How to Find & Hire Developers for Startup on the early-stage

To develop a successful startup, you need something more than just a good idea. There may be a lot of ideas, but they are only empty words without implementation. And successful implementation is impossible without a decent team.

Software developers define the product and your company in the future. Each developer should bring one’s vision, as well as the knowledge and experience to the table. You may have heard about great leaders, such as Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk. The world appreciates their contribution. But if you go deeper, you will realize there is a solid team behind them. And sometimes the attempt to find developers for your startup is the biggest challenge you may face.

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Table of contents

    Why does a team matter?

    Two heads are always better than one. Even if you are able to generate outstanding ideas, you need someone who will implement them in real life. Good products are not just about creativity, they are about mechanical work, a long way to the goal. The right people nearby will make this way much easier.

    Challenges of growing startup team

    Running a startup is like walking a minefield. You never know what to expect. Fortunately, you can learn by example, that’s why analyzing issues the other companies cope with is very helpful. Check out the list of problems you must be prepared for.

    Hiring issues

    Most tech startups start alone or with a couple of dedicated friends. But it is not enough to grow, and one day you’ll realize you need to hire more developers. There are a lot of software developers to choose from. But it is not so easy to decide who in this pool is your perfect match and where to find a programmer for startups.

    What one should do when hiring software developers for startups is to write an attractive job ad, then gather a lot of CVs and schedule interviews. And even they are not enough since people say one thing and do another. They may have a great background and technical knowledge, but poor soft skills. Hiring developers definitely takes you a lot of time and energy, even if you have a professional recruiter in your team.

    No warm onboarding

    Let’s say you were lucky enough and have hired developers for a startup. Congratulations, you’re a real business now. The real business with real problems. And your employees’ satisfaction is one of them.

    developers dancing at the party

    You may offer an interesting project with huge opportunities (as soon as you attract investments). But what about the warm onboarding for software developers? The convenient office with coffee and cookies? Friday parties? Working on the MVP development, you most likely don’t have a budget to satisfy all needs. And be sure, developers begin to work worse when they don’t like the surrounding atmosphere.

    Distributing roles 

    Even if you’ve succeeded with a couple of software developers who are the lifeblood of your future product, you still don’t have enough teammates. As a result, you have to ask your colleagues to juggle between tasks that you may not like. You’ll find yourself thinking about the salaries (yes, without hiring a good accountant you’ll cope with one’s task on yourself), or even about the coffee. Who will interact with prospective investors? Who is in charge of competitors’ analysis? It is an inspirational rhythm when everyone does everything. But it definitely leads to burning out.

    Managing finances 

    We have already mentioned that you need talent to engage investors and to manage your budget. As soon as it is pretty limited, you can’t just spend money as you feel. It is vital to follow some financial strategy, and it is not so easy with the messy team where freelance developers pretend they’re Caesars with unlimited job duties.

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    Security threats

    Modern businesses face modern challenges, and one of them is related to your online presence. The bigger your startup grows, the more security threats you should be prepared for. With searching for different development partners and working with them on a daily basis, it is essential to ensure robust protection for all the data your team has access to. If you don’t want to find yourself with stolen ideas or hacked computers, you should be very careful.

    Find a trustworthy software developer for your startup

    Take time to think over any security threats

    Communication issues

    It is hard to find software engineers. But keeping the startup’s team on the same page is as difficult as building the platform from scratch. Sometimes it is impossible to come to a mutual understanding with your partner, and the more talent you have in your team, the more complicated the task becomes. Each person has one’s own vision, approaches, and ways to organize the work routine, and one should interact not only with you, but with all team members. It is a vicious circle that may become crucial for the development process of an early-stage startup.

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    Three hiring strategies to consider

    Of course, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It means that the challenges we have described above shouldn’t scare you. The more you know about them, the better prepared you are, and the more confident you are. You should also know that there are various hiring approaches you may choose from. They have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is impossible to say that one is better than the others. However, it is possible to define the best option according to your start position and hire remote developers for your startup that meets all your expectations. Let’s see what your perfect match is!

    In-House Team 

    people holding puzzle pieces in development team

    It is the most traditional approach that different companies have been using for centuries. Hiring full time developers is solid and powerful, but we can’t say for sure that this approach works for new startups. Analyze it from different angles, and you’ll understand whether this strategy is what you’re looking for.


    Building an in-house team, you:

    • Hire developers for your startup who are looking for stable work. You may share common goals and build the platform together.
    • Develop your global culture and make the whole team a representative of your future brand.
    • Don’t worry about communication since you’re working from one place.
    • Interact with people who have in-depth project knowledge, as they work on it every day and intently focus on its development.


    However, this approach is not so sweet as it may sound because:

    • You need to spend a lot of time and effort to hire developers for your startup with the needed background, skills, and vision. Some parts of the project just stay incomplete if you don’t know where to find software developers for your startup.
    • There are a lot of extra expenses, including taxes, health insurance, office rent. Your in-house team is on the payroll and you can’t just suspend the project if you run out of budget since your developers will find another job.
    • You can’t just fire full-time developers because they are protected by the government.
    • Sometimes you need to concentrate not on the development of your idea and the product itself, but on the human resources. Even if you don’t have the appropriate education and skills.


    a mav sitting on the sofa working as freelancer in development team

    The second strategy is to find programmers for a startup who are working on a freelance basis. This approach is very popular these days due to globalization. You can just open an Upwork or any other similar platform, post your job ad, and receive a dozen applications from software developers located in different countries. This coin has two sides as well. 


    • It is possible to hire a skilled programmer at a low rate. Developers outside the USA and Europe will cost you less, but their level is still pretty impressive.
    • You need to pay only for the finished part of the project, without covering any expenses like sick leaves, vacations, office rent, and so on. 
    • Whenever you need it, you can change your team: fire a freelancer easily, and find new developers for your startup to replace the one.
    • An NDA contract will help you to avoid main security issues working with freelance developers.


    • The hiring process is still very exhausting. You need to go through many websites, read interviews, check test assignments, etc. Some developers claim they are professional while they’re not, and you can’t define their real level at once.
    • Hiring developers for startups from different countries and working online, you need to set the management inside your remote team. Imagine all of your software developers live in different time zones, speak different languages, and have different approaches. You need a strong stomach to manage them.
    • It is difficult to achieve transparency since you need to develop trust, and it takes time. 
    • As it is easy to fire freelance developers, the freelancer can fire you as well. When one finds the more interesting project (or the more paid), one will skip you easily without any regrets.

    Outsource team

    outsorce sowftware development team

    Hiring an outsourced team is the third strategy that is the most efficient option for the early-stage startup. Of course, this approach may have its disadvantages as well, so let us provide you with the full picture.


    • You hire the ready team: you can find a software developer, but also a PM, UI\UX designer, QA engineer, etc.
    • You don’t buy a pig in a poke: each development team has its success stories and you can explore projects that it has already finished with a bang.
    • There is no need to settle the management: if you find software engineers from a good outsource development agency, be sure already that all workflow and business processes are organized.
    • You have a personal manager as a point of contact, who acts as a mediator between you and the team and provides you with transparent reports.
    • If you need to take a pause with your project, just do it. Your development team will be at the same place once you decide to continue.
    • You can expect professional experience, nurtured from other projects. The outsourcing company has already made mistakes and conclusions, and software developers know exactly what you want from them. They may also share their ideas to make your platform better.
    • You have legal guarantees that the outsourcing company won’t skip your project or steal your ideas.
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    • Most likely you’ll work in different time zones, but it is not a problem with good time management. Your manager can appoint meetings at the time both sides like.
    • Sometimes you will face tech difficulties because of the Internet connection. Again, it is not a problem for an experienced team with settled processes.
    • If you have some security worries, ask the outsourcing company to sign an NDA contract.
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    How to find developers for a startup in 8 steps

    We suggest following these steps to hire developers for building your platform:

    Step 1. Set your goals

    Startup founders should start with determining the goal of their project. For this, you may ask yourself the following questions:

    • Which problem does my app solve?
    • What benefit will this platform bring to its users?
    • How will this solution stand out in the market? What are my advantages over similar platforms?
    • What will it look like? How can I provide a better user experience?

    At this stage, you may potentially need to get in touch with consultants or experienced professionals helping entrepreneurs with some analytics or organizational aspects. Either way this is a stage when you decide on your goal to be attained.

    Step 2. Define the job

    Once you know the goal of your project and have some ideas about your future team, it’s time to define the objectives. This is important both for you and the candidates as they need to realize what they’re supposed to complete during the app development. At this step, ask yourself questions like these:

    • Do I need to create a UI/UX design concept?
    • Which pages will my platform consist of?
    • What are the most necessary features to include?
    • Do I need several versions of my platform, including mobile, web, and desktop ones?

    Let’s say, you’ve decided to develop a food delivery platform. Depending on the chosen business model, you may need a client-side app, a restaurant-side app, and sometimes a courier’s app. Each one of them usually includes an authorization page, some dashboard (or a list of restaurants with their menus on the client side), and an opportunity to make or accept an order. So, what about your project? Which development tasks do you have for your potential employees?

    Step 3. Define the skill sets you need

    Only after the previous two steps you’ll make a well-informed decision on what type of developers your project really needs. Keep your goals and objectives in mind, while gathering your “Fantastic Four” together. Or a fantastic five. Or seven. That’s exactly what you need to decide on. To make it clear, you may ask yourself some of these questions:

    • What tech stack should I choose for the project?
    • How many frontend, backend or full stack developers do I need?
    • Do I need a mobile developer?
    • Does the project require the expertise of senior programmers? Can I hire middle and junior developers?

    If you managed to answer at least some of the questions, we congratulate you on having advanced knowledge of the software development process. Yet, it’s okay for an entrepreneur to have no idea about the number of developers you’ll need. That’s why we provide free project consultations — let’s schedule a meeting and define the skill sets you need.

    Step 4. Choose the hiring strategy

    While hiring, startup founders have different employment models to explore. You can hire the whole in-house team of full time developers, find freelancers, or get in touch with an outsourced team. All of these approaches are valid and you need to decide what is better for you and your startup.

    Find a relevant software developer for your startup

    Choose a hiring strategy before the recruitment

    Step 5. Search for candidates

    There are different ways to search for candidates depending on the hiring strategy. Although it may seem complex at the first sight it really boils down to three paths.

    You may employ a traditional approach, post a vacancy and wait for a suitable candidate to come by. It’s a timeless classic, but also unwieldy in a way. It’s a long process that will net you a team, but you’ll need to spend more time setting things up and setting up an organizational structure.

    Conversely you may use talent marketplaces like Guru, Freelancer, or Upwork. It will go nicely if you search for a freelance remote developer for a small task or project. You just find candidates with the right tech background, contact them and get your task done.

    But if you’re limited in time and need a full team for a complex app, your safest bet is hiring a development agency. If you manage to find the right one, you are getting a well-oiled machine with tons of relevant experience that will guide you through every step of the app development.

    Step 6. Conduct a thorough interview

    No matter which hiring strategy you’ll choose, we recommend organizing a proper interview. At the meeting, you can ask about the team’s (or employee’s) past experience with similar projects, desktop and mobile app development, check their skills, share ideas, and even come up with new ones.

    It’s not only about the team’s hard skills, but about the soft skills as well. While speaking, you may learn about their approach to work, communication skills, language proficiency, and building relationships with you as a client. You should also pay attention to their way of solving the problems that may occur in the future.

    Find a software developer with good communication skills

    Pay attention to candidates’ communication skills

    Step 7. Discuss the working terms

    Try not to rush things and devote some time to discussing the working terms. Describe your expectations to the development team, get their take on it, and find a working model. Make the process as clear as possible to avoid misunderstanding in the future.

    Consider setting a trial period to make sure you’re on the same page. And don’t forget to ensure that both parties mutually agree to the payment terms. Don’t try to negotiate the lowest rates possible, consider it as a worthy investment in your app.

    Step 8. Do the paperwork

    When you hire software developers, don’t forget to formalize the working specifics, like hourly rates, with a contract. Early stage startups may face difficulties during this step if the founders aren’t experienced in the matter of labor law and contracts. So don’t hesitate to ask the experts for help if you aren’t sure. It may seem like an unnecessary expense at the moment but you’ll lose much more if something goes awry down the road.

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    Where to find and hire developers for your startup  

    Here are the most effective ways to hire developers for your startup:

    1. Top lists of remote development agencies 

    Search for a trustworthy top list of development companies. Contact a software development agency from the list whose portofolio you find promising enough. Ask them to provide you with professional employees who’ll help you to complete the project. You can choose either an outstaffing or outsourcing model of cooperation. Take remote options into consideration, as such an approach really expands the range of talented developers working all over the world.

    A huge advantage is that you can hire developers who have already successfully worked with each other. No need to worry about hiring a frontend developer and designer (who won’t end up tussling after the first week).

    Use international opportunities to find a software developer for your startup

    Use international opportunities, while hiring a development team

    2. Freelancing platforms

    Go to Upwork or any similar platform with job boards and an opportunity to hire freelance developers. There you can find programmers for building your app, view their profiles, and discuss working terms in the chat. But be careful: not all of the remote freelancers are as consistent and responsible as you think.

    3. Buzz marketing

    Ask your fellows, if they know any worthy software development agencies or independent freelancers. Usually it’s better to hire someone after getting honest reviews about their work. Any information will be useful (even bad experiences) as it saves your time on filtering out unsuitable candidates.

    However, the buzz marketing method works only if your fellow startups and entrepreneurs already have some experience with developing mobile or desktop platforms. But you may become a pioneer, and that’s when the next method proves to be useful.

    Try buzz marketing to find a software developer for your startup

    Buzz marketing really helps sometimes

    4. Search on the Internet

    What’s a universal solution to any problem in the 21st century? “Google it!” Just enter your query into the search box and browse development agencies’ sites or some employees’ social-media accounts.

    Such a way of recruitment is quite time-consuming, but it provides you with maximum coverage. In such a way, you can get the first impression of the potential candidates’ website design and way of presenting themselves.

    5. Corporate blogs and social networks

    If you’re reading this, you know what we’re talking about. When you come across an interesting corporate blog, don’t hesitate to examine the company’s portfolio, frameworks they work with, and their outsourcing options. Even if you don’t need it right now, it’s better to have some useful contacts just in case.

    You can also check some online platforms or professional networks like LinkedIn. Most employees and even companies have accounts there and tell other users about their projects and accomplishments.

    Pay attention not only to potential candidates’ cases, but to the publication dates. The portfolio should be regularly updated to show that the company is in high demand.

    6. IT-conferences, contests, networking events

    There are lots of business events where entrepreneurs and developers interact with each other to share their development experience. You can find both online and offline IT-conferences and networking meetings. If you have a chance, visit one of them and try to find and then hire some good developers with relevant experience.

    As a nice bonus, potential candidates who visit such professional events usually really care about what they do and know the latest trends of the industry.

    Pitfalls of hiring developers for a startup

    Let’s have a quick look at some common problems that startups face while searching for developers:

    A pool of candidates is limited

    Even though the lack of developers is decreasing, more and more job posts appear, so they are still in great demand. It may take a lot of time to hire a qualified developer for your startup because most skilled programmers are already employed. The thing is, you usually need several IT specialists who possess much more than basic tech knowledge. This means, it’s not just a one-time struggle, but a continuous process of searching for suitable candidates.

    No HR department

    Hiring an HR department doesn’t seem like a smart choice for an early-stage startup. So, you have to do all the headhunting and interviews by yourself. Recruitment takes your time, energy, and may turn out to be not that effective because you’re probably not an HR specialist. They are just more immersed in searching for developers and know some exact points to pay attention to. That’s why hiring full-time developers for your startup may become quite a challenge.

    Financial problems

    In contrast to large corporations, early-stage startups with limited budgets can’t afford to sustain a whole in-house software development department. Because if they hire in-house employees, they’re obliged to pay not only for the developers’ salaries but also for social security, annual leaves, and so on. From this perspective, outsourcing app development to a trusted company seems like a good idea. The prices are more affordable, and you don’t need to worry about any extra payments.

    Try to find a software developer for your startup at reasonable costs

    Manage your finances carefully with Purrweb

    Overcome challenges easily with Purrweb

    Starting a new business can be tough, especially at the early stages. But we know how to help startupers cope with difficulties on the way and work smart, not hard. We’re a huge team of experts with years of experience who will transform your ideas and solutions into reality without costing too much. Let’s see how exactly we’re going to tackle your problems.

    Available specialists

    Startups often grapple with the challenge of hiring a developer for their projects. Here’s where Purrweb steps in, offering a vast talent pool of proficient developers. We also pay attention to your niche and do our best to find specialists who’re familiar with it. We form a tech team of good developers skilled in particular frameworks according to your project’s needs. So, Purrweb provides multiple options, ensuring that you’ll find the ideal match for your niche and project.

    Proven professionals

    When hiring, we thoroughly check applicants’ working experience and skills. Before some of the shortlisted candidates join our team, they have to pass advanced tests. In such a way we ensure that only good developers will make the cut. So, when startups team up with Purrweb, they avoid the problematic recruitment process, while still working with developers who are experienced and incredibly skilled.

    You get easy access to these battle-tested experts who offer top-notch services. As a result, you have a whole team of professionals who understand startups’ unique challenges and help them succeed in the competitive market.

    Reasonable costs

    We totally understand that startups need to be prudent with their spending. So, we offer a cost-effective solution without compromising on quality. This combination of affordability and expertise makes Purrweb an essential development partner for startups.

    Our clients often start with developing an MVP to make sure that their ideas come off and bring even more money than they’ve invested. We also save their time on finding a development team (working with necessary frameworks and programming languages), so the startupers can spend it on other important tasks.

    These are approximate prices for our development services:

    The serviceEstimation in weeksPrice
    Project analysis1$1,000
    UI/UX design4$5,400
    App development9 – 10$36,000 – $40,500
    QA testingconcurrently with the development$5,400 – $6,000
    Project managementthroughout the entire development$3,950 – $4,100

    Wrapping up

    You may choose the approach you like the most since it is your way, your mistakes, and your lessons. However, you can learn from the best practices, so don’t miss the opportunity. Choose a dedicated outsource company to develop an outstanding MVP and grab the investors’ attention with ease. To have a chat with us and discover what we offer to our startup clients, fill in the form below.

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