App Development Series: The Ideal Developer

Starting a business partnership is rarely simple, but it’s often very exciting. In the case of mobile app development, finding the ideal developer to hire requires you to find out a lot about them. Ideally, they’ll not only have experience, reliability and reasonable pricing, but they’ll also be genuinely nice to work with. Here, I’ll walk through the steps to find and choose a developer who ticks all the right boxes for you.

Firstly, there’s no shortage of avenues you can use to find developers. If you’d like for the developers to come to you first, then you could create an online ad for “app developer wanted”, and post it on Facebook, Craigslist or wherever you think it’ll get the most attention. This is a perfectly viable option, but it’s probably not one to use if you’re looking to find and hire a developer quickly.

The simplest proactive method is to just use a search engine and look up “app developers for hire.” Or, if there are meetup groups for app developers in your area, you can go to some of those meetings, which will let you actually meet developers in person. If neither of those options work out, there are multiple online directories, such as Clutch.co and Mobiledeveloper.net, where scores of app development companies are listed. In that vein, LinkedIn’s business listing tab does basically the same thing for all kinds of businesses.

Knowing where to find developers is important, but so is knowing how to choose the right developer. If you haven’t already, you need to ask yourself a litany of questions about what you’re looking for in a developer. To start, how much experience do you want your developer to have? Are they just starting out, or are they veterans with years of work in app development? On that note, how many employees do they have working for them? Would you prefer to hire a larger or a smaller team to create your app?

It’s equally important to consider what your price ceiling is for this app when you’re browsing developers. The last thing you want to do is overextend your budget if, say, your developer demands more for their work than you’re willing to pay. If you’d prefer to meet your developer in person to discuss things like payment, you should ideally choose a developer who lives nearby.

In either case, another important check to run on your developer is whether or not they’re even trustworthy. See if they have a website or detailed page where you can check their references and past projects. The detail in their clients’ testimonials should indicate whether or not the developers themselves are a legitimate group.

If all these sources agree that this developer is the real deal, then you can officially reach out to them. However, your first communication with them shouldn’t include your request for them to build an app that does “xyz”. You haven’t actually entered into the deal with them. For all you know, they’ll have too many projects going on right now. You first need to introduce yourself to them, giving them just the right amount of info on yourself. Too little, and they’ll think this is a scam. Too much, and they’ll say “TLDR;”.

You should ask to arrange a face-to-face interaction with them (phone screening, google hangout, Skype, Facetime, conference call). While you’re getting to know your developer, make sure that there’s a chemistry between you two – do you actually like them as a person? Trying to develop an app with someone that rubs you the wrong way is a recipe for disaster.

If you find that you get along really well with this developer, and that their background meets your criteria, then you can safely broach to them your idea for your app and whether they’d like to create it. The ensuing sequence of events should follow:

  1. First you give them an outline of the idea for your app: what’s the underlying idea behind it, what you want it to do, who you’re selling it to, etc.
  2. If they reply back and ask for more information, then you need to send them a more elaborate description of the app. In the same document, called a Request For Proposal, you need to ask them three crucial things:
    • What they envision this app is going to be like when finished.
    • When they think they’ll be able to create the complete app by.
    • How much they’re going to charge you to create it.
  3. They’ll send you back a proposal that answers these questions and asks for your thoughts.

If these events play out as described, then congratulations! You’ve found a developer who has the skillsets you need, whose personality you like, and who’s willing and able to create your app. You’ve discussed your idea for your app, worked out the logistics, and have arrived at an agreement that satisfies both of you. Now, you’re ready to begin the wild ride that leads to a completed app in the App Store.

Next time: On The Same Page

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