App development companies – everything you need to know about choosing and hiring an app developer

13 minutes to read • Last updated 10 June 2021 • Published 25 January 2021 • App development

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    Building a mobile app app is not a simple process. Creating an app that will provide a return on investment and stand out is even tougher. 

    It’s a jungle out there, with the Big Two stores – iOS and Google Play – boasting almost 5 million apps between them. With additional competition from Windows, Amazon and countless other upstart app stores, it’s harder than ever to make your mark.

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    Hard, not impossible. Apps are increasingly omnipresent, so consumers will always make space on their devices for the latest and greatest. If an app meets the needs of the user, it will quickly grow in popularity. To achieve this level of renown, however, you’ll likely need expert assistance.

    Contents

    Why hire an app development company?

    A competent app developer will have the experience to guide you through a development process that results in a quality app and avoids unnecessary expense.

    Are app development companies better than individual freelancers?

    As creating an app can be a substantial outlay, it’s always advisable to err on the side of caution and use a business over an individual.

    What skills does an app development company need?

    An app development company will usually have a team of experts that each deliver part of the process, from research, to UX and UI design, through to testing and app marketing.

    How do you break down the cost of app development?

    The proposal or quote provided by the development company will usually contain a list of the steps involved and the price associated with each.

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    What are the HR complications in hiring a freelance app developer?

    In a nutshell, you need to be careful that a freelancer does not accidentally become an employee in the eyes of the law.

    What tools and software does an app developer need?

    With apps growing so popular, there is a raft of tools and software packages designed to add bells and whistles to your design.

    Are app developers reliable?

    When bringing in a solo freelancer, you are placing all your eggs in one potentially precarious basket – it is often safer to rely on the larger team of a development company.

    What are the types of app development company?

    Just like apps themselves, app development companies come in an array or shapes and sizes.

    How do you choose an app development company?

    You should look for a company with good experience, the right skillset, and whose pricing is competitive.

    Why hire an app development company?

    An app development company lives and breathes the art and science of applications. They know exactly what consumers are looking for today, alongside a clear idea of the anticipated trends of tomorrow. 

    What’s more, a superior app development company understands that designing an app is only the first step of a long journey. Such a business will also be able to aid with interface designapp store optimisationmarketing and much more besides. Sure, you could tackle the task yourself. It may even be fun. The margin for error is small though, and elementary errors are common with inexperienced app developers.

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    This all suggests that bringing in external support to create our app is advisable. This begs the question, though – just who do you turn to for this assistance? Follow our guidance and you’ll find the ultimate app development company.  

    Are app development companies better than individual freelancers?

    You will notice that we have referred to app development companies, not individual freelancers. You may, quite reasonably, wonder why. Is this ingrained bias, or is an app development company really better than a freelancer?

    “Better” is a subjective – and loaded – term, and one that is generally best avoided. There are countless skilled and talented freelancers and contractors out there, especially in the age of home working.

    All the same, it’s undeniable that bringing aboard an app development company has distinct advantages over hiring a freelancer. As creating an app can be a substantial outlay, it’s always advisable to err on the side of caution and use a business over an individual.

    What skills does an app development company need?

    Perhaps the most prominent advantage of hiring an app development company is that you’re not investing in individual experience and expertise. Instead, you will benefit from an entire hive mind of professionals that dedicate their working lives to app development.

    This means that you’ll have a far-reaching and diverse set of perspective and skillsets, all of which will be invaluable. An app development agency can take care of everything you need in one project. 

    A freelancer is likely to have a more refined skill set. They’ll undoubtedly be good at what they do – but app development companies are likelier to be good at everything. There is no need to constantly seek additional specialists for particular tasks. For a start, an app development company will have experience in cross-platform apps – freelancers may only be fluent in one coding language.

    This experience also means that an app development company will typically assign you a project manager. This individual will act as your partner throughout the app construction process. 

    This project manager will work to your brief but offer suggestions and improvements all the while – as well as landing logistics and liaisons with external suppliers and app stores where necessary. This will leave you to focus on running your business. A freelancer is likelier to require guidance throughout the process, which could be a drain on your time.

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    How do you break down the cost of app development?

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and if you want a high-quality app developed by an outside expert, an invoice will invariably follow. The cost will be a key consideration when choosing who you bring in for app development services.

    You may find that a freelancer looks like the cheaper option on paper, especially if you’re working with a friend or family member that offers a preferential rate. Upon receiving a quote from an app development company and comparing it to that of a freelancer, you may find the sole trader looks like the cheaper option. Think about the nuances before disregarding an app development company, though.

    Most freelancers will charge by the day or the hour. That’s fine – as long as the wind remains at your back for the duration of the process. If there are unexpected delays, your budget could end up obliterated by the need for additional, unplanned labour. Freelancers need to earn a living and will be sure to charge for these extra hours or days or work – especially if means they cannot take on other projects to meet their commitment to you.

    This will leave you with two unenviable options. You can pay up additional funds that you have not accounted for, or leave the project unfinished once the agreed billing cap has been reached. 

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    If you bring in an app development company, this can be avoided. A watertight contract will be drawn up, ensuring that your project will be delivered within an agreed time for an agreed fee. 

    What’s more, every expense will also be covered in advance. There will be no unpleasant surprises, such as a higher hourly rate to accommodate a late night following a change or heart, or additional cost for a service that was not clearly outlined and agreed upon before work commenced. Freelancers will not be difficult for the heck of it, but they are likely to point out that they are being paid to complete the nuts and bolts of developing an app. Anything on top of that costs extra.

    What about app development VAT charges?
    Don’t overlook the transparency of your bookkeeping, too. An app development company will have no choice but to be registered with HMRC and will almost certainly apply VAT to an invoice. These expenses can be claimed back when you file your tax returns and will clearly be related to a business transaction. This keeps things clean in your accounting.

    What are the HR complications in hiring a freelance app developer?

    Some businesses are taken by surprise by the potential HR ramifications of bringing freelancers onto a project for a prolonged period. In a nutshell, you need to be careful that a freelancer does not accidentally become an employee in the eyes of the law.

    Freelancers are, by their very nature, self-employed. This means that they can choose their hours, working location and what projects they take on. If you are looking for a top-notch app, you may well be looking for dedicated service from this freelancer for a set period. This potentially means they cannot work for anybody else and may need to work from your business premises.

    In the latter case, a whole new can of worms is opened. You’ll need to take all necessary health and safety precautions – a topic far too dull and detailed to elaborate upon here. Our biggest concern is that your freelancer could become indispensable to your business, as you will likely need the same person to see the project through from genesis to conclusion. 

    How does an app developer differ from other contractors?
    A freelance app developer differs from, say, a copywriter or designer. These contractors are essentially guns for hire that can be replaced like-for-like at short notice, even though that would be inconvenient. An app developer will likely take their tools and software with them if they cease work, in addition to all knowledge about the app garnered thus far.

    If a freelancer is deemed exclusive to your business and indispensable to your company, they are an employee in the eyes of the law. This entitles the freelancer to the benefits you offer your full-time employees, such as paid holiday and sick days and pension contributions. 

    Most freelancers will not be interested in rocking the boat and demanding these perks. All the same, it’s a potential legal minefield – and a real headache that is best avoided.

    What tools and software does an app developer need?

    Building an app can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. With apps growing so popular, there is a raft of tools and software packages designed to add bells and whistles to your design. An app development agency is likelier to have access to a larger toolbox than a freelancer that flies solo.

    A freelancer will have their way of doing things and their preferred materials for the task at hand. The world of tech moves at pace though, and it can hard for an individual to keep up with new developments while also meeting workload expectations – in addition to the inevitable expense of paying for multiple subscriptions. An app development company will likely have deeper pockets than all but the most successful and dedicated of freelancers.

    If you’re keen to ensure that your app stands out from the competition, an app development company is a safe bet to have what they need to make this happen. When a business focusses their offering on cutting-edge digital products, you can be assured that they’ll make sure they constantly invest in the best and brightest technology.

    Are app developers reliable?

    Finally, we point to good old-fashioned reliability. This is something that you’re likelier to get from an app development company than an individual.

    Now, again, let us be at pains to point something out. We are not casting any aspersions on the hardworking freelance community out there. It’s a tough world out there, and anybody with the skill, dedication and ability to establish a presence as a reputable app developer deserves nothing but respect. However, it doesn’t change the fact that, when bringing in a solo freelancer, you are placing all your eggs in one potentially precarious basket.

    Freelancers are solo outfits. That’s great, in many respects. It means that you can ensure consistency and one solitary port of call. What happens if that one individual suddenly stops returning your calls or responding to emails, though? It’s rare, but it does happen. 

    There will likely be a perfectly valid reason for this disappearing act. Just like a business, the reputation of a freelancer is worth its weight in gold. Anybody considered flaky, unreliable or dishonest will struggle to find work again. However, humans are prone to all manner of issues and distractions. Unexpected ill health or accidents, family emergencies and unforeseen tech complications can all drag a sole trader away from their desk and unable to communicate.

    Even if you pursue any lost financial investment through legal means, you will not retrieve the time spent fruitlessly chasing your contractor for work that never arrives. As the deadline you assigned sails past, that will become increasingly stressful and frustrating. 

    By enlisting the services of an app development agency, you will have protection against these concerns. A company will have multiple people working on your account, not just one. If something happens to your project manager, somebody of equal skill and stature will be able to take over. This ensures that your app will be delivered on time, on budget and on spec.

    What are the types of app development company?

    Just like apps themselves, app development companies come in an array or shapes and sizes. For example:

    Some app development companies will work solely with iOS, others with Android
    Some agencies will only work on the framework of your app, not getting involved in the design
    Some app development businesses will expect to be guided by you – others will demand a free reign, creating what they think is best
    Some app-specialist agencies will conduct market research, others will work from their pre-existing knowledge
    Some app development companies will provide marketing insights and services as part of their offering. Others will walk away from the project the moment the job is complete
    Types of app development company

    You must take the time to understand what an app development company is going to offer you. 

    If you choose the right business to work with, you will enter into a long-standing, mutually beneficial business partnership. If you choose poorly, you risk taking a significant hit to your ROI – especially if you then need to bring in a second company to rectify the mistakes of your first appointment.

    How do you choose an app development company?

    Let’s summarise everything you should look for in an app development company, based on everything we have discussed previously. The best possible business for your needs will offer:

    • A broad portfolio of work experience
    • A proven track record of superior work, including reviews and recommendations
    • Ability to work with all app frameworks and coding languages
    • Transparent – and reasonable – fixed price costings
    • A sizable and diverse talent pool, ensuring that somebody will always be available to manage your project to completion
    • A full-service offering, including marketing, app store optimisation and UX expertise
    • Access to all the best technology and software
    • A willingness to act as a partner to your business, not an employee or service

    Now, we consider Creative.onl to tick all of these boxes, though we concede that we may be biased. All the same, why not find out for yourself? Our team of app development experts would be delighted to work with you and ensure that your app meets all of your needs – and more. Contact us for a discussion about how we can devise the perfect app for you.

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