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You need to think long-term when selecting a development agency

Web & Mobile

Joshua Davidson wrote this article


You’ve finally made the decision internally that it is time to find a development agency to partner with on your projects. Congratulations!

Perhaps you’re an existing company that needs help scaling to brand new platforms. Maybe, you’re a brand new startup and have this incredible idea to bring a brand new, game-changing app to life.

You go through the same planning process as everyone else. You ask around. You look up companies on Google and through social media. You stumble upon brands such as us, you hear good things, you see that it might be a potential fit. You reach out, looking to see what the next steps would be and if we will make sense of your project goals/requirements.

This last step is where most companies (and startups) fail.

I can’t even begin to explain how many nightmare situations that I have heard from existing clients of ours in the past; who before reaching out to us, dealt with a firm that over promised and under delivered. That held them hostage. Where the communication on their end wasn’t just lacking, it was non-existent. The stories that we have heard can go on and on.

It’s emotionally frustrating to hear this. Outside of the fatigue, it puts on our clients and their initial impression of our industry before reaching out to us, think about what these failures have caused. It didn’t cause just a monetary loss… which for many, it did, in the thousands of dollars (think about just how large some of these projects are). All the labor that went into these projects…lost. The thousand of hours that could have been better spent working on something else entirely if they knew that their venture wouldn’t succeed. The fact that they opened themselves up to a headache by letting potential competitors get to the market before them. Existing competitors scale while they were scrambling to just get up and running. The fact that they do not exist to the consumer, which means it is impossible to even consider generating revenue or scaling an already existing operation.

It’s daunting.

Why does this happen? Well, it’s an easy explanation. The industry that we, Chop Dawg, are in, is incredibly saturated.

When something is saturated, it means a lot of quantity instead of quality exist. You have firms overseas that will take on development projects for pennies on the dollars and well… you pay for what you get. Communication problems. Not just lackluster code, but in all honesty, pure crap. Mismanaging customer expectations. Not delivering. It’s terrifying.

Worst of all, you have just as much of a problem here in the United States and in Europe too. With so much supply and not enough demand, you see companies who are willing to over promise and then have to under deliver during the job, causing incredible pains to the companies such as those of you reading this article. You’re not getting the value that you paid for, the service that you’re paying for. People are cutting corners, trying to tell you whatever that you want to hear instead of what you need to hear just to bring you on as a client.

This is real. This is happening in our industry. We hear about this every single day… from existing customers of ours before they discovered us, potential customers of ours that we communicate with daily trying to help. Even just our fans and friends in the industry and on social media.

How is this happening?

First and foremost, our industry is to blame. This is one of the reasons why we knew we as a company didn’t just need to exist, but needed to build a brand to communicate value and actionable insights to the consumer, companies, startups, and enterprises. If no one is going to speak up for you and educate you on what you need to be conscious about, only more will fall into this trap and lose out on opportunities, revenue, money, and time.

Now the big thing… how can you address this? How can you, the customer, find the right fit, a company like us that will actually care about you and deliver?

The answer is simple. You can’t talk to a company that is treating you like a commodity or a number. You need to talk to companies (like us) that honestly care for their client’s well-being and wanting to see them succeed, deliver ROI and scale.

The thing you as the consumer need to do is find a long-term partner. You need to find companies like us that aren’t just looking at your project as a one-and-done, but the beginning of a long-term relationship.

For example, the day before I wrote this blog post, I sat on a call with a potential client for almost two hours, reviewing the proposal that we have prepared for them. The first thing they addressed with me is how we came under their budget, with more features and valuable insights than they were expecting.

How did that happen?

Simple. We weren’t greedy.

It wasn’t about us. It is about them.

We believe in our company culture here at Chop Dawg that if you need to ask us to lower our costs and we say yes, it means we were either taking advantage of you or undercutting our own team. That isn’t fair to both parties. However, at the same time, if you have a budget and we don’t need to fill it, we aren’t just going to fill in the additional difference as our own profit. We would rather see you save that, reinvest back into marketing, or hell, in the long-run, reinvest back with us for a long-term project together. Perhaps another platform, additional features, etc? Something that makes both parties win versus winner takes all.

The reality is, when you’re in the position of the consumer, you need to locate a company that will partner with you and be an extension of your team.

Ask the tough questions.

Ask a company like us how many of their clients return to them once they finish a project (fun fact, for us, it is an incredible 80% return rate, which we are deeply humbled and proud of).

Ask what kind of ROI have they provided their customers, what kind of successes have they seen their clients accomplish.

Ask if they support their product after launch and if so, how? Is there a bug warranty? Maintenance support window?

Do they host your product for you?

Do they assist your existing team on understanding the infrastructure created?

You’re building a relationship, a partnership, finding a company to be an extension of your team. You need to understand the logistics of what you’re asking for.

Above all, pay attention to how a company such as ours communicates. Is it always a me-first mentality? Are they actively trying to help you? How are they handling discussions with you from the very first email to the time they create you a proposal? Was the proposal that they created for you just a hand-written copy of what you told them prior… or was it carefully planned out, incorporated their own suggestions and ideas, and laid out in a way that clearly seems well-organized and well-thought out.

These nightmare scenarios that we hear about so often shouldn’t happen. They shouldn’t exist. Even if someone doesn’t pick us as their partner, we respect that and know plenty of other options exist out there that can provide companies value too… but when you hear about someone deciding to go the route of pennies on the dollars to work with a company that clearly only has their own best interest in mind, it’s upsetting and needs to change. You know in a few months that client will come back thousands of dollars in the hole, in the middle of a legal battle, with nothing to show. Awareness to this and making you, the consumer, the companies we talk to every single day smarter, is the first step on how to resolve that.

When you’re looking for assistance when it comes to a development and/or design agency, you need to ask the tough questions. You need to talk to the people. You need to build a relationship. You need to find a company like us at Chop Dawg that isn’t just in it for themselves, but truly there to make a difference, see their customer succeed, and approach all new work as building long-term partnerships. When you discover companies like us in the industry, you’ll see and notice the difference. Don’t let the illusion of saving a few dollars actually make you think you are because when you are months down the road, with a product nowhere in sight, in the middle of a legal battle with the company you did choose and lost thousands of hours… you’ll be asking yourself what exactly did you save. Don’t let that happen.

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