App Development is a serious business. In fact, Apple paid out over $20 billion to app developers and despite the more challenging market for early stage app startup capital, there is plenty of opportunity out there to be made on an app. You've got a great concept, a great idea, and maybe even a great name, but you're not a developer yourself, so you'll need to hire someone. You have a few options and they all come with advantages but also potential pitfalls.
Equity Partner: Let's be blunt, shall we? There's a good deal of risk in developing an app with the potential for a big payout, so of course it can be attractive to get someone to split that risk with you. Unfortunately, the reality is that any developer who actually has the skills and the talent to develop an award winning app, won't want to work for equity. Sure, you could get lucky and find that college student savant that wants to do the job for his portfolio but those are rarer and rarer and the reality is that most mobile developers in college can find paid work.
Individual Freelancer: There are plenty of talented individual freelancers out there and if your app idea is of a small enough size and simple enough in terms of complexity, then this might be a good option but it's important to make sure that the freelancer you hire can actually handle the entire job on his or her own and that the work won't be subcontracted out.
Offshore Agency: I'm going to make this one short and brutal. If your options are go offshore or don't develop your app, then don't develop app. It may seem like a good way to keep costs down, but it often isn't. We get calls all the time from would be entrepreneurs who've had their dreams dashed but bad offshore development.
Local Agency: This is by far the best option. You get the organization of a full company behind your project, none of the delay in communication or general miscommunication that comes with working, and the ability to really flesh out your concept. All agencies work a little differently but most have some form of Documentation and Discovery phase or Concept Review that helps you flesh out your idea and got to market strategy. The obvious downside to working with an agency is that they charge more than an individual freelancer, but the investment is well worth it.
I wish you the best of luck in your app development vendor search and would like to offer you a free Concept Review to see what we can do for you. Just fill out the contact form on this page and mention this post or the Concept Review offer.