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Top 10 Places to Find and Hire the Best Freelance Developers for Your Software Development Projects in 2024

As your tech startup or business is growing and constantly releasing new features, sooner or later, you’ll feel the need to expand your team of software developers.

If you’re based in the US or Western Europe and wish to hire a developer, be aware that you may experience a shortage of tech talent locally. Not to mention that posting a job description means you’ll have to go through hundreds of irrelevant CVs, while the real talent won’t be searching for new opportunities.

Research by the Korn Ferry Institute predicts that by 2030, the technology, media, and telecommunications industry will be one of the three major industries facing the biggest talent shortage in the US. Besides, it may be too expensive for you to hire a developer in-house for short-time projects.

One of the solutions to the shortage of tech talent in your area is to find and hire freelance developers.

In this article, we will list the platforms and portals that are, in our opinion, the best places where you can hire developers online. Additionally, we’ll provide you with some useful tips on hiring freelance software developers.

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Alternatives to traditional recruitment

The traditional way to find and hire developers is to work with a dedicated recruiter. However, it’s possible to hire directly by using some alternative sources.

1. Asking for referrals

One way to find and hire a developer is to ask for a referral. You can tap into your network of professional contacts and ask them to refer a software developer with certain technical skills who is looking for a job. Your chances are quite high because professionals in the IT industry tend to change jobs once every 3–4 years in search of new exciting projects and challenges.

2. Networking at online tech events

Another alternative to traditional recruitment has always been to sign up for and attend tech events focused on specific technologies—depending on what you’re looking for. For example, WordPress developers hang out at WordCamp. Python developers can be found at PyCon, whereas Java specialists network at JCon. For Full Stack developers—there is the Full Stack Europe conference. Android developers can be found during the Android Dev Summit or at Google’s official events for Android developers. 

Offline events have become even more popular post-COVID, as many missed face-to-face communications and regular meetings. Although, you can still find online events and meetups using Facebook, Meetup, Eventbrite, and Linkedin communities.

 3. Browsing online hiring platforms and remote job boards

These remote job platforms are a perfect place to find developers at reasonable prices because you can find great freelancers from all over the world. Later in this article, we are also going to give an overview of the top 10 best hiring platforms. However, meanwhile, you may post your job with technical skills requirements on the best remote job boards, such as:

  1. Indeed
  2. Wellfound
  3. RemoteOK
  4. We Work Remotely
  5. Remote.co
  6. Nodesk
  7. Remotive
  8. Jobspresso
  9. SkipTheDrive
  10. RemoteHub
  11. Working Nomads

Don’t forget about good old LinkedIn. If developers are subscribed to a certain job search query that matches yours, they will get a notification about your job posting. For example, coders subscribed to “remote app developer” or “remote back-end developer” queries will get an email or a notification about a new remote coding job for app developers or back-end developers.

Of course, if you want to get the most sought-after talent, the guru of programming, so to speak, you might need to work with an external recruiter with a great network or try out the hiring platforms (more on that later).

4. Browsing coding platforms and communities

GitHub is a community of engineers who share how they build great software. You can see code samples of real software developers on GitHub and even offer the job to someone who has coded something similar to the product you are planning to build.

Another great idea is to connect with the best developers on StackOverflow. It’s a place where developers ask for coding advice and share tips and tricks. The StackOverflow community may help you find the best engineer for your project.

Also, you might find plenty of other developer communities on the web or websites like Meetup.com.

5. Social media

There are plenty of Facebook groups where people share job postings. You can also ask your connections to recommend the right coders for your software development job on Facebook and other social media websites. Just specify the required technical skills, and the CVs of trusted software experts will fly into your inbox. To attract more applicants, you may want to consider creating an animated short about your company and the benefits you provide to your workers to post on social platforms. Also, consider scheduling Facebook posts to come out when your ideal candidates are likely online to get maximum views. 

Top 10 platforms to hire freelance developers

The following are the freelance platforms for developers that we consider to be the best. Many tech companies find these very valuable for finding developers available for hire. We will overview each of them and highlight their strengths and weaknesses.

Upwork

upwork hire freelance developer

This is probably the most “mainstream” website to find and hire freelance developers.

Here’s how it works for employers:

  1. You post a job/project description outlining the skills required from the candidates.
  2. Upwork matches the description against the profiles of freelancers who have similar skills.
  3. You get a shortlist of the most suitable candidates.
  4. Having interviewed and selected the candidate, you start working together. There are two ways that the freelancers can bill you: flat fee or hourly rate. Flat fees are typically used for short-time tasks, whereas freelancers engaged in long-term projects often prefer hourly rates. Hours are billed through Upwork’s native time-tracking app.

You can also browse freelancers’ profiles and invite them to apply for your job.

Pros of UpworkCons of Upwork
Ease of useMostly suitable for short-term projects
Quick access to a wide talent pool with reasonable pricesTakes a long time to find the best match
Built-in time tracker
Mobile app
Safe payments
Quick customer support

TopTal

toptal hire freelance developer

The second most popular website to help you hire a developer is TopTal. Initially, TopTal was intended for freelance software developers only, but in 2015, the platform expanded from software development and now includes designers. Now you can also hire project/product managers and finance experts on TopTal.

The most remarkable feature of the platform is the rigorous screening of all candidates, at the end of which only 3% remain. Here’s the screening process:

  1. A comprehensive language, personality, and communication interview.
  2. A technical interview where the skills, intellect, and problem-solving abilities are checked.
  3. Each candidate undergoes live tests to evaluate their specific skills within the primary expertise sphere.
  4. Each candidate is assigned a test project, which is a real-world case, and must complete it within three weeks.
  5. Only 3% of candidates pass the screening. Furthermore, they are required to maintain a perfect track record when working with clients. Thus, if you wish to hire freelance developers without spending time testing their hard skills, TopTal might be the solution for you.
Pros of TopTalCons of TopTal
Strict vetting of candidates so only the best freelance developer is available for hireHigh prices
Ease of useBest suitable for long-term projects
Quick recruitment
Free trial period for freelancers
Protection of intellectual property

YouTeam

youteam hire software developer

YouTeam is a tech talent marketplace that connects businesses and startups to software developers and designers from offshore countries. Like Upwork and TopTal, clients can browse profiles of software developers and personally interview them. Additionally, similarly to TopTal, all developers undergo a strict vetting process.

The difference is that on YouTeam, you can find developers who are a part of dedicated teams working on a full-time basis at local software agencies. However, the clients collaborate directly with the developers without a PM acting as an intermediary (though the PM model is also possible).

As a result, you work with the development team remotely, just like with freelancers, but your collaboration is as reliable as it would be with an in-house team.

Pros of YouTeamCons of YouTeam
Strict vetting of candidatesLimited talent pool in comparison to Upwork
Talent pool includes 50,000+ developersBest suitable for long-term projects
All developers work in development companies, and they won’t switch to other projects until the scope is finished with you
Ease of use
Recruitment is done for you — after you leave the project requirements, the YouTeam specialist scans its own unique database of available talent and sends you CVs in less than 48 hours
The team of developers is dedicated only to your project
All legal and financial aspects are taken care of in a single, convenient interface

Browse 500+ Dev Teams Available for Hire

MoonLightWork

moonlightwork hire freelance developer

MoonLightWork is a community of software developers and product designers that also acts as a marketplace where you can hire freelance developers.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You post the job description.
  2. Moonlight notifies the community and finds perfect matches.
  3. You work together with the applicants on a paid trial project.
  4. If you feel that the trial was completed successfully, you can hire the developers as ongoing contractors or full-time employees.
  5. You can either pay the developers on an hourly basis via Moonlight or hire them directly.
Pros of MoonLightWorkCons of MoonLightWork
Ease of useThe community is quite small
Safe paymentsThe vetting process is not strict enough—the platform allows candidates with relatively little experience to feature their profiles
Free trial period for freelancersThe talent is based mostly in the US, so the prices may be higher
Mostly automated and thus fast
Narrow specialization of developers

Gun.io

gun io hire freelance developer

Gun.io is a developer-only freelance marketplace with a strict vetting process, which works as follows:

  1. The coders are tested for the ability to work remotely.
  2. The developer passes an automated coding exam, a live coding exercise, and a technical interview with a member of the engineering team.
  3. The freelancer is interviewed by the CEO of Gun.io.
  4. Gun.io representatives perform reference checks with the candidate’s previous clients.
Pros of Gun.ioCons of Gun.io
Fast hiring–within 48 hoursNo client feedback available
Access to the highest quality talent due to strict screeningLengthy sign-up process
The developers are dedicated only to your projectDistant customer service
User-friendly software

Arc

Arc logo

Arc is an AI-powered, global, community-driven marketplace that connects companies with skilled developers. Employers can swiftly hire pre-vetted freelancers, regardless of location. With its AI recruiter, HireAI, you can find fast and accurate matches within 72 hours:

1. Describe the freelance developer you’re looking for.
2. Add required technical skills and budget.
3. Receive a list of vetted candidate profiles that match your needs.
4. Select who to interview.
5. Hire.

Pros of ArcCons of Arc
High-quality workArc doesn’t provide resume database browsing services
Relatively fast recruitment (within 72 hours)Basic customer support
AI-powered vetting and matching process
Risk-free trial period

Pilot

pilot hire freelance developer

Pilot is a hiring platform connecting clients worldwide with vetted developers and designers handling the hiring logistics.

The vetting process is as follows:

  1. Analysis of the written communication skills.
  2. Simulation of collaboration projects challenges sees how the freelancer resolves them.
  3. Skill-based evaluation. For example, if the programmer is said to know HTML and CSS, Pilot vets these skills.
  4. Coding assignments are then reviewed by senior members of the platform.
  5. Application review.
  6. An interview to test language and communication skills.
  7. Only 1% of candidates pass the screening.
Pros of PilotCons of Pilot
Strict vetting processSlow payment process
Continuous assessment of platform members
Availability for long-term full-time collaboration opportunities
Easy to use
Cost-effective service

Fiverr.com

fiver hire freelance developer

Fiverr.com is a marketplace of on-demand digital freelance services, from music and audio to programming and tech. It is perfect for those looking to hire a developer for short-term projects. Here’s how it works:

  1. Your search for the required services, e.g., WordPress website design.
  2. Use the smart filters to narrow down your search. You can specify the service type, e.g., full website creation and plugins, price range, and delivery time.
  3. Fiverr will show you a list of available portfolios that you can browse. You can choose between different pricing packages, e.g., a startup business website, a PRO business website, or an e-Commerce business website.
  4. Select the services, and click “Order Now.”
Pros of FiverrCons of Fiverr
Easy, intuitive searchOnly short-time projects (gigs) are available
Ability to browse portfolios without registrationNo vetting processes
A wide range of countries and ratesHigh service fees
Suitable for all types of businesses

Lemon.io

Lemon.io hire freelancers

Lemon.io is a network of vetted developers that you can hire as freelancers. The developers are located mostly in Eastern Europe and, thus, offer quite reasonable hourly rates, specifically between $25 and $45. However, you need to buy hours before you start hiring and working with the developers on your project.

Lemon.io specializes primarily in web development and works with technologies such as PHP, WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Blockchain, HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript, and Node.js. The platform screens the developers by three key parameters: overall adequacy, English proficiency, and qualifications. If you’re looking for, say, an iOS developer, this platform might best suit your needs.

Pros of Lemon.ioCons of Lemon.io
Reasonable pricingDo not have embedded & firmware developers
Strict vetting of developersQuality may vary depending on the freelancer
Helpful customer support
Easy-to-use payment plans

Scalable Path

scalablepath hire freelance developer

Scalable Path is a technical staffing agency with thousands of freelance software developers and designers from over 138 countries. Scalable Path offers each client personal support throughout the entire hiring process, handpicking the candidates according to the project requirements.

Prior to that, all clients undergo a rigorous screening of both tech and soft skills. Another advantage of Scalable Path is that the agency allows you to hire good developers quickly. Typically, the whole process takes up to three weeks.

 

Pros of Scalable PathCons of Scalable Path
Quick hiring—normally less than three weeksCustomer service
No recruiting fees
Strict candidate vetting
Low overhead costs

Tips on hiring a freelance developer

No matter which platform you choose, we recommend you follow these tips when looking for freelance software engineers:

1. Define your project requirements

Find out which programming languages are required for your project, what tools the freelancer must know and be able to use, and which skill sets are most desired.

2. Define the project length

Knowing the length of your project will help to define what kind of engineers you need and where to find them. If the project is short-term, you can hire freelance developers from platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr willing to take on small tasks. Although, be aware that you need to evaluate the candidate’s skills properly to recruit the best one.  Although, you can also use those platforms to hire engineers for long-term projects. However, to ensure the quality of candidates in this case, you should dig deeper into their portfolios and evaluate their experience based on the projects they worked on, as ratings do not always show the whole picture. If you take the time to evaluate the developer thoroughly, you can get an engineer with exceptional expertise within your price range.

3. Check the experience of candidates

For example, Upwork offers three skill levels: beginner, intermediate, and expert, with corresponding pricing. If you need something quick, you can check the beginners’ profiles.

It often happens that freelancers new to Upwork take up quick projects to gain experience within the platform, but it does not mean they do not have experience outside the platform. Review their portfolio, ask for a code sample, and check some past references, feedback, and ratings. You can also ask if they have experience with any of the popular project management tools. For instance, a new front-end developer might look like a fresh freelance developer on Upwork, but their CV may be much more than that—check their LinkedIn profile, ask the coder for references from other places of work if they don’t have any ratings on the platform.

4. Establish a reliable relationship and build trust

By creating open and honest communication, you have a higher chance of building trust with your developers. When the client and freelancer share the same vision of the project and its goals, they can reach the most productive cooperation, which can evolve into a long-term partnership.

How to hire the best freelance developers—FAQ

What types of businesses hire freelance web developers?

Tech companies are more likely to hire freelancers when they are testing feature ideas or need someone to complete small tasks that they don’t want to distract their team with. However, when it comes to finding engineers for long-term cooperation, companies use platforms like TopTal and YouTeam. Their talent is readily available, easier to replace, and best suited for companies that need to grow quickly to keep up with demand for the product.

How to hire the best freelance developers?

There are a few options: use your network, social media, development communities, and events, or explore freelancer platforms such as Upwork, TopTal, and YouTeam.

How much does it cost to hire a freelance software developer?

It depends on the region. The most popular hiring regions are offshore destinations, such as Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia. You may find our research on the rates of freelance developers in each offshore country in this article.

What are the advantages of working with freelance developers?

Even if you were not sure about hiring remote coders, the mid-COVID-19 world might have changed your opinion. Now even in-house developers work as remote employees, and for most companies, it wasn’t as painful as expected. However, working with freelance developers is a completely different story since they might not be fully dedicated to your project. If you want to be sure the remote dev team is fully dedicated to your project, and if you want them long-term, use platforms like YouTeam, where this is guaranteed.

The bottom line

The shortage of tech talent in the US urges the owners of both startups and established businesses to tap into alternative ways of hiring. These include referrals, networking at tech events, and the freelance software development market.

There is a wide range of platforms where you can find and hire freelance developers, such as:

  • Upwork
  • TopTal
  • YouTeam
  • MoonLightWork
  • Gun.io
  • Arc
  • Pilot
  • Fiverr.com
  • Coding Ninjas
  • Scalable Path

Each of these platforms has its own pros and cons, so you should carefully study them and choose the one that fits your needs to the greatest extent. For example, if you’re looking for quick, short-term gigs, then you can consider Fiverr or Upwork.

If you wish to hire a developer with a narrow technology stack, e.g., web development, then Coding Ninjas may be your best option.

However, if you need a dedicated team of remote developers from an offshore country, then you should consider YouTeam.

Nevertheless, no matter which platform you prefer, remember to check the following when hiring freelance developers:

We wish you good luck in finding the best candidate for your project.

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Written by
Mary Atamaniuk

Mary Atamaniuk is a digital content strategist, her areas of interest include digital marketing, tech entrepreneurship, and influencer blogging.

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