The Guide to Freelance iOS Developer Hourly Rates
Whether you already work as a freelancer or you’re simply wondering how much you could earn, it’s not easy to figure out your earning potential.
So what is a typical freelance iOS developer hourly rate? It depends on several factors, but in the United States, the average hourly rates for iOS developers range from $60 to $100.
This is only a rough guide though. Your rate depends on things like location, experience, and skill level (are you a junior dev, intermediate coder, or senior engineer?). Similarly, your skills with things like version control and UX and experience with tools like AppCode and Swift affect your earnings.
So we’ve created this guide to help you understand how much you can earn as an iOS dev, how skill levels affect the hourly rate, where you can look for work, and some ways to increase your earnings.
iOS Rates per Skill Level
The word salary is often used interchangeably with terms like rate, earnings, and revenues. Frequently, ‘salary’ means how much a full-time employee is paid. When it comes to freelancing, however, earnings are usually defined on a project or hourly basis.
In this guide, we are focusing on how much you can expect to be paid per hour. The hourly rate for an iOS developer depends on many things. But one of the most important factors is skill level.
Freelance Junior iOS Developer Rates (Entry level/basic)
A junior iOS developer is an entry-level freelancer who understands the fundamentals of iOS development and can help develop apps by working with mid-level and senior developers. Employers typically expect 6-12 months of experience and skills like Swift, Objective C and the Xcode IDE. Common requirements include:
- Work closely with a team in an Agile environment
- Help define and deliver new features that are not too technical
- Gather feedback and insight from beta testing
At the junior iOS developer level, it can be harder to find freelance work. Employers usually want freelancers with more experience and skills.
However, entry-level freelance jobs are out there. If you’re not working through a freelance platform like Upwork (see below), you can expect hourly rates starting from about $40-$50 in the US or €40-€50 per hour in Western Europe.
Freelance Medior iOS Developer Rates (Intermediate/Mid-level)
Intermediate-level iOS programmers usually have 3 to 5 years of experience. They have strong skills in software-development frameworks and APIs like Cocoa, Apple’s UIKit, and the Kotlin SDK.
At this level, iOS freelancers demonstrate familiarity with working in teams (version control, dependency management, bug tracking, mentoring) Assignments can require:
- Working on user stories by yourself (with minimal code review)
- Debugging & thorough code testing
- Skilled use of Bugzilla, GitHub
- Assisting the lead developer
- Mentoring junior developers
The bulk of freelance iOS developers fit into the intermediate category. Employers frequently seek mid-level programmers that offer some senior-level skills or experience. You will often be involved in the full software development life cycle (SDLC).
Generally, freelance medior iOS coders get paid more than double the rate for juniors, so you can expect to earn from $60 to $80 per hour.
Again, this applies if you’re living in the US, and find a job directly with a company. In Western Europe, iOS developers also generally earn about €60-€80 as medior iOS devs.
Freelance Senior iOS Developer Rates (Lead programmer/team lead)
Typically with 5 to 10 years (or more) of iOS development under their belt, a senior iOS programmer can lead an app development team or helps the lead programmer manage the project and team.
Senior iOS developers offer design and architecture skills, the ability to work with product developers and designers, and experience delivering iOS apps from scratch. The most valuable senior iOS developers also bring some UI/UX skills to the table. They might be hired to:
- Lead a project or team, or support the lead engineer
- Maintain and optimise software architecture, libraries and SDLC
- Help make architectural choices
- Mentor/manage junior and medior programmers
- Work closely with product developers, software architects, and the UX (user experience) team
Employers expect senior iOS engineers to provide valuable skills and experience. In return, you can expect a freelance job to pay between $70 and $100 hourly as a senior iOS developer.
iOS Rates Per Freelance Platform
There are many ways you can find work when you’re freelancing in iOS development. You can sign up with recruitment agents that specialise in freelance programmers. You can use word of mouth to tap into your network of former colleagues.
But online freelance platforms are one of the most popular ways for freelance programmers to find jobs and projects. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, and the rates vary too. We’ve rounded up four of the popular platforms: Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com
iOS Hourly Rates on Upwork
Upwork is probably the most popular platform for freelancers, covering a wide range of skills and industries. It can be a great place to find opportunities to learn or develop valuable iOS programming skills.
The jobs available here are sometimes structured as projects, and sometimes on an per-hour basis. The downside of Upwork is that it’s very popular, particularly among freelancers active on developing countries. That means that the rates are generally (much) lower.
As such, Upwork estimates hourly earnings for iOS developmers to be from $16 to $35.
But of course anywhere you look there are higher paying opportunities, including on Upwork!
iOS Hourly Rates on Toptal
Toptal is more like an online recruitment agent, connecting freelance iOS developers with bigger companies. There are contracts that last from a few weeks up to many months.
Toptal actively screens its iOS developers, so prospective employers know they’re hiring high-quality freelancers. If you can make it through their selection process, that means you can get a seriously good hourly rate.
So if you’re active on Toptal as an iOS dev, you can expect higher-quality employers and better rates that range from $50 to $80 per hour.
iOS Hourly Rates on Fiverr
In some ways, Fiverr is a lot like Upwork. There’s a lot of competition between freelancers at the bottom end of the market, and the earnings can be low.
However, Fiverr offers ‘Pro services’ that feature vetted developers. Unlike Upwork, on Fiverr you don’t search for jobs. You set yourself up as a service provider (or ‘Gig’) and prospective employers ask you to bid on their work.
How much can you make as an iOS freelancer on Fiverr? It can vary a lot but on average, working through Fiverr could make you $10 to $30 an hour.
iOS Hourly Rates on Freelancer.com
Freelancer is a popular place to find everything from small projects for entry-level iOS developers to long-term contracts with attractive rewards for senior iOS freelancers. The platform offers many opportunities covering a wide range of skills and experience. With thousands of iOS jobs available, there’s something for almost every freelancer.
Depending on whether you take small projects or advanced long-term assignments, Freelancer offers hourly rates between $10 and $35.
Increasing your rate as an iOS developer
We all want to get paid more for the work we do. Here, we break down some key areas where freelance programmers can build their value and get better rates for iOS development work.
Upgrading your Dev Skills
The more skills you have and the deeper your understanding of those skills, the more you can expect to earn. On the other hand, the value of your skills will depend on how much each project or contract requires those skills.
Some app projects want you to be able to develop for both iOS and Android. The more an employer needs your skills and the better you can apply those skills to support a project, the more valuable you are.
Getting more Experience
Many employers want an entry-level iOS programmer to have at least six months of experience. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to move up the ranks, to the intermediate and senior roles.
Employers expect coders with more experience to get things done faster and more efficiently, so they are willing to pay higher hourly rates.
Urgency = Money
They say time is money, and for iOS freelancing, this is true. Typically, the closer the deadline, the more an employer must pay for a freelance iOS programmer.
This is because they have less time to shop around for those skills and they need freelancers with more skills and experience (in other words, they can get things done faster). So don’t hesitate to ask for a higher rate if you know there’s a lot of urgency.
Improving your Negotiation Skills
Programming skills aren’t the only skills you need to maximise your earnings as a freelance iOS developer.
The art of freelance negotiation is an important part of being a successful freelancer. This requires things like knowing your rates, understanding the project, and demonstrating your value to a prospective client.
Determining Your Rate
As you can see, there are a few key factors to consider when figuring out what hourly rate you can expect as a freelance iOS developer. You might not be able to change your location easily, but there are other areas you can focus on to increase your revenues.
By building up your skills set, finding the right jobs platform for you, and strengthening your negotiating power, you can work with higher-quality clients and make more money.
But if you really want to get a good grasp of what iOS developers earn, take a look at the Lancebase database, and share your own. Here you can find rates of actual freelancers and filter on experience, skill level, technologies used, and more.