The Ultimate ‘Hire an App Developer’ Negotiation Checklist - Development Company

The Ultimate ‘Hire an App Developer’ Negotiation Checklist

Getting your app developer to work precisely as per your vision, guidelines and criteria can be a pretty tall order. It’s tough business; on one hand, the app developer may boast about his/her portfolio or defend the fact that a particular approach has worked rather well in the past, you should cave in and do the same, for instance. On the other, you are simply not willing to flow along with some of the ideas your developer has proposed.

Now we certainly don’t want to reach an impasse, do we? First, some honest facts: not everybody’s cut out to perform well at the negotiation table. Others have a natural knack for it, winning hearts and minds the moment certain “key” words or phrases start popping out of their voice box.

Here’s what you probably know: app developers are in charge, they know a lot of the technical stuff and intricacies involved, you don’t. Does this mean you can’t have your way? Never say never! Read on.

“I have my regular dev for this, but…”

Tell your prospective app developer that your business partner just ain’t willing to budge as far as the project allowance goes. That it’s out of your control. They might quote $3000; tell em’ you can dish out $2000 or maybe $2300 at best.

Well, if it starts to go south, you can always say: “Hey, no worries at all. My partner’s also shortlisted a developer or two; one of them is eager to complete the job within days. I just wanted to get a second opinion.” I’m telling you, over 95% of the time, heck even 99%, they’re going to budge.

Business meeting

Here is another likely scenario: the developer quotes $6000. You tell him the regular developer is doing it for less than $5000, but you can’t get to him as he’s heavily bogged down with his own projects. Your prospect might have the tendency to do a little whining at this point, after which you will calmly tell them: “That won’t be a problem; I can wait for my regular guy, he’ll be done in a matter of weeks.”

Know a Thing or Two

Some of us are newbies at hiring an iOS/Android app developer. We can’t help it; everybody has to learn the ropes, amid a few stalls and nose dives along the way. Whatever you do, do not let the prospect know as you negotiate. It is highly likely they will not take any pity on you or offer you a competitive price.

A golden rule of thumb is this: do not sound like a noob when explaining stuff. Instead of saying: “Do you know if…” or “How does it work if we…” say: “The script here is fairly basic, should be a walk in the park for you, right?” Or something along the lines of: “This shouldn’t take more than a few hours once you get down to it, particularly if you’re using Xamarin.” Pretense can be bliss.

Sound like you’re familiar with the timeframe needed to finish the task. You’ve got to give the impression that you know a few bits about programming yourself; chances are they won’t try to place uber-high bids.


Avoid making statements that insinuate the developer is an undisputed pro; this will most likely make them want to puff up or flex their intellectual muscle. They will almost never admit to the fact that they’re not seasoned enough to complete the task on short notice. They might even jump the gun and soften up just to impress you and let you know they’re as good, if not better than the rest of the lot.

“Hey, I’m getting lower quotes too, but I really like you, you know?”

It doesn’t matter what quotes you’re laying on them; always tell the dev you’re getting lower quotes. This is where the whole delivery really counts: “I really like your work, so I’m not too keen on giving this to any other dev at the moment. Meet me halfway, and it’s yours for the taking.” Works every dang time!

Those Oh-so-wonderful Wonderful Combo Deals and Bulk Buys

Congratulations on making it this far! You’ve managed to negotiate a decent design and development cost. What happens now? Can you get the mobile game/app development cost down even more? You sure can Chuck!

If you’re reskinning your games, making two to three versions of your current project is a good idea, before you move on to the next code in line. Let’s say you own multiple accounts on Google Play or iTunes, you’ll probably end up making up to five games, maybe more. This is where you strike the iron while it’s hot.

A bulk buy will lower the cost even further. Be on your guard though: another thing you never want to disclose is blowing the whistle on how many projects you got running. Give your developer the impression there’s only one for now, work the price as low as it’ll go, THEN tell him there’s more. Who knows, you might negotiate an even better price by asking them to commit to multiple projects afterwards.

Visual Zing

This is one part of the process where you really need to explain your needs, practically spell them out. What happens if you don’t? An unnecessary dent in your wallet, that’s what!

This primarily happens because the developer knows extensive changes will be made in order to go along with your vision. We don’t want costs piling up as a result, so explain things well: provide several links to images of your app, as well as other apps than can be used as a benchmark.

Provide as many references as you can. Get the estimate and use these negotiation methods to get the price down to the sweet spot.



Here’s the best part yet: “Sorry, I almost forgot I have a couple of vector graphics lying around that you can integrate in this app, so you’re not really churning out stuff from scratch. Just format it to make my game/app look nice, that’s it. A few finishing touches might be needed, but the core graphics are already there.” And BINGO! Your price sinks even more. Can I get a hallelujah here?

Related: How to Hire the Perfect App Developer

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