Where to Find the Best Developers (and not to)

Where do you go to find developers? Well, many people do that in all the wrong places. There are many job sites for freelancers, and sometimes businesses. Then there are more reputable places to find higher end developers and firms. These have all the skills and tools required to really develop your product. Last but not least, there are the places people go where almost no good designers are.

When I was starting out, I started on Craigslist and other free places I could put an ad on or look for projects I could work on. The price of course was I couldn’t charge much for what I did and the jobs weren’t bit. I did get a lot of work because those places are where most startups look! To save you from only looking in one place, I’ve put this post together! I’d like to help you in looking in the best places, not just craigslist. (Yes, I’ve gotten a lot of work from there, but I’ve also seen a lot of my clients get burned through low end developers and designers there and other cheap places).

*DISCLAIMER: To be clear there are some great people on all of these places, these are generalized for what quality and type of developer you will find in each area. If you are willing to look for diamonds in the rough, go for it. Also know that there are firms who look great and are in all the right places, but can’t actually follow through. I built an entire design firm off of Craigslist earlier in my career, but I outgrew it as I got the experience needed to do so.

The places not to go!

Forums, chat rooms, and craigslist are the bottom of the list of where to find great developers typically. Sure, you can sometimes find them. A lot of people who don’t know where to start developing their product turn to these places. The skill pool however is mostly college students, low experience workers, and startup firms. If you are looking for someone to do the work for free and are ready to pay the price for free work, then these are the types of places to go.

Places you can go but you still have to filter.

Freelance websites, these range all over the place. There’s the usually super cheap fiverr, where many services start at only $5. Upwork is another one, more reputable, but still just outsourcing to cheaper labor pools. It’s easy to find cheap developers in these places. I’ve been a part of many different sites like this and have explored both sides of the equation. What I see is that these sites charge money to developers to attempt to begin a bidding war over your project. It’s great for you, you get lots of options, have no financial worries because of the sites terms, and usually you can find people able to do the work you need at lower costs. As a developer, or many other services there, it’s a giant price war. I’ve gone back and forth on having a presence in the top few sites for my firm, the larger sites also offer firms and groups the ability to do work there. Right now, you won’t find me active on any of these sites. To much price war for me.

The best are here.

There are a few places where the best get themselves added to. The Design Directory is one of my top 3 places to find other development firms. Dexigner Directory is another favorite that has a large range of firms and is another place where top firms are listed. Clutch is probably top of the three. They actually phone interview your clients to get verified testimonials, which is great for you the client. This doesn’t mean that everyone in these directories is an expensive top 5 firm for each category. What it does mean is that a human has reviewed each of these firms/designers and approved them. They can also remove listings if and when they decide. These directories are only as good as the quality of their listings, so it’s in their interest to have good firms.

The best place to find top quality services is to find out who the top 5 firms are in your industry or needed service. From there, see who else is there and you should have a few options. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a good meter to see where the best is. There are outliers in each of these places, both great and terrible. No magic way to filter everything. This will give you at least an idea on where you’ll have the most success finding what you are looking for.

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