Please introduce your company and your role within the company
Blue Label Labs was founded in 2009 and is based in New York City. The company was founded by two former Microsoft developers. With a team size of 27 people, we are one of the biggest app development firms in the country. We build all types of apps ranging from mobile to tablet and watch to TV. We even build augmented reality and virtual reality app for Android and iOS. We cater to a variety of verticals—everything from mobile games to enterprise utilities.
I am the Head of Business Development at Blue Label Labs. I am in charge of the sales, marketing and partnership related decisions for the company.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
The critical parameters that we consider when determining the development time of an app depends completely on the complexity of the features, the number and type of devices it will need to run on (e.g., mobile, tablet and watch) and the operating systems on which the app will be launched (i.e., iOS or Android). The more features, the more devices and the more operating systems, the longer the timeline.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile application?
It is hard to determine the exact time allotted to the front-end and the back-end development process for an app. Some apps have a very light front end but a lot goes in the back end and vice-versa. The average project duration at Blue Label Labs is a three to four month effort from contract to the launch wherein the first two to four weeks are dedicated to design of the app and then two to three months for development. So it hard to determine the split, it all really depends on the app as to which will require more development time; the front or the back-end.
What is your company’s business model?
We have a completely in-house team of developers. Half of the team is domestically placed, based in New York and Seattle. Other half is in Hyderabad, India and all have been hired and trained by Blue Label Labs and work exclusively on Blue Label Labs projects. All the design related efforts including architectural designing, new development and some of the harder elements of development are taken care in the US office and some of the simpler development tasks or iterations of previous work is taken care by the Indian team.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Firstly, we try to be as cutting edge as we can be from a technology perspective; we use the best and the newest technologies. Secondly, the combination of domestic and overseas staff at Blue Label Labs offers a perfect mix of quality and the price because we can use some less expensive international talent to get the work done. Along with this our team size and the experience of building 100+ apps differentiates us from our competitors. Thirdly, we always have a dedicated program manager to oversee the design and development process throughout the lifecycle of the project. Next, by offering marketing and PR services which are very specific to the app, we actually offer a complete end-to-end services for our clients, from design through development and marketing/PR. Lastly, our quality assurance and testing methodologies are exhaustive. We always dedicate a quality assurance engineer to every project team.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
It depends on the market your serving and what the app will do. By market I mean, the use pattern of iOS vs. Android devices in a particular place or demographic. There are some countries that have predominantly Android centric population, so depending on that we make a decision. The other factor is what you are looking for the app to do. In some cases, the Android platform allows for a little bit more flexibility or openness—it is less strictly governed by Google than the Apple iOS platform which is little bit more restrictive. For example, in terms of payments and the use of other hardware capabilities, the Android platform allows you to do more with the phone. Whereas Apple is a little more limiting in what you can with hardware. For example, The NFC capabilities that exist in both Android and iOS phones but Apple restrict it to just Apple Pay and nothing else whereas Android allows you to interface with the NFC technology of the phone in a lot of different ways that are not strictly dedicated to Google Pay.
Which platform do you suggest your clients to begin with when they approach you with an idea (Android or iOS) and why?
It depends on the market (i.e., geography and demographics) they are serving and what they are looking to do. We typically recommend iOS to be the first development platform mostly because it’s a richer app market. iOS users are generally heavy app users than Android users.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
Cost is determined by the complexity of the design, development, and the number of hours to solve that problem or that goes behind each feature. Number of devices (e.g., mobile, tablet, watch or TV) and number of operating systems (e.g., iOS or Android) also drive price.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
We figure out the number of hours we think it’s going to take in each phase – design and then the development, multiply that by our hourly rate and then we get the full price of the project. In terms of billing, we figure out the number of weeks it will take to build the app and multiply it by the hourly rate to reach an average weekly price. We multiply that by two and take a two week deposit payment upfront. After we start a project, we bill our clients every two weeks.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to?
Yes, we do not take new projects that require a from scratch build for less than 15,000 US$. There is nothing much that can be done under this price. If it’s a pre-existing app, meaning the app is already live in the app store, we may be willing to go a little lower than that. The highest price point that we have worked with is 550,000 US$.
Which business model do you suggest to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
I generally do not recommend advertising to be the only source of revenue. For most apps it’s hard to get to the kind of scale needed to be able to support an ad-only revenue model. Apart from advertising there are a lot of different ways to make money from an app depending on its functionality. A few other options include: a freemium model, a pay-to-download model subscription model.