5 Questions to Ask Before You Hire an App Development Company
The question is no longer if your business should have an app; it’s when and what kind of app your business needs. Customers already expect that every business have a website–as the shift to mobile continues, the demand for useful apps will grow. Many companies are jumping into the world of web & mobile applications in an effort to attract more customers, and to build better relationships with the ones they already have. In most cases, that means hiring a development company to design and build the app. Like any business project which requires a large outlay of capital, it’s important for business owners to ask the right questions before agreeing to a financial arrangement with a development company. Read our list of questions that every company should ask their potential app development company of choice.
- What is your company’s backstory?
Inquiring about the company’s history and asking for testimonials from current/past clients can give you insight into how much relevant experience the firm has, and whether they’ve successfully pulled off similar projects in the past. You should find out exactly who will be doing the work on your project. Does the company have in-house design and usability teams? Working with a cohesive team of experienced experts instead of individual freelancers can greatly improve results.
- Where is your development team located?
App development companies commonly have their sales team located in the United States yet, but with development teams based in another country. Having a sales team in the US makes people believe that the companies are indeed “local.” Sometimes they even have a local team to respond to questions or concerns quickly; however, when the development teams are abroad it will make contacting those individuals much harder. Obtaining responses to questions and concerns may take a long time, and the drawn out back-and-forth can eat up your savings, not to mention your patience. Make sure a company is truly “local” when they say they are.
- What is your communication process?
Communication is key when it comes to any type of project. If you can’t communicate with your development company effectively, your project is likely to fail. Without great communication how will the development company take your ideas and effectively create what you want?
Larger projects can take many months and involve hundreds of decisions, decisions that cannot be made effectively unless you have a company that is committed to keeping you in the loop.
Ask potential development companies what their preferred communication process is like. At Seamgen, we follow the Agile methodology, which allows us to organize our goals in a flexible way. We schedule daily fifteen minute meetings that the customer is welcome to join, as well as bi-weekly demonstrations of the project’s progress we stay on track. After the demonstrations we meet with the customer to talk about priorities and schedule what features we will work on next. Be sure that whatever company you choose will provide the communication you need to create the right product for your customers.
- How do you manage updates?
One crucial but often forgotten part of the app development process are maintenance and updates. Ask how diligent the developers are about providing updates, because apps can become obsolete within several months of their release. It’s also vital to know if they provide a 30–60 day bug fix window after product release and if future bug fixes and additional features will cost extra.
- Which of your company’s past projects are you proudest of and why?
Development companies take pride in their work and will jump at a chance to show you examples. When you look at their work pay close attention to what the user’s experience will be. Creating an effective user experience is more difficult than just creating a pretty app. If the company doesn’t mention “user experience” as one reason for being proud of the app, you should consider finding another development company. No matter how fancy or flashy the app may be, if it is not easy to use no one will want to use it.
It’s tempting to choose an app development company based solely on questions about budget, but before you discuss money, be sure to ask the right questions to find out whether the company is a good fit for your needs, brand, and work style. The right fit can produce a lasting partnership that can be beneficial to both parties involved.