Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Software Partner

Big ThinkingWhen looking to hire a software developer to partner with on a project, there are a few things you should know. It’s not always easy to hire the right person, especially when the project doesn’t have an estimated price yet. But besides cost, you should have confidence in the person you hire, and the only way to do that is to ask a few questions.

Questions To Ask a Prospective Partner

  1. Experience. The first question to ask is, “Can you show me a similar job you did, and tell me what the final cost was?” Before hiring someone, you need to know that they have done this job before and that it turned out to be successful. You wouldn’t hire a contractor to build you a 5 bedroom house if all he ever built was dog houses.
  1. Cost. How much was the similar project? What do they estimate your project will cost? If their other software applications came in somewhere near $5,000, but they want to charge you $50,000, something isn’t right. What is the reason for the difference in price? Unless the work is more labor intensive, requires more people to work on it, or takes longer to implement, there shouldn’t be a big difference in price. Most often, the most expensive programs come from IT firms, because they do not think like business people. They focus on the top technology, and what it can do, not what is affordable, and designed to work for a wide variety of users. Sometimes you can get a lower price by skipping the add-ons, and a good developer should ask if you are happy with just the basics or would you like the upgrade? They could be estimating the costs for some features you may not even want or need. If you think this is the case, ask them to tell you about a job they did for a previous client in your budget range. What was the outcome?
  1. Practical use. If they were designing this software for their own company, how would they do it? Most often, software developers recommend programs and applications they use regularly because they know how it integrates with other systems. If someone were using Dynamics 365, I would recommend MailChimp, because that is what I use. I also use QuickBooks, OneDrive for Business, and Power BI. I could pull it up on my computer and show you how well it all works together in less than 5 minutes. If they are asking you to spend a large amount of money for a program they are designing for you, asking them how they would implement it in everyday use should be easy. You need this information upfront to determine if they are a good fit for you as a partner. If they can’t show you the value of what they offer and the many ways you can use it, then you should move on to someone else.

Finally

As someone who does this every day, this is the advice I would give my best friend if he was looking for a software partner. I would happily answer these questions, and anyone you would consider hiring should do the same.

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