client guides · 14 Nov 2019 · Updated: 14 May 2021

9 Tips on How to Choose the Best App Development Company

Alex Melchenko

Alex Melchenko

Chief Operational Officer

how to choose app development partner
Illustration by Amir Kerr

If you need to hire an app developer, know that there are actions you should take and mistakes that you should try to avoid. In this article, we will be covering our top nine tips for choosing the best app development company for you.

1. Use a specialist

Look for companies whose mobile app development expertise is a specialty rather than a side branch. Mobile development is specific, and developers should know the required programming languages, SDKs, and the specifics of your chosen mobile devices (i.e., iOS or Android).

In many cases, a jack of all trades doesn’t have enough professional experience to specialize in a specific field. For example, if your goal is to create a native mobile application, you should contact companies that specialize in native app development.

Often, it is quite easy to know when an IT company isn’t specialized. As a rule, multi-purposed IT companies and their websites will provide you with a lengthy list of diverse technologies and platforms that they work with. You can always specify the number of native applications in the vendor’s portfolio or the amount of iOS or Android developers in the state.

2. Remember that the application scope is not the deciding factor

Often, customers choose a contractor who has a portfolio with a similar project to their own. They may think, “Well, these guys have already made an app for one restaurant, which means they will do well making our app.” However, from a development point of view, similar previous work doesn’t necessarily mean that the contract is right for you.

For example, a restaurant app and a news app are created from the same controls and components. Dating applications will almost certainly have chat functionality, and a company that implemented a cool chat in an application for a food delivery service may suit you better than the one that developed ‘just another dating app.’

3. Ask for estimates if your RFP is detailed enough

We continuously receive requests for “an app like UBER” with a brief description. Simultaneously, our potential customers will ask us to send them a proposal and make an assessment. In this scenario, this customer is probably sending out the same request to other app development companies with the intent to compare their offers.

Imagine that you are a construction company, and a potential customer asks you, “How much does it cost to build a house?” Now, you can understand how we feel.

To avoid this problem, make sure to describe your product in-depth in your RFP. This way, potential vendors will be able to make a more accurate proposal or price estimation. Then, you can compare companies without having to worry that your newly-hired contractor misunderstood your scope of work.

Related: How to Write an Effective Mobile App RFP [+Free Mobile App RFP Template]

4. Start a trial contract

You can conduct several hours of interviews with a potential candidate, but this doesn’t guarantee that they are the right fit for your project. With mobile developers, you are not buying a portfolio, proposal, or speech. The only way to find out if you and a contractor are a good match is to start working.

First, define the scope of work for the first one to two months in a trial contract. Then, observe the developer’s team in action.

Luckily, at this stage, changing your contractor is much easier. The minimal risks associated with a trial contract allow you to do your due diligence. By the end of the trial, you’ll likely know if you’re comfortable working with the vendor long-term because you know how they work.

5. Divide contracts into separate sections

This advice is regarding the trial contract. If you need to develop a mobile app from scratch, you’ll need to deal with business analysis and UI/UX first. Isolate these tasks into individual contracts and use them to test your potential vendor.

At the output, you will receive a specification of requirements and layouts for all your app’s screens. With these materials, you can easily contact several mobile app development companies with your RFP (which, at this stage, is as detailed as possible). As we already know, this allows you to compare your proposals or estimates.

6. Select the correct vendor size

Let’s assume that you are looking for a team of four to six app developers for your startup. When you contact a company that has a staff of 1000+ people, you are placed last in their customer queue and sorted by turnover. In this scenario, it is easy to guess which projects this company will assign to the best app developers and C-level managers.

Alternatively, if your next round of investments is close, and your plans include scaling your team up, a small studio with 20 employees is not what you are looking for. Of course, you certainly will not be deprived of the CEO’s attention, and you will probably be offered competitive rates. However, your team’s growth will be at risk.

In this situation, a small mobile studio does not have enough resources. Ultimately, they will have to provide you with everyone they currently have and recently-hired developers.

We recommend that you hire an app developer proportional to your needs. By doing so, you will be appreciated as a customer, and the company’s capacity will allow you to scale your project.

7. Be transparent

Have you already signed an NDA? If so, make sure that you tell the potential vendor about the current scope of work and general plans you have for your project.

In the past, there have been cases where startups hid their vision until after the contract had been signed. Sadly, keeping your ideas a secret often causes problems during the development process.

As developers, we appreciate customers who make it clear that they would like to assemble an in-house team for further work on the project. This way, we can assist our client’s in interviewing and hiring a team.

Make sure that your strategic goals are clear to potential vendor developers. For instance, if you tell your vendor that you plan for your culinary application to grow into a full-fledged social network, then they will be able to choose the right approach for development and architecture, saving you time and money.

8. Check references and reviews

When you are looking for a hotel, you likely read reviews on or TripAdvisor. Other’s feedback is essential, and this applies within the app development world, too.

You can use B2B directories like Clutch or GoodFirms to read other’s opinions about your potential vendor. Clutch reviews are rigorously tested, and it’s almost impossible to submit false feedback. Using Clutch, you can select a project you like from a developer’s portfolio and request the representative’s contact information for that customer’s company.

orangesoft clutch
Choosing an app development company? Check Clutch for company reviews first!

A reliable app development company will provide you with all the information that you need to feel confident in their abilities. Also, sharing their references with you allows the developer to show off their past success. Therefore, references are a win-win for both parties.

9. Get to know the people who you will be working with

Reviewing your potential vendor’s portfolio is a great way to grasp the type of projects a company can deliver. However, keep in mind that a company doesn’t work on your project, their employees do.

Each employee will have a different background and overall experience. Thus, it is good practice to interview app developers before starting a project together. Further, you can share your preferences with the pre-sale manager regarding future members of your remote team.

For example, we offered two of our app programmers, who are big football fans to a customer who was creating a second-screen football application. As a result, both the customer and our developers had a great experience working together.

If you’d like to learn more about our company, portfolio, developers, or trial contracts, please contact us.

How to find an app development partner?

To find an app development partner that fits you best, you need to set the goal of your app, its budget, and platform. Based on these features, choose a partner that builds similar types of apps. Expectations of your potential partner and your expectations regarding cooperation in the development process should also align. 

How much does it cost to hire someone to develop an app?

Every app's costs are different. To approximately estimate the expenses of hiring a mobile app developer, you need to consider the type of app you want to make, its core features, and the platforms you want your future app to be on.

Here's our full guide on app development costs.

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