How to Hire an App Development Company- A Complete Checklist

A few months back, one of the prospects (now our client) called us to discuss with an all too similar story.
He wanted to create an app where the user can select the best hotel in an area instantly.
The idea was brilliant and all he needed was a team that can bring it to reality.
Not knowing how to hire an app development company, our prospect selected the one which offered the cheapest price and the rest is history.
His app was in a complete mess even after spending around $15,000.
Every month I hear dozens of such stories.
We have compiled this post for people who are smart but often caught in the trap of choosing a wrong app development team.

Chapter 1

Check domain knowledge

It’s important to check the company’s app knowledge before assigning the project. That should be your priority. As they say “action speaks louder than words”. So begin by checking their past work experience. Hiring someone without looking at their work is pointless. Analyzing the company’s technical expertise is equally important. So what exactly you should be looking at this stage? There are three major things you should be looking at:

  • The company’s portfolio

  • The company’s Expertise

  • The Company’s Linkedin profile

Company’s portfolio

Q. Can I see your app development portfolio?

Portfolio matters! It's important to check the projects the company has created.

App Development Portfolio

Having technical expertise is necessary but having valuable work experience is equally important.

So never hesitate to check the company’s past projects.

A good app development company will eagerly show off their projects. Exploring the company’s portfolio will help you evaluate the strengths of the company.

The portfolio will help you in evaluating the domain expertise and skills of the company.

Profesional And Experienced Team

If the company doesn’t have an online portfolio, ask them to mail you the samples.

Also, ask them questions for instance:

  • What kind of apps has the company created so far?

  • How long did it take to complete the project?

  • What were some of the challenges and how did you solve them?

These questions will help you figure out whether the company is reliable or not.

Agile app development firms will have a clear approach to app projects.

Agile App Approach

It is always a good idea to hire a company which has an impressive track record and proven history of work.

Also, they will explain to you in detail every stage of the development process. It’s good to select the company who have developed apps in the same industry as yours.

Company’s Expertise

Q. What are your company’s app development expertise?

Expertise matters in every field and the app development process is no different. Working with a team who are experts in the respective field matters hugely.

Do you know 90% of the app downloaded are uninstalled very soon?

Users don’t want to keep the apps that are not helping them.

So, building an app that can stay in your user's phone for a longer time demands expertise.

In true sense, this can mean the success and failure of your business app. Once you have created an idea, selected the features and functionality. The company should be able to tell how they would implement the features.

Also, what will be their unique edge that will attract users like a magnet. This is where expertise counts!

Attract users like Magnet

Building an app is easy but building an app that works like a magnet will work for your business.

So it's important to ensure how the company will implement the plan. This will give you a fair idea about the expertise of the company.

Hire Codify Indi mobile application development team and save up to 50% of the total project cost

Company’s Linkedin profile

Check Company’s Linkedin Profile

Just type “best app development companies in XXX”. Google will flood you with endless options.

But are those claims real?

Any firm can claim to be the “best” or have “global offices” that have “300+staff”. These claims help in building a powerful image in the virtual world.

But it's important to verify such claims before trusting.

A good way is to check the company’s Linkedin profile. If you hardly find 1 or 2 employee who’s also on the payroll. It’s a red alert!

Chapter 2

Design & Development

The user experience of your app decides whether your app will be a fail or success. Effective design and development are integral for good user experience. So it’s important to ask questions related to the design and development process. The team should be equipped to provide the best solutions as per the user needs. But what are the questions you must ask before outsourcing your project? Here are the three aspects you need to focus on:

  • The Design capabilities of the team

  • Expertise in different Operating systems

  • Interact with the project manager

Design

Q. How will You assess your design capabilities?

Design is a crucial part of any app development process.

With every business trying to develop an app, its imperative to assure that your business app is unique.

For this, assessing the designing capabilities of the company is critical.

A professional UX design company knows who to create a user-centric design.

Building an app is not simply about coding.

It’s also about design and functionality to enhance the user experience.

User Experience

So it's important to assess the design capabilities of the company you are choosing.

Begin by checking their previous designs of the apps.

Also, ask questions like:
  • What will be your design approach for this project keeping the user experience in mind?

Ensure that the company had a good understanding of your idea.

So it's important to have a detailed and clear explanation of your project.

Also, ask them to explain their understanding of the project with their approach.

Understanding of Project

Remember to point them in the right direction if they are out.

This is an important part to assess their capabilities and their understanding of the project. It's good to have a mockup session for the app design at the selection stage.

Q. What rules you follow to create an attractive app design?

Creating a design is a crucial part. In this stage, we continuously work to polish our design. At every stage, we follow rules to make the app highly efficient.

Here are 6 rules our team adhere to:
  • Understanding needs & requirements to create user’s personas.

  • Research booming UX trends & analyze competitors.

  • Evaluate, test and tweak the wireframes before sketching the final draft.

  • Create a prototype & keep an eye on the guidelines.

  • Implement robust functionality to craft good user experience.

  • Perform immense testing and identify improvement areas to work.

Expertise in different Operating systems

Q. Do you build mobile apps for different operating systems?

Selecting a mobile app development company is not an easy task.

There are many factors that need to be looked at.

One of them is to ask for which platforms the company build apps.

Today, apps are built for different operating systems.

Cross Platform

So be clear about your discussion and select a company accordingly.

Apps are built for ios, android and windows phone.

You might not be able to build the app for all the platforms.

Plus, app budgets are a real constraint that can’t be ignored.

So whether you are developing an app for android or iOS, choose a company that has good expertise of the respective platforms.

iOS, Android and Windows App

It’s good to choose a company that is well expert in creating cross-platform apps.

Q. Can you Explain your wireframing process?

The wireframe is the blueprint of your app’s architecture.

So keeping the goals in mind we take the process one step ahead.

We come up with the workflow and overall structure of the app.

So that the client can understand how the app will look and function.

The team brainstorm further on the structure and navigation of the app.

After collecting the feedback, testing the elements & making all the changes, we begin the development phase.

Interact with the Project manager

The project manager will be handling your project.

So it's important to interact with the person before handing the project. Also, be clear on how your project will be worked after gets underway.

Interact with the Project Manager
You can question like:
  • Who are developers that will do the development work?

  • Who are the designers, technical in charge and other members of the core team?

  • What kind of experience do they have and who do they report?

  • Are they on a payroll basis or full-time staff?

  • How often do you people communicate with the clients?

  • Do you report to clients daily or conduct weekly meetings?

Chapter 3

Testing

Imagine a user downloaded your app but uninstalled quickly. Why? Maybe because of bugs! Thus, quality assurance is an important part of the development process. That’s the reason professional companies have a detailed testing process in place to deliver a successful app. But what if they don’t have? So you need to ask questions to ensure that the company follows a rigorous testing process. There are aspects you need to ask questions about:

  • The  testing and revising the process
  • Type of tests the team conducts

Q. Ask about their app testing process

Testing is a crucial part of the app development process. 

It’s the most important part of analysing the success of your app. Hardware configurations varies which makes it an issue to control. 

There are different types of testing that a developer should perform:

So it's important that nothing goes wrong. 

As there is a huge possibility of many things that may disappoint the user.

So thorough testing is imperative for you to achieve the desired results. Testing and revising is the crucial part of this process. 

It's important to ask the chosen company about how they will be testing the apps. 

Ask questions like: 

  • Do you people perform a beta testing?

  • Will the app be developed in a way that will correlate with the domain standard? 

  • What about the test driven development and automated testing system?

  • What about faulty functionality? How will they deal with it? 

You app will dictate the success of your business. 

Many times firms don’t have enough time to do the testing due to deadline. 

So it's important to ensure that enough testing time is allotted before the launch. 

A premature app lunch with a faulty app may lead to a loss in  your business. 

Q. Ask about the type of tests they usually performs?

Creating a 100% bug free is our goal. To achieve this, we undertake a range of tests. We run a complete list of tests to make your apps market ready. These are as follows:

  • Documentation testing

  • Functional testing

  • Field testing

  • Complete functionality testing

  • UI/UX testing

  • Configuration testing

  • Performance testing

  • Security testing

  • Beta Testing

Ensure thorough product testing is performed to reap the benefits fully.

Chapter 4

Timeframe, Communication & Feedback

Development is a time-consuming process. The development process includes various iterations. Many times a single development team is working on multiple projects. So it’s important to know how many times the developer is working on your project in a week. Also, it's essential to have a free flow of communication. The app development agency should update on the progress and delays to you at every stage. So the next set of questions should focus on these aspects: 

  • The app development process timeline

  • The mode of communication

  • How my idea/feedback will be involved

App development process timeline

Q. Can you tell the development process timeline?

Building a mobile app is a long process. It is certain to encounter challenges in the journey that will extend the time frame.

Thus, it's important to be clear on the estimated timeline of the project.

Hours Required to Design an App

But don’t limit there! Ask how much time the company gives to a project.

As they would have been working on multiple projects at a time.

So it's imperative to ask questions like:
  • How many projects are currently you are working?

  • How long will the development process take to complete?

  • By when can the project be ready to live?

It is important to get clear answers to these questions.

This gives you an idea of the resources that will spend time working on your project. Also, ensure the company has enough technicians who will assess the challenges and rectify it within time.

This will help you in assessing the company’s capabilities.

These questions will also help you to decide whether the company is dependable or not.

Having complete knowledge of the company’s development process is imperative even though you don’t have any technical knowledge.

You need to be part of the planning and execution process to feel more confident about your choice of selection.

The mode of communication

Q. What will be the mode of communication?

Communication is a crucial factor between the client and the development company.

Whether it's the input, an idea, or any other changes that need to be made, you need to be in touch with the team constantly.

App development is a recursive process.

There will be a lot of discussions involved to convert your project into a reality.

Thus, it's important to ask what form of communication do they opt.

Many companies choose video conferencing where the entire team sits with clients for discussion.

They also use platforms like hangouts, skype for effective communication.

Plus, many firms use project management tools like slack, Trello or Jira to track the project progress.

It's crucial to ask such questions before hiring the development company.

Don’t just take the world from them. Rather ask different questions to determine their communication level.

A good way is to check how is their level of communication during the hiring phase.
  • Do they reply soon or you want to wait for days?

  • Do they give their inputs or they expect you to explain everything? A good development company will have an effective and fast mode of communication. Also, they deliver all development updates every week to the client.

Client's Feedback

Q. How significant will be my involvement/feedback in the development process?

No matter how good is the development team, without your involvement, it will never achieve what you have envisioned.

Remember, it's your idea, so your involvement is crucial within the team.

But at what level you should be involved?

Plus, what level of input the company require from you?

It’s important to discuss these issues beforehand.

For good results, it’s important to be involved in the development process only.

Your recommendations, ideas and inputs are critical in the development process.

Giving full control of your app to the development team can land you in a bad space.

So make sure the team is ready to accept your inputs and make changes accordingly.

Also ask:
  • Whether I will be included in the development stage or not?

  • Will you be able to reach to the team leader and will they listen to your inputs?

It’s important to ask these questions beforehand. Make sure the company inform, consult and consider your opinions in the process.

Chapter 5

Post development policy

Once the app is submitted to the store, then comes the maintenance. There is a good chance that you would need a developer even after the app is launched. It could be to fix bugs, release updates or add new features/ functionality from time to time. For this reason, it's important to understand the company’s post-development policies. This is often the most overlooked area while choosing an app development company. But it’s an important part. So the next set of questions should focus on post-development policies.

Post app development policies

Q. What are your post app development policies?

You thought building an app was the main step?

No, releasing an app is an equally important part.

A good app development company will not leave alone in this last stage.

Post App Development Policies

Many professional companies either help you guide the process or simply submit the app for you.

So it’s important to ask the company about their policies for app store submission and how they support clients in the app's release.

It’s good to select the company that will stay with you and not abandon your project once the development is over.

Though app submission is the last stage, it still is a very important part.

It will attract users and entice them to download. So having someone on your side while you submit the app to the app store rightly is crucial.

Maintenance and support policies

Q. What are your maintenance and support policies?

Once the app is created and submitted to the app store, there is a good chance of some more work.

This comes in the maintenance part of the app.

Maintenance Part of the App

It could be release updates, fixing issues, adding features or new functionality to the app etc.

This is the time when you would again need the help of the app developer.

So it’s good to ask the company about the aftermath services.

You can ask about the cost of their services as well.

For instance, ask whether they charge cost at an hourly basis or monthly for the maintenance?

What is your cost if there will for new app release.

Also, how they handle the specific bug issues and what do they charge for this? It's good to know about their post-launch services policies.

Ask questions beyond coding

Coding is a strong part of the app development process.

But remember there are many more factors that will make your app unique.

Only a unique app will be able to attain a high user experience. The mobile app experience matters to most of your potential customers.

Mobile App Experience

It's important to evaluate the company's potential in enhancing the user experience.

Q. Do you work with freelancers or full-time staff?

When it comes to the mobile app, there are so many options. But only a handful of them is good. The freelancers, shady contract sites and developers lie on the other hand of the spectrum.

Many times they offer app development at an all the time low cost and promise project completion on time.

The internet is full of horror stories of working with freelancers.

There are many instances when either the developer disappears or the project goes on for really long.

This may sound dramatic, but an android and iPhone developer disappearing is not an uncommon scenario.

Even after the project is completed and you have to spend enough money, it's in a bad state.

I have met so many clients who have encountered such horror stories.

The truth is today, anyone can be claimed to be a mobile app development company.

Just create a website, write some copy about your developers and you are good to start.

But it's not good for you to start as a client.

It’s preferable to go for companies rather than freelance or developers individually.

The firm you select will likely have a solid team of developers, designers and engineers who are being paid hundreds of dollars for their skill.

So why would they be ready to work at $5 for an hour?

They are problem solvers. A good team encompasses professionals who know how to raise the bar.

This includes user testing, reviews, IP protection, protocols and etc.

It’s important to research these areas a bit before signing the contract and select the firm.

Chapter 6

Cost

Budget is a real constraint, but the cost shouldn’t drive you entirely. Your aim should be to get a great app, not the cheapest. When it comes to app development, it's important to decide the company on their expertise and not on the price. Many times app built at a less cost lacks in quality. Thus, choose a company whose previous work and expertise justify its price. It is good to know how they are calculating the price. The next set of questions should focus on cost-related aspects 

Cost for the app development

Q. What do you cost for the app development?

Lastly, comes the price. Developing a mobile app can be a costly affair.

But don’t let the price drive you.

Remember more than 50% of apps are removed from the user's phone within a few hours of installation.

This means an average product won't be able to get you anything.

Be it the idea, functionality, design or user experience, everything needs to excel.

So bring the right team of people on board for the success of your app.

Also remember, top talent will come with a little extra cost.

So don’t be too rigid with your budget.

Let the company’s expertise, approach, ideas, design, planning and past work experience decide whether they need to be selected or not.

The company which has a solid development process will come with an extra cost.

Mobile App Development Cost

After all, it's not about getting the cheapest product but it's about building the greatest product.

So a good way is to ask about the app’s functionality.

Ask them the key drivers of the cost of app development
key Drivers of the cost of App Development

The cost of the app development depends on a range of factors.

From app development to deployment to market and maintaining the app, there are many aspects that decide the costing.

So you must know how the respective company is charging

  • Operating cost

    Do you know the cost of the app depends on the operating system you choose?

    Different operating system & platforms varies the costing of the app.

    For instance: if you opted for android app development, remember apps on this platform undertakes more testing stages.

    This is because of the myriad of android devices with varying screen sizes.

    These days, hybrid app development is also popular as they run effectively well on both platforms: Android and iOS.

  • Database
    Database

    Do you want to keep the database in your app?

    Wondering, what does this mean?

    It means do you want users to update the photos or videos directly?

    Or, do you want the app to provide the data that continuously change?

    If the answer to most of these questions is ‘yes’ this means your app needs a database.

    Building this kind of app requires a specific configuration, thus, needs extra development time.

    Generally, database apps tend to have a higher development cost in comparison to other apps.

  • CMS
    CMS (Content Managment System

    Suppose you need the app for an event-based company.

    Now as per the work, you would need to add, edit or delete the content regularly.

    In this case, the app needs a content management system integration in it.

    This is because a CMS can be accessed with even minimal technical knowledge.

    However, the cost of this integration may cost you a little extra.

    So ask the team about the cost of this feature separately.

  • External services
    Third Party integration

    Adding a few external features can set your app ahead of the competition.

    Many mobile app companies provide these simple and easy to integrate features.

    Push notification & analytics are just two of the features out of many.

    So be clear about the extra dollars you will pay to the company for each additional feature.

    These are some of the aspects that drive the cost of the app development process.

    Besides this, ask them how they calculate the payment?

    Are there be any extra costs that might pop during the building process.

    Then, ask about the mode of the payment.

    For instance: will it be a full-time payment at one go? Or, does payment can be made at intervals.

    Also,  break the process and ask them how the progress of the project will look like with the payment completion.

Conclusion

A good app development firm needs to have the knowledge, experience, technical expertise, good communicating skills and solid history of past projects.

Indeed, the budget is a real constraint but settling with the developer to save a little money will harm you more than good.

The future of your app is often in the hands of the team of developers.

So remember to choose one wisely.

Have you found the right team of developers for your app-building project? If not, then get in touch with us & discuss your idea today.

Codify your ideas with a top-notch team of software developers

Dinesh

Dinesh is CEO & product design head at Codify Indi. He has been exploring ways to make web and app experiences better for users for years and is always excited to learn how to improve the website and mobile applications. Dinesh ensures that the company gets up-to-date and latest knowledge on different technologies and trends in the market. His problem solving skills and co- ordination abilities makes him favourable among clients and team members.

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