29.10.2018

How To Pick The Right Custom Software Development Company? [Step-By-Step Guide]

Article by
Michał Rejman, Marketing Manager
7 min read

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Software is at the heart of every successful organization – be it a small startup or a multinational corporation. Businesses can’t survive anymore without solutions that help to quickly respond to market changes and deliver excellent quality. If you have been evaluating off-the-shelf software solutions and still can’t find what you need, the best move is turning to the offer of custom software development companies.

Such companies have teams of technical experts on board who can help you achieve your business goals or solve challenges efficiently. The market filled to the brim with companies that offer custom software development services.

But how can you tell whether a company you are evaluating is reliable and will deliver the product you need?

This article will guide you through all the significant complexities that crop up whenever businesses are looking for someone to execute a custom software development project. Finding credible tech partner is essential when developing custom solutions. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a founder who has a fantastic business idea or an IT team leader who doesn’t have enough experts on board. It’s in your interest to team up with a tech partner you can trust and rely on.

Here’s the ultimate checklist of everything you should take into account when verifying the credibility of a software development company.

How to choose a custom software development company?

 

1. Have a look at the company’s portfolio

The first contact you will have a company is usually through their website. Take your time to browse it properly – you stand to learn a lot by doing that.

Take extra care to investigate the case study section. This part of the website will help you understand many things, for example:

  • Technologies the company has worked with and their degree of expertise.
  • The company’s experience with technologies you want to implement.
  • Whether the company has experience in developing solutions for your sector.

Now, that’s a lot of information, but these are the 3 critical points you should focus on when reviewing the company’s work.

Does it have expertise in technologies you need for your project?

Software development company never hide their skill sets. Their website should be full of information about technologies they specialize in. Leverage this information to find out whether the company has in-depth knowledge of technologies that your project requires. Some companies also present information about industry standards they follow in developing software – for example, the agile methodology. The case study section is the most informative corner of their website. When reviewing projects, check whether they use technologies that are important to you. While doing that, jot down all the information that could be relevant to your project.

Pro tip: It’s smart to approach software companies with a set of technical criteria they need to meet for your project to be successful. Create a list of criteria and check the boxes as you go through the company’s website. For example, if you’re looking for substantial backend expertise in web development, it doesn’t make sense to hire a company that mostly shows captivating web designs in their portfolio – even if they appeal to you.

Do they have experience in creating software for your industry?

Note that each industry comes with a slightly different technological paradigm. That’s why hiring a custom software development company by industry segments is critical to the success of your project. Developers who have domain knowledge can take advantage of their previous experiences within your niche, implement the right solutions, and ensure that the final product meets all the required regulatory standards.

Have they implemented similar solutions before?

It’s a good idea to hire a software development company which can service a broad range of technologies. That way you’ll make sure that your project is matched with a development team that has the right expertise – for example, mobile app development. Pick a company that has already implemented similar solutions in a sector close to yours – you’ll reduce the risk that comes with unforeseen problems or unexpected roadblocks that derive from lack of domain knowledge or awareness of industry standards.

2. Check the company’s profile on review sites

To make sure your project is successful, you need to team up with a company that has a proven track record of successfully executed projects and positive relationships with their clients. The easiest way to verify client relationships before you get in touch with the company is through specialized review sites.

Make sure to check the company’s profile and reviews left by customers on portals such as Venturepact, Resiport, or Clutch.co. The last one is especially useful because it features comprehensive profiles that tell you a lot about the company at a single glance – for instance, its size, location, the average rate per hour, and minimal project size. Plus, they offer a handful of tips on, for instance, how to choose the best web development company.

You can see the company’s rating and read the reviews left by customers – and don’t worry, all the reviews featured features on these portals are authentic. The platforms usually contact every client who wants to submit a review to confirm their authenticity before publishing.

Knowing how previous collaborations with this company were like is just as important as getting a referral. An honest review can help you quickly decide between two companies in your final evaluation.

3. Turn to social media

Another relevant type of online presence that comes in handy for anyone looking for a software development company is social media. First, go to the most popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin) to check whether the company has pages on them at all.

Facebook allows companies to feature reviews on their pages. Does the company you’re looking at have that feature on? And if not, why would they disable it? If they did, consider it a red flag. If you see many positive reviews, it’s a sign that the company is reliable.

Company culture

Be sure to scroll through the newsfeed and information featured on company pages too. What kind of content does the company share? Does it run a blog? Does it distribute information about industry events? What kind of language does it use to communicate with social media users? Social media activity gives a clear indication of what the company’s culture is like.

Company culture is an essential factor in such partnerships, so it’s best to pick a tech company that’s has a culture similar to yours. That’s especially important if you’re looking for an outsourcing tech partner and want to make sure that your cooperation goes smoothly.

4. Look at the company’s activity in the developer community

One way to know whether a company hires experienced developers with excellent skill sets is by checking their overall engagement with the developer community.

Quality software development companies usually have CTOs and senior developers who are prominent figures in local developer circles. They organize and speak at conferences or meetups. They also fund awards and sponsor events.

You can be sure that a company which is serious about giving back to the developer community will attract the most talented professionals on the market. That’s why it’s so important to check whether the company you’re looking at has an active presence in the community.

Does the company name appear on industry events? Does the company sponsor events? Asking the questions will lead you to find out where the company is located on the software development landscape. It will give you a clear idea about the level of technical expertise its employees offer.

5. Consider the location

When creating the requirements list for your project, consider whether the physical presence of developers will be necessary for implementing your solution. With that criterion in mind, you should be searching for companies that are located in particular places. Always mention the need of developers to be available on site before signing the contract.

By teaming up with a company located relatively nearby and in a similar time zone, you will make sure that your development team responds quickly. As a result, you’ll get a better timeframe for the successful completion of your project.

If you have been researching software development companies and now are left with a few choices, have a look at their locations to check which ones are most convenient. Consider flight availability and pricing, the convenience of flight connections, and time zones. At the beginning of your project, it’s essential that your team and the software development team spend a lot of time together on a regular basis for planning and consultation.

Pro tip: Considering today’s advanced connectivity, hiring a team of tech experts located on the other side of the world is not a problem. But only as long as they’re experienced in working with clients in your geographical location and industry. It’s also a question of mindset. Companies located in Central Europe have much more in common with Western organization than those in Asia or Russia.

6. Contact the software development agency

Now that you’ve learned more about the company and believe that it might be the right choice, it’s time to get in touch with the people behind it. You will get a lot of additional information about the company at the first point of contact.

Check whether they’re responsive when contacted through different channels like email, telephone, or social media. Are they ready to pick up your lead or does it take them a while to process your inquiry? The amount of time the company takes to get back to you or develop a bespoke proposal for your project indicates their experience in the matter and even the internal organization of the company.

When contacting a custom software development company, call or write a message. Be sure to ask a tentative cost estimation, code samples, and any other information that you find essential at that point. Moreover, don’t hesitate to ask the potential vendor to connect you with their previous clients. If they did a great job, they should be more than ready to share this information with you – that reference will help them close the deal.

Check this if you’re considering to hire an overseas tech company

If you’re considering to partner with a software development agency located overseas, that initial point of contact will also tell you a lot about how you will be communicating once your project kicks off. If you’re using global resources, communication is usually one of the common pain points.

Does the company have processes and tools in place to overcome communication barriers? Ask whether they have established guidelines and standards that help to reduce friction and miscommunication.

Conclusion

Picking the right software development company for your project is a challenging task. But if you follow the criteria we outlined above, it’s bound to become easier and more efficient.

Choosing the right software company is critical to the success of your project. You need to team up with an agency that asks about your business needs and understands the value software should deliver to customers. Project managers, designers, and developers should be interested not only in what needs to be done but also why. When we know what kind of results the client is looking for, we can recommend a cheaper or faster approach.

Do you have any questions about hiring a custom software development company? Reach out to us in the comments; at Ideamotive, we believe that sharing knowledge is the best way to make smart business decisions.


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