You've probably already heard of Magento. Accounting for 12% of all ecommerce sites and powering 1.2% of the Internet, estimates suggest there have been over one million websites built with Magento since its initial release on March 31st, 2008. As if that wasn't enough, merchants who use Magento grow three times faster than those who don't (on average).
The decision to hire Magento web developer isn't one to be made lightly. You need to make sure that you have a thorough understanding of what you're hoping to get from your Magento build. You also need to find a reputable Magento development company that's going to be able to deliver what they promise.
The good news is that you have options available to you above and beyond just Googling "hire Magento web developer" and going with whoever ranks first. The key to finding affordable Magento development services is to know what you're looking for and to scrutinize every company to make it onto your shortlist to see whether they're the right Magento development company for you.
And so with that in mind, let's go ahead and take a look at what you need to know to hire a Magento developer.
10 Steps to Hire a Magento Developer
Now that you're ready to hire Magento developer, the next step is to make sure that you have a trustworthy process to follow. Make sure that you find a reputable company and make the process as smooth as possible from start to finish. You don't have to become a Magento expert to be able to tell the good from the bad, but it does help to have some basic knowledge about the platform.
Fortunately, you can teach yourself most of the basics, and you only need an excellent understanding of what Magento is and how it works. This way, you'll be up-to-speed with the platform's capabilities. After all, hiring a Magento development company is all well and good, but they'll need guidance from you if they're to the best job possible.
That's where this list comes in. If you're looking to hire a Magento developer, the best way for you to go about it is to follow the ten steps we're sharing here. And so without further ado, here are the ten steps you need to follow to hire a Magento developer.
1. Write a decent brief
One of the first and most important things you need to do when you're looking for Magento developers is to create a detailed brief which covers all of the critical details about your build. Make sure to include both technical requirements to the timeline you're working to and the budget that you have for the project.
It's essential to get this brief right because it helps every potential Magento developer to understand what you're looking for. As a result, they can provide a more tailored proposal that explains precisely how they can help you. It can even be self-selecting once a Magento developer looks at your brief and knows it doesn't match their stack, they won't apply and waste your time.
Another good thing about using the brief to hire Magento developers is that it's a document that you can refer back anytime. Just to make sure the project is still on brief. Any disputes can be easily managed because the brief will cover the scope of the project and state the areas of responsibility. This is a crucial step to take when you hire Magento developers because this document will outline what's involved in the project and prevent any surprises either on your part or on the part of your Magento developer.
2. Understand front-end vs back-end
You don't need to be a certified Magento developer to understand the difference between front and back end web development. But it's certainly a good idea to have a basic understanding of what to expect if you're looking to hire a Magento developer. That's because if you're not careful, you'll hire someone who can only do half of the job.
The main difference is that a front end developer will focus on the look and feel of the website and how visitors interact with it. Back end developers focus on the database and the way that the site accesses, adds and updates data. When it comes to Magento development, front-end developers cover the user journey from the product page to checkout. Back-end developers make sure that payments are processed and that orders are filled correctly.
That's why, when it comes to Magento website development, there are two ways you can go.
- Hire a freelance Magento developer with both front and back end experience.
- Hire two different providers who can work closely together to get the job done.
3. Set a budget
Budget is one of the most important considerations when you're working on a Magento website development project. A considerable number of factors go into the decision of how much a Magento developer will charge. For example, a certified Magento developer charges more than those who don't have a certificate. The same is true if they have a proven track record of Magento development with a history of success. Experience doesn't come cheap.
Even if the brief for your Magento website development build doesn't specify a budget, you'll want to have an estimate in your head because the chances are high that you can hire a Magento developer to suit any budget. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
As for how much you can expect to pay, it depends. You may be able to keep costs down by working with a freelance Magento developer as opposed to an agency. It's cheaper to work with junior Magento developer than with a Magento expert. Agency fees for Magento development often start at around $50,000 for an average project, while hourly rates vary as widely as from $15-500/hour depending upon experience.
4. Investigate both freelancers and agencies
The next step in your Magento website development journey is to start looking at providers. Here, you have two options:
- Hire a freelancer.
- Work with a Magento development agency.
Each approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it can even come down to personal preference, or just whoever was able to create the most compelling response to your brief.
When you hire a Magento developer who works as a freelancer or a consultant, you can potentially work directly with a recognized Magento expert who writes about Magento development or delivers presentations at industry events. The cost is higher, but you'll still pay less than you would if those same people were working for agencies.
That's because Magento development agencies have operating costs that they need to cover, and they also need to run at a profit. However, while they charge more than freelancers, they can also benefit from a broader range of experience. If you're looking to hire Magento developers who can cover both front-end and back-end Magento development, you're probably better off looking for an agency.
Ultimately, it shouldn't really matter whether you hire a freelance Magento developer or whether you go with an agency. As long as you set expectations beforehand and your Magento developer can work within your budget, you should be okay. The same holds true if you're thinking about outsourcing – it's all about whether they can get the job done, and not what business model they use or where their company is headquartered.
5. Look at reviews, ratings, and testimonials
Whether you're looking for a new book to read or whether you're looking to hire a Magento developer, the chances are that you'll look for social proof. The idea is that we trust what other people say about products and services more than we believe what the providers say about themselves.
Social proof can take a variety of different forms, but for Magento developers, it's most common to see it in the form of reviews, ratings, and testimonials. Looking at these before you hire a Magento developer can give you a better feel for what you can expect if you start to work together. For example, if communication is particularly important to you, then it makes sense to hire Magento developers with a bunch of testimonials about how excellent their communication is.
Be sure to check third-party websites as well as providers' websites to get a more comprehensive view of what people are saying about each Magento developer. You'll want to look at negative reviews as well as positive, but don't let the occasional scathing review put you off a Magento development team that otherwise ticks all of the boxes. It's a good idea to be wary of any provider that has positive reviews only because it's a sign that they might be faking them without soliciting genuine client feedback.
6. Experience their communication skills
One of the most important things to look for in a Magento development agency is their ability to build a transparent communication process. That's because you'll need to know if they're dealing with delays or coming up against obstacles. If they're not great at communication, they might not be forthcoming with what amounts to vital information.
The good news is that you don't need to hire a Magento developer to experience their communication skills. Instead, you can test them out by sending an RFP to their support team or send a request contacting via social networks. Being a decent Magento developer is one thing, and you can judge that based on the strength of the builds in their portfolio, but you can only judge their communication skills by giving them a chance to communicate with you.
There are different ways to test the communication skills of a potential Magento developer. Fortunately, you can get a relatively accurate idea of what to expect by looking at any documentation that they provide when pitching to you and reviewing phone calls, emails, and face-to-face meetings. And even once you've selected Magento developers to work with, you'll also want to go out of your way to make sure that you're still communicating effectively with each other on a day-to-day basis.
7. Practice with a pilot project
Another great way to get a feel for how suitable any given Magento developer is for you and your business is to hire a Magento developer to work on a test project. This could be as simple as setting up a fresh install and then getting your Magento developer to build a new theme or plugin for you. For a more complicated approach, you can work on the brief for your full build but separate it into different phases. Then you can hire Magento developer for the first phase and then decide whether to keep on working with them after you've seen how good they are.
Magento development is as much of an art form as a science, and so different Magento developers approach different challenges in different ways. Instead of just having to hire a Magento developer blindly, it makes much more sense to work on a trial project. SaaS providers often offer a free trial to people so that they can try before they buy. Magento developers can't do this because instead of serving up software that's already been created, they're creating something new.
Working on a test project is arguably the perfect in-between option, allowing for a compromise between clients and Magento developers. From the client's point of view, it's a great way to get a feel for a potential Magento developer without having to commit to a full build. It allows Magento developers to show off their capabilities while still getting paid for the work they're doing. It's a win/win situation for everyone.
8. Identify specialties
When you hire a Magento developer, one of the most important things to remember is that different Magento developers have different specialties. For example, while one Magento developer might focus exclusively on security, another might focus on optimizing loading speeds or perfecting the user journey. Still, others are all-rounders who don't focus on any one area but who instead focus on bringing a little bit of everything to the table.
If you want to hire a Magento developer to work on a relatively simple ecommerce build, it might not matter what their niche experience is. This comes in to play for more advanced builds. For example, if you're building a huge ecommerce store with hundreds of thousands of different products, you'll want to hire a Magento developer who has experience with these large scale installations. Bonus points are in order if your Magento developer also has experience of running search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns on these large scale builds.
When it comes to understanding specialisms before you hire Magento developer, one of the best ways to do this is to take a look around their websites. Most companies with a huge portfolio will shout it from the rooftops, and even if they don't, you'll be able to see it from the types of companies in their portfolio. You should also bear in mind that most specialist Magento developers can charge a premium for their expertise, so if you don't have any special needs, then you can sometimes save a little cash by working with a generalist instead.
9. Ask the right questions
In our experience, one of the most important things to bear in mind during your search to hire a Magento developer is that you don't know what you don't know. In other words, your Magento developer is the expert, and they're a resource you should tap into throughout the project. They won't mind you asking questions, and indeed you know you've found a decent Magento developer when they go out of their way to make time for you and even encourage you to ask any questions that you might have.
Of course, asking questions is easy; knowing which questions to ask is the hardest part. Just a few of the most useful include:
· What similar products have you worked on?
· Why should I hire you over some other Magento developer?
· What experience do you have within my industry?
· Which areas do you specialize in?
· Can you work within my timeframe and budget?
· How do you cope if you're struggling with internal resources?
· What does your testing program look like?
· How much SEO experience do you have?
· Do you have any questions for me?
As a general rule, it's a good idea to remember that there's no such thing as too many questions. If your Magento developer is unwilling or unable to answer your questions, it's a sign that they're not a good fit and that you should look elsewhere. Always make sure that before you hire a Magento developer, you ask them any questions that are weighing on your mind. If they fail to answer them to your satisfaction, find a different Magento developer.
10. Keep checking in with the team
Even after you hire Magento developer, the hard work isn't over. If you've followed each of the steps on this list, then you should already have a good foundation for your working relationship, with clear communication and perhaps even a pilot project under your belt. Now it's over to your Magento developer to start the build, but you shouldn't just hand over the brief and leave them to it. Instead, you and your Magento developer should maintain constant communication at all times, preferably via a variety of different mediums.
For example, you might want to hop on a weekly call with your Magento developer while simultaneously using a tool like Slack for day-to-day instant messaging. If you hire Magento developer agencies, then you might be given a dedicated account manager to reach out to as your first point of contact. When you work with a freelance Magento developer, they'll likely be the only employee at the company, and that means that you may be better off giving them space to get some work done and encouraging them to check in with you on their behalf.
This ongoing communication is vital because when you hire a Magento developer to build a site for you, it's a big commitment. It can take time, and sometimes your priorities can change during the build. Perhaps your Magento developer runs into some problems along the way and needs further input from you before continuing. Whatever the case, you need to make sure that you and your Magento developer are always in touch with each other from start to finish, and potentially even afterward if you're expecting ongoing maintenance or future development projects.
Offshore vs. onshore
Another thing you'll want to think about during your quest to hire a Magento developer is whether you should go with an offshore or an onshore developer. The clue here is in the name – an onshore Magento developer is based in the same country as you, while an offshore Magento developer is based elsewhere. This makes the term subjective – if you're British, a Texan Magento developer would be offshore, but not if you're based in America.
As usual, both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. One of the main benefits of working with an onshore Magento developer is that you won't have to deal with linguistic or cultural differences that could put the project at risk or stop the ecommerce site from being at its best. Onshore Magento developer is far more likely to understand the nuances of the market that you work in, and they may even be able to be more proactive with their suggestions as a result of it.
But an offshore Magento developer will almost always come in cheaper, especially if you're based in a highly developed Western nation with a high cost of living. When you hire a writer, you want someone who speaks your language fluently; when you hire Magento developer, it doesn't matter as long as they can get the job done. Because of this, you can often keep costs down by working with a Magento developer who lives in a country where the cost of living is a lot lower. They can pass those savings on to you while still making sure that they charge a fair price so that you know no one's being taken advantage of.
By now, you know pretty much everything you need to know to hire a Magento developer. The next step is for you to take your brief and to start actively looking for a Magento developer who can help you to make your ecommerce store a reality. But as we've already covered, it's not necessarily as simple as typing "hire Magento developer" into a search engine and picking the people who rank first, although that can be as right a place as any to start your search.
Another strategy to hire a Magento developer is to turn to freelance websites like Upwork and PeoplePerHour. This works well if you're in a hurry to hire Magento developer, and you don't want to spend too much time shortlisting and interviewing candidates. And, going back to our previous point, you'll also be able to take your pick, whether you want an offshore or an onshore Magento developer.
If you found that reading reviews and testimonials helped and you're keen to tap into social proof, you could also make it known that you're looking to hire a Magento developer and ask your friends and professional contacts if they have any recommendations. Alternatively, take a look at reviews on third-party websites until you find a Magento developer who ticks all of your boxes.
Alternatively, do a little bit of everything, broadening your search for a Magento developer by spreading your brief as far and as wide as possible. This is arguably the best approach because when you're trying to hire Magento developer, it helps to take applications from as many different people as possible. The more people apply, the higher the likelihood that you'll find a quality Magento developer.
Building a relationship
The chances are that if you found your way to this article, you've only just started to think about finding a Magento developer. If that's the case, you're probably focusing on the short-term instead of the long-term. This is fine, to begin with, but when you hire a Magento developer, it can be a good idea to think about the future as well.
That's because while your Magento developer could well do a great job of things with your initial brief, your needs are going to change over time slowly. For example, perhaps you start with quite a basic build and later want to add email integration or user reviews. You could go right back to the beginning and hire a Magento developer from scratch – or you could just go back to the same Magento developer that you used before.
One of the good things about building a relationship with a Magento developer is that future projects will be quicker to get off the ground. When you first hire a Magento developer, it can take the time to get to know your company. If you kick off a new project with a Magento developer that you've already worked with, they'll already understand the ins and outs of your build, along with your company's ultimate goals and your target market.
Of course, if you've already worked with someone and they didn't quite live up to your expectations, it makes more sense to find a different Magento developer to work with you in the future. When that's the case, what we've said about building relationships is still relevant. In fact, this is why we suggest going with a test project before you hire a Magento developer. They allow you to figure out whether it's worth committing to building a relationship over time.
Now that you know all the ins and outs, it's time to launch the process. If you're looking to hire Magento developers, it's time for you to start researching Magento development services and getting a feel for what different companies have to offer. Remember that the success of your project will hinge on the brief you create. Basic knowledge of Magento will also help to select the relevant service provider. The rest is up to your hiring experience and intuition.
With a clear understanding of the goals of your ecommerce build, along with the budget you have for the project and an overview of which Magento developers are out there, you're in the perfect place to start your search. Now you just need to start working your way through the ten steps that we've shared in this article.
Of course, if you're looking to hire Magento web developer, then you can always reach out to us here at Zfort Group. We have plenty of experience of custom Magento development, from small-scale builds to major projects for international brands. Reach out to us to find out more!