I’ve got a great idea for an app, but no idea how to program or time to make an app myself. Would you like to do it for me? I already asked a developer to do it, but she wanted way too much money. Maybe we can just do a profit share. It’s a REALLY GREAT/ORIGINAL/NOVEL IDEA and I’m pretty good at business or at least a people person.
Ok. There are variations on this email like “what is the cheapest way to make the simplest app” or “do you know someone who will work for free or for very little”.
Today, I’m Answering Your Question!
First off, that’s great that you are interested in getting involved in this platform. Mobile is really an exciting technology and working on mobile technology is just plain fun.
Before I answer your question directly I just want to list some of the assumptions that I make when deciding whether to pass on a request like this to my network of developers just so you know.
Software developers are professionals just like lawyers, accountants and doctors. So when software developers charge a consulting rate it will be similar to other professionals. Most of the software developers who I know would charge at least $125 per hour for consulting work and that’s not necessarily for mobile app development.
What figures in for me is this:
- Is the emailer (that’s you) likely to be willing to pay $125 per hour for a few weeks to a consultant to make your application.
- How likely is your idea going to be so great that it’s worthwhile for a developer to spend a few weeks or months working your your idea? Keep in mind that developer could be earning $125 per hour instead of working on your project.
BTW: the answer to the first question is almost never and the answer to the second question is very unlikely!
Yes, it’s really true. But more on that in a second.
You Have To Pay
Here’s the bottom line: most developers aren’t going to work for free no matter how nice you are or how great your idea is. Software development is detailed and time consuming even when you believe your idea should be easy to do. Programming is hard and that’s why it costs money.
The Great Idea Fallacy
This is the point where people usually say that they have the greatest idea ever and you would be crazy to pass on this. It’s natural to feel that you have a great idea that would be successful if you could just make it happen.
FYI: the Apple App Store along is filled up with 500,000+ ideas that someone thought was a great idea. Some apps even are great ideas. Your idea has a 1 in 500,000 chance in being the greatest idea on the app store. Trying to sell a developer on this slim chance by offering “profit sharing” is mostly just insulting – sorry.
Also: just so you know, most developers who have taken to the time to not only learn programming but also mobile app development did so because they have there own ideas. In fact, most developers have so many ideas that they’ll never get to them all.
Not trying to be harsh, just realistic. If there is any hope to get a developer on board with you outside of simply hiring the developer, you will have to offer something more than an idea.