I am a young iOS programmer with a good amount of experience. I have been doing iOS programming for five or six years I have a couple finished apps on the App Store that are very aesthetic and that I am proud of.

I would like to gain more programming experience with real companies or at least other parties (i.e. not me or my friends). However, I do not think I have the portfolio, connections, or capital necessary to promote myself through what I would guess are the more traditional means (advertising campaigns, etc.).

I have looked into services like Fiverr, but (a) I am unsure of their viability, and (b) I have an alternative idea:

There are many industry-made apps on the App Store that have plenty of room to improve/are far from perfect/are unattractive. Could I get in contact with the companies that own these improvable apps and offer my services to improve them for free?

I would do it for free/volunteer for a couple reasons:

  1. To expand my portfolio
  2. To gain more experience
  3. They probably wouldn't even consider it if I charged them

My general question (Is this a viable plan?) can be broken down into specifics:

  • Would any company even respond?
  • Would companies be reluctant to allow outsiders with my 'qualifications' to do this?
  • Is there a certain kind of company I should target?
  • Is there a certain way to get in contact with them?
  • Do you have any suggestions or improvements to my plan?
  • I think the reason you've gotten no response here (and why I voted to close this question) is that it's far, far too opinion-based. A) How would anyone here know if any company would or would not respond? B) How would anyone here know a companies standing on outsourcing work? C) How to contact would depends upon the company preferences, which would require research on that company. and D) How can improvement suggestions be made since you haven't even attempted any of this to see what reactions may be? – Scott Jul 13 at 22:18
  • Most here probably do not work for free. So it's pretty difficult to give ideas on "here's how you can undercut my services and get them for yourself." In General working fro free is a very, very bad idea. By so blatantly undervaluing your work, you give clients the distinct impression of "if they don't think the work is good enough to get paid, I doubt the work is good enough for us to use." If you want to do free work to build a portfolio, then do work on your own which is not client-related. – Scott Jul 13 at 22:20
  • Doing work for free is not only unprofessional and illegal in a lot of jurisdictions (minimum wage) - It is also anti-social because you´ll out compete any competition that actually needs to make a living from their time. I hope you have considered that... – Daniel Jul 18 at 12:32
up vote 1 down vote accepted
+50

I´ll have to frame-challenge your premise.

If a company has a crappy app, they either

  1. don´t care enough to invest, or
  2. the don´t know better.

Now, even if you work free of charge, improving the app wont be free for the company. They would have to get you some kind of contact, supervise you, give you the sources etc. So a lot of work to do for their paid employees, they´d have to direct resources on that.

So for 1, the won´t care for your offer. For 2 they´d be willing to pay for improvements, but they cant judge if your claims hold any water. What they can judge is your perceived quality of work, which equals your price => zero!

What I´d suggest instead is to create a little analysis of their app where you identify rooms for improvement. Send them a blueprint of what you are offering them and don´t even talk about money. If they show interest, then you can talk money - and it better be more then nil!

  • I really liked your suggestion in the last paragraph. Thanks! – Daniel Jul 19 at 14:31
  • I´d also recommend, once you have a foot in the door and really want to secure the deal, to present reasonable high rates but offer a discount on that. It´s better than to offer a cheap price right away and the client will see what bargain thy are actually making. – Daniel Jul 19 at 14:35

IMO, contacting companies with the message "I can improve your apps for free" will be translated to "they are so crappy!" and cause your application to be kicked out to Mars.

A better approach could be "I have seen the wonderful apps x & y of yours, and I want to let you know that I would be pleased to develop similar software, in case you would need manpower". And show your skills with a little promotional portfolio.

  • Do you have any tips for navigating the bureaucracy of a big, old company to increase the chances of my application being considered or even accepted? For example, speaking to certain kinds of people – Daniel Jul 18 at 0:27
  • @Dopapp: haha, life would be so easy :-) Focus on the people's functions if you know them. – Harry Cover Jul 18 at 6:53

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