Of course having the best skills in the world is meaningless if the development company are not nice to work with, or have a history of suspect business practices or methods. The testimonials on their website are unlikely to list their faults, but could give you an idea of the size of their fanbase. An established company of several years’ existence should have a reasonable record of past projects. If they haven’t, you should be asking why?
They say the basis of every good relationship is good communication – and the client/developer relationship is no different. You need a very easy, clear, regular and relaxed exchange of important information – or how can you hope to build software that accurately meets your needs and expectations? The software developers should listen to what you have to say, whilst also providing expert guidance based on their experience. Ask yourself how you hope to communicate with them regularly. Will it be primarily face-to-face meetings? Phone/email? Does this fit with your own schedule?
It follows that a professional software application or programme needs to be created by professionals. Ask yourself if your proposed choice of software development company gives you this impression. Do they have a good-looking, effective website? Are they professional in any/all of their social media interactions, or dealing with the media or public? Depending on the content matter of your project, discretion and confidentiality may be particularly important, so it pays to take this into consideration.
Finally, are you able to visit their offices? Whilst not essential, it may give yet more indication as to the sort of company they are. Clean, organised, professional-looking offices may help put your mind at rest, whereas chaotic or unpredictable spaces may reveal much. If the company can’t keep their workspace clean, how can they hope to work efficiently?