Hiring the right web application development company, or deciding on a custom business software that fits your company’s needs, is one of the most important investments in today’s tech-savvy world. Surprise, surprise, it’s also one of the most difficult if you don’t take the time to learn what’s important.
Think of the process as any good partnership. You want to find a team that takes the time to get to know you and your business, qualifies that they offer what’s needed, and ensures they’re willing to work with you throughout the whole project, adjusting as you go. If they’re not a good match, you risk wasting time, money, and energy on a product with which you’re not completely satisfied.
To get started, here are five tips to help you with your selection process.
1. Define both the web application's goals and your business goals
Before you even start your search, you should establish clear goals for both your business and application. Literally ask yourself, “Why are we doing this?” and compare it to your business goals. The two are highly interconnected and the best web application development companies will, early on, want to know your high-level business goals, and what some of the specific application goals will be. If you’re talking with a company and goals aren’t mentioned or discussed, it could be a sign they’re not as focused on the overall end product as they should be.
2. Look for experience, reputation, and redundancy (don’t be afraid to stalk them on the internet)
This is one of the most important things to consider. How long have they been in business? How many happy clients do they have? How many projects have they completed? Where and how do they back up their code? Where will your web application be hosted? All of these are questions you should ask when hiring a web application development company. There are multiple ways to accomplish the same outcome, and it’s important to be sure the team you hire has the experience to develop in the most efficient way possible.
Ask them questions, talk with them face-to-face, call their references (they should provide at least three), and at the very least, heavily research their website and social media pages.
3. Don’t feel like you need to keep it local (this isn’t the produce aisle)
Even if you live in one of the top 5 markets for web development - New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, or Phoenix - expanding your search outside of your local area is going to provide value. With different locations comes different perspectives, talents, pricing, and services. With technology accessible like it is today, it’s easy to receive information and bids from all over the country; in fact, this is a new norm! However, be careful not to expand your search too much; doing so could prolong your decision making process. Stick with 3-4 proposals/companies as this will provide you with the due diligence needed to make an educated decision.
4. Set a budget, but be prepared to have some wiggle room
Software development is a difficult thing to predict. It’s impossible to know exactly what you want from day one. It’s also common to know what you want, but not exactly what that entails. Sometimes it simply takes using parts of the application to clearly understand precisely what you like and what you don’t like.
Your best bet is to have a budget in mind, but understand a 10-30% cushion on top of that budget would allow flexibility to improve your application as you see fit once you start development.
5. Research the web application development company’s team
Be sure to ask about the actual team that will be delivering your web application. Websites and coworking spaces can make any company seem bigger and more experienced than they truly are. Not having a team page on the company website can be a red flag. Hiring a solo operation, or a company that has limited resources, could put your project at risk for delays, and doesn’t guarantee the quality that a firm with a team dedicated to your project can more aptly provide.
Overall, the most important tip is to hire the web application development company that’s right for you and your business. By focusing on your goals and doing your research, you can be confident in your partnership selection.