The following is a guest post by ChopDawg.com, an award-winning app development company that has worked with over 180+ startups and companies from all around the globe, helping them bring their web apps, mobile apps, wearable apps and software ideas to life.
Follow ChopDawg.com on Twitter at @ChopDawgStudios.
So, you’ve decided that you want to hire a company such as Chop Dawg to help build your future iPhone or Android application. That is exciting! With that said, now comes the vetting process that is so critical to the success of your app.
We’ve covered before extensively on our library about what you need to do to prepare for your first meeting with an agency. Some of the essentials are writing out your app requirements, conducting at least preliminary market research, determining your minimum and maximum budgets that you’re willing to invest, and the type of timeframe you’re willing to work around to bring your idea to life, etc.
We typically ask these types of questions to you, but what are the questions that you should prepare to ask the app development agency you may choose to hire?
After all, this is a huge decision.
Make the wrong one and you could be wasting hundred of thousands of dollars, while wasting months, if not years of your life.
However, if you make the right decision, you not only have a partner to depend on for the long-haul, but you have a technical team that’ll act as an extension of your own! You’ll mitigate what is a weakness of not being technical, and turn it into your strength.
The good and bad news is that you have a lot of choices to pick from when it comes to agencies. In today’s market, you do not need to work with a team in your city, state, or even country. Being remote is perfectly reasonable; in fact, here at Chop Dawg, we’ve brought on almost forty new clients so far this year, and only two have been based in our City of Brotherly Love, aka Philadelphia! We have almost a dozen clients not even located in the United States.
It’s easy to search for quality firms in 2017. For starters, Google. Search for top app development firms and agencies in different cities, states, and yes, countries. You can also research specific directories built for finding quality firms, such as Clutch. Clutch gives you the bonus of not only real firms, but verified referrals that provided real testimonials via interviews with the Clutch team. For example, here is our company profile on Clutch.
So, let’s assume you’ve spent a few weeks researching the right firm. You want to not only find an agency that presents themselves well but clearly is active and expert in their space. They write regularly. They upload videos on YouTube. They have real testimonials, from real people. They have a portfolio that is consistently updated. Their social media was updated yesterday, not in 2010. You get the idea.
So next step, reach out.
Here is the thing.
Every app development agency wants your business.
You’ll hear a lot of promises. But what you need are answers to the tough questions.
So you need to do your research and be thorough.
You wouldn’t just buy a new home, for example, without researching the market conditions, the area, and oh yeah, hiring an inspector!
The same thoroughness should be made for a business decision as critical as this.
To help you, we’ve collected below twenty-six detailed questions, that you should ask all of the firms and agencies you’re considering to work with.
1) How long has the agency been in business for?
2) How many applications has the agency worked on?
3) How big is the agency’s team?
4) Where is the agency’s team based?
5) Has the agency worked on any projects that failed?
6) Can the agency provide references to speak with directly that have worked with them in the past?
7) How does the agency bill?
8) How does the agency plan a project before working?
9) What does a contract look like with the agency?
10) Who owns the programming and designs during the project? Who owns it after the project is over?
11) Does the agency provide any warranties or coverage during and after the application has launched?
12) How does the payment structure for the project work?
13) What happens if you want to change your scope of work during a project?
14) How does communicating with the agency work? Who will you be in contact with?
15) How do projects with the agency work? What is their process?
16) How many clients come back to continue working with the agency after a project has been completed?
17) What kind of successes have clients seen from working with an agency?
18) What is the minimum budget requirements to work with an agency?
19) What is the average budget that the agency works with?
20) Does the agency provide everything in-house or outsource any work? If so, when and why?
21) Does the agency help to launch completed applications?
22) Does the agency provide support outside of the app? (e.g.: Servers, Website Design, Marketing, Branding, Social Media)
23) What happens if there are bugs after launching an application? Will the agency fix this? Will this cost extra?
24) How many revisions do you, the client get, during a project with an agency? Is there a cap?
25) What is agency’s expectation of you as a client?
26) What type of companies and industries does the agency specialize in, if any?
Don’t just ask these questions; record the responses and organize them. Compare to different agencies and firms on a spreadsheet, and see what is similar, what is different.
Here is the thing that most app development firms do not want you to know; it is okay to shop around. Not every app development firm is going to be a perfect fit for you, or vice-versa. We’re the first to admit this at Chop Dawg. We’ve turned down clients because we felt they wouldn’t be in the best of hands with us given their specifications, and vice-versa! That is okay.
Most agencies want to bring in new clients quick, which is the opposite what is best for you. You need to take your time and find a company that not only will take the time to answer every question you have, but build a relationship with you. The reality is these questions should only begin the conversation, and that the best firms and agencies will then walk you through and educate you further so that you’re the most educated consumer possible before making a purchase, especially one as critical as this.
Most of our clients initially are in a “rush” and want to move quickly. The reality is, while you shouldn’t lose the sense of urgency, do not rush a decision as big as this either. If you make the right one, ultimately, you’ll be saving yourself thousands of dollars and months, if not years of work. Trust us, there is nothing worse than having to find another app agency after months of working with another. Not only are the odds that you’ll need to start back at the ground floor if your code great, but you’ll also need to develop a whole new relationship from the ground up, too. Great partnerships take time!
So, start doing your research now. Pick the new agencies and firms you want to work with; and begin asking your questions, begin doing your homework, and most importantly, begin building relationships. The firm or agency best for you will stand out if you put in the time and effort. It always does.