The internet changes constantly, doesn’t it? Ten years ago, hardly any company was worried about operating a mobile app and now, we do everything on our phones. Phones have evolved too, going from being tiny bricks with hardly any capabilities, to being three times the size, with ten times the capabilities. All of our research about companies, our interactions online, and our use of the internet was once done on our laptops and now we mostly save those for work and the occasional big project. Our phones are our sidekicks and apps are a large part of what makes that possible. There was a period of time when we accessed many of our mobile information and programs through a browser and now, apps handle most of what we need to do on mobile.
If you or your company is looking to hire an app developer and create an app, these are the steps you should follow:
Check the credibility of your app developer
First, take extra measures to assess the developer’s portfolio of existing work. How many apps have they developed? Does the functionality overlap with anything you need your app to do? How do the apps look and function? Are there any you can download and test as proof that the developer knows his or her stuff? Since the success of a mobile app depends on how well it engages the customers, it’s good to have an eye on your developer’s ability to translate your business objectives into usability for the customer. You may want to speak with former clients that have worked with your developer to know what the back-and-forth will feel like. Is he or she quick, communicative, and reliable? These things are very important.
Ask your network
If you are running a company or managing a brand, or if you work in a digital arena, you probably have members of your professional network who have had apps built and know a great developer. You should never hire anyone JUST because someone you know knows them too. However, if your friend or colleague has worked with a reliable developer and was pleased enough with his or her work to recommend them to someone else, that’s a great sign that the person IS skilled, reliable, and easy to work with.
Don’t compromise on pricing
It goes without saying that the development of a mobile app will have associative costs. Developer labor can be upwards of $100 to $300 per hour, the app mainframe and any special features will cost extra, and it can also cost money to market your new app to potential users. You need to ensure that your budget balances how much money you have to spend and how much you should expect to spend to receive quality in return. Choosing a bottom-dollar developer may not yield the results you’re looking for. However, establishing a secure pricing structure before the project begins will make sure you don’t go way over budget before your app is finished. Cheap applications will lead you on a road to nowhere and prove to be a waste of time, which can be quite debilitating to the progress of your business.
Opt for the total package
While coding is the major workflow and skill that you’re looking for in the perfect developer for your app, it is highly recommended that you don’t split your app development process. Always approach the development of a new mobile app as a holistic project – the app will need design, copy, marketing, and support. How many of these services can your app developer provide? If he or she is a programmer only, make sure your developer is willing to work and collaborate with your copywriter, social media marketer, designer, or other people who will touch this app. Make sure no work is getting done twice, overlapping in a messy way, or getting left in the gap.
Speaking of which – maintenance matters
Make sure your developer at least commits to making sure your app stays up to date, offers support and security as needed, and stays available to help you update or make changes as needed. If he or she isn’t willing to stay on a retainer or re-engage with you to make updates or changes to the app, you will need to find another developer who is familiar with the same framework, which can be taxing.
Get a timeline in place
How long will your app take to develop? Well that depends on a lot of factors including how much availability your developer has to work on your project compared to his or her other clients or jobs, how complex your app will be, and how much budget you can afford per week to put toward the developer’s hours. Also, surprises happen. Knowing what ETA your developer is aiming for, and holding him or her to that date by staying in communication, is essential to the flow of the project and making sure you aren’t still waiting for your finished app months later.
Secure an NDA
You should definitely have a contract that outlines the terms of the project but don’t overlook the importance of adding an NDA. To ensure that your great app idea is copyright protected and not stolen, that any passwords or sensitive information needed to build the app is protected, and that you’re not sold out by this contractor, get him or her to sign a Nondisclosure Agreement or NDA.
There are many individual contractors or solopreneurs, side-hustle freelancers, or small agencies that can help you launch the app of your dreams – there’s no need to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to the big companies. You just have to be extra diligent to find the developer you really want to work with from a holistic perspective. Skill and capability and the promise of a great end-product are only part of your focus as you shop around for the perfect developer – make sure you really do your homework and you could find yourself in a long term partnership with a great developer for all future projects.