Software developers 22 min read 12.07.2020

Hire A Top Freelance Developer Online (in 2021)

This hiring guide offers a set of insightful tips to help you hire a top freelance developer in 2021. Hire a Freelance developer now!

Currently available freelance developers
(hand-picked by Hiremotely team)

How to Hire a Freelance Software Developer?

Freelance software developers are in high demand whether you want to build a mobile app, website, or develop custom software for your enterprise, a freelance developer can help you take your software project from ideation to execution.

Employers, who have a choice between full-time and freelance developers/programmers always face the same dilemma - which one is better?

In the world of software development, freelance developers win by a mile. Firstly, the cost of hiring a freelance developer is minimal. With full-time employees, they can reach up to $20,000 (when considering an avarage personal agency's success fee 2 monthly salaries and $10,000/month for a medium level software developer).

  • With freelance talent, access to highly-skilled freelance developers/programmers isn’t limited to the location of your office. With a talent pool of thousands of great coders, you can hire developers for your startup or Business from anywhere in the world and stick to your list of requirements.
  • Freelance programmers are also more affordable. When freelancers work for you, you don’t have to think about insurance, benefits, and accounting - you simply pay for the work done.
  • Software development is a tricky industry because very few developers are highly experienced with everything you may need when building software. With freelance programmers, you have greater flexibility when it comes to organizing your projects. You can easily hire developers for specific tasks and project milestones, without spending money or time on training your full-time employees. 

Some of the cons of freelancers include a lack of supervision and communication. When you hire freelance development teams, keeping everyone up to date and on top of their toes is not an easy feat. Finally, full-time employees are more dedicated to the company compared to freelancers. However, these cons are not insurmountable. We’ll show you how to overcome them.  

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While hiring a freelance software developer sounds like a walk in the park, a couple of bad experiences or doubts can quickly put you off of this idea and make it seem difficult. Well, we have good news for you. None of these things mean you should give up on your dream developer. Hiring a top freelance software developer can be both easy and beneficial for your business if you know how and where to look for them.

Let’s learn the basics and secrets to finding the best developer:

Steps to Hiring Top Software Developers

Before you embark on your search for a perfect software developer, there is one thing you have to understand - software development. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to become a developer yourself. However, you have to understand how development works to be able to set realistic expectations when it comes to the developer’s expertise, experience, rates, as well as the project’s pace, deadlines, and final cost.  

Define Requirements

Define the requirements that are non-negotiable and determine which ones you’re willing to budge on. If you don’t know much about software development, consult someone who does and compile a list of requirements. When you are hiring a software developer, follow these steps:

Step 1 - Be as specific as possible. Clearly state what your goals and requirements are i.e looking for a web developer or app developer.

For example, a good job posting states the following: “Looking for Web App Developer, technical requirements: ASP.NET MVC; ASP.NET CORE, SharePoint Development/Administration, Web Services: SOAP/JSON/REST, HTML5 and C#, "Modern" Javascript and CSS, Microsoft SQL Server, Visual Studio, Frameworks such as jQuery, Knockout, Bootstrap, Angular, Aurelia, or Durandal, TFS, GitHub”

Step 2 - State whether you expect your freelance software developer to work on your project as a full-time job or a part-time job.

Step 3 - State your development budget and your desired timeline.

Step 4 - State any degrees, certifications, and skills required or preferred. 

Step 5 - State what software or format your project will be using. 

Step 6 - Read any ratings or reviews about the applicant from former employers, supervisors, or even colleagues (if you’re looking for a team player)

Step 7 - Look at the applicant’s portfolio. If you have any suspicion that the applicant is presenting plagiarized samples, follow up with the employer who commissioned the project

Step 8 - Present a test project. This is a simple project that will help you see if the applicant has the required credentials. It will also show you whether their way of thinking is compatible with your creative vision.

Step 9 - Once the applicant passes the test, present a project plan, agree on rates, availability, the scope of the project, milestones, and deadlines, and you can begin!

When screening potential developers for any project, be realistic. Don’t expect someone with 10 years of experience to work for peanuts, and don’t expect young people with affordable rates to know every programming language that exists.

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Stay Organized

 ➜ Communicate regularly, but avoid micromanaging. For example, let’s imagine your freelance software engineer is supposed to send you status updates every Wednesday. They adhere to this schedule, but you start getting a little impatient. You begin messaging them for updates every day of the week. If you’re doing this, stop. When you do that, you waste their time, and your money - because instead of working, developers are talking about working. If you believe you hired the right software engineer for your project, put some trust in them.

 ➜ Don’t expect your freelance software engineer to be a mind reader. Give them clear guidelines, encourage them to ask questions, and be ready to listen to their advice.

 ➜ Be realistic with deadlines. Sometimes, projects evolve and change mid-way. If that’s the case with your project, give your freelance software engineer enough time to incorporate the changes. Don’t expect them to re-haul the entire software in one night if they were building it for two months. If you want software developers to be flexible and understanding, you have to show the same attitude. 

 ➜ Referrals go a long way in the freelancing world, so once your hired freelancer has completed the project, make an effort to write down your feedback for them.

Research About Salary Trends 

The hourly rate of a full-time developer or part-time developer depends on experience, skills, and location. 


Junior Mid-level Senior
$61-80/hour $81-100/hour $100-200+/hour

Australia & New Zealand

Junior Mid-level Senior
$50-80/hour $70-100/hour $90-150+/hour

Eastern Europe

Junior Mid-level Senior
$30-50/hour $40-70/hour


*Estimated hourly rates ( Actual hourly rate depends on the platform and skill-set)

Watch this video: ‘Interviewing & Hiring A Developer’ (09 mins 20secs)”

Finding the perfect developer can be challenging when you don’t know which platform is the best to hire a developer. That’s why we’ve put together this simple list of strategies that you can use to find the right developer for your business or project. 

Sounds simple? Well, not so fast. How quickly you get to this final point depends largely on the way you look for freelance software developers. So let’s see how and where you’ll find them:-

Traditional hiring

If you decided to hire a developer on your own, there are several ways you can go about it. 

If you have connections in the IT industry, the easiest way is to ask for recommendations or post a classical job offer in ad listings. You can assess the candidates in short interviews - face to face or via messages/phone calls. This is a traditional way to hire developers. The only difference is that you don’t hire them full time. The two of you can agree to sign a contract according to the laws of your state, and the freelancer can begin working. 

What are the pros of traditional hiring practices? If the freelance worker is recommended by someone you trust or comes from professional circles that are familiar to you, you have a certain level of assurance that they will do a good job. This way of hiring software developers also allows you to vet the candidate and communicate regularly with them. 

However, if the freelancer abandons your project mid-way or yields unsatisfactory results, there is little you can do about it. Unlike online freelancing platforms, this way of hiring doesn’t offer much protection - for you or the worker.

Hire Part-Time developers on Social Media

Another way to hire developers is to utilize social networks. Being a professional social network, LinkedIn is the first and best choice when it comes to finding talent. LinkedIn is a hub for professionals with a variety of backgrounds and qualifications. A perk of sites like these is that you have the means to filter applicants according to your desired specifications. 

Specifications may include qualifications, skills, education, experience, recommendations, and even rates. Hourly rates of software developers depend on all of these factors. You can search for the right candidates who are open to job opportunities - another special feature on LinkedIn, allowing employers to see which professionals are available for full-time jobs or gigs. Another way is to simply post a job offer - either as a regular or boosted post, and wait for the applications.

You can do a similar thing on Facebook. There are plenty of Facebook groups that connect employers and freelancers, but you should look for the ones with a large number of members and serious administrator teams. These groups usually have strict rules for employers and freelancers in terms of minimum hourly rates, types of offers, and communication. While these groups don’t offer advanced search features like LinkedIn, they can be a good source of top talent. 

Just like traditional hiring, looking for applicants on Facebook, and LinkedIn has its limitations. You cannot always vet the candidates properly, and there isn’t much protection for either of you if you encounter problems. 

So, what’s the remaining option?

Hire the best Software Developer for your project on Freelancing Platforms

When you enlist the help of professional freelance marketplaces you are putting the legwork of hiring a freelancer into the hands of hiring platforms.

Initially, freelance platforms were built with the idea of simply connecting workers and employers. They flourished as they turned into systems where the entire workflow could take place, incorporating payment options, communication channels, workflow organization, and mediation. Finally, all of these platforms matured when their model shifted to minimizing risk and creating a seamless working experience both for the employers and freelancers. 

The freelancing platform you choose to work with will have a profound effect on your business. Different platforms attract freelancers with various skillsets, hourly rates, and expectations. Over time, some of these marketplaces became notorious for cheap, low-quality work, which is something you want to avoid in software development. 

  • Pros of Freelance Platforms

On the other hand, with the right freelance platform, you can easily gain access to top talent with a specific skill set you need for your short term and long term projects. These platforms are designed with your needs in mind, allowing you to search for software developers based on their expertise and experience. 

Another pro for hiring a software or web developer through a marketplace is the fact that the majority of marketplaces nowadays benefit from maintaining high standards. Freelancers are now obliged to verify their identity and build profiles with extensive biographies and portfolios. The quality of their profile now directly affects how high they are going to rank in the search results. 

Moreover, most freelance platforms track the quality of freelancers’ work - for example, Upwork promotes freelancers with regular work and high ratings to “rising talent” and “top-rated” categories. You can also see reviews from previous clients, so the screening process for future employers is pretty straightforward and offers a high level of assurance. 

Both employers and freelancers have a chance to clearly state their budget and rates.   

Serious platforms have a system that allows you to vet the applicants, fully organize your workflow, communicate with freelancers, monitor them using time trackers, and pay them. 

Reputable platforms also provide payment protection both for you and the freelancers, allowing you to settle disputes if they arise. This makes the process of working with a freelance developer's simple and clean cut.

  • Cons of Freelance Platforms 

A couple of downsides of a freelance marketplace are limited search options and generalized fields of expertise. This is usually a problem with large freelancing platforms that aren’t geared towards specific industries.

Think about it this way: when you search for "android software developers" on Upwork, your results will include iOS software developers that don’t have any expertise in android software development. 

Therefore, you must sift through the results to find the candidate with the qualifications that meet your needs. Some marketplaces that are focused on specific industries have advanced search options. These platforms, on the other hand, often have weaker support system compared to giants like Upwork. 

In the end, even well-developed, reputable systems cannot be entirely risk-free. Savvy cheaters can use fake credentials, work well, and then disappear in the middle of the project. Sometimes disputes may not end up the way you wanted. 

Now, software development is a serious endeavor that requires a lot of time, skill, dedication, and responsibility. Most businesses that need these services don’t have endless budgets, so it’s important for them to get things right the first time. When failure and risk is not an option, what do you do? You make sure your investment is worth it. 

Why do Top Companies & Startups hire developers on Specialized Platforms?

Specialized freelance platforms were built with a primary motive to solve some of the common problems that arose in the large freelance marketplaces. 

On one hand, employers got tired of endless lists of low-skilled software engineers with promising pitches and disappointing results. On the other hand, high-skilled software developers got tired of the race to the bottom, refusing to settle for low hourly rates. Specialized freelance platforms sought to rebuild a bridge between these two groups by giving them what they need - a seamless experience.

On specialized platforms like Hiremotely, hiring developers starts with a simple application form. The employer specifies the project size, lists the required skills, and leaves their contact info. 

Within two days, the platform’s team assembles a small list of 2-4 developers who are the perfect fit. Sure, 2-4 applicants don’t sound like a bottomless talent pool, but that is the power of specialized networks. They provide you with hand-picked candidates filtered from a much larger, carefully vetted pool of professionals. 

These platforms carry the brunt of responsibility for matching you with the highly skilled software developers and minimizing the risks. How? For starters, developers go through several rounds of testing to make sure they are top of the top. These tests take several weeks and include technology, coding, logical, and mathematical tests. They examine not only the developer’s knowledge but also the ability to solve unexpected problems and deal with challenges in a new environment. 

Moreover, these freelancers are also evaluated on the basis of work ethic, as administrators follow their availability and communication skills. Software developers on specialized freelance platforms are evaluated on a regular basis, so they have to maintain top results.

Once you pick the software developers, you get to test their skills free of charge. And if these developers still aren’t quite what you’re looking for? You can simply move on to the next candidate, or ask for other applicants. 

Specialized freelance platforms have a smaller number of developers available and don’t offer cheap work. However, they are an absolute guarantee of top quality and solid investment. After all, keep in mind that a cheap app that constantly requires big fixes usually ends up much more expensive than a well-built app created by top developers.

    Hire a Top Freelance Developer on Hiremotely

    Hiring a top developer doesn’t have to be a scary, nerve-racking task. With the information, you just read you can feel relaxed and well prepared to take on the freelancing world.

    We suggest you give it a shot. Fill out a simple form, wait for 48 hours, and we’ll provide you with a single freelance software developer or an entire team of software developers that is a perfect match for your project and mission. You have nothing to lose and everything to win!

    • Hiremotely is a worldwide
      network of 8300+ software developers
    • We deliver candidates suitable to your project
      within 0-3 days
    • 8 hours risk-free trial
      for testing the candidate

    Would you like to be the part of an exclusive Hiremotely community of top developers?

    Apply as a freelancer and get remote job offers from the top tech companies:

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    Herant Awadisan

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    Herant Awadisan
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    • 6+ months
    • 10th August
    • #RabbitMQ
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    • #Laravel
    • #PHP7
    Veronica Darchin

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    Veronica Darchin
    • Remotely (meetings possible)
    • 6+ months
    • mid August
    • #JavaScript
    • #Java/J2EE
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    Robert Konarskis

    Senior Android Developer

    Robert Konarskis
    • Remotely (meetings possible)
    • 6+ months
    • October
    • #OOP and design patterns
    • #System architectures
    • #Android SDK
    • #Android
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    Chris Shanley

    Expert iOS developer

    Chris Shanley
    • Remotely (meetings possible)
    • 6+ months
    • mid October
    • #Java (Dropwizard / Spring Boot
    • #Javascript (node)
    • #Objective-C
    • #Node.js
    • #Swift

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