Finding the right Shopify developer for your eCommerce store can be difficult when dealing with a limited budget. You want to find professionals that are not only affordable, but also have experience developing online stores and apps.
There is a lot of advice out there about finding Shopify developers, but most of it suggests that you should hire Shopify expert agencies, which can cost up to $200 an hour. But what if you don't have thousands of dollars to spend?
Hiring a freelancer will save you costs and will give you the flexibility to get your ecommerce store made according to your specific requirements.
According to Upwork, the average cost of hiring a Shopify developer ranges from $15-$29/hour. Which can be comparatively much cheaper than hiring a full-fledged agency.
This post will guide you through the steps you need to take to find the ideal Shopify developer for your store.
What To Look For In A Good Shopify Developer?
What are the best qualities of a good Shopify developer? The answer to this question is not an easy one. There are many factors to consider and plenty of different opinions about what makes a great Shopify developer.
Some say that it's vital for their Shopify developers to be knowledgeable in both coding and design, while others believe that creativity and forward-thinking skills are crucial. Based on your specific needs, you can choose the qualities you need to look for when hiring a freelance Shopify developer.
Another consideration when looking at these qualities is your budget. A talented developer may come with a higher price tag than you're willing or able to spend on your project.
Additionally, before deciding which type of developer you want to be working on your project, make sure they have experience with similar projects in the past; otherwise, there might be some re-training involved now or down the lane.
Here are some other points to consider when hiring a developer for your Shopify store:
The Developer Should Be Able To Work With Your Budget
Depending on the scope of work involved in your project, the budget for its development might touch the roof. It is essential to figure out the budget you want to spend right from the start so you can look for a developer that fits your budget.
According to a recent study by Arc, on average, 6% of Shopify developers earn between $43,000 and $56,000 when they charge low fees, and 3% of Shopify developers earn between $173,000 and $186,000 when they charge higher fees. It means that it is possible to find a developer even with a smaller budget.
But here’s the word of caution; a low-budget developer might do more harm than good if they’re not experienced enough. Make sure you screen your developer well and clarify all the budget-related aspects before you hire them for your project.
One way to ensure you get what you need is to be clear about the budget, list everything you want to be done with it, and take into consideration any additional expenses you might need to incur.
Once you have this information sorted, you can solidify your search for a Shopify web developer.
They Should Have Experience In Ecommerce Web Development
A great Shopify developer should have experience working with different eCommerce platforms, including Shopify and its alternatives. Ecommerce web development requires much more attention to detail than the usual website development.
It’s essential to hire someone who knows how an eCommerce store works inside out.
A good starting point is to hire them for a small aspect of your store that requires high-level expertise to execute.
This process will confirm that they have the necessary technical skills required for developing an effective website design for your eCommerce store and putting it live. New web developers without experience may need to be guided and corrected through the entire execution or fall off the timeline.
Since many website owners do not have technical skills, it may not be obvious what to correct a developer on. Choosing a developer with a wide range of experiences and knowledge in eCommerce and web development ensures you will not run into this situation.
They Must Be A Good Communicator
It should be self-evident for a developer to keep excellent communication with a customer, but it is not always the case. Be aware of how long a developer takes to respond to your communications or revision requests.
In time-sensitive projects that directly impact your ability to make money online with your dropshipping business, it is crucial to be appraised of the progress made. Stay away from those you find to be unresponsive.
A great Shopify developer will let you know what you can expect to be done for the coming weeks or months, keep you up today, and even set up milestones if necessary. You can check customer reviews and testimonials to verify how communicative a developer is.
They Should Have A Portfolio To Showcase Their Work
A typical verification step is to look at the developer’s portfolio to see if they have created similar online stores as what you plan to create for your business. Verify if the developer has had many projects and has experience with Shopify or other eCommerce platforms, preferably in your industry.
Consider emailing past customers if you want to be sure of who you are hiring. This is a screening action to get better candidates for your project.
Additionally, check if they are members of the Shopify community and provide a valuable contribution to it. This will help you find someone who is aware of the latest trends in the industry.
Check Out Reviews Of Their Work On Sites Such As Yelp Or Google Reviews
Typically, developers have a website or are using a platform where they get hired. You can see customer reviews, ratings, and comments left from previous customers in their profiles.
Some third-party platforms let you see even the amount of projects assigned to a developer from customers. If they have many tasks assigned, you can tell the developer is capable of delivering high-quality work.
Looking at the amount of the past projects they worked on will also help you benchmark a budget for your project.
You can find Yelp reviews or Google reviews that can give you an idea about the developer’s work.
There are many things you can tell from reading customer reviews. For example, you can tell if the work was delivered on time, or if the developer keeps excellent communication throughout the project, and if their customers did get the results they paid for.
Make Sure You're Clear On The Scope Of Work And Timeline Before Hiring A Shopify Developer
What are the functions and features you need? What do you want your store to look like? What are the bugs or problems you want your developer to solve? If you have all of this in mind before starting interviewing candidates, you will be able to sort the ones that can better help you with those specific points.
A good starting point is to be clear on the following aspects:
- How many products do you want your store to showcase?
- Which primary pages of your store do you want to build in the first phase?
- Which plugins/APIs do you want to integrate into your store?
Answering these and some other foundational questions will help you solidify your requirements and make them clear for your developer.
Possibly, you can point to some other website as examples of what you want and show it to candidates. It will help them to understand your needs.
They Should Offer A Post-Development Support Plan
Developers offering a post-developer support plan are the best to hire. When it comes to coding and upgrading a website, numerous bugs and problems can arise, even if not immediately after or during the project execution.
Hire Shopify developers who will respond to your requests and solve small bugs arising after the project. It will give you extra peace of mind and economize on your expenses without having the need to hire another developer post-development.
Many Shopify developers provide a post-development support plan that might range from 14 to 30 days. Going with a developer offering a support plan will help you save time, money, and energy in going back and forth while looking for another developer for the changes.
Now that you’re clear on the aspects to look out for, let’s understand the steps you can take to find a great Shopify developer on a budget.
How To Find Great Shopify Developers On A Budget?
Now that we know what we are looking for in a great developer, let’s go over the points on how to find a Shopify developer on a budget:
1. Search For Shopify Developers On Freelancing Websites
If you're not ready to hire a full-time Shopify developer, consider hiring freelancers from one of the freelancing platforms. Freelancers are versatile and can offer different services, depending on their skill set.
Freelancers are becoming one of the significant workforces all over the world. There are 58 million freelancers in the US workforce, and it is projected to become the top U.S. workforce by 2027.
Searching freelance websites is one of the easiest and fastest routes to finding a Shopify developer for your store. You'll find tons of knowledgeable people and can have your store up and running in no time.
Hiring Shopify developers on freelancing websites can be a daunting task. You have to scan through the hundreds of available options to find someone who syncs with your requirements.
Thankfully, most of these websites offer filters that will trim down your options, giving you only the most relevant profiles. You can also use the location filter to hire Shopify developers from Asian countries that will help you benefit from the location arbitrage.
Look for reviews and then interview the Shopify developer before hiring them to make sure they have the skills you need and that their personality fits well with your company's culture.
Some of the best platforms where you can find a good Shopify developer are:
Another additional benefit these platforms offer is you can hire more than one developer to work on your project. It gives you additional flexibility and cost-saving as well. For example, instead of hiring a web development company for building your complete Shopify store, you can hire a freelancer to build your web design and another Shopify developer to work on the coding.
2. Use Shopify’s Recommended Partners List
Shopify’s Recommended Partners list is another excellent place to start your search for the perfect Shopify developer.
The Shopify Plus partner program is a directory of carefully selected services that have been chosen by Shopify directly. If a developer is in Shopify’s recommended partners list, it implies that they are proven experts, and customers can trust their services.
Anyone who wants to become a partner has to go through a meticulous screening process, and only when they fit the standards can they become partners.
Check out Shopify's list of recommended partners, which includes developers, designers, and agencies that Shopify has vetted to ensure they're a good fit for the platform.
You can browse through Shopify’s partner directory and find out more about them, including their location, contact information, pricing rates, as well as reviews from people they've worked with in the past.
3. Post Your Job To The Shopify Forums
The Shopify forums are an excellent place for finding developers because they're very active. You can also post your job listing and wait for potential candidates to reply with their qualifications and ask questions from you about the job posting.
Shopify’s extensive forum system has hundreds of thousands of subscribers and over 100 million posts! This gives you access to many qualified developers and those who other users have vetted as being trustworthy individuals in this industry.
All you need to do is post your job listings and be specific in your requirements. Interested developers from the community can respond to your job and apply to work on your project.
4. Use The Shopify Expert Directory
Shopify provides a dedicated directory where you can go and select the expert you need in the following areas:
- Marketing and sales
- Development and troubleshooting
- Store set up
- Visual content and branding
- Content writing
You can search through professional services already listed in the directory or place a job posting and wait for people to respond. The experts in the Shopify directory are highly skilled designers, developers, and consultants.
Each expert is vetted before joining the marketplace; therefore, it can be trusted by customers.
Services from the developers in the Shopify directory range from site performance and speed, optimizing Shopify store for SEO for your stores, custom app integrations, app installations, online store apps development, custom theme development, custom domain setup, eCommerce search engine optimization, and troubleshooting.
Once you find the expert you need, you can agree on the details with them directly, and if they fit your standards, you can hire them on the platform itself.
5. Ask For Referrals From Other Shopify Store Owners
Asking for referrals from other Shopify store owners is an excellent way to find and hire qualified and top Shopify developers. Many seasoned entrepreneurs will be happy to give you a few tips on how they found their favorite developer or offer up some of their own referral sources. Why not ask around?
Ask your fellow business owners about where they found the most talented developers for their eCommerce stores. Referrals can find you trustworthy Shopify developers and you can have a great benchmark for their pricing based on what they charged from other Shopify store owners.
Finding a great Shopify developer on a budget is not as immediate as it may sound. There are tons of Shopify developers ready for hiring, and some offer lower prices.
But are they going to get the job done with the budget provided? It is possible to find great resources using freelancing websites, looking at their portfolio and experience, looking on freelancing websites, Shopify dedicated platforms, and forums. And once you have screened possible candidates, you can finally find the one that is right for you.
About The Author
Martin Luenendonk is a 3x serial entrepreneur with a deep passion for digital business models and marketing innovations. He is the Founder of cleverism.com and founderjar.com