It is official: you and your circle of competence have decided a mobile application is a New Year’s resolution for your small business. Together you have begged the question: would I buy this application myself? The answer is still yes.
So how do you go about hiring an affordable and talented mobile application developer?
Well, now that you trust that your idea for an application is “sticky enough” to get significant downloads and promote your business, it’s time to contact a developer.
Cork’d, an online destination for reviewing and discussing wines uses the web consultant/software developer firm BoxUK. Cork’d’s in-house developer Kyle Bragger also suggests checking out theymakeapps, builditwith.me and collabfinder.
You want to find a developer that provides: “Clean, usable design that operates within the bounds that Apple has laid out for the development community,” says Justin Shaffer who created Hot Potato, a live real-time forum for discussing events and issues. “Apple makes applications easier for new users to digest and begin working into their daily routines.” Shaffer says to set specific goals for the application and deciding on a set of metrics that should be part of the development process that can be tracked against. “Alternatively, if you're taking a more iterative, creative approach, then you need to be ready to respond to user feedback and invest in iteration.”
Danny Panzer co-creator of ScanBizCards suggests hiring freelancers from sites like Guru, Elance and Freelancer. He’s seen corporate companies pay up to $20K for completed applications, but has observed that it’s more common, especially for smaller companies to develop applications overseas for just a few hundred dollars. Note: A business owner may also need to pay a $99 annual fee to Apple if the developer is not already registered.
The Luxury Spot, a lifestyle website uses programmers based in India because they have the most competitive rates, according to owner Bryce Gruber. The time difference however is a big downside for her. “Staying up until the wee hours of the morning to communicate gets to be a pain!”
While India may have the highest concentration of freelancers, says Panzer, they’re not always the best fit. “There is a huge amount of talent overseas that is willing to work for a fraction of what US-based providers would charge. Right now I am using one based in Indonesia for some design work.”
A savvy money tip for you and your developer when working on the application is to brainstorm and research for complimentary businesses that may want to sponsor the application. “If the application involves cars, an auto company may be willing to pay a monthly fee for being mentioned on the application,” says Alexander Tiger, co-creator of Scarebear Trail Companion, an application that provides safety sounds like the air horn and “bear bells” for those trekking outdoors.
“The trick is to develop an app that can be found among all the clutter on the iStore,” says Shailan Mohan an application developer based in India who develops games for most carrier stores other than the iStore. From the developer perspective: “It’s a lot easier to get your app noticed on the other stores. Most developers on the iStore don’t make any money worth writing home about.”
Some insider advice for new applications courtesy of Mohan: “First release a basic version of the application and then release updates based on the feedback you get from your customers.”