How to find steady programmers for a start up?


Here is my dilemna I only have a small budget for a Java programmer and I keep finding people that cannot see the benefit of doing anything they just want a salary and a full time job. So I have managed to find people that can work two days a week but obviously they keep leaving me becuase they want more money.

This takes up too much of my time to keep trying to replace someone and its impacting my objectives. Should I stop trying to find someone to work inhouse and try to find a small group of programmers who want to partner with me or something.

I need a any ideas here?

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asked May 19 '10 at 22:36
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4 Answers


Simple answer: get the funds to pay professionals properly. That simple. Otheriwse you look for a co-founder (and then the question is why I should for example not get 50% of the company, if I do all the work).

Any programmer you hire somehow will demand proper market level payment in SOME way. And even if accepting 40% of that as equity, that leaves still 60% to be paid in cash.

If the cash you can pay is student level - then you get student level work. Simle like that. A Majority equity payment (like - 80 USD per hour professional rate, out of which 60 USD per hour are in the form of equity) otoh will mean that whoever does the work REALLY has to buy into YOUR leadership (which somehow failed to get funding in the first place). Been there, been burned, so to say.

Only solution: get proper funding to pay at least the level you need to get the work done that you need in a steady way.

answered May 19 '10 at 23:10
Net Tecture
11 points


There are a couple of issues I see here, but they are related, in that you need a way to explain your idea in a way that not only fires imaginations of people, but gets them as excited as you do to see it brought to fruition, but, as NetTecture just wrote, then you would be looking for a co-founder, or someone that has some equity stake.

You need to find a narrative not only to excite programmers to want to help you, but later, when you need to go for more funding, you will want to get people excited about what you are working on.

You need to think about what you are looking for. If you just want a developer, they want money, if you want passion and commitment, that will mean giving some equity.

answered May 19 '10 at 23:14
James Black
2,642 points
  • Even if you get them excited - good people cost market maoney. As I said - on a 60/40 equity payment (60% in equity) the remaining 40% at market value are STIL possibly 30 to 40 USD for a good person, per hour. – Net Tecture 13 years ago
  • @NatTecture - It depends on how excited they are, and how much they want to see the company succeed. I worked for 3 months for a startup that was unable to pay people much, so, last year,some of the people only got paid 1/2 of what they were expecting, but they remain, as, if they leave, they may get nothing, so they are largely working for hope of success. I left after 3 months, I wasn't willing to put my family through that – James Black 13 years ago
  • The problem is that good people have alternatives. It is not like GOOD programmers are running around unemployed. Yes, the market is slow, but... it is not like it is dead. Throwing good money (time) after alrady wasted one - is not a goo decision. – Net Tecture 13 years ago
  • James I find a lot of good programmers but whether they believe in the vision doesn't seem to make much of a difference they still want to be paid at 100% with no compromise. My challenge is if I have to pay 100% I can only afford them 2 days per week. I think its the culture where I live. Any suggestions on how to approach them or find the ones that are more entrepreneurial. Do I have to get a lawyer to give them equity shares day one or just a letter of intent? This too impairs on my budget... – Stacey 13 years ago


If you're on a very limited budget, you may have to bring an outsourced contractor. There are solid benefits to this and it's worth testing the waters to see what kinds of bids you get. Odesk has always been good for me, for what it's worth.

answered May 20 '10 at 03:02
127 points


Maybe you need to find someone who is working full time, but wants to supplement their income or get experience working on your type of project. They could be bored with updating and debugging and would like to add building this app to their CV. To do this, you're going to have to be more flexible on the time requirements for them and yourself (Kiss your late nights and weekends goodbye.).

Be prepared to pay a competitive hourly rate, but with your budget you'll get fewer hours. This will force you to be very selective on the requirements of the application. What is the absolute minimum requirements to get the app going and start generating some revenue.

answered May 20 '10 at 05:56
Jeff O
6,169 points

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