You need to get a developer that has the same mentality. I agree with not getting a technical co-founder for equity. That is risky because you are basically marrying this person and that equity is your pre-nup. If you break up the company can die with the fights, I’d say divorce is easier! Therefore, you should look to find developers to develop your MVP.
However, it isn’t really that simple. Each little piece of functionality (even the loading/splash screen) has variables that need to be accounted for. Plus, each functionality piece requires careful consideration of the implications it will cause. I have a post about the reasons on our blog,.
The way you develop your MVP can vary greatly, you are looking to test the market, nothing more and nothing less. The way you test the market and get people committed to your idea can be through a number of methods, but eventually the MVP of the app is needed to get the hook in people and get an initial base of users to get feedback and then grow from then on, in small iterative (1–2 weeks ultimately) “development sprints”.
You will have trouble outsourcing an MVP to a Waterfall (the alternative to Agile, where you get the app developed for some quote and that’s it, agile focusses on these small, fast developments) company. This is just a fact of the way the system works and the fact you will most likely use different firms for different iterations. It is best to hire a developer like a co-founder, but not actually give them equity.
The way you cut costs is by working with development at all times, getting their input and explaining the hurdles and high costs involved with each decision you make to keep within a given budget. No firmworks this way, that I’m aware of ($495/m for the team and complete control over budgeting, but our average cost is $8,100 per operating system).