Level 1: Cheap, Cheaper, Cheapest

Disappearing Developers

Freelancers, online contracts, foreign sweatshops and other developers-on-demand represent one end of the spectrum. They often work extremely cheaply and promise to release your product in record time.

I have nothing against freelancers, but strange outsourcers defame the very principle. I’ve seen freelancers simply disappear many times before. Say you’re unable to contact someone by either Skype, email or phone. This is a serious problem if you have a deadline set and have already made a decent advance. You might think I’m exaggerating, but this happens all the time. Maybe a member of your remote team has a case to study or work to do, but such delays threaten your business. However, outsourcing can sometimes be quite valuable. Read more about common outsourcing pitfalls and find out when it might be beneficial for you.

Unreliable Development Companies

Another problem arises with development firms charging $5-10 per hour. Usually these are companies located abroad, in which the code is held together with glue, struts and low-paid work. How can you develop programs for five dollars per hour? The answer is: you must be a real beginner in development.

They hire recent college graduates and pay them $200-500 a month. These unqualified developers work on dozens of projects simultaneously and often combine the code of different applications, creating Frankencode. Read how to check code quality like a pro.

Security, performance, code quality and scalability are all thrown out. What you’ll get is a bad product, corresponding to its cost.

Our Achievements:

322 App Development Projects
413 Mobile Applications
75 Enterprise Software Solutions
Level 2: Full-Cycle Outsourcing
Hybrid Agencies, Brokerage Firms and Semi-Developers

Many hybrid companies have their own project managers and look like full-service professional companies, but offer work via outsourcing to freelancers and cheap contractors. This model is becoming more prevalent in the technical community, where "expert" firms and consultants simply pretend to have their own development teams.

The hybrid model poses the same problems as hiring a freelancer: the risk of a programmer's disappearance, poor quality, broken deadlines, unreliability and a host of other obstacles. It's good to have your own project manager, but if they’re just an intermediary between you and a foreign company, your situation is no better than if you’d hired the foreign firm yourself.

Working with a design agency that lacks professional programming skills is also no route to success. This puts the whole project at risk.

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What’s at Stake with Budget Cuts

I can say with certainty that no application from the top 100 was created by a small development company, design agency or foreign contractor. Today's market sets high standards that these players can’t match. I'm not saying this is good or bad - it's just the reality of it.

It's disappointing to hear from people who’ve invested 10-15 thousand dollars in creating a small application and received a terrible product. Sometimes it’s even worse - intermediary firms with offices in Australia, Europe or North America receive 50-60 thousand dollars for the work and give their client spaghetti code.

Before we discuss what you should look for in a development company, let's look at what’s at stake when you choose the cheapest option:

The product has a poor design. It looks cheap and unpredictable. Users don’t trust the interface, so they don’t download the application and don’t spend their money on it.

The creators miss every deadline. Nothing is finished on time. Opportunities are lost, profits decrease.

The low price increases due to constant requests for change. In the absence of a clear workload and detailed task, each altered function (and the elements that should have been there originally) is marked as a change request. Some companies even build their business model by increasing the contract value by 200% for so-called "add-ons".

The application can’t be scaled. New users overload the system. The best growth scenario becomes a hindrance when the product encounters growing traffic.

Poor quality. No testing is carried out and no one checks performance and security. User data is at risk and your source code may be publicly available at any time.

Another developer can’t use your code. Even if you contact a reliable company, they will have to start again. This is comparable building a house on a collapsing foundation and rotten beams.

Yet when planning development with a professional team you can still cut mobile app development costs by up to 50%. Check out our webinar recording to learn how. If you want to discuss your project or ask questions about the topic covered in the webinar, contact our business consultant James.

Level 3 - Full-Cycle Professional Development

Fee for the best talents

Smart and skilled engineers are interested in solving problems. They are incredibly valuable. And given the demand for the best talents, will they work for five dollars per hour? No, they won’t.

Professional firms pay big money for these people, and with hundreds of projects under their belts they can find them, hiring and retaining the best in business.

Talented developers and designers create scalable systems. They raise the bar. They create memorable interfaces. Why do Google and Facebook spend so much money on their teams? They know the value of critical thinking and creative problem-solving.

A digital product is more than an app. This is a business that requires a complete ecosystem of support. A dubious firm will create an application even if the assignment is meaningless. Professionals will check assumptions, point out holes and find problems before they occur. So you create great things. Read about the discovery phase at Magora.

Many people face disappointment when they realise stores won’t accept their broken billing service that will lose thousands of dollars in potential transactions. A full-cycle company will work on all the details necessary to support your business.

Design is a mixture of science and art, and there are many nuances in the interaction of people and products. If you’re targeting Western users, it makes sense to work with designers who know their cultural characteristics. If you create an application for another market, you need people who have experience in creating different versions or an international strategy that will suit your potential customers.

Applications require strict standards in code, design, functionality, privacy, etc. A professional firm will apply all the necessary procedures to ensure you receive an excellent product. They base the company's reputation on these standards.

From the legal point of view, if you have any disagreements with a professional firm, you will have a contract outlining certain standards and results. Business should always be based on guarantees, contracts and responsibilities. Protect yourself and your investments.

Warning to the Buyer: What to Look for and What to Ask

Before signing a contract and transferring money, there are a few steps you need to take to get the best product for your money.

Check Social Networks and Ratings

The company can claim that it has offices around the world and 300 developers in your state, but check how many people with these profiles work at this firm, for example, on LinkedIn. If you find only one employee, it’s a huge red flag.

Ratings and reviews on such websites as Clutch.com are also highly valuable when trying to find your dream team. For example, our UK team received recognition for being home to one of the country’s top software developers and was also featured on Clutch in the following categories:

  • Top UK App Developers
  • Top UK Android App Developers

  • Top iPhone App Developers in the UK
  • Top Internet-of-Things Developers in the UK

They also recently released their research into Top Russian App Developers and we’re excited to be ranked so highly on it too.

Clients

unilever
yandex
danone
cisco
trivago
mandara

Talk to the project manager

You should be able to talk with the person who will represent you before the project is completed. Ask them the following:

  • Who will develop your app? What experience do they have?
  • To whom do they report?


  • Are the employees working full-time?
  • How often will we be in contact? How will the daily or weekly meetings take place?
Don’t Just Talk About Code
Ask about testing, code reviews, security protocols and intellectual property protection. Read another article that can help entrepreneurs without technical know-how work more confidently with a development team.
Look for Additional Costs
Ask how change requests are paid for. What do the changes imply? How much do they cost? What’s included? What happens when there are disagreements?

Development is changing fast. This industry often baffles people with no background in code. Don’t let this hold you back from asking questions and doing research. Contact our consultant to discuss any technical and cost issues related to your project.

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