How much does it cost to hire a good app developer?

Amy Klimek
woman looking for a job image via Shutterstock

There’s a great deal of information out there about creating apps, hiring developers to create an app for you, or whether you should take the time to learn to code yourself. For most people, it simply isn’t realistic for them to learn code due to time restrictions and difficulty constraints. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to consider what it will cost to hire a good app developer in order to create a useful app for you instead.

The overall costs to hire someone to develop an app is primarily dependent on just how complicated it is to build as well as how much of the basic design is modified or if it includes current design features (code that’s already on hand to use), and the experience level of the developer.

Here are a few analogies that will make it easier for you to understand the process of actually developing an app along with other factors to consider as well.

1. Consider the scope of your project.

Imagine a couple hiring an architect to design their home. If they’re a younger couple just starting out and have a somewhat limited budget, it’s likely that the architect will suggest using a kit home that’s easy, quick, and relatively inexpensive to build due to its standard corners and straight lines. On the other hand, if it’s an ‘empty-nester’ couple that’s using their life savings to build their ultimate dream home, then the hired architect will see to it that their dream is realized. He’ll employ all the latest techniques and materials available in order to produce a free-flowing, tailored, and detailed design, in spite of the cost to build it.

The other analogy is to consider the novelist. On his first day of writing he sits in front of his typewriter with a blank sheet of paper just waiting for content. The coder and the novelist are virtually the same. On day one, the writer simply has a blank screen and a flashing cursor. In other words, everything that needs to go into your new app both functionally and visually must be written in code. Therefore, the coder needs to spend hour after hour drafting line after line of code, similar to the novelist who spends hours writing content. Overall, there’s always a considerable amount of time to take into account.

Essentially, if you’re on a limited budget, you’ll need to simplify the process, whereby you’ll focus on one primary feature instead. Be prepared to implement current interface designs, the pre-existing code that might be available through open source so the app developer can implement it into the app. Note that many open source samples of code may be found on various code repository websites. The end result is similar to a minimally practical product, whereby it enables you to confirm your idea and to also accurately evaluate if there’s enough demand for your particular app in order to make adding more features worthwhile in the end.

2. The location of your developer will also determine costs.

One of the great things about some platforms is that they offer the chance to hire experienced and talented developers from certain economies where the general cost of living might significantly be less than in the West. For instance, an independent experienced app developer located in one of Australia’s major cities, such as Sydney, will expect at least $150 per hour. Then again, an experienced app developer residing in Belarus or Russia will likely charge much less than the developer in Australia at $50-$60 per hour since their overall living expenses are substantially lower.

Although working within the perimeters of the same time zone as your team is generally helpful, consider the many advantages of having a distributed development team, like working 24 hours around the clock. Also, some apps are proof positive that being separated geographically is no barrier to producing innovative, well-designed, and enormously successful and effective apps.

3. Different categories and platforms influence costs for app development.

The following information recognizes some very popular kinds of apps based on their category as well as the estimated number of hours that each one will likely take a proficient app developer to come up with for either an Android or iPhone device.

  • Simple App: Built using drop down menus and templates.
    Estimated time to build: 100 hours
  • Database-Supported App: Data stored on a database/server integration and employs a BaaS (Backend as a Service)
    Estimated time to build: 190 hours
  • Enterprise App: Built for business integration and data is stored on device.
    Estimated time to build: 230 hours plus
  • Game App: Built for both single and multiplayer, etc.
    Estimated time to build: 500 hours plus

For Android devices, there are a variety of ways to decrease the amount of additional work involved and therefore reduce the costs, usually by supporting only certain versions of the OS (operating system) and some devices.

Amy Klimek
Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, she was employee #7 at, where she first worked with ZipRecruiter’s founders. Her philosophy on human resources infuses the company culture: “To create an open, enriching environment by hiring the best, keeping the rules to a minimum and making it fun.” She’s married and has three active children to whom who she enjoys playing chauffeur.

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3 years ago

Thanks for the article! I would suggest to read this article for further info: This is a really great and comprehensive guide on how does process of hiring work, and may be a good insight for you, so it is definetely worth taking a look.

2 years ago

The main thing to remember is that a good specialist is well worth it.