How To Find A Programmer To Build Your Startup Idea

If you have ever been serious about founding a startup company you are probably, like many other founders, most frustrated by the challenge of how to find a programmer to build your startup idea. These days sales, marketing and PR people seem to grow on trees. If you post up an ad to an online job board asking for someone to join your very high risk early stage startup company the odds of getting someone who decent are slim to none. Get your pen and paper, or iPad ready and take a few notes because we have been through this repeatedly and talk to people who have on a very regular basis.

The first part is the hardest part: hunting for a programmer. If you have a friend who is a recruiter then ask them to tell you what they recommend that will not cost anything. Be sure to post your opportunity here. One of the more obvious things that you should take advantage of is LinkedIn. In addition, if you know any developers you should ask them where to post your project or job up and where they recommend you go to meet other developers. Before you go you should read up on the basics of the language that you need a programmer in. For the tech savvy this might include reading an intro book on programming. For the less tech savvy check for a summary and history of the programming language on Wikipedia.

As you start hunting for programmers you need to be thinking several steps ahead to make sure that you find both the right person and someone who isn’t going to overcharge you. For starters, you have to get inside the head of a programmer who might want to work for your startup. This means considering what the opportunity cost for working on a high risk venture is relative to other things they can spend their time on. In addition, you have to consider whether or not someone might just be interested in your project because they want to learn, get experience, or gain insights that they may use for their own startup. To understand what a programmer’s motivation for working on your startup is you can usually get a preview by asking them what they charge by the hour. If they charge well above the market average then they are usually either greedy or motivated to do something on their own that you are basically funding.

You are probably wondering how do I know if they are asking for more than the market rate or not? I only know what they have told me along with what a couple of others I have talked to have told me. The answer to this requires a small amount of research.

How To Calculate Whether A Freelance Web Application Programmer Is Asking For Too Much

Step 1: Use the Salary Tool to Search for Their Job Title By Salary Level. In a search done today, a web developer in Washington, DC should make anywhere from $70,000 to $120,000 per year. This is your wage range for both the market and for this type of job. $70,000 is a bit higher than the entry level wage for a web developer who is also a programmer with a computer science degree from a decent school these days. Don’t be too specific – you do not need to include the programming language, etc. at this stage.

Step 2. Adjust the annual average to what it should be on an hourly basis. The generally accepted hourly wage calculation used by the staffing industry is Annual Salary divided by 2000 Hours. So for someone making $70k that comes out to around $35/hr. For someone making $120,000 that comes out to around $60/hr. You now have an hourly rate range to work with.

Step 3. Consider the burden carried by this individual who may or may not (usually not) have a company of their own to bill you with. If they hire an accountant to help prepare and file their taxes that may cost around $500. If they own a Mac Book Pro that may cost around $1,800 bucks (new). If you sum up these costs and divide them by 2000 Hours then you are looking at $1.15 per hour worth of burden associated with their doing work for you. Add in another $6/hr to cover $12,000 worth of developer conferences and related travel expenses just to be nice. Now you have your burden: $7.15/hr.

With this you have a new rate range for a Washington, DC based programmer of web applications: $42.15-$67.15 per hour.

Step 4: Calculate the difference in rate. For example: if the developer tells you that their rate is $100/hr they are asking you to pay them $40/hr more than the highest wage paid to programmers in the Washington, DC market. Again, take into account that they should have around $7.15 in burden – provided they go to conferences, use their own laptop (not their laptop from their day job), and are incorporated and pay an accountant too). The reality is that there is no good reason for a developer to charge more than the market rate provided they are not in business for themselves full time. This is true in most, but not all cases.

Step 5: Consider whether or not the programming challenge your company is going to tackle involves some special challenges that require a specialized skill or experience set. If this is the case then all bets are off. But then again, you may be better of going out and getting an investor to help you fund your even higher risk venture.

Last, but not least, get smart about how you recruit.  Don’t rely on your gmail account when what you really need is a recruiting tool like SortIQ Hiring Team to help you and your co-founder(s) to collaborate and keep track of who you liked or didn’t and why.

Founders seem to take for granted exactly how in demand a good programmer is. Simultaneously, founders tend to take for granted how in demand bad programmers are too. There is a huge demand for programmers in America – good and bad. Knowing this is half the battle. The old rules of supply and demand should apply in this case, but they don’t. If you talk to enough programmers you start to figure out that they are talking to each other or working off the same set of rules. One will ask for what they know another asks for. This should not stop you from negotiating a reasonable price. With this in mind, a programmer’s experience and skill level should be in line with their price. Take the time to figure out whether the programmer is truly in demand, truly good, or just asking for what they have heard that they can get.

Another option is sweat equity. It is important to realize that most people who are willing to work for sweat equity are not a) the best, b) in demand, and c) going to put their heart and soul into your project. Motivation to work for sweat equity is something else that founders tend to take for granted. Sweat equity is usually best applied in the case where you are working with someone you know who already trusts you and who you know will put up a solid effort. Sweat equity is also applicable for someone who is very interested in the subject that you are working on. What sweat equity is not good for is for people who you don’t know at all. You should avoid spending your time here and instead focus on finding a way to generate revenue or to attract investors so that you can afford to hire someone.

Once the question of compensation is behind you there are a few important things that you should do. The first is to find someone who can help you interview your startup programmer candidate(s). If you know a recruiter you should talk to them and find out what books on the subject they recommend. If you know someone who is an accomplished developer you should ask them what methods they recommend. Even more importantly, you should ask your developer connection to help you come up with a very simple project that would take no more than 2-3 hours to complete for the average programmer. Each programmer should do this with you and potentially your developer friend present to see how they work and to see how they work with you. This last part is optional, but is probably the best predictor of success.

After you get through all of this you should ask for references and check them. People often skip this step because the project isn’t full time but that is a huge mistake.

If you follow these steps and still can’t find what you are looking for then let us know. We’re and we will be happy to get you in touch with the right recruiter or user group to talk to for networking purposes.

What is the best tool for finding top programmers?

  • SIMpalm

    Yes it is very important to select the right developers from starting. there are plenty of mobile, ipad, iphone app developers in various regions of USA and other countries. If you really want to get the best results in very less time, you have to search for the same on internet.

  • romomo

    Senior level Freelance programmer here. While I understand this information is quite old, it’s important to note that it’s also quite incorrect. The rates you’re suggesting will get you an ametuer developer at best. Depending on the length of a project, expect to pay between $80-$200/hour for professional work. There are several other factors to consider: benefits (or rather, lack there of), consulting, time betwern projects, software licensing fees for professional tools, and the fact that you likely are not paying a single person. You are asking another organization to save you the trouble of hunting for, recruiting, screaning, hiring, pat ing benefits to, and managing a professional developer. If you want shoddy work from a broke college student who will copy-paste from google, then by all means, use this formula. If you want professional and managed development from a professional, then you better hit the books and do a bit more homework.

  • SIMpalm

    Hey nice article. Yes we do hunt for those programmers, but if you get the right link all will be set. I too was wandering for the same when i started but now I have many of them, just a call away. :)

  • SIMpalm

    I am a developer in USA and have been developing mobile apps for startups for last 5 years. This article does bring several points for startups. Another idea I suggest is use a Hybrid model like we have done at We assign a lead developer in USA and a offshore developer and we charge around $25=$35/ hour for both Offshore and US resource. This model has worked wonder to reduce the cost.

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  • Mona

    There is a company called 99designs that would create your web design for just 300 dollars. Another option is Thumbtack which would allow you to look for professionals (web designers including) around your zip code and they would submit competing bids.

  • disqus_l3B08Ai7FH

    to find you must be

  • Jon

    Way wrong on those salary vs hourly rate figures.

    Check out the contract employees handbook – google it….

    Rule of thumb : annual salary / 1000 = hourly rate….

    • socialmatchbox

      The point of this thread is to educate founders about what the market cost of labor is if they hire someone full time vs. freelance so that they understand the difference in cost so I am glad you threw out salary/1000 = yearly rate as a scenario.

      Here is how your formula adds up in comparison:

      If you hire a regular full time employee (FTE) at a salary of around $85,000/yr (before benefits) there are 1920 hours in a year (assuming that you work 160 hour work weeks) + 30 hours of full time paid time off that can be used for whatever). If you add in the burden (health insurance/401k/etc. on top of that and don’t count the paid time off as part of the employee burden) that adds up to 1950 hours per year of paid employee time. A lot of people round that number up to 2000 to keep things simple (I’ll skip that).

      The FTE cost to a startup or company is $43.59/hr w2 before burden and $50.74/hr w2 fully loaded (with burden (benefits)).

      In your formula, the same worker quits their day job and goes out on their own working as a freelancer for $85,000, but charges the employer $85/hr. At this rate, the founder or employer will have to pay the freelancer $165,750 for the same amount of hours.

      Considering that the freelancer is going to eat $7.15 per hour of burden which adds up to $13,942 per year that is quite a markup. Even if you add in the cost of a nice co-working space membership ($4,200/yr) and private health insurance ($6,000/yr), the freelancer is still only seeing a cost to themselves of $24,142.50 per year. They get to keep the knowledge they got from conferences and the Mac Book Pro that they bought to make things work.

      The profit that someone using your formula would make under this model is roughly $24,142.50. Not bad.

      The only problem with your model is that it essentially doubles the cost of hiring a developer for a startup founder. This is the kind of thing that makes founders look to offshore firms and inexperienced talent to build their products. It is worth pointing out that many solutions shops charge around $150k for a prototype app that heavily leverages open source code, but that comes with design help.

      In other words, there is no way that your formula benefits the founder. It drives their cost up and makes it so that they will probably not have enough money to get the job done.

      Don’t get me wrong, there are companies out there who will pay top dollar for work to be done by programmers. I know some people in the DOD community and in the Ad Agency world who will pay top dollar for a shampoo or diaper app or website to be developed. I know a lot of developers who don’t mind working on that stuff too. However, there are plenty of people who enjoy working on cutting edge and interesting stuff.

      When the price of labor goes up just because there are people who will pay it then founders need to consider the source of the labor. There are plenty of founders who hire some full time employees and pass on others because of the motivations of the potential employees. I don’t know everything that there is to know, but the odds work in favor of the founders out there who can discern the motivation at work in the heads of their team members. Teams that are working toward the same objectives for a little below the market rate, even at well funded startups, have a much better track record. I think there is a strong correlation between perceived value of equity (e.g. stock options) in those cases. There is some good discussion about the perception of stock options in Douglas Edwards’s book ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ that would be good reading for any founder in search of more data.

  • Brett Miller

    Finding a well qualified developer can be quite tough, but I have a simple answer…Get a Referral!!nnI actually know many talented (and affordable) software developers. I’d be happy to provide an introduction if anyone has a project they need assistance on.u00a0nnThanks,nnBrettn

  • Paulbain

    From the article:n=========================n There is a huge demand for programmers in America u2013 good and bad.n========================= nnBullcrap. The federal government has flooded America with cheap, immigrant labor that has resulted in an enormous glut of IT talent, including software developers. And that is why the USA has a 22% unemployment rate as of late 2011. Believe me, I know. As of November, 2011, I have been unemployed for 37 out of the last 41 months despite the fact that I have an encyclopedic knowledge of open source software.nn– Paul D. Bainnpaulbain@@pobox:disqus .comn

    • Anonymous

      You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but that doesn’t make it right.u00a0 Quantity doesn’t have anything to do with quality.u00a0 Software startup companies insist on people who can sit down, productively write code (just knowing about open source isn’t the same as productively writing code), and get along well with a team.u00a0 There are plenty of companies that hire anyone off the street with the philosophy being that they can micromanage them to the point of being productive programmers.u00a0 If they can do it and get the job done that is great.u00a0 You are welcome to create a Job seeker profile here on Social Matchbox and then send me a note – I’ll take a look at your experience and skill set and see if there is anything I can recommend.u00a0

  • Paulbain

    u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0 This article is completely asinine. The author does not consider the fact that, among IT professionals (including developers), there is an _ENORMOUS_ range in ability and intelligence. The best developers are not _slightly_ better than the average developer — they stand head-&-shoulders above the average developer. Hence, you should be willing to pay them more. Far more. And that is why they usually charge far more, too.nnu00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0 Here is another way to consider the advice in this article. Substitute the term “lawyer” for every instance of the term “developer” or “programmer” in the article. And then ask yourself whether, after such substitution, the article makes any sense at all. Folks, senior partners (sometimes called “rain-makers”) at the most prestigious law firms earn many, many times _more_ than the average lawyer. And there is a reason for that.nnu00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0 FWIW, I am a lawyer as well as an IT professional.nn– Paul D. Bainnpaulbain@38a4a244ce6c2c767a4ddf69e3e4787c:disqus pobox.comn

    • Anonymous

      This IS the author, and the author completely considers that there is an _ENORMOUS_ range in ability and intelligence.u00a0 The best people do get paid better, but the reality is that some of the best and brightest people in the world are not looking for the best pay.u00a0 Consider that some people join the peace corps, work for activist organizations, take jobs working as teachers, etc. while others take jobs working in the war zones as consultants, work for hedge funds, and for large multi-national companies that are not exactly doing nice things to people all the time.u00a0 Everyone isu00a0entitled to making their own choices aboutu00a0what they do with their own time so long as their actions do not infringe on the rights of others.u00a0 More for the sake of more isn’t good for programmers.u00a0 In your previous comment you talk about “cheap, immigrant” labor”.u00a0u00a0There is a point where the rate of au00a0certainu00a0category of labor reaches where it is not reasonable.u00a0 If an entire communityu00a0of programmers start charging at au00a0rate that is not reasonable thenu00a0companies will look for alternatives to that community.u00a0 Sites like, odesk, and othersu00a0often enter the picture butu00a0so do offshore development shops.u00a0 As a lawyer you are probably aware of immigrant visas.u00a0 There areu00a0plenty of people who are willing to worku00a0hard and learn skills.u00a0u00a0Modern day America was builtu00a0by immigrants – it isn’t a stretch to imagine modern day softwareu00a0in America being built by the descendants of them along with new immigrants.u00a0nRegarding substitution for lawyers at top firms, sure, there are lots of lawyers out there.u00a0 Some are productive, some are not.u00a0 If you have some valid statistics on how many lawyers there are vs. how many programmers there are I would be interested in taking a look at them.u00a0 I would bet on there being a shortage of productive java, ruby (on rails), php (zend or symphony) and python (Django) programmers that is off the charts when compared to any such shortage of lawyers.u00a0 The same problem exists.u00a0 There are lots of lawyers, but not as many who are specialists who are productive and affordable. One major difference though – law schools are having trouble finding jobs for their graduates while computer science grad programs are not.u00a0 I know because I talk to both.u00a0u00a0

  • jb

    I understand that you’re mainly speaking of programmers that are working for the startup after hours and weekends. It’s important to make that distinction in rates if you’re looking for a developer though. I know very few full-time contract developers that charge the rates you mention in the D.C. area.nnIt’s all a matter of competing with what they can get in a full-time salaried position. If you can’t offer 401k matching, vacation time, sick leave, a *good* health plan, and an office and everything that goes with it (business class internet, furniture, coffee, etc.) then you have to make up for it with cash.nnThat’s not as important if they’re working for you in their free time, of course, but transferring those burdens to their full-time employer and paying them less accordingly doesn’t always fly with the person you’re trying to hire.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed.u00a0 The problem is whenu00a0developers talk after user group sessions, in DC that means somewhere with a long list of beers in many cases, or wherever, and figure out what the highest rate someone ever got was and then start asking for it.u00a0 Just because they ask doesn’t mean that they get those rates, but the fact that they try is a bit frustrating for everyone who has to talk to them.u00a0

    • Bob

      There are too many who do. Not everyone is the right person for your startup.u00a0 The point is that a bootstrapping startup founder should not be asked to pay the highest rate that a freelancer has ever heard of. It isn’t in the best interest of the freelancer to charge such a high rate that it makes progress or project success a guaranteed failure.u00a0 They should know that if they charge a reasonable rate that they will help the founder succeed and by doing so they will get more steady and long term business as opposed to a founder who is constantly checking over their shoulder because they feel that the freelancer is taking advantage of them.u00a0 nnAs far as cost comparisons are concerned, you make a good point.u00a0 However, I know from extensive (I’m not kidding) interviews of freelance developers, designers, etc. that they are not in a bind over the cost of office furniture.u00a0 A desk from Ikea (often preferred) costs under $200 and a chair is usually under $150.u00a0 Internet costs around $50/mo and a data hotspot plan on a mobile device is around $20/mo. These are all costs they would have regardless of whether they were freelancing or not – most people have desks, chairs, and cell phones, and most geeks have aggressive data plans for their phones and mobile devices.u00a0 Coffee?u00a0 Sure, maybe, but that doesn’t account for a major difference.u00a0 You are right about the health plans and retirement savings.u00a0 Those can be expensive and if someone is freelancing full time I’ve seen plans from $150-850/mo.u00a0 At the high end of the range that is $5 and change per hour added on.u00a0 The real cost is largely lifestyle choices – someone choosing to live downtown in an expensive place and who buys expensive things frequently vs. someone who isn’t spending wildly.u00a0 The fact that there are some people who live more expensively and charge accordingly should not be an influence of the market rate for everyone else.u00a0 This is a drawback to the increased flow if information, especially in major cities.nnA bigger issue here is that founders need to get savvier about telling the difference from a gold digger and a person who is a quality person who is good at what they need to get done.u00a0 There are too many people who are slick sales types who will promise that they can do anything, or they will promise they will do something and then farm it out to others – founders should be wary of them.u00a0

      • jb

        It’s certainly difficult to determine whether someone can deliver what they’re offering or whether they’ll wilt when faced with the actual work. That’s a tough analysis to make, especially for someone who isn’t that experienced in tech matters. I think good references are probably the safest indicator.nnI’m an experienced developer and here’s my thought process when someone approaches me to work on a startup:nnFirst off, I assume that their startup will fail. The vast majority do, often for reasons outside of the founders’ control. I don’t know of many that fail for technical reasons. Ideally you would want to hire someone that shares your total belief in the startup but finding that coupled with strong technical skill is a rarity. You should be looking for someone who can deliver what you need – if they love your idea that’s a bonus.u00a0nnSince I’m assuming that the startup will fail I treat it as a professional transaction and not something that I’m going to get heavily emotionally invested in. That means I’m charging market rates. It doesn’t matter what calculations you’ve done because the market doesn’t normally care about that. Unfortunately I think ignorance of market rates is a sign that someone isn’t an savvy developer so it might be difficult finding a suitable candidate that will accept less. No one ever argues that Kobe’s Bryant’s salary is ridiculous compares to what he needs to live on. You pay what it takes to get someone to work for you.

        • Bob

          If a founder can interview effectively then they are going to fail.u00a0 In that case they should do their homework or hire someone to be their technical interviewer who can help.u00a0 I know some people that do this on a by the interview basis with potential finalists.u00a0 The bottom line is that some things should not be attempted by people – if it is a small project with low costs and low risks then that is different than a big project with high costs and high risk.nnIn my experience, and I’ve checked a LOT (in the hundreds) of references, the references only round out the picture and confirm suspicions or add new ones.u00a0 Occasionally a reference changes things positively, but more often than not they are just validation.u00a0 More often than not the references provided are either biased, very biased, or lacking – e.g. not a direct supervisor, not a direct peer.u00a0 An inexperienced founder isn’t going to be very good at interviewing much less in reference checking, especially not at something very specialized that they know very little about – this adds to the challenge.nnI agree with you about the assumption that a startup will fail.u00a0 However, there are predictors of failure and success and as a developer or freelancer you are just as responsible for doing due diligence on your prospective client or founder as they are on you.u00a0 Let’s distinguish between technical co-founder, early employee, and freelancer though.u00a0 As a freelancer things are different.u00a0 If they are moved by what you are doing that may make them more passionate, but that should not change what they are charging.u00a0 Charity isn’t and shouldn’t be thought of as a motivator.u00a0 There are a lot of freelancers who end up being very loyal to startups and the two can co-exist and support each other along the way.u00a0 I’ve been a beneficiary and party to this and seen it with a lot of others.u00a0 This is awesome when it happens and both benefit tremendously.u00a0 On the other hand, technical co-founder and early employee considerations are different.u00a0 You can find someone interested, but that alone isn’t good enough.u00a0 I run into people all the time that bond over open source projects, friendships, etc., but in a startup (a for profit one anyway) that stuff is not what should be the basis for the work alone – those things are a nice bonus.u00a0 What is crucial is that the founder and the co-founder(s) and/or employees take the time to sort out what is important and what will be sufficient motivation.u00a0 Sweat equity is a dumb idea in most cases simply because the value of it is constantly in question when the startup has a bad day, week, month, year, etc.u00a0 Startups have a lot of tough times and this will crush an employee’s motivation.u00a0 Sweat equity is much better when it is a true co-founder and not someone who came on later, after the idea was in progress.u00a0 Early equity can be a nice bonus to cash though.u00a0 Cash is typically going to be the best and most consistent motivator.u00a0 Again, I’m talking from experience here too.u00a0 You need steady motivation from your team, not on and off motivation – cash has that and equity alone does not. For employees, you have to make absolute certain that your employees are in it for the equity.u00a0 I know a lot of people who treat equity as a non-motivator or joke altogether.u00a0 They want the same pay they would get anywhere, regardless of the equity.u00a0 These types of people are not right for an early stage startup – no amount of equity will change that for them.nnRegarding your point about Pro-NBA players, I think you are right.u00a0 Even still, someone like Sean Parker or Max Levchin won’t come work for you because the pay is there.u00a0u00a0 There are Pro-NBA players who will take cash to play an exhibition that they might not otherwise do.u00a0 Founders who encounter freelancers who think of themselves in that sort of way should keep looking – they will be better off.u00a0 There are plenty of people out there – he low hanging fruit (the people who have put themselves out there in the most prolific way and who charge through the roof rates) isn’t the best..

        • Travis

          jb> Very interesting post.  I am working on a Start-Up, and would like to discuss further details with you.  Please email me at

  • willstepp

    I am a professional programmer and found this advice to be quite good, particularly the part about doing a very small project to test whether the developer can do what he claims. There are definitely some programmers out there who can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.

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  • Bob

    Rocky,nnThat is a great question. Taxes are a part of doing business. A startup founder paying a freelancer should be concerned with making sure that the freelancer they are working with is someone who is fully eligible to work without restrictions and request a W9 (if the person is not incorporated and acting as an independent contractor) or their EIN. Check with your attorney and CPA for the right answer for you. The freelancer pays their own taxes just like they would pay income taxes if they were an employee. Individual health plans are a cost of doing business just like a laptop and an office. Maybe I will do a follow-up post about health care options for freelancers and small business owners. If someone is going into business for themselves as a freelancer and they feel that they must include their health insurance cost in their burden calculation then they should make sure they don’t pass off a disproportionate % of that cost on to the startup. The more important consideration here is that the kind of freelancer that most startup founders is going to want to hire already has a day job that comes with health insurance. You can go with a full time freelancer, but that is not something that I would recommend unless they are substantially committed to your project. As for insurance, you can go on or find a broker that works with small businesses and get a policy for under $500/yr which comes out to less than $1/hr more. This is a marginal cost that would blend into the $1.15/hr more that I pointed out as being necessary after the purchase of a new MacBook Pro laptop and accounting services. After the initial purchase of the new laptop you won’t have that cost again for 2-3 years so the difference isn’t really one at all.nnWhen you get right down to it, someone who is willing to work as a freelancer is probably the same sort of person who will eventually set up their own consulting practice or work for a boutique software consulting practice. I have found that these shops tend to pay well below market rates for their people because they offer up good experience or insights into how to set up your own shop. Much like the mercenary rates out there, these boutique shops charge a high margin that isn’t something in line with what a smart startup founder should be willing to pay. worse, these shops often hire the same people who a startup company could or would hire and drive the price of labor up in their market by creating a shortage. They bill their people out to the highest bidder wherever that bidder is, ultimately hurting hurting local companies. nnA startup founder faced with the choice of paying mercenary prices or boutique software consulting firm prices should opt for non of the above. It is a matter of patience, tenacity, and talking to the right people. If you are not finding something in line with the established market rates that is when you should be talking to an expert recruiter. Just to re-iterate this, I’m happy to get someone in touch with the right recruiter or user group to talk to for networking purposes if nothing else.

    • Mike

      Thanks for the article Bob.u00a0 Would you have user groupu00a0ideas for me?u00a0 I need a programmer to build a social networking platform that can handle 25,000+ networks ..most networks will have between 1,000 – 5,000 members.u00a0 I expect 5,000 – 30,000 page views per month, per network, depending on how often I broadcast messages to membership.nnI really need to know which questions to ask.u00a0 I need to make sure that the monthly site maintance is affordable and that I can admin the site myself (I am not a programmer)nnI prefer to not have cofounders though, unless there was a programmer that would be a good fit …but that seems unlikely.u00a0u00a0Ideally, I’ll hire au00a0programmer that can build the site the way I need it and also be available for maintenance.u00a0 Any usergroup suggestions, websites or articles would be appreciated.u00a0 Thanks.

      • Anonymous

        It sounds like you have a very specific end point in mind.u00a0 Software projects like the one you are describing rarely end up exactly like you have envisioned that they will.u00a0 Without knowing a lot more about what you are trying to do it is really hard to say.u00a0 If you want something that conforms to a tighter budget and isn’t going to have a lot of loops and curves to go through along the way then you might (I hate saying this) want to consider looking at Drupal or a similar open source content mangament system with social network capabilities already developed.u00a0 There are a lot of customization options with it and you could end up with something very custom as far as your end goals are concerned.u00a0 More importantly, you should consider that building a social network is not a small undertaking.u00a0 One developer probably is not going to be enough.u00a0 Even the smart, agile, experienced developers who are working on new projects tend to prefer to start with something smaller that fitsu00a0a need but that can be scaled gradually.u00a0 Twitter is a good example of that.u00a0 Another example might be taking something like Drupal or even an app that hooks into the Facebook API (for example) or that uses Facebook connect to build some of what you want.u00a0 nnStarting with something smaller has other advantages too.u00a0 You can work with a developer and figure out if you and he or she get along well, they are productive, etc. without as much risk initially.u00a0 Planning and staging foru00a0a major project can take time and resources too.nnAs far as user groups go, I would recommend finding something that is close enough to you to get there early and stay late. Something that you won’t mind making it out to for 5-6 evenings, maybe more.u00a0 With that in mind, and depending on where you are (ping me by email and we can discuss more – I’d check out the Ruby on Rails, Python (Django) or PHP (Zend or Symphony – but not if they are talking a lot about Drupal and/or Joomla at that particular meetup, unless you want to go that route).u00a0 Rails people tend to be hard to get and expensive, Python people tend to be more prolific in some towns over others and at universities, PHP people are everywhere (see notes above).u00a0 Anyone you talk to should have solid command of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript (they should know JQuery – not optional). n

  • Rockymehta

    Hey Bob, great article. One question about overhead is what about taxes, insurance, health insurance?

  • Rockymehta

    Hey Bob, great article. One question about overhead is what about taxes, insurance, health insurance?

    • socialmatchbox

      Great question. Step 3 covers this, but does not mention health insurance, taxes or insurance specifically. I am planning to create an updated and adjusted for inflation version of this post sometime in the near future and will address those topics in more detail then.

  • Bob


  • Marc

    This is a great article and I found it superb. Keep it up!

  • Anonymous