Some questions are eternal. “Is there God?”, “Does he/she love me?” and, surely, “How can I find a decent mobile development company to build my app?”
People are posting similar questions on Quora, dedicated forums, and social media.
Still, finding the right company appears to remain a puzzle as the question is consistently asked. According to recent statistics, the number of mobile phone users is forecast to reach 4.77 billion in 2017. As many marketers say, mobile is already dominating desktop and its influence is spreading across the globe like wildfire.
If 4.77 billion isn’t convincing enough for you, the number is likely to reach 5.07 billion by 2019. It is no wonder that entrepreneurs are eager to find the best mobile development company. While most understand the importance of mobile apps for their business, they don’t want to risk their money and time on something they are not sure is necessary. But it is easy to show businesses why they should invest in a mobile app. Let’s take Thanksgiving Day as an example. Did you know that:
Last year, Thanksgiving Day showed its best sales results ever on mobile, with a record of $449 million.
ChannelAdvisor reported that smartphones accounted for approximately 70% of the overall traffic, with tablets making another 8%.
ChannelAdvisor also stated that for the first time, mobile e-commerce orders surpassed desktop orders, with 53% of all orders on Thanksgiving Day completed on a mobile device.
Thus, it is a no-brainer to conclude what this means for doing business via mobile; mobile is the new king of retail. As the statistics above show, the mobile Internet helps businesses to be more productive and profitable. So let’s discover how to find a professional technological partner to develop your app.
But before you start searching, it is time for you to do some homework. The very first thing for you to do is to gather information regarding all the important aspects of the pre-development stage so when you find the right app development company you are ready to go.
Your Company’s Profile
Start with describing your company’s profile, even if you are a startup. This information will help kick off your initial dialog with a dev company. Secondly, outline your business values and goals. With all of this information, your future technology partner will implement your app’s features with more accuracy. Below are some of the basic questions for you to consider:
How big is the company? What does it specialize in? Where are you located? Who is your audience?
Who would be your main contact for the project; what is their position? Do you have any technical staff involved in the project?
How mature is the project? Is it in early stages of pre-production, ready for development or established product on other platforms?
What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)?
How could an app be useful for your company?
You want to start each intro meeting with all the basic information so you can see if the company you are talking to has the experience you need. They should be asking questions about everything I listed above. If they don't touch on these topics, they might not have the experience you need.
How To Find A Mobile App Development Company
1. Make Use of Your Professional Network
It is commonly known that finding a good, and reliable, developer is a tough thing to do. As a rule, skilled developers are:
- In great demand.
- Not interested in all app concepts.
Again, the hiring process is tough, but not impossible. Sometimes you don’t even have to go far in your search. Entrepreneurs often forget how wide (and useful) their personal network really is. All you have to do is to inform your connections about your needs. You can do it by either using personal posts or social ads. However, I would recommend using both options at the same time. Try to create your post in an original way. It should be visual, relevant and contain a strong call-to-action. The same rule applies to social ads. When the work is done, wait and see if this strategy is helpful. I put the emphasis on "if"; you can't rely solely on this method, but it could be a starting point for you.
2. Use the Powers of Social Media
Social media networks like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are great tools in finding a company in which you can outsource your app development. Describe your project, post the requirements and wait for the developers to come.
In general, it works the same way as described above, so the more motivated you are, the better chances of finding a good partner you have. For instance, let's take LinkedIn. It is a very crowded and competitive space. You are not alone in your quest, so searching through some of the site’s numerous groups dedicated to career specialists will significantly increase your chances. Just type your request in the search field - e.g. "Ruby on Rails developers", and you will find groups like this one:
You can even narrow down your search results, using LinkedIn search filtering menu located to the right of the page.
This is a great way to find some possible options and find feedback from others.
3. Start Googling
Well, there is nothing to explain here; just open Google in your browser and type your request. Naturally, the search results will show solely big names on the first page. Don't be frustrated with their rates, because you get what you pay for. Choose the ones you feel would be a good fit based on your needs vs. their capabilities. Find reviews of their company, view their portfolios, and perhaps even download some apps they have developed to see what you like or dislike.
4. Go to Dedicated Websites
There are dedicated websites like Clutch, GoodFirms, Toptal, and App Futura which contain profiles of app developers, including their portfolios and, most importantly, reviews of their past work. Alternatively, you can visit sites which host freelance profiles such as ELance and UpWork. There is a lot to consider before you decide who might be a good fit, but I suggest reaching out to companies that have won awards, have been mentioned on tech-related news sites and have the proper experience that your specific app requires.
All the above websites contain a reputation system where you can review a prospect’s past work and read their reviews. Plus, they use payment systems which minimize the chance of getting ripped off. For example, here's Clutch's review section for one of the companies:
Things to Pay Attention to When Choosing:
At this stage, two points are crucial: the type of mobile development agency and your budget. If you are lucky enough to choose the right kind of agency, you will enjoy both greater budget flexibility and quality. The size of the company is a critical factor to consider as, generally, the bigger the firm, the bigger the price. I put the stress on “generally” - this is not a universal rule.
However, there is a catch. If your budget is limited and you decide to work with a small development company, you may fall under the illusion that you have saved a buck or two. I don’t blame you - it is just natural, especially if you are a startup. But in the long run, it may end up an economic failure. Sometimes smaller companies have less expertise and experience and are more likely to make mistakes when developing. You want to ask about the experience of each team member when choosing a smaller company.
As a client, you should always pay attention to the quality of outsourcing. In other words, one should never consider "cost" as the primary objective when outsourcing. As many negative reviews say, companies which declare “the lowest prices in the industry” as their main competitive advantage tend to underperform and, subsequently, deliver poor results. The bad news is that you will have to pay more than expected just to get things done right a second time. No one is happy with this kind of scenario.
Typically, established, larger companies are more experienced and stick to the initial budget, but guess what - many of them have a lot of overhead which drives the cost up. You may ask yourself: “How one can ever find a proper balance between quality and costs?”. You can always shoot for a medium-sized company; they tend to have more experienced developers but have not become so large that their prices are unaffordable. In the end, every project has its own requirements for success, so you better make sure you choose the most appropriate developer for your project.
Location can be an important factor too. As a rule, companies from the USA, Canada or Western Europe offer higher rates. Firms from Asian region (India, Vietnam) provide the lowest prices. As described above, finding a good balance between price and quality lies in the middle. I would suggest looking for companies from Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland).
When you find a potential partner, there are 3 main questions to ask:
How much time will the development take?
How much effort will a project require, in man-hours?
What is the approximate cost of the project?
Let’s pretend you have found the right company to implement your project. Now it is time to pay attention to the technical details of your app; this is important for both the development company and you. You should have a clear picture in your head of what you will be getting and explain this so your partner will be aware of each and every technical aspect to implement in your app.
Make a detailed list so that no feature will be forgotten during the development stage. Do you plan to build a prototype? What platforms do you want your app to run on? Is your mobile application going to be compatible with e-commerce engines, internal CMS, and other systems? Any detailed information is your best friend at this stage. This means that all the specs you intend to have for your app must be procured. So the basic questions for this part are:
Describe the mobile application concept.
What are the main business goals the application should help to reach?
What platforms do you want your app to run on? (IOS / Android, IOS – iPhone, OS – iPad, Android smartphone, Android tablet).
Describe your target audience.
What is the concept behind the application? Do you have any creative/design specifications for the app?
List the sections and features that will be included.
Will the app be integrated with social media? List all social media channels you want your mobile app to interact with.
Will the app require data caching for offline work?
Brainstorm with each department in your company to come up with needs and wants that can help you create the perfect app, the first time.