According to Statista, as of Q3 2019, there are almost 2.5 million apps in the Google Play store and 1.8 million apps in Apple’s AppStore. The demand for mobile apps is constantly growing. In 2018, the number of mobile app downloads worldwide reached 194 billion, compared to less than 145 billion in 2016.
According to App Annie, an average user uses 9 apps per day and 30 per month. We spend 3 hours per day interacting with our mobile devices, and 90% of that time is dedicated to apps. This means apps have a big influence on our everyday life.
User attention is limited.
The consequence of this is that mobile app should win people’s hearts and minds by offering the real value for them and be top quality. That’s the main reason why you should choose your mobile development partner very carefully.
What to consider before hiring a software house?
In order to make the process of choosing the best mobile development company successful, it is important that you set up clear and reasonable requirements for your future partner. You need to screen your potential development company and determine:
- the exact competences you expect your partner to provide you with,
- the size of the project you’ll be jointly working on,
- the timeline of the project and its deadline,
- the budget you’re able to spend on the project,
- the level of support you’ll need from the partner,
- the level of your engagement,
- the way of working, e.g. the agile methodology, to deliver the project.
When estimating your budget for the cooperation with a mobile development company, you need to remember that there are a few factors that influence the partner’s fee.
These factors are, for instance, team size and structure, what platforms the project developed will be developed on or whether there will be a need to integrate your app with third-party solutions.
Nonetheless, to create a mobile app you need $25,000+ for a less complex app, and $100,000+ for a more sophisticated one.
The budget and the size of the project will also determine if you’ll need a software house or maybe just a single freelancer. Of course, more complex projects should be developed by larger teams with diversified skills, but sometimes just one person can do the job.
Where to find a perfect mobile development partner?
Ask a friend
A mobile development company must be your trusted partner. So, in order to be sure that you will work with someone you can trust, make good use of your professional network and simply ask for recommendations.
Talk to your friends and trusted business partners and ask them to share their contacts and experiences with working with software houses. That’s always the best source of knowledge but keep in mind that every project is different, so always ask about the details of the cooperation that will be most important in your case.
Also, be reminded that if you want to receive good recommendations from your network, you should brief your contacts in quite a precise way.
Just Google it!
It is a simple and effective method. Check the websites of the companies you’ll find, look at their portfolio, check their experience and referrals and then create a shortlist of companies to which you’ll send your brief.
Clutch, GoodFirms, Toptal, and App Futura – those are sources you can rely on when it comes to researching the best mobile development company. On those websites, you’ll find listings of software houses you might want to work with. There are also listings platforms where you can search for freelancers, such as UpWork.
Check the reviews each company and freelancer received, look at their portfolio, check out the awards they might have won, see the articles writing about their work in tech-related media and verify their experience. Such listings are as objective as the Internet allows.
What factors to consider before choosing a mobile development company?
Tech stack & skills
There are several methods of developing mobile applications and a few platforms on which you can build them. Every type of mobile development is slightly different and requires different skills and tech stacks. You can go for native development, cross-platform or hybrid development; depending on your needs. That’s why it is important to know how you want to build your app in order to choose the right partner.
Of course, a mobile development company not only can be your service provider but they can also become a consulting partner.
If you’re not sure how exactly you want to develop your application, choose a software house with advanced consultancy skills. Check if the mobile development company can offer you help of experienced designers, quality assurance specialists, testers, and growth consultants.
Portfolio & experience
It’s always crucial to ask about the recent projects the development company has done for their clients. Take a look at the reviews and ratings of their apps in the application stores. Avoid talking to companies that don’t have a proven track record of mobile development.
Also, ask the company about their experiences.
- Have they worked for companies from your industry?
- Did they work on projects of similar scale to your project?
- How did they solve different problems in past projects?
Team size & global presence
It is important to take a look at the size of the mobile development company you are planning to hire. Ask them about or try to check the number of developers, designers, testers, UX/UI experts, and QA experts currently working in the company. Also, find out what their hiring plans are – are they expanding or maybe managing a business in decline?
A renowned and globally operating software house will also be a much more stable and reliable partner. Working with such a company will give you confidence in terms of the continuity of the development and maintenance of your app.
Achievements and referrals
When you create the mobile development company’s shortlist, the experience should be one of the criteria you take into consideration so that you can choose a firm with a proven record.
Experience can be demonstrated by a set of prizes for top projects the mobile development company has won, acknowledgements in the media, or the results of R&D projects published on such platforms as Dribble or GitHub. Mobile app development is a complex process that requires expertise, a deep understanding of the intended audience, and creativity. These skills are also acquired with experience.
Past projects are also a good indicator of the way that a software house works and thinks. If they have a portfolio of big, ambitious projects that are very well designed, you can assume they will handle bigger projects properly, as they have already set in place procedures needed to do the job.
Always ask your potential partner for references and testimonials. The best development companies will provide you with this sort of materials even without asking. If a software house can’t show you any letters of recommendation from previous clients, it should raise a red flag.
You might also want to consider double-checking the materials you receive and search for some references on your own. Your professional network could come in handy with this.
Effective communication is key to the success of every mobile app development project. You should definitely ask about the means and flows of communication when choosing your partner. Set your own requirements, too. For instance, state that you want to receive project updates frequently in order to track progress effectively.
Ask what tools they use to track the progress of a project: Jira, Slack, Invision, Bitrise? You’d also need to know if they communicate clearly and whether you share the same set of terms and phrases.
Furthermore, while in the process of selecting a company, keep track of how frequently a given firm replies to your messages and phone calls. Do they offer their own input? Try and judge whether they have a genuine interest in your business and project idea.
Price and contract
The price of the project is, of course, one of the important factors, but it can’t be the only differentiator between the companies from your shortlist. The cheapest product is oftentimes not the best product. Fixing bugs after the app is released costs more than avoiding them in the development process.
Quality should be the driving force for choosing the best mobile development company. High quality and neat architecture make further development faster and cheaper in the long term.
When discussing the project’s details, remember to verify the payment methods and payment terms. How does the company calculate pricing? Is it a full one-time payment, or is it split into instalments? Discuss milestones, what these might look like, and the payment associated with reaching each milestone. Make sure you are aware of any extra costs that may occur during the mobile development process.
Quality and maintenance
Releasing your mobile app in an app store is just the beginning. Always remember about that. It’s the start of a long process of regularly releasing updates, fixing bugs, and adding new features in order to keep your app relevant and up-to-date.
For this reason, it is important to hire a company with a clear policy around app maintenance and support. Ask if app maintenance is charged at an hourly rate or a monthly fee for ongoing support. Be sure to check the policies for:
- The cost per each new app release,
- Handling bug fixes and charging for that,
- Post-launch, long-term and ongoing support.
Always keep in mind that every project is done by people. Their skill sets and personalities are equally important. In order to develop a mobile app successfully, you need to have a good relationship with your partner. It will work best for you, and for your service provider.
Meet with the company’s representatives and check the vibe between your organizations. The atmosphere in the project’s team can make it successful or just the opposite – it can tear it apart.
A good mobile development firm needs to have adequate technical expertise, good communication skills, accountability, proven history of successful projects, and the enthusiasm to understand the idea for your app. You also need to have a similar organizational dynamic in order to work efficiently.
The realization of your vision for the app is often in your developer’s hands, so it is important to choose the company wisely. Bad decisions in that field will not only cost you time and money but can also wreck the whole project. So set your requirements clearly, do your research well, check all the aspects discussed in the article carefully, and after a thoughtful consideration, make your choice.