For example

  • here, someone likes to pay $140 for a chat application (iOS and Android)
  • here, someone like to have an audio streaming mobile application be built. He is willing to pay $8 - $15 per hour!
  • here, someone wants an iOS kernel driver. He likes to pay $10 - $30 for that. Considering that there is no documentation (or support) from Apple whatsoever about how to build a kernel driver for iOS, and such kernel driver can be run on jailbroken devices only anyways, this is crazy. It will take me more than an hour to even get started, and I don't think that any of the bidders will be faster than me.

What the heck is going on here? I have calculated that my minimum rate is $35/h. Otherwise it is better for me to get an employment position, even if my work load is optimal, my overhead is minimal and I'm never sick, now matter how many or how few hours I actually work. (Country: Austria, EU)

And are there any platforms for freelance iOS developers with rates that are not ridiculously low?

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    You can't really judge anything by what clients want to pay. Many don't have any clue about real costs. – Scott Aug 31 at 15:09
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    @Scott: true... in my defense: when you follow the links, there is always more than one freelancer who actually makes an offer for that price. I cannot imagine anyone to build a decent chat application for 100$. It will take more than 1 day just to nail the requirements. – Michael Aug 31 at 16:19
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    Exchange rates and hobbyists. What appears to be $100 US may equate to much, much, more than that for local currency. Reality is, I find $35/hr horrifically low for a skilled trade. And I didn't follow the links. I find the crowdsourcing sites to be pretty unrealistic in terms of earning market-level income. – Scott Aug 31 at 16:45
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    @Scott: yes, $35 is way too low. It was just a theoretical example, a lower bound: if I work like an employee, am never sick, and instead of a salary I get 35$/h, I have the same amount of money in my pocket as an employee. The assumption that I can work like an employee and that I am never sick and that there is no overhead is wrong though. – Michael Aug 31 at 16:50
  • @Michael I live in India, in the capital of the country and am a mobile developer myself. the thing is 15$/hr is a lot of money here. I end up getting around 150,000 INR per month whereas I'm still single and the cost of living including dinners and outings comes to around 20,000 INR per month. That's still a lot of savings every month. I do however agree with $140 and $10-$30 projects are by technically noob people who have no idea about their tech or stuff. – itaintme Oct 10 at 12:51

Two things: lack of client knowledge and developers in low income countries.

Non-technical people simply have no idea how much effort is required to develop an app.

  • They have no concept of requirements, and when you explain, you will never squeeze them all out of the client before beginning the project.
  • They don’t understand that you need a lot thinking time up front, and should come up with an architecture and write design domination before writing the first line of code.
  • They have no concept of databases, or of error handling, which can be as much as a third of the total code. And it’s not just writing error handling code, it’s also thinking about what to do in each possible error scenario. - They tend to see only he GUI and have no concept of anything “under the hood”. To them, “it’s only a button”, without realizing that when it is clicked you might have to validate some input, talk to a server and handle its response, including errors or no response at all, and then update the GUI. Nope, “it’s just a button”.
  • If they can describe their app in a few sentences, they can’t understand why it might take months to implement.
    • And, finally, they don’t understand testing.

All of which leads them to “low ball” the effort required and the amount they are willing pay, which is generally peanuts for an idea they are certain will make them millions.

The people accepting such tasks are generally living in countries with low costs of living such as Eastern Europe and India. Your normal hourly rate might exceed their daily rate. Also, they may be a few unscrupulous ones who will accept, do half the work and explain that the task is more difficult than expected and will require further payment to complete. Generally, though, it’s just down to cost of living.

Btw, what I have done in the past is to find someone with an idea and good business contacts who can’t afford to pay to develop an app (I googled once and found that even an average Android app “costs” about $60k to develop). I write the code, they do the sales and we split 50:50.

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