How to Outsource Mobile App Development Correctly in 2022

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outsource mobile app development

Mobile app development outsourcing is a great idea. You’re not always going to have a bigger internal project to work on. So, having a dedicated, permanent, full-time in-house team could end up costing you a lot more than it’s worth.

For one thing, you’d need to have at least 1 expert for all the fields that go into mobile development.

However, a managed services/outsourcing provider has professionals on hand for all necessary roles. You directly decrease your costs and increase the product’s quality by choosing this option. But, you have to make sure you’re working with a reputable and experienced company.

At Five Pack Creative, we’ve been doing web and mobile app development for over 10 years! We’d be thrilled to be given the opportunity to earn your business. Simply get in touch today, and we’ll make your app idea a reality.

7 Considerations for Outsourcing Mobile App Development

So, you’ve decided that you want to work with freelancers or with a development agency to see your project come to fruition. However, this is where the road is just beginning.

To make sure that everything’s going to turn out smoothly, you must take into account 7 key aspects:

  • Establishing requirements: you must give all relevant details so that the app is done according to specifications.
  • Understanding in-house vs outsource: don’t make the decision until you know for a fact you understand all aspects.
  • The benefits of outsourcing: there are many reasons to choose outsourcing development, but you must make sure they apply to your case.
  • Your outsourcing options: there are multiple ways to get your app developed.
  • How outsourcing is done: there are additional steps to making sure you’ve outsourced development correctly.
  • The average cost of outsourcing: keep some ballpark ideas in your mind; these will give you general understanding about what you might be paying.
  • Pricing model options: there are 2 models; each affects the final cost differently.

Let’s delve into each of them.

Establishing Requirements 

A mobile app development project cannot succeed if the end result isn’t clearly defined. Giving concise descriptions and comprehensive explanations of intended functionalities will help your chosen app developers tremendously.

Without proper communication on both ends, there’s no guaranteeing that your goals will align. In fact, this aspect (communication) should be your main focus point throughout the entire project. 

If you think something should be cleared up more before continuing, never hesitate to contact the project manager.

  • Great communication is the core pillar of effectively executing the project requirements at expected standards.
  • Take your time with the planning stage. Work together with the outsourcers on careful estimations. Work step-by-step towards a strategy that is best for both sides.
  • Unclear requirements are also the main reason for unexpected increased costs and delivery times.
  • The better defined the requirements are, the less your budget will have to be overall (compared to unclear requirements where extra work that needs to be done appears sporadically).

How to Create Requirements

mobile app development requirements

Overall, you should make sure that you cover these following points when setting expectations:

  • State the app’s purpose: this will help the outsourcers to choose the best-suited personnel for the project, and it avoids misunderstandings in the future.
  • Communicate efficiently, not continuously: try to stay within the “elevator pitch” concept when establishing requirements. Make sure the overall idea is understood well, and get into the details later. Keep it short and to the point. Dragging on conversations will only lengthen the development time.
  • Give precise/accurate information: this will lessen development time and reduce your costs.
  • Foresee potential roadblocks: remember that your outsourcers have already done this before (at Five Pack, dozens of times). Talk to them about what potential problems they visualize for the project. Take all necessary measures to prevent them. 
  • Aim for predictability: carefully-worded requirements and qualitative wireframes create more realistic expectations for both sides.

The better the communication at this stage, the easier it will be to find common ground when outsourcing mobile app development. This will save you both money and time. 

In-house vs Outsource

It’s true that working with an internal team will bring some unique advantages. They already know your business’s particularities, and the inner workings are clearer to them. At the same time, you get full control over the development process. But, that’s not always a good thing.

For one thing, the overall cost is higher by default. They are your employees, so you’re paying the same salaries and guaranteeing certain benefits regardless of the work that’s being done. Recruitment is also fully up to your HR department.

If you’re not able to find the right specialists for the requirements when recruiting, then that’s that. What’s more, even if you do, they’ll need a working space and tools of the trade. Finding experienced/senior personnel to oversee everything could prove challenging too.

Now, all of that being said, in-house teams can be the way to go if your idea is downright revolutionary. If you’re looking ahead years and years, and you want to be the next Amazon or Twitter, it’s beneficial to keep all of that internally. But, that also directly means you have a huge budget to spare, and your timeline is extensive and adaptable. 

If you’re not in such a scenario, then we recommend getting in touch with us. We’ll deliver a quality software product that fits your budget and specifications.

Outsourcing Benefits

If you’re not a pro at mobile app development, it’s way better to leave it to those that are. Some of the greatest boons of outsourcing is that you get instant access to considerable experience and a wide range of skills.

This is especially true when you choose a full-service agency like ours, that can provide everything from planning, to design, to execution. This means that any potential roadblock or complicated feature will be met head-on by a team of experts.

Another aspect that we’ve found a lot of clients like is that your involvement is minimal. When you outsource app development, you don’t have to worry about procedures, operations, management, or anything in-between. Instead, your sole focus can be business scalability, or marketing.

Even if you’re not in the same time zone as the outsourcers, it will never be a problem when working with a reputable company. That’s what project managers are there for after all. You’ll always be kept in the loop.

To top it all off, you’re even paying less than you would for an internal team (without any of the management efforts too). The only involvement necessary from your part is discussing requirements and assessing monthly reports about the team’s progress.

Outsourcing Options

The great thing about managed services is the flexibility and diversity that’s presented to you. Outsourcing mobile app development can be done in 2 different ways, with an additional alternative that’s generally not recommended though:

  • Hiring a full-service agency
  • Working with freelancer developers
  • Buying a commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) instead
Mobile App Development Agency Freelance developers COTS
PROS Experts for all aspects of the project More flexible prices The cheapest option of the 3
In-depth processes and procedures Vast talent pool (could find very skilled developers) Very fast speed-to-market
Clearly set expectations Pre-built features that work as intended
(Dozens of) years of experience in developing similar products
Adherence to formalized and organized development
Bespoke solution for your requirements
Open to feedback from your side
CONS Higher costs More restricted specializations Features are always standardized
Vast talent pool (you could unknowingly choose inexperienced developers) There might not be a solution for what you’re trying to achieve
Hard or impossible to get quality guarantees Transition to custom-built later is complex
Time management and communication varies greatly from one developer to another You might never use some of the features
No UX/UI changes possible

Which One to Choose?

Generally speaking, the choice is up to your app’s scope. What type of work do you need done? What are you looking to get developed? Are standard features enough for you, or do you want to stand out from the competition with a bespoke product?

One thing to note is that while budget constraints are paramount, you shouldn’t let them dictate the road you take. Investing less in what will turn out to be a worse product isn’t better than investing more into a product which has significant ROI potential.

With freelancers, you could be getting over-the-top work being done, or it could be a waste of time and money. With COTS, you usually just buy it and use it as intended, nothing more. Sure, you save money, but chances are you’ll have to tweak/upgrade it later on with custom features to improve or change the final product anyway.

Additionally, you’re not getting any design work or QA with freelance developers or COTS.

Regardless of your app’s complexity, the main advantages of outsourcing become apparent when you choose a mobile app development agency like Five Pack Creative. Whatever your preferences or specifications, they can be achieved. A software development company will always have specialists for all required fields:

  • Business analysis
  • UX/UI design
  • Android and iOS development
  • Project management
  • QA/testing

How to Outsource Mobile App Development

how to outsource mobile app development

There are 6 steps to outsourcing app development correctly.

1. Establish the Goals/an Outline

You don’t have to do this entirely by yourself. After you have a clear concept in your mind, get in touch with your preferred mobile app development agency. If they’re worth their salt, they’ll be able to assist with additional business analysis. 

This will help shed more light on the crucial aspects of what the app wants to achieve. Once the vision for the product is finalized, the steps can then be executed professionally without facing impediments. 

In order to avoid miscommunication, try and have answers ready for the following topics:

  • What’s the purpose of your app?
  • Who are you targeting (audience), and what need are you addressing?
  • Do you want native apps, or a hybrid one?
  • What are core features that simply must be in the app?

2. Decide on a Budget

The more you can invest, the better the end result will be. No matter the scale of your app though, we recommend going with an MVP/prototype first, and see what feedback the product gets. Further extensive development or minor to medium tweaks can be done after the fact.

Despite what you might think, the difference between agency rates and freelancer prices isn’t that huge. Talk with your provider of choice and come to an understanding about the pricing model. Any good company will be willing to reach common ground with you.

3. Finding a Reliable Mobile App Development Team

The main criteria you should look for are:

  • Past experience with requirements like yours
  • Past experience in the industry your app targets
  • Client portfolio
  • Skilled at developing for the platform of your choice
  • Know-how of technologies your product will use
  • Average speed-to-market
  • Geographical/time zone/communication considerations

The location of your outsourcers will be among the first decisions you make.

Onshore developers are in the same country as you. This helps keep an easier flow of communication, and you also get the advantage of having similar backgrounds and views on business decisions.

Nearshore developers are located in bordering countries to yours, and can be considered alternatives worth looking into.

Offshore developers are in countries remote from yours. Time zone differences can reach 8 – 10+ hours, so chances are you won’t even be awake while they’re working. Depending on the quality of the offshore developers, this could present more challenges.

4. Thinning Out the Shortlist

After you’ve made an initial list, chances are that it’s pretty long. Don’t waste your time contacting each of them. Instead, do another analysis, but more strictly this time.

The easiest way to do this is looking at portfolios. Do they have proof they’ve succeeded with ideas like yours in the past? Is their experience in that industry clearly documented? You can also simply download their work yourself, and see how well those apps work.

Of course, another great step is checking out reviews or recommendations from past clients.

5. Contact the Developers

After you’ve settled on a maximum of 3–5 options, you should hop on a call with each of them. You’ll then get a consultation for your app idea, as well as a quote.

Don’t refrain from asking for additional references, or if you can be shown something they’ve worked on that’s not publicly displayed. It’s your money, so making sure you spend it wisely is recommended. 

You should also ask upfront if they aren’t very experienced at anything in particular, so you set all expectations from the start.

6. Outsourcing in the Middle of a Project

While not ideal, outsourcing mobile app development is also possible after work has begun on it. Carefully review your costs and progress so far, and decide if in-house work is worth it onwards.

If you do decide on outsourcing the remainder of the work though, keep in mind that bringing the outside team up to speed will be a bit more challenging. Make sure you have comprehensive documentation about everything that’s been done so far, so that work can continue as expected.

Average Outsourcing Costs

The more complex the app, the higher the mobile app development cost. First and foremost among factors is the scope. What features the app needs, and what tools are required for developing them will drastically change prices. 

Usually, simpler apps (ex: real estate, networking/social, banking) could go from $25,000 to $50,000+.

Complex apps (ex: dating apps, taxi/ride booking, augmented reality) could cost anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000+. 

In any case, you’ll always have a customized price for your needs when working with a full-service development agency like Five Pack Creative.

Outsourcing Pricing Models

There are 2 options to be discussed: “Fixed Price” and “Time and Material”.

Fixed Price (mostly for MVPs):

  • Smaller project
  • Limited budget
  • Well-defined project scope
  • Clear time estimations

Time and Material (hourly rate + actual time spent developing):

  • Popular in tandem with “Agile” project management workflows
  • Project is bigger or more complex
  • The scope of the work is harder to determine
  • Adaptability is key; requirements could change

Generally, “Time and Material” is used more.

Outsource Your Development to Us

We’re expert problem solvers. Do you need to outsource mobile app development for an Android or iOS app? Looking for completely custom development that fits your requirements? We’re eager and waiting to start the conversation.

We’ve already tackled dozens of niches (social, medical, finance, eLearning, travel, etc), and worked with industry leaders such as Syngenta Global and Match.com. 

Discovery and planning, UX/UI design, mobile and web app development; we do it all. If you wish to study our portfolio, you can view our case studies

After you’re sure that we’re the right company to contact, we await your call at (972) 200-9120.

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