An Honest Overview of Freelance Android Developer Hourly Rates

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You might already work as a freelance Android programmer and need to know your real value. Or, maybe you’ve been thinking about starting to work as a freelance coder and wonder how much you’ll earn developing in Android.

Either way, you want to find out what the hourly rates are for freelance Android programmers. Though the exact rate for you will depend on your background, skillset, and more, you can expect rates between $30 and $150.

Remember: this is just a range. How much you can earn in your next freelance contract really depends — on things your location, skills, and experience, but also whether you’re a junior, medior or senior. We’ll specify exactly how that influences your potential pay, so let’s jump in!

Android Rates by Skill Level

There are a variety of factors that go into determining your rate (and of course, the client needs to approve!). However, we’ve found that in places like the USA and Western Europe, whether you’re seen as a junior, medior, or senior has one of the biggest impacts.

In other words, what is your skill level, and how does that affect your rate?

Hourly Rates for a Junior Android Developer

As a junior, you should be able to create small apps yourself, and be able to work with other more experienced developers in one team. That means you have a background in computer science, and/or some prior experience. You are also familiar with skills like Jetpack compose, Kotlin, Java and MVVM. In addition, you may need to:

  • Work in a cross-functional team developing for various platforms
  • Clean up/upgrade existing code
  • Create technical documentation
  • Assist with source control
  • Recommend and implement suitable new technologies 
  • Familiarity with back-end Android services, APIs and continuous integration (CI)

It can be hard to find work when you’re a junior coder active as a freelancer, but the wide range of applications for Android technologies means there’s a bustling market for junior Android developers. At the entry-level in Western economies, you can expect hourly rates ranging from $30 to $70.

Hourly Rates for a Medior Android Developer

As a medior Android programmer, you often have about 2-5 years of commercial experience. You have experience with different frameworks, Kotlin/Java, Android SDKs, Android and Google APIs, other related APIs, and libraries like REST.

If you’re starting a freelance project, requirements may include:

  • Development of mobile apps (full lifecycle)
  • Assisting lead engineers in more complex projects
  • Obviously, using GitHub or things like Bugzilla
  • Understanding of testing frameworks

In our experience, most freelance Android coders are mediors or seniors. Freelance medior Android devs earn on average between $60 and $90 hourly.

Hourly Rates for a Senior Android Developer

Usually if you have over 5 years of experience, you can start to call yourself a senior. Obviously, clients often want seniors so that they can get the job done quickly. 

As such, you may be hired to lead a new or existing team, or even work as a Tech Lead for multiple Android teams. Their high-level skills cover everything from fundamental tools and frameworks to standards and best practices.

The highest pay rates are typically reserved for coders that can demonstrate they have built complete Android apps from scratch, or have worked on complex projects. As a senior, you may be expected to:

  • Start as leader of a project, or revive an old project that is not going as well as expected
  • Maintain and optimise self-created applications (used by the client), or related libraries
  • Manage and mentor junior and mid-level coders
  • Present findings and work to other stakeholders, such as the Product Owner, Product Manager or others

In return for this, you can expect to earn between $75 and $150 per hour as a senior Android developer in the US, Western Europe, or similar locations.

Boosting Your Hourly Rate

We’ve shared the average rates that we’ve seen in talking to hundreds of freelancers. However, as a starting freelance software developer, you may not earn as much as the numbers we shared. So how do you boost your rate?

In short, you can boost your earnings by offering things like design skills and management ability. Experience with version control, the latest SDK, and tools like Kotlin all help you win higher rates. But more importantly, the faster you can deliver results, the more companies will be happy to pay.

Let’s discuss some of these strategies in more detail.

Moving from junior to senior 

Everyone has to start somewhere, right? When you’re just starting out in Android programming, it can seem like everyone wants an entry-level developer with twenty years of experience. Don’t worry; even if you only have a few months of commercial experience, you CAN find a freelance opportunity as a junior.

And, as you build your experience, you’ll move from entry-level to medior and senior levels. Clearly, that will increase your rate. But rather than wait until you have years of experience, it’s better to start building on your skills.

Building on your skills

When you first start in Android programming, you will look for projects that let you do some valuable work, while learning more skills. As your skills improve and you gain more experience, you become more valuable and can expect higher pay rates.

However, it’s essential to have the right skills. Some skills, like version control, refactoring and software architecture, are valuable on any big project but might not be needed on smaller projects. Or perhaps for smaller projects they ask you to do work in both iOS and Android.

The bottom line is that your value in the market will depend on how badly an employer needs your skills and how extensive your skills are.

Choose the right project

If you’re not in a financial crisis (read more about freelancing during a recession here if that’s the case), and you have some valuable projects to show, there should be plenty of opportunity for you.

That means that you have choice. And if you want to increase your rates, choice is everything. Simply put, there are some clients who can pay a lot, and others who are always looking for the best deal.

So try to look for those projects that pay well, AND take place over a longer period of time. If a project is urgent or the client is a large company, they are often willing to pay more. And if a project takes longer, you’re set for longer!

Consider if you want to use platforms

There are many freelance platforms where you can find new clients and projects. For some people huge international platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, may work well, and can earn you a decent rate.

In our experience however, it’s wise to consider if you want to go ‘the platform route’. That is because average rates are often quite low, and in some cases you will find clients who are extremely demanding. So sometimes it’s better to consider how to freelance without using platforms instead. Yes it may take some more work (setting up a portfolio, extending your network, etc.), but you may be able to earn much more.

How much should you charge for an app?

We’ve discussed the hourly rates you can expect as a freelance Android programmer. But as you have probably seen on some online platforms, a lot of Android app development is budgeted on a per-project basis.

Clients like project-based pricing because they know the cost for their app up-front. Some programmers like it because it rewards them for efficient, fast coding. So, how much should you charge to develop an Android app?

Of course it depends! But we’ve included some price ranges you can find for typical Android app projects below.

Simple App

As you search online platforms like Fiverr, you’ll see a lot of competition at the lower end of the market, where developers propose low prices for small apps (typically 1-3 static screens and no back-end support).

For a very simple Android project like this, prices normally range from $250 to $1,500.

Standard/Mid-Range App

These projects cover the majority of the market. They contain 8-10 static screens or 3-4 dynamic screens with limited back-end development.

This will take you tens of hours of work, so mid-range Android apps are typically priced at $500 – $1,500.

Premium App Development

Premium apps are often created by bigger software development businesses with teams of many people, but expert freelancers can also offer this service.

Premium apps typically have many screens that are generated dynamically and come with full back-end development and support, as well as integration of APIs and SaaS platforms. 

Because the scope of premium apps can be so complex and varied, it isn’t to give a simple price range for these. At the lower end, they can be priced as cheaply as $1,500, but they usually cost from $10,000 to $100,000 (or more).

Things to consider

These price ranges give you a general idea of how to price your work when proposing Android development on a project basis. However, when you’re engaging in project-based pricing, plan carefully. You need to scope out the project in enough granularity to avoid wasted time.

This is particularly important when you don’t have much time available; for example, if you’re freelancing while working full-time, or you have other important clients to deal with.

That means having a good handle on your own skills (so you know what you can and can’t deliver) and communicating effectively with the client to establish their needs, what project requirements they’ve defined, and what associated assets (like branding rules, graphics, copy/text) they will provide.

The other challenge with project-based pricing is making sure you price your work based on the value you’re delivering, not on the hours you’ll have to invest. Remember: if you can get twice as much done as most programmers in one hour, your hour is worth twice as much theirs.

Consider creating a standardised questionnaire to capture critical requirements from the client. You can reduce client indecision and scope creep by offering fewer options. And by creating a suitably detailed contract covering the full project scope and agreeing how reviews will be undertaken, you can avoid miscommunication and costly mistakes. 

Conclusion

As you can see, average freelance android developer hourly rates depend on some crucial factors. Some might be out of your control — your location, for example. But that still leaves key areas you can strengthen to boost your freelancing income.

Build your negotiating power, strengthen your coding skills, and explore the many ways you can find jobs. Alternatively, use project-based pricing, if that suits you better. When you hit on the formula that works for you, you can enjoy making more money and working with better clients.

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