How to find a software company to build your app
You’ve identified the need for new software for your organization. You want it built and maintained but don’t have the knowledge, time, or ability to hire and manage a software staff. So how do you go about finding a software development company for your project?
Step 1: Search for Existing Software
The first step in finding a software company is learning what is already available. Commercial-off-the-Shelf software is likely to be more affordable than anything custom, and an existing product may fit your needs well enough.
Even if you don’t find software that fits your needs, note the things you like and don’t like about each piece of software. This will help you when discussing your project with prospective development companies later on.
Step 2: Company Research
Start off by asking around your network for any trusted development companies. You’d be surprised at how many people you know have gone through this before!
Look online at software development companies near you. Search for terms such as “software companies near me”, “app development companies”, and “custom software development”.
When searching for development companies, you’ll come across companies from all over. Google prioritizes search results near you, so you’ll likely find someone you can talk to face-to-face. There are advantages and disadvantages to going with local, national, and international development companies.
If you’re working with a specific technology such as iOS apps, or something even more specific like BACnet, try to find companies that possess the skill sets necessary. Finding companies that specialize in these things will go a long way for helping you get what you need.
Step 3: Contact Companies
Based on the companies you researched before, contact a handful of your favorite ones and setup meetings. You should be able to find contact forms on each companies’ website.
During the meetings, ask each company questions about how they work. Each company has their own quirks and differentiators for developing software, so learn what each of them are and how they may impact you. They may prefer to take an agile approach, some might use waterfall, some may only do hourly work and some may insist on fixed-bid contracts. These types of answers will be key for narrowing down the company you want to work with.
Discuss how each company communicates and figure out if that will work for you. Some development companies have account executives that work with you through the sales process and then you work with a project manager. Other companies are more personal and you’ll meet everyone up front. Make sure you understand who you’re working with, talking to, and their means of communication.
Common Questions for Software Projects
- How often will I receive project updates?
- What is the primary method of communication?
- How many people will work on my project?
- How many other clients have active work?
- What happens if a support issue arises?
- Will documentation be made for my project?
- How extensive will the documentation be?
Step 4: Eliminate Companies
Before choosing your ideal software development partner, eliminate some lesser contenders. This will help you think clearer when determining the final company.
From there, refine your questions, concerns, and ideas. Communicate each of these to the remaining companies and collect their responses. Use that to determine the company you’d like to work with.
Step 5: Sign Agreements
No matter who you select, you’ll enter some agreement with them. If the project is hourly, you’ll agree on an hourly rate. If it’s fixed-bid, you must have them estimate out the entire project and deliver a formal proposal.
Be prepared to sign a Master Services Agreement and Statement of Work. These documents outline the work they will perform, by whom, in what manner, and for what time period. Make sure you carefully read through these documents to avoid any potential future issues. It may be worth it for a lawyer to review the agreements, depending on the size of your project and your budget.
Then comes the fun — You and your development team get to work!