12 min read

How to Choose a Mobile App Development Company

With Q1 revenue for the App Store reaching $31.8 billion and the fact that nearly 90% of mobile internet time is spent in apps, you could say there’s never a bad time to invest in a mobile app idea.

As you can imagine, there’s a wealth of steps involved in the app development process and decisions to make when it comes to bringing your app to life, including how to find the best mobile app development company.

In fact, this is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your journey to building an app.

So how do you navigate the dearth of options?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the choices available to you and how to make the right one.

Table of Contents

  1. Hiring an App Developer
  2. Freelancer
  3. Mobile App Development Company
  4. Mobile App Development Boutique
  5. Offshore vs Onshore
  6. Which Option For App Development Should You Choose?
  7. Your Business Goals
  8. App Development Costs
  9. Level of Expertise
  10. Flexibility
  11. Tips to Choose the Perfect App Developer for your Business Growth
  12. Review Portfolios
  13. Read Client Reviews
  14. Measure their Communication Skills
  15. Know their Range of Services
  16. You Get What You Pay For

Chapter #1: Hiring an App Developer

When it comes to creating a mobile application, hiring an app developer is a significant undertaking, particularly when you take into account all the choices available to you.

You can opt to hire a freelancer, an established mobile app development company, or a small boutique app development firm. You’ll also need to decide whether to hire onshore or offshore.

So, let’s explore each of these options.

1.1 Freelancer

A freelancer typically works solo, unlike app development companies and agencies that house an entire development team to work on various aspects of your app, like marketing, SEO, publishing your app to app stores, and so on.

Some entrepreneurs choose to work with a freelancer or freelancers to cut costs, but this generally isn’t recommended, especially for bigger projects.

It’s always better to work with a mobile app development company (big or small) to ensure you’re working with a team of professionals rather than one or two freelancers.

Photo Credit: buildfire.com

1.2 Mobile App Development Company

You can never go wrong working with a large and established mobile app development company.

They generally have a team of professionals who are experts in their field, whether it’s app development, design, and testing to app marketing and publishing.

It’s a one-stop-shop for all of your app development needs, which is always convenient.

With this convenience comes a cost. Working with mobile app development companies means you’ll need a big budget.

1.3 Mobile App Development Boutique

Opting for a small boutique app development company can be a great compromise between choosing a freelancer and a large, established firm for your app project.

While it may require more financial investment than hiring a freelancer, it’s usually less expensive than bringing on board a large company with a sizable workforce. Typically, these boutique firms have a small team that handles a limited number of mobile app development projects and often specialize in a specific app niche or industry.

1.4 Offshore vs Onshore

When searching for the best mobile app development company, you’ll also have to decide if you want to hire offshore or onshore.

Whether you decide to work with a freelancer or an app development company, there are tons of options available all over the world.


Hiring onshore means that the freelancer or company you work with is located in the same country as you. The cost for hiring onshore is typically higher but comes with a lower risk.

Photo Credit: buildfire.com

These companies want to protect their business and brand in your country, so they’re not going to deliver a poor product, as it would harm their reputation.

They’re also within the same legal system as you and so they must adhere to the same regulations.

For example, apps in the healthcare niche have all kinds of strict regulations about user data privacy, like HIPAA laws, in places like the United States and the UK, but these same regulations may not apply to mobile apps built in other countries, like India or China.

Photo Credit: future-processing.com

Hiring onshore developers comes with the benefit that you’re working with a team that’s already familiar with your country’s laws and regulations.


Hiring offshore means that you’re working with people located in another country. Offshore app development will most often be located in India, Pakistan, or the Philippines.

Consequently, the cost for offshore app development is much lower because freelancers and shops overseas charge lower rates.

Hiring offshore may be a cheaper option, but remember that working with individuals and companies that come from countries with little regulation means more risk.

They may cut corners, use poor code, and overall not meet the high standards generally required for an app project. There can also be language barriers and communication issues to consider.

Chapter #2: Which Option For App Development Should You Choose?

Now that you’re familiar with the options for hiring an app developer or company, how do you make the right choice for your business?

Consider the following:

2.1 Your Business Goals

Understanding what your goals are as a company is crucial when making a decision about who to hire for building your mobile apps.

Think about where you see your app in the future. Will it expand? How will it change and grow?

Remember, you want to set your app up for success—and not just for today, but for the future.

As you more deeply evaluate the different hiring options previously discussed, you’ll want to evaluate your company’s needs and goals, and which option can best steer you to the finish line.

2.2 App Development Costs

The budget for your app is going to be a big factor in deciding whether you hire a freelancer or a bigger agency.

If you have a very small budget, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to afford an onshore agency, big or small.

But hiring a freelancer or offshore talent could be a great way to build a prototype or mockup of your app which you can then use to secure more investor funding to hire an onshore team.

Consider the costs involved in mobile app development and what your budget can afford.

2.3 Level of Expertise

As indicated in the previous section, the level of expertise you’re going to get from an agency (especially onshore) is going to be different than what you get from an individual developer or offshore agency.

Photo Credit: future-processing.com

It’s not hard to find a developer who is an expert in a specific area, for example, Swift app development, but it can be difficult finding one freelancer who is knowledgeable about other important subjects like app testing and marketing.

And so you would need to find multiple freelancers which would also require you to spend more time project managing.

Think about the level of expertise you expect from whoever you work with and if it’s something you’re willing to sacrifice for lower costs.

2.4 Flexibility

How flexible are you about your project details?

If a developer takes longer than expected to complete the app or if there are bugs and hiccups along the way, is that okay?

When working with a developer or an offshore agency, you just won’t get the same level of service as with an onshore team. There may be communication issues, timeline issues, or something else, which would require you to be more flexible.

Photo Credit: sitisoft.com

When working with an onshore app development company, on the other hand, there’s much less risk involved since you’re working with a team of professionals who specialize in their respective fields and who care about their reputation.

An onshore agency is much more likely to stick to your project timeline and requirements.

Chapter #3: Tips to Choose the Perfect App Developer for your Business Growth

Once you’re ready to set out on hiring a developer or agency for your mobile apps development, there are still a few key factors to consider before making your final decision.

Here are some tips for hiring the right developer.

3.1 Review Portfolios

An app developer’s portfolio gives you an insight into their previous work and showcases their capabilities, expertise, and style.

By looking at their portfolio, you can assess whether their skills match your app requirements and if they have experience in building apps similar to yours.

It can also help you determine the quality of their work, which is essential for ensuring that the final product meets your expectations.

Go through every candidate’s portfolio, which you can often find on their website. Take a look at what technologies they’ve used on previous app projects while also paying attention to the design.

Take note of any questions you may have about their previous projects so you can ask them when it comes time for an interview.

Make sure to download apps they’ve worked on to see how they look and function. If you test drive the app and find that it’s buggy or has a cluttered, unattractive UI, then that’s a red flag.

3.2 Read Client Reviews

While some app developers will display client reviews right on their website, it’s always better to check third-party review websites like Glassdoor or Clutch

These kinds of websites will offer real reviews from real clients and they may also include other important information like price range, location, team size,and more.

If you’re hiring an individual freelancer, hire from a reputable website that includes ratings and client reviews.

Based on the feedback you find, you’ll be able to more quickly determine if the candidate is worth considering.

Not only will reading client reviews help you decide if a candidate is skilled in their field or not, but it will also give you insight into other details you might care about, like how well they communicate, their adherence to deadlines, and more.

3.3 Measure their Communication Skills

Communication on a project is crucial to its success. 

Even if you find a mobile app developer who’s incredibly talented at coding, if they’re lacking in communication skills, this could turn your project into a nightmare.

When it comes time to interview candidates for your mobile app project, pay attention to how well they communicate with you.

Did they follow up with the interview? How long did it take?

Communication is key to ensuring your project runs smoothly, so gauge how well your candidates communicate with you.

3.4 Know their Range of Services

As mentioned earlier, when working with a single developer, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to find someone who specializes in every step of the app development process.

Photo Credit: fullscale.io

There’s not only coding to think about, but marketing, SEO, ASO, testing, and more.

When reviewing potential hires, make it clear what services you’re looking for and whether or not you can count on them to deliver everything you need.

One of the biggest benefits of working with an app development company is that they typically have a team of professionals who are experienced in the various fields required for app success.

3.5 You Get What You Pay For

Our last bit of advice to you is this: you get what you pay for. If you’re willing to spend big bucks on an onshore agency that has a high reputation and an excellent portfolio, you’re almost guaranteed to get exactly what you want.

If you try to cut corners to save money by hiring offshore mobile app developers, well, you may not get everything you want.

And remember, spending less upfront could potentially cost you more in the long run if you have to go back and fix mistakes.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the company you choose to work with is your choice and there is no right or wrong answer, as everyone’s needs are different.

Take time to consider the goals of your company. Review candidates both near and far. Talk to developers. Talk to agencies.

And always review candidates’ portfolios and client reviews.

The first step you can take is having a technical document prepared for your app ideas using our Simple Starter package. You can then present this to your candidates so they have a greater understanding of your project details.

What has been your go-to method when it comes to hiring in the past? What worked and what didn’t?




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