It’s prudent to hire a well-qualified and credible consulting firm. Here are nine qualities that application development firms or individual freelancers should have and be able to share with you:

1. Happy clients
Preferably, those happy clients will have had the firm develop the same or very similar software to yours. Look for detailed case studies or “success stories” similar to the services you need.

2. An ability to give you a firm estimate.
An inability to give you a firm quote indicates that the company has insufficient experience in developing the kind of software you need. Assuming the scope or requirements are not changed, you should be guaranteed that the project will be delivered at the set price agreed upon at the outset.

3. Microsoft certification.
It should be an absolute requirement that your developer be certified in the software being developed.

4. A solid history and promising future.
Obviously, you do not want to enter into an application development project with a company that appears unstable or shady. Look for signs that the company has excellent financial health.

5. A Team Development Approach.
Good companies will at least pair developers to share responsibility for a project. This ensure continuity, project ability and higher final quality.

6. A process of constant improvement by quality control.
Mature, forward-thinking organizations have deliberate and disciplined processes for tracking and improving product quality. Ask how your prospective business application development firm approaches Quality Control.

7. Access to a Standard set of re-usable Application Features.
The best application development companies will have pre-built modules for standard requirements that are not only tried-and-true and guarantee high quality, but are tremendous development time-savers, which will significantly reduce client costs.

8. Offers full product support.
You definitely want an application development firm that can deliver your application on time and on budget.

But, wouldn’t it also be cool if the company is able to offer you on-going support and maintenance? The best application development companies will be able to provide a wide range of services, from simple product support and updates to minor modifications to adding features to significant expansion to cloud migration and hosting services.

9. Can make sure your database application can grow with you.
Should the joyful some day arrive that your company’s database needs have outgrown the capabilities of Access, your application development firm should be able to plan and execute your migration to enterprise database applications.
No, it’s not an absolute requirement. But, your migration project is likely to be smoother and more affordable if it is handled by a company already familiar with your business and your business database application.