NOVEMBER 20, 2018


How to Hire the Best Freelance Developer (Complete Guide)

Written by: Andrey Zagorodniy

Hire Freelance Developers Wisely


Who are freelance developers?


Freelancers are people who choose to become independent contractors. The latter is a person or company, who provides goods and services to other parties under terms all sides agreed upon, but who does not work for the employer on a regular basis.


In other words, an independent contractor is someone you hire for a limited period to get a specific job done.


Respectively, a freelance developer is a person providing software development services to their customers on a temporary basis.  


The difference between freelance, in-house, and remote developers



In-house development implies that a company has one or several employed developers, who design and implement software covering the company’s needs.


When software developers are working outside of the office (and sometimes even outside the city, in which the company is located), it is called remote development. It is a convenient option if a highly skilled specialist you want to work for you lives in a different location.


Freelancers are come-and-go specialists, hired mostly for working on specific projects, or in cases when it would be unreasonable to employ a full-time software developer.


Decide who will be a better fit for this particular job


Even if you are thinking about hiring an in-house or a remote developer, you might still want to reconsider and choose an independent contractor instead. Of course, in-house employees feel like a safer bet. But, the truth is that you can minimize all the risks related to working with freelancers, while still reaping all of the benefits.


To hire the right freelance developer, you can follow the workflow we designed here, at Coding Ninjas. As an outsourcing company, we care about the competence and expertise of the specialists we recruit. So, we have designed a special algorithm allowing us to select only the best freelancers available on the market.


Or, you can spare yourself the trouble and contact us directly – we will find you a reliable and skilled professional to work with.


Anyways, regardless of what you decide, first take a look at the businesses who benefit from working with freelancers the most.


Who Needs To Hire Freelance Developers Most Often



Businesses with unstable workloads


Such companies often depend on the number of orders they get from clients. If you are among them, it makes little sense for you to hire in-house developers. There may be little to no orders, but you will still have to pay them salaries. A marketing outsourcing company, an SMM agency, or a software developing company make decent examples of such businesses.


Small businesses going digital


No matter how long you have been crafting hand-made eco-slippers, one day you will need to go digital. A landing page, an internet shop, an e-commerce solution–whatever it is that you want, it is advisable that you find freelance developers to maintain it.


Startups and midterm projects


Projects that last from a month and up to a year, and startups creating turnkey solutions and/or minimal viable products, usually hire freelancers.  


E-commerce projects running on open-source platforms


Open-source implies that you can modify all aspects of the code. In the case of e-commerce platforms, it means you can adjust them according to your needs precisely. At the same time, someone must be there to customize the platform and provide maintenance. Hiring a full-time coder for doing just this would be unreasonable. So, if your business runs on e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Wix, or Magento, a freelancer is a better choice for you.


Distant projects with little access to the labor force


It may so happen that you travel to Antarctica and start selling glacier water to European countries from there. It makes you a geographically remote startup. In such conditions, hiring a freelance developer (or a whole team of them) makes sense.


Businesses operating on overheated markets


On the contrary, if your business runs from the center of the Universe (such as Silicon Valley and the likes), and hourly rates for even the simplest jobs go through the roof, hiring a freelancer could be an excellent alternative for you.


Why Hire Freelance Developers


  • They are affordable. Low hourly rates, as well as the absence of extra charges (payroll taxes, insurance cost, social security tax, Medicare tax, federal unemployment tax, and so on), make freelance developers a reasonable option


  • They are highly skilled at what they do. Freelance developers often work on similar tasks, and thus are extremely good at them.  


  • Flexibility is the nature of their job. In case you have any unexpected changes to the project, they can be communicated, discussed, and implemented quickly.     


  • Direct communication is a thing. Outsource companies often put a mediator between you as a customer and a team of devs working on your order. With a freelancer, you can communicate face-to-face (as far as the Internet allows it), which implies greater efficiency.


  • They are easier to manage. There is a wide variety of software solutions allowing you to supervise, control, and lead the whole teams of freelance developers.


The Ultimate Guide to Selecting Freelance Developers for Hire



Here at Coding Ninjas, we’ve developed a vetting process helping us hire the best freelance developers. With the help of the algorithm described below, we make sure only competent developers are allowed to work on customers’ projects.  


General Check


  • Ask references from those whom a freelancer used to work with before
  • Do the background check
  • Check on the manner of communication, writing ethics, written English skills


Testing Professional Skills


  • Ask them for a link to their GitHub, Stack Overflow, or other similar service’s profile, and analyze their activity: posting, examples of the written code, other developers’ comments and feedback, etc.
  • Use online resources for testing their development skills
  • Hand them a test task. Check on how the candidate will be estimating the test task, and how muсh time will it take them to complete it. Compare this result to the time you allocated for the actual project of yours.


Assessing the candidate


  • If you are not good at coding, ask/pay programmers you know to check on the work of the candidate. Let them look at the GitHub or StackOverflow profiles of the candidate, and ask them to evaluate the examples of the written code.
  • You can also use W3Techs or another similar tool to check the code yourself.


Interview the candidate


  • Check for their overall adequacy: how they speak and behave, what they look like, etc.
  • Pay attention to the level of their spoken English.


After a freelancer passes all of the stages of our vetting process, we keep an eye on them for about a month. During this time, we onboard them, track the progress on their first projects, control the quality of their communication and cooperation with the customers, gather feedback on their work from our support team, and so on.


Feel free to use this algorithm as a tool to select and hire freelance developers online for the needs of your project. Or, you can place your order at Coding Ninjas. Our quality freelance developers will surely meet your expectations, and you will not have to spend your time and resources on the selection process.


What to pay attention to


  • If a candidate always answers in time and is polite and respectful when messaging with you, most likely they will behave in the same way when communicating with a customer.


  • Software developers usually are unwilling to send you their resumes, believing that code examples will suffice (which is often true). However, if a developer does want to work with you, sending a CV will not pose a problem for them. Otherwise, such reluctance can be suspicious.


  • If you place an order on Upwork or another similar platform where freelancers have to bid, developers from different regions may set different prices for their services. For example, a developer from the United States will ask $60 per hour, whereas a freelancer from Pakistan will request $10. It can obstruct the understanding of the real complexity of the project, and as a result, you may end up hiring an underqualified specialist.


  • There are several red flags showing you that working with a freelancer can be troublesome such as irrelevant skills in CV, lies, and negative feedback on previous customers.


Do’s and don’ts of hiring freelancers





  • Compose a relevant and actual list of job requirements.
  • Make sure candidate understands the essence of the job you offer them and is interested in it.
  • Pay attention to both hard and soft skills. Proficiency in coding is essential, but if you hire an uncommunicative brute incapable of teamwork, working on the project may become problematic.
  • Give a chance to developers with little experience in the field. In practice, junior developers often treat tasks with increased responsibility and eagerness.
  • Hire specialists motivated to grow professionally. Even if they do not match formal requirements but are willing to learn and develop, they can become a valuable asset.



  • Hesitate to cut cooperation with a freelancer, if their soft skills are low and obstruct your team’s overall productivity.
  • Waste your time on candidates unwilling or unable to complete a test task
  • Hire a CV instead of a person. In other words, double-check on the candidate’s skills and references before hiring.
  • Rule out prospective candidates whose experience is close to the job requirements, but does not match with it completely.
  • Hire an overqualified candidate for performing simple routine tasks.
  • Assume that once you hire a freelancer, they are “yours” until the end of the project. They have their own lives, which they may be unwilling to sacrifice in favor of your business.


Your Next Step



Recruiting independent contractors for your business can be a tough task. You need to clearly understand what types of specialists you need to hire, what for, and for how long. You must also be a decent psychologist to assess candidates adequately. Some of them may lie about their experiences, and others can be overqualified for a job you are offering or lack the motivation to work on your project. The future of your project may to a great extent develop on how thoroughly you approach recruiting.  


If you have no time or possibility to go into details of how to hire freelance developers, consider addressing Coding Ninjas. We have developed a multistage vetting procedure allowing us to select and recruit only those contractors who are ready and able to do the job. Each of the candidates willing to work with us must pass several thorough checks of their background, experiences, professional skills, soft skills, proficiency with the English language, and overall adequacy. Out of 100 freelancers applying for the vetting procedure, only 4 specialists pass. Which means that you, as a customer, get to work with the best of the best.


We will find you your perfect developer. Save your time, nerves, and resources, and contact us now.

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