client guides · 14 Nov 2019 · Updated: 23 Dec 2022

11 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

Over the last few years, mobile applications have taken over almost every sphere of our lives. From on-demand doctors to fitness and education, mobile apps complement existing services and blaze the trail in the market.

The popularity and profitability of mobile applications make global businesses branch into mobile app development. Yet, not many are ready to commit to the in-house development hub. Hiring a mobile app development company is a go-to option for this undertaking.

How do you choose a mobile app development partner? Let’s find out.

Tip 1. Opt for a Professional Mobile App Development Company

First, you need to look for companies whose mobile app development expertise is a specialty rather than a side branch. This approach will increase the odds of landing an experienced tech partner with deep knowledge of mobile app development. 

Conversely, a jack of all trades may lack the professional experience to specialize in a specific field. Thus, if your goal is to create a native mobile application, you should contact companies that specialize in native app development. 

Typically, it’s easy to spot a company whose mobile development services are its side branch. In this case, an all-purpose company lists a whole miscellany of technologies and platforms they work with to draw in as many clients as possible. 

You can also check the vendor's portfolio or the amount of iOS or Android developers in the state. But remember that not all projects make it to the portfolio due to confidentiality agreements.

Tip 2. Make Sure the App Company Has Relevant Industry Expertise

Remember that building a market-fit solution is not enough to ensure long-term success. Your product should also be based on business compatibility and solve the particular problems of your industry.

Domain experience enables providers to quickly grasp business challenges and develop relevant technical solutions, be it design, architecture or data security. Moreover, this means that the company is well aware of the target audience, which reduces the time and effort spent during the discovery stage

Further, industry experts can provide an additional perspective on your solution. To know if a vendor has domain expertise, check out their portfolio. You can also request this information directly from the potential partner.

Tip 3. Check References and Reviews

When you look for a hotel, you probably read reviews on Booking.com or TripAdvisor. Feedback and ratings are essential to making a choice; this logic also applies to the software development world.

For app development reviews, you can use B2B directories such as Clutch or GoodFirms to read other clients’ opinions about your potential vendor. For example, Clutch reviews are rigorously tested, and submitting false feedback is almost impossible. Using Clutch, you can select a project from a developer's portfolio and request the representative's contact information for that customer's company.

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One of the Orangesoft's reviews on Clutch

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

Tip 4. Prioritize a Partner with a Full Cycle of App Development Services

Custom mobile app development goes beyond design and coding. It takes a lot of research, iterating, and testing to bring your product to the market. 

Often, choosing a mobile app development company that can take over the end-to-end process is much more convenient and cost-effective. Consider going with a vendor that can cover the following suite of services:

  • Research and market analysis
  • Prototyping and wireframing
  • UI/UX design
  • MVP development
  • Native mobile app development
  • API development and integration
  • Testing
  • Post-release support and maintenance

Getting all these services to take place under one roof will help you minimize the time and effort of your mobile app development, ensure fast issue resolution and help with product consistency.

Tip 5. Ask for Estimates after Your RFP is Detailed Enough

We regularly get 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 estimate. In the “UBER-like” scenario, this customer is probably sending out the same request to other app development companies with the intent of choosing the best bid without providing enough details to get an accurate proposal.

To see the issue with this approach, imagine running a construction company and having a potential customer ask, “How much does it cost to build a house?” Now, you can understand how we feel. Mobile app development costs differ greatly based on their complexity, scope and unique requirements.

To get an estimate for your project, describe your product in-depth in your request for proposal (RFP). This way, potential vendors can make a more accurate estimation and proposal. Then, you can compare companies without worrying that your newly-hired contractor misunderstood your scope of work.

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

Tip 6. Get to Know Your Team before Sealing the Deal

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

Each employee will have a different background and overall experience. Thus, it is a good practice to interview app developers before starting a project. Interviews are important to establish a rapport with the potential hires and connect with them at a cultural and personal level.

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

Tip 7. Start a Trial Contract

You can conduct several hours of interviews with a potential candidate, but this still doesn't guarantee that they are the right fit for your project. When hiring a mobile app development agency, the end goal isn’t just receiving a portfolio or proposal, so the only way to determine if you and a contractor are a good match is to start working.

A trial period will help you observe the team in action without committing to long-term collaboration. All you need to do is to define the scope of work for the first one to two months in a trial contract.

At this stage, changing your contractor is much easier, as a trial contract can traditionally terminate employment immediately. By the end of the trial, you'll know whether you're comfortable working with the vendor long-term because you know how they work.

Tip 8. Split the Contract into Segments

You should split the tasks in the trial contract for speed in validation. To develop a mobile app from scratch, you'll first need to deal with business analysis and UI/UX design; consider isolating 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 your app's screens. With these materials, you can easily contact several mobile app development companies with your RFP, which is fully detailed by this stage. As we already know, an RFP allows you to choose the right mobile app development company based on its proposal.

Tip 9. Select the Right Vendor Size

Let's assume you are looking for a team of four to six app developers for your startup. When you contact a company with a staff of 1,000+ people, you are placed last in their customer queue and sorted by turnover. In this scenario, it is easy to guess which projects get assigned to the best app developers and C-level managers.

At the same time, if your next round of investments is close, and your plans include scaling up your team, a small studio with 20 employees is not what you are looking for. Of course, you certainly will get the CEO's undivided 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 lacks the resources to cover your team's sizing needs. Ultimately, they will have to provide you with everyone they currently have, including newly-hired developers.

We recommend hiring a mobile app development team according to your needs. By doing so, you will feel heard as a customer, and the company's capacity will allow you to scale your project as needed.

Tip 10. Keep Your Data Confidential, Secure and Compliant

Whenever you decide to outsource your projects to a mobile app development company, you must ensure the vendor pays due diligence to secure data management and safeguard your sensitive data. Thus, a company should have data security certifications, breach prevention measures, and robust data protection policies on site.

Your confidential data should also be protected from unauthorized access. Thus, the vendor creates the legal framework to protect your ideas and documents them in a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The latter is a binding contract between you and the mobile app development company that prevents sensitive information from being shared with third parties. 

You may have specific data requirements to comply with regulations such as HIPAA or PCI DSS. If so, ensure your vendor has hands-on experience making compliant digital products.

Tip 11. Be Transparent about Your Plans

Once you sign your NDA, make sure that you tell the potential vendor about the current scope of work and your expectations. One of the greatest mistakes some startups make is hiding the full product vision until the agreement is signed. However, as the scope and deliverables are documented in the agreement and taken as a benchmark by the vendor, this discretion can backfire during the development process.

As a mobile app development company, 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 clients in interviewing and hiring an app development team

For example, if you tell your vendor that you plan for your culinary application to grow into a full-fledged social network, then with that knowledge, they can choose the right approach for development and architecture, saving you time and money.

How to Choose a Mobile App Development Company: Final Thoughts

To sum up, a good mobile application development company has the following differentiators:

  • Offers an end-to-end app development process with post-delivery support and maintenance;
  • Boasts years of experience in the mobile app development field and can validate its maturity with a diverse range of projects;
  • Has a cross-functional team of professional developers that also understand the business side of their projects;
  • Safeguards your sensitive data and ensures data confidentiality through calibrated processes and security policies.

If you’re looking for an experienced app development company that can transform your business idea into a successful digital product, Orangesoft is always there to help you build a performant application. 

We have a dedicated project management team that will update you on the development process. Additionally, our skilled app developers and designers have years of experience that will benefit your app’s development. Contact us and share your app ideas to get started.

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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