How to Choose the Best Mobile Development Company? | Guide for Businesses
Read this article to learn how to choose the best mobile development company for your project – key tips and questions you should ask to providers.
If you’re looking to develop a mobile app, you’ll need a development team able to build a product that matches your vision and expectations. One way to do that is by building an internal team, but that means a massive investment of time and money.
Another solution is hiring an external team. Before we tell you how to choose the best mobile development company for your project, here’s something you should know:
The best way to build a mobile app is by teaming up with a real outsourcing partner. An experienced provider of outsourcing services will give you valuable advice and consult every aspect of your project, from technical stack to product development aspects.
Learn more about the perks and challenges of outsourcing here: Outsourcing Software Development – Benefits & Risks for App Owners
So, how do you actually find this kind of partner? Naturally, it’s not easy. There is no such thing as a flawless recipe for choosing a software house.
Table of contents:
- Where should I start looking for a mobile development company?
- How to tell whether a mobile development company is trustworthy?
- How can I make sure the estimation is accurate?
- What to check in the Independent Contractor Agreement?
1. Where should I start looking for a mobile development company?
Start your search by asking your friends, family, and colleagues if they can recommend a software development company. The second step is checking the recommended company or looking for providers in general on platforms like Clutch.co.
Here are the 8 most popular platforms that aggregate key information and client reviews of companies that offer mobile development services. They serve as your essential guides for making the right decision.
Of these eight, the most popular one is Clutch.co. The platform was designed to connect small and mid-sized businesses with IT companies offering software development services.
However, the platform also covers areas such as marketing, advertising, and design. Clutch.co considers verified feedback from client references, services offered, the quality of work, and the general market presence to compare and rank companies in a specific market. By using various filters, you can sort companies by services, platforms, locations, and more to find the best match.
Every year, Clutch.co publishes annual rankings in various categories. For example, in 2019, Droids On Roids was ranked as #1 company in the Mobile App Development category in Clutch’s Top B2B Service Providers in Poland report.
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2. How to tell whether a mobile development company is trustworthy?
Once you find a company that looks promising, it’s time to verify whether you can trust it to build you the mobile app you want. Here’s a checklist divided into must-have and should-have points.
a) Check out their portfolio [MUST HAVE]
The first step is taking a closer look at the work the company has completed for other clients. You’re likely to find a portfolio of work on the company website. When looking through case studies, ask these questions:
- Have they built products similar to yours?
- Do they have experience in working with companies from your industry?
- Have they worked with companies from your region?
- Do they work with startups, SMBs, enterprises… or all of them?
- Do they use innovative technologies?
b) Check their profile and reviews on Clutch.co and other platforms [MUST-HAVE]
Once you create a shortlist of potential technology partners, it’s time to check whether their previous collaborations were successful, and the company delivered the product on time.
This is where Clutch.co and similar platforms come in handy. Find the company’s profile and go through the client reviews. Focus on reviews written by companies similar to yours or ones that built a similar product with the provider. These reviews are objective and far more valuable than testimonials published on company websites.
c) Get in touch with the company’s clients [SHOULD-HAVE]
Reading reviews gives you plenty of insight into what results you may expect from your collaboration. But it’s still worth having a direct conversation with one or two past clients of the company. You can see who they are on Clutch.co and get in touch with them on your own. Ask how the collaboration went, what was great and not so great about it, and whether there’s anything you should be warned about.
d) Compare estimations [SHOULD-HAVE]
It doesn’t hurt to ask more than one company from your shortlist to provide you with an initial estimation based on the documents you submit to them. Once you have two estimations in front of you, compare them to understand how each of these companies envisions the process of building your software.
We explore this question some more in the next section.
e) Ask for detailed information about the code [MUST-HAVE]
Will you have full ownership of the code created by the company? Will the code be hosted in code repositories like Bitbucket or Github? Make sure to ask these questions and get into the details. You need to know that your code will be safely stored, and you’ll have access to it at all times.
f) Consult the Independent Contractor Agreement with a lawyer before signing it [MUST-HAVE]
g) Learn whether the team is office-based [NICE-TO-HAVE]
In the world of video-conferencing and digital project management tools, it might seem insignificant whether a team works together in one place. But trust me, a team located in the same place can be much more efficient and productive. And this is something you should consider as a big plus when looking to hire a team for your mobile development project.
The above list is by no means finished. But starting with these points is essential to finding the right technology partner.
I’d recommend meeting the team in person. Shaking their hands, feeling their work atmosphere, discussing their values, and eating lunch or having an evening drink together – all of these interactions are really helpful for establishing trust. After all, you don’t want to put your precious app idea into the hands of an unreliable business partner.
3. How can I make sure the estimation is accurate?
So, you asked two providers on your shortlist to give you an estimation. Now you’re facing two documents that are completely different. How can you make sense of that? How to choose the best mobile development company in this situation?
This is where you need to start asking questions. After all, how is it possible that the two teams arrived at a completely different figure?
Start by asking yourself these two questions:
- Did I deliver the same information and documentation to both companies?
- Did they ask questions to learn more about my project?
Now it’s time to contact the companies and ask them:
- What were your assumptions on which you based your forecasts? Once they respond, compare their answers, and check whether the lower estimation includes all of the key elements that are part of the higher estimation.
- Does the estimation include time dedicated to team meetings? (For which you are usually paying.)
- Does the estimation include the time required for proper Quality Assurance (for example, writing tests)?
- Did both companies take into account the risk of unforeseen circumstances?
- If your app’s design requires non-native solutions, is this considered in the estimation?
- If your product belongs to a common app type like e-commerce or m-commerce, but you want to equip it with untypical features, check whether they have been considered in the estimations.
4. What to check in the Independent Contractor Agreement?
So, you found the right mobile development company and are now in the process of finalizing your contract.
Here are a few important elements that your contract should include that are specific to contracts with software development providers.
✔ Service coverage
This includes services that will be part of your mobile development project such as app development / UX/UI design / Quality Assurance / project management / project maintenance, and others.
✔ Intellectual property
This is a key part of the contract that secures your interests. In short, it should state that you gain the rights to everything the software development company creates within your project.
Here’s an example of how it could be phrased in your contract:
“Except as otherwise set forth herein, the entire right, title, and interest in and to deliverables that are developed as part of the Services (“Deliverables”) including, without limitation, the software, documentation, source code and all intellectual property rights to such Deliverables shall be assigned in whole to the Company.
The Contractor shall execute and deliver such further instrument(s) and take such action(s) as may reasonably be required to complete the assignment of intellectual property rights in the Deliverables to Company’s sole and exclusive ownership.”
Make sure that the contract includes a clause that regulates the use of confidential information. Your partner should commit themselves to not disclosing any information about your project that isn’t public.
It can sound like this:
“Each party will, except as permitted under this Agreement, maintain as confidential and will not make any unauthorized use of any “Confidential Information” of the other party. “Confidential Information” shall include any information written or otherwise disclosed in any medium, by a party to the other under this Agreement that is marked or otherwise designated as confidential and any proprietary information of a party including without limitation, information relating to technology, know-how, products, specifications, patents, patent applications, trademarks, trade names, and concepts; as well as information of business and commercial nature; in any tangible form being clearly designated, labeled or marked as confidential.”
✔ Choice of law
The contract should also indicate the place for dispute resolution if it occurs. This is especially important if the software development company you pick is located in another country. It’s most likely that your partner will want to choose the judiciary of their country. We recommend to compromise here and choose the laws of another country with a jurisdiction that you know, like the United Kingdom.
Here’s how it could look like:
“The laws of _________________________ shall govern this Agreement, including but not limited to the validity of this Agreement, the construction of its terms, and the interpretation and enforcement of the rights and duties of the parties hereto.”
✔ Advance payment
This is another crucial point in your contract. We recommend that the advance payment doesn’t exceed the cost of the team’s work during one month of developing software for you. If the contractor needs to pay a lot for things like hardware or licenses at the beginning of the project, higher advance payment is reasonable.
✔ Payment deadline
The contract needs to regulate the consequences of any delays in payments. It should clearly state what the acceptable delay is, the number of days after interest will be charged, and the number of days after which the development team can stop the work.
Even if it doesn’t seem like it, this clause offers security to you. Imagine that due to random reasons, your payment is delayed by two days. If you fail to set such rules, the contractor might even suspend development or charge you a large interest rate.
✔ Conditions for terminating the contract
The notice period of about 15-20 days is a standard here
- Time & Materials – in this type of contract, you don’t need to specify the exact deadline. You’re the one to decide when your app is ready. And you can be sure that your feedback will be implemented after each iteration to keep your product up to date.
- Fixed Price – this type of contract includes a schedule of partial deliverables. That’s why it’s worth setting the time for you to give feedback for each iteration, as well as for the team to implement that feedback.
Depending on the type of contract you sign with the provider, here are the key elements each should include.
📌 For a Time & Materials contract include:
- The hourly rates for each project role,
- How the contractor will provide information about the project status and time spent on the project,
- The basis on which invoices will be issued (weekly/monthly/per iteration),
- Costs of possible travel for the Contractor’s representatives to attend meetings with you – who will cover them?
- A request which determines that all possible additional costs must be approved by you beforehand.
📌 If you have a Fixed Price contract, make sure that it regulates:
- Delivery schedule
- Price per each stage of the project
We hope that these tips helped you learn how to choose the best mobile development company for your project.
To sum up:
- Ask around: maybe someone from your community knows a great mobile development team
- Use Clutch and other platforms to make an initial selection of companies
- Analyze your shortlist (client reviews, portfolio, and talking to one of their clients)
- Analyze the estimations you receive and ask further questions
- Verify the contract carefully and consult with a lawyer
Are you looking for a seasoned mobile development team? Get in touch with us. Our teams have delivered projects to companies across many sectors – check out our portfolio and don’t hesitate to ask us any questions!