How Much Does it Cost to Hire A Front-End Web Developer?

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So you want to hire a front-end web developer—how much is it going to cost? While it would be nice to provide you with a simple figure, the truth is that for a field as diverse as front-end web development, there are a number of factors you’ll have to consider first before you can hone in on the true cost of your project.

Web development can roughly be divided into two parts: front-end and back-end. For the purposes of this article we’re going to look at the cost of finding someone to handle the client-side of your application, the part of the website that directly faces your customer. Here are some of the most important cost factors you’ll need to consider when budgeting to engage a front-end developer for your needs.

COST FACTOR #1: PROJECT SCOPE

One of the first factors you must consider when estimating cost is project scope. Is your intention simply to engage someone to set up a quick landing page to gather email subscriptions for your eventual product launch? Or are you looking for something more long-term, someone to build the client-side of your website from the ground up, with an emphasis on performance, scalability, and maintenance? Costs will vary from one end of the spectrum to the other.

This is especially true for front-end development, where top-level decisions such as whether or not your plan is to monetize an existing WordPress blog or develop dynamic single page application (SPA) from scratch, will ultimately determine which technologies your front-end developer will have to use. To help you out, we’ve categorized some of the languages, frameworks, and other technologies that a developer may possess, to help you search for the right developer for your needs.

Typical Rates Charged by Front-End Developers*

Type of Front-End Developer Description Average  Hourly Rate
Basic Front-End Typically possesses mastery of skills in web fundamentals (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), familiarity with libraries like jQuery, and CMS’s like WordPress. $15-50 +
Intermediate – Advanced Front-End Beyond fundamentals, also skilled in one or more chosen frameworks like AngularJS, CSS preprocessors like LESS/SASS, and CSS frameworks like Bootstrap. $35-100 +
Full Stack Developer Mix of front-end and back-end technology expertise. Solution stacks like MEAN or LAMP. Server-side technologies like ASP.NET, Ruby or Python. $30-150 +

*Reflects rates charged by freelancers on Upwork in North America with over 1,000 hours and 90% success rate.

Tip: You can manage a limited budget more effectively by considering an Agile development methodology. Start with a minimum viable project (MVP), the bare bones of the application you eventually wish to create, gather live feedback from the market, and let validated data guide the development of your project. This will help you avoid that dreaded pitfall of sinking cost into a product the market doesn’t want.

COST FACTOR #2: EXPERIENCE

The more experienced the programmer, the higher the rate—so you’ll want to make sure you’re optimizing your resources when you find a developer for a job. If all you need is someone to set up a simple landing page with Joomla, you can easily find a developer to do it for you who charges $15-20/hour.

On the other hand, if you wish to create a fully customizable SPA (single-page application), a senior AngularJS developer can charge you upwards of $60/hour. The cost is worth it when you consider that you’ll want someone who has experience taking an app from conception through completion—they’ll know how to handle any bugs that appear before production.

Tip: Sometimes it can be cost effective to just hire a “unicorn“—those rare front-end developers who also double as UI/UX designers. They can help you carry your small-sized project from wireframing and storyboarding through development, testing, and production.

Cost Factor #3: Location

While it’s true that rates charged by freelancers vary by location, keep in mind that front-end developers across the globe still pay the same expenses for services such as AWS (Amazon Web Services), GitHub, and G Suite, or training through programs offered by online course providers such as Lynda.

The real advantage to hiring a front-end developer on Upwork’s platform is that you gain access to a talent pool that essentially spans the whole globe. This means that the best and brightest freelancers around the world are readily available right at your fingertips.

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Yoshitaka Shiotsu

by - Technical Copywriter & Digital Marketing Consultant

Yoshitaka (Chris) Shiotsu is a technical copywriter and digital marketing consultant on Upwork. He brings the researching prowess and technical savvy of an electrical engineer… more