Insights into the 2013 iOS Developer Survey

Last week we put out a call to our fellow iOS developers to see what our little industry is charging. We had a great response (88 total), and want to thank everyone who took the time to submit their information.

The results are in! We put together a number of charts that highlight the most interesting data we received, but there are a few things we wanted to call out that we found especially significant. First off, the average hourly rate overall was $93/hr, and the median rate was $97/hr. Before the survey, I would have wagered on an average rate of around $100/hr, so that is pretty close.

Those averages were based on a wide range, however, starting at $10/hr and topping out at $250/hr. We know of superstar teams who charge over $200/hr, so the upper end wasn’t astonishing to us at least. But to be completely candid, we were very surprised at the large number of teams that charged $50/hr or less for iOS development.

By no means would we question any kind of work or rate that our colleagues are able to garner. It’s all about building strong relationships and a solid portfolio of work. But from a purely personal perspective, both Rick and I charged more than that prior to Big Swing as solo freelancers working in Flash.

To be fair, we were either based in NYC or at least had connections to that market, which is able to support a higher rate. Beyond that, we didn’t limit the survey to US-only developers, so it could also be a case of iOS work on the global market still fluctuating. We would love to learn more about those of you who charge on the lower end. Is this a full-time job? Do you stay booked? Are you overbooked?

Not only were rates all over the place, but your thoughts about those rates varied. One respondent thought they were probably charging too little at $200/hr, while another thought they were probably a bit too high at under $60/hr. The biggest concern is whether the market will bear your rates, so I’m curious if those thoughts were based on how booked the respondents were.

One final interesting thing I wanted to highlight was the average company sizes for the respondents. A large majority of you are at small companies of ten or less. I initially wondered if this was a revelation on the type of companies doing iOS work. However, I reminded myself that the type of questions we posed were definitely geared more towards freelance, contract, or project-based work.

Larger companies would likely hire teams of full-time programmers, which from a rate perspective would sit outside of the purview of this survey. Along those lines, we did receive a couple requests for questions that also targeted those of our colleagues who have salaried positions as iOS developers. We’ve definitely been discussing writing up a follow-up survey that does just that, so we’ll keep you posted.

We want to thank everyone again who responded. We hope the information we gathered can help our iOS comrades out there as they continue to work and grow.

 EDIT: We've had a bunch of great comments, including a terrific discussion over at Hacker News. One thing that's come to light is that we weren't clear in this post that the rates we were discussing are hourly rates. We've edited the copy above to reflect that. Sorry if it was confusing and thanks everyone for reading.