How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Mobile App Developer

Helen Stetsenko
Helen Stetsenko
Tech Researcher and Writer

Like any intellectual field, programming blurs the lines between people in all aspects except talent, qualifications, and experience. Sharing these values, companies worldwide hire remote specialists to create mobile applications and other custom software products. Even firms that didn’t use outsourcing before the pandemic now actively recruit talent from abroad. It brings multiple benefits, from filling skill gaps for an in-house team to reducing the development time and cost.  But how much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer from different countries? What factors define the right choice of outsourcing partner? Where to find professional mobile app developers for remote hire? You’ll know all the answers after reading this guide.

Table of contents

    The Cost to Hire a Mobile App Developer in Different Countries

    Mobile app developer salaries vary from country to country. It can be explained by the local IT industry's overall development, the level of education, the popularity of IT services in a specific location, and many other factors. And the wages are not always directly proportional to a developer’s talent and the quality of coding. For example, a junior iOS coder’s salary in the USA is 3-5 times higher than in Ukraine. Such a difference is often explained by different standards of living, economy, occupational prestige, etc. Let’s have a look at how much it will cost to hire mobile app developers in the top countries that supply specialists globally:

    • The USA
    • The United Kingdom
    • Argentina
    • Mexico
    • Ukraine
    • Poland
    • India

    It will help compare the wages in these countries and see how the cost of mobile app development justifies the quality of provided services.

    hiring mobile app developers

    1. The USA

    The USA is arguably the largest IT hub in the world, and for a good reason. IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and many other IT giants are based here. The mobile app developer profession here is prestigious and well-paid. iOS developers hourly rates are as follows:

    • Minimum $70/hour
    • Average $90/hour
    • Maximum $150/hour

    Android developers earn slightly less compared to iOS developers:

    • Minimum $36,500/year or $60/hour
    • Average $112,647/year or $75/hour
    • Maximum $163,000/year or $120/hour

    The current charge for app development typically ranges from $10,000 to $100,000 per month, depending on skill level, years of experience, and location.

    2. The United Kingdom

    Salaries for mobile developers in the UK are lower than in the US, yet still on the high-end globally. iOS developers here charge:

    • Minimum $30/hour
    • Average $55/hour
    • Maximum $70/hour

    Below are the rates for Android developers in the UK:

    • Minimum $25/hour
    • Average $45/hour
    • Maximum $65/hour

    3. Argentina

    Argentina is one of the biggest software development centers in Latin America. According to Glassdoor, mobile app development rates are significantly lower than North America and Western Europe regions, making this country interesting for hiring outsourcing developers.

    Here are the rates of iOS developers in Argentina:

    • Minimum $12/hour
    • Average $16/hour
    • Maximum $25/hour

    Android developers’ rates are slightly lower across the board:

    • Minimum $10/hour
    • Average $14/hour
    • Maximum $22/hour

    4. Mexico

    Mexico is another key outsourcing destination in Latin America. Alongside Argentina, Mexico has a relatively high Global Connectivity Index (45 and 43 respectively). The CGI shows which countries are the most digitally advanced, interesting for investments, and sources of IT talent. Here the costs of hiring a developer are also significantly lower than in the USA or Western Europe (as per Glassdoor data). 

    iOS developers in Mexico charge:

    • Minimum $12/hour
    • Average $17/hour
    • Maximum $28/hour

    Android developer rates start lower. However, senior Android developers here get higher wages:

    • Minimum $10/hour
    • Average $20/hour
    • Maximum $30/hour

    5. Ukraine

    The Eastern European region is renowned for its IT specialists with a decent knowledge base, good communication in English, and advanced programming expertise. Many young talents here invest in mobile development education to build a career overseas or get hired remotely. Ukraine is known for its strong IT education. It is one of the most promising countries with a skill pool of more than 100,000 software development professionals. Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, Google, and many other global leaders import software development services from Ukraine.

    The local salaries for mobile app development are significantly lower than those offered in most advanced countries. It explains why most Ukrainian individuals and development firms work as offshore service providers. Average hourly rates of Ukrainian iOS developers:

    • Minimum $15/hour
    • Average $30/hour
    • Maximum $55/hour

    Android developer salaries in Ukraine are:

    • Minimum $12/hour
    • Average $25/hour
    • Maximum $45/hour

    Ukraine is considered one of the top outsourcing destinations in terms of adequate quality and price ratio.

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    6. Poland

    Poland can boast of having a wide variety of IT specialists for any type of development. Local professionals have a strong background in modern development technologies and offer affordable pricing for their services. Together with Ukraine, Poland is among the top IT outsourcing destinations in Eastern Europe but at higher wages for mobile app development.

    iOS developer average rates are:

    • Minimum $20/hour
    • Average $40/hour
    • Maximum $60/hour

    Android developers here start with higher salaries. However, on average, Android professionals have smaller compensations:

    • Minimum $17/hour
    • Average $35hour
    • Maximum $55/hour

    7. India

    When thinking about outsourcing programmers for hire, the first country that often comes to your mind is India. In the late 90s and early 2000s, Indian freelancers occupied the market with the cheapest possible rates. Unfortunately, poor service quality discredited the reputation of Indian mobile app developers. Today the nation has a significantly higher technical background. It offers decent development services for foreign companies, although at a higher cost. The local salaries, according to Glassdoor, are much lower compared to what IT professionals can earn in outsourcing.

    iOS software developer hourly rate:

    • Minimum $12/hour
    • Average $17/hour
    • Maximum $25/hour

    Android developer salaries:

    • Minimum $10/hour
    • Average  $15/hour
    • Maximum $20/hour

    According to TopCoder, India is the 10th most advanced country among outsourcing destinations globally due to its large number of developers. But this does not always guarantee quality.

    We researched countries from different continents to show the global dispersion for mobile app development. Within such a significant difference in compensation, it is natural that talented developers are looking for jobs with higher wages abroad. Simultaneously, IT companies from countries with high salaries for developers often seek more affordable development services offshore. As such, IT outsourcing has become advantageous for both talented professionals and businesses.

    What Makes iOS and Android App Developers Cost Different?

    Based on the figures from above, there is an apparent difference between salaries for Android and iOS development:

    ios and android developer salary in-house

    Hourly Rates for In-House iOS and Android Development by Country

    The Android market is bigger and more competitive. For that reason, developers tend to lower prices to retain potential clients. However, the generally lower cost for hiring a mobile app developer for Android doesn’t mean it will be cheaper to create an Android app than iOS.

    Due to Android’s fragmentation, development teams often need more time to adjust the application for different devices. There are so many devices and Android OS versions that it also takes more time for proper app testing. Within the more extended development and testing periods, the project cost rises respectively. According to different surveys, developing an Android version of the app takes up to 30% more time than iOS.

    Hiring Models

    A company that decides to delegate the mobile app development to third parties has a few hiring options to pick from. The terms and cost of hiring a developer are different for each of them. The right choice is driven by the priorities and focus of your business.

    reason for software outsourcing

    Reason For Software Development Outsourcing

    Outsourcing vs. Outstaffing vs. Dedicated Team

    Outstaffing is when a client (a company) hires an employee from an outsourcing company to carry out various development tasks. The hired developers become remote in-house employees for the customer’s company for the entire contract period. In outstaffing, the project management and employee management are handled by the customer.

    This option is suitable for customers with a solid in-house team that needs additional hands to manage their projects. Another reason for outstaffing is the need for an expert in a particular area to fill the team's skill gap. Outstaffing developers can work on either one or multiple projects, receiving a salary and other benefits similar to in-house developers.

    Outsourcing is a type of software development where a client’s company hires another company to delegate the entire project scope. It also includes project and team management, planning, testing, and all other tasks. The hired developers remain employees of the outsourcing agency. They just fulfill the project for the client company.

    Often companies hire individual outsourcing developers to deliver a specific part of the mobile app development. It can be either a freelance app developer or an outsourcing agency’s employee. The main idea is that outsourcing implies a seasoned hire for completing a particular project. Find out more about the pros and cons of outsourcing software development to analyze all sides of such collaboration.

    pros and cons of outsourcing software development

    A dedicated team model is a type of outsourcing when a client hires two or more specialists from an outsourcing agency to carry out a particular part of the project. The outsourcing agency also performs dedicated team management.

    Outsourcing and dedicated team models usually imply hourly-based or fixed-price payment models. It depends on the terms agreed upon between the client and the outsourcing agency and project specificity. However, the fixed-price model is less popular due to the inability to get accurate project scope estimation at the very beginning.

    Offshore vs. Nearshore vs. Onshore

    Often offshore development is described as a synonym for outsourcing. That is not correct, as the ‘offshore’ term is from a completely different category. You can apply for offshore, nearshore, or onshore outsourcing. All these three types mainly characterize the location of your outsourcing partner.

    Offshoring is outsourcing to a distant country. For instance, when a US-based company hires developers from a Ukraine-based outsourcing agency, it is offshoring. If you decide to employ third-party developers from a different country near your location, it is nearshoring. For example, if a company from the USA chooses to hire developers from Mexico.

    Finally, if a US-based company decides to outsource its development project to US-based freelancers or a US-based outsourcing agency, it is called onshoring.

    Choosing between these options is mainly based on a few factors:

    • Price: offshoring often offers a significantly lower cost to hire mobile developers.
    • Availability at the same work hours: if you need remote developers to work and communicate within the same work hours (or at least some hours), consider nearshoring. Sometimes nearshoring also helps to reduce the development costs cardinally.
    • Company culture fitness: if you are looking for developers that share the same culture, breath the same air as you, and money is not your #1 issue, onshoring can be a great option.
    • Skills and other intellectual resources: for some clients, location and budget do not matter as much as intellectual power. They hunt for talent all over the world to acquire unique skills and expertise for their projects.

    Offshoring also has another meaning. Sometimes IT companies decide to relocate a part of their business to another country, primarily due to financial reasons. Such relocation allows them to benefit from the local tax system and save on operational costs. For example, a company from the USA can open a software development division in Eastern Europe. Technically it is neither outstaffing nor outsourcing, as judicially, this division entirely belongs to the original company.

    Outsourcing Agency vs. Freelancers

    When you face the need to hire third-party developers, you can take one of two paths:

    • Partner with an outsourcing agency that will provide specialists according to your company’s needs.
    • Search for individual freelancers by yourself.

    Both ways have their pros and cons. As per the financial part, outsourcing agencies provide a slightly higher cost to hire an app developer than individual freelancers. Thus an agency takes the responsibilities to deliver upon your requirements. If there are any problems with the selected specialists, the agency will resolve the issue by offering alternative specialists or compensating according to your contract terms. When hiring a freelancer, the entire responsibility for deliverables falls upon your shoulders.

    Finding suitable software development experts takes much time and effort in the case of freelance individuals. You should rely on their portfolio, feedback from previous clients, and other information they provide by themselves. In the case of a well-reputed outsourcing agency, there are more guarantees for a successful hire. However, hiring a freelancer can be cheaper.

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    How to Hire the Right Mobile App Developer

    how to hire the app developer

    Hiring a contractor that will satisfy your expectations and succeed in your mobile app development is a challenging yet utterly doable task. A few steps can help you ensure that you receive the desired benefits from software development outsourcing.

    Step 1. Define your goals, requirements, and resources.

    It would be best if you formed clear criteria for selecting candidates. Take your time to compose a detailed RFP that describes the project scope, requirements for skills, development process, and deliverables. Based on the RFP, the outsourcing agencies or individual candidates will be able to match their capabilities with your expectations. It also helps to avoid irrelevant offers from candidates that cannot fulfill your requirements.

    Step 2. Analyze and Compare Developer Rates

    According to Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey 2020, about 70% of companies consider outsourcing to reduce development costs. When choosing a region for outsourcing, compare the prices of hiring a programmer in different destinations. Such research may reveal varying rates for the same talent, skills, and expertise. You can pick the best options to fit your budget.

    Step 3. Consider the state of the tech industry in different regions.

    The number of technical universities with software development education programs, the number of relevant talent available on the market, and the reputation of local development agencies should all be taken into account. If the country you are considering for outsourcing features a decent talent pool of specialists and occupies a big niche in the global IT outsourcing market, you’re moving in the right direction.

    Step 4. Time difference matters

    Traditionally companies look for developers from the same or nearby time zones considering that it is the most convenient way of collaboration. However, the follow-the-sun strategy tends to increase the developers’ responsibility and speed up the future app’s launch to market. According to the follow-the-sun model, each team (or developer) hands off their results at the end of their workday to the next group of workers from a different time zone, providing constant workflow, increasing responsiveness, and reducing delays. You can build a collaborative process where development continues around the clock if you hire developers in locations with significant time differences.

    Step 5. Weigh your cultural fit level

    It is hard to measure how developers from a specific country will fit your national and corporate culture. However, you can always consult other business owners and individuals about their outsourcing app development experience to a particular country. Don’t hesitate to ask potential outsourcing partners about all the topics you need to clarify, such as taxes, the legal system, management approaches, availability for live communication, values, goals, etc.

    Based on these steps, you will define suitable candidates for outsourcing and move to the interview process. Personal communication should clear the remaining doubts.

    How To Omit Risks When Outsourcing

    Here are a few more tips that will help you get maximum value from your outsourcing experience and avoid unwanted issues.

    1. Ensure there is a money-back guarantee. Discuss and document all the cases when you will request a refund if you are not satisfied with the quality of work. Make sure to have a relevant clause in the contract.
    2. Deploy a repository for code and all other valuable resources on your side. It will prevent your outsourcing partner from not transferring you the code in case of any misunderstanding.
    3. Do not pay large amounts up front. Also, ask for a detailed cost breakdown for the planned work scope.
    4. Miscommunication is one of the critical problems when outsourcing app development. Discuss a suitable communication model beforehand. You need to be sure you’ll get regular reports and updates at a time and in a way that is convenient for you and your team. 

    Where to Find Remote Mobile Developers?

    There are a few options available to help you find reliable outsourcing partners or individual developers.

    Remote Contracting Platforms

    There are also called job boards. Here you can post your job listing and collect applications from candidates. Also, you get access to developers’ CVs that you can review to select attractive candidates for hire. The most popular websites in this category are, IndeedCybercoders, and RemoteOK.

    Outsourcing Platforms

    There are specialized websites that offer hiring individuals and entire teams for development. Usually, they partner with multiple outsourcing agencies and development companies that provide remote hire specialists to help get relevant search results upon your request. A few popular names in this category are YouTeamModernWebVenturePact.

    Freelance Platforms

    If you opt to deal with freelancers, consider surfing through multiple freelance platforms to hire mobile developers directly. The most popular freelance networks are UpWorkTopTalFreelancer.comPeoplePerHour.

    Traditional Outsourcing

    The traditional outsourcing model implies surfing through software development agencies that have sales offices in your country. The biggest agencies often open offices in different countries to deliver their services locally. Also, you can google for development firms in the country you’ve selected as your outsourcing destination and contact them directly.


    Outsourcing mobile app development is a common practice nowadays, even among the global IT giants. It is a great way to cover workforce or talent shortages for your business, speed up time to market, and acquire unique intellectual power to beat your competitors. Besides these benefits, outsourcing also helps optimize the mobile app developer cost and focus your team on higher business goals. To reap all these benefits, you’ll need to find a reliable outsourcing partner. And you’ve already found one. KeyUA mobile development engineers are among the TOP ranked professionals in Ukraine with more than 12 years of experience. Flexible in cooperation and well-versed in all modern IT technologies, we are always open to an exciting partnership. Let’s deliver your next mobile application to market!

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