Mobile apps have changed the way we interact with the world. For one, they’ve transformed our phones from simple ways to talk and text into powerful, pocket-sized personal computers that affect almost every aspect of our lives.
For instance, there are web apps that let people order their morning coffee, connect through passions and hobbies, pay their bills, or find a local restaurant. And of course, there are tons of games and other entertainment apps as well.
And because of that, developing an app is no longer just something that big companies do. Now, anyone who wants to reach customers or provide a service can benefit from an app, whether you run a one-man start-up or a multi-area chain.
But if you’re not an app developer yourself or at least a techie, then mobile app development might seem like a daunting task.
Where do you start? How do you know what features to give your app? And how do you find a mobile app developer, let alone a great one?
We answer those questions below, plus other things to watch out for when hiring app developers.
How to Find an App Developer: 9 Practical Tips
1) Decide What You Want a Mobile App For
This step seems like it should be obvious but can really help narrow down your search. The more you know about the mobile app you want and the more specific you can be, the better.
To help you decide what you want your mobile app for, try thinking about these questions:\
- How many features do you want the mobile app to have?
- Who will be your target audience using the mobile app and what will they be doing with it?
- Do you need any special hardware associated with your mobile app, such as GPS tracking or an NFC chip?
- Will people pay to use your mobile app, have free and paid features, or will it be completely free?
- How often do you expect people to use your mobile app and how much time per session should they ideally spend on it?
- Is there anything unique about your industry that would require special permissions from the mobile app store to operate, such as a payment gateway?
From these questions, you should be able to narrow down what you want in your app. You can also try writing down features you would like to see in the app.
This can help you find mobile app developers faster, since you have a better idea of your end goal.
2) Look into Your Potential Developer’s Portfolio
The portfolio of a mobile app developer should be able to give you some insight into what types of apps they typically create. This is not the same as the app you want them to make for you, though! When looking at their work, try asking yourself questions like these:
- Which type of mobile app platform (iOS or Android) did they focus on?
- Did your app developer specialize in certain industries, like games or finance?
- Does the app developer seem to prefer making basic apps with simple features or complex apps with many functions?
- Does this app developer have experience working with companies like yours before, particularly with others selling similar products or services?
Asking about these things can help point you towards mobile app developers who are likely better suited for your project than others.
Remember that great developers will often have experience working on many different types of apps, so don’t worry if their portfolio doesn’t match your needs directly.
3) Check the Technologies They Use
Hiring a mobile app developer is similar to finding a doctor: you want to know if they have the right background for your project.
Luckily, the app mobile app development world is much simpler. There are only certain technologies you should pay attention to. Generally, though, the best bet is to stick with what you know.
If, for example, your company is built around proprietary software or uses specific hardware like GPS trackers or NFC chips, then look for an app developer who has experience working with those types of products before.
And if you have an idea for something unique that will require special permissions from the app store to operate, be sure to find out whether your potential app developer has done anything similar in the past.
Otherwise, just focus on finding mobile app developers who specialize in iOS or Android mobile apps and have very strong portfolios. That’s usually all it takes!
You don’t need to be an expert on all of these technologies, but knowing about them can help you hire app developers while making their job easier at the same time.
4) Hire App Developers that Constantly Update and Communicate
The more personable your app developer, the better you’ll get along through the app development process.
Some of the best indicators of good communication are whether they’d be responsive to phone calls and emails if they’re able to simplify and explain what they’re going to do for you, and also if they can explain why one way of doing something is better than another.
A great mobile app developer should be able to both guide you through the app development process and answer any questions about their prior projects.
Furthermore, the app developer shouldn’t be hard to get in touch with by email, phone or text.
Their availability will depend on their location and the time zone they’re in, but you should be able to reach them quickly by at least one method of communication.
5) Make Sure You Can Work with Them Long-Term
Your business will probably build on this app long after it’s complete, so you want someone who will stick around for future updates or larger changes.
You don’t want to be stuck calling another app developer every time you need a small fix or an update.
This is especially important if your app idea evolves over time and requires multiple updates after it’s finished. You don’t want to lose money by paying two separate developers for the same project every time you need something changed.
Asking about future app development and support can help you understand how long your mobile app developer will stick around once the app is complete, so keep this in mind when selecting someone.
6) Read Testimonials and Reviews
Hiring someone you don’t know is always a risk, so it’s important to find out whether they’re trustworthy.
Good businesses usually have positive reviews online or testimonials from prior clients who were satisfied with the app development process.
An experienced mobile app developer will typically have a website where they showcase their work and testimonials from past clients that had good experiences working with them. You may even be able to speak directly to some of their happy customers.
Make sure to check Google Reviews or Facebook pages for more low-key developers as well because these are also great sources of information about developer reliability.
Do note that reviews are not the ultimate indicator of quality, but they can certainly help you narrow down your choices.
7) Ask About Their App Development Pricing Structure
Not all app developers are the same when it comes to pricing, and they may charge differently for different phases of app development.
For example, some will charge hourly rates while others offer flat-rate packages for specific projects. Some may require milestone payments in order to complete different parts of your project.
Knowing how your mobile app developer calculates their costs is important because you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which payment plan is best for you.
On the other hand, be honest about your budget as well because you don’t want to be stuck with a project that you can’t afford. In addition, some app developers would be happy to help you tweak aspects of your project if you’re trying to stay on a specific budget.
8) Find Out About Their Other Services (If Any)
It’s always helpful to know if a potential mobile app developer has additional products or services that can help you as your business grows.
Some developers may offer more than just app development, including web design, customer and data analysis, and internet marketing.
Exceptional developers understand the importance of websites and online marketing in today’s tech-friendly world, so make sure to ask about what else they offer.
8) Make Sure You Can Work Together on the Design Phase
The design choices you make for your app can affect its function and how users interact with it, so it’s important that you’re happy with the developer’s ideas.
You don’t want to be stuck with a design that doesn’t align with your brand or is just plain unappealing.
If you’re hiring an outside designer, be prepared to pay for their work since many cannot work on spec (meaning, they won’t do any in-depth designing until you sign the contract).
Ask your potential candidate about their process for designing apps and find out whether they expect you to make all the creative decisions ahead of time.
Ideally, your chosen app developer should offer different design options and even let you provide input throughout this phase so that it’s truly collaborative.
9) Explore Their Website
An app developer’s website is a fantastic way to get a feel for their personality, work style, and technical skills.
The design of the website will reflect how they approach projects, so you’ll get a sense of whether it’s truly their own work or the results of working with an outside design agency.
Is their website easy to use? Is it up-to-date? Does it contain relevant information, such as their services, a portfolio of their work, and even a blog full of helpful articles?
All of these things can help you get a feel for their level of expertise.
Remember that the website is not going to be the only place where you can find your mobile app developer.
You should also check their social media profiles, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to learn more about them.
Hiring Mobile App Developers: Watch Out for These 6 Red Flags
App development is a booming business, and it’s true for mobile app developers as well.
Simply put, you’ll find A LOT of candidates who are ready to take your money and work on your app – but very few of them will be a good fit.
What you want is a team that is professional, skilled, and truly cares about delivering an exceptional product on time and within budget.
That’s why knowing the red flags that indicate a bad mobile app developer is as important as knowing what to look for in a great one.
Some of the things to watch out for include:
1) They Don’t Have a Portfolio or Relevant Experience
If you’re hiring an app development company, make sure their website includes examples of completed projects. A good app developer should also be able to show you references from previous clients who can vouch for their work.
You don’t want to hire a team that has no idea what it’s doing even if they claim otherwise – you’ll most likely end up with a buggy, un-user friendly app and nobody will bother using it.
2) They Want You to Pay in Full Up Front (Before Doing Anything)
Sadly, there are many developers out there who are trying to make a quick buck without being able to complete the mobile application development. How do you prevent being scammed?
Before you hire an app developer, agree on the timeline and payment schedule. Ask your potential candidate about their process for payment, particularly if they ask for it in full before any work has begun or before you’ve even had a discovery call or meeting.
Most professional app developers won’t give you an estimate before they have a basic understanding of your project.
After all, each app is different and it can take a while to understand exactly what you’re looking for.
3) Their Communication Skills Are Abysmal
Good communication is essential in every industry, but it’s absolutely critical when you’re working with software developers.
After all, they’ll be communicating with you along the way so that everyone is on the same page regarding which features to include and how soon they can be implemented.
If you notice that your app developer isn’t responding to emails quickly, or takes days to respond to phone calls, then this could indicate a bigger problem further down the line.
It might mean that they are disorganized or have too many projects going at once.
You want someone who is truly invested in your specific project, not just looking for another paycheck. They should be constantly communicating with you about your project, the app itself, and any issues that might arise.
4) Their Pricing is Unclear and Leaves Loopholes
This is a big one. You need to have a good idea of how much an app will cost before you get started so that expectations are managed from the start.
Make the mobile development contract clear to make sure that there are no extra/hidden costs and do not leave loopholes that might cause delays or worse, unfinished.
5) They Don’t Have a Website (Or It’s Poorly Designed)
An app developer’s website is their shop front. It should indicate that they’re serious about the services they offer and how good of a job they’ll do for you.
It should also give you an insight into their character and how they do business.
If the website is poorly designed, has tons of spelling mistakes, or looks like it was thrown together in a rush then this could mean that the developer’s products will be of low quality too.
6) Caution About Using Freelance Platforms
Freelance developers in hiring platforms tend to work on multiple projects. As such, they have no focus and tend to take longer. A mobile development company may have several existing projects but they have an app development team and each team member is responsible for a particular role.
Outsourcing companies as compared to freelance developers can scale up faster and easier.
Mobile app development companies have an in-house team and its members play a different role in mobile app development. There is a project manager, a software engineer, an iOS developer, and an android developer to make a successful mobile app.
Having a full development team will listen to your ideas intently, take into consideration your target audience, offer creative suggestions based on their expertise, perform constant user testing for a successful app.
How to Find an App Developer: Freelance, Outsource, or Full Time?
One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make when hiring an app developer is whether to work with a freelancer or hire an outsourcing company or if it makes more sense for your business to hire someone full-time.
As always, this decision should be based on specific requirements and take into account budgets, deadlines, etc., but there are some things you can consider when making your choice.
Let’s take a look at each option:
Freelance Mobile App Developers
Freelance app developers can be a good choice for your project if you only need the services of an app developer once or twice, or if you only need one for a few tasks.
However, a freelance app developer typically has multiple clients and may not commit as much time to your project as an outsourced app development company might.
In addition, don’t be tempted by the low price points offered by many mobile app development freelancers. You may come across a few gems, but in a lot of cases, a lot of freelancers offer cheap rates because they don’t have enough experience, the best tools, or both.
Outsourced Mobile App Developers
If your business is looking for ongoing app development, outsourcing to reputable companies is your best bet to get expert developers to provide quality work.
They’ll have the resources and means to dedicate more time and effort to your project. You’ll also get access to the latest technologies and senior developers while working with outsourced app development companies.
Full-Time Mobile App Developers
Looking for, interviewing, and hiring a full-time app developer, is a big decision. It’s also expensive because you’ll be paying their salary as well as other costs like benefits and overtime, social security taxes, etc., not to mention recruitment fees when you hire mobile app developers.
It’s one that you should only make if your business absolutely requires ongoing app development services and it’s a massive part of your operations.
Benefits of Hiring Professional Mobile App Developers
As you’ve seen, hiring an excellent app developer is a big decision. Whether they’re on board full time or only for the duration of your project, it’s important to get it right so that you can enjoy the benefits of working with professionals who truly understand what they’re doing and know how to do it well.
Here are some of the main advantages of hiring professional app developers:
1) Find app developers with an extensive portfolio.
Professional app developers with years of experience in mobile technology and software development This is useful when finding solutions for problems like coding glitches, and can
2) They have the Latest Tools & Technologies.
Professional app developers understand that their success depends on staying abreast of the latest tools and technologies. They are proficient in programming languages and know which programming language is best in building a successful app. Their passion also translates to never-ending curiosity about new development trends.
They use the latest tools to create innovative apps that work well on multiple devices, are fluid and responsive, have great UIs/UXs, and perform well under various conditions (internet connectivity, battery life).
3) They Improve User Experience
When people interact with your app or product for the first time, it’s the beginning of a relationship between them and your brand.
Your goal is to make this first impression as positive as possible by providing an experience they’ll enjoy using again and again. It should be a test-driven development.
Professional mobile app developers understand how important this is and will do their best to create an interface that achieves these requirements:
- Intuitive – Help users grasp the key functions of the app quickly, e.g., via interactive onboarding tutorials (if applicable). This will keep them wanting to use it time and again.
- Functional – Enable users to complete their desired tasks easily without losing patience or interest because of technical problems like freezes or crashes. User testing on different mobile devices is a crucial step.
- Personalized – Find ways to make the user feel like the app was designed with them in mind (e.g., customizing notification messages) so that they can interact with it more actively and enjoyably than ever before.
- On-Brand – Ensure that your app or product has a consistent look and feel with the rest of your brand so that people will enjoy using it as part of their overall experience engaging with your business.
4) They’re More Cost-Effective vs. Full-Time Hiring
In addition to saving you money on recruitment, hiring professional app developers costs less across the board because it eliminates all kinds of expenses related to things like overhead, compensation for holidays and sick leave, etc.
You also get access to state-of-the-art tools instead of buying them yourself. And most importantly, you benefit from the skills and experience of expert app developers without having to pay the premium that they usually command as in-house employees.
5) They Understand KPIs and Return on Investment
Every business should have a clear idea of its key performance indicators (KPIs) and know exactly how to measure them.
Professional app developers understand the importance of measuring KPIs, which is why they develop apps with your specific goals in mind and keep track of their progress via analytics throughout the project’s lifecycle.
For example, if your goal is to increase sales conversions, they will build features that support your sales funnel.
On the other hand, if the goal is to boost in-app engagement, they will offer lots of options for users to interact with your brand in creative, innovative ways.
6) They have Strong Project Management Skills
Top mobile app developers are extremely organized people who know precisely what needs to be done at every stage of the project – from planning to design, coding, testing, etc.
They plan out each stage in detail so everything is completed according to schedule with no major issues along the way – which helps you avoid last-minute surprises and ensures stability for your business operations.
7) They Can Bring Your New App Idea to Life Quicker & Better than You Can
If you have an idea for a new mobile app or want something tweaked, but don’t have the time or technical know-how to do it yourself, hiring professional app developers is the perfect solution.
They can turn any concept into a working app within weeks or months – allowing you to spend your time on other activities that are more important to the business while saving you money in terms of energy and hours.
8) They Can Save You From Legal Liability
Legal issues are one of the biggest risks when it comes to mobile apps because they can expose your business to all kinds of lawsuits relating to things like copyright infringement, data security breaches, etc.
Professional app developers have years’ worth of experience in this area which means they not only understand how these legal issues affect businesses but will take measures throughout the project’s lifecycle to keep things as safe as possible.
The license and intellectual property of the app should also be clear from the start. Will you, as the client have full ownership of the app, or just a license to it?
9) They’re Experts in QA and Mobile App Testing
One of the big problems with hiring a freelance app developer is that they can rarely test a new mobile app thoroughly enough to catch all the bugs and technical issues that may arise.
To prevent this from happening, experienced developers strongly recommend conducting a series of tests before deploying a mobile app so you know it’s going to work properly on different devices and multiple operating systems.
10) They Save You Time & Money in the Long Run
Professional app developers aren’t just highly-skilled individuals, they’re also time-saving experts who know exactly what it takes to develop a mobile app from scratch using the best strategies and tools available.
In other words, they’re able to complete projects faster than any amateur app developer could – which makes them much cheaper overall.
On top of that, you get greater security and peace of mind knowing your business is in good hands.
11) They Offer Reliable Support
You never know when problems are going to arise with an application, but it’s good to know that if they do, you have access to experienced developers and possibly the same developer who will be able to provide after-development support.
They’ll answer all your questions and provide useful advice so you can fix any issues as quickly as possible – saving your business from potential downtime or irreparable damage in the process.
In addition to offering on-call support on a consistent and reliable basis, professionals also go above and beyond by providing regular updates throughout the project’s lifecycle so clients always feel comfortable knowing what stage their app is at.
Got an App Idea You Need Help With? Let’s Bring It to Life!
From basic apps to crazy new concepts, we’re always psyched to work on new projects that we know are going to help our clients grow their businesses.
Need help brainstorming your app concept or design? Ready to start building? Want to upgrade your digital infrastructure?
At Dom and Tom, we offer a full suite of services, from research and user analysis down to app development, web development, maintenance, and everything else you need to grow your business and keep your clients and customers happy.
Let’s talk – fill out this form and we’ll take it from there!