7-Step Guide on How to Choose a Custom Software Development Company

March 11, 2023

The stakes are high when you invest significant capital, resources, and time in a software development project.

You have to choose the right vendor, but Clutch.co alone has over 23,000 companies offering custom coding services, and the sheer number of options can be overwhelming.

With the seven steps we’ll cover below, you’ll learn how to choose the right custom software development company in USA for your project. This due diligence will take time, but it will pay off once you reach your goals.

1. Define the goals and timing of the project

Before you send an email to a software development company, determine your project goals and deadline requirements. You must have a clear idea of what you want to build. Without this, you risk losing a lot of time on both sides.

Now, don’t feel like you have to finish everything at this stage, but you should have a decent plan in place before moving on. A simple list of requirements, along with basic layouts, diagrams, and/or workflows, is a good start. It may also be helpful to assess the general technical skills that will be required.

This work will help you avoid trying to describe an abstract concept to development teams. You don’t want teams to misinterpret your vision. This can lead to inaccurate budget and time estimates.

2. Find candidacies

There are many resources where you can find software companies:


Both paid and organic results can be useful. On the websites of individual companies, you can get information about their software development services, the industries they work with, their previous clients, and their workflows.

Websites with reviews and ratings

One of the most popular is Clutch. You can view search results with various parameters:

  • location;
  • minimum project size;
  • average hourly rate;
  • industry focus;
  • many more.

Once you have a long list, start contacting candidates via email. You must request portfolios from developers, as well as brochures or information packs.

3. Check out their portfolio and experience in your field

This is where you start comparing software companies from your long list. You can use the portfolio provided by the software firm itself, as well as client testimonials. Portfolio analysis serves several purposes:

  • Allows you to see if the software company has made something similar to what you need.
  • Measures the level of experience of a company.
  • Allows you to understand the scale of the work performed by the company and whether they are able to cope with your task.

You should focus on whether the company has relevant experience. The outsourcing partner must have a clear understanding of your industry, market, and/or business process.

Be wary if it claims to have experience building something like this but can’t share any information.

It is true that outsourcing companies are not always able to share their previous projects due to NDAs (non-disclosure agreements). However, they should at least give you a general idea of their previous projects, how they were developed, and what value they bring to customers.

4. Make sure they act like a real partner

The best software company will be a real partner, not just an outside agency.

Any decent outsourcing company needs to really understand the needs of your business. Simply understanding the desired functionality of a product is not enough. As you develop, you want them to be fully aligned with your end goals so they can make better decisions on the fly.

Ideally, they should bring in business analysts to help develop the requirements to ensure a successful software product. If your potential partner doesn’t take the time to really understand your needs in the sales process, we advise you to move on.

5. Check out their development methodology

Does your future partner employ Scrum or another Agile method? Do they use a completely different development methodology? Having a well-documented and well-executed project development process will increase efficiency and help the team solve problems along the way.

The development methodology should be based on the following:

  • adaptive scheduling;
  • early delivery;
  • frequent project updates;
  • modern communication tools.

This will enable you to stay updated during the entire project development process.

6. Ask for their security practices

Partnering with the right software company means sharing confidential information. You will need to know how the firm handles this and what measures are in place to ensure that your idea, product, solutions, and confidential materials are not mistreated.

You should also think about how to secure the solution you are developing. Does the development team apply appropriate security practices? What level of security should be adopted?

Not all development agencies will address security issues in the same way, so be sure to ask detailed questions.

7. Think of software testing and maintenance

Before you sign a contract with any software company, you should sit down and understand what their testing policy is. You want to understand how they test at all stages of development.

You should also consider whether backup, support, and maintenance services will be included in the original contract. And if so, how long will these services be processed by the development team?

You don’t want to be told that there will be no support or that you will be charged a huge bill for maintaining your project. It is best to work out all these details before you decide to use any one company.


Every software development company is a little different. The most important thing is that you find a team that is a good fit for your individual software development project. You must consider not only the technical skill set but also the cultural and project management aspects of the team.

Spend some time contrasting and weighing current options. If none of them fit, don’t be afraid to toss the list and start over. It will take time, but the work you put into pre-screening custom software development companies will pay off in eliminating stress and producing a quality end product.


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