Technical co-founder or pay someone to build


I have an idea for an off shoot of an already successful business that would allow me to scale it quickly and greater than I can now. However, the idea requires the building of a web application/website and I don't have that knowledge. Lots of questions here...

  1. Where is the best place to find someone who is looking to independently build applications or website. Perhaps there are companies that specialize in this?
  2. Likewise, are technical contractors or businesses open to discussing what I am looking to do and putting a price tag on it? I would hate to waste someone's time when I am not exactly sure which way I would go or if it's even affordable for me at this stage.
  3. What are the pros and cons of a technical co-founder? My concern is that once the site/application is built, there won't be much technical work left besides maintenance.

I apologize for the vagueness, I will try to answer any follow-ups that clarify anything. Thanks for reading.

Application Website

asked Sep 1 '10 at 03:09
154 points
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4 Answers


I am a professional developer and I have worked with startups. One thing I would warn against is the notion of some kind of set it and forget it development. Unless what you are looking for is a straightforward web site/application, launching is just the beginning. You'll never get it right on the first try, and you'll need to be able to rely on someone for both maintenance and likely continual changes. After actually using it you'll find bugs, usability flaws, additional features you want, etc. That does not mean you need a technical co-founder, it just means that whoever you get to help you should be a person or company you can rely on to come back to the project whenever you need it. (And don't underestimate how often that will be.)

answered Sep 22 '10 at 12:43
Russell Leggett
141 points
  • I agree 100%. I am also a developer for a company that does this type of work, and there will always be bugs and new features that you will want to add. Find a company that you can trust, get references (As Jeff mentions above. Actually call some of them and get more than just the blurb from the firms web site.), and make sure their vision of what you are trying to accomplish matches yours. – Larry Smithmier 14 years ago


  1. I'm sure there are software companies in your area that do this type of work. You should check their referals.
  2. You won't be the first or last person to approach them with an idea who isn't sure whether or not it will be financially feasable. They will charge you for their time.
  3. The pro is having a partner with an incentive to grow your business and provide the technical know-how regardless of how much is required. The con is getting the wrong person. They own a part of your company and due to incompetence and/or laziness will drag the whole thing down. Partners are tougher to fire than employees and contractors.

The chances that you will be dead-on with your website specs or the business model are slim. If you are running a software service, there is more to the technology than just your website code. Increased client size will require code and hardware improvements eventually; unless you spend a lot more of your money up front.

answered Sep 1 '10 at 04:20
Jeff O
6,169 points
  • Thanks Jeff, I appreciate the insight! – Jeff 14 years ago


As Jeff said, there are many companies that do exactly that - build websites and applications for other businesses. To determine whether or not they can build what you need, ask to look at some previous projects they've worked on.

A quote on development costs is usually free. If you're going to have to sit down with them for long lengths of time to determine what exactly it is you're trying to accomplish, expect to pay for their time.

If you go with a technnical co-founder, then you'll need to know in advance how to filter out a good partner from a bad one (there's more than chemistry or technical know-how). You will also be giving up equity, but saving yourself the development costs. There is also likely to be more on-going development needed once the project is "finished", so don't be surprised when what you might consider routine maintenance is actually a full-time job.

If you need referals to some companies, get in touch with me directly and I'd be happy to pass on the names of some such businesses I've worked with before.

answered Sep 1 '10 at 10:44
4,692 points
  • Thanks Elie, I appreciate the response. I might get in contact with you shortly to get an idea of companies that do this sort of thing. Too be honest, I would have no idea where to start. Not even an idea of what keywords to use in Google to identify what I'm looking to do, haha. – Jeff 14 years ago
  • Happy to help - it's what I do! Please do get in touch. – Elie 14 years ago
  • Hello, as Elie mentions, quotes from companies building software are generally free. I work for a company that does this type of work, and I can tell you from personal experience that the initial development is just the beginning. If you go with outsourcing the development, find a company that understands your mission and don't just go with the low bid. In software development, as in all things, you get what you pay for. – Larry Smithmier 14 years ago


And without being paranoid you need to do it in a way that your idea can not be stolen.

answered Sep 1 '10 at 11:06
172 points
  • Good point, Adam. However, the site/application would not be able to function without my expertise and unique knowledge in the field. The application/site isn't so much new technology, just a better way for customers to interact with my services and an easier way for me to scale. This is partially why I don't want to go the co-founder route. I appreciate the forewarning – Jeff 14 years ago

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