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How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Mobile App Developer?

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If you’re planning on hiring a mobile app developer, you’ll have to deal with a lot of questions and decisions. Will you hire in-house or outsource to external expertise such as freelancers or remote development teams? If you decide to outsource, it’s important to remember that location can affect the cost of a mobile app developer, depending on where they are in the world. But where do you even begin to look for mobile developers?

Well, the answer to those questions will soon be yours. In this article, we’ll discuss mobile app developer rates, cover the pros and cons of working with freelancers vs. remote teams vs. offshoring, mention the best countries for app development and platforms for developer hunting, and provide tips on all aspects of the process. 

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How Much Does it Cost to Hire an App Developer Based on Location?

It’s safe to say that when you hire a mobile app developer, the two main concerns are price and quality, which are often affected by the location of the developer. A list of sites that have proven to be trustworthy IT service destinations looks little like this:

  • the US
  • the UK
  • Australia
  • the Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Ukraine

However, the final cost of your project isn’t only determined by the location of the developer. It also depends on the type of app you want to be developed. So, let’s dissect the average scope of tasks that comprise common mobile software development projects and their average accompanying costs.

Type of applicationDetailsHours Hourly rates range
Basic appTemplates, drop-down menu, list, device storage80-160$50-100
Data-based appBackend, server storage, data processing and visualization170-220$50-100
Ecommerce appProduct listing, cart, transactions300+$100-150
Messenger appVarious data formats, chats, cloud storage700+$70-120
Social networkProfiles, networking, photo/video content, real-time newsfeed400+$80-120
Game3D graphic, rendering, single-player, multi-player, server storage550+$80-120

Based on the type and complexity of the project, if you refer to these numbers, you’d probably need to invest anywhere from 80 to 600+ hours with a $50 – $150 hourly rate. The time invested can also be affected by whether the technology is designed for iOS, Android, or both.

However, as we all know, salary is not the only expense involved in hiring a developer. Not only do the salaries of software engineers differ greatly across the globe, but there are also various taxes, fees, and other expenditure items to consider when creating your estimate.

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Hiring developers in the US

According to Glassdoor, if you decide to hire a developer in the US full-time, you will likely be paying between $82k and $180k per annum, based on skill seniority. This suggested figure is comprised of the following:

  • Salary: ranges from $64,000 for junior developers to around $107,000 for middle developers to nearly $140,000 for senior developers
  • Supplementary payments: 3.2% of the net salary — $2,000, $3,400, and $4,400 respectively
  • Insurance: 8% — $5,100, $8,500, and $11,100 respectively
  • Annual paid leave: 7.1% — $4,500, $7,600, and $9,900
  • Retirement and savings fund: 3.8% — $2,400, $4,000, and $5,300
  • Benefits, required by legal regulations: 7.6% — $4,800, $8,100, and $10,500

Adding this all up, we get $82,000/year for a junior software developer, $140,000/year for a middle engineer, $180,000/year for a senior developer. When considering these numbers, remember that nearly 30% of all the expenses on an employee in the US goes towards after-salary charges like federal withholdings, unemployment compensation, and other taxes.

How much does it cost to hire a developer in the US. Mobile app developer salary rates stats infographic.
How much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer in the US

Cost of hiring software developers in the UK

Every UK-based worker has a tax-free Personal Allowance of £12,500 per annum, which is excluded from their salaries. Additionally, the employer of a UK developer has to pay the income tax, the national insurance (Class 1 for software engineers), and the auto-enrolment pension.

UK taxes (though different) are higher than in the US, but the average salaries are lower. Income tax is 20% for those earning between £11,800 and £46,300 and 40% for those with an income above £50,000. Keep in mind that it is calculated in a different way in Scotland.

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All in all, it’s a bit cheaper to hire mobile app developers in the UK for the following reasons:

  • Average salaries: about $47,000/year for a junior developer, $74,000/year for a middle software engineer, and nearly $92,000/year for senior talent
  • Taxable sum: salary minus the tax-free Personal Allowance of £12,500/year
  • Income tax: 20%-40% of the taxable sum — $4,600, $8,600, and $11,200 respectively
  • National insurance for Class 1 workers: 12% — $2,800, $5,100, and $6,700
  • Auto-enrolment pension: 3% are paid by the employer, and 5% by the employee — $700 for juniors, $1,300 for middle specialists, $1,700 for senior talent.
How much does it cost to hire a developer in the UK. Mobile app developer salary rates stats infographic.
How much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer in the UK

Cost of hiring developers in Australia

Based on Payscale’s research data, hiring a software developer in Australia costs AU$50,000/year for junior specialists, around AU$70,000/year for middle talents, and almost AU$100,000/year for senior software engineers.

You will also need to pay a certain sum of bonuses (ranging from AU$500 to AU$10,000/year) and profit-sharing payments, which can go from AU$100 to AU$10,000/year.

Cost and rates of hiring mobile app developers in Australia
Cost of hiring mobile app developers in Australia

As you can quickly tell, hiring remote developers from Australia is not cheap.

Cost of hiring mobile developers in the Netherlands

If you decide to hire a full-time mobile developer based in the Netherlands, you’ll be looking to pay $56,000/year for a junior developer, above $88,000/year for a middle-level talent, and nearly $99,000/year for a senior software engineer, taxes included. Other taxes to take into account are pension fund payments (5% of taxable salary) and holiday allowance (8%).

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The size of the taxable income depends on the tax box of the employee; software developers belong to Box 1. The average software developer’s salary is influenced by the following factors:

  • Average net salary: around $37,000 for a junior developer, above $58,000 for a middle specialist, nearly $67,000 for senior talent
  • Income tax according to tax Box 1 rules: earnings below €68,507 are taxed at 37.35% — $13,900, $22,000, and $25,000 respectively
  • Holiday allowance: 8% of annual salary — around $3,000, $4,700, and $5,300
  • Pension fund payments: 5% — nearly $1,900, $2,900, and $3,300
How much does it cost to hire a developer in the Netherlands. Mobile app developer salary rates stats infographic.
How much does it cost to hire mobile developers in the Netherlands

Another consideration in the Netherlands, which also applies in Germany, is that if two businesses are registered on the same address, it affects taxation.

Cost of hiring app developers in Germany

Germany is known for its high-quality work in a variety of fields, and software development is no different. However, hiring software developers in Germany will cost more than $66,000/year for a junior developer, around $81,500 for a middle specialist, and nearly $95,000 for senior talent.

You should also know that the German taxation system is one of the most complex in the world. For example, the size of the tax-free allowance depends on a geographical location, age, and marital status. Many German companies prefer to work with Ukrainian or Polish outsourcers to avoid dealing with the paperwork nightmare that is the German tax system.

Here’s what you’ll have to pay for German software developers:

  • Net salary per annum: $49,000 for junior developers, $59,000 for middle engineers, $68,500 for senior specialists
  • Tax-free allowance: up to $10,312/year for each employee
  • Personal income tax: 14% – $5,500, $6,900, $8,200 
  • Church tax: (9%) – $3,500, $4,500, $5,200 respectively
  • Various types of insurance: up to 21.8% – $8,500, $10,800, $12,700
How much does it cost to hire a developer in Germany. Mobile app developer salary rates stats infographic.
How much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer in Germany

Cost of hiring software developers in Mexico

If you are a US-based company and hiring in Europe seems overly complicated, engaging mobile app developers in Mexico might be preferred. Some of the benefits include geographical proximity, cost-considerate labor, and overlapping time zones. 

There are multiple companies in Mexico that provide mobile app development services. Unlike some of the previous countries we’ve looked at, the average salary of a junior app developer in Mexico is around MXN$99,000/year (US$4400/year). Middle specialists are paid around MXN$302,000/year (US$13,500/year), and senior software development engineers in Mexico are paid around MXN$647/year (US$29,000/year).

How much does it cost to hire a developer in Mexico (Latin america). Mobile app developer salary rates stats infographic.
Cost of hiring software developers in Mexico

Due to various bonuses that range $130-$4500/year and profit-sharing payments of $220-$660/year, the total sums might fluctuate.

Cost of hiring mobile app developers in Ukraine

Deciding to hire a mobile app developer in Ukraine comes with various benefits not available in the other countries we’ve covered so far. These include a simplified taxation system and cheaper cost of living.

The average net salary of a junior software developer in Ukraine is about $18,000/year, middle specialists cost around $25,000/year, and senior talents can be hired for up to $50,000/year. Software developers in Ukraine mostly belong to the Entrepreneur group #3 and have to pay 5% of their earnings or 3% + VAT.

Why Ukraine is the Best Place to Look for Mobile App Developers

There are numerous reasons why Ukraine is the best destination for IT outsourcing. But we’ve shortlisted them to five most eye-catching and valuable ones.

  • Global recognition of IT expertise. Ukraine was ranked as the best IT offshoring destination by GSA UK in 2017, and more than a dozen Ukrainian companies are listed in IAOP Global Outsourcing top 100 ratings.
  • Huge tech community and events. There are at least ten large IT clusters in Ukrainian cities. They regularly hold meetups, conferences, and hackathons, helping aspiring software engineers gain valuable experience. Several pan-European and global IT events like Lviv IT Arena, The Games Gathering, the IForum, and the Agile Eastern European Conference take place in Ukraine.
  • Quality and numbers. There are more than 200,000 tech professionals in Ukraine as of 2020, and nearly 35% of them are senior-level developers and software architects with immense experience in enterprise-grade product development.
  • Global industry leaders outsource to Ukraine. More than 100 global enterprises, including Boeing, Samsung, Microsoft, Huawei, and Oracle, have their R&D centers in Ukraine.
  • Home to world-known startups. Do you check your spelling with Grammarly? Do you monitor your pet using Petcube? Do you use Looksery to recognize friends on social media photos? All Mac users have heard about MacPaw products like CleanMyMac, Gemini Photos, and Spark email client. All of them are Ukrainian.

Ukraine stands out as one of the most affordable offshoring destinations, yet the one providing consistent quality.

How much does it cost to hire a developer in Ukraine. Mobile app developer salary rates stats infographic.
How much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer in Ukraine

All in all, the cost of hiring remote developers across the globe varies greatly. Calculating your estimate when you’re planning your project can depend on subsistence wages, taxation systems, and other factors.

Freelancers vs. Remote Teams vs. Offshoring

Once you’ve decided where you want to hire your mobile app developers from, and have found the right balance of price and quality, the next question is: how to hire them? The three most common answers to that question are freelancers, remote employees, or a team from an offshoring vendor.

Breaking down the pros and cons of these hiring options will help make the right choice. 

Pros of choosing freelancers:

  • Hiring freelancers is often the most cost-efficient way to gain access to a worldwide base of knowledge and skills.
  • You don’t have to pay for workplace appliances, perks, and benefits, etc. — you only pay for the job itself.
  • There are fewer responsibilities as an employer; once the project is delivered, the work relationship is either ended or paused until you collaborate on some project in the future.

Cons of choosing freelance developers:

  • The managerial overhead of keeping track of multiple tasks done by separate contractors.
  • Potential data security issues created by providing complete outsiders with access to mission-critical systems.
  • Unless they are long-term partners deeply engaged in the company events and strategy, freelancers are less personally invested in the long-term success of your endeavor due to the temporary nature of their employment.

Pros of choosing to work with remote teams:

  • You form productive and engaged teams ready for a long-term commitment.
  • The expertise gained during the project stays within the company.
  • Employees working remotely often cost less, as they don’t require office expenses and other benefits.

Cons of choosing to work with remote teams:

  • It involves all the pains and hurdles of hiring employees and forming teams out of them.
  • If they fall ill, go on vacation, or quit, corresponding parts of your project are halted.
  • It can be difficult to accurately estimate their performance and productivity.

Pros of outstaffing/outsourcing:

  • Instant access to ready teams possessing the needed expertise.
  • Ready solutions to minimize time-to-value for your projects.
  • The technology vendor takes care of the team’s motivation, perks, benefits, and replacement if need be.

Cons of outstaffing/outsourcing:

  • You might experience management complexities.
  • Cultural differences may set teams apart.

Relevant has also published an article on the pros and cons of the three most popular ways to extend your software development team. You should check it out for more information.

Where to Find Mobile App Developers?

Once you’ve decided on the hiring option, it’s finally time to actually do some headhunting. But where?

One of our articles covers the ten best sites to hire remote developers. As a sneak peek, here are our favorite five:

  • Clutch. It is an independent technology consultancy and B2B/B2C rating platform. Companies are rated based on expertise, rates, and customer reviews. Clutch also has full transparency, as bad reviews cannot be taken down.
  • Upwork. One of the leading remote team and project portals worldwide. You will be able to find freelancers, hire remote employees, or contact ready teams and agencies there.
  • Toptal. The platform boasts employing only the top 3% of freelancers in every niche. They take their screening very seriously, so you will work with the best talents — if you’re able to book them.
  • Goodfirms. A reputed rating of IT outsourcing providers based on unbiased evaluation of their performance and on customer reviews.

Pick any of these, and you will definitely find the needed expertise. However, there are several considerations to be aware of.

Things You Should Consider Before Hiring Mobile Developers

Relevant has covered the hiring process in more detail in our guide on how to hire a mobile app developer. But there are a few key points to keep in mind before you hire someone:

  • The type of the app you’re going to develop
  • The experience and skills of the developer 
  • Communication and the ability to work remotely
  • Their portfolio and references
  • Ability to form long-term partnerships
  • Compatibility in terms of language, time zones, tools, etc.

Most importantly, have your requirements, milestones, and roadmap clear. The more concise and precise the specification, the better the chance of nailing it with the product features.

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Hiring iOS Developers

Apple wants iOS app development to remain standardized, so it all boils down to learning to work with Swift and Objective-C. This is why good iOS developers need to know the following:

  • OOP principles, SOLID
  • iOS SDK (software development kit) and UI kit
  • Multithreading, geolocation, networking, Apple purchase, APNS, and Core Data
  • Working with GIT version control system (VCS)
  • Using Swift testing tools

On average, iOS developers cost around $80,000/year in the EU and above $120,000 in the US. In Ukraine, you can hire a senior iOS developer for as low as $48,000/year. If you’re looking to develop a mobile app for iOS, Relevant has written a detailed guide on what to look for in an iOS developer. It includes how to evaluate their hard and soft skills, what questions to ask during the interview, and more.

Hiring Android Developers

Android is a much more open ecosystem and is used by a wide variety of mobile device manufacturers. An Android developer must be able to write consistent, clear, and reusable code, and be proficient in:

  • Java or Kotlin
  • Android SDK, as it is the basic set of tools and principles
  • Work with APIs, as these apps must interact with a ton of software through APIs
  • Understand the back end, as this element can be pretty complex in Android apps

Android developers are traditionally in a costly segment of a job market, with annual salaries reaching up to $130,000. In Ukraine, their wages range from $6,000 to $30,000/year. 

Relevant has prepared an in-depth guide on how to hire an Android app developer, skills to look for, and questions to ask. Feel free to take a look at it!

Hiring Flutter Developers for Cross-Platform Development

Google positions Flutter as a unified SDK for web and mobile apps, and as Google and its Chrome browser are the most popular Internet tools today, Flutter could be the way the web will evolve. As of now, Flutter developers can create apps that work equally well on mobile and desktop. However, to do that, the developers must possess the following skills:

  • Knowledge of (and excitement for) Flutter
  • Experience in Android and/or iOS development
  • Experience with version control tools like Git

Based on findings by Indeed, Flutter developer salaries can range up to $130,000/year in the US. In Ukraine, you can hire such specialists for a mere $30,000/year. 

Relevant has described the hard and soft skills to look for in Flutter engineers, along with some other tips and tricks on how to hire a Flutter app developer. We hope this review will help you find the best fit for your project.

Bottom Line

When outsourcing mobile app development to freelancers, remote employees, or offshoring teams, you need to keep an eye on a variety of factors like:

  • Practical experience. IT offshoring vendors are doing similar projects all the time, meaning they can use ready solutions instead of reinventing the wheel, which saves you time and money.
  • Talent availability. Permanent mobile app development teams provide access to a wide talent pool with a proven track record, meaning you get the level of expertise required to successfully complete your project.
  • Project management. Managing multiple freelancers that work on your project is a gruesome task. Working with remote teams requires a significant effort, but leaves the expertise in-house. With offshoring vendors, you obtain the expertise for the project duration and then part ways — but can easily contact them (or any other vendor) again if the need arises.
  • Hard skill assessment. The guides we mentioned earlier provide checklists of the main interview questions you can use to evaluate a mobile developer’s expertise.
  • Risk management. If a freelancer or a remote employee quits, your project is at risk. With offshoring vendors, team member replacement is their concern, and you are protected by legal agreements.

We’re sure this article will address the main questions and concerns you might have about how to hire skilled mobile developers.

Speaking of developers, why not work with us? Relevant Software is a business-minded Ukrainian IT service provider with an end-user-centered approach. We provide a wide range of services, from web/mobile apps design and lightning-fast development to DevOps and cybersecurity services. We’re ready to answer any questions on mobile app development costs — and we would be glad to help you meet business objectives by using our high-grade services. Contact us today, and let’s start working on your project tomorrow!

Written by
Ihor Feoktistov
CTO at Relevant
I make sure our clients get the highest code quality and the best tech talent on the market. I am also a Software Engineering Advisor for startups. Let's connect.

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