How to choose a right app developer?

Hello everyone,
I am running a small business in London. The demand turned out to be pretty high, so she wishes to expand. My first thought was that she needs a mobile app. As I see it, it will be much easier to track all the orders through an application, as well as to retain customers. I have studied dozens of posts about apps for small businesses, here (http://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2014/11/17/heres-why-your-business-needs-its-own-mobile-app/#7b2331ca5c76) is an example, but I am still not entirely sure whether it is a good idea.
Do you have any idea how much it may cost? I have read here https://magora-systems.com/mobile-application-developers-london/ that the cost won’t be high if you stick to a minimum of feature, but I would like to know the real numbers.
Probably you can recommend someone who can build such an app for a reasonable price?
Another option is to build a mobile-friendly website with responsive design (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsive_web_design), but I doubt it will be as efficient as an app. I studied the statistics and it says that people spend most of their time on the phones in applications (http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/). Are those numbers true to life?

Thanks in advance

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10

Short Answer:- Lowest - $ 3 K, Average - $ 9 K, Higher side - <$ 20 K.

You can also use this app development cost calculator tool to get a fair idea by just answering some questions, try it:- http://www.agicent.com/app-development-cost-calculator.

I (being an app developer) have created simple apps in as low as $ 3 K though such ones are mostly with one or two functionality and generally not much useful for the end user, most of the MVCs can be done in this price as well (by keeping functionality thin ofcourse).

At the same time, most of the apps get done in line of $ 10 K, whether it is a utility app or small social network or a dating app or bar finder app. Ofcourse, the more functionality you introduce, the more money it gets.

Then, we've game and some high end apps where the development keeps ongoing, apps by large corporate or some high complex apps and awesome games are most expensive, they start post 15 K and go upto anywhere.

So far as hiring a dev is concerned, please note that app development is not a single person's work but a team project. You need a designer, backend guy, tester apart from app developer (2 app developers in case of native iOS and android FYI), so if you're outsourcing then consider this:-

1. Hire a team (preferably a company) not an individual.
2. Don't hire via upwork or other platforms, they are all busy in low price wars and either part timers (burning midnight oil on your project) or loosely created agencies that may or may not work (becuase of low cost they've to take large volume of work and then quality suffer).
3. See the previous experience and references of shortlisted guys.
4. Always ask for a trial period (get create a PoC of the most complex feature of your project and see their expertise, professionalism etc).
5. Do your homework also and be ready with the detailed specs; the more information you submit to potential developers the more accurate response you get and vice versa so be clear in what you need.
6. Create an acceptance criteria and keep updating that during the development and share with the dev team so they know the parameters their deliverable is going to be compared with.

and then you learn during the process.

7

Hi Robin:

The cost for a mobile app isn't necessarily a fixed number. Having worked for a large agency (RGA) prior to establishing my own company where we build bespoke (custom) mobile and web applications I can tell you that some of the apps we built for companies like Nike and Walmart cost well over $100,00 (US). Now that price got you top-bottom full-service customization and a totally unique design and user-experience - not necessarily something you would need for a smaller business.

The other thing to keep in mind is that if you're talking about an app thats going to do things like track and take orders then you're really talking about a system where MOST of the real work isn't happening in the mobile app but rather whatever back-office system the app is communicating with. If that back-office system is already built and provides a way for the mobile app to talk to it then your price would be FAR less. If it ends up that the developer would have to build the mobile app AND the back-office web-app then the cost goes up significantly.

At the end of the day you need to figure out if the investment in time and $$ will yield a significant enough return not only to you but also to your customers.

All of that being said here is a link to a site where you can get a ROUGH, ROUGH idea of what an app would cost (http://howmuchtomakeanapp.com).

Once you've gone through that and if you're interested in moving forward then please feel free to contact me as we do exactly what you're looking for.

7

There are a number of points you need to consider:

1.
An App is a long term commitment and is not a one off project. You need to be prepared for ongoing costs such as integration with new operating systems such as new versions of iOS, Android or Windows. You also need to consider constant security threats. You need to be very aware that creating an application will require ongoing development and support.

2.
Off shoring development will save you money but in the long run you need to consider language barriers, time zones, currency movements, and follow up support. Short term savings may sound attractive to start with, but ongoing costs could be frightening, especially if you cannot guarantee ongoing support and have to move on to another developer to carry on the development or support.

3.
The biggest problem in development of any software, or website for that matter, is lack of documentation of requirements by the customer and then lack of documentation by the developers. Lack of “requirements capture” causes disconnect between expectations and final delivery. The axiom of development is “One Time, On Budget, On Spec; pick any 2”. Anyone that tells you otherwise is being less than genuine. If you cannot define the specification (On Spec), you will never be able to achieve one of the other 2 namely on budget or on time. So think very carefully before you get carried away in the enthusiasm of creating an application. Defining specification is a highly skilled job, which is why Product Managers are highly sought-after and highly paid.

4.
The next problem (assuming you get the rest right) is having your code documented. We come across customers every week where they have had applications or websites developed but there is no record of the work or any documentation. This means it takes a huge number of man-hours to find out what the client has to begin with, document it, and then troubleshoot, debug, or develop it further. Make sure anyone quoting for your work is including documentation of the final code in their pricing, and also ask for a sample of the documentation. The old adage of “Garbage in, Garbage out” is valid here. You can document the code but if it is not done effectively, then it is complete waste of time.

From experience, if your potential supplier is not asking you awkward questions, then you need to worry. We decline 50% of projects that we are asked to bid for because the client has no documentation or is not prepared to pay for it. There is no way we would want to get bugged down in “Design on the Fly” with ever moving “Objectives”. Anyone with any experience would know this and would not touch a project without proper Requirements Capture Document. We offer to do this for clients as a separate project so we help clients to develop documentation for the requirements, which they can then send out to any company to bid against. Sadly, many companies do not see the point and try to save costs in the short-term, only to come back to us to clear up the mess someone else has left behind.

In summary you are embarking on a major project and commitment, so make sure you truly understand the implications in time, costs, and resources.

6

On average, a decent app will cost USD$30,000. Having said that, we've done apps for as low as $9,000. It really depends on complexity, scope, and design.

Before jumping into an app for a small business, a few things need to be clarified: If it's intended for customers, first run a survey of existing customers and see if customers would want such an app. If it's intended for internal use, then there are many off-the-shelf solutions that help tracking orders and such.
Hope that this helped.

5

Your right an app is right approach. First point is app must be mobile friendly, doubles as a mobile friendly website. We have an interactive mobile friendly app loads fast, easy to read on 4g network (doubles as 6page mini mobile friendly website) delivering your message right people realtime Rsvp functionality direct to you unlimited 24/7 global push notification free send and receive android apple laptop Pc's nobody misses out for less than weekly cup coffee with opportunity to share with others. Everyone helping each other globally. Silent salesman customisable marketing communication app with full free training and support included. Have included link for your convenience because time difference.
www.jenny4t9cea.icanget2.com all is explained on website happy to help as this is tailored to benefit globally.

4

Hi Robin,

If it is a priority for you to take and track orders, as your first step, we suggest building a mobile responsive eCommerce platform. This is necessary if you like to track payment & shipment orders with Fedex, USPS and etc.

Once the above is built, you can integrate it into a branded mobile app where you can bundle it with loyalty features. We have various loyalty features to choose from. Your customers will love using the app if the loyalty features allow them to build points or incentives so as to redeem your products or services.

We can build a mobile app that will require your customers to sign-in. Once signed in, we can organize your users into segments. These segments will allow you to laser target push notifications messages. For example, you may send Push Notifications to the Female segment of your customers since you have a promotion on blouses or handbag.

I hope I have provided you insightful answers to your questions.

For more info, feel free to visit us on the web. You may also send me a private message if you have any further questions. I'd be happy to further assist you.

4

Hello, Robin.

First of all, you should develop a comprehensive plan.
It is really important to select your target audince, to have an image of your customer in your mind when you will launch your project. You can read about business planning here http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/07/write-a-business-plan-for-your-online-business.html
Second, choose a platform. Will your marketplace be available only on the web? I recommend going for mobile. People now browse the internet through smartphones mostly, not desktops, according to stats - http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/
In order to choose a developer, browse through developers experienced in your field. You can read customer reviews, check out portfolios and ask on forums. Or if a developer has an option to ak questions, like here ( https://magora-systems.com/mobile-application-developers-london/ ), then write to them and discuss your project.
Last but not least, make sure you know everything about the latest marketing strategies and trends. Read blogs, magazines and forums. On Forbes they have a lot of useful info- http://www.forbes.com
Good luck with your marketplace!

3

I really like all the responses. I think they're pretty dead on. I would echo what Mr. Wafapoor said in regards to your customers thoughts. This is one of the problems or perhaps challenges is a better word: Businesses build Apps then expect the consumer to go and utilize it. The approach should be one in which the app is a tool for meaningful and powerful engagement opportunities that drives new customers and builds repeat business. So, begin first with thinking about how do you want to use the app to engage your client base more fully. You're on the right track though. Well over 80% of consumers say they are more likely to engage a brand if there is a mobile option. I'll also identify a few pitfalls. Due to the lack of foresight I mentioned above, SMB's tend to start focusing on churn. The ratio of new uploads and deletions. This can become a full time job. Studies show that the average user deletes an app within 30-days. It's probably due to lack of meaningful, personal and relevant information coming through (i.e., promoting women's lingerie to men). You also need to think about updates. Native Apps need lots of updates. You can DIY or have it managed which is highly recommended. It's also about memory. A lot of people, especially iPhone users delete apps due to limited storage. It's also a barrier to adoption. So, you have to provide and promote a clear use case for the app. This can be difficult. My company does Mobile Apps on occasion. We normally come in about half of Mr. Wafapoor, but that's not for some totally souped up badass app. A pretty good app with nice features, but not a "ferrari". However, we also do web apps that can and do very much function as an app and even give a lot of the feel. We can certainly set it up for less than a $1000 with a shipping cart etc. A full on mCommerce site. It can function as a mobile website. Clearly, we cannot achieve the true level of functionality you get from a native app. But, as I said, when evaluated form the perspective of use and it's ability to work as an engagement tool, it may be even better. Web apps, in addition, don't require a download. This reduces a barrier to adoption and causes no churn. Furthermore, we include a texting campaign, automated mobile loyalty punch card, mobile coupons and social media management. So, we have the basics you would get form a native app. I agree with Chris that you would be better off letting a back office software track sales., Cheaper and probably more cost effective. LAstly, you can certainly build true native apps through DIY avenues. But you get what you pay for. Sorry so long.

Shopping cart not shipping cart.

2

I've hired developers in India and Vietnam and the US (always a mistake) and Russia- I bet you can get a native app done for less than $3K. But no more than $10K.

I think that's about right.

1

Dear Robin,

App is the best option, is not very expensive. Unless I have details of your requirement I cannot suggest you even tentative cost but, assure you its not going to hurt your budget. A website is good for desktop or you can say big screen, for mobile app always has advantage over web option.

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