Simple reason: You’ll end up with a high-quality app.
Here are some details…
Let’s look at the options you have. People looking to have an app built end up choosing between hiring a freelancer or an agency. At first glance, freelancers generally appear to be cheaper than agencies and most people end up going for this option until somewhere down the line they encounter problems such as the freelancer “ghosting” – suddenly becomes unreachable, it becomes harder and takes longer to make modifications to your app, your app keeps breaking down or certain aspects of it never work as expected, you keep putting money in but get very little value out. All these in addition to the time and effort it cost you to get the right freelancer in the first place.
Going the freelancer route involves a lot of hidden costs and you may have to start your app all over again in a lot of cases. The reason for this is mainly because unrealistic timelines (presented to impress you) force the freelancer to cut corners, sounds and appears ok at first but always, always comes back to haunt the project. It is a very bad thing to do.
Reasons Why it Pays to Invest in an Agency to Build Your App
There are clear reasons why at first glance agencies appear to cost more to build your app. You need to accept that it pays to invest your time and money into building your app right. Here are some of the reasons why you are better off with an agency.
All Skills Required to Build an App in One Place
Building an app requires a lot of specialized skills and that is why the best apps are built by teams. Someone on the team has to play the role of understanding and documenting your requirements and communicating these to the rest of the team. The team needs a software architect who will translate the requirements into evolvable system designs that will guide developers. This is a key role that is often overlooked when dealing with freelancers (and of-course not part of the freelancer’s cost). Without a carefully and skillfully designed system, apps fail to evolve and the very nature of apps is to evolve. Constantly.
Other important skills required on the team are developers who will carry out the actual building of the app. Most freelancers are lone developers with a pinch of other skills. Testers are another set of team members that are crucial to app success and often overlooked. A team responsible for building an app needs to stress-test the apps they build at the code level. The team also has to have quality checks at the requirements and design levels. In addition to the technical skills/roles described, the team also requires some people to support them so that the technical people can focus squarely on delivering their very best.
Adhering to a Software Development Standard
Keeping standards requires a lot of discipline. Agencies are “going concerns” therefore their relevance and reputation matter a lot, if not the most important thing. In other words, the survival of an agency depends on its relevance and reputation and for an agency to achieve this they need to have well-defined processes for building apps that deliver great results each time. These processes guarantee a high level of output each time, no matter who the individuals who make up the team are. Your needs and requirements go in through one end and a high-quality app, which does exactly what you want pops out the other.
Ease of Making Changes and Evolving an App
This is one issue that is hardly considered when choosing who should build an app. It is also the most painful one to deal with once your app gets built poorly.
The nature of any piece of software is to evolve. It is easy for anyone to build you the first version of an app but the true challenge is “how easy is it to change, modify, improve, evolve after the first version?”. Once you have an app built, at some point you are going to want to improve it and it’s very frustrating when making changes to your app becomes almost impossible. This is where most people regret hiring a freelancer in the first place.
The solution to this type of problem is to make sure that the app is designed for change right from the beginning. It takes quite some effort & time to ensure an app is built for change, this is why agencies insist on having a design phase for any app that gets built. At Intellectual Apps, we never skip this part due to its importance, or any other part for that matter. The reason freelancers will not bother to insist on the design phase is that they generally think short term. You need an app, they build it, it kind of works, they get paid and that’s it. Once a freelancer gets paid he/she doesn’t expect to be the same person to improve the app in the future and even if you do get a hold of them to do this you’ll notice that it takes ages for anything valuable to be produced. An agency on the other is a “going concern” and knows that they exist to create value now and in the future, so it makes a lot of sense for them and you to invest in the design of the app so it can evolve easily when it has to.
There are some exceptional freelancers out there, in the same way, there are some poor agencies. The fact though is if you need an app built, then you need to think long term and the partner you choose to build your app has to also think long term as well. You need to trade lower costs today for a good investment in your app. You are better off doing this with an agency that has the skills, processes, and experience.
The software development industry has challenges that have plagued it for years. You need to get a partner that acknowledges these challenges, actually understands them for what they are and clearly has processes in place to mitigate them.
Yes, we are an agency. At Intellectual Apps, we help our clients Imagine, Design and Create apps. Get started by telling us about your idea.