How to find the right app developer for your start-up company

by Andy Jones ,
January 10, 2021
App Developer, Start-ups

Do you need an app for your start-up?

Apps now play a key role in our day-to-day lives. Nearly 90% of mobile internet time is now spent on apps and 71% of Gen Z spend their digital media time using mobile apps, for example.

But mobile apps aren’t the only applications available. For many start-ups, web applications are a quicker and cheaper option. Plus, web applications work on a mobile device. It’s a win-win situation.

For start-ups, it’s important to find the right solution for your business. This is where the expertise of a professional app developer can help you find a cost-effective solution and break into this competitive market. But how and where can you find an app developer for your start-up? This can seem like a daunting process for many founders.

At Make IT Simple, we both invest in and run startups ourselves, with a number of success stories under our belts. We’ve seen the highs and lows of running a start-up and, unlike many other businesses working in this space, our advice is based on our firsthand experiences both working with and for the start-up space.

We have also helped dozens of start-ups take a customer-centric and innovative approach, developing both web and mobile applications that address the needs of each start-up we work with.

In this post, we explain how you can find an app developer for your start-up…

3 steps to find an app developer for your start-up

1. Nail your app requirements

Before you start your hunt for an app developer, you must understand the basics of the job, including what you want to achieve and how you want your app to operate.

For example, are you planning to sell a specific digital product or physical goods in your app? Or do you want to create a space for users to interact with your brand? Do you want to develop a game? Or do something completely different?

You must be clear about your app’s concept and your target market. The clearer you are about your app’s goals and requirements, the easier it will be to develop.

There are also some technical considerations which you may need to take into account at this stage. For example, where will the app be available? If you want to launch on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, then you will need a developer or developers with experience of coding in both domains.

Again, you don’t need to know the exact details, but you may need to do some online market research to work out what platforms your target market uses and the apps that they enjoy using.

2. Use set evaluation criteria

Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve, you must work out how you want to achieve this. At this stage, you may want to draw up set criteria to evaluate each developer.

You may want to consider aspects including their experience across different programming tools and development processes, any areas of expertise, previous projects, and reviews and references, for example. Here are a few questions you could ask:

1. Can you work with them?

Before you start analysing an app developer based on their skills and experience, there’s one important factor to take into consideration – can you actually work with them? You don’t need to be the best of friends, but a solid working relationship is vital if you want to reap the full rewards of this work.

2. What type of apps have you worked on it the past?

Most developers design apps for a specific platform, and many have a specific area of expertise in, for example, e-commerce or gaming apps. You may also want to ask if they use any specific programming tools.

3. How much experience do you have, and can I see some examples of your work?

Make sure you evaluate the quality of their past work, reviewing any apps that are similar to your requirements. Ask how long it took to develop these apps, and how they approached the development process for each one.

Some developers may use an agile methodology, for example, which is an iterative process and provides you with regular updates on the development process and the flexibility to respond to market demands.

4. How do you work with your clients/customers?

For example, does the developer require you to sign a contract? Are they willing to sign an NDA? What level of communication can you expect across the development process? How do they handle project management? What is the fee structure?

5. What references can you supply from previous customers/clients?

Double-check their credentials by reaching out to past customers and clients. In doing so, you can not only check the quality of their work but also find out more about their past working relationships, how they communicate with clients, etc.

3. Weigh up different options

Depending on your app requirements, you could decide on one of several different routes when it comes to where to find an app developer for your start-up. Here are some different options:

1. Get in-house developers

You may want to recruit an in-house development team to build your app. While this gives you complete control over your app, this also brings in the time and expense of recruiting staff – not to mention the ongoing costs to maintain those roles.

For many start-ups, this is not a viable option from either a cost or time perspective. Developing and launching an app is usually a short-term project, where you only need such expertise on an ad hoc basis.

2. Upskill your existing staff

Another option is to train your existing IT staff to develop an app. Again, this is not a viable option for many of the reasons we just stated for the in-house development option. Training also takes time and money.

Plus, your newly qualified staff will have no prior experience in app development, further lengthening your development schedule and, potentially, resulting in a low-quality app.

3. Use an external software development agency

You may decide to use an external agency. This provides your start-up with a dedicated team that works on the project and is 100% responsible for the delivery.

This can bring many advantages to start-ups. You get access to a wide pool of expertise and experience, allowing you to focus on your wider business.

This is often a more robust solution, compared to using a freelance developer, where an agency can also handle all the market research and other tasks to provide you with the best app for your business.

How to find an app developer for your start-up

Finding the right app developer for your start-up is a major undertaking, requiring you to check your candidates and organise your search to find the right fit for your business.

If you get things wrong, you could easily waste a lot of time and money developing an app that’s not fit for purpose or compatible with your start-up’s wider vision.

If you get things right, your app can boost customer engagement, increase brand loyalty and awareness, and, potentially, provide you with another sales channel, helping you grow your business.

Whether you’ve just got an initial idea or a full-blown specification for your app, we’re here to help your start-up.

At Make IT Simple, we’ve helped start-ups expand on their initial ideas to develop an app that delights end-users and delivers a solid ROI, explaining things one step at a time. Visit our dedicated app page to find out more…

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If you are looking for a bespoke software development company, please get in touch by phone by calling +44 (0) 1905 700 050 or filling out the form below.

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