If your organization is considering developing an app, you’re most likely going back and forth with the decision to outsource its development or build your app in-house. While both have their strong points and drawbacks, the decision comes down to your preference.

To help you make the best decision for your organization, we’ve compiled a guide with everything you need to know about outsourcing app development.

Reasons To Build A Mobile App In-house

Quicker approvals

Although this isn’t always the case, project approvals tend to happen faster when everyone involved is located within proximity or in the same building. This makes it easier to synchronize the entire team’s schedule without the run around that often comes from trying to contact team members in different places. This also make sign offs a lot faster and easier.

Besides, this also gives you the ability to run a new design or idea by your team members over lunchtime or in the break room without having to call an official meeting.

Better brand knowledge

A team made up of internal members will always have more knowledge about your company and brand than an external member or an external agency will. Your own specialized team will have a thorough understanding of the goals, visions, target audience, history, and top competitors that your organization has. They’ll be a lot more aligned with the rest of your team.

This isn’t to say, however, that an agency or service provider couldn’t learn about these things. It’s just that an internal team is more likely to know them by heart at the start of the project, which can cut back on delays and miscommunication.

Ease of resource management

As the developer of your app, you’re able to delegate your resources where you think they will be the most useful. You know the skills of your resources (team members) and can identify their strengths. Thanks to this, you can more easily make use of their talents which can boost efficiency and make for a positive experience. Also, you can swap and switch team members as you see fit.

Revision flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of developing a mobile app in-house is that revisions can be done wherever, whenever, and however, the team sees fit. There is no time limit for revisions and revisions can be made as often as necessary.

The biggest drawback of this is that hours can easily be spent modifying, fixing, and tweaking. Sometimes, due to this extreme flexibility, the revisions that are made aren’t even necessary because, as humans, we tend to want to “fix” things to a point where they begin to lose quality.

More control

Due to the number of revisions, internal team, and creative freedom that developing apps in-house allows, you’re given more control over your project. You can do virtually anything you want so long as the rest of the team agrees. This means that, should something come up, you can push back the launch date to give yourself more time to create the app of your dreams. This is also helpful for when you need to iron out bugs.

Experience

Working on developing and launching your app all by yourself (with your team, of course) is a great way to gain experience. The experience gained through the many trial and error situations you’re bound to come face to face with during the process can be beneficial should you want to develop another app, improve your existing app, or offer anadditionalservice as an app developer in future.

It can also give you perspective into the hard work that goes into developing an app, giving you an appreciation for those who do it for a living. It might even open your eyes to a brand new hobby.

Reasons To Outsource App Development

Up to date

Established app development agencies are equipped with the necessary tools and relevant skills to develop apps that are of the highest quality. When any new, tools, or tricks of the trade are launched, agencies are the first to know. This not only increases the quality of your app but also makes for better overall user experience. Afterall, they’re supposed to be the specialists and experts in the field.

Professionalism

Agencies that offer app development are generally made up of team members with plenty of professional experience. To offer app development services, most agencies will have gone through a certification process, training, and hands-on experience. This helps guarantee that, when tasked with a job, it will turn out properly.

In addition, an agency should always have a professional working the customer service desk and answering phones/ replying to emails, which makes it easy to make connections and establish important information.

Reduction of risks

Hiring an outsourced development team to develop your app means that after signing your contract, all responsibility for the project is transferred to the hired agency. This usually guarantees a delivery date and turnaround time, as well as a certain standard of work.

It also means that should something go amiss, all responsibilities are put on the shoulders of the agency instead of your organization. There’s also often a clause to protect you (such as a full or partial refund if things go wrong on the part of the agency), minimizing the financial damage that a failed project could cause you.

Saves time

To create a successful Android or iOS app, you need a qualified, fully-staffed team. If you’re making the app yourself, you’d need to hire and train each member, if they don’t already have the skills necessary. When hiring an external team, there’s no need for this. The hiring and training are done for you, as are revisions and any editing and problem management that needs to be done.

Quality assurance

Before an agency or professional developer delivers your finished app, he or she will conduct several quality assurance checks. This ensures that your app works the way it is intended to, has all of the required features, and is up to date in terms of security, style, and usability.

Although you can perform certain checks yourself, a professional will have many more tools and various ways to test your app before the big launch.

Tips For Outsourcing

Seek a team with relevant experience

When hiring a developer, make sure you find one that has a plethora of experience relevant to the development of apps. If you’re considering a development team, you’ll want to ensure that you see their experience with your own eyes.

For example, if the development team claims to have 10 years of experience and thousands of great reviews, ask them to show you the reviews and their certifications. Any professional team will be more than happy to oblige your request.

Communication is key

It can be nerve-wracking to trust the success of your app to an external party. To ensure that your standards are met and that everything goes according to plan, be sure to keep an open line of communication with whoever you hire.

If you don’t understand something, have a question about anything, or wish to have more information about any part of the process, feel free to ask. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions that you feel are “hard questions”. If the question is important, it needs to be asked and answered with a thorough, thoughtful answer. Communicating is the best way to guarantee that your app’s launch will be a positive experience.

In the same breath, it’s a good idea to establish which channels you and your developer will use to communicate. Will you email, use Skype or get on the phone?

Set expectations beforehand

Before diving into a project using a third party, talk with your developer and fill him or her in on your expectations. Make sure that by the end of the conversion, both of you know why, when, and how you’re doing the job.

Iron out points of confusion such as payment terms (dates, hourly pay, etc), timeframes, revisions, and general requirements. Keep your expectations in check and make sure they are realistic.

Get a price quote

Price shock is a real thing. It happens when a customer or buyer is forced to pay more than what he or she was expecting for a service or product. Depending on the price, price shock can range from mild to severe and detrimental to the state of one’s finances.

To reduce the chances that you’ll suffer from price shock when outsourcing an app, ask for a price quote from the company you hire. Or, if you’re trying to decide between various companies, ask for a quote from each company and use the information as a factor in your decision.

Set up interviews

The best way to decipher who’s the best team for the job is to conduct interviews. Meet with any potential developers and run through a list of questions that are important to you, using their responses to narrow it down and make a final choice.

Consider asking about prices, experience, background, and feel free to ask to view their portfolio, as well. Remember, although you’re doing an interview, you shouldn’t be putting your interviewee on the spit too much. Doing so can cause them to become nervous and, in turn, botch an otherwise great interview with tons of potential.

How Much It Costs to Outsource

“How much does it cost to outsource an app?” is often the first question that is asked after you’ve decided to outsource. However, as much as we wish this answer was as cut and dry as the question itself, it just isn’t that simple.
The answer depends on some factors including where you’re located, the complexity of the app you’re envisioning, how long development takes, and whether your hired developer is an individual or part of an agency.

In general, though, outsourcing app development costs anywhere from $10,000 to over $1,000,0000.
Here’s a bit more of a breakdown:

Consider asking about prices, experience, background, and feel free to ask to view their portfolio, as well. Remember, although you’re doing an interview, you shouldn’t be putting your interviewee on the spit too much. Doing so can cause them to become nervous and, in turn, botch an otherwise great interview with tons of potential.

Business apps

Popular business apps like Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Target, and Macy’s run on the low end of the scale, starting at around $70,000 and going up.

Rental marketplaces

Apps that allow users to book rentals such as Airbnb tend to cost upwards of $1,000,000. This is because there are a lot of technical aspects that go into them.

E-commerce marketplaces

These marketplaces include user-based marketplaces like Etsy and Deviantart. They generally start at around $2,000,000. Again, this is due to their complexity.

Social media apps

Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat start at approximately $120,000.

Taxi booking apps

App includes Uber, Lyft, and related apps usually start at $1,000,000.

The factors mentioned above play a large part in the overall cost of an app. In terms of complexity, the more complex an app, the more it will cost. This makes sense when you take into consideration the technical details and the countless hours that will go into working on the app.

Also, if you opt to have an individual develop your app, you’re looking at a lower price point. Hiring an agency generally costs a bit more due to their level of professionalism and experience. It also costs more because there are dedicated professionals working on each area of the process. And these professionals usually have fully-qualified backgrounds complete with certifications and schooling.

Conclusion

So, is outsourcing for you? Or will you opt to gather an in-house team to create your app? Whichever you choose, there are pros and cons and either can be beneficial. It depends on your unique situation and needs, so don’t try to find a one size fits all solution because you won’t find one.

Try to remember that building apps in-house gives you plenty of room for revision, allows you to delegate tasks efficiently, and gives you more than enough valuable experience. On the other hand, keep in mind that outsourcing can save you time, ensure that your app is high-quality, and reduce your risks.

When outsourcing, set up interviews, look for developers with experience, gather price quotes from potential partners, and be sure to communicate often and well.