Staff Augmentation

Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing Mobile App Development

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What Does Outsourcing Mean?

Outsourcing means bringing services from an outside vendor into one’s own organization. It is a great way for small businesses without much experience in IT to get their hands dirty with technology with the help of someone who knows how to take care of the technical stuff.

However, outsourcing development also means hiring on-demand developers who do pure development work while your in-house team focuses on more creative product-related tasks. For example, your in-house team can be heavily invested in creating and testing hypotheses while the outsourced team will be implementing features.

In other words, when you outsource mobile app development for your company, you bring someone else in who specializes in developing apps. According to Statista, software application development is the most outsourced IT function worldwide.

Many businesses outsource app development to minimize costs. Source: Statista

What Are the Benefits of Outsourcing?

Outsourcing development is a great way to get more work done, without the added pressure of hiring someone new and managing them. It's also an excellent alternative if you're just starting out and don't have enough cash flow for a full-time in-house team of developers. Take a look at other benefits of outsourcing mobile app development.


For one, there are a number of cost-saving benefits that come with hiring an outsourced company for your IT needs. Outsourcing software development is less expensive than hiring several team members, such as designers, iOS and Android developers, business developers, UI/UX experts, or any other related positions. Outsourcing allows you to take advantage of someone else's expertise while saving money on overhead expenses like equipment and software costs.


When you're running a business, time is your most valuable asset. IT outsourcing can save you time and energy by reducing the resources spent on finding the right software developer. You can put this extra energy into your company's core business functions, e.g., improving customer relations or creating new features that will enhance customer experience.

High quality of full-cycle services

You can rely on experts to guide you through the whole process of mobile app development —  from ideation and conceptualization of your app, all the way up until deployment and updates. To get a development team that you can trust, look at reviews and testimonials, preferably from unaffiliated websites or services. Choose a company that specializes in your industry to guarantee a high quality of deliverables and a high level of expertise.

Access to experts

Hiring an outsourcing company can also help you increase productivity by giving you access to top talent and expert skill sets. Outsourcing software development — or parts of development — to senior professionals will help you fill talent gaps and get necessary insight wherever and whenever you need it. 

Flexibility in team management

Instead of having to manage a development team by yourself, outsourcing companies hire a project manager. That person is responsible for managing the entire project. Your sole job is to focus on the vision. However, when you hire experts with years of mobile development work behind their belts, you can also count on their expertise and consult if your app specification is realistic and viable in your business context.

Ideal balance between skills and rates

Outsourcing gives you a perfect balance between skills and rates. You’re able to find exactly what you’re looking for in a flexible contract within a reasonable price range.

What Are the Drawbacks of Outsourcing?

The decision to outsource app development is not an easy one. Many factors go into this decision, but it's important to understand the disadvantages before making a choice. 

Communication barriers

Communication issues may arise due to time-zone, cultural differences, and language barrier. Setting up channels of communication with the outsourced team is crucial for ensuring project success. Mutual respect and understanding of cultural differences are key to a successful partnership with an outsourced partner.

However, the language barrier might be the most problematic to overcome — when your requirements are misunderstood, it can take time and money to fix the misunderstanding. That’s why you should always look for software development companies that have developers and project managers who can communicate in your language and understand it well.

Loss of control

Delegating the process of mobile app development can be a double-edged sword. Even though outsourcing requires you to invest less time into app development, you lose control of how and when tasks are carried out. The company you go with may not have the same standards as yours. Their team dynamics might be different — that doesn’t mean the team does bad work, but you might feel like the project isn’t going how you’d want it to. That’s fine unless the deliverables are good. Stay vigilant for any dips in code quality or unimplemented tasks during two-week demo presentations.

One of the ways in which you can avoid surprises is through a continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) model. In this highly transparent approach to development, your mobile app gets uploaded to a platform such as Bitrise every night. This let’s you poke around it in the morning to see the changes and progress your outsourced team made. Ask your potential outsourcing company if it provides CI/CD development.

Security risks

Your company is only as strong and knowledgeable as the people you work with. That’s why it's so important to be selective in who you trust your business, data, and customers' private information with. Try to always sign an NDA. Work with outsourcing companies that adhere to IP rights.

Are There Any Risks with Outsourcing?

Before you jump in headfirst and start looking for the cheapest possible developer overseas, you should consider some risks involved.

charts and a magnifying glass
Balance the risks and benefits of outsourcing development.

Loopholes in the contract

Protect yourself by drafting a contract that puts your company and product first. Avoid loopholes to stay away from unsatisfactory results or paying additional fees for undisclosed services. Ensure that your contract clearly outlines cost estimates and deliverables (for fixed-price contracts). For time-and-material arrangements, make sure the contract promises the same team will work on your project at all (e.g., only senior devs). This way, you’ll avoid paying for junior devs with little experience.

Scope creep

One of the most important aspects when finding an outsourcing partner is organization. The outsourcing company should be able to present a complete plan for app development before even starting the development process. An experienced company should be able to accurately predict the project scope. But bear in mind that in complex projects it might be difficult to give a 100% guarantee on the final scope.

Consistency of stakeholders

When hiring an outsourced partner, there is no guarantee that the team structure stays the same — people come and go. This can affect the quality of deliverables as a new person working on your project might not have the same level of knowledge as their predecessor. However, good companies that have many senior developers are able to solve such situations in a dynamic manner — they have enough senior devs to fill in for the absence of an employee, regardless how sudden it is.

Look for companies that are respectable employers with a proven record of satisfied employees. A strong social media presence and good ratings on review sites indicate accountability and professionalism.

How Does Outsourcing Reduce Costs?

The process of hiring an employee takes 24 days and costs $4,000 on average. Hiring an in-house team for a medium-size mobile application with, say, 70 screens and a few hardware integrations would require a team of:

  • 1-2 backend devs
  • 2-3 frontend devs
  • ½ QA
  • 1 project manager
  • 1 designer

Now consider the recruitment and onboarding time, building team dynamics, buying employee infrastructure (laptops, software licenses, office space), employee benefits. Outsourcing software development reduces costs because you don’t have to worry about all of this. Outsourcing contracts can also be flexible in that you can end them whenever you want, without waiting for weeks until resignation notice passes for in-house hires.

How Much Does Outsourcing Mobile Development Cost?

Mobile development rates are different on every continent. We’ve analyzed mobile development companies on Clutch to source average hourly rates (average developer experience level as well):

Average mobile development costs sourced from Clutch.

How to Outsource Development?

Working with an outsourced partner is considered one of the best ways for companies that are looking for opportunities in today's economy because outsourcing eliminates any significant investments or infrastructure changes.

Every business and its respective project come with their specific needs. There are 3 ways to approach outsourcing software development:

  • Staff augmentation — adding necessary contractors on-demand who work closely with your existing development team and help you with your project's requirements
  • Project-based model — the outsourced software development firm takes responsibility for every step of the process from start to finish and provides guidance on what technologies are best for achieving desired results
  • Dedicated team — think of it as a team extension since you can directly manage certain aspects of the project if needed, but you don’t have to

How to Successfully Outsource Software Development

Finding the perfect partner is more than just finding someone who has what they need in terms of skill set: many other factors go into play when choosing a contractor.

The first step is evaluating your needs and project scope (an outsourcing company can also help you with that), then identifying the best IT service provider for your requirements.

After that, it's important to ask when they can take on your project and how much it will cost. To help simplify further check if a mobile app development company fits your needs, we've compiled a list of the most pertinent questions you should ask:

  • What type of projects do you specialize in?
  • Have you worked with a company in our industry?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • How will we communicate throughout the project?
  • What methodologies are used in the day-to-day?
  • How do you ensure software quality?
  • What is included in the pricing?

Tip: Ongoing maintenance fees

The day you launch an app will mark the start and not the end of your project. Once your mobile app is out there, data will start pouring in with insights into how people are using your app and what features and screens should be added. Agree with your chosen company how the maintenance and further development look like.

Outsource to Meet Business Needs and Goals

If you're not sure where to start in developing software or don't want the hassle of managing every step yourself, it may be time for you to think about outsourcing your project. Outsourcing can help take some stress off your plate and bring a new perspective on how to make your next app successful. 

The process of finding a company to help you create the app can be daunting, but by following these steps and doing your research beforehand, it should go smoothly. It is not an easy task to find a company that will work with you and is as passionate about your business success as you are. It can feel like a complex issue, but it doesn’t have to be if done correctly.

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