A comprehensive guide to outsourcing app development

outsourcing app development

Outsourcing mobile app development allows you to reduce project costs, reduce the time to release the app to the market, and improve product quality. 

Sometimes it is necessary to obtain expert insights into modern technologies or qualified assistance to expand a business.

A successful outsourcing strategy offers plenty of advantages and on top of the list is its cost-effectiveness for process improvements and increased focus on your core business. Hence, a recent report states that 52.5% of all IT firms have outsourced software development at least once.

This article will answer the most frequently asked questions about app development outsourcing.

What is app development outsourcing?

It essentially means delegating the development of cross-platform apps for smartphones and tablets to a different country.

Swift or Objective-C are the two main programming languages used to build an iOS solution for iPhone app development outsourcing. Java or Kotlin are the programming languages used mainly by Android. 

The goal is to outsource mobile development to programmers with experience in these languages and a portfolio to back it up.

Furthermore, cross-platform app development offers a variety of product development solutions. CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript are the primary technologies for such apps. Flutter is the most convenient and efficient framework for simultaneously developing software for both platforms.

The primary (but not the only) option is an in-house team that works from your office. 

Because all employees are in one location, it facilitates easy team management. Furthermore, because developers are familiar with the app from a seamy side, it is suitable for large-scale product development with additional maintenance and support.

Nonetheless, the cost of this variant is the highest, owing to a slew of additional expenses, and it necessitates that you undertake the many responsibilities of managing the team effectively. 

Outsourcing can provide a more cost-effective solution if you have a limited budget but want to create a high-quality product. Furthermore, you can modify existing templates to fit your solution.

You Can Also Read: Learn What is IT Outsourcing: A Complete Guide

Options for outsourcing app development

Freelance programmers

Freelance developers typically charge reasonable hourly rates and have relevant experience. But there are no guarantees or client protection measures, which can jeopardize the entire development process.

When you hire freelancers, you employ a hand or head who you perceive to have the necessary skills and experience. They are not part of the internal staff, but you hire them to supplement and complement your current team.

When you need a simple app, freelance developers with narrow specializations in platforms and technologies they are proficient in can come in handy. 

If the features you require match the developer’s expertise and level of knowledge, you could save much money on app development costs.

Solutions off-the-shelf

These are typically the least expensive and quickest to implement options. But they are difficult to customize and transition if another system is required. 

Furthermore, off-the-shelf solutions do not imply rapid updates and changes in response to market needs. It makes them inflexible to respond to the project and business requirements constraints.

If your task is to create an app for an existing business and you don’t need anything unique or customized, an off-the-shelf solution might be right for you.

A development company

An agency or firm with an end-to-end development team can meet your app development needs. The organizational model can be an end-to-end development team or an in-house team extension from the ground up.

Building an app with a software development business gives you more freedom than off-the-shelf alternatives, faster time to market, higher quality, and fewer risks than working with freelancers. 

Outsourcing software development to a trustworthy business is the best alternative to building an in-house team to construct a customized or sophisticated program.

It is usually more expensive than using off-the-shelf products or engaging freelance developers. On the other hand, a development firm will only charge for the completed work.

Read More: IT Out-tasking vs. IT Outsourcing: Which is Better?

How to outsource mobile app development?

Whether you are considering onshore, nearshore, or offshore outsourcing app development, you must first go through several stages as to the specifications and functionalities of the app you want to develop before reaching out to software companies.

The following are the steps to begin outsourcing Android or iOS app development:

1. App requirements to achieve your end goal

If you want to turn your business concept into a viable solution, you must first clarify the following:

Needs of the business

Define the objective and business concept of your mobile app. You also need to establish the goals you want to achieve and the requirements of your intended end-users.

User specifications

Describe all possible interactions between the user and the mobile app to provide the user’s perspective, i.e., priority app features, user roles, and so on. It will assist app developers in quickly determining which functions are critical and which you can include in a later release version.

Applicant requirements

Outline the product features to meet your company’s needs and expectations. These are some examples:

(a) Functional specifications. Describe how a product must function in different situations. The specification document may include authorization level types, administrative functions, transaction corrections, and adjustments, among other things.

(b) Nonfunctional prerequisites. Define app properties such as device types and operating systems, permissions, performance, and security.

2. Where should you look for outsourcing firms?

There are numerous ways to find outsourcing companies as the mobile development sphere expands regularly.

It is preferable to ask your network about successful outsourcing experiences and then inquire about recommendations from your shortlisted software providers’ clients in your region or country.

There are two primary places to look for outsourcing firms:

  • B2B directories such as Clutch and GoodFirms are the best places to look for an app development firm.
  • UpworkGuru, and Virtual Staff are examples of flexible online marketplaces that connect businesses of all sizes for all their hiring needs.

3. Selecting an app development outsourcing team

Businesses now view outsourcing as a strategic step toward gaining a competitive advantage. 

However, for the collaboration to be fruitful, you must trust your provider, and the main question here is how to achieve this trust. 

To get a complete picture of your potential vendor, follow these three steps:

(a) Review

Look for feedback about the company on specialized websites such as those listed above and ask the vendors if they could provide a recommendation from one of their current clients.

(b) Interaction process

Spend time discussing with potential providers to ensure transparency throughout the development process, how to deliver results, and what communication or management tools to use. It is necessary to determine if you own the intellectual property (IP) and how the provider will ensure app approval from the stores because app quality is essential.

(c) Tech stack and required experience

You have to make sure that the team can leverage the technologies needed by your app idea and that the company has worked with clients in the same industry as you. Examine their portfolio for examples of similar projects.

(d) Industry certifications

Determine whether the outsourcing firm is part of independent listings with ratings and whether reputable organizations consistently recognize them as high-quality software engineering providers. Check to see if they have industry-leading companies as partners.

Finding answers to these four critical questions allows you to narrow down the number of potential outsourcing partners and eliminate the least trusted and untrustworthy ones.

4. Choosing an engagement model

There are various methods of engagement and payment, and you must select the one that is best for you. An experienced software provider can assist you in determining which type is most advantageous for you based on the required specifications and capabilities. 

The three most common engagement models are (1) project-based, (2) team extension, and (3) service-based.

Project-based development, also known as end-to-end development, entails creating an app from the ground up by a dedicated team that includes a business analyst, project manager, designer, developer, and QA engineer. 

End-to-end development ensures full support, flexibility, and ongoing support after the product is released.

The End-to-End development model is the best option for you if:

  • You want to concentrate on other aspects of your business, such as marketing while outsourcing software development to a software engineering firm.
  • You want to get more precise financial forecasts by determining costs, planning the company’s annual budget, and securing investment requirements.
  • You have a concept for a future product. You want to delegate the full-cycle development process to experts who understand how to set up a solid approach and provide recommendations for a successful outcome.
  • You are not technologically savvy and require a dedicated team for the entire development cycle, from business analysis to market-ready products.

Advantages of outsourcing app development

1. Thorough knowledge

Because of the large number of similar projects they have completed, outsourcing companies have combined broad expertise in business domains and technological solutions to solve problems quickly and effectively. Thus, they can better comprehend the app’s requirements, primary goals, and priority app features and how to deal with common issues with popular technologies. 

Highly qualified outsourcing teams can seamlessly supplement in-house experts by bringing knowledge and experience that would otherwise be much more time-consuming to earn and costly. 

Furthermore, outsourcing firms with extensive experience may have a broader view of industry trends and can act as business consultants to guide the growth of your project. 

It is possible to discover new approaches and practices for task completion to facilitate change and innovation in your organization.

2. Scalability and a large talent pool

The outsourcing firm employs many IT professionals, including BA, QA, DevOps, AR/VR, Data Engineering, and others. These on-demand specialists could be quickly accessed and hired for a limited time.

The provider can easily and quickly scale up or down the team size to meet the changing needs of the product or business.

Finally, the outsourcing provider can quickly replace an outsourcing team member unsuitable for the project. Typically, this entails only staff rotation for outsourcing companies between different tasks rather than actual firing.

3. Cost-effectiveness

Many skilled developers live and work in offshore locations such as Eastern Europe or India. They have equal skills and experience, if not more, but are less expensive than developers from the United States, Australia, and Western Europe.

You no longer need to establish and maintain an entire development team by outsourcing to the offshore locations mentioned. Development firms bill hourly, including developers’ fees, equipment, maintenance, and post-launch services. 

Businesses that use outsourcing companies save money on rental costs, IT ecosystems, corporate events, perks, and other expenses.

4. There is no micromanagement

There is no need to devote a significant amount of time to hiring, training, and retaining employees. Businesses can better focus on business development and operational processes by outsourcing app development to a team. 

The outsourcing team oversees engineering team management, development velocity, and quality assurance. It means you can focus on making decisions based on app performance metrics and engineering team KPIs rather than delving deeper into analyzing causes and consequences.

According to the Coding Sans survey, nearly 63% of the companies polled have outsourced software development entirely or partially at least once, and roughly 60% are satisfied with the results.

When is it appropriate to outsource mobile app development?

1. If getting to market quickly is critical. 

Outsourced teams have more resources and skills at their disposal. You should always consider outsourcing when you don’t have enough hands or people in-house. 

Outsourcing should be at the top of your consideration when your business needs in-house hands or staff because recruiting, employing, and training employees to accomplish the task on your own could result in significant delays in project delivery.

2. If cost is a critical factor for you. 

In-house resources are usually more expensive. Your outsourcing provider can focus on product and company development while the internal team concentrates on expansion and marketing. 

Outsourcing companies have unique libraries of past projects, ready-to-use solutions, and solid IT infrastructures, all of which help speed up development while saving time and money.

3. Some initiatives involve using unique and scarce capabilities. 

Outsourcing is the right path if the project requires difficult-to-acquire skills and capabilities, such as AI, machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, or even Salesforce and DevOps. 

These capabilities require on-demand configuration and maintenance. When outsourcing providers can provide on-demand engineers with unusual or unique abilities on a project-by-project or one-time basis, hiring personnel within the organization makes little sense.

4. If you have limited resources. 

An outsourcing firm can provide the time you need to upskill your workforce correctly. It, more crucially, ensures that your clients and consumers receive high-quality products or services as quickly as feasible.

5. Suppose information technology isn’t your primary focus. 

A software development outsourcing firm can use industry-standard best practices to ensure an effective software development process and build or improve IT ecosystem performance and project scalability. Developing an application and acquiring IT knowledge alone could take much more time and money.


Outsourcing app development lowers costs, boosts team efficiency, and ensures the completion of the project on time. This form of collaboration is appropriate for many enterprises, including start-ups, mid-sized businesses, and giant corporations. However, to get the full benefits of outsourcing app development, you must carefully select the team you will collaborate with.

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The VA Reviewer

The VA reviewer is an avid traveler, a licensed accountant, practicing corporate and tax lawyer, and an online entrepreneur. He has leveraged his online job experience and professional qualifications to provide solutions to problems hounding businesses.

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