App Development, Thought Leaders

How to Choose a High-Quality Mobile App Development Company to Increase ROI

July 26, 2019

by Joe Tuan

Founder, TopFlight Apps

Investing in the right mobile app development company is essential for the success of your project. Make sure you have a high ROI on your mobile app by asking potential developers relevant questions. 

According to a recent article, there are over 20 million developers registered for iOS alone. As a business leader or entrepreneur, your challenge won’t be in finding a mobile app development company—it will lie in choosing a team that’s right for you

You might be tempted to either go big, go local, or go cheap, but as both an app developer and founder of my own mobile app company, I don’t recommend any of these approaches.

Going big might mean you won’t receive the personalized approach (or final product) that you’re looking for. Sticking to a local option might limit your potential to reach a whole new audience. Choosing a cheap provider is a risk that speaks for itself. 

With so many options remaining, it can be hard to know who to pick — especially when most mobile app development companies are all too eager to sell you on their skills. 

Refrain from hiring the first company with a flashy website you see or the first inquiry that lands in your inbox. In my experience, being overly optimistic can lead to unmet expectations and an unfinished product. 

It is similarly risky to work with a mechanistic company that just churns out applications that work, but don’t wow. Remember, the future of your company’s mobile presence is at stake. If you want to do more than just create a “good” app, it’s critical to hire a high-quality mobile app development company to ultimately increase your ROI. 

Asking The Right Questions

Businesses who are trying to expand into the mobile market need to learn how to distinguish a truly great custom mobile app development company from one that’s merely sufficient. 

Since this is naturally easier said than done, I’ve come up with five major questions that business leaders at every stage from entrepreneur to CEO can use to choose the right mobile app company for their needs.

1. Has the Developer Given You a Personalized Response?

Whether you’re accepting submissions for mobile app proposals or actively searching for a company online, if a prospect has taken the time to send you a personalized response, they’ll be likelier to consistently provide a higher level of engagement in your future communications. 

 Key indicators that a mobile app company has invested in your proposal include: 

  • Asking relevant questions: Doing so shows a developer is comfortable enough with the relevant space to start thinking ahead on your project. Questions that build upon the initial concept show a developer is confident in their ability to conceptualize project management tasks. 
  • Engaging with your brand: Has the developer indicated in their response that they have looked at your existing assets/ business page? I’ve had respondents make mention of interacting with our mobile platform in their proposals, and in my experience, this has been a sure-fire way to differentiate an expert company (or freelancer) from a beginner. 

Here’s an example of how I like to capture a potential client’s attention:

An example of a cover letter a developer might send

How this affects your ROI: 

If a mobile app company has shown they are willing to engage your vision from the outset, then it’s likely that they will maintain that level of enthusiasm and engagement for the long run. If a company has a dedicated marketing arm or a “client success representative,” you’re more likely to receive a superior level of care—as well as some improved content and conceptual design-thinking capabilities. 

2) How Does the Developer Perform in Their Own Field?

A little research will go a long way when viewing potential custom mobile app development companies. Enter your candidate’s space to see how they perform at their own game. 

The next step you take should be to search through their existing assets, both the ones they’ve shown you and the ones they haven’t. 

Check out their mobile site, as well as their website, and ask the following questions:

  • Does the developer integrate well with their client's style? 
  • Are there any strange features that aren’t working?
  • Does anything seem out of place? 

Any of these factors should be huge red flags during your search. 

Looking over portfolios and client reviews to learn about past projects, overall technical skill sets, and client retention stats will give you another leg up in understanding a company’s level of professionalism and experience. 

How this affects your ROI:

If the company you’re considering is shamelessly proud of presenting what they can do, and have shared links with you that support those skills (and of course, if their own mobile application looks great), then they will more than likely be able to deliver on their promises. 

3) Does the Developer Have a Viewable Project Plan?

When an app development company can point to visualized media that outlines their process it usually means that they have systemized their own development project to deliver cost savings as part and parcel to their process. 

in other words, they should have a full-stack design and development plan that you can tangibly see. These capabilities will serve as a substantial internal savings mechanism. 

Topfight's process for design and development

If you’re unfamiliar with custom app development, these process plans can act as both a free educational tool and a metric to gauge the timeline of your project should you decide to proceed with the company. 

Industry Tip: When hiring an app development company, check whether the developers' design in rapid, clickable, and interactive prototypes. This method can often save you money, and even make you some. 

Furthermore, using this technique shows a developer’s openness to flexibility and feedback. Both of these characteristics are crucial for any app development project. 

How this affects your ROI:

If a mobile app company has a solid conception of how they are going to tackle your project and, more so, are open to pivoting based on user feedback, then it is likely they will also deliver on time and on budget. That means no hidden surprises--just open communication during project management. 

4) Does the Developer Actually Have the Skills to Finish Your Project?

Does the mobile app company you’re “interviewing” truly have the skills you need to bring your app from vision to reality?

 This question is especially important for those who are already familiar with app development.

Some key indicators that a mobile app company doesn't have the skills to take on your project include:

  • The proposal uses the technical terms you’ve mentioned, but not in the correct way.
  • It is a development-centric app company but makes a point to “include” design by tacking it on as an afterthought (UI/ UX design requires specialized tools and approaches).
  • The developers haven’t worked in your specific industry before 

To confirm the last point, look for a mobile app company that has built apps for your industry in the past. My own development company specializes in building healthcare appsTherefore, we market ourselves primarily in that niche. 

How this affects your ROI: 

When the company you hire knows what they’re doing, there are certain technical efficiencies that arise that are literally priceless. You can throw money at a development company all you want, but if they’ve never worked in your industry before, or if they don’t yet have the full-stack of skills you need, your ROI will decrease. When time is money, finding a company with industry-seasoned experience is a great way to save it.  

5) Does This Mobile App Development Company Care About the App Project? 

A mobile app company that only cares about cashing in the check isn’t the one for you. You can usually tell from the team’s web or mobile site’s “about me” page whether they have a growth or scalability mindset and if they will bring that mindset to benefit client projects. 

If they do, the developer is already one step ahead in thinking about the future and sustainability of your app. 

How this affects your ROI:  

If the mobile app development company you are considering discusses how to save money, then you are both cost-conscious. 

Using the clickable prototype example from above, anyone who says they can quickly produce an interactive rather than a final product, at a reasonable price, has your mutual long-term success in mind. 

Pick the Best App Development Company for Your Business 

You shouldn’t trust the future of your business to just anyone, and even though it might seem overwhelming to pick a mobile app development company, by asking these simple questions you have a much better chance of hiring the right development company for you.

In most cases, following these steps will even tangibly increase your ROI. Invest in the right app development company for your business and watch your project be a success. 

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