How to Hire a Mobile App Development Agency
Hiring the best mobile app developers for your business is crucial. Our guide covers how to hire a mobile app development agency that generates meaningful results.
As we have mentioned in our Guide to Hire a Software Development Agency, mobile app development is one of seven types of software development. In this guide, we will discuss the purpose of mobile application (or mobile app) development, how it is beneficial for your business and why hiring an expert may be the right choice for you.
What Is Mobile App Development?
A mobile developer builds applications that run natively on mobile devices, most commonly from smartphones. Compared to a front-end developer, for example, this is a niche specialty within general software development. However, unlike other niche developers, like a web programmer, the internet is not required for these applications to run. Mobile development is a rising market with the frequent use of smartphones and tablets.
What Are The Different Types Of Mobile Apps?
You may have just decided that a mobile app is the right business choice for you. However, now you must choose what type of application you want before you move onto creation. There are three types: native, hybrid, and cross-platform:
This type of app is created with one specific platform or operating system (e.g., Android, iOS) in mind. As a result, the app has all the advantages of that operating system, including GPS, camera, microphone, etc. In general, native mobile apps deliver higher performance and better user experience.
Like hybrid, the cross-platform app allows developers to write code once and reuse it for different platforms. However, the user experience is better and closer mimics the feel of a native app. This is the best approach for small-scale apps that are secure and easy to maintain.
What Type Of Mobile App Developer Do I Need?
Looking at the descriptions of the different types of mobile apps listed above, you should have an understanding now of which developer you would choose. Here are some considerations:
- Are you planning on creating a basic app that does not need a lot of updates, etc.? If so, we suggest cross-platform.
- Do you want this to be an android app only? In this case, native would work best.
- Are you looking to build an application that is a little more than basic and you would like it to be used across all platforms? In this case, we suggest hybrid.
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Should I Hire An Agency, A Freelancer, Or Handle Mobile App Development In-House?
Now that you have a good grasp of mobile app development, you need to decide who to hire to take care of all of that for you. For some, that may mean an in-house team, for others that may mean hiring an agency. Below, we have broken down the positives and negatives of either hiring in-house mobile app developers or outsourcing.
Pros And Cons Of Outsourcing Vs Using In-House Developers
This article from UpCity, goes into the positive and negatives for both but here are things to consider:
In-House Mobile App Developers
LONG-TERM PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
When it’s an application that will require continual updating, it’s best to hire in-house developers. These folks can devote the time and focus to the product that it needs while keeping the company’s goals in mind.
SECURITY & CONFIDENTIALITY
Doing the work in-house keeps your activities close to the vest. When hiring out, an added element of risk comes into play as critical information is shared and you have less control over the employees of the outside agency.
Simply put, you’ll need a longer runway. From a hiring and onboarding perspective alone, in-house is much less time-efficient, especially in the beginning.
Hiring an in-house staff member costs money. The time to hire them costs money but so do annual salaries, benefits packages, and overhead costs.
POTENTIAL LACK OF EXPERTISE
When hiring in-house, it can be more difficult to find developers who have everything you’re looking for. That will then mean additional training or seeking more employees to come in and fill the knowledge gaps.
Freelance Mobile App Developers
NEED FOR SPEED
When hiring an agency, you will likely see results much sooner. In general, the outside help can focus on the task at hand and devote resources to ensuring the project is finished on time.
Remember, outside firms specialize in what they do, which means they’re equipped to deal with any problems that may arise and make the needed adjustments to ensure the work is done the right way.
When work is done in-house, it’s easier for scope creep to set in and for extra costs to come out of the woodwork. In working with an outside agency from a project standpoint, scope and spend are agreed upon before the work even begins. These are the conditions the agency adheres to.
It is much easier to control the level of quality produced when you can physically approach and speak to your software engineers than to put the vital phases of your project in the hands of someone you have never seen, and then hope for the best.
LOST IN TRANSLATION
Software development is a collaborative process. So, hiring freelance software developers from different backgrounds and work cultures can be a huge challenge for mutual understanding of standards and specific requirements.
COMMITMENT TO THE PROJECT
Outside agencies survive by helping more than one customer at a time. That means you aren’t always going to get the “A-Team” for your project or the most resources thrown at it. Usually, this isn’t too much of an issue; but when it is, it can certainly be noticeable.
Why You Should Hire A Mobile App Development Agency
Unless you own a large business that has resources and funds to hire a software development department, the choice is obvious—outsource your software development needs to an agency or freelancer. The pros outweigh the cons, most importantly the cost.
To effectively run software development in-house, several staffers would have to be hired and even then it is no guarantee that these individuals will have the necessary skills to accomplish the project: leading to delays and costs. By hiring the right agency, you will have the right person or team with the necessary skills to complete your project quickly and efficiently.
How Do I Find A Software Development Partner?
UpCity has this taken care of for you. We have curated a list of agencies that will fit your needs. If you are looking for an award-winning agency, you can also find them here.
Of course, you can also begin with a simple Google search for software development agencies in your local area. And again, this method is similar to using UpCity in that you can compare locations, various specializations, see previous work, etc., and more.
Likewise, take some time to read reviews across many different locations on the web to get a feel for what working with these partners is like and if they might be a good fit with your organization.
And then there’s good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Reach out to your network and ask who they’ve used for their development needs in the past. This is where you’ll likely get the most candid responses, which is important when considering an investment of this magnitude.
Hiring A Mobile App Development Agency
You may have decided that you are ready to hire a mobile app development agency. Now here are some questions and answers that will help guide you with your search:
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Mobile App Development Agency?
The pricing of hiring app developers depends on the needs and size of your business. Here are thoughts to consider:
IS YOUR APP GOING TO BE ON A NATIVE, HYBRID, OR CROSS-PLATFORM?
Hybrid or cross-platform will be the cheapest option because it will be focused on one creating software on multiple platforms at once, vs native which is just focused on one.
HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DOES YOUR DEVELOPER HAVE?
The more experienced your developer has, the more expensive they can be. This is because they will be able to tailor to your needs using the different types of technologies and industry experience they have. Do not be deterred by start-ups as they often have highly skilled application programmers with years of experience.
WHERE IS THIS DEVELOPER LOCATED?
The tech sector is global, and as a result, you can find agencies all over the world that have different pricing structures, including outside of the USA.
HOW COMPLEX IS THE APP?
The price will range depending on how complex the app is. For example, if the mobile app has integration with other systems, or will need regular updates for security, that will cost more.
An app development company will usually quote you based on an hourly rate, but here are some ranges to consider when budgeting for your app:
- Simple app development: $40,000–$60,000
- Medium complexity: $61,000–$120,000
- Very complex, widely used app: $120,000+
How To Find A Mobile App Development Partner
UpCity has this taken care of for you. We have curated a list of agencies that will fit your needs. If you are looking for an award-winning agency, you can also find them here. Remember that testimonials are key to seeing how a company functions.
You can also just do a Google search for mobile app development agencies in your local area. And again, this method is similar to using UpCity in that you can compare locations, various specializations, see portfolios, and more.
It’s also important to read reviews from many different locations across the web to get a feel for what working with these partners is like and if they might be a good fit with your organization.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to simply ask your network who they’ve used for their mobile app development needs in the past. It’s hard to beat word-of-mouth when it comes to getting extremely granular. Folks are generally more willing to get into the details of what worked and what didn’t when they’re speaking candidly to a colleague or friend than they would in a written review. This is the key information you need before carving out a significant piece of your budget.
Criteria To Look For In A Mobile App Development Partner
Mobile app development is a niche software that blends design, functionality, and usability. An app does not need to have all the capabilities that a desktop or website software would use, but it does need to have the major functions and be very easy to use.
When researching for a mobile app partner, be mindful of how they present themselves as a business and their core values. If their website is hard to navigate, then you can predict that any app they create will also be hard to understand. If you move to the project management proposal phase with them, be sure to also look at how they approach the creation of an app. Their proposal should be clear, concise, and realistic.
Questions To Ask A Potential Mobile App Development Partner
In general, here are some questions you should ask when looking for an agency:
- What is your specialty?
- Are you a full-service agency or do you specialize in mobile app development?
- What app technologies do you use?
- What is your pricing structure?
Many agencies or consultants may specialize in your type of business, even in mobile app software marketing. There are also many consultants that do other forms of software development, such as website or desktop software development. You may find during your search that you would prefer to work with an agency that provides full or ad hoc additional software development services.
Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring A Mobile App Development Partner
Hiring a mobile app development agency or freelancer is very similar to the approach you would take if you hired someone for your company, and so are the common mistakes including:
HIRING TOO QUICKLY
Creating a mobile app from scratch is a process that takes careful thought before execution. If you choose too quickly, you will pay for it in the process.
HIRING BASED ON DESIGN VS. SUBSTANCE
An easy-to-trap is to hire someone based on the nice-looking designs they have shown you in their portfolio. However, remember that functionality and usability are key for a mobile app.
NOT SHARING YOUR COMPANY CULTURE
Having an agency or freelancer that understands your company values and standards will lead to seamless communication and quick deliverables.
In addition to the common mistakes above, many companies do not do their own research on the mobile app field in general before hiring an agency. Before you go into your search, research what the common dos and don’ts are currently for mobile apps. UpCity has two guides on trends that are becoming outdated and common mistakes make when launching an app that is a great place to start.
If you have already made the decision to hire a mobile app development agency, you can expect them to gather information, identify key opportunities, and use the information collected to build out the deliverables.
After signing with an agency, you can anticipate:
Do you have any questions about hiring the best mobile application team for your business? Let us know in the comments below or check out our picks for top mobile app development agencies in the United States and Canada.
About the author
Haldis Toppen is the Director of Communications of the cultural exchange organization, Greenheart International. With 10 years of experience in leading marketing and communication teams, Haldis has a proven record of successfully leading national campaigns and international programming. She is passionate about bringing the right message to the masses and finding those audiences who need to hear it!