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Commissioning a mobile app developer

As with web design it’s important to choose the right team. Here are a few tips

So you have decided to develop an app for your business. But you don't know quite how to go about it? Not all of us have coding experience and unless you do, it's likely you'll need to commission a mobile app developer.

If you're getting an app built for the first time, make sure you shop around before settling on a development company. “There are a lot of people out there who say they can do iPhone or Android development,” David Carter of The App Factory warns, “but a lot of them aren't as good as they make out. You've got to find good developers who know how to bring it off.”

It's a good idea to be careful about how much you pay for the privilege of having an app designed for your business, too. “Demand for talented development teams is very strong at the moment, so as you can imagine costs can be quite high,” explains Tristan Celder of Zolmo, the company behind the Jamie Oliver iPhone app. But however much in demand the developers are, you need to balance your investment with the returns you expect to get from your app. “Just be really careful what you put in,” Raam Thakrar of Touchnote warns. “Not many people have made a successful return on investment on money spent on mobile. Just a small percentage.”

In a new and growing market like mobile apps, you really must do your research on what to expect from developers. Carter says: “If they think you're new to the market, chances are they'll try to charge you a really high price! But they shouldn't be looking for a huge sum up front really.” If you have a developer who's confident enough in what they can build, then they should work with you if the money's right.

It's imperative that you take a good look at what your chosen development company has done in the past, too. Check out how many downloads their apps have had. Can they boast 100%, or close, customer satisfaction?

You want to make sure the first app you do is perfect. You can't submit it with any errors, because interest will fall. Platforms go into amazing detail too, and will find out if there's anything wrong with the app. If you're developing it through a company the success of your app is in their hands, so make sure you go for the best you can afford.   But good developers can be expensive. If you find that the app you want requires more investment than you're willing to put in, don't despair. “If you haven't got the capital to risk and your idea is strong enough, there are ways and means of getting your application produced.” Tristan Celder of Zolmo explains. “Zolmo is always looking for strong content partners, and so in this case, the cost of producing an app would be zero as Zolmo would act as publisher.”

This kind of set up could eat into any profit you make though, so tread carefully. Platforms such as Apple take thirty percent of sales revenue on the App Store. Publishers generally take the rest. In many cases the publisher and developer of an app are one and the same: in this case, you would share publishing rights with your developing partner, and you would have to come to an arrangement.

But it's a new and developing area – so you can make your own rules. Just make sure to do your research first!


(will not be published)