HTML developer at work, looking at a split screen monitor displaying both HTML code and a view of the web site
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So you want to hire an HTML5 developer—how much is it going to cost? HTML5 is the latest standard of HTML (hypertext markup language), a core component behind the structure of a webpage. An HTML5 developer is simply a front-end developer who has specialized knowledge in HTML5, and is capable of taking advantage of all the perks unique to this latest iteration of the HTML specification.

How do you estimate a budget for how much it will cost to hire an HTML5 developer? In this article, we’ll look at a few cost factors to consider when drafting a project description and reviewing proposals from potential HTML5 developers.

First step: Define what you want your developer to do

Before you can set a budget, you’ll need to understand your project requirements. If you already have an existing app, and are looking to add new features, update software, or migrate code to a new platform, chances are you already know what technologies and therefore what type of developers are required to get the job done. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need more than HTML5 to build a modern web app—visit the Hiring Headquarters for explainer articles and comparisons between frameworks and languages to get an idea of what suite of technologies you’ll need to bring your project to life.

The key here will be writing a clear, detailed project description that potential developers can review to decide if their skills and experience are a good match and if the project is one that interests them. Learn how to write an awesome job post on Upwork here.

With a clearly defined project in hand, it’s time to build your budget—here are some important cost factors you may want to consider when determining the cost of your project.

Cost Factor #1: Project Scope

If you already took the above advice and wrote your job description, good news: You’ve already tackled the first major cost factor by identifying the overall scope of your project. Defining the nature of the work that needs to be done is the first step towards establishing your project scope. There’s a big difference in scope between updating all the semantic elements from an older HTML specification for a small business’s landing page and hiring a full-time HTML5 developer to get your new enterprise app off the ground.

Time is the second piece of the puzzle you’ll have to consider when determining scope. It determines how you’ll handle milestone payments for each phase of development (if you’re dealing with fixed-price contracts), or the overall cost of a project if you’re paying hourly wages. The more accurately your job description describes the scope of your project, the easier it will be for interested freelancers to provide accurate cost estimates in their proposals.

Tip: You can manage a limited budget more effectively by going Agile. Start with a minimum viable project (MVP), the bare bones of the application you eventually wish to create, gather live feedback from the market, and let validated data guide the development of your project. This is will help you avoid that dreaded pitfall of sinking cost into a product the market doesn’t want.

Cost Factor #2: Experience

When it comes to experience, the same is true of HTML5 development as any other trade—you get what you pay for. Choosing the right level of expertise for the job has a lot to do with the scope of your project. Sometimes it can be more cost effective to hire a less experienced freelancer at a lower rate, particularly if a job is time-consuming yet simple to perform.

It’s important to note that since HTML is not a programming language, most developers won’t necessarily call themselves “HTML5 developers” per se since the term is kind of a misnomer. What you’re really looking for are Front-end developers who are familiar with the HTML5 specification. Moreover, there are probably other front-end skills you also need to consider when tackling any web project—things like frameworks, libraries, and other technologies that also impact your budget. You might initially set out to update the web presence for your business with a CMS like Joomla, but ultimately realize you need to allocate more funds to create the online enterprise-level service you wish to provide to your customers.

The following table breaks down the rates of the typical types of front-end developers you can find on Upwork.

Typical Rates Charged by Front-End (HTML5) Developers*

Type of HTML5 Developer Description Average Hourly Rate
Basic Front-End Front-end fundamentals (HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript), familiarity with libraries like jQuery, and CMS’s like WordPress. $15-50 +
Intermediate – Advanced Front-End Beyond fundamentals, also skilled in one or more chosen front-end JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS, CSS preprocessors like LESS/SASS, and CSS frameworks like Bootstrap. $35-100 +
Full Stack Developer Mix of front-end and back-end technology expertise. Expertise working with MEAN (MongoDB, Express, Angular, Node.js) $30-150 +

*Reflects rates charged by freelancers on Upwork in North America with over 1,000 hours and 90% success rate.

Tip: Since most front-end developers will probably list HTML5 as a skill, it is especially important you specifically state why you want an HTML5 developer and not just general front-end help. For example, you might want to make use of new semantic elements in your page like <header>, <footer>, <article>, and <section> tags to search engine optimize (SEO) your site from the bottom up. You would request this need specifically in your job post.

Cost Factor #3: Location

Location plays a major role in the cost of a freelance developer. A big advantage to working with freelancers on Upwork, is that you gain access to a talent pool that essentially spans across the globe. It also means you can play off cost of living differences between countries, cities, and states to get yourself a better deal on a skilled freelancer.

For example, the first page of listings for HTML5 developers in the United States with greater than 1000 hours of freelancing experience, and 90% success rate through Upwork will yield rates ranging from $45 – $145/hour, whereas the first page of listings for HTML5 developers with the same search filters in Ukraine is more in the ballpark of $20 to $45/hour.