

Finally comes the niche. Your startup’s niche makes it special. You may even inaugurate a new niche within your industry with your unique way of solving an unnoticed problem! To ensure that your short-listed candidates are the right people to carry out the job, you need to look at the depth and variety of their experience. For example, if your fitness app’s focus is above 70-year-olds, you are entering a niche market.

By short-listing the candidates with experience in your industry and niche, you can ensure a hassle-free development process. Developers with experience in your industry will have a prior understanding of the challenges associated with your business. They will also have a better idea of your market, competitors, and, above all, your customers’ expectations. 

Developers’ experience translates into unique features, good UI/UX, and minimum hiccups after the launch. This ultimately means great customer satisfaction and more profits. In other words, a successful app! 

Developers with experience of developing apps in your niche can also bring new ideas for your startup. Domain experts and industry specialist app developers are proactive participants in turning your app into a reality.

Reviews, References, and Testimonials before hiring an App Developer

Developer and agency reviews on hiring platforms and B2B directories reflect the service standards of app developers. Ratings and reviews tell you about the experience other businesses had while working with your short-listed candidates? Would you place your trust in some agency that has few reviews and average ratings? So, it’s time to cross-check and make sure that your short-listed candidates are reliable.

Many hiring platforms show client references with the developer profiles. You can use them to talk directly to the past clients of your candidates. It’s a great way of knowing about the past work of developers. You can ask the past clients about the design principles used, tech-tack adopted, and project duration, etc. Or can simply ask just one question – “How was their experience of working with XYZ?”  

Download some of the apps they have built and try to get a feel for their work. Find their portfolios and case studies of past projects on their profiles and websites. 

If you don’t find client references, portfolios, and case studies on their profile and websites, mail them your request.

Once you are satisfied with the skills, experience, and background of developers, it’s time to consider each option more separately.


App Project Cost and Budget

The next most important thing is the app development budget. Something Startup owners think about many times a day!

It is good to ask each candidate about their charges for your project. Your initial commitment may be for just a Proof of Concept (PoC), or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) version. 

Remember that app development is not just about writing the code. It does not end at the app launch. It also involves UI/UX design, testing, deployment, and maintenance, etc. You can save by hiring an agency, since it will provide you with dedicated experts for each app building task in a single team.

If you want to build your own in-house team of developers, then take care of employee well-being. Pay them good salaries and benefits to keep them motivated in your project.

It’s very important to negotiate salaries and project costs to determine budgets before moving ahead. The best way is to make a comparative list. Don’t forget to factor in the skills, experience, and reviews while making the comparisons for selection. 


App Developer outsourcing rates comparison by country


Proof of Concept (PoC) and Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

PoC is important when you are innovating or building a complex app. Also, if you are trying to build something that doesn’t have precedence. If you are simply being too ambitious, you’ll again need a PoC. MVP is a good option when you want to build a long-term relationship with the developers. It is useful when your underlying business model and market is tough to understand for developers. 

After carrying out a PoC or making an MVP, your developers are more comfortable with your idea. They are surer and more confident of continuing with developing your app for a long-term.

PoC is a process to test the viability of the startup idea and technical feasibility of an app. It is often the first step before finding investors for the startup. 

Importance of PoC

PoC is important from the entrepreneur’s angle when the idea behind the app is unique and novel. A high level of innovation requires a PoC to inspire confidence amongst the investors. With a PoC, the entrepreneurs prove to the investors that their app will be successful and their idea will bring returns.

A PoC is important when the app is complex and demands innovation. App developers provide a PoC as the simplest working model of the app. It  demonstrates the feasibility of their design and engineering before the project begins.

If you are innovating, and your app is a complex app with many novel features, then PoC is a must. It will help you win the investors’ confidence. Moreover, it will assure you that the agency selected by you for building your startup app is the right company to go do the job.

Importance of MVP

Sometimes, it is important to launch an MVP of the app to gauge its performance in the market. An MVP carries the most essential features of an app. While making an MVP, the developers gain a better understanding of your business, market, and competitors.

Long-term commitment

You may be anxious about the success of your startup, but let’s not keep the fingers crossed. Let’s make it happen! We have confidence that you have a great business idea and the grit and smartness to make it a success. 

You’ll need to hold on to your app developers beyond the MVP and the app launch. Everything will go well! Ask the developers you are hiring regarding their availability of working with your startup for a long time. Years! 

There’s nothing worse than losing the team of developers after sending ripples in your industry by your app’s launch. When you need them the most! Hiring “replacements” in a short span won’t be possible, and they will have to begin from scratch to understand your startup’s challenges.

After taking-off, your app would require regular maintenance and feature upgrades. You’ll need a team of developers that understands the tech-stack equally well as the customer preferences. Therefore, always look to hire a team of app developers for your startup that makes a long-term commitment.

Full Service App Development Agency to find the best App Developers

While outsourcing app development to an agency, make sure they have a full team of developers. A full service app development agency has many advantages, both in the long-run and short-term. Hiring an agency with an incomplete team and working with freelancers alongside is not feasible. Not at all advisable! 

Check if the app development agency has the following experts before finding and hiring an single App Developer or an App development team from them:

  • iOS/Android App Developer
  • Backend Developer
  • UI/UX Designer
  • QA Engineer
  • Mobile Architect
  • Project Manager

Few more things to ask before finding and hiring App Developers for a Startup 

It’s not just about a long-term commitment. You should try to sense their eagerness first. Ask them about the features they can recommend. Or, you can ask them if there was anything they wished to do differently in the last project but were not allowed.

Many startup apps face sluggishness, especially as their users increase. So, it is important to ask what architecture the app development agency is planning to handle high load.

You may inquire how the app company plans to build the information security into the architecture.

Will the app development agency sign a copyright agreement and an NDA before you hire an App Developer from them?

Before finalizing the app development agreement, get a sense of their excitement. Make sure that they have the experience of handling the level of complexity and scale that your business plan demands.

Before you Hire App Developers for your Startup

Your short-list of app developers will most likely be left with two or three candidates after the consideration phase. If it isn’t, make sure you strike-off the less suitable candidates. While proceeding towards finalizing the app developer for your startup, you can ask the following questions. 

What will be the App Development process?

You should ask the app development agency regarding the development process they will follow. Make sure to ask what app development methodology they intend to use. How much time will each stage of development take? How much time will each task consume?

The following steps provide an overview of the app development process.


App Development Process

How will the team members collaborate?

You will need to ensure that the developers can collaborate effectively with your team. Choose developers who can speak your language. Most offshore outsourcing companies will provide developers who can communicate in English. 

When outsourcing to offshore app development agencies, make sure that at least some working hours overlap. 

Also decide upon the Project Management, mailing, video calling, and file sharing tools.  

What will be the Communication Cadence after you’ve found an App Developer?

Communication assumes an additional importance for startups. 

As a startup, you build an idea into an app. As a business, you build upon success. You build upon what your customers like and demand. But as a startup, you take up the challenge of taking an idea and converting into code to make people’s lives easier.

By deciding the communication cadence, you create the environment of clear and regular communication with the app developers.

How, how often, and when will the core startup team and developers communicate? Preparing clear guidelines regarding communication ensures that the business idea becomes a reality without delays and confusions. So, no more extending the launch date!

Soft Skills

Successful app developers have problem-solving skills, business sense, empathy towards customers, and time-management skills apart from having solid coding skills on platforms like Xcode, Studio, react native or flutter.


App developers working with startups should be proactive. Find and shortlist the app developers who are ready to engage with ideas, who want to make a difference, and who have a spirit for adventure.

We are sure that you’ll succeed in your search for app developers for your startup with these resources, tips, and processes. If you need any help, just drop us a line.

There are many online sources to find reliable app developers in a short time. Toptal, TopCoder,, and YouTeam are some platforms to find freelance app developers. If you want to hire a full-team of developers, then you can look for agencies on Clutch, TheyMakeApps, AppFutura, and GoodFirms. Refer to B2B directories like DesignRush, BusinessofApps, and WADLINE to find app development companies.

There are various online sources where you can find app developers for your startup. First, there are platforms for hiring freelancers and app development agencies. You can look for individual talent through Job Portals. B2B directories for IT and Software are also good sources of finding app developers. You can also turn to local colleges and universities to hire interns.

No, it is not necessary for startups to hire and build an in-house team of app developers. In fact, most startups outsource their app development to offshoring regions like Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. By outsourcing, entrepreneurs are able to devote their attention to their core business process. Outsourcing is also cost-effective, and it allows easy up-scaling.

You can hire remote app developers for your startup depending upon the engagement model that suits your requirements. You can hire remote developers and build a remote in-house team. If you want to outsource, you can find a reliable app development company and hire remote app developers from them. However, hiring remote freelance app developers is not advisable for a startup.

If you are planning to outsource app development to an agency, you should check their experience, business knowledge, and reviews of past work. Ask them for their portfolio to check if they have built an app like yours in the past. Try to find out if they understand your industry, market, customers, and business model. Check if they have a UI/UX sense.

Sudeep Bhatnagar
Co-founder & Director of Business
Sudeep Bhatnagar

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