1. TheAngryMudcrab's Avatar
    Hello all,

    I am looking to get some general advice on how and what I should look for in hiring a freelance app developer.

    My company is looking to have an app developed for the first time. Although I have a level of experience hiring and managing contractors from all sorts of different industries. This will be the first time I have hired a contractor/freelancer for developing an app.

    I have found that searching for an app developer is kind of like walking in a mine field. You need to take your time and walk slowly or the whole thing will blow up on you.

    So, my question is. If i am looking to hire a freelance app developer. Should I be looking for someone who can complete the whole project from start to Finish? Or should I be hiring different people based on different segments of the app development? Such as 1) UI developer 2) Coder etc.

    Forgive my noobish approach, as mentioned this is the first time myself or anyone in my organization has done this.

    To give you an idea of scope;

    The app is a sales tracker app that would allow our sales team to track sales opportunities, manage opportunities throughout the various stages of a sale pipeline as well as take notes based on opportunities, schedule follow ups etc.

    Now i know there are solutions for this already, BASE CRM, Salesforce etc.

    We are looking to develop something internally and avoid the subscription model of the companies mentioned above. We also don't need the wide range of features offered. This really is meant to be a bare bones "sales funnel" tool.

    Could someone provide me with some guidance on where I can find a freelancer to do this project. As well as what up front preparation We should be completing to make this cost effective and professional.

    We are currently putting the finishing touches on a Specification Document that will lay out the entire scope of this app. But would also appreciate some feedback on what kind of information may need to be included in that document.

    Also, the plan is to have this as an iOS app initially and than in the future to port this to Android as well.

    Thanks in advance for all those that reply.
    12-28-2016 09:47 AM
  2. pkcable's Avatar
    I have a few developer friends, they work in BlackBerry, Android, VR and web development, BUT the principle is the same. I have reached out. Sit tight these are busy folks. Hopefully one of them can offer some tips.



    Here's some info from iMore about Apple development....

    http://www.imore.com/tag/apple-developer-portal
    TheAngryMudcrab likes this.
    12-28-2016 11:17 AM
  3. TheAngryMudcrab's Avatar
    Thank you! I appreciate you reaching out
    12-28-2016 11:24 AM
  4. KermEd's Avatar
    Sounds like a fun project! And yes, hiring app developers is a complete minefield, there are so many considerations it is intimidating. A lot of people walk into this unaware, and I'm glad you're putting a lot of thought into it.

    About me, I've created ~200 mobile titles, and I've hired a dozen people on my team at different times - so I know first hand the good and bad surprises that come with development. That said, because you guys are starting with a specifications document, you are already well ahead of the curve.

    My advice - technology wise and just based on your info above - I'd recommend a Node.js backend somewhere accessible. And then create the application using Xamarin. That way, it's compatible with iOS, Android and Windows and you only need to create it once.

    It's usually less polished but let's you reach more devices quicker and for less effort.

    As for my role in life - I normally don't contract out, it's been many years since I did... I am a co-owner of a VR Game company. And I own FileArchiveHaven - I also do a bit of work with local startups. But I am looking for a project & alternatively I do know some good contacts.

    Message me anytime and I'll help you wherever you need a hand in the process - even if it's to get some general advice. At this stage, you want to look for someone who has done apps end-to-end with security & backend experience. Or seek someone with architecture experience.

    For a large app there would usually be an architect. A backend. And a frontend developer. For a smaller scale app, you could definitely get a solo developer, but find someone with a good track record / experience. Usually in this field people specialize in only one area. There are app companies that can do this too but their charge is typically very high - but they can commit major resources as well.
    pkcable and TheAngryMudcrab like this.
    12-28-2016 02:29 PM
  5. pkcable's Avatar
    From one of my developer sources.....

    - Don't hire cheap
    - Get a team
    - Incentive the team to be in it for the long run as oppose to just looking at you as a client


    Also, that's assuming they have the budget. Some people have a lower budget and end up outsourcing a single person to do everything who is just a freelancer looking to make a buck and probably outsourced someone else himself. Then what happens is that no one's left there to maintain the code, a new development team probably won't like / agree with how they coded things, list goes on. With an iOS app (with anything, really, but especially apps) you definitely want to do it right the first time around. Also, maybe look for someone who knows react native, which allows for cross-platform development using a single language (they said they wanted android too). This way they don't have to have to rely on 2 different teams for development of each app
    TheAngryMudcrab likes this.
    12-28-2016 04:01 PM
  6. TheAngryMudcrab's Avatar
    Sounds like a fun project! And yes, hiring app developers is a complete minefield, there are so many considerations it is intimidating. A lot of people walk into this unaware, and I'm glad you're putting a lot of thought into it.

    About me, I've created ~200 mobile titles, and I've hired a dozen people on my team at different times - so I know first hand the good and bad surprises that come with development. That said, because you guys are starting with a specifications document, you are already well ahead of the curve.

    My advice - technology wise and just based on your info above - I'd recommend a Node.js backend somewhere accessible. And then create the application using Xamarin. That way, it's compatible with iOS, Android and Windows and you only need to create it once.

    It's usually less polished but let's you reach more devices quicker and for less effort.

    As for my role in life - I normally don't contract out, it's been many years since I did... I am a co-owner of a VR Game company. And I own FileArchiveHaven - I also do a bit of work with local startups. But I am looking for a project & alternatively I do know some good contacts.

    Message me anytime and I'll help you wherever you need a hand in the process - even if it's to get some general advice. At this stage, you want to look for someone who has done apps end-to-end with security & backend experience. Or seek someone with architecture experience.

    For a large app there would usually be an architect. A backend. And a frontend developer. For a smaller scale app, you could definitely get a solo developer, but find someone with a good track record / experience. Usually in this field people specialize in only one area. There are app companies that can do this too but their charge is typically very high - but they can commit major resources as well.
    Wow this is all very helpful information. I would file this into the small app category. I have contacted some App Development companies, and i have been quoted upwards of 75K. Which in my opinion for the scope of work is outrageous.

    I may definitely take you up on that offer of advice as this moves along. Thanks again for the feedback
    12-28-2016 08:44 PM
  7. TheAngryMudcrab's Avatar
    From one of my developer sources.....
    Hi, thank you for that feedback. I have put this project out to bid with several companies for development. The quotes I have gotten back have ranged from 25k to 100K. Which is a bit nuts. This is not a large scale project. But also not one to be taken lightly.

    I certainly appreciate your feedback. My leaning towards looking to get someone solo (assuming one person has the skills required) is the help keep the budget in check.

    Our budget for this project is flexible but it isn't 100K

    I definitely agree with doing it right the first time, we can't afford to put this thing in rework stages over and over again if it doesn't come out well the first go around. Thanks again for that feedback
    ron1991 likes this.
    12-28-2016 08:47 PM
  8. TheAngryMudcrab's Avatar
    So as a follow up question.

    Where is a good resource for one to look for a freelancer or small team? I have contacted several in my local area as well as 3 from Google Searches. I have also browsed (and contacted) a few people from Envato Studio, Freelancer.com.

    I like Freelancer.com's model, but it just doesn't give me the comfort level I am looking for in hiring someone.

    Any thoughts?
    12-28-2016 08:49 PM
  9. pkcable's Avatar
    Sharing some personal experience, we bid out a MUCH larger project a business process app for our government office. We got bids ranging from 300k to 800k, obviously we went for the 300k which was a smaller company, and it is a decision we have been regretting ever since. They were ill prepared for a job of our scope and as my developer friend has pointed out maintaining the code has been a REAL problem.

    This being said IF you can get the right company, be willing to spend what it costs for good programming. Make sure to get a maintenance agreement in place, and be sure to budget for those costs. This has been a REAL issue for us, we had no idea how much on going costs were going to be for our project and they have been MUCH higher than we anticipated!
    TheAngryMudcrab likes this.
    12-28-2016 09:32 PM
  10. TheAngryMudcrab's Avatar
    Sharing some personal experience, we bid out a MUCH larger project a business process app for our government office. We got bids ranging from 300k to 800k, obviously we went for the 300k which was a smaller company, and it is a decision we have been regretting ever since. They were ill prepared for a job of our scope and as my developer friend has pointed out maintaining the code has been a REAL problem.

    This being said IF you can get the right company, be willing to spend what it costs for good programming. Make sure to get a maintenance agreement in place, and be sure to budget for those costs. This has been a REAL issue for us, we had no idea how much on going costs were going to be for our project and they have been MUCH higher than we anticipated!
    That is great feedback thank you. I guess where I struggle is knowing what a fair price is based on scope. I have been told by a part time developer that our App should be about 180 hours to complete. But again, o can't verify the validity of that number. Can only go with what I think someone who knows what they are talking about thinks....If that makes any sense.

    Thanks for the feedback
    12-28-2016 09:36 PM
  11. pkcable's Avatar
    That is great feedback thank you. I guess where I struggle is knowing what a fair price is based on scope. I have been told by a part time developer that our App should be about 180 hours to complete. But again, o can't verify the validity of that number. Can only go with what I think someone who knows what they are talking about thinks....If that makes any sense.

    Thanks for the feedback
    One of the issues we are facing and this may or may not be an issue for you, is OS upgrades. Our app was originally designed for and around WinXP, we for the most part got it working on Win7, BUT we can't seem to get it working on Win10. Well our vendor can't, and 3rd parties are difficult to work with on it because it's not their code, JUST like my developer friend described. We are working on a solution, but it's costly and at this point I can not buy new Win10 PCs as a result. So you need to ask a similar question, how long will you use the app, will it have to live through an OS update? WILL it have to run on multiple platforms, as my friend KermEd suggested? And IF you will be running it on Android that opens a whole other can of worms as there will be multiple Android versions you'll need to support. Now this is NOT to say, it can't be done. Just be aware of it, and know that there will be a cost. You WILL at some point need to update the app IF/When a major new OS is released.
    TheAngryMudcrab likes this.
    12-29-2016 09:51 AM
  12. KermEd's Avatar
    That is great feedback thank you. I guess where I struggle is knowing what a fair price is based on scope. I have been told by a part time developer that our App should be about 180 hours to complete. But again, o can't verify the validity of that number. Can only go with what I think someone who knows what they are talking about thinks....If that makes any sense.

    Thanks for the feedback
    I'd have to see the specs. But at 75K, you should be getting a well seasoned contractor for around 1000hrs. Or even a full time local resource for a year.

    180 hours sounds reasonable to me though assuming the scope is pretty clear cut. Third party API's and systems are what usually makes that take longer.
    Last edited by KermEd; 12-30-2016 at 08:38 AM.
    pkcable and TheAngryMudcrab like this.
    12-30-2016 07:51 AM
  13. TheAngryMudcrab's Avatar
    One of the issues we are facing and this may or may not be an issue for you, is OS upgrades. Our app was originally designed for and around WinXP, we for the most part got it working on Win7, BUT we can't seem to get it working on Win10. Well our vendor can't, and 3rd parties are difficult to work with on it because it's not their code, JUST like my developer friend described. We are working on a solution, but it's costly and at this point I can not buy new Win10 PCs as a result. So you need to ask a similar question, how long will you use the app, will it have to live through an OS update? WILL it have to run on multiple platforms, as my friend KermEd suggested? And IF you will be running it on Android that opens a whole other can of worms as there will be multiple Android versions you'll need to support. Now this is NOT to say, it can't be done. Just be aware of it, and know that there will be a cost. You WILL at some point need to update the app IF/When a major new OS is released.
    I would say that the app would be used for an extended period of time. It would need to be stable throughout OS upgrades and ultimately expand to other OS's. So that type of support would definitely be required
    pkcable likes this.
    01-03-2017 07:45 AM

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