4 key areas that indicate a good custom mobile app development company

When your business reaches a certain point of growth, you will most likely need a dedicated application. These solutions allow you to strengthen your brand, promote sales, acquire new customers, and much more. Nevertheless, if you want your app to have distinctive functionalities, then you are aiming for something more complex – a custom mobile app. They are difficult to make, so you should hire a skillful custom mobile app development agency. How to find the best one among the plethora of firms claiming they can build the best mobile app for your business? We will show you 4 different areas worth analyzing to find an efficient custom app development company.

When do you need a custom mobile app development company?

Mobile apps often follow the same pattern depending on their intended use. We might talk about networking apps for forming relationships, e-commerce app for shopping, or productivity apps for increasing your efficiency. Companies can find off-the-shelf mobile apps with generic features that will fit their needs. However, when you want a unique app, you must resort to custom mobile app development. This field deals with apps built from scratch made directly to suit specific client needs. If you can’t summarize your idea by saying “an app like X” or “an app for X”, then you need custom mobile app development services.

The annual number of global mobile app downloads 2016-2021, expressed  in billions.
The annual number of global mobile app downloads 2016-2021 (in billions). Source: Statista.

You might think that custom apps are a novelty, but they have been in existence for a while. What is more, their popularity keeps growing. Bowery Capital states in its 2019 article that the custom app market grew by 100 billion USD in 5 years. The tendency hasn’t changed much ever since. The current situation is quite favorable as well. According to Statista, the total revenue in the app market should amount to 437.80 billion USD in 2022. The future also looks promising. A 2022 press release by MarketWatch provides specific predictions – the custom application development service market will grow at a CAGR of nearly 7% with 26.74 billion USD within the years 2022-2027. This means that there’s still room to make money with a custom mobile app for your business.

Custom mobile apps on the rise

Custom apps are a lucrative option, but they are more demanding in the production stage. You must find a good custom mobile app development agency, and that’s just the beginning of your challenge. Firstly, creating a custom app requires close cooperation with the contractor. You must monitor the project and engage in feedback loops to ensure that the app meets your expectations. Therefore, your communication should go smoothly and enable mutual understanding. Not to mention the fact that the provider should dive into your sector to dive into your needs.

Mobile app downloads worldwide from 2021 to 2026, by store (App Store or Google Play), expressed in billions.
Mobile app downloads worldwide from 2021 to 2026, by store (in billions). Source: Statista.

Secondly, the custom app development company must carry out the project from top to bottom to deliver your desired app. It means that your provider often needs not only developers but also mobile app designers and business experts to finalize the project. Additionally, they should stay within the predefined execution period and budget. That is why you need to find a software house that meets various criteria in 4 different areas: company position, working method, project implementation, and additional services. We’ll explain how to assess these areas when looking for mobile app developers.

4 crucial areas that indicate a good custom mobile app development company

4 critical areas that you need to analyze before hiring a custom mobile app development company.
4 areas worth considering when you are looking for a custom mobile app development company.

1. The mobile app development company’s position

Before you move on to the actual technical details, you need to start with some business basics. Find out whether the custom mobile app developer can provide you with what you need. Or whether it even exists in the way that it presents itself. After all, you don’t want to end up with an unfinished project and a disappearing contractor.

The financial situation

Even a good custom software development company can’t provide services on the brink of bankruptcy. Your role is to check your contractor’s financial situation. For instance, how long the company has been in existence, whether they are in the black and what the general condition of the business is. You can do this on your own via governmental websites (like the US Courts website or the UK insolvency register) or commercial databases (like Dun&Bradstreet ). Another option is hiring a special firm to investigate the bankruptcy, insolvency, or credit situation of your selected custom mobile app developer (advisable for extensive projects, tenders, or public procurements).

The mobile app developer’s size

When you want to ensure the timely and proper execution of your application, you might need a large provider. Look at the company size and the richness of its mobile app portfolio. A custom mobile app development agency consisting of 10 people and specializing in one sector can’t quickly create a large app from a different domain. Perhaps they serve a specific client niche – they might be an enterprise mobile app development company, or they deal only with custom mobile app development for startups. Their area of expertise should match the scale of your app as well as your needs.

If you are uncertain about the scope of your project, it’s preferable to hire a larger software house with various apps in its portfolio. Such providers can offer you a competitive price. In addition, they can suggest solutions to improve your app’s performance without pumping up costs. The size and capacity of your contractor should match your project. If you are unsure how to classify your project, talk to various custom mobile app developers and compare their opinions.

Devinit's Clutch.co profile. We operate as a custom mobile app development company.
Deviniti’s profile on Clutch.co – we are also a custom mobile app development company. Source: Clutch.co.

Their successful mobile apps

Whenever you look at the websites of various custom mobile app developers, they are the leaders in their domain and provide only the best custom mobile app development services. But do they have any real evidence to back up their statements? Examine your software house’s reputation – client feedback, references, the current ranking on review websites, verifiable project portfolio, etc. One of the best-known sources of such information is Clutch.co, but you can also explore the list of Clutch competitors. Try to find a contractor with positive or mostly positive ratings. Nowadays, it’s difficult to provide false reviews, but be cautious with overly glorified companies.

Your research goal should lead to discovering the software house’s capacity and flexibility. The more experienced they are in various domains or technologies, the more elaborate solutions they can provide. Let’s assume you need a versatile fashion app immediately available for all operating systems. It’s a good idea to look for a Flutter app development company experienced in the fashion sector as well as a few related ones like lifestyle or beauty. If the software house has numerous positive reviews from clients in your industry as well as related ones, they are more likely to develop a successful app for you.

2. Mobile app development method

You have found a custom software development company with an established position on the market. What’s next? Well, all this won’t help if you can’t establish efficient cooperation with them. Analyze how they do their job and see whether their working method is compatible with your needs.

The mobile app developers

Learn about the software developers or software engineers (know the difference between these two!) that will deal with your project. Do they have much experience in similar custom development apps? Can they succeed in creating a product that will help you fulfill your business goals? Ask about the roles and skills of people included in the mobile app development team assigned to your project. Ensure that their skills are relevant to the project, especially if you are planning more elaborate solutions like AI-powered chatbots or Augmented Reality components within your app. Don’t settle for half-baked explanations or get excited over tech talk. Discuss the matter until you are clear about everything.

The mobile app development managers

Having people develop your custom app isn’t enough when nobody is taking responsibility for the project. Discover if your custom mobile application developer employs specific managerial functions like Project Managers, Scrum Masters, or Product Owners. It’s even better when they have proper IT certification. They should also have a correct understanding of the custom mobile development process, the frameworks used, etc. Determine who will be the main supervisor and/or contact person for your project and learn more about their experience. Another matter is establishing a communication scheme: how often you will contact one another, what updates you can expect, and how the feedback loop should work. Thanks to this, you will create efficient communication and avoid responsibility dilution. As a result, you can achieve better project execution and lower custom mobile app development costs.

IT roles participating custom mobile app development (divided into development and non-development roles).
People involved in the custom mobile app development process.

Their approach to mobile app development

There are various approaches to software development. Some of them are officially recognized and practiced under certain rules to make the work go smoothly. Identify the specific approach applied by your custom app development company. Do they opt for Agile or Waterfall methodologies to manage your project? Do they have an actual plan for the entire product development life cycle? Learn as much as you can about their management style to find well-organized custom mobile app developers. Nevertheless, they should allow a certain level of alterations. Your plans might change a bit during the development, and your contractor should include the modifications.

The software house’s flexibility should also manifest in its attitude toward meeting your requirements. When your needs are particularly complex, you might have a problem explaining them. Not to mention that your concepts might not match current technological possibilities. Does your custom mobile application development company offer you help in specifying your ideas? Do they tell you about possible options and thoroughly justify why some solutions can’t be implemented? If the contractor shows a genuine interest in your sector and needs, they are most likely to develop a successful custom app.

Risk management

Speaking of changes, some of them can be unexpected and unwanted. In a complex project, there’s always room for trouble. That’s why the custom software development company should excel at IT risk management. They need to identify potentially problematic situations, prepare safety buffers as well as ensure the confidentiality of your project.

A good sign of their risk management skills is receiving a draft of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for app development. Thanks to this, your app idea will be safe from any third parties, including your competition. Another good sign is them openly talking about possible threats and how to mitigate them. If the software house is demonstrating an overly happy-go-lucky attitude, you would rather start looking for mobile app developers with a better approach. The carefree software house’s delivery might be free of problems. But if anything emerges, we might be talking about dozens of thousands of dollars or more lost in the process. This is your money down the drain.

3. Mobile app project implementation

If you like a particular custom mobile app developer and the way it works, you’re ready to discuss the next step. Inquire your provider about how they are planning to carry out your specific projects. Since applications greatly vary, there are several areas you should cover to receive yours on time and within budget.

Budgeting for mobile app development

Budgeting is a crucial part of any IT project. It’s essential in the overall planning process and can determine the outcome of the app. For starters, you should know the software house’s budgeting method, scope, or KPIs. In other words: how exactly do they estimate the custom mobile app development costs, and what results do they expect? If you are feeling very inquisitive, you can ask about their lessons learned from the last project budgeting. You can also ask about various details and their inclusion in the budget.

Request a comprehensive list of all the implementation costs – not only the programming but also analyses and software tests. It’s also a good idea to ask about the influence of limited resources within the project. After all, systems can malfunction, people can go on unexpected leaves, etc. Will these situations affect the process or the cost of app development? Finally, discover your contractor’s outlook on extra charges. Do they happen often? At what project stages can you expect them? You don’t want to receive a hefty additional invoice at the very end.

Pricing options

2 pricing options offered to clients of custom mobile app development companies.
Popular pricing options provided by custom mobile app development companies.

Another money-related matter is the way of pricing the project. There are three possible options: Fixed-Price, Time & Material, or Hybrid.

  • The Fixed-Price model applies when you present your expectations, and the custom app development company takes it on to offer solutions and execute the entire project. This is a rather rigid approach where you pay in parts or in full for a specified result.
  • Within the Time & Material model, you are responsible for navigating the entire project as well as the mobile app development team and resources provided by the software house. This method gives you more flexibility. However, it requires you to pay by the hour, so you should make the most of all the contracted resources.
  • The Hybrid model combines the elements of the other two. You just need to collectively decide which elements should be employed.

Your goal when talking to the software house is to establish their flexibility on the models of pricing and cooperation. Are they allowing you to decide or trying to impose a given model? The worst-case scenario is when they pretend that only one model exists or is effective. A custom mobile application development company that cares about your business needs will let you choose. A green flag is when they diligently analyze your situation and suggest a solution but leave the final decision to you.

Cost optimization within the mobile app

Custom apps hardly ever cost peanuts. If you aren’t familiar with the market, you might spend more than you initially expected. Nevertheless, the right software house might be able to cut your expenses. That is why you should discuss cost optimization. Does the custom software development company welcome this idea with open arms or are they skeptical? If they claim there’s no possibility of optimizing costs while their offered price greatly sways from the sector average, find a different contractor. Unless, of course, they are bringing extra value to the table.

A quotation by Kamil Zając, Senior Mobile App Developer at Deviniti: "The complexity level of a given mobile app often depends on the budget. Find a software house that can show you more demanding features as well as cheaper counterparts. Sometimes you can get beautiful results and meet customer needs without spending a fortune. It’s all a matter of the right information, and then the right choice."

The bottom line is that your software house should demonstrate a proactive approach towards the custom mobile app development costs. One way is to divide your requirements into priorities and then offer various solutions. They can show you how most functionalities work and how they can be simplified to reduce the overall price (remember though that the app quality might suffer to some extent). When you are presented with several variants, you have greater freedom of choice. This can lead to receiving your desired app and strengthening your business despite a limited budget. So, you find a custom mobile application developer that can thrive on as much as you can spend.

Early start with an MVP

Perhaps you don’t want to invest all your money in an uncertain application. There is a procedure that allows you to test your idea without a large initial budget. It requires deep cooperation with your software house. First, you work together to gather the requirements. Then you convert them into a reasonable timeline with specific steps.

The first step is creating a Proof of Concept (PoC). This is a simplified version of your solution with only basic functions. It is meant to check whether the entire app idea makes sense. Another function of a PoC is verifying whether it will work properly in its original design. This app version is used only in internal tests.

When your Proof of Concept is confirmed, it’s time to how the market is going to react to your app idea. In the next step, you develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and release it to ordinary people. MVP development is cheaper and less risky in case your app idea fails. Just bear in mind one of the downsides – your competition will see everything as well. If your app idea turns out successful, it’s time to think about a full-fledged app. Discuss the idea of advancing your app and adding new features. In addition, consider adjusting the app as per user feedback that you have collected in the process.

Your custom app development company should offer you a product development life cycle divided into small stages. Thanks to this, you can receive an MVP to test your app idea on a real audience in a relatively short time. You can also ask your software house for necessary changes on the go. If the software house has only a vague idea about this procedure, they might not prove the best business partner for you.

4. Additional services to mobile app development

As we have already mentioned, custom mobile app development services aren’t just about programming. Your app is made for people, so it can’t just provide functionalities. It should work intuitively and look good as well. For this reason, you should opt for additional services related to mobile app design, safety, or business matters. These will make your app go smoothly and reach the hearts of your audience. It’s best when your software house can provide these services in addition to programming. This should be a qualifying factor.

UI & UX design

A healthy custom mobile app development project should have a Project Manager, Product Owner, and Developers. They are responsible for building the app. You might be interested in some other roles related to mobile app design that gives the solution a more user-oriented structure. For instance, UI and UX designers can help the app become more friendly for actual people. Just make sure they have the proper experience with similar projects. Especially since UX and UI can be particularly demanding in terms of custom apps. The more diversified your software house’s UI & UX design service portfolio is, the more likely they are to make your solution more appealing. Have your contractor’s mobile app designers prepare some app mockups or design sketches to confirm their skills in this domain.

A quotation by Łukasz Czerwiński, Head of Applications Development Business Unit at Deviniti: "A trustworthy mobile app development agency should present you with a detailed cost breakdown – starting from the programming itself through tests and analyses to UI/IX design. You need a clear overview of how much you need to spend on your app and where these expenses come from."

Testing your mobile app

Your app might look and work in the best way possible, but is it always going to be like this? You can’t be sure without proper tests. Inquire your contractor about their QA processes and custom mobile app testing services. Do they provide all kinds of services such as mobile app performance testing or security testing? Do they provide Manual Testers as well as Automatic Testers? If they conduct automated tests, make sure they are using only the best tools. In case you are not familiar with those, view this list.

Remember that the products of custom mobile development are quite non-standard in terms of their functionality. They might require experience and a creative approach to the test scenarios to get checked correctly. Thanks to custom mobile app testing services, your solution is far less likely to malfunction, so choose a software house providing such services as well.

Business analysis

Your application is supposed to support your business. Since it’s going to be a custom app, its uniqueness might prove difficult to be translated into practical functionalities. How can you merge the IT requirements with your business needs? It’s simple – your software house should provide essential business services. If they have the right people on board like Business Analysts or Software Architects, your solution is in good hands. These experts will consider your company’s goals and come up with the best mobile app design ideas or features to meet them. Thanks to their efforts, your application is far more likely to succeed on the market.

Supporting your mobile app

Finalizing the custom mobile development process doesn’t mean there’s no more work to be done with your solution. Even if your app has been well-made, thoroughly tested, and adjusted to users, it still requires support. Ask about services such as mobile app release management services as well as post-release mobile app support and maintenance plans. An additional perk would be regular stability and safety checks. Your solution should always be running, and your software house should be able to make this happen. They must deal with all possible issues to ensure smooth operation and user satisfaction. Remember that any sudden lapse in support might result in your losing users and money.

A quotation by Bartłomiej Słabosz, Mobile Developer at Deviniti: "Releasing a mobile app to the market is just the first step. Your app needs to work 100% of the time. Before you commission anything, make sure the software house offers post-release app support, maintenance, taking care of stability and safety, support with further development, and upgrading to new OS versions. Learn about this beforehand as finding another mobile app developer to provide these services efficiently isn’t so easy."

Your app can work well for a long while. However, no amount of support will help it when operating systems advance. In this situation, your solution will need an upgrade. Your contractor should have the capacity to make your app work on the latest versions of Android, iOS, or any other mobile system that might come. This process might be difficult for an outsider. That’s why the best option is when the company that made your product can also provide app upgrades or bug fixing services.

Does your custom mobile app development company tick all the boxes?

If you managed to find a software house that meets all the aforesaid requirements, you should be over the moon. Creating custom apps is a real challenge. Finding a trustworthy technological partner can ease the process and provide you with the best results. Just remember that in the case of large and complex projects, you might have to pay thousands of dollars and wait even several months. Nevertheless, an efficient custom app development company can make this extremely profitable for your business.

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Dominik Letner

Content Specialist experienced in many business and technical fields. I am a fan of digital marketing in general, with a soft spot for content marketing. You can find my articles, translations, and even short stories in many different places. My hobbies include playing video games, reading fantasy/sci-fi books, and mountain hiking.

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