Tips & Things Know Before Hiring Freelance Developer

If you are looking to hire a freelancer for your business, there are several things that you need to know. This article will cover the basics of what you should expect when hiring an individual or company and highlight some important tips in order to make the best possible decision. 

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Before I get into detail on how one can go about choosing their next freelance developer, let’s take a look at why outsourced development is becoming so popular with businesses today. There are many benefits of outsourcing work that include increased flexibility, reduced costs and greater access to knowledge; however, it is important that you know what exactly makes up good quality work before signing any contracts. The truth is – not all developers offer equal service levels and this means it could be difficult finding a high-quality developer that will produce the results you want.

Who is a freelance developer?

In the simplest of terms, a professional who is self-employed and works for one person or company at a time. A freelance developer can also be a single in-house developer in a smaller company that chooses to work on an independent basis rather than being part of in-house staff.

Know what you want the developer to do for you?

What experience do you have in outsourcing development work? If this is your first time, consider an inexpensive test project. This will allow you to get a feel for how things work and give the developer a chance to accustom their process with yours.

Know what you want from your developer? Is it long-term support or just one-off projects?

Are you looking for a developer to design your app or do you want them to implement it? For example, front-end (UI/UX), back-end (logic, data structure) or plug-in development.

What type of work are you looking for a freelancer to perform e.g. web design, full-stack development, mobile development, etc.?

Do you have a budget for the task? If so, consider the cost of legalities and immigration if they must go to a country where there are no reciprocal employer/employee rights.

Are you looking for code that is proven to be secure & scalable? For example – some developers claim to be experts in Magento development, however, they simply do not have enough knowledge or expertise to finalize the project.

Is this for an existing app that needs improvements or is it a new application? If you just want design work done for an existing website or app – consider using one of many great design services like Dribbble, 99 Designs or Fiverr. These sites will allow you to present a design brief and receive bids from freelancers who would like to work on your project.

Freelance Developer’s Role in Your Project

In general, a lot of companies will have a project manager who is the main liaison with the freelancer. There are some fundamental differences between a project or service level agreement (SLA) and a standard employment contract. A few features that you might want to include in your documentation:

A statement of work. What exactly is being hired here? Detailed specification, milestones and/or a timeline for the completion of work. A development agreement – This will state what technical support your developer should provide after the project has been completed.

For example: If the app is not working as expected or if there are any issues with its performance.

A security & privacy clause – This is important for both parties. The developer will want to ensure they are working on secure code, while you will want to make sure the developer won’t be stealing any of your intellectual property or using it for another client.

What happens if either party terminates the agreement? If there needs to be a change in staff for example.

If you are looking to hire a freelance developer for the first time, consider asking friends and family if they can recommend someone or follow tech blogs like TechCrunch, HN or All Things Digital (which also maintains a list of available developers). These sites often mention new freelancers who have done an exceptional job on a project and would like to get more exposure.

Be clear about your budget, time frame, and expectations

If you’ve never worked with a freelance developer before – start small and cheap. This will allow you to test the waters and familiarize yourself with how things work.

If this is for a one-off project, don’t expect it to be as cheap as working with an agency or company which employs developers on staff. If long-term support is needed, then the developer might be willing to price this into the initial agreement. 

For example: You mention that you want a custom mobile app built and outline the functionality you’d like it to support (GPS, Twitter integration etc). The estimate given by the developer is $5000. However, if you have an established relationship with them and it’s for a larger project, they might try and negotiate $3500 or more of that amount.

Depending on the kind of work that needs to be done – the total cost will depend on several things: How long will it take? What are you looking for exactly? These questions are very important because they allow the developer to come up with a good estimate of how much time it will take for him/her to finish the project.

If there is a significant amount of development required, then you should expect your freelance developer to ask for premium rates. It’s also possible that they might not be able to start work on it immediately since they probably have other projects going on at the moment.

Find a freelancer with the skills that match your needs

It’s also important to choose a developer who has the skills required for your project.

When looking at their portfolios, pay close attention to their projects that are similar in nature to what you’re looking for. This will help you get an idea of if they have the skill set needed to successfully finish your project.

If it’s not clear – ask them directly. There is nothing wrong with this and developers are usually more than happy to share their experience and expertise.

Why you should hire a freelance web developer? | Importance of Hiring Freelance Developer

Another thing you can do is get in touch with a few of the developers on Elance and invite them to submit a quote for your project explaining what will be involved and how long it will take them to complete. You can then choose based on their responses and use the one you feel would be most suitable for your project.

On Elance, each developer has a star rating so you can see how many times they’ve been awarded good feedback. If possible – always hire someone with at least 3 stars (and above).

Most freelancers are open to communicating via email, Skype and phone so it’s not hard to get in touch with them.

It is also possible for you to post your requirements on Elance or another freelancing site and wait for responses from several individuals. You can then interview each of the applicants and choose the one that seems most suitable.

Not all developers are created equal so it’s important to have a good relationship with your freelancer. This will allow you to maintain effective communication and ensure that their work is up to par.

Treat them fairly, communicate well and pay promptly – this will help you sustain a good working relationship with your developers whose skills could be very valuable in the future.

In order to find and hire a good developer – you need to do your research and monitor the market closely. This will allow you to find something that is within your budget and in line with what you’re looking for in terms of quality and skill level.

Make sure you have enough information before hiring someone

While a lot of developers will provide a free quote, you’ll generally want to have a good idea about the total cost before moving forward.

In most cases, your developer will need as much detail as possible about what you’re looking for and how long it will take to complete. This should be spelt out as clearly as possible during initial discussions.

If you don’t know exactly what you want – then your developer might have to work on some assumptions. This could result in wasted time and money because you essentially took the liberty of developing something without knowing for sure if it was really what you were looking for.

The more information that is provided at this stage, the better it will be for your developer. This will allow them to come up with a more accurate quote and avoid wasting time by having to do multiple revisions later on – which can be frustrating for both parties.

If you don’t know how much something should cost or what you want exactly, then it’s probably best to get some help or get in touch with someone who will be able to guide you through the process.

That way, you’ll be able to identify what is required and develop a solution that will meet your needs precisely.

For example: What kind of site do you want? Do you need eCommerce functionality? Do you need blog features? Would social media integration be useful? How many users would your site be able to handle? Do you already have a domain name? Etc.

The more information that is provided at this stage, the better it will be for your developer. This will allow them to come up with a more accurate quote and avoid wasting time by having to do multiple revisions later on – which can be frustrating for both parties.

Check out their portfolio for examples of their work

This is an important step because it will allow you to see what developers are capable of.

It’s also wise to check out their portfolio in order to see if they’ve developed anything similar to what you’re looking for. This will help them understand what your goals are and avoid wasting time by having to do multiple iterations just to come up with something that is in line with what you’re looking for.

If you find a developer whose portfolio matches up with your needs, then chances are they will be able to help you out – which saves time and money. It’s important to remember that quality work doesn’t necessarily come cheap so it’s best to check out their portfolio before making any commitments.

If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, then it might be best to look through one or two portfolios in order to get a better idea of your options. That way, you will know whether or not they are capable of doing what you need them to do.

If you decide that someone is right for the job – then it’s time to get in touch with them and confirm that they are available for hire.

If you’re looking for a workforce, then it is often best to call up or email a developer who might be interested in working with your company on a full-time basis. This also allows you to ask more questions about their skills, past projects etc. 

Ask to talk over Skype or Google Hangouts before signing anything

This is very important because you will probably want to talk with them via Skype or Google Hangouts so that you can get an idea of their personality and see if they respond well to criticism.

If you’re hiring a developer who might be interested in working full-time, then it’s likely that they would be more than willing to meet up with you on a video call so that you can get a better feel for who they are as a person.

For example: You might be hiring someone to work from your company’s office on a full-time basis, which means that it would help if they have the right personality and communication skills. This is why it’s important to talk with them over video chat beforehand.

If they don’t seem like a good fit, then this is something that you should mention to them up-front. Developers are usually more than willing to work on smaller projects and this allows them to gain valuable experience and learn new skills before committing full-time to a company.

You can also ask them about their past projects to get a better idea of what they are capable of. This will give you a better idea of their technical skills and knowledge as well as their language, communication and personality.

The more open-minded and tolerant they seem, the better – because that means that they can learn from previous mistakes and improve upon their work in the future.

The best way to make a final decision is by asking them to do a small project for you. Hiring someone without any references can sometimes be risky, which means that it’s important to take your time and see if they are right for the job before committing yourself.

Other Things You Need To Know About Hiring A Freelance Developer

There are some other things that you might need to know about hiring a freelance developer, which includes:

  • Just because someone is good at writing doesn’t mean that they necessarily have the skills necessary to develop an app or web-app.
  • You are essentially outsourcing your work to someone else, which means that you have to trust them with your information.
  • It is important to understand how much work has been outsourced and what they will be doing. This might include everything from design, development, testing etc.
  • When you hire a freelancer for your web or app development project, this might be the only place where they are working on your specific project.
  • You should also have a good idea of how long their projects usually take to complete – if you don’t then this can cause problems in the future when trying to schedule meetings etc.
  • Freelance developers are not likely to travel very far for a meeting, so this will affect your options when hiring someone in another country or city.
  • You should also know what they charge for their services and how they usually send you invoices.

Signing The Contract With Your Chosen Freelancer And Setting Up The Timescales For The Project

After you have carefully chosen a developer and decided to work with them, it is important that you sign a contract as soon as possible. This makes everything legally binding and means that they cannot break the agreement or back out of something at a later date.

You also need to have a clear understanding of how long your project might take from start to finish, as well as how much it could cost. You will then need to work out a payment schedule based on the milestones being reached throughout the project.


Freelance development is quickly becoming a popular method for companies and individuals to get the job done. With this in mind, it is important that you know what to expect from one another before taking on a contract. There are numerous resources online about making sure that your new hire is legitimate or looking out for some common scams. Above all, communication is key. Treat your freelancer as you would like to be treated and make sure that everyone is on the same page before moving forward together.

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