How to Outsource App Development in 2021? (Detailed Guide)


According to Forrester, 38% of decision-makers opted to outsource app development to India based on the skills and expertise offered by the outside app developers. If you’re wondering whether outsource app development to a mobile app development agency or hire an in-house app developer team, this blog is for you. Let’s get going.


We Should Build An App!

This has become the new – “We Should Buy a Bar!”

But, on a serious note, mobile app development has become the top priority for businesses to increase revenues and expand their presence globally.

Mobile apps are software applications designed to run on devices like smartphones, tablets, desktops. Usually, they are available through the app stores like Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

With the mobile market still booming, it is clear that this type of software development won’t go flat anytime soon, especially with wearables and other new interactive technology entering our lives.

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In fact, according to Statista, mobile apps are forecasted to generate around 935 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2023. Statista also revealed that the app downloads in 2017 were 178 billion which is projected to grow to 258 billion in 2022. Further, talking about the US economy, apps have made up a large part of a person’s digital life. According to AppAnnie, Mobile app users in the United States have over 100 apps installed on their smartphones.


Whether you want to develop an app for your startup, to take your business online, or to optimize your day-to-day business activities, you may outsource mobile app development. Here’s why.

Why Outsource Application Development?

While outsourcing is the ideal thing to do, but it comes with its own set of issues and challenges. Sometimes, the biggest obstacle is finding the right app development partner. And, the right way to identify an ideal outsourcing partner is to look for an app development outsource company that puts a real effort into understanding your idea before giving a quote and timeline and getting started with development.

So, Do you also want to get ahead and reap the mobile app rewards for your business? We’re figuring yes. Now, this has brought up an important question for business owners:

Should you start hiring an in-house team of mobile app developers and rent out an office to create a mobile app for your business? There’s no need for that as you can go for outsourcing.

Why outsource app development?

Because the talented developers dwell where they dwell, and sometimes they don’t always agree to join your club. This is why, instead of wasting in hiring these talents, outsourcing your business app project to them makes much more sense.

Now, let’s get back to our key question:

How to Outsource App Development?

The following guide will walk you through the right process for both iOS and Android app development outsourcing.

How to Outsource App Development?

  1. Make an Outline for Your App

    You need to have a clear vision of your app idea. Yes, a reliable app development outsourcing company will help you understand the basics of an app. Yet, you must do the best research you can from your side. You might not understand the operational aspects but you can definitely research competitors and similar apps. This will help you understand the functionality of your app and make you aware of what your competitors lack. You should answer these questions to yourself, it will help you make a basic outline.

    • What do you plan to accomplish with your app?
    • Which problems will the app solve for the users?
    • Which platform do you want to build your app on? iOS, Android, Windows, Web, Hybrid?
    • Which features will you need in your app for sure?
    • How will you make your app better than your competitors?
  2. Devise an Estimated Budget

    With enough research, you will realize how much money you can allocate to your app. This estimated budget will help you choose whether you want to hire a freelance developer or an app development company. Outsourcing companies are not expensive. In fact, they are actually pretty cost-effective when you see the entire picture.

  3. Research App Developers

    After deciding on the app outline and the budget, it is time to start looking for the developers. Experienced developers will help you decide what to do next.

    You can look for app developers online on websites like Clutch and Upwork. These sites only list reputable developers and have genuine reviews and ratings from the developers’ previous clients. You can also check out the featured portfolio of the companies as well as developers to see what kind of work they have done in the past.

    It is an added bonus if the developer has worked on a similar project before. This means he has experience of developing something similar.

  4. Interview the Developers

    After researching the developers, you can shortlist the developers who you think are appropriate for your project. Then, one by one, you can interview them.

    You can contact them and ask about their relevant experience, app development process, previous projects, client testimonials, charges. This will give you a better idea if you want to work with them or not. You can also discuss time zone differences, project management tools, communication tools, and other related aspects that affect outsourced app development.

  5. Approach the Final Developers

    After talking to all the developers on your list, you need to finalize one developer that will work on your project. Note down all the data that you collected online and by one to one discussion with the developers. This will help you compare and make a well-informed decision.

    When you finalize the developer, just approach them. The mobile app development company will further guide you on how to proceed.

    Let’s see the reasons why you should go for outsourcing mobile developers instead of hiring full-time in-house developers.

    Benefits of Outsourcing Mobile App Development


    It boosts your app development speed without waiting for the full hiring process.

    Do you know why some startups become successful in a short window of time?

    It’s because they’re quick when it’s the matter of hiring new talents, while the enterprise companies slowly adapt to the market changes and drag the standard paper routine.

    However, if you’ve time and money, you can compete with those startups or even beat them if you hire an ideal outsourcing app development company.

    It helps to expand technology stacks without re-hiring talents.

    Technologies fluctuate a lot these days. Everyone now prefers swift language for iOS app development and Firebase infrastructure for Android app development.

    Now, it’s not necessary that the people you hire will be familiar with today’s technology stacks. But, outsourcing your app project with an app development company that has experience with implementing a new stack, can get you additional benefits like a solid codebase, which doesn’t require maintenance over the long term.

    Outsourcing provides additional innovation and efficiency.

    Best outsourcing app development companies provide innovation and efficiency in their work. Most of them always follow the IDEA cycle for developing mobile apps. IDEA (identify, design, engineer, and analyze) is a simple pattern that streamlines the app development process more effectively.

    The in-house developers, on the other hand, don’t always follow the same approach as they’ve been working on the same product over and over again, and they may not notice the tiny details that users will require.

    Outsourcing costs less than an in-house app developer team.

    App developers living in the cities with a high cost of living like New York, San Francisco, and London can’t afford to charge less for their work. But, this also doesn’t mean that they will provide equal quality of work.

    As a matter of fact, they charge twice much as top outsourcing companies, mainly because they don’t have any resources.

    To make things clearer and give an idea about the pros and cons of an in-house team and outsourced team, we have made these scannable tables.

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In-House Team or Offshore App Development Team?

Advantages of In-House Team

  • Work-culture: When you hire a team of app developers to work in your company, they work according to the work culture there. They will easily become a part of your company and understand the working style to cater to your business needs better.
  • Easy communication: If you need to communicate with the team, it is very easy as you work in one office and have the same working hours. This also avoids misunderstanding and increases efficiency.
  • Quick modifications: If there are any changes that you need in your mobile application, you can get them done quickly. In-house developers are available at the scene and make the modifications faster.

Disadvantages of In-House Team

  • Expensive: As opposed to what many people believe, hiring a team of in-house developers is more costly as compared to when you outsource developers. The final expenses include office space, rent, infrastructure, taxes, salaries, employee training, sick days, insurance, bonus, and incentives.
  • Hiring Process: It is really not easy to find and hire developers with the required skills set at your demand. The interview process is very long and you’re not sure to get the developer of your choice. This is time-consuming and your app development might also be put on hold when one of the team members resign.
  • Lack of talent pool: As discussed, it is already difficult to hire the right employee. Moreover, there is competition from other companies which makes hiring skilled developers extremely costly.
  • Employees easily fit in work culture
  • You can easily communicate with the developers
  • Developers are easily available for making quick changes
  • It is much more expensive than outsourcing developers
  • The hiring process is time and money consuming
  • Hiring talented people is not an easy job

Advantages of Offshore Team

Flexible costs: There are a lot of outsourcing agencies all over the world that offer an affordable cost to outsource app. The most popular regions for outsourcing are South Asian countries like India. You may even search for ‘Outsource App Development India’ and find a list of app development agencies. You can hire dedicated developers within a few days instead of weeks or months.

Large talent pools: One of the main benefits of outsourcing app development is that it provides a huge talent pool of technical specialists. You may check out a company’s previous clients and projects to assess their knowledge and experience. You also get a lot of options to choose from. You may choose to hire an Android developer or an iOS developer for mobile app development or a developer specifically for web app development.

Scalability: One more reason to hire a reliable outsourcing app development agency is scalability. This means that you may scale up or down your development as required. You can easily make the team bigger if you need extra hands or decrease the team members if there are fewer tasks to perform

Disadvantages of Offshore Team

Communication gap: This only happens when the outsourcing company and your company don’t decide upon a reporting schedule. There will be communication issues if the team is not available when you are. However, it can be easily resolved if you consider time zones and make a reporting schedule.

Lack of control: As the developers are not working with you in one office, you might feel that things are not in your control as much as you like. This issue can also be solved if you read testimonials from their previous clients to see if the outsourcing company will be compatible with you.

  • Much more affordable than in-house developers
  • You can choose from a wide range of specialists and technologies
  • You can easily scale up or down your project plan
  • There might be a communication gap
  • You might feel there is a lack of control

Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Outsource App Development

Before you start approaching any outsourcing company, it’s better that you take time and do a reality check with the following questions. Not only it will save you time, but it’ll also save you from going through different price quotes.

  • Do I already have a project description, which clearly outlines my product idea?
  • Do I have a list of app features and functions, which developers can use to give an accurate project quote?
  • Do I want an MVP (light app version) or a full feature product?
  • What about platforms? Do I want a mobile, tablet, or a web app? Do I want an iPhone and/or Android app? Or maybe even a mobile website?
  • What kind of services do I need: UX/UI design, development, project management, QA, branding, app monetization, something else?
  • Do I need additional custom products e.g. web admin panel, promo website, extra graphical marketing materials?
  • What’s the goal of my app: close a seed round, reach out to the global target audience, earn some profits, boost customer loyalty?
  • Do I already have a list of criteria for choosing and screening the potential project candidates e.g. “I need a Swift developer”?
  • Any approximate budget and deadline estimates?

These are the essential questions before approaching any development company, and here are some signs that show you’re with a good company.

Signs of a Good Mobile App Outsourcing Company

  • The company is responsive and replies in a timely manner (considering the possible time zone differences).
  • They proactively ask questions about your project, rather than saying “we can do that” every time you ask for suggestion or give an idea.
  • They are willing to talk about past projects in specs and don’t mind giving you a virtual office detour or connecting you with a designer or developer.
  • Their ethical standards are tangible – for instance, they admit working on a similar project but refuse to name the client due to an NDA agreement.
  • The overall tone of the conversation is friendly, yet professional.
  • Their project manager has great communicational skills and has a perfect command of the language.
  • Low rates and affordability isn’t their main selling point. They can accurately justify why this feature will cost $1.000, and not $100.
  • They talk about modern technology stack, yet willing to explain in simple English why tech option A is better than option B.
  • They can give you the exact details on how they plan to execute your project (and sound like they do know what they are up to).

Mistakes to Avoid When You Outsource Mobile App Development


Failing to consider time zones

You should always know the difference in time to place your project on hold. Generally, it’s recommended to have 4-6 overlapping hours with your outsourcing partner for productive project development. Also, use this time smartly and push important tasks at the top of the agenda.

Not Signing NDA before starting development

Before starting your project, you can get the developers to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This makes them legally bound to not reveal any information to a third party without your authorization.

However, a reputed mobile app development company would keep your data safe even without an NDA. NDA is usually important for unique concepts and startups.

Failing to establish a mutually beneficial milestone schedule

Do you know when developers work best?

When no one bothers them!

Over-reporting and over-communication can damage your app project as much as the lack of it. This is why you must clearly define your “reporting” schedule with your outsourcing partner.

Forgetting about the testing part

Ideally, the outsourcing partner you hire should do this job. However, in case the company has added this service to the original contract, follow-up before the project is completed to avoid any miscommunication in the future.

Moreover, by using professional testing, you can identify issues before your potential users experience them, and it helps to make sure that your app is working correctly.

Not getting technical support

When you outsource app development, it is extremely important that you get technical support even after your app development project is finished. You must make sure that the company you hire provides complete technical support.

This is especially important if you’re very well-versed with the technology and need help in understanding the application.

Want to Outsource App Development?

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Let’s take a look at some common questions that we get asked about outsourcing app development along with their answers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an approximate outsource app development cost?

The cost to outsource an app varies in the range of $2000-$300000. This is a vast range as the cost depends upon multiple factors like the type of app, features of the app, charges of the app development company (which further depends on the country and skills), the time period to develop the app, and platform (iOS, Android, Web, Hybrid).

To help you calculate the cost, here is a simple formula:

Development time x Cost per hour = Total app development cost

Will my app idea be safe if I outsource app development?

Yes. You need to hire a reliable app development company with a reputed background. They will keep your app idea safe. Further, you may also ask the company to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This will make them legally bound to keep your app idea secure and not share details with any third party without your approval.

Where can I find app developers?

You can find app developers on various sites like Clutch, Upwork. It is recommended that you check out the ratings and reviews of a company on such sites. They are given by their previous clients and are highly trustworthy.

How do apps make money?

Well, there are two types of apps according to monetization strategy: free apps and paid apps. Paid apps charge upfront fees in the form of subscription. Netflix, Prime Video would be examples of that. Free apps make money via a variety of ways like advertisements, in-app purchases, and paid features.


It’s possible to find a top mobile app development company to work with if you’re persistent with your search. However, don’t rush into hiring just because you want to complete your app as soon as possible. Take the required time to evaluate the ideal candidates until you find the ultimate match to complete your project with your satisfaction.

If you have any other questions regarding application development outsourcing, payment model, other application development, outsource options like on-site developers, or dedicated mobile app developers, feel free to contact us.


We have developed various Android, iOS, and web apps like Glovo– the most downloaded Spanish on-demand grocery app with over 30 million downloads, PayNow for Stripe– the top payment app in Australia with over 50K downloads.

This page was last edited on March 22nd, 2021, at 7:16.

Author Bio

Bhaval Patel

Bhaval Patel

Designation: Director (Operations)

Bhaval Patel is the Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has over 20 years of experience in business management and sales. He has expertise in taxi booking app solutions and on-demand applications. Under his guidance, Space-O has developed 50+ Uber-like taxi apps on both iOS and Android platforms.


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