How to choose a software development company
Hey there! Are you looking to develop an app for your business or new startup, and you're rolling up your sleeves to start the hunt for the perfect company to make it happen? Well, then this article should be quite handy for you.
Below, we're going to lay out a few strategies to guide your search and help you avoid future headaches. When searching, it's essential to keep in mind that many custom software development companies tend to have typical issues associated with outsourcing, such as making over promises – they might pledge to deliver something fantastic and quick within a month, but the reality could leave you waiting for what feels like an eternity. A genuinely expert company will give you realistic timelines, and although they might be longer, they are more likely to keep their promises. Moreover, an experienced team will notify you about the potential challenges within your app, be it integrations with third-party libraries or unconventional solutions.
Furthermore, remember that some companies sell junior developers at senior rates. You might think you're working with a seasoned pro, but that may not be the case.
It's also vital to pay attention to factors like code reviews, development processes, communication approaches with you, and product development experience. For instance, in our company, we always set up processes to showcase progress to the client in a demo meeting once a week, and every line of code undergoes review by the lead developer. Additionally, before starting development, if we realize the project lacks sufficient initial information, we conduct a Discovery Phase, where we iron out all the details. This way, even before development kicks off, we're well-informed about all potential nuances and complexities.
Now, let's get back to finding the right company. You can use both general Google Search results and specialized marketplace platforms that compile information about top companies, along with their ratings and reviews.
We recommend Clutch.co as a resource where you're likely to find the most honest and up-to-date information. All client reviews on this platform are subject to mandatory review by the platform's managers, and only once they're sure the review and client are genuine will they publish it. This ensures that the reviews are truly honest and not manipulated.
Furthermore, each outsourcing company on the platform has its own rating from 1 to 5. We don't recommend approaching companies with a rating lower than 4.
So, after you've shortlisted a few potential companies, it's time to reach out to them.
Right off the bat, you can assess the speed of communication. If a company takes a week or two to respond to your inquiry, it's unlikely they'll be any quicker during development.
In addition, when you're reviewing a company's profile on a platform or their website, we recommend verifying the information on LinkedIn. It's particularly important to double-check the technical team. If the company's website claims to have a team of over 50 people, with more than 80% being Experienced Senior Software Engineers, take the time to cross-verify this information on their LinkedIn company page under the employees section. If you find only 7 people, most of whom just graduated college yesterday, that's a red flag. You should reconsider and postpone communication with such a company.
Next, check the company's portfolio. It should be up-to-date, meaning the latest projects should look modern and be to your liking. Don't hesitate to look for links to the actual applications they've developed and check if those apps exist. If they do, all is well, and you can move forward. For example, in our portfolio, we continually add new projects and provide links to the actual applications so our clients can test them.
We also recommend paying attention to the company's website itself. At a minimum, it should function correctly and be fully responsive, meaning it has both desktop and mobile versions. If it lacks these features, that's another red flag for you.
Next, you'll likely engage in your first communication with a company representative. Pay attention to how well they understand your industry, whether they offer you options, or if they simply insist on a particular technical stack without explanation. To make your life easier, we've prepared a specialized article on how to choose the right technical stack for your project.
It's also worth noting basic aspects such as the quality of sound and video during the representative's call, their background, and the quality of their internet connection. If they're in a country with internet issues, it's unlikely you'll find a team in that country with the necessary specialized education and experience to work in the field of information technology.
Estimate Most likely, you will come to a point where they'll propose preparing a rough estimate of the cost for developing your application, as well as estimating the timeline. This is one of the most crucial stages. We do not recommend defaulting to the cheapest option because, most likely, you'll just end up with scammers or an inadequately qualified team that probably won't deliver exactly what you need.
Different companies typically offer two options for custom software development: Fixed Price and Time and Materials. We've prepared an article explaining the difference between Fixed Price and Time and Materials options.
During the process when the company is preparing a rough estimate for you, pay attention to their approach. If you don't have a ready UI/UX design and a detailed technical requirements document, it's simply impossible to provide any estimate. You can only get a very rough understanding of the project's minimum and maximum cost.
We also recommend paying attention to whether technical team members, project managers, or business analysts are involved in the communication process.
Lastly, we recommend choosing someone you feel most comfortable communicating with, someone who understands you and your requirements. You need to be on the same page. Additionally, if you have an enterprise business, you'll probably feel more comfortable working with larger companies, and if you're an SMB, you might prefer companies of similar size.
I hope this information has been helpful to you, and you'll be able to select the custom software development company that suits you perfectly. And remember, if you need technical consultation, feel free to contact us.