Finding an App Developer
Once a business has defined its need for an app and has determined what it should do, the next step is to find a reputable and highly skilled app developer. There are thousands of app developers out there from which to choose.
Sriver explained, “People need to realize that if they want a good quality app, they’re going to have to pay for it. We get a lot of requests from companies that originally hired a very cheap app developer, but halfway through the project the company becomes unhappy with how their app is progressing. Before hiring an app developer, look at the portfolio of work they’ve already created. Evaluate the quality of the apps, as well as their user interfaces and functionality.”
Many different factors go into calculating development costs and how long the development process actually takes for a custom app. “The cost to hire our company to develop an app starts at $50,000, and the development, programming and testing process typically takes between 12 and 16 weeks,” said Sriver.
Development costs for most good-quality apps, created by an experienced and competent development company, will run between $5,000 and $50,000. However, there are even lower cost alternatives, especially for simple apps with basic functionality.
Adage Technologies, Inc. is a web and software development firm with a decade’s worth of experience custom developing business software for its clients. Over the past few years, the company has developed dozens of custom iPhone and mobile phone apps.
“If a company has an interest in having an iPhone app created, their experience working with an app developer will be much more positive and productive if they come to the table knowing exactly what they want to accomplish,” said Roy Chomko, President of Adage Technologies. “You need to determine what your business requirements are for the proposed app, and document those objectives to insure that everyone is on the same page. Having a clearly defined one- or two-page summary of what you want the iPhone app to do will help a developer dramatically when it comes to designing and programming the app you envision.”
“The next thing a company can do before sitting down with an app developer is to draw out on paper, or in a PowerPoint presentation, what they’d like each screen of their proposed iPhone app to look like,” added Chomko. “This will go a long way toward helping the developer not only create a suitable app, but also help them price their services based on the app’s level of complexity in terms of front-end and back-end programming required. Develop a site map for the app on paper first, starting with the app’s home page, and then add basic information about what you envision each additional page of the app will contain.”
Until a company invests the time to outline the purpose of their app and design a map for it, it will be very hard for any developer to offer a reliable cost estimate and timeframe to design, program, and test that app.
“We base our cost estimates on the number of pages an app will include, and the complexity of each page,´ said Chomko. “Cost is also based on how much back-end development is neededif the app needs to somehow interact with an existing website or database, for example.”
For a company creating a custom app from scratch, Chomko recommends starting off with basic functionality, and getting it to work. Next, the company should obtain feedback from the app’s intended audience, and then build on it over time by adding new features and functions. “Start with something that’s manageable,” added Chomko, who suggests working with an app developer that has been in business for a long time.
“If you hire a single freelancer or a small development company, they might be able to create the initial iPhone app for you,” explained Chomko, “but if you want or need it updated or expanded with new features in the future, the person or small development company you initially hired might not be available, or the small developer may have gone out of business. When it comes to having an iPhone or iPad app developed, you typically get what you pay for. Also, before any programming is done, make sure the developer truly understands how the app will be used, as well as the audience it’s being developed for.”
One low-cost solution for creating a very basic iPhone app on a tight budget is the do-it-yourself app development tools offered by EPage, Inc.. These tools allow anyone to create simple iPhone apps themselves, with no programming required, for as little as $199. The uBuildApp.com service is an online-based development toolkit that features a point-and-click interface for building iPhone apps. The company also offers custom application development services to small- and mid-sized businesses.
“When we began developing mobile apps, we found that there was a lot of commonality in terms of what our customers were looking for,” said Ed Arenberg, chief technology officer at EPage. “We developed an online-based platform for creating and testing iPhone apps. When someone creates an app using our service, often in just a few hours or days, we then send the app to Apple for approval,” said Arenberg, who confirmed that all apps created for the iPhone, iTouch, or iPad must be approved by Apple, even if they’re exclusively for in-house use by the company that had it developed.
“uBuildApp.com takes a much deeper approach to app development than just pulling content off the web and sticking it into an iPhone app,” said Arenberg. “Our tools include more than a dozen modules that can be mixed and matched, customized, and then placed into an app. The typical customer for uBuildApp.com is a small business operator who wants or needs an iPhone presence, but that doesn’t have the resources to hire a full-service developer to custom create an app for them.”
“Our uBuildApp.com service has been used by local car dealerships, yoga studios, and other small businesses to create useful and highly functional iPhone apps that include unique content.”
Other Low-Cost Options
Hiring a freelance programmer, as opposed to a full-service app development company, is a low-cost option for small- to mid-sized businesses. You can find iPhone app programmers using an online service such as eLance.com or guru.com.
Another method for finding a well-qualified developer is to search the App Store for apps you truly like, and then make contact with those developers. Part of every app’s description within the App Store includes the developer’s name and a link to its website.
For More Information
To learn more about having a custom iPhone and/or iPad app developed for your business, visit Apple’s iPhone In Business website. For additional information about Apple’s iPhone Developer program, suitable for companies looking to build custom apps in-house, visit Apple’s iOS Developer Program website.