With well over 85,000 apps and 2 billion downloads, the iTunes App Store holds a commanding lead over every other mobile app store. In many ways, the iTunes App Store has changed the face of gaming, having forced gaming heavyweights such as Sony and Nintendo to re-evaluate their gaming strategy as it pertains to PSP and DS handhelds. In addition to being a goldmine for consumers (where there literally is an app for just about everything), the iTunes app store has also leveled the playing field for developers who no longer have to work at large publishing houses in order to get their applications out in front of millions and millions of people.
While not every developer is sleeping on piles of cash, all you need to throw your hat in the ring is a good idea and some decent coding skills, large publishing houses be damned.
But not everyone wants to get down and dirty with Cocoa, and the fact of the matter is that not everyone is a programmer. So where does that leave the people who have great and intuitive ideas for iPhone apps but no coding skills (or time) to speak of?
Enter the burgeoning world of iPhone app developers for hire.
A few months ago, Gregg Weiss from Welling, Florida came up with the idea for iPhoneAppQuotes.com, a website where users with ideas for iPhone apps can submit those ideas to a list of developers who then bid on how much they’d charge for bringing the app to life. The crux of the business is as simple as can be, and at the core, is no different from a general contractor who solicits bids from a pool of sub-contractors.
In order to keep the quality of potential developers high, Weiss personally screens them to make sure that they have the requisite skills (both socially and technically), in addition to a requirement that they’ve already successfully submitted an app to iTunes.
“I realized that people needed a central place to find reputable iPhone app developers and to get competitive price quotes”, Weiss recently said in an interview with the Palm Beach Post.
According to their website, iPhoneApp Quotes works as follows:
Users contact the site with an idea, and once Weiss gets a firm grasp on what exactly the client is looking for, he forwards on the request to 3 pre-screened iPhone developers who respond with price quotes corresponding to how much they’d charge to get it done. Users can also consult with the 3 potential developers so that they can pick a developer who not only has an affordable rate, but is also someone they feel comfortable working with. The final decision, of course, is up to the user. Once a developer signs onto a project, Weiss charges them a flat rate for his services.
Weiss’s business is not only beneficial to those with ideas, but is also an attractive proposition for talented iPhone developers who have the skills to pay the bills but lack the resources and time to actively seek out potential clients. By establishing a centralized service, a developer in San Diego, for example, can write an app for a guy living across the country in Maine.
Recently, there’s been a lot of back and forth discussion regarding how profitable the iTunes App Store truly is for developers. Our take is that the app store is a business just like any other, and simply submitting an app is by no means a guarantee for success. The app store has undoubtedly made a number of developers a lot of money, but there are an untold number of talented developers who simply might not have the best ideas for iPhone apps. As the app store continues to mature, it will become increasingly common to see iPhone app developers for hire, which is great as it provides developers yet another avenue to earn some cold hard cash.
For some reason, the debate over whether or not the iTunes APp Store is a long-term and viable option for developers always seems to focus on developers who release their own apps while ignoring the plethora of developers who freelance and/or have found jobs at larger companies who need some iPhone expertise.
According to oDesk, a technology oriented outsourcing firm, worldwide demand for iPhone developers increased by a whopping 500% from May 2008 to October 2008, and it’s a safe bet that demand hasn’t been slowing down as the app store has continued to skyrocket in popularity.
Looking forward, not every program from an iPhone developer is going to be a hit, but with the iPhone and its accompanying app store on the up and up, skilled developers should have no problem finding ways to earn an income by putting their skills to use.