Turning a brilliant idea into a successful business is a huge challenge. Startups face a number of obstacles in the process of turning their vision into reality. Therefore, building a highly successful and profitable app is a serious task.
One of the challenges all startups face is choosing the right developer for their app. You can have it all figured out, but if your developer isn’t doing a great job, your whole idea may go to waste. That’s why you need to learn how to choose the best developer for your app.
To help you out, we’ve put together this ultimate guide with all the essential steps you should follow. Below, you’ll find answers to questions including
- Should I hire a freelancer or an agency?
- Where do I look for an app developer?
- How to recognize a great developer?
- How to communicate with my app developer?
and many more.
Here’s how to find the best app developer.
Define Your Needs
Before you do any research and start choosing your app developer, you need to define your needs and goals. By setting measurable goals, you’ll be able to focus your communication with all potential app developers on them, and ensure you find the best match.
Be sure to have the following defined:
- The exact type of app you need
- The audience you’re targeting
- The basic functionalities you want it to have
- The desired launch date
If you have more details figured out, add them to the list and have the answers prepared for when you begin communicating with a developer.
Decide: Agency vs. Freelancer
The next step you want to take is to decide whether you want to work with an app development agency or a freelancer. This will depend on your specific needs and the type of project you’re dealing with.
Choose an app development agency if:
- You have an idea
- You don’t have a detailed scope or deliverables
- It’s a long-term project with team growth perspectives
- It includes developing Minimal Viable products (MVP)
- The project is complex and requires teams of different specialists
Choose a freelance app developer if:
- You have existing software that needs minor changes
- You have a detailed scope and deliverables
- It’s a short-term project
- You need interactive prototypes
- It includes no-code or low-code development
As you may have guessed, an agency will be able to provide more support and a higher level of organization for your project. Trusted agencies will offer:
- Working exclusively on your project
- A bigger pool of experts, resources, and knowledge
- Project management
With a freelancer, you’d be the one in charge of project management and supervision. It does cost less to hire a freelancer, but they offer far less than an agency.
Search For Developers
Searching for developers is the next step you need to take. It’s important that you look in the right places, to be sure you’re hiring a professional.
The best-case scenario is to have a friend or a business acquaintance recommend someone they’ve already worked with. If you don’t know anyone who’s hired an app developer before, you’ll need to rely on your online research skills.
If you’re looking for an agency, you can search for the best ones in two places:
They offer feedback from companies’ clients. Check out the following:
Read articles from tech blogs such as Wired, The Verge, and TechCrunch. You’ll find informative content and proper resources for finding a development agency.
On the other hand, when looking for a freelancer, do it on the best freelance sites such as UpWork, Fiverr, Toptal. These sites offer:
- Clients’ reviews and comments
- Freelancer portfolio and hiring history
- Transparent rates
You can also visit Dribble or Behance to do further research on a developer and take a look at their work samples. You’ll be able to learn about the freelancer before reaching out.
Review Their Portfolio
A developer’s portfolio speaks for them. Don’t ever hire a developer without seeing samples of their previous work.
A professional and trustworthy developer will send you a portfolio that:
- Is well-organized
- Contains useful links to their website, profiles on different platforms, and presentations
- Provides useful content and information
Ask for a portfolio before making any decisions.
Ask For Help to Differentiate Your App
A huge pain point in the process of building and launching an app for a startup is the differentiation phase. Making sure your app stands out from the rest is crucial. And, getting help from your developer is a must.
A professional developer will know:
- What’s currently trending on the market
- What your major competitors are offering
- What are the latest innovations you could use
It’s your task to perform market research and do competition analysis. But, based on their experience, your developer should be able to give you:
- App improvement suggestions
- A fresh perspective on your idea
- Actionable steps to make your app better and more engaging
If all your developer is offering is developing the app you’ve previously completely defined, you should consider hiring someone else.
Talk About Customers
A truly dedicated and experienced developer will want to learn about your target customers. Defining them and knowing who your app is for is crucial for your startup idea and app.
In the process of searching for a developer, you should expect them to:
- Show interest in your target customers
- Ask relevant questions about their demographics, interests, online behavior, pain points, etc.
- Explain how they’ll help you better define this group of people
- Explain how they’ll help you reach them
If they don’t bring it up themselves, ask if they provide help in this area. Different developers offer different kinds of services, so check if this is included.
Your startup is the result of your hard work and dedication. Yet, you’re not a developer, and you can’t quite understand the development process. That’s why your developer should be open to help you prepare the project.
You should write a presentation of what you need and expect. In case you need writing help to make it more professional, GetGoodGrade offers professional writing services you could use. Still, the developer is supposed to contribute to the project and help you introduce the right changes to the initial idea you’ve presented.
What does this imply?
The developer should offer help with:
- Defining the specifications of the project
- Deciding on the functionalities of the app
- Making changes to your initial idea, with a logical explanation
Their contribution to this segment of the project can be crucial for its success. Discuss this during the selection phase.
Discuss Cross-Platform Versions
You want your app to be available to as many people from your target group as possible. Creating cross-platform versions of the app is one of the things you’ll need to discuss with the developer.
They should be able to offer the basic versions, including:
- Desktop and web browser
They should also let you know if there are any other ways to help potential users find and use your app.
When you’re discussing potential collaboration with the developer, you want to handle nothing but facts. It’s a business negotiation, and there’s no room for sugar coating.
You should expect nothing less from your developer.
Ask them to provide detailed explanations about:
- How they’ll contribute to your project
- How they plan on solving specific problems
- What are their responsibilities
- How they plan on handling them
This will help avoid potential unpleasant conversations later on and will make you and the developer feel better about the project.
Ask For a Quote
Finally, you’ll be able to select the right developer only after you’ve asked for a quotation from your potential candidates. An app developers’ quotation of your project will give you the final insight on how professional and engaged in your project they’ll be.
You’ll recognize a high-quality quotation by the following characteristics:
- You’ve received it 2-3 days after you’ve asked for it
- It’s well-organized and easy to understand
- It provides a clear overview of the potential collaboration
- It contains the information you need:
- Approximate scope of work in days and hours
- Defined stages of the project
- Project start date
- Project cost
- Payment dynamics
If the quote lacks information, and it leaves room for ambiguities – you don’t want to work with that developer.
It may seem like a lot of work to choose the best developer for your app. But, the success of your startup idea depends on the development of the app, so it’s worth the effort.
The guide we’ve shared above will help you take all the right steps in the process of finding a great app developer. Follow it to make sure you find someone who understands your vision and is highly professional and responsible.