Tips for Small Businesses Hiring a Mobile App Developer

By Chris Mullen, May 29, 2016

As a small business owner, finding the right mobile app developer can be daunting especially the more rural your business may be located. Some app makers are automated and others are expensive. If you are not versed in the languages of programming, the process could feel greatly overwhelming.

Give thought about what you need the app to do

Before approaching a developer, try brainstorming and collecting your ideas into the most simplified version as possible. In the beginning, an app should be easy to use, stable and have clear purpose. A few questions to ask yourself:

Who are you serving?
What features are important?
What features can wait until later updates?
What is the general purpose of this app?

 

Consider creating a prototype

Many app developers will appreciate some kind of prototype to showcase the details and functionality of your new app. The only issue I have with this tip is the possibility that your app developer will bring less ideas to the table which could hinder user experience. The other side to that coin results in less time billed for preparation and planning by the developer’s team. On our first app, we saved a minimum of ten thousand dollars by pre-planning all of the details.

My favorite prototype software would be Invision, but there are many more out there.

 

Decide what kind of developer you need

How custom and unique is your app? Can you rely on that friend or colleague who codes? Do you prefer to rely on a small development firm or a larger company? What level of investment are you comfortable with? These questions matter.

Each type of developer has advantages and weaknesses:

Friend – Much cheaper but maybe less reliable. If you can take advantage of a friend, that will get you the most bang for your buck. Will this person remain committed to updates and upgrades? Price: Free – $2000.

Small Firm – With mid-range prices and a duty to be responsible for the end product, small firms are great. The quality of app may suffer when compared to larger firms, and you must be careful to select a well-established group that has a record of happy references. Price: $3,000 to $15,000.

Large Firms – Expensive, but the highest standard in quality and follow-up service. These groups typically offer more planning and design expertise that small firms and the neighborhood programmer cannot offer. Price: $25,000+

Online App Maker – These applications are great if you simply require an app to complement a blog or e-commerce website. Although extremely limited in customization, app makers are relatively inexpensive to start.

 

Call many developers for quotes

Don’t be afraid to call many app developers for quotes. If you have a prototype created, this process will result in more accurate bids. The prices will likely be all over the place, so take your time considering price and how you are treated by sales people. One company would barely talk to us at first since we were shocked their minimum starting price was 25k.

 

Check for references

We called references and talked to many past customers to ensure the developer we selected would serve us well and stand by their product. If your group cannot provide any references, go elsewhere. Hiring a poor app developer can become costly.

 

Plan for changes down the road

You app will likely require changes or additions during development and beta testing. Also, you may need to update and add features to the public on a consistent basis. What are the costs with your development company for this service? Be sure you have access to the actual coding in case you need to switch development firms.

 

Ask another developer to look your app over

This is one of the best tips we can give you. Once our app was approaching beta, we asked another developer to look over our database, code and design. This helped us grasp issues we never would have thought of and address those concerns with the app developer.

 

Protect yourself

Be sure to ask your development company to sign a non-disclosure agreement or written agreement about copyright. This step is particularly essential if you have created customized features, unique algorithms or patent pending ideas.