How to find and hire a mobile app developer

Your startup doesn't have a mobile app yet, and you picture your client typing your brand name into the App Store or Play Store search bar. A fancy icon appears as the first result. Press Get. Double-click to install. Wait for the download to finish… and Voila! Your service is literally in your client's pocket. Terrific, right? Seems like all you have to do now is find an app developer to bring your idea to life.

But as you already guessed, hiring a mobile app developer is an icing on the cake. There is some preliminary work to be done. In this article, we will go through the step-by-step process of hiring an app developer. We will help you find the best fit for your needs, considering your terms, budget, and your business goals.

Reading time: 9 minutes

Table of contents

The starting point: what you should know to find an app developer

First things first. As every enterprise starts from profound marketing research, so does the mobile app. Before finding an app developer, you should understand what product you’re making and have a clear comprehension of the following points:

Your business

Who are you and what services do you offer? You may be a fresh entrepreneur or an experienced one, but you’ve probably reflected on this crucial concept hundreds of times. You surely have it on your website, in your investor pitch deck, and in your head 24 hours a day. Now, when you’re going into mobile app development, it would be helpful to revise your business plan and set the goals for your future mobile application.

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Even if your startup offers very specific services, and you came up with a truly unique idea, you are likely to find a few competitors in a mobile application market. Don’t get discouraged — competition is a sign that your niche is alive and well. 

Analyze your fellow mobile app’s suggestions and make sure you’re competing in your league. There’s no point in trying to clone Instagram with a budget of a simple image editor. Though you can highlight the benefits of your product that will attract clients even in over-saturated categories.

On the other hand, if your niche is empty, and you can’t find any competitors at all, don’t get your hopes up — the customers may be getting your services with non-obvious mobile applications, and a broader category of research can spot them.

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Target audience

You know your ideal customer. Their age and gender, their pains and the solutions they use to solve them. What payment systems they prefer, how patient they are about the speed of result delivery, etc. Now think about all these metrics in terms of mobile app development. What smartphone does your target customer have if having one at all? What apps are on their home screen, and where is there a place for yours?

Features & logic

What are the major features of your future app? Mobile app developers will advise you on common features such as incorporating social media integration, providing a search function or gathering user’s feedback. But the core ones are tied to your expertise in your niche and no developer can invent them for you. 

For example, in our carbon accounting app, we implemented accounting formulas and standards that the startup brought to us. Otherwise, this app wouldn’t be helpful to startups’ clients. 

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If you struggle with features list, you can go with defining MVP — Minimum Viable Product — a first version of your app. It only contains the key features that define your service and bring value to your clients. The MVP approach helps to pay more attention to the features that would distinguish your service from the competitors. 

At this point, you can also think about the design of your future app and analyze information architecture and user flow. What does the journey of a new user look like from the point they install the mobile app? Is your customer at ease with search and navigation, or do they need help? How do they place an order and get support?

Where to find app developers

Now, with all the preliminary work done, we finally come to the point of finding the right mobile app developers to bring the project to life. 

There are three popular options to approach the app development process and find mobile app developers. You can employ them in-house, find a freelancer or turn to full-cycle outsourced teams. Now let’s look at the key pros and cons of each option to make it easier for you to make a choice.


In-house teams are usually gathered under one roof, which eases the process of communication and control. Even if some team members work remotely, the long-term dedication to your enterprise helps the app development process go smoother and more predictable. 

It takes much time and resources to find and hire in-house app developers. You will also face expenses on office rent, medical insurance and sick leaves, holidays, annual bonuses and other means of appraisal. 

There is also an issue with the number of people occupied on the project. App development process requires a larger team than the post-release support. You can face a problem of carrying excess staff and costs to maintain it when the major work is done.

Top international platforms for hiring in-house mobile developers

LinkedIn Indeed Glassdoor People First Jobs Product Hunt Dice


Freelance is the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking for an alternative to in-house recruitment. Numerous freelance platforms display the range of experienced individuals ready to dive into your business at a short notice. 

The main attraction in hiring a freelance app developer is value for money. The costs here are considered to be lower than the salaries of in-house staff, besides you’ve got the entire world to choose from and can opt for app developers from the countries with low market prices on mobile app development services.

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Hiring freelance app developers can be a reasonable option for a startup with a limited budget and a narrowly focused task that can be completed by one person. However, a single freelancer is unlikely to meet the challenge of developing an app that would benefit a startup. Mobile app development requires an agile team of several experts: a designer, a developer, a tester, to say the least. Even if a freelancer combines all these roles, they can’t be an expert in all of them. 

➖Losing control of the process is probably the greatest fear an entrepreneur encounters while hiring a freelance app developer. Despite excellent reviews and an elaborate portfolio, you cannot fully rely on the self-discipline of a freelancer and would have to manage all stages of the app development process.

Top international platforms for hiring freelance app developer 

Upwork Fiverr Flexiple Toptal Guru Youteam Hubstaff Talent


What does a mobile app development team usually look like? Well, with a lack of budgets and a very simple task, one can imagine a team of one reckless freelancer doing all the work. Unfortunately, an app development process can’t be completed by one Jack-of-all-trades and that’s where outsourcing comes to the rescue. 

Outsourced mobile app development companies are agile full-cycle teams that comprise all the staff you need to build an app. Several experts, including a project manager, UI/UX designer, QA engineer and mobile app developers, run at full force, each doing their specific part of the job. Besides, no adaptation needed, as the team members are accustomed to collaboration.

➕Outsourcing vendors provide not only a team of mobile app developers and all other needed staff for you, but also a management function. You can save yourself from tedious supervision while preserving full control over your project.

Top international B2B platforms for hiring outsource teams

Clutch Upcity Goodfirms Reputed Firms

Outsourced teams are tailored to meet your expectations and achieve superior results. 

Check one of our cases here at Purrweb. Our client, a multi-currency crypto wallet Broex, came to us with a mobile application. The task was to build an easy-to-use tool for beginners that would help them add, exchange, and withdraw cryptocurrencies without fear of doing something wrong. With this precise idea in mind, we’ve built a mobile app that fully meets Broex’s requirements, paying careful attention to intuitive design, navigation, and interface patterns familiar to most users.

Check how we turned into life the client’s idea, making a customer-friendly app

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How much does it cost to hire dedicated app developers?

The cost of hiring mobile app developers depends on several factors. The crucial ones are the means of contracting (in-house, freelance, or outsource) that we discussed earlier. And the country or countries where you hire the specialists from. Developers’ fees are highest in the USA, Canada and Australia, while in India, Pakistan and Eastern Europe the hourly pay is several times lower.

The technology stack also contributes to the final development cost. If we compare costs of hiring iOS and Android developers and cross-platform developers, we see the difference as well. Average hourly rate of native iOS and Android app developers is slightly lower than that of cross-platform ones.

If you want to save time and money on mobile app development, go with the cross-platform option despite the cross-platform mobile app developers charge more. You will need only one cross-platform team instead of two native teams to release your mobile app on iOS and Android platforms.

Mobile app developer rates by country

Region iOS

(Avg. $/Hr)


(Avg. $/Hr)


(Avg. $/Hr)

Canada 90 – 120 80 – 140 90 – 120
The USA 60 – 120 60 – 120 60 – 130
Latin America 28 – 90 28 – 90 40 – 160
The UK 60 – 75 60 – 75 55 – 75
Europe 35 – 55 35 – 55 30 – 50
Ukraine 40 – 78 38 – 60 40 – 78
South Africa 45 – 80  40 – 80 40 – 80
India 22 – 90 15 – 25 20 – 30
Southeast Asia 23 – 55 30 – 45 30 – 45
Asia 25 – 35 20 – 30 25 – 35
Australia 90 – 120 100 – 120 90 – 120

Goodfirms Survey

Step-by-step process of finding an app developer

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of defining what product you are about to make, revising your business plan, confirming your budget and evaluating pros and cons of different means of organizing the team work. Now it’s time to find the ideal mobile developer for your app. Check out this step-by-step guide on how to handle this task.

Step 1. Research the market

Choose what method of contracting (in-house, freelance, outsource) suits your needs best and take a look around the app developers’ hiring and review platforms.

Step 2. Build a pool of suitable candidates

Make a list of mobile app developers that meet your general requirements. Let’s shorten it, cutting out specialists that don’t have enough relevant experience, are not acquainted with your niche, cost more than you can afford.

Step 3. Make a short-list of your potential app developers

Check the portfolios of the applicants, paying attention to the projects in your niche. The reviews of the developer’s work can be found either on hiring platforms of your choice, that we discussed earlier, their websites, or in testimonials section of a candidate’s CV. 

Step 4. Interview 

This step is often considered the easy one, but don’t let that mislead you. Interviewing potential mobile app developers is not just talking about their experience and remuneration demands. Pay attention to the applicant’s motivation. Let them share their ideas on the project, indicate the possible difficulties and their approach to dealing with them. 

Step 5. Clarify your requirements and hire

Once you’ve found your ideal mobile app developer, set clear expectations, make sure they are understood and achievable, and go through the app development process once again. When everything is settled, let the work begin!

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What should I consider when hiring an app developer?

There are some things you will find helpful to check while building a pool of app developers suitable for your project.


Network has always been one of the major sources of finding candidates that fit. References from your colleagues and friends can help you find a suitable app developer. Not only do they know your problem and their protégé skills, they also bring more trust into your relationship.


Experience in your niche and knowing your industry is a valuable asset. It’s also critical for a potential employee to have a portfolio of works on the framework chosen for your mobile application. In Purrweb we have a large portfolio of works on React Native framework in different niches from Healthcare to Fintech.  


Check the reviews of developer’s clients. Most of the hiring platforms, either B2B or B2C, have a review section and a listing of the highest rated specialists and vendors. Use Clutch, Goodfirms and other resources that we discussed earlier to view the reviews on outsourcing vendors. Time management, seamless communication, result- and client-oriented approach is what we are looking for here.


Entrepreneur’s control over the app development process and team’s workflow depends a lot on communication. If you hire a freelancer, smooth time management and communication issues are your concern. Whereas outsourcing vendors usually have extensive experience in taking over tedious team management while leaving you to do all the important decision-making.

Let’s sum up!

Hiring a dedicated mobile app developer that fits your needs is something that will help your future application reach the top of your category, acquire new clients and provide the best service for existing ones. In this article, we carefully sorted out the key parts of the process of finding app developers. There’s also an answer to the question of how much does it cost, and a step-by-step guide that helps not to be sidetracked on your way.

If you want to hire an agile full-cycle mobile app development team and transfer your idea into a perfectly working app, we’re here to assist. Check how we helped EnerGO build a user-friendly powerbank renting app. And here’s how we helped restaurateurs to communicate with their suppliers through elaborate app.​​ 

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