Hiring Freelance Software Developers?
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Hiring Freelance Software Developers? Find out below how to write a perfect job description, how to test the developers, which platforms are the best for hiring, and other useful information.

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Why Should You Hire Freelance Software Developers?

Freelance software developers are affordable and highly skilled experts. With freelance talent, access to highly-skilled professionals isn’t limited to the location of your office. With a talent pool of thousands of high-end freelance developers, you can hire talent from Sydney, New York, London, Bangalore or anywhere in the world and stick to your list of requirements.

Freelance Software Developer

Will more software developers become freelancers in the future?

The numbers say yes. It all began when the gig economy opened the world of flexible opportunities for both the employers and the freelancers. Industry giants, especially in the IT sector, boarded the gig economy train due to the ever-evolving nature of their respective industries.

At the moment, freelancing is the sole source of income for many freelance software developers in the U.S. alone.

  • The number of freelance workers will grow, creating a significant challenge for employers when it comes to finding, hiring, and keeping top talents

  • More large corporations will turn to freelance developers

  • The number of fully remote businesses will grow

  • As large groups of the workforce turn to gigs, freelancers will be in a position to negotiate better work terms, such as minimum wage or health benefits 

When you look at the big picture, one detail sticks out - it will become more difficult to find the right talent. But difficult doesn't mean impossible. Now let’s learn the secrets to finding the perfect freelancer.

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How to Find Top Freelance Software Developers for Your Business?

Today, you are going to learn EXACTLY how to hire a top developer. And the best part is, we have compared popular freelancing platforms ex: Toptal vs Upwork and different options to help you hire the best coder possible. (In other words: you don’t need to worry about spending countless hours to find top developers on different websites )

So without further ado, let’s get started..

While hiring software programmers sounds like a walk in the park, a couple of bad experiences can quickly turn the experience into a bad dream.

  • Maybe you had an experience with pricey developers who promised miracles and delivered mediocre results. crying
  • Maybe you made some hiring mistakes in the past. indecision
  • Maybe you are worried that your good idea will not be executed properly if you don't hire top web or app developer.
  • Maybe you are wondering how to pick the right software programmers

Well, we have good news for you. None of these things mean you should give up on your dream freelance developer. Hiring freelancers can be both easy and beneficial for your business, if you know how and where to look for the top developers.

Full-Time vs Freelance software developer

Employers who have the choice between traditional and freelance software developer always face the same dilemma - which one is better?

Hiring Freelance Software Developers

In the world of software development, freelance software developer win by a landslide. When  software freelancers work for you, you don’t have to think about insurance, benefits, and accounting - you simply pay freelancers for the work finished. Firstly, the expenses of hiring and onboarding freelance software developer is minimal. With full-time employees, the hiring costs can reach up to $400 for small businesses/ mid-size businesses and $4,000 for large companies. In some more extreme cases, the total amount for advertising costs and hiring fees can climb up to $40, 000.

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How to Begin Freelance Sofware Development?

Software development is a tricky industry, since only a handful of the developers are actually experienced in everything you may need when building a software. With freelance workers, you have greater flexibility when it comes to organizing your projects. You can easily hire highly freelance app developers or web developers for specific tasks and projects, without spending money or time on training your full-time employees.

Some of the cons of freelancers include lack of supervision and communication. When you hire remote teams, keeping everyone up to date and speed is not an easy task. Moreover, full-time employees are more dedicated to the company compared to freelancers. However, these cons are not insurmountable and we can share with you how to overcome them.   Before you embark on your search for the perfect developer, there is one thing you have to understand: software development. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to become a developer yourself.

Do you need to understand about Freelance Software Development?

You have to understand how development works in order to set realistic expectations when it comes to remote developer expertise, experience, rates, as well as the project’s pace, deadlines, and final cost. If you don’t know much about software development, consult someone who does and put together a list of requirements.

  • Be as specific as possible. Clearly state your goals and requirements. Don’t look for “ninjas”, “gurus”, “terminators”, etc.

This is an example of a good job listing:

“Looking for a Remote Software 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”

  • State whether you expect your freelancer to work on your project full-time or part-time

  • State your budget and your desired timeline

  • State any preferred or required skills, certifications, and education

  • State what software or format your project will be using

If you are looking to hire angular developers, you can find more details in this guide about hiring angular developer. When screening potential freelancers 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.

When you are vetting the applicants, follow these steps:

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

  • 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

  • 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.

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

Sounds simple? Well, not so fast. The speed with which you can get to this final point depends largely on the way you look for the freelance programmers. So let’s see how and where you’ll find them.

Traditional Hiring Method to Find Top Developers

If you have connections in the IT industry, the easiest way is to ask for recommendations or post a traditional 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 workers. 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 software developer can start working.

What are the pros of the traditional hiring practice? 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 they will do a good job. This way of hiring software developers also allows you to vet the candidate and communicate with them regularly. However, if the freelance  developer abandons your project mid-way or delivers 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.

Recruiting Top Software Programmers Via Social Networks

Another way to hire developers is to utilize social networks. 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. The best advantage 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 also search for candidates who are open to job opportunities - another special feature of LinkedIn, allowing employers to see which professionals are available for full-time jobs or gigs. Another way  to go 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, Quora & Reddit. 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 administration 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 option remaining?

When you decide to cooperate with one of the top professional freelance software programmer marketplaces (such as Hiremotely, Toptal, Freelancer, Fiverr, or Upwork) you are putting the legwork of hiring a freelancer into the hands of a hiring platform.

Initially, freelance platforms were built with the idea of simply connecting workers and employers. As they grew, they turned into systems where the entire workflow could take place, including 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 for both the employer as well as the freelancer.

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. 

 How Much Will It Cost To Hire Top Freelance Developers?

United States & Canada Australia & New Zealand (NZ) Eastern Europe
Senior Level Senior Level Senior Level
Average Hourly Rate: $101-120 Average Hourly Rate: $141-160 Average Hourly Rate: $61-80
Mid Level Mid Level Mid Level
Average Hourly Rate: $81-100 Average Hourly Rate: $81-100 Average Hourly Rate: $61-80
Junior Level Junior Level Junior Level
Average Hourly Rate: $61-80 Average Hourly Rate: $61-80 Average Hourly Rate: $41-60

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

On Hiremotely - Top notch developers starting at $30USD/hour. No hiring fee. Guaranteed.

    Pros of Freelance Development 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 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 advantage of hiring a software or web developer through a marketplace is the fact 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 respectively. 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 simple and smooth.

    Cons of Freelance Development Platforms

    Freelance marketplace or course has some downsides. Those include 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 without 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 in need of 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. 

    Hiring Process on Top Freelance Developer Sites

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

     Hire software developer freelance

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

    On specialized platforms like Hiremotely, hiring freelance 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 two to four suitable developers. Sure, two to four applicants doesn’t sound like a bottomless talent pool, but that is the power of specialized networks. They provide you with perfectly fitting, hand-picked candidates filtered from a much larger, carefully vetted pool of professionals.

    These platforms carry the burden of responsibility for matching you with highly skilled software developers and minimizing the risks. How? For starters, developers go through several rounds of testing to ensure they are the best of the best. 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 receive the selection of 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. The next step is to market your software or app and make billions out of your project.

    How to Work with Freelance Software Programmer?

    Do you already have the freelancer you were looking for? In that case, keep in mind it is possible to build a long term, respectful relationship with a freelancer who cares about your project’s success. How? Here are some tips:

    1. Set clear rules and objectives

    Once you hire a freelance software programmer, the first thing you need to do is to come to a clear agreement over project requirements, milestones, goals, deadlines, and payments. Avoid jumping headfirst into work, no matter how urgent it is. This agreement should include:

    • A detailed description of the project

    • A detailed description of the developer’s job and role in the project

    • A detailed description of the working schedule (daily and weekly availability)

    • Project milestones

    • Project goals

    • Deadlines

    • Price

    • Type of payment (hourly, by milestone, by project)

    • Payment frequency

    Your milestones and goals should be specific, measurable, and realistic. When you set the basics, you are good to go, but we strongly suggest that you take a more detailed approach. Software development projects often take a lot of time, so it is not so far-fetched to think that there may be changes or unpredictable situations along the way. 

    For example, one of the team members could leave mid-project or need a few days off due to unforeseen circumstances. You instinctively may think: “Hey, why do I care?”. Think about it this way - you want freelancers who are dedicated, flexible and easy to communicate with. It goes both ways, so be ready to show the same traits. The best way to reduce friction in these situations is to set rules and boundaries that benefit and protect both you and the developer.

    2. Maintain good communication

    Communication is probably the weakest point of working with freelancers, so take communication extremely seriously. Even with the best developers at your disposal, misunderstandings and lack of clear information can easily bury your entire project.

    If you are too busy to answer questions, assign a team member that will be available during your developers’ working hours. Hold meetings to keep track of progress and problems, and answer any question developers might have. Use effective, easily available, and user-friendly communication tools adjusted to the team’s or freelancer’s needs.

    Be cautious though - there is a fine line between being involved and being overwhelming. Checking on your developer several times a day and micromanaging their work is not going to do any good. Hiring freelancers is not easy for people who are used to a greater level of control. However, the nature of freelancing simply requires you to put trust in your developers and give them time and space to work and solve problems.

    3. Introduce freelancers to your company culture

    This is how you can address another weakness of working with freelancers - lack of connection with the “bigger picture”. Full-time employees have the opportunity to connect to their workplace on a more personal level, inspiring a sense of belonging, loyalty, and purpose.

    While this is more difficult to achieve with freelancers, it is not impossible. By introducing a freelancer to your company’s culture, vision, and values, you can inspire a developer to see their job as more than just a project. For example, a developer who loves surfing in their free time is likely to be very passionate about a tech-project that seeks to clean up the oceans.

    Getting to know your software developer and conducting a culture-fit interview is a great way to build a good relationship with the freelancer and get them to fully invest and immerse themselves in the project.

    4. Balance criticism and encouragement

    Software development is not easy - and even the best freelancers make mistakes or have their off days. Constructive criticism is needed to push developers forward and keep things in check. However, negativity, constant nagging, as well as blowing things out of proportion is one way to create a toxic atmosphere where nobody strives to do their best. 

    No matter how detail-oriented you are (which is not a bad thing at all), try to see the big picture even when you encounter problems. Are the mistakes irreparable? Do they outweigh things that are well done? What was the reason for mistakes? This will help you maintain balanced communication.

    Give credit where credit is due. Criticism is good to maintain discipline, but encouragement and appreciation inspire people to do their best or go the extra mile.

    The nature of freelancing poses some new challenges for employers, but at the end of the day, things that make or break working relationship remain the same. Just like in a traditional workplace, setting clear expectations and treating your employees with respect is a full-proof way to achieve amazing results. Hiring a freelance developer doesn’t have to be scary, nerve-racking task. With the information you just read you can feel relaxed and well prepared to take on the freelancing world.

    As a freelancing platform that seeks to connect employers with the top software development talent, Hiremotely puts great emphasis on providing you with the tools you need to supervise your employees, communicate with them and set clear objectives.

    Want to know how Hiremotely is different compared to other marketplaces?

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

    Book Your Free Consultation Session Now!

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