How much would software developers charge?

by the_pro_inquirer. Posted on Sep 09, 2020    7    45

I’ve tried and tried but I can’t seem to find a technical partner with enough experience and knowledge to develop an app or software. I have 2 app ideas and 1 SaaS product idea that I’d at least like to get a working prototype of. Unfortunately for me I don’t have the programming knowledge nor the network to find someone capable of helping me with my concepts. So now I have to ask what the average going price of hiring developers is and what do you recommend I do other than hiring the pros?



You need to consider: What is it you bring to the table here? You have an idea, but ideas are a multiplier of execution and it doesn't sound like you can execute, even through your network.

In the startup world, you need some kind of unfair advantage over the competition or you're wasting your time and resources. If you can't articulate that unfair advantage, you should be thinking hard about whether this is worth pursuing. If you have some idea that you think nobody's doing, I'd ask yourself who the closest competitor to that idea is and how quickly they could build it into their product once they saw the idea. You'll have to find someone to build the product, take it to market it, promote it, sell it, etc. All they'd have to do is build it with the team they already have.

Needless to say, I'm always very wary of prospective founders who have an idea but don't even see the path to getting it built.


$25/h for long term contract - probably the lowest possible for some quality. Even outsourcing companies prefer higher rates (not all but many).

$35..40 - more or less ok, but not for all.

$40..60 - many many folks would love to get that.

$60..100 - high level professionals with lots of experience. Some of them are very productive.

The higher the better.

Look for quality and trust, build good professional relationship.


Look on codecanyon find something there to mold as your mvp get some customers and than you should find a co founding cto easily..message me any questions I was told 40k to build out my platform and found something to start with for less than 100$




Rule 2

Badluckx 1

Here is my opinion as a software engineer:

  1. If you have a good budget then you can hire a great developer. Depending on the market they are in you’re looking at $50k - $150k per year (depends on where they are based and the market rates there)

  2. Go to a university and ask for referrals from professors

  3. Use a low code/no code tool to build up an MVP, launch it, market it and if it gets traction you should be able to hire a team. For example is free for solo entrepreneurs and companies that make under $10kk.

  4. Look at marketplaces like CodeCanyon, find an item that offers most of the functionalities you need and before you buy, ask the creator if they do customisations. If they do, then happy days.

  5. Go to a freelancer marketplace like and post your requirements and accept the bid of someone with a track record.

  6. Network. Go to meet-ups. Find a technical person that wants to bite the bullet and be an entrepreneur. Split the Equity based on how much value you both will bring to the company and start building
fotoflo 1

There are many cheaper/faster/easier options for experiments to validate startup ideas than jumping straight to a website or app. If you have done the experiments to merit an MVP, there are also many No-code tools you could use, from webflow to memberstack to bubble, that most non-deep-tech startup ideas should be earning revenue before hiring a full time software developer.

MuzzleCream 1

A good developer makes between 135k and 220k USD per year. And doesn't need the side job. This means developers that take the side job are either: 1) Doing it for the cash, 2) Not as Good, or 3) building their portfolio to get the big bucks.

To earn 135k and 220k, respectively, considering all expenses and marketing time of 3 months a year a person would need to charge: $115/hr and $184/hr if they have no additional employees. Finding these rates hard to sell to most small companies developers often do project work where they will make 10 times this rate by "over quoting" small apps. 15k for a 4-day app is a really good deal for a dev but it take the developer nearly a month of marketing to find the gig.

Back in the before the before, when I was a developer, I took an app deal for a "fair-rate". It was the worst experience of my life. (hyperbole, I have dead family) Never again. People demand too much and constantly accuse you of cheating them. So, the smart developers abandon the racket or the smarter ones do what I described above.

Anyway, just perspective on rates. You will get a lot of people from over seas calling American's selfish and greedy for charging the above and offer to help you for a lot lower. Just remember, all of their competent peers are charging the rates above too. Remote rates for quality are all relatively stable.

Last comment: Please don't like to someone about a CTO role with equity that vests and "hire them" for 3-months at a burn friendly rate, letting them go when the app is done. That would make you a sociopath.

czetsuya 1

I assume it’s for your MVP? One advise I often received is to find an online platform that will cover the core features of your idea. For example, for ecommerce store you have shopify, for marketplace sharetribe, etc. You might want to check if you want to do customizations. Regarding the rate, it really varies with the developer’s experience, obviously architect level is expensive at least $60/hour. But it also depends on location, you might find good but cheaper devs in Asia than in US or Europe. You may refer to Upwork to get an idea on the range.

m_corleone_22 1

You can outsource your development to countries like India Pakistan Bangladesh and your development cost would drastically reduce compared to those in US UK. Look out for good development agencies you can have your app developed in $10000-20000.

techalphasales 1

Depends on multiple factors, experience you are looking for, kind of services, location of devs.

Mostly i would suggest you will need someone from range $50-80 in US or $30 to $40 in India and other Asia regions.

You need UI and UX, backend and frontend. For backend I would suggest to use firebase and not hire a special backend developer. You might need a separate backend depending on the feature you are planning but it’s not always the case.

Let me know if you have further queries.

Disclaimer: I run a dev agency with two other full stack devs in India and we developed 5+ SaaS platforms last year.

Timoat 1

You could also offer stakes in the company in return. This comes with its own caveats, of course, but thats one way.

V_L_K 1

There are professionals with 10+ years of software development experience, working at $20/h in payroll, in Eastern Europe. Normally they are behind 'agency wall' that charges $40-$70 externally.
But there is no chance you can get to them. When they come to the US they get 100K salaries and in 3 years 180-200K. So, you'd better try Upwork, having a decent specification.

Fromfame 7

My recommendation as a software engineer is to do either of the following:

1) Hire someone from university, speak to a professor they may be able to help you. (Pros: You get a programmer. Cons: They aren’t as experienced)

2) Have a hearty budget for us. You’ll get an experienced programmer.

3) You have a world changing idea/or something very original (and can communicate that clearly) and have a hefty budget for us. You’ll attract the best of us.

4) Become a developer. I couldn’t find a good programmer so I became one. Dramatically reduces costs and execution is exactly how I want it.

techalphasales 2

Do not agree a lot with the last point, if the OP starts doing development himself he is going to need a lot of time to become good at it, sure he can hit the ground quickly and try to build a working prototype either by coding or using no-code platforms but that will be far from a production ready system. It’s like you don’t know how to build a house so you start building one yourself.

Fromfame 4

If you can allocate resources to learning it’s always for the better. If not it’s not a shame

jbc22 4

The estimates you’ve got are good. But first, have you validated your idea? There are many situations that you can get paying customers before spending money on development.

Can you test it with some simple marketing and a landing page? Do people sign up and give you their email address? started off as a blog. Got tens of thousands of subscribers before they started development. This shows validation AND traction. Then they built and had a huge audience to tell.

Don’t be like me. Don’t lose $35k+ in developing without validation first. Bonus points if you can get real traction beforehand too.

Nemosaurus 4

Probably $50-100 an hour depending on the expertise needed.

applejak 5

(Seattle, so prices are kinda high) I once (fairly recently) built a MVP for $15k that was worth $30k (I ate a lot of dev time because mistakes were made). And I've recently taken saas to market for ~$180k. Those projects used similar technologies but varied greatly in complexity.

Mobile apps are going to start in the $60-80k, baseline, and go up very quickly from there.

You could look at offshoring, but it's a real crapshoot unless you have someone you trust who knows tech, understands the business requirements, and know the language/culture. That's a whole other ball of wax.

i4get98 8

My advice if you're non coder. Learn a UI/UX software such as AdobeXD/Sketch etc. If you're able to wireframe/prototype your application yourself it will A) Help a developer understand what to build, B) allow you to work through application workflow issues before paying a developer to find these issues for you.

bgale 6

I’d add figma to this recommendation, you can build prototypes in it.

If you have a prototype you might be able to build a list of interested people and use that to attract a technical cofounder.

hhaslam11 17

As a software engineer, I can say they are very expensive for most ideas people have. Non-programmers tend to underestimate how much time and development goes into websites, especially when it comes to fully customized and proprietary software (as apposed to a blog site, ecommerce site, etc which can be setup pretty cheaply with templates.)

It heavily depends on the project, and the developer though. Some charge per hour, some charge per the project, but to give you an estimate, I did a freelance job for a guy making a startup and was charging $2000/two weeks of full time work, and the app took about 3 months of development time (not including server costs, designer costs, etc).

feudalle 1

Sounds very reasonable price wise.

bgale 4

$1000 a week is really cheap. I’d charge close to that per day for freelance work.

hhaslam11 2

At the time I was still very much a junior developer and wasn't very experienced. I would charge more now. $1000/day though? That seems like a lot. Would anyone even pay that?

bgale 2

Yeah plenty about. Tends to be more on reputation though, so you need to network. I’d expect it’s difficult to get rates like that on the freelance meat markets like fiverr or wherever. You get what you pay for though.

hhaslam11 1

Huh, interesting. Makes sense though

NewFuturist 13

$1000/week is a very low price for freelance. A good FT engineer typically costs $100k per year plus their overheads (retirement plan, insurance etc).

hhaslam11 2

I was just starting programming so I didn't have a ton of experience, hence the low rate. Should have mentioned that in my comment :)

1TMission 2

Since you were starting out, can you please tell how did you find your first customers like that? I am in that boat right now.


hhaslam11 2

It's all about networking and knowing people. You'll have much better luck if you talk to people you know in the industry and ask around. Don't be afraid to ask people if they know anyone looking for developers!

In my case, I got the job through asking one of my teachers/mentors from my coding Bootcamp (HUGE shout out to Lighthouse Labs, theyre awesome for anyone trying to get into the industry). They happened to know someone, and reached out to them recommending me. The CEO of the startup got in touch with me via LinkedIn (another important tool), and we got coffee, discussed the project, and hired me right there. Not even an interview!

1TMission 2

Thanks for replying!

Honestly I don't have any good connections that I think could help in this - also it doesn't help that I come from the developing world. I will try to follow what you told.

hhaslam11 2

Doesn't hurt to reach out to people on LinkedIn (or other networking sites) to try and make connections! In the meantime, make sure to work on your own projects and portfolio; that'll also help a lot. Good luck!

1TMission 2

Yes, I have been working on making projects and a portfolio of it. By connections on LinkedIn, do you mean people who might need a developer or someone else?

Also, thank you!

hhaslam11 2

Anyone in the industry, really. There's also a lot of recruiters on LinkedIn, could be worth reaching out to them! But even just talking to other developers, asking about a project they've done or something like that is a good way to get your name in people's head. You don't nessesarily need to try and get a job from everyone, but just talking to people can be helpful. Maybe once you create a network, you can then start asking around about jobs or if anyone needs a developer.

Some other things is you can try starting a side project with some other developers, or contribute to open source code; those are some other good ways to get your name out there :)

1TMission 2

Thank you very much! I will definitely implement this.

octocode 20

Typically freelancers charge $60-$100 an hour for someone with decent experience. I’d be wary of paying any less than that unless you’re okay with questionable quality for your MVP.

The overall price will vary drastically based on the requirements. Like, a simple recipe app will cost a lot less than an app that scans photos with ML to identify what ingredients are in a plate of food.

Most “simple” apps will cost around $15-25k for an MVP, but again, the requirements are important.

This is the reason why ideas are completely worthless unless you’re rich. Everyone has a hundred written down in a notebook. Most successful tech companies are started by developers, because we can act on our own ideas.

GaryARefuge 1

Do NOT Solicit OP!