A veteran PHP developer can help you estimate a budget pretty easily, as long as you provide as much detail as you can. Developers bidding on your project can get a better idea of what needs to be done and estimate far more accurately.
Cost factor #1: Project scope
If you already wrote your project description, good news: You’ve already tackled the first major cost factor by identifying the overall scope of your project. The first variable to consider when determining scope is the nature of the work that needs to be done.
Not all PHP projects are created equal. There’s a big difference in scope between writing some custom scripts for a WordPress site and coding a new social media app with integrated APIs and databases on the backend from scratch. If you need a PHP developer on hand to sporadically handle tickets, that might warrant a different type of engagement.
Time is the other variable you have to consider when determining scope, as it will determine how you’ll handle milestone payments for developmental phases (if you’re dealing with fixed price contracts), or the overall cost of a project if you’re paying hourly wages. That social media app project mentioned above could take months, whereas a couple scripts to support some new front-end functionality could take mere days.
Cost factor #2: PHP developer experience
PHP is one of the most widely used languages on the web, so there’s a broad talent pool to choose from. This might mean you need to take extra care in your vetting and interviewing process to ensure you’re getting a developer of the caliber you need.
Choosing the right level of expertise for the job is closely tied to how well you determined the scope of your project. You wouldn’t need a senior-level PHP developer for a more simple yet time-consuming project, for example. Hiring a less experienced freelancer who can whip up simple scripts at a lower rate will get the job done and save you a lot of money.
The following table breaks down the rates of the typical types of PHP developers you can find on Upwork.
Typical Rates Charged by PHP Developers*
|Type of PHP Developer
|Average Hourly Rate
|Basic Back-end PHP
|Back-end fundamentals (RESTful API’s, Lambda functions). Databases like MySQL. Content Management Systems like WordPress. Technology stack like LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP).
|Intermediate – Advanced
|Beyond fundamentals, specialization in a back-end server environment like AWS (Amazon Web Services), also skilled in one or more chosen PHP frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, or Cake.
|Full Stack Developer
|Mix of front-end and back-end technology expertise. Expertise working with Twig, Blade, and ReactPHP.
*Reflects rates charged by freelancers on Upwork in North America with over 1,000 hours and 90% success rate.