You’ve probably landed on this page while searching for a “Checklist for hiring an app development company”, and that means you might have already short-listed some potential best app development companies for your project, true? You must have already gone through the roads of posting your app project online, contacted companies via google and, gotten overwhelmed by slew of proposals so far and now thinking on compiling a list of questions to ask before Hiring an app development company for your specific project. Be happy that we’ve already done that for you, and here is the most comprehensive and ultimate Checklist for hiring an app development company in the form of straight questions that you should be asking them. Here we go!

Question 1 –  Cost of App Development, and timeline needed to develop my app; and a breakdown of the same? Also, does it include any free support or warranty, what is going to be the cost of maintenance of my app?

The most common question you contemplate throughout the hiring process is How much does it cost to create an app“, although we also need to understand what does such “Cost of App development” consists of, so that you can compare different quotes on the basis of what all they offer, instead of just on numbers.

Some companies offer only the “App development Cost in their quote”, and then add support & maintenance cost, change order rates, testing costs, design costs later on, while some App development companies like ours try to offer a comprehensive cost at first instance itself, and itemize the same. In any case, we suggest that you should ask the developer to quote for these essential items:

  • App Development Cost (iOS, Android, backend).
  • Admin Panel cost.
  • Design & creatives cost.
  • Support & Maintenance cost & Bug fixing policy (and how much free support is offered).
  • Rate to execute change orders.
  • Hosting costs.
  • Any other cost?

And then, you compare quotes from all short listed app development companies on common ground, and select the ones having most compelling and value for money offer (and that mostly not the lowest quote).

Question 2 – Can I see your portfolio, and some recent apps you feel most proud of? Also, show me an app that is similar to my project (if any), also can I speak with your existing clients?

The question is self explanatory itself, and should be a part of any screening process before hiring an app development company. Someone you’re going to hire must have at least one app in the store in last 1 year, although a good developer may not have done an app similar to yours already and that should be completely fine with you, but asking for similar technological expertise is just an added advantage.

In case there is no similar app in portfolio, you can ask them about the approach they’d take to create yours. This might not be a critical info to be known for regular apps but in case of little or more complicated app, it certainly is.

Question 3. Can you develop a PoC of the most complex part of my project to demonstrate your capabilities, before I hire you for full work?

Take the example of a regular social app but with a complex face recognition feature, and this particular part is most complex out of the whole lot features. You know that other “regular kind” features can be done by any of these shortlisted app development companies, but not all can do this complex feature so you ask all of these to build a PoC of this feature only, you can be generous to even pay a little amount for this part and believe me only few would turn up, and out of those only 1 or two must get what you need ready, so hire the finisher!

Question 4. Which development tools, language, and third-party frameworks or libraries would you use for my project?

You should be knowing which development tools and programming languages your mobile App company be using to develop your app and apart from just the development tools and techs (like Xcode and Swift for iOS, or Java with Studio for android, and node.js for APIs etc), you must also know the third party SDKs and services that they are going to use. For example, a service called as quickblox is commonly used for creating chat functionality in the app, while firebase is used as a backend for various purposes, urban airship is used for notifications, and many low profile third party libraries are used for features like photo editing, filtering, and like OpenCV for face recognition.

Many of such SDKs and services are free to implement, but they charge after a certain usage limit is crossed, even famous tools like Google APIs start charging you after a certain limit is crossed. So, know all such services and their cost and alternate options, and work closely with developer to achieve the best results out of optmized expenditure on these stuffs.

This is one of the most critical information in this Checklist for hiring an app development company, so never forget to compare different SDKs and possible costs associated.

Question 5. Do you provide app documentation?

App documentation is helpful not only when you change your developer and hire another app development company, but also for the development team to maintain the information, versions, and records in a manner that is always easier to transfer knowledge.

Question 6. Can you let me speak with the team members who are going to work on my project, and if you can share their CVs also?

A good app development company would always encourage you to talk to the team members before you hire them for the work, I also suggest my customers to share their GOAL of the project with the development team openly and what you expect from them like a team mate, and this works wonders most of the time. The moment your app developers feel like a part of your bigger campaign, they feel motivated and would really outperform themselves for your benefit.

Question 7. How will we communicate during the development process, how would you update me on progress, what tools would you use for communication?

Ask the outsourcing agency about the regular project status reports and which tools they will use for communication. Most app companies use Skype, Trello, Slack, etc. to communicate during the app development process and regularly update the clients about the progress of the project. Tools like Github, bitbucket are famously used for the code repository and sharing purposes.

Question 8. What are my intellectual properties and how are they protected from any misuse, and how would you transfer those to me?

Before starting the app development work,, you should know what are your intellectual properties and how to take them after the project gets completed. The app’s source code, design files, any algorithm made and other assets are the major IPRs and you should get those at the end of the project or on milestone completion, depending upon what kind of agreement you’ve with the app development company.

Question 9. How will you keep my app idea confidential?

In most cases, a legally enforceable NDA is good to cover this concern of yours. I always suggest my customers not to panic on this part nevertheless, since the larger business value lies not in the idea but on the way it is being executed, positioned and marketed, and sustained and grown. No good app development company would afford to steal your idea and make a bad name for themselves forever, so stay confident.

Question 10. What is your approach towards designing the UI and UX of my app?

UI and UX are most critical aspects of design led app development that we follow and app development companies have different approach towards designing UI and UX of the app, some consider design as first thing to nail down while some prioritize the flow first. In our case, we keep this subjective and figure out a design and UX strategy completely depending upon the kind of app (B2C or B2B), demographics it is targeting, client’s own design preference, and competitive latest trends. There must be much better approaches out there as well, so just ask and figure which ones you like most.

Question 11. What coding standards do you follow?

For us, a code that is less, is good! And if the code is well commented, well documented, inter-operable and easier to be understood by other developer then it is better, and if it is easily scalable as well then it is best. If a developer takes care of these concerns then you’re good to go.

Question 12. Will you submit my app to Play Store or App Store too?

Most of the app development companies do this for their customers, including ours but you should still ask to be on safer side.

Question 13. Do you understand my business/ revenue model?

It has nothing much to do with development apart from implementing inapp or payment gateways but they should understand the revenue model so that they can suggest you best approach both technically and commercially.

Question 14. As per your experience which app monetization technique is best suited for my app idea or how can my app make money?

As the app development agency has already developed tons of different applications, it can be helpful to know their suggestions on the monetization methodologies as well. If they answer this question in a detailed manner, then it indicates that they are actually into “mobile ecosystem” and your partnership with them shall go a long way.

Question 15. Which testing and quality assurance process you follow?

Ask them the tools they are going to use for testing process, and the methodology for manual and automation testing of your app and backend. Automated tools like appium work good for automation testing, while dedicated UAT can be done by qualified mobile app testers.

Question 16. How many projects are you currently working on, what is your bandwidth to take on new work

You’d get “yes, we are available” from most of the app development companies and rightly so since like us many other app development companies keep a bench strength to cater newer projects, though there are some who can false commit, so instead of falling for wrong commitments, you can openly ask the lead time they are going to take and tell them you understand not all projects can be started the next day; give them space to speak truth and you’d have the genuine response.

Question 17. How would you handle if the app you make is not in line with the specs?

Building apps with milestones and releasing interim builds frequently is the key to avoid any such “surprising” situations, app companies who offer customers to review app-underdevelopment frequently have least chances of derailing from the track, so always plan to review builds weekly and even if you find something is not in line with specs, it won’t be more than one week of risk; so more frequently you see the lesser you lose the track.

Question 18. How will you ensure my app would be secure from hackers?

The best way to ensure  this is to ask them the best mobile app security practices they follow, and check which practices they are committing to follow out of the ones given at Mobile App Security practices checklist.

We’ve tried our best to keep this “Checklist for hiring an app development company” most detailed and informative, and the best part being it is full of first hand experience from our pre-sales staff. We asked our sales staff and regular customers to list down all the questions they’ve ever asked before hiring an app development company, and compiled this Checklist for hiring an app development company for you. Feel free to suggest if we missed anything, and we shall publish an update giving full credits.

Sudeep Bhatnagar
Co-founder & Director of Business
Sudeep Bhatnagar

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