Are you thinking of building a mobile or web product, or at least a website for your business? If not, consider this: the mobile commerce market in the U.S. is a $41 billion industry. The average user spends over 2 hours a day on their mobile devices, and 97% of internet users in the U.S. now go online to shop for local goods and services. That’s virtually everybody.

If you don’t have a mobile/web product and a website, you’re bound to fall behind the competition.

But developing digital products and websites can be a difficult process—especially if you don’t know the first thing about design and development. You’re left with two choices: you can do the project in-house, or outsource the development by hiring an external agency.

Sure, depending on your personnel and resources, you might be able to get the job done either way. But if you make the wrong choice, you sacrifice the quality of the product. In the end, you’d like to build a successful mobile or web product, or a high-converting website, and do it in the easiest and most cost-effective way.

So, what’s the best way to accomplish this and get your digital product or website done right?

The best option is almost always to hire an agency. Why? Even if you have the resources and personnel to do the project in-house, your company may not have the proper experience or the time necessary to build the highest quality product. When you turn your project over to the experts, you’re more likely to get the product built, tested, and launched within budget and deadline.

But you don’t want to hire just any agency. You want to make sure you find an agency that’s a good match for your business. Since there are so many agencies to choose from, here are some questions you should ask before bringing in an agency for your project.

5 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring an Agency

1. What is the timeline for completing the project?

Is the timeline short, perhaps a few months or less? Or is this more of an ongoing project with a longer, fluctuating timeline? One of the most underrated benefits of outsourcing a project to an external tech agency is the ability to bring in an expert on a project basis without committing long-term (and paying all the costs that come with it). Especially because the type of skill set you need may change over the span of a few months. But no matter the deadline, you need to make sure the agency will have an up to date timeline and spec for the project.

One of the givens of software development is that the project usually takes longer and becomes more complicated than planned. This is because incremental changes build up into a heap of work. With an up-to-date timeline and spec, the agency can stay on time and prevent this issue– this can save you a TON of money.

2. Do you have any testimonials/case studies from past clients?

An experienced, quality tech agency can provide you with a list of testimonials and case studies from past clients. Past client feedback reveals a lot about the agency. Look carefully at the websites and applications in their portfolio. Are the final products satisfactory? Do the applications work well? How about the websites? Are they appealing? Do they load quickly? Does the structure make sense?

You’ll learn about how the agency works, and you get to see the design styles, functionality, and value that they bring to the table.

3. What is your process for communicating with your client?

The agency can have the greatest coders in the world—but if they don’t keep you informed at every step of your project, no amount of coding expertise will matter. Within the realm of software development, communication is complex and misunderstandings are common. Good, regular communication is essential for your project. Without it, you can’t execute your vision.

Look for an agency that communicates clearly and patiently, without relying on tons of technical jargon.

4. How much will it cost?

The cost is largely determined by the work and detail required for the mobile/web app or website. Agencies have different types of fee structures, with varied amounts of ongoing support. That’s why you should shop around for a few different quotes before choosing an agency.

5. How will you measure the success of the app/website?

Many people forget to ask this question, but it’s a crucial one. Your app/website needs to do more than just look pretty. It needs to achieve specific objectives. For most apps/websites, the objectives are to generate and convert more leads. Perhaps your objective is simply to make your business more efficient internally. Whatever the objective, your agency should have a way to measure its success.

Conclusion

Design and development is an intricate and time-consuming process. When you decide to undertake a web or mobile product or website, you can choose to do the project in-house or hire an external tech agency. However, even if you have the personnel and resources to do the project in-house, you’ll usually have more success with an external agency.

When it comes to finding an agency, you should aim to hire one that matches up with your business and app/website objectives. To narrow down your choice, ask the five questions listed above, and get quotes from a few different agencies before you make the decision.

Are you considering hiring an agency for your web/mobile product or website? Not sure about the next steps for your project? Looking to get a quote for your next development project? Contact us today.

Dustin DeVries

Dustin DeVries

Living and breathing software strategy and architecture, Dustin has been building software for over 20 years. He really enjoys working with clients to determine the right technology, whether it’s a web application framework like Django or NodeJS, or a simple CMS solution like WordPress. He received his BS in Computer Engineering from Texas A&M University. During his spare time, Dustin enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, playing guitar, running, and hanging out with his family.