After giving it a lot of thought, you decided to partner with an app development company instead of hiring freelancers of finding employees to do it. Congratulations! One of the biggest decisions regarding your business is now off your shoulder. But, don’t relax just yet, you still have a lot of work to do.
What do we mean by that?
Wellーsure, you have made a huge step forward in creating the actual productーbut now you have to focus on finding the right development company. Although there are sites that provide an insight on “top 10”, “top 20” or even “top 100” app development companies, you have to be aware of the fact there were over 12 million mobile app developers in the world in 2016. That being said, you also should take into account the prediction that the number of developers will raise up to 14 million by 2020. That’s a lot! So, let’s just assume that a third of them work for development companies. That, again, means there are millions of developers, thousands of companies.
So, how will you choose the right web and mobile app development company?
Let’s start with the search first. When it comes to choosing the right company to partner with, you are most likely going to rely on your friends’ and family’s recommendation. And that’s greatーdon’t get us wrongーbut choosing a company solely based on location seems a bit ridiculous. Instead of trying to limit yourself you can search for a company online and visit some popular development events. It’s always a great move to meet your future partners in person.
What are we trying to say? Whatever you do, before making the final decision please make sure that you have explored all the options in order to find the right app development company.
Now that we got that out of the way, there is only one question left: how are you going to choose The One? Let’s say you have 10 companies on your list. Which one will you choose? What is the parameter which can make a company stand out?
In one of our articles, we have mentioned that it can come in handy to have a recruiter or an expert by your side when choosing developers to partner with. Why is that? Because a recruiter knows what questions to ask. When it comes to development companies, things are a bit different.
From our experience, every app development company looks at a potential client as a tabula rasa. We don’t mean to be disrespectful. On the contrary, every client has a certain level of app development knowledge and experience and a company must respect that. That is why a top app development companies always try to provide a client with as much information as possible so he/she can completely understand a product development process, the technology behind it and other important elements.
However, it can’t hurt to prepared and learn more about that company and development process before you start reaching out to it. We have to admit that, sometimes, companies forgot to mention a thing or two about the way they work, which project management tools they use or some other information. That is precisely why you should be prepared and step in with the questions.
In order to make sure you are asking a company the right questions, we made a list to help you get going.
Without further ado, let’s get to these questions.
Q1: How Long Have You Been Working as an App Development Company?
It is completely natural to ask about company’s experience. The longer a company is in the market, the more knowledge and experience it has.
Be sure to pay attention to its working experience as well as a client profile. If the company has never worked before with a startup, chances are you won’t come across much understanding and support you need.
Q2: Can You Provide a Portfolio?
If a company has nothing to hide (or be ashamed of) the obvious answer to this question should be Yes.
By checking a company’s portfolio you will be able to see previous apps they have built, get to know its aesthetics and the way of work. A timetable can also be a useful insight to see how long usually takes a company to develop an app. In short, you will be able to get an impression if the cooperation is even a possibility.
What more should you look for? Well, having multiple (satisfied) clients is always a good parameter to measure the success of an app development company. However, if you are not sure that what the company is portraying is the truth, you can always ask for a contact information of its former clients. It can be extremely useful to hear what the “other side” has to say about their experience with working with the company in question.
There is just one thing we have mention. Remember: it is one thing to hire a team to create a bug-free app in no-time but it is completely other to have a product development process that is stress-free and developers and designers that are reliable and a joy to work with. You don’t need just efficient developers (you don’t need robots), you need humans that know how to properly communicate issues and that you are not afraid to talk to openly.
Which leads us to our next question.
Q3: How Big Is Your Team?
Team structure is one of the most important factors you should have in mind. From our experience, for building an app you need at least two developers and one to two designers.
Keep in mind that development companies come in all sizesーsome of them have larger, some smaller teams. However, you have to be aware that the factor that makes an app development company so attractive is not the number of team members but the fact that those developers and designers know how to truly work as a team. They know each other’s strengths, weaknesses and are willing to work together until they find the solution.
It is up to you to decide whether you want to cooperate with a small or a big team. Be aware that the pricing point can be a deciding factor when choosing the size of a team. And remember, a reliable team will not hesitate to meet you in person (even if the team in question works overseas).
We’ve mentioned pricing. Let’s talk more about rates for a moment. To the next question!
Q4: What Is Your Pricing Structure?
Sometimes even if the size of a team, team structure and portfolio seem on point, developers’ and designers’ rates can be the most important factor. What do we mean by that?
Well, depending on the part of the world, developers’ and designers’ hourly rates can vary. For example, North America has the highest hourly rates, while the Asia the lowest ones. That being said, location is just one of the parameters you should keep in mind when it comes to pricing.
As you have probably heard, the complexity of an app can have an effect on its costs. For example, mobile games are extremely popular nowadays but they require multiple elements to be included in the development process. On the other hand, there’s the fact that making a mobile game is one of the most lucrative parts of app development business. You do the math.
Our advice is: do the math before you start reaching out to development companies. In most cases, your expenses will go up. That is why you have to be sure you know where you are looking into for an app development company.
These four questions are the basic ones that you should always keep in mind when talking to a manager or C-level man of an app development company. However, there are some questions that go deeper into understanding the development process and that you have the right to ask.
We have covered those questions as well:
Q5: Can You Explain How You Make Apps?
Even if you know how a software development process works, it can’t hurt to go through its steps with the potential development company. Here are some steps of a development process:
- Explaining your idea to a designer (or a team of designers).
- A designer (or a team of designers) creates a mockup and present the idea to you.
- Once you found common ground with a designer, developers take the lead.
- Developers choose the right platform (or platform), as well as technology, to create the app.
- A period of coding and pure programming comes next.
- Creating a beta version of the app.
- The final step is to release an app.
We tried to explain development process as short as possible since some of the aspects of this process can vary depending on how an app development company works.
What is the real reason you should ask this question? It’s pretty simple: because you need to know how much time you need to invest in this process.
It goes without saying that a team will need your input but what you don’t know is how much of an input. Some teams like to do the work by themselves, some don’t. It’s up to you to decide what will provide the greatest results.
Q6: Can You Estimate Costs of the Project?
Oh, we wish it was that simple! This is a tricky question and here’s why.
If you are asking a manager of the company to provide you estimates on schedule and costs in the next two minutes, you are probably making a huge mistake. If there is no deep discussion about the project itself, an app development company cannot provide you with a precise estimate. It is as simple as that.
And there’s one more thing: keep in mind you will always find a company that can and will do it “faster”. The question is: will you get the same quality as you would by doing things differently, without rushing? It is up to you to decide.
Q7: Who Owns the Code?
This is such an important question! In most cases, this question has only one answer: YOU DO! We must mention that there are development companies that insist on owning the code and the project. Please don’t let this be an option!
Let’s dig a bit deeper.
First of all, the app was your idea and any app development company that agrees to turn it into an app is just “an executioner”. In business terms, this means that the app is your intellectual property. Think about it: if you are a founder of a startup that is likely going to want to find some investors or get acquired, you need to have your own product to offer to others. That being said, there is only one rule: even if a company is building a product for you, YOU are the owner.
This might be a good time to mention an NDA (a non-disclosure agreement).
An NDA is a form of a legal contract that ensures that all the knowledge, materials and information regarding the project are safe and protected between two you and the company. This means that only sides that have signed the contract have an access to this type of resourcesーno third parties are involved.
If you get uncomfortable just thinking about it, remember that NDA is a common thing in the business world and there is nothing to be nervous about. A good app development company should, without a doubt, say yes to the suggestion of signing an NDA.
Let’s just mention one more thing. What happens when your app comes to life when it is launched and ready to be used? Well, top app development company should be there to “support” the app after the launch. However, this is also a matter of mutual understanding and should be included in an NDA. You can include these post-release activities in the contract or you don’t have to. Our advice is to do it. By doing so you’ll keep the users happy by fixing all the bugs and glitches on time.
Q8: If I Am Not Happy Can I Call off the Project?
The answer to this question should be: of course. If you decided to work with a good app development company that respects its clients then it shouldn’t be a problem to make arrangement to call off the project.
As we have mentioned in the text above, you are the legal owner of the project and the app is your intellectual property. If at any point, you decide that you are not happy with the progress, you have every right to call off everything. Keep in mind that some other company or team of developers should continue where the first development company left off.
These 8 questions are the major ones you should ask every development company you are considering to partner with. But, there’s more.
If you truly want to get know an app development company, you should be digging more into their development process. Check how they work, which technologies they use, ask about their project management tools.
Since every development company uses different technologies, we decided to not get into too many details explaining these, technical questions. But we are going to name them all.
Technical questions you should consider asking if you are thinking about partnering up with an app development company are:
- Which platforms do you cover?
- Is UX/UI design part of the development process?
- What languages, technologies, and tools do you use? Explain separately front-end development and back-end.
- Is TDD (Test Driven Development) a part of your process? How do you test apps?
- How can you guarantee a security of the app?
- Which project management methodology do you use?
- Do you use any project management tools?
- What communication tools do you use?
- How often will I get a project update?
As you can see, these questions require knowing more than just a couple of things about the development process. If you are not familiar with these terms be sure to contact a project manager, recruiter or a developer to help you understand these questions and explain you the most important parts.
Finding a few development companies among thousands of them is a tough challenge. However, finding the right one among ten of them can even be a harder task to complete. That is why we have created this list of all the questions you should be asking your potential partner.
Please remember: take the fate into your own hands by asking these questions and you’ll find the right app development company in no-time.
We hope that this article will be your guide to a journey to hire the right company.
Until next time!
Are there any questions you believe are important that we haven’t mentioned? Tell us in the comment section below!