Who’s going to build it? And how do you find them?

The first step in the decision-making process is determining whether you want to build the app in-house or outsource to an app development agency.

The decision to hire a mobile app agency is full of question marks: What do you look for in an agency? How you can be sure the agency you hire is actually capable of delivering what you’re looking for?

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the factors you should consider when looking for an app agency, and the questions to ask the agencies that make your shortlist.

Let’s get to it.

Should You Build Your Mobile App In-house or Outsource?

Before you begin searching for mobile app developers and designers, you need to decide whether you’re going to outsource or build in-house. To help you make this decision, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

What is your mobile app development timeline?

Nobody knows more about your business than your own team. They’re already well-versed in your brand values, brand voice, target audience, vision, goals, competitors, and more.

The best app agencies spend time learning about all those things so they can deliver the best final product. But of course, this won’t happen over one quick phone call. It will take time, and your development timeline will reflect this.

Do you have the resources available to build in-house?

Bringing in top talent is key to a successful mobile app development process, whether that talent is at an app agency or at your own company. As you navigate the in-house vs. outsource decision, consider the cost breakdown of building an app development team. If you can afford to either allocate members of your existing team to the app building team or bring in additional talent, in-house may be the best path for you to take.

Read on: Build your app in-house or hire a mobile app agency?

Where To Find Mobile App Developers & Designers

Like we said—whether you decide to outsource or build in-house, you need to find top talent to bring your app to life. Let’s assume that you’re looking to outsource your efforts. If so, we recommend starting with these three sites:

Clutch for Top Development Agencies

Clutch is a ratings and review firm based out of Washington, D.C., that covers development agencies in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. They assess companies on several quantitative and qualitative factors. The most important component: verified client reviews.

In Clutch’s latest Canadian Leaders list, MindSea was featured as one of the top mobile app developers in Canada, top iPhone app developers in Canada, and top Android app developers in Canada. To find the best mobile app agencies near you, Clutch is the perfect place to start your search.

AgencySpotter for Top App Agencies

Agency Spotter is a prominent agency listing site based in Atlanta Georgia. Founded by former leaders from The Coca-Cola Company and American Express, Brian Regienczuk and Joseph Raccuglia, the company creates effective pathways for brands to discover new agencies.

Over the last few years, AgencySpotter has done a great job at identifying and offering insight surrounding the best agencies. For the last two years, MindSea has been named one of the top agencies thanks to our high number of quality reviews and great customer service.  

Dribbble for Top Designers

Consider Dribbble the central hub for finding the best designers out there. If your Clutch research yielded a handful of app agencies you want to learn more about, look them up on Dribbble to get a feel for their design style. On the MindSea Dribbble account, we often feature work we’ve done for our clients, including some of our best app design mockups.

Key Things To Look For Before You Reach Out

Before you reach out to the app developers, designers and agencies you’ve been eyeing, take some time to do a deeper dive. But make sure you’re looking for the right things during the research process:

A diverse portfolio showcasing technical and design skills

If an app agency doesn’t have a collection of past projects that showcase their talents, it’ll be hard to trust their word that they can deliver the app you envision. Look for examples of their work, whether on their own website or their Dribbble account. Is it high-quality? Do they seem capable of bringing your mobile app to life?

Case studies highlighting past client work & testimonials

The best mobile app agencies post case studies of past client work for potential new clients to peruse. Use these case studies to get a feel for how an agency approaches new projects, what their process looks like, and how satisfied their clients seem with the experience.

The best case studies show the full picture surrounding how an agency helped a brand from start to finish. An example of this is how we helped SportsDay Talk in their transition between a more early 2000s experience to a modern day app experience that is touted in their industry as best in class:

Thought leadership articles written by their team

The best mobile app agencies have blogs of their own where they frequently share valuable content that showcases their knowledge and expertise. Read articles they’ve published to gauge their experience and better understand what aspects of the development process they specialize in.

Questions To Ask Mobile App Developers & Designers

At this point, you’ve compiled your list of potential mobile app agency partners, you’ve conducted your preliminary research on each one, and you’re confident they can bring your vision to life. Now it’s time to reach out. What should you ask during your first conversation? Here are a few key questions to put on your agenda:

What does the creation process look like from initial contact to app launch?

You want to make sure the app agency you hire is organized and follows an established, documented process—you don’t want them to leave out any important steps along the way. This question should also yield insights on how the agency will communicate with you throughout the build.

What process do you use for quality assurance and testing?

You want to work with an agency that places high value on delivering a high-quality final product. Find out what quality assurance and control measures they take to ensure that each element is functioning the way it should and that the app experience as a whole is high quality.

What research do you do to ensure that we build something people want?

Without conducting proper research, there is no way to know what your customers really want. While you may have some ideas, the agency’s research will prove invaluable toward ensuring that the final product is something your customers will be interested in.

Read on: 10 Questions To Ask An App Agency Before Hiring Them

Key Takeaways & Next Steps

When you’re considering who’s going to build your mobile app, the bottom line is this:

You need to do your homework.

Assess the strengths of your current internal development team, and locate the gaps that need to be filled. From there, decide whether to build out your internal team to fill those gaps, or hire a mobile app agency to help bring your app to life. Then it comes down to research. Do your homework and ask the right questions to figure out who will be the best fit for your unique vision and goals.

Want to see the results that are possible with an app agency that takes you from idea to launch—or simply lays the foundation you need to build in-house?

Schedule a free consultation with one of our senior app strategists today.