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Finding the right developers to build your MVP app

Hiring decisions are your best opportunity for saving substantial money. We recently advised one client and saw their quote drop from $20,000 to $4,000. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish!

Your app developer options

OptionWhere to lookProsCons
DIY, no-code
  • Only no-budget option.
  • You get to make all decisions.
  • A great way to build a prototype and get your first users.
  • Free plans show the no-code platform branding.
  • Will be a lot of work, usually more than you budget.
  • Your capabilities will be limited.
Off-shore freelance developer
  • Efficient for small, concrete deliverables.
  • Cheap on a nominal hourly price.
  • Distance + timezone barrier + small financial incentives will degrade quality.
  • High likelihood of missed deadlines, in our experience.
  • For modestly complex tasks, you will often pay more in inflated time tracking.
  • Reduced accountability; we've twice helped clients recover after off-shore contractors disappear.
On-shore freelance developer
  • Increased accountability.
  • No huge deposit, pay for what you use.
  • >80% of our applicants have been unqualified.
  • Freelancers usually need project management.
  • False sense of security; Upwork doesn't prevent freelancers from hiring off-shore devs to do the work, and their client protection is ineffective.
Freelance project-management team
  • Better client-protections and increased accountability.
  • Freelancers are vetted and more qualified.
  • You are paying a price premium.
  • Low price visibility.
  • Quality issues still occur.
  • Platforms like Toptal charge an exorbitant markup rent (>50%).
Professional software development company
  • If done properly, great bang-for-buck.
  • Room for negotiation & estimates.
  • High accountability if company has reputation.
  • Can be very expensive if you don't shop around.
  • There are many low quality developer firms out there.
  • Many firms focus only on enterprise software, not MVPs.

MVP app official recommendations

Our advice depends on your circumstances.

  • Are you a technical person who is cash-strapped and wants to build a relatively straightforward (not social media or crypto) platform? Then get your hands dirty with a no-code solution.
  • Are you a natural project manager who can reduce your platform to a bunch of distinct, concrete deliverables? Then maybe try to outsource those tasks to on-shore or off-shore freelancers, depending on how straightforward they are.
  • If you want to build something that's outside your skillset, a company is a good bet.

This decision will necessitate a lot of research and won't be easy no matter what. You might consider looking into our hiring consulting packages if you're unsure; the cost of the consultation is a fraction of the money you could save with a bad hiring decision.