While our world is getting globalized, the digital market is becoming more and more competitive. Additionally, there are various external factors that may have a crucial effect on how companies organize their work, trying not to lose their competitive edge.
Nowadays, it’s getting really challenging to find reliable in-house designers, developers, product managers, business analysts, etc. That’s why more and more companies opt for working with remote teams or third-party mobile/web development agencies.
In this article, we’ll list the main factors to pay attention to when looking for a suitable agency. Our advice may be useful for SMBs, SMEs, as well as some open-minded departments of enterprises.
“Top-X” and similar articles may not be trustworthy
Most “top-X” articles are not reliable at all. Technically, “20XX tips / guides” aren’t either. So it’s up to you to decide whether you can trust the article you’re reading right now, or not.
Nevertheless, most marketing specialists know that people like to google “top-X-something”, and they utilize this knowledge. Marketing specialists in many companies prepare such articles just to advertise services their company delivers. There’s no guarantee that the services really deserve attention.
One more option here are independent companies preparing ratings and reviews, such as Clutch. Their ratings are not always trustworthy and unbiased. Take a look at the Clutch sponsorship page. Here, they suggest paying to be on top of the list. Mobile/web development agencies may simply buy a high rank, and drive traffic to their websites. Thus, high-rated agencies will not necessarily provide you with high-end services.
So do not be judge by ratings and reviews you find on the internet. Always use several sources to verify the information you get from top-X articles and rating websites.
Answering cold calls is risky
Everyday a number of mobile/web development agencies bomb your LinkedIn profile offering their services. Their offer may not be relevant for you at all. It may mean that the agency writing to you:
- Has not conducted the research beforehand to figure out whether your company really needs their services to solve your business problems.
- Uses bots or hires people to spread spam across LinkedIn, and can’t really offer high-quality services or solutions.
Doing business with such companies who prefer cold calling with no preliminary research may be risky. However, there are mobile/web development agencies that try to understand your business situation beforehand, and determine the challenges you face. Thus, they reach out to you with a ready solution for your business problems. It may be worth trying to rely on such agency.
Lowest prices can’t guarantee highest-quality services
A cheap price is often an indication of the low maturity level of the agency’s team. You may think you’d be able to pay less for the services, and manage the team on your own. So once you find the mobile/web development services offered at below market price, you may be tempted to accept the offer. But in some time, you’ll find yourself trying in vain to build cooperation with unskilled and unreliable contractors who are just wasting your time and resources.
Not to get in this trap, make sure you’ve chosen the mobile/web development agency who can distribute their efforts properly, and won’t work on several projects at once at the expense of their service quality. You must be extremely lucky to find a skilled agency that has not ‘made their name’ yet but will treat you like a king, and focus on delivering top-notch services exactly to you.
So, if you have a limited budget, you’d better reduce the scope of work but get everything properly done, even if it will be done only partially.
An agency size does matter
Small agencies can have skilled in-house developers, designers, BAs, and managers. They may be good at building an MVP at a fast pace, or working on time-critical projects. A small agency is a good choice if you do not need a big team, but just a few outstanding experts who will dedicate all their time and efforts to your project.
Large mobile/web development agencies can provide you with great qualitative project deliverables, and scale up and down quickly since they have a big number of employees. Thus, they’ll be able to painlessly replace team members or increase the team size if needed. However, you’d hardly get your project done in the short term, since big companies generally lack flexibility, and are not interested in delivering their services faster.
So choose a mobile/web development agency depending on your business goals, and take into account all the aspects we’ve mentioned above.
Deep technology expertise may not be enough
Some companies look for a perfect match of technologies and even libraries they need to use on a project to reduce the expenses on the agency onboarding process. However, the programming languages & frameworks a particular software engineer has practical experience with shouldn’t be a crucial factor for you. Sometimes, what really matters is the level of general software engineering skills a person has. A good engineer must be able to switch between various mobile or web frameworks, and learn how to use the library he’s unfamiliar with in the shortest term. At the same time, the experts in some particular technology might be able to cope with a limited number of tasks, and might not be flexible in the long term.
In mobile and web app development, new frameworks come out every month. Thus, before starting a cooperation with a particular agency, make sure their team is able to switch between various (new) technologies while using the domain knowledge they’ll acquire on your project.
The right agency can add value to your business
A lot of mobile and web development agencies have only technical expertise in some particular area, and no business knowledge. They can be helpful if you lack the in-house expertise needed to cope with specific tasks.
In other cases, turning to strong and experienced mobile/web development agencies is vitally important. They must not only be good at software design and development. They must also be ready to advise you on the better approaches and more efficient solutions, taking into consideration the specific problems your business needs to solve.
Try to find a mobile/web development agency aiming at building a long-term partnership with you while taking responsibility for certain areas of your business. They must be fully liable for their service quality, and perceive your success as their own. The partnership with such mobile/web development agency can be really fruitful.
Custom software development is too expensive
10 years ago companies could be sure that the apps they created had not been built by anyone before. Today, once you decide to create an application, you may be 99% sure that something familiar already exists. Good mobile/web development agencies know that, and they may suggest combining the use of the products available at a competitive price along with their custom software development services. Thus, they will earn less but build trusted relationships with you.
Moreover, custom software development is getting more and more expensive. Fortunately, you can optimize the development process with low-code and no-code platforms. Low-code and no-code platforms, such as Webflow, Zapier, Shopify, etc. allow for building apps without coding. No need to involve software engineers. Routine tasks that senior developers had to do earlier can now be conducted by so called citizen developers. They don’t need computer science education - they just learn how to utilize low-code / no-code platforms to make up for a lack of programming skills. While citizen developers deal with simple tasks, real software engineers can focus on more difficult ones. Thus, the working process is optimized.
To cut custom software development costs, think about integrating citizen developers into your working process, and utilizing low-code and no-code platforms. Thus, you’ll be able to reduce the entry prices for your clients, as well as increase your margin, since your operational expenses will be cut. So, look for the agencies that suggest using such tools in an efficient way.
On a final note
There’s no panacea against the mistakes you may make while looking for a suitable mobile/web development agency. But, to avoid failures on the way, listen to the trusted sources only, and always check the information you get. Pay attention to the price an agency requires for their services, the approaches to mobile/web app development they are familiar with, their team maturity level and its size, and the domain expertise they have. Moreover, it’s better to choose a development agency with a product mindset, i.e. the one that builds their own products along with delivering technology consulting services.
There’s a number of agencies that build Open Source software besides providing technology consulting services. If their products have clean and high-quality code, there’s a high probability that their services are also top-notch. Before doing business with them you may just ask your technical experts to check their software code on GitHub.
The last but not the least: never dismiss the references you get from the companies you trust. They can provide you with real-time feedback on particular mobile/web development agencies. You may ask for such references yourself via LinkedIn, Twitter, and other SN posts, or simply talk to your business colleagues to get recommendations.
We hope our article will help you find the right mobile/web development agency. If you have anything to add, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll be glad to update the tips we’ve provided with additional useful information!