Appifany Guide: Hiring App Developers

It's a story that's all too familiar for so many people trying to develop an app... getting ripped off. We've had clients pay hundreds of thousands in development, for an app that doesn't work or is only partly delivered. Luckily for all of those clients though (maybe yourself included), Appifany is here to help.

Every month, we have at least 20 variations of this same conversation. Someone had a great idea for a mobile app but the cost of hiring real mobile app developers was daunting, so they found a cheaper option. Maybe it was a cobbled-together group of freelancers or a design agency that does some dev work on the side. Either way, 6 months, 12 months or even longer have now passed and they have almost nothing to show for their time and money. It’s devastating. These are smart people who have spent hard-earned cash (theirs or someone else’s) trying to build a viable product. They placed their trust in a team that was doomed to fail.

I also understand the instinct to save money. Budget constraints are real. Even if you have the funds, we all love a bargain, and the price tag for full-service software development can sound steep. But, it’s not arbitrary – and working with an experienced team ensures you’ll be able to sleep well at night.

I want to explore the following aspects of mobile app development:

1. The true value of professional app development, and how dev firms operate at each different level. 2. How to ensure you hire the right team to build out your idea.

1. Cheap, cheaper, cheapest app development

Ghosting developers

Freelancers, online contract sites, overseas sweatshops, and other on-demand developers represent the far end of the spectrum. They often charge shockingly low prices and promise to deliver your iPhone app or other mobile product in record time. I have nothing against freelancers, but flaky contractors give the practice a bad name. The biggest challenge I’ve (repeatedly) experienced is watching freelancers disappear. At first, they’re an eager app developer for hire who promises to fulfill your every need and bring your app idea to reality. Suddenly, your designer or developer goes dark. You can’t reach this person by Skype, email, phone or with a Game of Thrones-style raven. That’s a serious problem when you have real shipping targets and you’ve spent serious money upfront.

It sounds dramatic, but the disappearing iPhone or Android developer scenario happens ALL THE TIME. Even if your virtual team member just gets busy with school or a full-time job, the delays can threaten your business. It’s not worth the hassle.

Shady dev firms

The $5 or $10 dev shops are another issue entirely. These are typically offshore firms where the code is held together with glue, staples and underpaid labor. After all, how can you possibly build software for $5 an hour? Answer: your talent has to be very junior and very cheap. I’ve seen these coding sweatshops firsthand, and the reality isn’t pretty. They hire grads out of college and pay them $200-500 a month. These amateur, inexperienced developers work on at least half a dozen projects at once and often piece together multi-app IP to create sketchy Frankencode. Security, performance, code quality and scalability are all thrown out the window. You’ll get a crappy product that reflects the discounted price.