how to know what app development company to hire

Companies like Wentworth Solutions are in an extremely competitive field. There is a massive number of web and mobile app development companies out there and things like search engine optimization (SEO) are crucial to achieving business through websites.

But just because a development company shows up on the first few pages of google, does that really mean they can accomplish what you need for your business or application?

Not necessarily, every company has something they specialize in and do better at and this article will help you to realize just what you should be looking at when you search for an app development company to build your application.

To find the answer to the question at the top I decided to contact other app development companies for their opinions. This turned out some pretty interesting results. Some companies didn’t agree with the idea of helping a competitor write an article (understandable) and yet others came back with some excellent responses.

I’ve compiled those responses for all those out there who are considering hiring an app development company so that you all know exactly how to pick the right one for your needs.

Let’s get started-

1. "Unconditional reliability."

"Strong reputation is the first and foremost thing that you should base your decision on."

Nataliya from Lemberg Solutions brought this point out. And I have to say it is a great one. In this article we go further into detail on how to determine someones reputation but starting at their testimonials and portfolio is usually a good start.

2. “What is your goal and what is your purpose because this will change Everything from there.”

-Wendell adams CEO of AB Mobile Apps.

What Wendell was pointing out here was that you need to know exactly what it is you want an application for.

An explorer doesn’t go off on an adventure without having a direction in mind and purpose before them. So like an explorer make sure you have a clear and present goal that you are working towards.

This will not only help you define who to have make your application but it will also help the developer build the application that is best tailored to your needs.

3. What is your budget?

This is more of a basic and yet still one that everybody needs to pay attention to. But it also varies greatly to the type of app you need and many more details that we will get into.

Make sure you have done your research into what the type of app you’re looking for will cost. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a little either. Development companies are selling a service more than anything and that means “most” things are not set in stone. This however also varies quite a bit when taking into consideration like frameworks and so on.

In the end, make sure you do your research and figure out an appropriate budget.

4. Platform, Platform, Platform!

Take a moment and Google the word “tablet”. Your search will likely return tablets of all shapes, sizes, colors and so on. But you will also notice that many of them run on different operating systems (OS).

For example, an iPad runs on IOS which is Apple’s mobile platform. Samsung’s Galaxy tablets run on what is called Android (made and developed by Google). Nokia, Microsoft and some other tablets run on the mobile version of Windows 8 which is very similar to your desktop computer (that is if you are not using a mac). The reason I am saying this is that everyone has a preference and depending on the type of application you want it may be a good idea to only develop on one platform. Or if you think that say for example your app is for the inner workings of your company and you know some people use ipads and others use androids it may be a good idea to have a cross platform app built.

Remember that different platforms use different code for the most part and this makes a huge difference in the development process.

Put simply, do research on the platform you like most. Pick a company that works mostly with that platform as that will be their specialty.

Like multiple platforms?

Then pick a cross platform developer because they specialize in developing apps that work on multiple platforms.

5. Timeline

Various things dictate how long an app takes to build but you want to make sure you have priorities and milestones to hit throughout the process.

A developer is usually working on more than one project at once and if you do not show how urgent this app is to you then your project could fall to a lower priority. So make sure you set a good timeline and have milestones to be met.

6. “See how well they communicate with their current clients”

-Flavius Saracut, Co-founder at Mobiversal

No one likes going to a restaurant and for some reason you can never seem to find the server. And when you do, they get your order wrong and the service ends up ruining your fun night out with friends. The same thing can basically happen with an app developer.

They could easily build your app and once they have finished most of your requirements they all of a sudden become hard to get in contact with. That is exactly what Flavius was talking about when he said to pay attention to how well they communicate.

How do you find this out?

Well first of all if they don’t respond to your request for contact fairly quickly theres a red flag right there.

Next, take a look at their client testimonials and try to get in contact with those clients.

The clients you talk to will have valuable insight and information about the developer that you will need to know but make sure you ask them how well they felt the company communicated with them.

7. "When considering hiring a mobile application development company, always download some of their apps and really kick the tires. You'll learn more about their work and skill set by seeing what they've already made."

-Randall Cross, President at Ethervision Chicago mobile development company

Most companies provide some sort of preview of their apps that they have already made. However, some companies specialize in internal applications that only the Users have access to.

If you request a demo of their apps to see how their apps are design and how they work then the developer will usually show you around.

There are obvious reasons for “test driving” their apps but the most important reason for this would be for you to see how well your vision fits with the developers style, functionality, and capability.

This leads us to our next point below.

8. “Culture Fit”

Rachel Scott the director of marketing at Quick left inc brought out some interesting information about communication.

Here is what she had to say about it: "The thing that people should look for is similar to what you look for in finding a relationship. You want someone who you feel okay communicating with. There will inevitably be problems in a long enough relationship. It's about how you react to those problems (more communication or cool off time? aggressive or calm?) that speaks to the long term health of it all."

Once again communication ability should be a key component to your search.

9. Client list

Although we already discussed the importance of checking other clients reviews of the company’s communication skills we have not yet discussed the importance of the type of customer at all.

If you notice that the company you are looking at only has a client list of small businesses and so on then they probably are not going to do well with say for example a fortune 500 company’s application as they probably do not have the resources to accomplish it. The same goes for a developer who has a client list of only fortune 500 companies as their apps will be more expensive and less suited to small business.

But, if you find a company that has experience developing for both big and small business clients you know that they have experience with both ends of development, their prices will be reasonable and flexible to fit your needs, and they quickly gain knowledge into your industry and its practices. That last part is especially important.

10. Knowledge and Interest

Knowledge into your industry means accuracy in development. To gain knowledge of your industry they need to talk with you and do research on the application.

If you notice they are not showing interest and curiosity into your industry that is not a good thing. Make sure they show interest in what it is you do or need. If they don’t then you know your app is just another pile of code they have to build so they can make money.

11. Organization

Many apps are made for the specific purpose of organizing your life and or business. There are many ways to stay organized and technology only makes it easier to be organized. With that being said you would not want a company that is not organized and in other words not professional to develop your application.

When researching the developer think to yourself:

Is their website orderly and not overdone or underdone? Do they respond in a timely and orderly fashion to any questions you may have? Are their apps (of which you should have taken a look at by now) well made and easy to navigate?

The list could go on but I think you get the point. Make sure the development company you are looking at is organized and professional.

12. Training

Although the development team should be capable of making an app that is easy to figure out without too much additional help you should still check to see if the company provides training for their clients.

This is especially the case with larger business apps.

You most definitely do not want a developer who is not willing to help you in the learning curve of your application. This is where you should check to see if they have a youtube page or if they have a side company for things like SaaS (Software as a Service) as these will usually contain tutorial videos and if they do not provide that then at least some sort of training documentation for their application.

Here at Wentworth Solutions for example we have a side company that sells a building inspection application. Because this app is a SaaS and is still a custom app we have many customers who need different things in their software.

Wentworth Solutions or rather CityForce Inc. keeps all their clients up to date and fluent with their apps by starting with on site training which sometimes even requires going out of state to do. Then we provide training documentation in the apps themselves where possible. And finally we provide complete tutorial videos on youtube tailored specifically to their needs.

More on our training for clients will be discussed in another article.

13. “Yes-man”

Carlos Olivieri a Strategist at Fueled brought out an interesting point: “Find a shop that'll do more than just build what you ask for. Good partners have strong insights on product strategy and industry knowledge. Essentially, you'll want someone who will push back and think of the end user above all. Being a "yes-man" will almost always keep you from building top-shelf products.”

What is Carlos referring to? Your developer should really be able to think outside the box when discussing and building your application. When you go through a demo with them or talk on the phone focus on a few things: Do they seem to be offering suggestions that are relevant to my product or app? Are their suggestions actually helpful or are they just talking to sound like they know what they are talking about? Do they talk about and ask about what you want and how your ideas can work in an overall end user experience?

By focusing on these things you are ensuring that the software development life cycle for your app is smooth and convenient.

Carlos also brought out that you should look at the track record a company has of getting projects done and launched. “So many shops take on a project, but never make it to the finish line! What good is an app that doesn't make it to the App Store?”

Pretty simple yet very well said. You do not want to waste time or your money on something that never gets finished so check their track record before making a deal.

To summarize a little bit, the majority of the points above vastly depend on who you are, where you work, and what you need. The ones that don’t are more red flags that should most definitely be focused on as well.

Hopefully by now you have some sort of idea of what you should look for in a development company. I also hope that this article has been of some use to you. Feel free to click around and read up on what Wentworth Solutions has to offer. I would also like to mention that the above quoted companies all responded to my emails in a professional, courteous and kind manner. So thanks to those who shared in my research process and I hope to be in contact with you in future articles.