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Developers..hire or contract a company?!

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Kingsta

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Dec 6, 2014
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Hey!

So I've recently decided to work on another project that is based around a mobile application. I've had interest from a few Premier League clubs over here in England as well as shopping centres like Westfield which sort of validated the idea for me.

I've got a degree in Comp Sci so I know what I'm doing when it comes to the application although I physically couldn't code the thing myself. The problem is every single developer seems to want a ridiculous amount of money. I was quoted £150K+ for something that should cost a fraction of that. All my previous businesses have been finance related so this is something new for me. My previous business didn't rely on technology as much and so a basic website was fine however for this business, the mobile app is key.

I'm torn between hiring a full time developer or just biting the bullet until I find a decent firm to build my application. What do you guys think? What have your experiences been like with hiring a firm? Or maybe you went down another route?

The dream scenario would be to find a co-founder who could develop the application, give him a % of the business and pay him something so he can at least survive while working on the application but I'm yet to meet an individual with the skills required.
 

Late Bloomer

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My advice:

Prioritize what would be the very easiest feature to develop, if your app had only one feature. Then, what would be the second easiest feature, and so on.

Break down the modules and functions you'll need. For each of them, is there a good enough open source library that could provide a prototype or basic first version (think in "version 0.1" terms) with minimal customizing? What would remain to be done? Could that be packaged as some work for which you could seek bids from outsourcing shops, rather than your having to pay the full salaries of the development team in-house?

Figure what this would cost, and what you'd have to sell it for to make it work on that simple level.

Go back to the companies that have expressed interest. Ask them, if I had only this first feature as an initial version, would you like to get a discount for being an early adopter/beta tester, or perhaps five years free service if they prepay the first year in full up front to fund your development?

If so, you can bootstrap some initial sales and then pitch investors on funding your next steps.

If you find someone who could manage the entire technology side as your Chief Technology Officer, why would they be willing to work to "at least survive" rather than getting plenty of money right now from someone who's already fully funded? As I don't know what your product and business plans are, I don't know if I could be your CTO/co-founder. Suppose I could. Why would I put 50 hours a work into working for you for just enough money to buy ramen now, rather than putting that 50 hours a week into looking for businesses that I could sell technically simple Wordpress sites to as part of an online marketing program for them worth $10k each?
 

ay47

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Mar 29, 2018
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My advice:

Prioritize what would be the very easiest feature to develop, if your app had only one feature. Then, what would be the second easiest feature, and so on.

Break down the modules and functions you'll need. For each of them, is there a good enough open source library that could provide a prototype or basic first version (think in "version 0.1" terms) with minimal customizing? What would remain to be done? Could that be packaged as some work for which you could seek bids from outsourcing shops, rather than your having to pay the full salaries of the development team in-house?

Figure what this would cost, and what you'd have to sell it for to make it work on that simple level.

Go back to the companies that have expressed interest. Ask them, if I had only this first feature as an initial version, would you like to get a discount for being an early adopter/beta tester, or perhaps five years free service if they prepay the first year in full up front to fund your development?

If so, you can bootstrap some initial sales and then pitch investors on funding your next steps.

If you find someone who could manage the entire technology side as your Chief Technology Officer, why would they be willing to work to "at least survive" rather than getting plenty of money right now from someone who's already fully funded? As I don't know what your product and business plans are, I don't know if I could be your CTO/co-founder. Suppose I could. Why would I put 50 hours a work into working for you for just enough money to buy ramen now, rather than putting that 50 hours a week into looking for businesses that I could sell technically simple Wordpress sites to as part of an online marketing program for them worth $10k each?

This is quite possibly the best way to approach any software project/business. Iteration is key when building software :p

There are whole cults devoted to Agile development
 

GoGetter24

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Oct 8, 2017
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The problem is every single developer seems to want a ridiculous amount of money. I was quoted £150K+ for something that should cost a fraction of that.
The dream scenario would be to find a co-founder who could develop the application, give him a % of the business and pay him something so he can at least survive while working on the application but I'm yet to meet an individual with the skills required.

You're coming at this from the wrong mindset. "So he can at least survive"??. Your problem isn't the 'skills required' bit. I'm sure any developer reading your post just had a cringe go up his spine. Your dream scenario is his nightmare scenario.

The price is whatever it is. If you've gotten many quotes, and no-one will quote less than the 150k to make it, that's the price. There is no such thing as "should cost".

The other option is taking on the time/money uncertainty risks involved in its construction yourself, and doing the legwork to find someone capable and within your budget yourself, and hiring them to work on it by the hour, aiming for MVP waypoints.
 

Ninjakid

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Jun 23, 2014
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If you have a degree in CS you could learn to do it within several months if you really grind. That's what Dustin Moskovitz (one of the founders of Facebook) did in his spare time while studying full-time at Harvard, and he only ever took beginner CS courses.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just get something made!
 

S.Y.

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Oct 4, 2017
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Have you tried to pre-sell your application?

I am starting from the position that your project solves a need that you have identified. So, instead of thinking about what you will build, you can find the people your solution will serve and get a confirmation that they have a problem.

And from there sketch a solution --> presell --> hire whoever you need to do that.

There are plenty useful tools to mock up app without coding and at a fraction of the cost (both in time and money): InVision and Proto.io come to mind.
 

Kingsta

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Dec 6, 2014
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Thought I'd update this. I built an MVP of the product for around $3,000 which now allows me to either raise funds or go into an accelerator so that's my next step!
 

masterneme

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Have you thought about building a team with people on Upwork.com, Guru.com, Freelancer.com or other outsourcing sites?
 

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