How to find a freelance web developer for your app or website (2022 update)
Updated: Aug 15
How do you choose the right site or method to hire a developer or web designer?
Finding and onboarding developers can get overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the hiring and recruiting circus. While there are plenty of websites and platforms and job boards to help you hire the right developers, zeroing in on the right platform needs some thinking and strategising.
Talent matching services like Toptal and Arc are great platforms for employers searching for verified and pre-vetted tech talent, and for those who are looking to place their trust in experienced tech professionals.
On the other hand, freelance marketplaces like Upwork, People Per Hour, Fiverr, and Freelancer allow employers to hire developers themselves.
While all the job boards, marketplaces, and matching services mentioned above have their respective pros, which site will best serve you will depend on your specific situation, such as:
The timeline of your project.
How quickly you need to hire a developer.
Experience or talent levels of the developer.
How many developers do you need?
How important is quality for your project?
The complexity of your project.
Are you okay with remote workers or outsourcing to another country?
What is your budget?
The reputation of the platform and its developers.
What Is Freelance Development?
Freelance software development is when a programmer works on a temporary or ad hoc basis to provide his skills as a developer, rather than as a full-time employee exclusively bound to a single organisation or employer. Freelance developers are known to work for multiple clients simultaneously; however, many choose to work with one company at a time on a contractual basis.
Freelance Development In 2022
With the pandemic in 2020, the freelance market saw an unprecedented change. Here are some interesting statistics on freelance development in 2022.
Python, Kotlin, and Java are three programming languages that will continue to gain in popularity.
The freelance industry makes up almost 5% of the total US GDP.
84% of freelancers say work lets them live the lifestyle they want.
Hiring freelance developers is easy given the number of online platforms and trusty websites now available to find talented software developers. Some of the best sites to hire talented freelance developers across skill sets include Toptal, Arc, Gun.io, Fiverr, Upwork, and more.
The hard part is to hire talented developers given the high demand for freelance professionals among startups and even large companies. The challenge also lies in vetting and screening candidates. However, platforms like Toptal and Arc are known for their rigorous screening and vetting tests.
Why Is Freelance Development So Popular And Important?
Both freelancers and companies find freelance development a lucrative proposition. Companies are increasingly hiring freelancers to meet work demands rather than full-time employees, given the fact that freelancers don’t have a fixed cost attached to them.
Software engineers are leaving their traditional fixed jobs and turning to freelance development as it gives them the flexibility to operate the way they want. The status quo for decades was for companies to hire permanent employees. However, with changing times and the rise in freelance talent recently, corporations prefer outsourcing project-based jobs to freelancers rather than hiring full-time staff.
Advantages And Challenges Of Freelance Development
Cost & time factor: Freelance developers are usually easier to find and cheaper to engage.
Flexibility: Employers have the flexibility to upsize or downsize the team.
Quality of developer talent: Freelancers are regarded as the best in their field of expertise.
Lack of control: Ensuring all resources and tasks are on the same page is challenging. Also, it’s hard to supervise freelance developers and manage their work.
Lack of bonding: Due to the fragile nature of freelance relationships, it’s hard to get developers motivated and create a sense of belonging for both parties.
How to Hire a Great Freelance Developer?
Though there isn’t a one size fits all approach to hiring a great freelance developer, here are a few effective ways to do so:
Review their portfolio and body of work: Understanding the quality and caliber of work they’ve done in the past will help you evaluate their technical abilities.
Get to know the freelance developer: Get on a call with them to gauge their personality and to find out whether you’re compatible or not.
Discuss the project in detail: Break the project down and explain what you are expecting the project to accomplish and how it will function. It’s also advisable to explain the main purpose of the project to give context.
Offer a (paid) trial period to your selected candidate: This will enable you to better gauge if the developer understands what you are expecting of them and if they can finish the tasks on time.
Prepare your contract and non-disclosure agreement (NDA): If you are concerned about accountability and intellectual property, then it’s wise to draw up a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA).
Different Options for Hiring Developers
Essentially, there are three different options for hiring:
Full-Time: Hiring a full-time employee means working out what the return on investment is for that employee. Most businesses hire full-time for the benefits that come with it such as higher rates of productivity, consistency, and a stronger level of employee loyalty. The downside is that you’ll need to pay for holidays, and in some cases, provide health insurance.
Part-Time: Part-time employment entails not having to pay the same in benefits as a full-time employee. Hiring a part-time developer makes sense for employers and companies looking to scale and expand and work flexible hours. Hiring part-time developers is also a great choice for those employers seeking to work with students or senior professionals.
Freelance: The most obvious advantage of hiring freelance developers is the cost and terms of employment. Since freelance professionals are considered as on-demand talent, employers have the flexibility to hire for specific periods of time only. This saves cost. The downside is the lack of control and consistency on the employer’s side.
How Much Would It Cost To Hire Freelance Developer
When you’re in the process of hiring freelance developers, it’s essential to know how much to pay them to avoid paying too much or offering too little. Compensation to freelance developers can either be on a project basis or a time basis. Having said that, there are certain factors that determine the cost of hiring a freelance developer:
Demand for those specific skills
Complexity and scope of the project
The geographic location of the freelance developer and the employer
Expertise and experience level of the developer
Past work experience and brands they’ve worked with
According to Upwork, a Full Custom Site Code, typically enterprise, that involves building a website design from scratch with custom code and design elements would cost an average hourly rate of $75-150+. On the other hand, a basic one-page site like a basic lead-gen page or landing page will cost an average hourly rate of $15-40+.
What Skills To Look For Before Hiring A Freelance Developer
There are a few common qualities that all great freelance developers possess. Look for the following qualities in your freelance developer candidates.
Strong technical proficiency
Great communication skills
Ability to work independently
Strongly motivated and reliable
Depth in past work<
Keen problem solving and coding
Excellent reviews and feedbacks
Here are the top 15 sites to find a developer:
Toptal is a curated talent match-making freelance platform that connects skilled freelancers with noteworthy businesses and employers. Founded in 2010, Toptal is home to some of the industry’s most talented and experienced developers.
Since Toptal was initially created with only tech talent in mind, the platform’s stringent hiring techniques and high level of scrutiny ensure that only the best developers make it to the roster. You can find developers from across skills and languages like PHP, React, Python, Swift, and more for your mission-critical projects.
From fortune 500 businesses to up-and-coming startups, Toptal’s developers are trusted by them all. Toptal represents the top 3 percent of developer talents and offers a no-risk free trial.
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, Hired helps recruiters and companies find the right software developers and engineers quickly and efficiently. Hired boasts of a solid global presence across 14 cities and is a leading tech-focused talent matchmaking platform. Every developer is pre-vetted for their experience, skills, and compensation requirements. Hired’s automated AI-powered talent matchmaking algorithm helps businesses save over 45 hours of talent sourcing per candidate. Numerous influential brands and companies trust Hired to find and recruit the right developers for their projects.
Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Fiverr boasts tons of talented freelance developers across skill sets and experience levels. Whether you’re looking for a basic frontend developer or a well-versed Python or React developer, Fiverr’s international community of freelance developers will certainly fit the bill.
Although screening and vetting of developers is the employer’s responsibility, Fiverr is trusted by leading brands and businesses to hire developers. Additionally, Fiverr offers exceptional customer support and an option to claim refunds for employers who are not fully satisfied with the services provided by a particular freelance professional.
Stack Overflow is essentially a developer community and resource center started by fellow programmers dedicated to helping each other by answering coding and programming-related queries.
Apart from being one of the largest and most trusted developer communities, Stack Overflow also boasts a job board that doubles up as a great platform to hire talented developers and programmers. Numerous influential companies turn to Stack Overflow Jobs to hire developers for their project’s requirements.
Founded in 2014 and headquartered in San Francisco, Gigster is a premium recruiting platform dedicated to help businesses hire the right developer team of talent to build high-end software. Gigster offers flexible recruitment options (Elastic Staffing) that assesses the project’s requirements and allots the right combination of freelance talent and skills to your team.
Gigster is trusted by leading businesses like Google, Microsoft, Y Combinator, Stanford University, among many others. Gigster’s developers and programmers have the right set of skills and talent-set to handle your project’s requirements with ease.
UK-based PeoplePerHour is an excellent freelance marketplace to hire talented developers. PeoplePerHour connects employers and businesses with skilled freelance software developers from around the world who are available to hire by the hour or project. All companies and employers need to fill a quick form to describe the project with as many details as possible.
Then, PeoplePerHour deploys its artificial intelligence talent match-making tool to find the best freelancers for the specific project. PeoplePerHour carefully vetes all developers before listing them on the platform.
Dice is a dedicated technology job board that helps employers and businesses connect with a unique, diverse, and qualified pool of developers. Dice boasts of over 3 million registered tech professionals and 2.4 million monthly unique visitors. Additionally, Dice offers a suite of handy features like social recruiting, email advertising, access to resumes, and an option to screen candidates. This makes Dice one of the better recruitment platforms. Furthermore, Dice is trusted by technical recruiters from all over the globe.
Founded in 2011, Gun.io is known for connecting leading brands and businesses with amazing developers. Gun.io has a growing community of over 25,000 developers and is considered as a leading tech hiring platform. Several leading brands and noteworthy businesses rely on Gun.io’s developers for their projects. Additionally, Gun.io offers a variety of flexible hiring options to match the unique needs for a particular project. Gun.io is lauded for its humanism and customer support. Every recruiter or company is connected with a VP, instead of a sales representative. Gun.io offers a 100% money-back guarantee.
Guru is a leading freelance hiring platform. Guru is a secure, flexible, and cost-effective platform that connects employers and businesses with some of the world’s top freelancers. Guru’s claimed 99 percent customer satisfaction rate makes it a top competitor to try when hiring developers.
Guru also offers round-the-clock customer support and the platform is currently home to over 500,000 talented programmers and developers. Employers and companies can sift through all the various freelancers’ Portfolios, make comparisons, and read reviews to make an informed choice. Furthermore, Guru’s SafePay payment option makes it a reliable and trusty choice for employers.
Freelancer is one of the world’s largest freelance marketplaces and serves as a great platform to hire talented freelance developers. Freelancer is trusted by leading brands like Microsoft, PWC, Boeing, and many more stalwart businesses and is renowned for simplifying the recruitment process.
Freelancer uses a unique bidding system that enables employers and companies to hire the right developer in just a few seconds. Recruiters can view portfolios and samples of work as well as reviews from previous employers. If you're looking for an affordable option, however, Freelancer is a wonderful hiring solution.
Whether you’re building a new tech project from scratch or looking to scale your current team, RemoteOK offers some of the most talented remote developers from across the world easily and efficiently. From Java experts to Python programmers to iOS developers to proficient software engineers, RemoteOK boasts of a plethora of remote developers from across skill sets.
Founded in 2015, RemoteOK has a global reach of more than 1 million professionals. With its flexible pricing and thoughtful add-ons, RemoteOK makes for an excellent option for employers looking to hire remote developers for their mission-critical projects. Several leading companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, Stripe, among others, place their trust in the hands of RemoteOK’s remote developers.
13. Authentic Jobs
Since 2005, Authentic Jobs has been the perfect destination for web and creative professionals, and the companies and employers looking to hire them. Authentic Jobs is a U.S.-based tech job posting site that features freelance, full-time, contractual, remote, and internship positions. Authentic Jobs cater to big and small companies’ recruitment needs. Authentic Jobs caters to the global tech community, and has over the years connected thousands of developers with major employers in the tech industry. As front-end development often involves both creative and technical aspects, Authentic Jobs is a great place to begin your search.
Since 2006, X-Team has connected employers and companies with a talented and motivated team of developers from across the world. Numerous leading brands and companies have relied on X-Team to develop and scale their tech projects. Trusted by brands like Fox Broadcasting, Twitter, Dell, Discovery, and more, X-Team boasts of a strong global presence across three continents. X-Team offers a dedicated account manager and offers flexible contracts with convenient billing options. X-Team is great for organizing and hiring a team of developers and is surely a great resource for outsourcing software development.
Formerly, Codementor X, Arc helps recruiters to find and hire top remote developers seamlessly. Arc’s famous and rigorous screening process known as ‘Silicon-Valley Calibre Vetting’ ensures that only 1.1 percent of candidates pass their technical & behavioral assessments.
Arc is a handy platform to connect with and hire top freelance developers, programmers, tech experts, software engineers, and consultants. Arc does the cumbersome job of identifying qualified candidates and vetting them to ensure they match your project’s requirements.
Although LinkedIn is pegged as a massive professional social media platform, it also serves as an excellent developer job board. With over 590 million registered members and over 250 million active users in over 200 countries, LinkedIn is a great place to hunt for talented developers from across skill sets and specialties.
LinkedIn’s mega database of job seekers makes it a promising platform to search for developers from across the globe and experience levels. LinkedIn’s secure messaging functionality, easy-to-use search filters, recommendations feature, and premium version make it a handy tool to hire developers.