How to find the right App Development Company

7 minute read

85% of the UK spends approximately 900 hours per year actively engaged with their smartphone; tapping, swiping, and clicking in excess of 2,600 times a day. Smartphone users have developed an extremely low tolerance for imperfection, and even the slightest inconvenience can make an app flop. With over 4 million apps battling for supremacy in the App Stores, less than 0.01% will become financially successful.

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No one can deny the potential of these micro-computers in the palm of our hands, but finding an App Development Company that consistently delivers can be a laborious process. As the App Store Manager for a portfolio with over 115 million downloads, I saw firsthand how hiring the right developer can be the difference between success and stagnation.

Game studios were the first to mobilise their teams of highly specialised developers, and created a $46 billion industry (2017) that shows no sign of slowing down. Facebook saw the opportunity, and it didn’t take long for their developers to dominate the app stores with over 4 billion downloads.

The ‘fad’ stigma associated to apps has been proven false. The future is digital, and those too slow to adapt will be left on the dusty shelf of empty High Street Stores. Understandably Banks were cautious to adopt mobile apps, but this enabled a plethora of online-only FinTech start-ups to steal the spotlight. Creating  a ‘wild west’ of UK mobile banking, with over 22 million active users (2017). If these apps can encourage 80% of users to go paperless, then the UK financial service could see annual cost savings of £1.3bn. It raises the question; Can they really afford to not have an app?

Firms in Digital Health, Energy, Fintech, Manufacturing, and Heavy Industry are beginning to see how Mobile App technology can save them time and money. The ultimate digital Swiss Army Knife, apps can be used for public or internal use, to streamline processes or automate procedures, to organise workers and HR or monitor a plethora of sensors and data point. The only limit to your success is the capabilities of the developer.

So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? In a world full of vibrant aesthetics and bold claims, I follow a 5-Step-Process to ensure that the Mobile App Development Company can deliver on their promises.


5 steps to finding the right App Developer

1) Look for a developer with an active interest in your business.

Hiring high-quality developers will cost a significant amount of money, but it is far cheaper than dealing with the shortcomings of a cost-cutting option. Often Sales specialists can feign interest expertly, so it is wise to delve deeply into what industries they specialise in; Commercial, Fintech, Digital Health, Energy, Industrial IoT, Oil & Gas, Games, or maybe they proclaim to be a Jack of all Digital Trades.

It will be their job to guide you through the minefield that is App Development, turn your ideas into reality, and have the experience to know what works and what doesn’t. Mobile app development isn’t a one-time service, due to constantly evolving needs, technology, and user feedback. It is essential to find a developer who understands the full lifecycle of your product, and will not abandon you once the initial development is done.

2) Assess their portfolio and client references.

A good developer should be able to demonstrate excellent stakeholder management. Check their website, but also ask for examples of similar projects. Often big clients won’t be published, due to confidentiality agreements, but they may be at liberty to discuss them with you.

Download their previous apps (maybe you already have it), play with them, and treat it like test driving a car. Did the app behave like you expected, was it effective, what did you like and dislike? Take notes of your observations and conversations, they are an essential aspect of the final stage. Look for developers who are not only proud of their clients’ apps but also continue to work with them. A good app is an integral part of a successful digital strategy, and in an ever changing landscape you need to ensure that your developer is with you for the long haul.

3) Check if they have the right specialists and capabilities.

Always check the size of the company, and cross reference your requirements with their stated capabilities. Enthusiasm is not a substitute for experience. If you have a big project with a short-deadline, a smaller company just won’t have enough time or resources to deliver. If you are seeking to integrate revolutionary technology, such as Voice Control, Augmented Reality, or provide a seamless interface from a plethora of sensors, you do not want to take a risk with an inexperienced developer.  

Many companies have a “say yes, and figure out the details later” mentality. To compensate for the lack of expertise, cheap bids are plagued by the epidemic adoption of ‘cookie cutter apps’, a low-labour one-size fits all approach. Cookie cutter apps sacrifice both functionality and security in exchange for a fast turnaround.

Make the app developer talk you through their processes and methodology. Is everything bespoke? Do they outsource any aspects? Have they adopted agile development strategies? Do they know their GDPR from their PSD2? Can they talk you through potential security vulnerabilities and how they will protect your app and data?

4) Look at how they treat their staff.

Glassdoor has saved me from many potential disasters, it is a brilliant website that shows what employees (both former and current) think of a company and its management, allowing you to peak behind their Branded Persona.

Many companies say they have a great price, but if they don’t treat their staff properly you won’t get a great product. And with a high-staff turnover your app could soon become a frankenstein monster, being passed from pillar to post whilst quality is sacrificed to hit deadlines.

 If you want a secure app the last thing you need is a disgruntled and underappreciated employee working on it. You need to find a workforce who are invested in both the success of your app and the vision of their company.

5) Ask the right questions!

I can not stress this stage enough. Impulsive decisions rarely have longevity, so ensure that they are compatible with your organisation. After you have found a potential company, create a set of questions and scenarios for them to answers. Use this as an opportunity to press for specific examples and key information (it helps if you can include a few specialists on your end). I would advise including;

  • What would you do if a Lead Developer left half-way through?
  • How do you plan to keep us involved throughout the process?
  • When and what was the last project you had similar to this?
  • How do you plan on supporting the app after development?
  • If a software update breaks the app, when and how would you start to fix it?
  • What legislation do we need to be aware of?


I hope that these 5 steps help you cut through the fluff, and secure the right mobile app development company for your project. If you want your app to truly succeed, please make sure that you take your time, and don’t settle for anything less than the top 0.01%.

If your businesses won’t settle for any less than success and the UK’s leading Mobile App Development Company, then please click here to get in touch and kickstart your digital transformation.


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