According to the statistics, in 2020, in the UK alone, a new tech startup was created every 30 minutes (around 20,000 companies in total for the whole year). This once again highlights the growing competition in the field, and the never-ending demand for technology and its development.
At the same time, in the world there are several hundred thousand IT service providers and choosing the right one among them poses a real challenge to both new and experienced entrepreneurs alike. When creating a mobile application, choosing the right software development company plays a huge contributing factor in particular. And although information about the companies, examples of their work and customer reviews are publicly available, this can be even more confusing and leads to an excess of choice.
In this article we share some advice from Fingers Media’s CEO – Alexei Palchunov, based on his 10 years’ experience in IT product development and over 100 released projects.
When analyzing mobile app development companies and communicating with their teams, you should pay attention to 6 main criteria:
The company you choose should match the goals and needs of your business. For this, before even looking for the right contractor you should ask yourself some questions, which will help you understand these same goals and clear up some basic things.
1. Is my idea clear enough? / Do I fully understand my own idea?
2. Do I fully understand the competition and market’s demand?
3. How well do I understand technologies and what techstack will be the most suitable for my project?
4. What are going to be the main features and solutions that my mobile app will offer?
5. What is my time frame and budget?
6. How is my project going to grow and develop in the future?
The answers will help you build a better picture of the mobile app development company of choice, as well as help you form a clear and comprehensive request, which will also shorten the negotiation time.
After answering the above questions, it is worth honestly assessing your experience and knowledge of the IT industry, as well as determining the tasks that you are going to delegate to the company.
If you already have experience in building a similar project, have a clear understanding of how the industry works and are able to decide what functionality and techstack to incorporate, then you may only need a dedicated team. By only hiring a team of developers, you take on the responsibility of analyzing the project, leading the team, adjusting the processes and controlling the results. It is also worth deciding whether you are going to hire a team to help promote the app, or advertisement & marketing can be delegated to the contractor, along with the development of the mobile app.
If this is your first project and you need help in selecting the technologies and features of your app, during the negotiations be sure to find out:
What technologies the company suggests as being modern and easy to maintain.
Do your own preliminary research and compare the results with what you are being told. If, for example, you are offered to build an iOS app in Objective-C, or to create a cross-platform app, while performance and UI (interface appearance) are extremely important to you, move to the next point.
Why you should agree to the proposed technologies and why they are suitable for your project.
That’s how you will ensure that they are not trying to sell you specialists who are not currently involved in projects, but offer the best solution for your business. Keep in mind that it’s risky to hire specialists with outdated technologies as well as very high-demand ones, as in both cases the number of real professionals is small.
When looking into this criterion, pay attention to the following points:
Overall experience in the IT sector.
Competition and user demands in the mobile app market are only increasing. Nowadays it’s absolutely pointless and risky to make cheap and low-quality products. To create a really good in-demand product, you need the help of an experienced company with well-established procedures, accumulated practices and knowledge of employees, thousands of hours of analysis and working out the details in the past.
Experience in the industry your application belongs to.
This point is definitely worth considering in the case of narrow and/or challenging industries such as trading, mobile games, data analytics, etc. If it is some kind of B2C product of general use, which is made, for instance, for buying/renting/delivering something, then experience is not as critical.
Expertise in the required services and technologies.
Obviously, if the company does not have expertise, for example, in testing, it is better to delegate this to other specialists. If you need to implement AR / VR technologies, and the company does not have real cases, you should also look for someone else. Feel free to learn as much as possible about the company's experience and ask for examples of completed projects.
While most companies post reviews on their websites, it's worth checking reputation in search results and social media, as well as studying reviews in third-party business directories such as Clutch, DesignRush, GoodFirms, etc.
Communication between you and the company as well as within the team is one of the main criteria for the success of a future product. The composition of the team for the development of a mobile app can be up to 10-15 people, so it is very important how they communicate, how effective the management is and how transparent the processes are for you.
You know that a company has good internal and external communication when
all meetings are held on time, have a set agenda and transparent results;
they do not try to sell some solutions without explanation and as quickly as possible;
they showcase the advantages of their procedures and techniques at the very first stage, which convinces to stay with them;
reasons for choosing particular solutions and results they will lead to are explained;
they use modern tools for prioritizing and distributing tasks and provide access to them.
If all communication processes are established, all team actions will be transparent, you will see how much time is spent on each task and what status they are in, and you will be involved in the project as far as you see fit.
Most often, especially in the absence of experience, the first agreements with the company should be concluded under a Fixed Price agreement. You will be sure that the company will not go over budget, and the team will show what they are capable of and will try to win your trust. If after this stage you are confident in the team and are satisfied with the results, you can switch to the Time & Material contract.
In 2021 there are still plenty of people trying to build a functioning mobile app for $10-20-30K. If you think so too, we recommend you to reconsider this for the following reasons:
High user expectations
It’s nothing new that the average human attention span is decreasing. When users open an app, they expect it to work quickly and intuitively. For this to be possible, every step on the way to a goal, from the first icon to the last, needs to be clearly set and checked.
This requires an additional investment of time and budget in the design phase of the mobile app. At this phase, theories and hypotheses are being tested and most of them get discarded, market and user behaviour are analysed. This leads to reducing both development costs and the likelihood of reworking the project.
Competition from industry giants
Nowadays you have to compete not only within your niche, but also with giants like Facebook, Amazon, Uber, etc. People are used to their products and look up to them when choosing new applications. So building a non-competitive app with minimal functionality and lots of bugs makes no sense. It might work only if you have a traffic generator that will bring a loyal audience to your app.
High salaries of IT specialists
The IT market is overheated. The growing number of companies and projects and the demand for certain technologies goes beyond the number of experienced specialists. This leads to ever higher salaries for skilled, experienced developers.
If your mobile app is actually built for $20K, it is likely to be either a product that is not ready to be released in the market, or a poor-quality work that will have to be redone.
Despite the points listed, the professional team will take your budget into account and try to stay within it.
In terms of location, the company should be chosen from countries with similar mentality. This will make sure you understand each other. Of course, the team (or at least the project manager) should speak one of the languages you speak fluently, in order to avoid any miscommunication and get clear updates about your project at each stage. The time difference is also important, and if it is minimal, it will help you work on the project without any delay. We recommend that the difference is no more than +/- 4 hours.
There is no single right choice for all kinds of projects. You determine your own needs and expectations and only you know which team you will be most comfortable with.
Ask any questions, compare and examine the approaches and portfolios of candidates you like. Don't be afraid of not knowing or misunderstanding something. It's always better to ask a few times than to get disappointed after you have already signed a contract.
If you have decided to develop a mobile app and are looking for the right contractor, our team is ready to share its expertise and turn your idea into a successful product. You can see examples of our projects or request a free consultation right away and our managers will help you find the best solution.