How to Select a Mobile App Development Company
You’ve decided to build an app with a professional app development company. The process of selecting an app development company may seem overwhelming for businesses or entrepreneurs, especially for those selecting a company for the first time. Research exists to help you pick the best company for your needs, but where do you start? Clutch recommends considering the following factors when shopping for an app development company:
- Type of company
- Location of company
- Personal relationship with company
You may be tempted to base your decision primarily on the cost of the company. However, placing emphasis primarily on cost risks the quality of the final product. Read Clutch’s guide on app development cost to understand how to pick a mobile app development company that suits your needs and maximizes your budget. Before cost, you should consider the type of company you need, where you prefer the company be located, and how well you will work with the company.
Understand the Types of Mobile App Development Companies
There are different types of mobile app development companies, including:
- Boutique app developers
- Enterprise app developers
As the names suggest, boutique app developers are often small teams that can offer a close and personalized relationship with a client.
Meanwhile, enterprise app developers have the skills and knowledge to create complex apps for a large volume of users. Skilled enterprise app developers also offer a personalized touch, despite their scale.
Furthermore, you must decide what type of app you want to build. Mobile apps typically fall into two major categories:
A hybrid app can target multiple operating systems, such as both iOS and Android, though it offers less functionality and design. A native app can only operate on the operating system it is specifically designed for, but it can be speedier and more complex. Certain app development companies will specialize in either Android or iOS apps, and understanding what talent you’ll need is critical to finding the right team for your project.
Understand the Location Options for Mobile App Development Companies
You have three options when it comes to the location of your app development team:
As the name implies, onshore app development companies are located in the same country as you. If you are located in the United States, an onshore team will cost the most of the three options. However, onshore teams have the advantage of similar time zones, culture, language, and more. For those feeling very confused or overwhelmed by the app development process, an onshore partner may be the best option. Though they cost more, communication is often easier, helping relieve your stress and confusion.
However, a well-chosen nearshore or offshore app development company can also offer streamlined communication and high talent, as long as you conduct your research carefully.
Nearshore refers to countries close to your home country, often sharing a similar time zone, but offering cheaper costs. In the United States, nearshore app development is typically found in Latin America, especially in hotspots such as Uruguay and Brazil.
Offshore refers to countries further away from your home country. The most well-known offshore app development locations for the United States include India and Eastern European countries, such as Bulgaria and Ukraine.
You may be scared to partner with a nearshore or offshore app development company. However, the best offshore or nearshore companies will have the software and processes in place to ensure smooth communication and collaboration, no matter how many miles away they are located. Just be sure you properly research the company to make sure this is true.
Engage in Discussion and Discovery
No matter how good the company looks on paper, you won’t know for certain if they are right for your project until you thoroughly engage in discussion with the team.
If you are interested in a particular app development company, ask them for examples of prior projects similar to yours, and how they handled the projects. You can also conduct client research yourself by reading the in-depth client reviews on the company’s Clutch profile, this is a good source of past project successes and potential project obstacles.
Once you’ve identified a company you’re interested in, you’ll likely move on to a pre-research or “discovery” stage, as opposed to jumping straight into development. Clutch’s recent survey on app development cost found that nearly 70% of app development companies require this stage. A discovery stage is typically conducted before an app development company commits to building the full app with you. During the discovery stage, you and the app development company might:
- Conduct market research
- Determine if an app is the best medium for you to meet your business goals
- Create prototypes of the app
- Schedule out the project’s work
At the end of the discovery stage, an app development company will typically offer you a more accurate price estimate for the project. You likely will have the choice to take the research and prototypes and shop around for another app development company, if you so desire.
Companies that do not require nor offer a pre-research or “discovery” stage should not be used for all but the smallest of projects.
The discovery stage is the final hurdle. If you are still satisfied with the app development company’s work, price, and communication after this stage, it’s much safer to commit to fully developing the app with them.
App development is a complex process, with many moving parts. It’s best to spend an extended amount of time shopping for the right app development company, as opposed to picking one quickly and ending up with a poor working relationship or unsatisfactory product.