Hiring an External Development Team: Find Potential Vendors

If you aren't steeped in the software development world then it might not be obvious where to turn when you need to hire a development firm like SmartLogic. Even if you do have contacts in the industry it's critical that you solicit proposals from several well-qualified development firms so you can be sure you're making the best decision possible when outsourcing software development.

SmartLogic How to on finding potential vendors when hiring an external development team This article is part 2 in a 5-part series explaining some best practices for how to approach the process of hiring a development team. In the last post, we covered getting organized with a development prospectus. In this post, we'll cover finding potential suitors—how to start researching potential application development firms.

Finding Prospective Vendors to Interview

My advice: reach out to local leaders in the tech industry and ask for their recommendations.

How do I find people in industry? That's pretty simple. Here are a few tactics you could use:

  1. Reach out to local technology incubators and accelerator programs and ask them for some recommendations. Here in the Baltimore tech community, the Emerging Technology Centers(ETC) and Betamore are great incubators to talk to for more information on prospective vendors. TEDCO, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, is also a wonderful resource.
  2. Contact your local angel investor group, if you have one in your town. In Baltimore we have the Baltimore Angels.
  3. Speak with the management of tech startups in your town and ask who they'd recommend for your project.
  4. Talk to local technology meetup organizers. Find the organizers by searching for local tech meetups on meetup.com.

Just make sure you get several recommendations. It's critical that you play the field a little bit before engaging one vendor.

Narrow Your Choices

Once you've got a couple leads on development firms to interview, see if you can narrow that down to 5 or 6 prospective companies with which you'd consider working. Visit their websites to find out more information about their work. Stalk the company's management on LinkedIn and see if you have any mutual contacts who could offer blunt feedback.

Ask yourself: could I picture myself investing a significant amount of my time and money with this software development company? Trust your gut.

After you've determined who you'll contact you'll need to start preparing for your interviews with application development firms. Check out our guide to interviewing development firms, a checklist of proposal must-haves, and advice for signing a deal with app development companies.

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