According to the latest data, there are over 1 million app developers working in the U.S. today. This industry is growing rapidly, too, and new people are joining every day.
Are you thinking about hiring an app developer to help you create an app for your company? If so, you know how overwhelming it can be to try and find the right person for the job.
Luckily for you, we’re here to help you narrow down your search. Here are some key questions to ask when hiring an app developer.
How Much Experience Do You and Your Developers Have?
Because the app development industry is growing so quickly, there are a lot of new developers entering the market who don’t have a lot of experience under the belts.
It’s true that someone doesn’t need to have decades of experience to do a good job creating your app. However, as a general rule, an experienced developer will be better equipped to handle the app development process and ensure you get a great finished product.
This is especially true if you’re looking to create an app with many advanced features or one that is meant to serve a very specific audience.
When you’re meeting with potential developers for your project, always ask about their experience, as well as their team members’ experience. How long have they been in business? Where did they receive their training?
Can I See Your Portfolio?
One of the most important things to consider when connecting with different app developers is their portfolio.
Any app developer worth hiring will be happy to share their portfolio with you. Think about it. Do you really want to work with someone who isn’t excited about showing off the apps they’ve developed in the past?
If they make excuses to not show their work or don’t have anything to show you at all, that’s a big red flag. They might be hiding some subpar work, or they might not have enough experience to provide the kind of development services you need and deserve.
When you’re checking out the developer’s past work, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I like the design and layout of these apps?
- Are these apps functional and easy to navigate?
- Are they up to date?
- What kinds of reviews do they have? Are they mainly positive or negative?
- How recently were these apps developed?
A little bit of review and research on your part can go a long way when it comes to weeding out less-than-ideal app developers. Pay special attention to their past work and make sure it aligns with the specific goals you have for your app.
Can You Put Me in Touch with Former Customers?
In addition to being happy about sharing their portfolio, any app developer you’re thinking about hiring should also have no problem with connecting you to former customers.
They should have plenty of references that they can share with you. Again, if they make excuses or don’t have anyone they can put you in touch with, that’s a red flag and could be a sign that they’re inexperienced or trying to hide something.
Once you’ve received information on a couple of references, follow through and contact them. They’ll be able to provide more detailed insight into what you can expect when working with this developer, so it’s worth it to make a phone call or send a message.
When you reach out to former customers, be sure to ask plenty of questions about their experience. Here are some examples to get the conversation started:
- Were you happy with the support you received throughout the development process?
- Was the developer transparent?
- Did they seem knowledgeable and experienced?
- Would you consider working with them again in the future?
In addition to contact references individually, you can also learn a lot by reading reviews on third-party sites. These will be less biased and will paint a broader picture of what people like and don’t like about a specific developer.
Can You Walk Me Through Your Development Process?
Even if you won’t be doing the heavy lifting when it comes to developing your app, it’s still a good idea to know what will be happening behind the scenes.
When you get in touch with a developer, ask them if they can walk you through the typical development process. What steps do they take to evaluate your app idea, plan it out, and test it to ensure it works properly?
The more specific your potential developer can be when explaining their process, the better. Be wary of someone who speaks vaguely and doesn’t give a lot of information about how they get from Point A to Point B.
Remember, vagueness could be a sign of a lack of experience. It could also indicate that the developer cuts corners or isn’t offering a truly customized app development service.
How Long, on Average, Does it Take to Develop an App?
If someone offers you an ultra-fast turnaround time, your initial reaction might be to say yes immediately and start utilizing their services. Remember, though, that faster isn’t always better.
It takes time to create a great app that has an impressive user interface (UI) and great user experience (or UX) design.
On average, 3-4 months is a good timeline to expect for most apps. However, if your app is extra-complex or requires a lot of special features, it might take longer than this to get a quality finished product.
Go into your meeting with the expectation that it’ll take a few months to get a high-performing app.
If a developer says that they can get your app designed and launched in a couple of weeks, that’s likely an indication that they’re cutting corners. They might also not be paying as much attention to testing and quality assurance as you’d like.
Keep in mind, too, that if your developer rushes your app to get it on the market as quickly as possible, you’ll likely end up paying later.
When you start receiving negative reviews and complaints from users, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and try to fix the problems that could’ve been avoided if you’d just picked a more patient and detail-oriented developer in the first place.
Have You Worked with Customers in My Industry Before?
If possible, try to find an app developer who has experience working with other customers who are part of your industry.
If you work in the medical field, your app developer should ideally have worked with other people who are in the medical field. If you’re part of the digital marketing industry, the person you hire should have digital marketing app development experience.
Industry-specific experience is important because it helps you to ensure you’re getting an app that works for your target audience.
If a developer has never designed something for the people who are part of your target audience, they may overlook certain features and design elements that will appeal to them. This could lead to a subpar experience for your audience and less revenue for you.
Take note of the types of apps the developer has created when you’re looking at their portfolio.
Beyond the appearance and functionality of the apps, consider whether or not they’re relevant to your industry. If they’re not and the developer has no experience working with customers like you, this might be a sign that you need to find someone else who’s better suited to the job.
How Much Involvement Do You Require from Me?
The great thing about working with a professional app developer is that they do the heavy lifting for you. They handle the complex aspects of the development process so that you can focus on other things (like keeping your business running).
While app developers do the hard work for you, you will likely still need to be involved in the planning and development process. They will probably want to receive input from you and approval as they move on to different stages.
Generally speaking, it’s a good thing if your app developer wants you to be involved in the process. This means they care about your opinion and want you to be satisfied with the finished product.
If a developer tells you that you don’t have to lift a finger and that they’ll take care of everything, that might seem awesome at first. In reality, though, it could result in you getting an app that you don’t love and that doesn’t meet your needs.
Make sure they’re transparent from the beginning about what they expect from you. That way, you can feel confident that they’ll meet (or exceed) your expectations.
How Will You Stay in Touch with Me During the Development Process?
Once you find out the level of involvement that your potential developer expects from you, the next question to ask is how they will stay in touch with you.
What is your developer’s preferred method of communication? Does it align with your preferences?
If you hate talking on the phone, for example, you may not want to work with a developer who only connects with customers via phone call. You may prefer someone who can communicate via email or chat instead.
Be sure to ask about how often the developer will get in touch with you, too. Will they touch base every week? Every other week?
At the bare minimum, they should connect with you every time they’re moving on to a new phase of the development process. For example, when they’ve finished their research and are ready to start prototyping, they should give you a call or send you a message to report what they’ve learned or explain what they’re going to be doing next.
Consider whether or not your developer is open to spontaneous calls or check-ins from you, too. Will they take your call if you have a question or want to change something?
Who Owns the App When It’s Finished?
This might seem like a strange question to ask at first. After all, isn’t it a given that you’ll own the app and the code associated with it?
You’d think that’d be the case, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Some developers will claim that they own the app after they’ve finished working on it and, as a result, won’t give you all of the files and documentation that are supposed to come with it.
To avoid running into this problem after you’ve already invested thousands of dollars into a developer’s services, be sure to ask them at the beginning whether or not you will be the only app owner when the job is done.
The developer should be honest and upfront when answering this question. If they aren’t, that’s a sign that you should choose someone else.
If you’re still hesitant, be sure to look over each developer’s contract with care to see if they have any problematic clauses when it comes to ownership (or any problematic clauses in general). This will help you to avoid running into any unpleasant surprises later.
Will You Upload My App to the App or Play Store for Me?
The process of submitting and uploading your app to the iOS app store or Google Play store can be tricky and time-consuming.
If you’ve never submitted an app before or just don’t want to worry about the details and jump through a bunch of hoops, look for a developer who will handle this task for you. Experienced developers should be familiar with the submission process and ought to know how to navigate it as seamlessly as possible.
During your initial consultation, ask your developer about their submission policy. Then, review their contract and make sure they’re willing to take care of submissions (if that’s important to you, of course).
This will help you to avoid a lot of unnecessary stress when the app is finished. It will also help you to start seeing results and earning money from your app sooner.
Do You Offer Ongoing Support?
The app development process is iterative.
It doesn’t matter how talented and experienced your developer is. There’s a good chance there will be issues with your app that you need to change once it’s been submitted to the app store and people start downloading it.
Your developer should offer ongoing support and app maintenance to help you handle these changes and ensure your app stays up to date.
When you’re meeting with potential developers, ask them what their policy is for updating your app and making changes if bugs occur. Find out how quickly they typically respond to questions and requests for updates. Consider, too, whether or not they charge additional fees in exchange for handling those tasks.
The importance of long-term maintenance and support is another reason why it’s so important to choose an experienced app developer who has lots of satisfied customers.
Some developers, especially freelance developers, are available one day and then seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth the next with no warning. When you work with an experienced developer, though, there’s a better chance they’ll be around long-term and will have the resources they need to offer continuous support.
Can You Explain Your Fees and Payment Terms?
Finally, don’t forget to ask about fees and payment terms. In the same way that you don’t want to work with a developer who rushes to finish your app, you also don’t want to work with a developer who offers super-low prices for their services.
In the world of app development, you get what you pay for. A cheap app developer likely will not provide high-quality service, and they may end up being more expensive in the long run.
If you have to keep spending money to fix the mistakes they made or make changes to their subpar app, you’ll end up investing more than you would have if you’ve just chosen the more expensive developer in the first place.
On average, a good app developer will charge around $20k as a starting fee. If your app is particularly complex, they will charge more for extra features. Keep this in mind when you’re comparing different developers.
If someone is charging far less than this, don’t take the bait. They likely won’t provide the kind of service you’re hoping for, and they may not have the amount of experience you need.
Hire a Great App Developer Today
Nobody wants to get burned when they’re investing their hard-earned money into an app developer’s services.
By asking the right questions, though, you can reduce the risk of this happening. You’ll also be able to feel confident that you’re partnering with an experienced developer.
Do you want to work with a developer who can check all your boxes and give the right answers to the questions outlined above?
If so, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our development services or to schedule a consultation.