Having a custom mobile app developed makes it possible to get exactly what you need, and nothing more, without compromise. It’s an exciting path to take, but can be a complicated and confusing purchase.
I talk to buyers all the time, and there are a few mistakes I see companies making in their approach to hiring an app developer. To help you avoid these mistakes, I’ll walk you through the six most common that I see.
6 Mistakes Companies Make When Buying Custom App Development
1. You Don’t Have it in Writing that You Own the App’s Source Code
Every app has unique source code – the instructions and commands behind the app that make it do what it does.
Before you hire a developer, know their policy on source code. Are you buying only the finished app, or are you buying source code behind the app?
Without ownership of the source code, you will be tethered to your developer whenever a change or update is needed. And, if you don’t receive ownership, your developer could resell part, or all, of the source code for your app to other companies.
It is very important to understand who owns your app’s source code – and ensure that’s explained in the contract you sign before you start the project.
2. Expecting a Price Quote before Having a Plan
“How much will it cost?” is a popular question we hear in most first conversations.
It’s kind of like asking a home builder how much your custom home will cost before there are architectural blue prints and designs.
Until your app developer knows exactly what they are building for you, the best you can expect is general price ranges for custom app development.
As with a custom home, you should be prepared to give your app developer a budget to work with so they don’t over design or under design your dream home.
3. Not Having an App Designer (UI/UX Designer) on the Team
Oh this is a big one. I can’t tell you how many times established companies have come to us to improve their app and it’s clear that an experienced designer was never involved in the original development process. Developers don’t make good subs for a User Interface/User Experience Designer.
Your brand image and user satisfaction is at stake here.
When buying custom app or software development, please ensure that an experienced UI/UX Designer will be part of the team. All Big Fish projects include User Interface and User Experience design as part of our process. You’ll thank us for it when you see how much better your app looks and how much easier it is to use.
4. Overlooking the Long-Term Costs of Maintaining a Custom App
Initial development on a custom app is only a fraction of the total cost of ownership.
There are feature enhancements needed to keep the app relevant. And at the very least, annual maintenance will be required whenever new versions of the Android or iOS operating systems are released.
Depending on how complex your app is and who will be using it, there will be some degree of tech support needed to provide onboarding and user support.
When building your plan with your developer, make sure to include these maintenance costs as many of them are recurring.
5. Over-Developing Version One of Your App
Trying to pack too many features into the first version of an app is one of the biggest mistakes I see companies make in their approach to custom app development.
The amount of time you can spend “building the ship” is limitless, at some point you just need to launch.
Our team puts a lot of heart into helping our clients avoid the mistake of over-developing. We care a lot! Starting smaller is one of the best ways for your company to reduce risks, get to market quickly and avoid lost opportunity. You’ll also get a working product to your users faster, and benefit from their feedback as you build out more features, and functionality.
6. Having an Inappropriate Expectation of the Cost
By inappropriate, I mean inappropriately low. We’ve written several articles about how much it costs to develop a custom mobile app. Have a look so that you go into your buyer’s journey with the right set of expectations.
The High Value of Custom App Development
There is very real value to be had in custom app development. A custom mobile app can dramatically improve the productivity of your field team, reduce errors, capture and provide insight into key data for your organization. The IP will increase the valuation of your company if or when you chose to sell.
But you need to be prepared for the realities of the custom app development process. You should have a plan in place, an understanding of the factors that influence both cost and timeline, and a plan for what to do when the app is completed.
Your business can benefit for years to come from a solution made just for you.
Ready to Hire a Custom App Development Team?
At Big Fish we specialize in custom app design and development. Start the conversation today and we’ll help you determine if Big Fish is the right fit for you and answer any of your questions.