The Ultimate BigCommerce Developer Hiring Guide

There are over 700 apps listed in the BigCommerce marketplace, providing you with many ways to expand the functionality of your store. 

But you may want to add features to your store that can’t be found in any theme or app that’s currently available. If you don’t have the experience to develop these features yourself, you’ll need to hire someone to do it for you.

And even if you’re not interested in building new features from scratch, you should still consider hiring a BigCommerce developer. Setting up a BigCommerce store could take many hours to do by yourself, and then there’s all the energy you would need to invest in configuring apps and updating your catalog over time. Having some expert help on hand will allow you to focus more attention on the many other tasks that you must manage for your business. 

BigCommerce logo
Image Source: BigCommerce


Other services that can be provided by a BigCommerce developer include:

  • Theme Customization: Implementing custom icons, buttons, and other design elements will set your store apart from the competition. Also, tweaking the layout of your pages can improve user experience and increase conversions. 
  • Integration: Connect third-party apps that you’re using or would like to use to your BigCommerce store. 
  • Migration: If you’re migrating from another platform to BigCommerce, you need to be careful. Links could be broken, information may not be completely carried over, and your hard-earned positions on search engine results pages could plummet. By hiring a BigCommerce developer, you’ll be able to prevent those problems during your transition.  
  • Site Audit: Instead of having a specific task in mind for a developer, there might be a more general problem that you need to take care of, such as a low conversion rate or slow page loading. A BigCommerce developer can analyze the links, content, and structure that make up your site and identify the issues that are causing your problem. 


In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about hiring a BigCommerce developer. 


What To Look For In A BigCommerce Developer

The first thing you must know is the difference between a “designer” and a “developer”. These terms may seem similar, but they describe two distinct roles. 

A designer specializes on the appearance of websites. They use Photoshop and other graphics editing programs to create mock-ups of how a site should look, which gives guidance to developers.  

Web design mock-up
Image Source: Canva


A developer knows how to write code. They use languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to take the blueprint provided by a designer and turn it into a functioning website (they may also be able to handle the designer role themselves). Generally, a developer is more expensive to hire than a designer.

Web development coding
Image Source: Pixabay


Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for BigCommerce development. The skill set you should be looking for depends on the needs of your specific project.

BigCommerce is a relatively user-friendly platform, and there are apps like the Shogun page builder that make it especially easy to create high-quality online stores without any manual coding. So, for many projects you could get away with saving money by hiring a designer rather than a developer. But if your project is beyond the scope of BigCommerce’s native features, you’ll be better off looking for a true web developer.

Culture is another consideration. Do you work within a large, highly disciplined organization that follows a structured process for projects? Or do you run a startup that puts more of an emphasis on creative freedom and thinking outside the box than following rules and meeting deadlines? A developer may have the ability to succeed in one environment but not the other.  

Large companies should look for candidates who have a background working for large companies. They’ll know what to expect, so they can jump in and immediately be productive for you. Conversely, startups should look for candidates who have experience working for startups, as they’ll know how to function in that environment. 

Regardless of your business’s particular culture, strong communication skills are always a must-have. It doesn’t matter how talented a candidate is if they can’t collaborate with others or listen to feedback.

The most valuable quality for a BigCommerce developer to have is, unsurprisingly, extensive experience with the BigCommerce platform. Ideally, you’ll be able to find someone who has previously performed the exact type of BigCommerce development work that you need for your project.


Where To Look For BigCommerce Developers

The best places to post BigCommerce developer jobs include:


Upwork

With over 12 million registered users, Upwork is the largest freelancer portal in the world. This platform allows you to access a large pool of prospects, and it also provides you with useful tools for time tracking, automatic payments, and other management tasks. 

Upwork
Image Source: Upwork


Toptal

Like Upwork, Toptal is a freelancer portal. Unlike Upwork, freelancers need to pass through a rigorous application process before they can use this platform. Toptal maintains high standards, accepting only 3% of freelancers who apply. If you’re looking for a skilled BigCommerce freelance developer and you don’t mind paying top dollar for them, you’ll find them here. 

Toptal
Image Source: Toptal


Outsourcely

For ongoing BigCommerce management/maintenance work, check out Outsourcely. This platform is designed for long-term projects, and they allow you to hire remote workers directly with zero commission fees. 

For comparison, Upwork requires you to hire through their platform, plus clients are charged a 3% payment processing fee and freelancers are charged a 5% to 20% service fee. There’s much less talent on Outsourcely than Upwork, though. 

Outsourcely
Image Source: Outsourcely


Craigslist

You may prefer to add an on-premises employee to your staff rather than hire a remote worker. In that case, your local Craigslist jobs board is a good place to find candidates. Craigslist is more open than the platforms listed above, so expect to spend more time weeding out unqualified applicants. 


Craigslist
Image Source: Craigslist

How To Write A Job Post

After you decide where you want to look for candidates, you’ll need to write a job post. The following tips will help you find the best matches for your project:

  • Be clear and detailed: Your job post should be as detailed as possible. This will save you a lot of time, as developers who can’t build what you want will know not to apply, and those who do apply won’t need to ask you as many clarifying questions. It can also prevent disputes in the future, as developers won’t be able to claim that “this wasn’t in the job description”. 
  • Include background information: Introduce your company and its brand. Describe your target audience and the value that you offer to them. This context will give developers a better idea of what you’re looking for. 
  • Include a project summary: Describe exactly what you want the developer to do for you. What do you expect them to deliver? Do you have any existing assets for them to work with (for example, a mock-up that was created by a designer), or are they starting from scratch? 
  • Include examples: If you know of any live examples of the features or design that you’re trying to implement, link to them in the job post.
  • Ask for samples: Request candidates to send you links to work they’ve completed that’s similar to your project. 
  • Describe the ideal candidate: State the technical expertise that you believe will be required to complete the project, and also describe the personality traits that would make the candidate a good fit with your culture.
  • Provide a timeframe: When do you need the project to be completed by? Whatever that date may be, you should bump up the deadline for your project by a couple weeks to account for revisions and other delays. 
  • Test the applicant’s attention to detail: If someone isn’t willing to read your job post before applying, regardless of their qualifications they likely don’t have the focus and professionalism needed to produce the results you want with your project. Add a line like “Please include the phrase ‘...’ at the top of your application” so that you can confirm whether or not applicants actually read your job post. 


Sample Job Post

The hypothetical example below demonstrates how to put our job post tips into practice.


SUBJECT:

BigCommerce Developer Needed for “Deal of the Day” Homepage Feature


BODY:

At Sauce Boss, we provide specialty sauces to both restaurants and individual cooking enthusiasts. We started as a brick-and-mortar store, but in the past few years our BigCommerce site has become our primary source of income. Now, we’re able to offer our one-of-a-kind products everywhere from Seattle to Sarasota!

We would like to add a “Deal of the Day” section to our homepage, similar to what you see on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/

The ideal candidate will have experience developing custom features for BigCommerce stores, and they will possess strong communication and time management skills as well. Please include links to work you’ve completed that’s similar to this project in your application. Also, write “Bam!” at the top of your application so that we can confirm you fully read our job post. 

We’ll be expecting the chosen candidate to complete this project by November 1st. 

Thank you!


Setting Your Price

On most freelancer portals, you’ll have the choice between paying workers a fixed price for the project or paying them by the hour. 

If you’re posting a simple project that doesn’t require much experience, use the fixed price option. That way, you can hire a less expensive, moderately experienced BigCommerce developer rather than a more expensive, highly experienced BigCommerce developer. The less experienced developer might take longer and require more revisions, but that won’t matter when the price is predetermined.

An hourly rate is better for more complicated projects. It will help you attract highly experienced developers, as it generally allows them to make more money. The hourly rate is also less of a concern with highly experienced developers, as they will likely be able to work quickly without making mistakes. 

Now, what rate should you be charging, exactly? 

As mentioned above, there is overlap between the skill sets of web designers and web developers. This is especially true when you’re working with a user-friendly platform like BigCommerce. 

So, you should be charging somewhere between the standard rate for a web designer and a web developer. According to Salary.com, the average rate for a web designer with 0-2 years of experience is $31 per hour. At the other end of the spectrum, the average rate for a web developer with 4-7 years of experience is $50 per hour. Expect to pay $30 to $50 per hour for a BigCommerce developer.

And if you’re hiring a BigCommerce developer for a full-time salaried position, consider that the average salary for a web designer with 0-2 years of experience is $63,904, while the average salary for a web developer with 4-7 years of experience is $104,081. Furthermore, you’ll need to consider the cost of living in your area when making your offer.

wage of web developers by state
Image Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Selecting Who To Hire

It can be difficult to decide who to hire for your project, especially if you don’t have any personal BigCommerce development experience that you can use to evaluate the candidates. 

But you don’t need to be a developer in order to successfully hire one. Just use the following techniques when making your decision:

  • Read client feedback: One advantage to hiring through a freelancer portal like Upwork is that you can review ratings and comments from each candidate’s previous clients. This will provide you with some objective feedback on the candidate's skills and work habits.
  • Review provided samples: In your post, you should have asked for links to their past work. Make sure the candidate included these links, and check them out yourself to review the quality of their work and see how relevant their experience is to your project. 
  • Ask follow-up questions: Did they do all the work involved in the samples they sent you, or did they work as part of a team? Are they capable of handling both or only one of the designer and developer roles? Ask the candidate any relevant questions that weren’t covered in their application. 
  • Communication evaluation: Asking follow-up questions also gives you a chance to evaluate the candidate’s communication skills. Did they respond right away, or did it take them days to respond? Did they answer all your questions, or does it seem like they didn’t fully read what you wrote? If the communication is poor before they even get the job, you should just move on to your other candidates.
  • Contact references: If you’re hiring for a salaried position and reviewing resumes, contact at least two of the references provided by the candidate. Keep in mind that supervisors often don’t want to disparage former employees, even if their performance was subpar. Pay attention to tone (the more enthusiastic, the better), and frame your questions in a positive way (asking “What could they have done to be more effective?” will produce more honest answers than “What were their weaknesses?”). 


With these tried-and-true hiring practices, you’ll be able to accurately rank your candidates and make the right choice. 

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Build BigCommerce pages that convert.

Create professional-quality pages for your ecommerce store with a powerful drag and drop page builder for Bigcommerce designed with ecommerce teams and agencies in mind.
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Adam Ritchie

Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.