How to Determine the Hourly Rate for a Freelance Developer

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Startup founders face a common challenge – hiring good quality developers at an affordable rate. Before you jump in to hiring, you need to understand what freelance developer hourly rates are and how much it will cost you to hire a developer that’s suitable for your project.  

To figure this out, you need to consider at least 3 important factors: 

  1. The communication skills of the developer.
  2. The technical skill set and experience of the developer.
  3. Whether you’re hiring from an agency, through a platform, or directly.

Let’s look at each of these factors and how they influence the hourly rate for a developer.

Communication Skills

The location of the developer may affect their communication skills. Generally, developers from some regions are able to communicate better in English than others (although obviously it varies from one candidate to the next). The table below shows the hourly rates, technical competency, and communication abilities you can expect for the average candidate from different regions.

REGIONHOURLY RATESTECHNICAL COMPETENCECOMMUNICATIONOVERALL REMARK
USA$100 – $250High technical competence.Native speakersGood technical quality but cost may be too high for startups.
Central Europe$80 – $150Great technical competence.Average English.Good balance between skill and cost.
Latin America$35 – $80Experienced, have often worked with US companies.Average English.High cost for scaling startups.
Eastern Europe$25 – $70Hot market with great technical competence.Average English.Good balance between skill and cost.
Rest of Asia$25 – $60Good quality developers in a growing market.Poor English.Decent technical skills with communication issues.
Africa$20 – $60Well-skilled developers in a growing market.Good English; Growing market with a promising future. Problems with money transfer are possible.
Indian Subcontinent$15 – $50Established developers with high quality supply.Good English.Good balance between skill and cost.

Skillset of the Developer

Tech stacks can be grouped into 2 main categories:

  1. Frontend (React, Angular & Vue)
  2. Backend (Node.js & Django)

The table below from Arc.dev shows hourly rates for developers based on tech stack and experience level: 

Tech StacksAverage Hourly RateAverage Junior Developer Hourly RateAverage Mid-level Developer Hourly RateAverage Senior-level Developer Hourly Rate
Reactjs$81-$100$61-$80$80-$90$101-$120
Angular$61-80$61-$80$80-$85$85-$100
Vue$61-$80$61-$75$80$81-$100
Nodejs$81-$100$61-$75$80$81-$100
Django$61-$80$61-$75$80$81-$100

Should You Hire with an Agency or a Freelance Platform?

Outsourcing the hiring process to an agency can take a lot off your plate but hiring directly through a freelancer platform or referral gives you way more control. Let’s unpack the pros and cons:

Pros of hiring with an agency

  • Accountability: the freelancer is held accountable by the agency which offers some guarantee to you.
  • Stability: A long-term work relationship is assured which means, even if your freelancer moves on, the agency can help you fill the vacancy.
  • Convenience: Someone else handles the legal work.

Cons of hiring with an agency

  • Cost: It’s expensive, more so than hiring an independent freelancer.
  • Time: The hiring process is lengthy.

Pros of hiring with an independent freelancer

  • Affordability: Since they are competing with millions of freelancers, they tend to set more reasonable prices that give a true representation of their skill and experience.
  • Speed and flexibility It is easier and faster to hire more freelancers and create your own team. 

Cons of hiring an independent freelancer

  • Availability: They may be unavailable when you need them.
  • Time difference: Time zone differences may affect effective collaboration. 
  • Management challenges: Managing multiple freelancers can be hard especially when there’s a huge time zone overlap.

Conclusion

Deciding how much to pay for a good freelance developer isn’t as easy as it sounds. 

You can’t apply a one-size-fits-all solution. Each developer will likely quote their own fee. But you need to think about their experience and skill level. The details of your project are also a factor. Be prepared to pay more for a more complex project with a short deadline. When you think about all of these factors, you can come up with an hourly rate that is fair for both parties. 

If you’re looking to hire React developers for a fast-growing startup, you should check out ReactSquad.io. ReactSquad provides high-quality developers that can be fully embedded in your team in less than seven days.

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