How to Hire the Right Mobile App Developer

Having a high-quality website is important, but it’s no longer sufficient for building a viable online presence. In order to attract the nation’s growing number of smartphone users, your small business needs a mobile app, too.

Your software can be as simple as a mobile version of your site packaged as an app or as robust as a fully functioning, independent experience that enhances your brand. Whichever route you take, you will likely need a mobile app developer.

Here’s what to look for to make sure you choose the right one.

1. Strong portfolio — If you were hiring an interior decorator, you would ask to see pictures of spaces they’d designed in the past. Before having any in-depth conversations with an app developer, look at their portfolio. It should include demos of multiple apps with a “wow” factor. If they ask you to buy their apps to see samples of their work, walk away.

2. Impressive client list — You may not be able to afford a developer who works with Fortune 500 companies (although you should still inquire), but whoever you choose should have a client list that includes small and large businesses in your industry. If a developer doesn’t have a working knowledge of your industry, you’ll have to educate them, which takes a lot of time and is unlikely to yield the results you expect.

3. Clear, fair payment terms — You can pay a flat or an hourly fee. To keep the budget under control, a flat fee is best. Some developers ask for the entire fee upfront; others ask for a deposit, with the balance due upon the app’s completion. Avoid paying the entire fee upfront. Consider negotiating milestones where the entire fee isn’t paid until the app is available in the appropriate online store(s).

4. Understanding of monetization — If your goal is to generate revenue from your app, you want a developer who understands in-app purchasing, paid subscriptions, and mobile display ads. If you aim to sell the app, the developer should be able to provide data-driven input as to how much you should charge for it.

5. Expertise — Apple’s iOS7, due this fall, will add at least 1,500 new APIs to its current library of more than 1,000. Think of an API as a feature that is available to the developer to work into your app. Having in-depth knowledge of all of the available features isn’t necessary, but the developer should be able to create an app that is distinct from those of your competitors. Naturally, you’ll want a developer who can build for every operating system — especially iOS and Android — you want to support.

6. Debugging system — All new software has glitches, which developers call “bugs.” Ask your potential partner what their system for debugging your app will be. Will they provide copies to you and others for use before the release? Do they have colleagues willing to test it? When a bug is found, how long will it take to fix it? Do they place limitations on how many changes you can make? The strongest candidate will fix bugs quickly and limitlessly when the problems stem from their work. It is reasonable for the developer to set a time limit on how long they will provide tech support for issues that you or other users create.

7. Distribution — Once you approve the final version of the app, the developer should submit it to the appropriate online stores, like Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Submission is a multistep process that the developer should already have experience navigating and which should be included in your contract.

About Tim Parker

Tim Parker is the owner of ECS, LLC, a company specializing in financial and small business content. His writing has appeared in many of the top financial blogs including Investopedia, Yahoo! Finance, Benzinga, Business Insider, and Forbes. Find him on Twitter @expositioncreat and Breaking Finance News.com
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10 comments
jaklinthos
jaklinthos

Hi stefansalvatore, you are right   whenever you hire a developer then you must check his programming skills.

ameliabrown
ameliabrown

Knowledge of program is very useful in developing a mobile application. You must check him programing knowledge. You also check his/her mind.

Stefansalvatore
Stefansalvatore

Thanks for sharing such valuable information. It will really help me during hiring of mobile app developers for my project.

alinathomas01
alinathomas01

hello,

I must say it is really some very good tips for hiring the right mobile app developer. it is beneficial for those who want to hire a mobile app developer this post will check them alot.

glsmith
glsmith

Navigate to the XDA Developers website and go to the appropriate forum whether you're building an Android, Blackberry or iOS app. http://straitsit.com.sg/

App Developer
App Developer

Thank you for the valuable information which you share with us . Appreciate your Work

AppStoreGuru
AppStoreGuru

I just wanted to share my resource for app business and mobile app developers that we have as well that I believe would be a great addition for your list.  I have a program called App Store Guru, and it actually goes over all the various alternate markets as well and how to make money in them.  I've had my hand in building over 30+ apps and have tested over 10+ markets, so I know how challenging it can be for new and existing developers to get in and make a sustainable business out of apps. That being said, if you would be kind enough to add the following to your list of resources, I believe it will help many new and existing app developers out as well (It is a link to my training program called App Store Guru).

 

https://kr106.infusionsoft.com/go/scorpion/gamescorpion/

 

With so many apps being launched daily and that too with some of the companies having massive marketing budgets, its easy for some amazing apps to get lost in the crowd.  Add to that a very competitive and saturated market, and its no wonder why its such a challenge to achieve success.  Everyone wants to get into the app game, but not everyone makes money from it.  I believe that my course can help new and existing developers do just that.  I'm not promising you millions overnight, but my resource here will definitely open the doors for those app developers who think that its not possible to make it in the app business at all. In any case I thank you for reading my comment and hope that you can add this to your list of resources as well :)

 

Abhinav Gupta

Lead Developer and CEO

Game Scorpion Inc.

DRkit
DRkit

Spot on! Great ideas to start with. It is very important to look first for the company's performance background before getting them.  Or maybe if you have a few options on the list, better talk to them and see who fits to the project you're hiring them for.  

michaelkopfman
michaelkopfman

Something you should also consider is the status of the source code.  If they're going to hold the copyright, or aren't willing to check it into your own source code repository, they can easily hold you hostage.  Be sure that you are given a full verifiably (by a third party) buildable system that you could hand off to another software vendor if they should end up flaking out, or be unwilling to make improvements in the future.