Top 15 Sites to Hire Freelance Web Developers
Online platforms are an easy and reliable way for hiring freelance web developers. But with a large selection of online platforms available, it could be tough to decide which one to choose.
Hence, we've curated the top 15 sites that are great to find and hire quality web developers.
Before that though, let us understand the different types of freelance platforms:
- Vetted tech talent networks: Vetted talent networks are ideal for hiring quality developers, as they screen and curate web developers for their skills and offer a comprehensive and customised hiring process.
- Pure freelance marketplaces: These are massive networks of non-screened freelance developers. While they are more affordable and offer a large volume of applications, they don't test the quality of web developers.
- Freelance job boards: These are sites that curate freelance job listings posted by companies. They don't provide additional hiring support.
- Networking sites: These can be online tech forums and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. They provide a jobs listing page and allow employers to contact and hire freelance web developers registered on the platform.
- Dev shops: Software development shops, or dev agencies, or dev shops, consist of agile product teams and take care of the entire development process.
Let's get into our picks now, grouped into the 5 categories described above:
Vetted Tech Talent Networks
A premium tech talent network, Flexiple identifies and curates the best, most professional freelance web developers and designers. It offers flexible hiring terms that match the needs of startups as well as large firms.
- 6-step vetting process: Web developers must complete a stringent 6-step screening process that tests their technical skills, depth in past work experience, and soft skills.
- Personalised recommendations: Flexiple understands your requirements and hand-selects the right web developer to match your needs, based on their skills and cultural fit.
- Flexible payments: Via responsive support and flexible, time-based payment schemes, Flexiple offers a seamless hiring experience.
- Risk-free trial: Flexiple's risk-free trial coupled with fast hiring allows you to try a developer out and gauge their fit before committing to a full-fledged project.
- The average rates for developers are affordable, and range from $30 to $80/hour. There are no recruiting charges.
Initially starting out as CodementorX, a mentoring and QnA platform for developers, Arc.dev has launched a freelance and full-time hiring solution.
- Strict vetting process: Arc has a stringent screening process, much like other premium networks, to ensure the quality of developers. Arc also provides developers skilled in hard-to-find niche technologies.
- Hire permanent developers: Arc offers freelancer hiring as well as permanent full-time hiring of remote-working web developers.
- Arc is similarly-priced to Toptal - developer rates start from $60/hour and can go upwards of $200/ hour.
Toptal is an established brand name in the premium freelance talent industry. It is well-known for its highly-qualified and large talent pool. Toptal offers freelance developers, designers, financial consultants, and product managers. Here's a detailed Toptal review and the best alternatives to Toptal.
- Long screening process: Toptal's screening process involves code reviews, portfolio review, real-time testing, and an English language test.
- Personalised recommendations: Toptal provides personalised recommendations, as well as a dedicated account manager for your engagement.
- Limited flexibility: Toptal's support has been criticised repeatedly by many, while its hiring solution is not as flexible as it says, and is often not viable for short-term or lower-value projects.
- Toptal charges an unreasonably-high commission rate, which is why the average rates at Toptal are $80-200/ hour - mostly outside the realm of affordability for startups.
Gun.io also has a stringent screening process, and is similar to Toptal in many aspects. Gun works on an hourly-rate based payment model and specialises in only freelance developers.
- Expert developers: Gun's web developers are typically experts in their domains, but most are based out of the US. Hence, though its developers are high-quality, Gun does not offer an affordable solution.
- High prices: Like Toptal, Gun's high prices don't provide enough value for startups looking for the optimal blend of quality vs cost.
- Gun.io's pricing is slightly opaque, but can reach over $150/hour for quality developers.
Started by ex-Toptal executives, Gigster has been in the tech talent space for long, and is backed by Y Combinator and Andreesen Horowitz.
- Invite-only network: Gigster's network is invite-only. Although small, it is a high-quality network of developers who've worked at prestigious tech companies.
- Only full-fledged team of freelancers: With Gigster, you can only hire an entire development team - developers, designers, and project managers.
- High-value projects: Gigster only takes on high-value projects, and its astronomical pricing is out of reach for most companies.
- Part-time freelancers: Freelance web developers on Gigster work part-time for the platform, which could make managing the project quite cumbersome.
- Gigster takes on projects for a fixed fee based on the scope and scale of the project. Price can run higher than $100k for building even simple apps.
Pure Freelance Marketplaces
One of the world's largest freelance marketplaces, Upwork was born from the merger of Elance and Odesk. Upwork's vast freelancer network spans 50+ verticals - from data entry to graphic design. Here's a detailed review on Upwork.
- Bidding system: Upwork doesn't manually match freelancers with projects, but rather allows them to send their lowest quotes for the completion of your project. Typically, clients hire the freelancer who's bid was the lowest - regardless of whether they are the right fit for the job.
- Affordable, but no screening: Upwork doesn't have a reasonable screening process; and hence you have to screen the developers who've applied. Upwork encourages several freelance developers to apply to a single project, as it charges a fixed upfront fee from them for each project they apply to.
Upwork's enormity makes pricing unstandardised, but hourly rates for developers typically vary from $8-100/hr.
Fiverr is a popular freelance marketplace that offers on-demand freelancers in 250+ categories of jobs – from logo design and voice-overs to website and app development. It is known for its order-based concept of freelance projects.
- One-off tasks, not projects: Freelance web developers on Fiverr offer their services as small, one-off tasks in a stepped pricing range of $5-$995 based on the task's complexity.
- No vetting: Fiverr's large network is largely unorganised, as there is no vetting of developers nor jobs. Moreover, it could take several hours to review hundreds of web developer profiles to find the right fit. Hence, Fiverr is more suited for small coding tasks that don't require much supervision.
- Prices are project-based, and range from $5 to $995 for one-off coding tasks.
Another freelance marketplace, Guru is very similar to Upwork. Here too, freelancers quote their lowest rates to land projects posted by clients.
- High volume of applicants: Like Upwork, Guru generates a high volume of applications but doesn't do much to ascertain their quality.
- Suitable for small projects: Because of Guru's vast reach, you can find developers of all quality and cost levels on the platform. However, it is more suitable for small to medium work where quality isn't the main priority.
- Bad customer support: Guru's support has been criticised often, and many have complained of its lack of protective policies governing the exchange of freelancing services.
- Similar to Upwork (can vary from $8-100/hr for freelance web developers).
Hubstaff Talent offers a free service for hiring developers, and can be likened to a large and transparent database of freelance developers and agencies.
- Transparent: Hubstaff is a transparent marketplace that allows clients to find web developers and contact them directly. However, it lacks essential features necessary for hiring the best talent for specific needs.
- Free, but no screening: The platform doesn't conduct manual vetting of developers, which means significant time and effort is spent in evaluating developers on your own.
- It's free.
Freelance Job Boards
10. We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely is a specialised job board for remote-only, freelance or full-time jobs.
- Large network: Per its website, WWR is the 'largest remote work community in the world', and it reportedly gets ~2.5M visitors each month. WWR lists jobs in 8 categories including development, design, product management, etc.
- Direct applications: Coding jobs are the site's specialty, and 5-10 new coding jobs are posted every day. However, it doesn't (by default) provide any freelancer screening, with any website visitor being able to view jobs and apply to them directly.
- US-specific: Most of the jobs listed on We Work Remotely comprise of geographic requirements, and developers should preferably be based out of the US.
- A job listing on WWR will cost about $400, but the site offers a 'filter your applicants' option for an additional $199.
Angel is well-known as the world's largest community of startups. Community members can find information on startups listed on the site, invest in them, or apply for jobs listed by them.
- Curated job board: Like WWR, Angel has a curated job board that lists full-time and freelance jobs across various startup roles.
- Easy sign-up: You just need to create yours' and your company's profile , after which you can post your job by adding details such as job description, skills required, location, pay offered, etc.
- Better quality of applicants: Visitors can obtain details of the job as well as your company without leaving Angel's website. And though you'll need to evaluate developers on your own, the quality of applicants on Angel will be slightly higher.
- It's free.
Remote OK is almost identical to WWR but lists jobs across additional roles such as marketing and customer support.
- Easy sign-up: Remote OK provides a simple sign-up process following which you can list your freelance project on the site.
- Europe-specific: RemoteOK is regularly visited by freelance web developers looking for new job opportunities, but its target market is geared toward Europe.
- No pre-screening: There is no pre-screening of developers, which requires you to have a robust evaluation process before you invite applications.
- One job post will cost around $400, while you can also save a few dollars if you post more than one job.
13. Stack Overflow
Online tech forums such as Stack Overflow see a lot of traffic from freelance web developers as they allow developers to interact with the tech community. Hence, you can reach a targeted audience if you have a presence on such forums.
- Accessible insights: You can find details of past projects on a developer's user profile on the forum. Hence, you can get a fair idea of their quality and expertise by reviewing their profiles.
- Dedicated job board: Tech forums also usually have an in-built jobs listing page for community members.
- Depends on the tech forum; Stack Overflow requires you to contact them for pricing details.
Professional networking site LinkedIn is a good platform to reach out to a wide base of job seekers.
- Free job listing: LinkedIn's dedicated 'Jobs' page is free for listing jobs. You'll just need to specify standard details like the job description and desired profile of applicants.
- Promotion: You can also post on your LinkedIn account and ask for candidate referrals from your connections. If you get good engagement on the post (like likes/comments), you could potentially reach thousands.
- Paid 'Recruiter' version: LinkedIn has a paid version that offers essential features to help you find and contact the best possible candidate for your freelance web development job.
- Lower quality of applicants: Many LinkedIn profiles are too vague for evaluating a developer's technical proficiency, and there is no guarantee of the quality of applicants. You could even end up receiving hundreds of non-relevant applications.
- LinkedIn job posts are free, but it's 'Recruiter' version starts at $100/month.
Though a bit unconventional, you could reach out to dev shops or dev agencies and ask to hire their developers on a freelance contract. You can use a review website like Clutch to find quality dev shops.
- Hire quality developers individually: Dev shops offer end-to-end development solutions, but some of them also allow clients to hire their developers for smaller tasks on a contract basis. This way, you retain control of your product development, but also ensure the quality of developers.
- Irregular commission rates: Dev shops generally charge very high commission rates, as they have to keep developers on payroll regardless of project availability.
- Rates are not standardised, and will depend on the quality and terms of the dev shops.
(1) Why hire quality freelance web developers?
9 out of 10 startups fail, but 6% of the time, a startup's failure is because of bad 'tech' - i.e., the technology powering the business isn't robust enough.
Further, 18% of all startup failures can be attributed to the 'team'. So if you can't assemble a quality team, your tech will suffer, and your chances of success go down.
Many startup gurus such as Paul Graham have also time and again said that hiring bad developers can be one of the main reasons for a startup's downfall.
However, assembling a great team is tough - tech hiring is plagued with challenges such as cut-throat competition for talent, unreliable candidates, and high salaries.
Hence, hiring freelance web developers from vetted platforms ensures quality of candidates and improves your time to hire as well. This helps you build robust technology for your startup.
(2) How much does it cost to hire freelance web developers?
Freelance software development typically has two distinct types of payment models:
- Project-based compensation, where you pay freelancers a fixed fee to take ownership and complete the whole project. Here, the payment is based on the outcome.
- Time-based compensation, where you pay freelancers for the amount of time (hours) they've put into your project. Here, the payment is based on their effort.
Project-based engagements require highly-accurate project estimates even before the project starts - this is almost impossible to get right.
Time-based compensation is better for long-term freelance engagements, as they provide the degree of flexibility required for the project.
Hourly rates are the most popular form of time-based freelance developer rates, as they offer the ability to document tasks in a granular way. Hourly rates depend on several factors, such as:
- Demand for the technology in the market
- Expertise and a well-rounded skill-set
- Past Work Experience
Here are the average hourly rates of freelance developers, categorised based on geography:
(3) How to evaluate freelance web developers for hire?
A streamlined developer evaluation process will help you:
- Find the best developers for the role
- Minimise the amount of time spent on evaluating developers
- Decrease drop-offs during the hiring process
Freelance web developers should slot in seamlessly with your team and get onboard quickly. They should also communicate well, be proactive in foreseeing potential pitfalls and make independent decisions while working in a remote setting.
Hence, in addition to testing a freelance developer's technical proficiency, you need to gauge their ability to excel in all of these parameters.
Here are some common qualities that all great freelance developers possess, which you should evaluate while hiring developers:
- Technical Proficiency
- Communication skills
- Ability to work independently and in a remote setting
- Punctuality and reliability
- Depth in past work
- Good communication and motivation
- Strong technical abilities
- Keen problem solving and coding
- Splendid reviews in a background check
- Consistent exemplary performance