What questions should you ask when hiring a mobile app developer?

Will you own the final code?

This may seem like an obvious question to ask but we run across a surprising number of people who don’t and end up in a world of hurt. Metova is happy to package up and send over your code whenever you ask for it.


Why do I want the code? I’m not a programmer!

If you ever want or need to change developers, they will need the code to work from. Without it, they will have to start from scratch and all the money spent on initial development will be for naught. This is why asking if you will own the code is so important.

Long-term relationship or one night stand?

Going with a company that prefers a long-term relationship can be an asset to your project. Applications often need additional work to fix bugs, respond to customer feedback, or update in response to a new version of the operating system. Companies that want these supplementary endeavors will have an incentive to do well on the first project so you will return. Being able to go back to the same company that did the original work can be a comfort when deadlines are tight and priorities are changing. You already know how they work and they are already familiar with your app. We love our customers and work to build both a wonderful app for them as well as a good relationship. Since we have worked with them before, the paperwork has already been executed and they can start right back where they left off. When our customers prefer to work with the same developer, which is quite often, we do our best to make that happen.

How will the project be managed?

Will you have to play telephone with your developers? Metova developers work directly with our customers. This minimizes communication errors, speeds up the process, and personalizes the partnership.

Will the team offer consultation for your application?

Developers that will offer feedback and advice on your project are wonderful to have. Metova devs have built dozens of apps and can offer suggestions for functionality, UX, and best practices. Time and money can be saved when the developer knows the quickest way to implement a feature or can suggest a more cost-effective route. Metova encourages all developers to give their customers honest and useful feedback.

Will the developers assist you in deploying your app to the stores?

While deploying your application to the store is not necessarily difficult, it is step-intensive and can seem daunting. Metova can either do the tedious work for you or walk you through the process.

How much will it cost?

Cost is often one of the first things asked about when discussing app development. Prices can vary depending on a number of factors. We wrote about cost in depth in a previous blog post.

What is the development company’s pricing structure?

Companies offer fixed price, time and materials, retainers, or a combination. It is important to know what is offered since not every app works best for every structure. Long projects or multiple smaller ones do well with retainer. Retainers allow for customers to pay for a time frame in which they can use their developer as they wish. Time and materials option is another common option useful for a large amount of stop-and-go type work. This allows for clients to pay for only the time that has been worked. Scope changes are common and the project evolves as it grows into fruition. Fixed price is good for projects that have a concrete plan. Design is complete and functions have been determined. This allows customers to pay a set cost for a set amount of work. Metova offers all of these and can assist you in determining what is best for your business and your project.

How long will it take to build your application?

Do you have any deadlines that need to be met? Maybe you want your patriotic app to be available in stores before the fourth of July. Some companies may have a low cost per hour but make up for it with ridiculous timeframes. Would you rather pay $50,000 for an app that takes 8 months or $100,000 and have results in 2? Our average app is $50,000 and takes four to six weeks. We do this not by working our developers 60 hours a week but by being lean on management and prioritizing the removal of anything that gets in the developers’ way. Some companies have developers caught up in meetings and managerial issues for half the week while our developers spend over 85% of their week coding. We do everything we can to keep our developers happy and make it easy for them to code.

Has the company done similar apps?

Although some functionality, such as login, is fairly consistent across all verticals, having a developer that is knowledgeable in your specific field can be an advantage. For instance, Metova has extensive experience and knowledge in the healthcare industry. A company that doesn’t may not know that patient information must be HIPAA compliant. Not taking the correct steps to protect such sensitive information can result in heavy fines.

Can the company provide a full-stack solution?

If your development shop does not offer additional services and you need them, you will have to find another shop. When splitting up work across multiple companies, breakdowns in communication and speed become more probable and are a waste of time and money. Metova can do it all. We have a team that is experienced in multiple platforms from iOS and Android to Web and Microsoft development.

Since we do this in house, an Android or iOS developer can quickly easily communicate with the Rails developer on a project. Often they will have an answer in minutes, as it only requires that they simply roll their chair to a coworker’s desk.

Will the web services include APIs?

If a backend or website is part of your development plan, check to make sure APIs are also being built. This is pretty standard but always good to ensure. If you ever want to interact with it from another device, these will be needed. It is better to have them built during the initial project than at a later date or by another company. Metova provides APIs anytime there is the possibility the information will need to be retrieved or updated from another platform.

Does the company offer mobile design or other services?

When reviewing proposals, be aware that some may not include design and you may need to hire another company for it. Metova offers end to end solutions including full design services. Our in-house designers are experienced in mobile and work to ensure your application flows smoothly and feels natural to your users by using the recommended style guides for each platform.

Metova also offers strategy and marketing. We will help you build user personas, determine market fit, and put your product in front of your users.  

Where are the developers located?

Do you want to have meetings face to face? How far are you willing to travel? Will your developer come to you? If they are in a foreign country and speak another language, be aware that it may compound communication issues. If they are in a different time zone, you may need to adjust your schedule for them.

Metova has several locations across the United States: Cabot, AR; Conway, AR; Fayetteville, AR; Franklin, TN; and Seattle, WA. We also have some remote workers scattered across the continental US. We love meeting our customers, shaking their hands, and showing them the office. Occasionally we will send a developer to a client’s location to work for a few weeks, join an important meeting, or offer support. Everyone at Metova speaks English fluently, albeit some with a sweet southern twang. We have worked with customers all over the world and are prepared to adjust our schedules to interact with others in different times zones.

Get started on your mobile app!

Jennifer Pike
Jennifer Pike