Choosing a Software Vendor for a Startup: what to consider?

Liudmyla Dereshivska
Marketing manager

September 27, 2017

Choosing a software vendor can be a difficult task, especially for a startup. In the modern tech era, having a nice, user-friendly, and fast app or site is half of the success.

You don’t want to start your business with a bad software provider, as it may cost you a lot. You have to be serious about this choice, as serious as choosing a life partner. A good vendor will be with you during the process, after sales, and in both grief and joy, no matter what happens. We have outlined some things you should consider when it comes to hiring developers for your startup:

Draft your goals/needs

tech partner for startup

Before finding developers team for your startup, take a minute to consider two important things. You have to be sure about the goals you set for the future project and clearly define your needs and requirements to the vendor. Those two simple things will help you understand whether your goals align with the vendor’s opportunities. At the same time, you are letting the supplier get a better understanding of your expectations. Do not be afraid to be too specific. The more detail you provide, the easier it will be to get on the same page.

Ask for more information

tech partner for startup

If you plan to do business with tech companies, you want to know their backgrounds. You can start by finding out some basic information. For example, ask – “How long do they play on the market?” or “Are they growing or staying at the same level?”-  Those questions may seem obvious, but only at first sight. Taking time to answer them will give you an opportunity to better the understand vendor’s company and determine its real value. Furthermore, do not hesitate to ask for certificates and credentials. You may want to specify whether your future tech partner has certifications relevant to your project. Avoid software agencies, that refuse to provide such important information.

Look at any previous experience and skills

tech partner for startup

After you have considered some general information about the company, it is time to look into the past. Look for a vendor’s previous experience. Do you like its past projects? Do you think they are well done? It would be a good idea to find some professional references from past clients. You can either email them and ask for insights, or read reviews on specialized sites such as Clutch.coUpWork, or even Linkedin. Every respectful company should have a profile on professional platforms. This gives potential clients access to the company’s information, portfolio, and customer feedback.

Check out our article about choosing a tech partner on Upwork:

Make sure tech partner can meet the deadline

tech partner for startup

Software development is quite an unpredictable sphere in which timing is not the category that you should rely on. Downtime can happen to any company – even the best ones –  but it should be an exception to the rule rather than a rule. However, when you start working with a firm, it is better to make a plan of work with a time estimation, because you don’t want a situation when everything is ready for app launching, but you still don’t have a finished product. You can consider taking a trial period, in order to understand how fast the developers work and to make sure that the software contains the features and functionality you need.

Look at a project management

tech partner for startup

Project management methodology will have an effect on your choice. You’d prefer to deal with companies applying the Agile approach. It is more flexible and gives an opportunity to develop a product in iterations, without tons of documentation. Besides, Agile enables making changes during the development process.

Check for hidden or additional fees

tech partner for startup

Some developers may be tricky in order to take advantage of you. They can hide in the contract additional payments, such as in-person training, maintenance or setup fees. Do not let yourself be fooled; read the contract carefully and find out all the important points before signing up the papers. Clear beforehand who gets custody of your data in the case your paths diverge. Expect to pay something, especially if the data was encrypted.

Verify whether a tech partner provides after-sales support

tech partner for startup

When choosing a software vendor don’t forget to clear up all things concerning after-sales support. It’s natural that after release, you may want to make some changes or improvements. Beware vendors who refuse to offer you post-production support.

Pay attention to the details

tech partner for startup

You don’t want a situation where your project – whether an application or website – is good on the outside, but a disaster on the inside. This case is extremely common when you cooperate with design-oriented companies, that do not have technically strong teams. It is clear that good-looking front pages and user-friendly interfaces are important, but it’s nothing when you have slow running pages or crushes all the time. Therefore, you have to pay attention to the details and make sure things work right at any stage. 

Protect yourself from unpredictable circumstances

tech partner for startup

Finally, you have to be ready to realize that you and your tech partner may not be a perfect couple. In that case, you naturally would want to go forward and maybe even go to another vendor. That is why – take time to think everything through in advance. Find out where your source code is. Make sure that current code matches your site. Take care of creating proper documentation to make a transition easy, but most importantly, have your lawyer check all of your contracts.

tech partner for startup

Remember, time is crucial for a startup, so try to use it wisely. It is better to dedicate some time to clarify important aspects beforehand, as opposed to losing money later. Please remember that startup companies often have only one shot to get it right; therefore, consider these important things in advance.


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