The Exact Cost Of Outsourcing Mobile App Development In 2021

If you are a hustling entrepreneur of this internet age, a startup founder, technology business owner, or a project manager.

Then possibly you would have outsourced the technology or specifically mobile app development before in some form or another and might already know the best practices of outsourcing.

But, if not.

Then today you’ll know how to outsource development, the cost of outsourcing mobile app development and the best practices of outsourcing the development to an expert dev team.

You may have already heard the benefits of development outsourcing like the lower cost of development over hiring an in-house team of developers, no long-term commitment, and worth mentioning - availability to a wide range of quality talent.

While on the other hand, there are some downsides of outsourcing as well, that must be taken into consideration while making a decision; like - language barrier between the teams, timezone differences, and work culture differences (if you are outsourcing overseas).

But this doesn’t mean one should avoid outsourcing, in fact, there are many technology startups that have now become full-fledged companies who successfully outsourced their core or secondary application development.

I am sure you know a bunch of these startups if not all, includes:

  • Slack
  • Skype
  • Basecamp
  • MySQL
  • Github
  • Alibaba
  • Google
  • WhatsApp

Takeaway: You can easily neutralize the downsides associated with outsourcing by opting for nearshore outsourcing agencies over offshore development companies.

How much does it cost to outsource mobile app development

Cost of outsourcing mobile app development is similar to asking “how much does a car cost?”. You can get it from $10,000 to the scale you want to go to. The overall cost of development is defined by the project requirements, platform, the technology used, developer’s experience, and location.

But for all the people out there who only understand numbers, the cost of developing a mobile app ranges between $15,000 and $1,00,000. That means you could get a simple app developed for around $20,000 to $50,000 range. Whereas, a more complex and feature-rich app could go well above $1,00,000 mark with outsourcing.

Here is an average cost breakdown for some popular mobile apps development -

  • A business app like Starbucks - $70,000 to $1,00,000
  • Photo sharing social media app like Instagram - $1,20,000 to $1,50,000
  • An online marketplace for rentals like Airbnb - $1,40,000 to $2,00,000
  • A taxi booking app like Uber or Lyft - $1,00,000 to $1,40,000
  • An e-commerce marketplace app like Etsy - $2,00,000 to $2,50,000
  • A real estate mobile app like Realtors - $70,000 to $1,00,000

Why and When to outsource your mobile app development


Affordable: Most of the shoestring startups were built on outsourcing

The number one reason why people outsource their development is that of the lower cost of development than hiring and managing a full-time in-house team of developers doing the very same job. So it’s a no-brainer for startups to outsourcing mobile app development to keep their funds under control.

No long-term commitment: You are in full control

Hiring and firing full-time employees is not an easy job when you put so much energy and money finding those full-time developers. But with outsourcing, no long-term commitments are required to be made and you are in full control of your spendings and work tenure.

Access to global talent: i.e. quality

With outsourcing, you get the availability of the global talent at your fingertips that otherwise is next to impossible to hire a full-time in-house. You get a wide pool of choices to outsource your mobile app development (Android or iOS).


When you want a quicker time to market

The less time you take to hire, the less time it takes your product to get available to the market. Simple.

If you are a project manager

If you are a project manager and get assigned a short time for the development of a particular product, then hiring an extended team of developers or completely outsourcing the development could save a lot of time and effort.

If you are a solo non-techy founder

If you are a non-techy founder, nearshore outsourcing with a dedicated project manager is the way to go for you.

Best Practices to outsource the right app developers

In-person or Skype interview

This should be the must-do task in your outsourcing checklist because you will never want to hire someone who ends up disrespectful to your project, time, and money. Have some skype calls if you can’t meet them in person. And not just one call but a number of calls during the hiring process. Because if they can’t answer your messages or Skype calls even while you are going to hire them, how can you expect them to show interest in you once the project starts?

Timezones: find in similar time zones

Always prefer hiring developers from local timezones rather than going overseas just to save some $15/hour. Because it can become a painstaking task to coordinate overnights on longer projects. My suggestion would be not going for more than 4-5 hours of overlap.

The clear flow of communication produces quality products.

Our words: Say no to overseas outsourcing

I know I’m making bold words here but most of our current and previous clients who have had outsourced their development overseas didn’t have the most pleasant experience.

So, if you are looking to outsource your core development, better look at inshore outsourcing agencies or developers first.

Strong communication skills: Who can pitch your product as well

Make sure that your developers have strong communication skills because you never know when you need your developer to take with you on a startup pitch deck. Generally, a good developer has also good communication skills (but the exceptions are always there) because they usually produce well penned-down project documentation in English.

Don’t get tempted by $15/hour rates: they can end up being more expensive than an $80/hour developer -

Experienced developers take less time to develop an app and make fewer mistakes on the go. But they don’t come at $15/hour. While on the other hand, a $15/hour hiree takes a long time to develop and also makes a lot of mistakes. And when an unexpected issue arises in front of an inexperienced cheap developer, they start trembling and don’t know how to resolve the issue.

Experienced developers and expensive developers are two different things

There are developers out there who are super busy all the time and that’s why they raise their prices just to avoid low-cost works. But if they are super busy like a honey bee, it doesn’t mean they are experienced at what exactly you need. That’s why it is crucial to define your product, goals, and needs.

For example: "Suppose your product is an iOS real estate marketplace app". Once your goals and needs are defined you will start finding an experienced iOS developer who can build a custom marketplace real estate app for you at $80/hour.

You will save a lot of time and money by first defining your product and goals. Otherwise, you can get easily manipulated by those "full-stack" developers who do everything and can also build apps for iOS. They are not the best just because they have collected thousands of five-star ratings to lure you by building small web-based applications. And not to mention they charge a hefty $120/hour by flaunting those disparate reviews to you.

Note: I’m not sure if I made this point very clear, if not, give it a reread.

Do extensive discussion and see if they know their stuff

Do extensive discussion and notice if they have any interest in your project. See if they are putting their inputs to make your app more usable. Or is it just another money-making project for them?

Don’t hesitate to ask vague questions

This one can really put apart the tire kickers from the good developers. Simply ask them to include a vague feature in your app and see how they respond to your idea. If they are ok with the feature and say “sure we will add that feature to your app”. Just stay away from those! Because they are only interested in billing you more time and nothing else. They have no work ethics and zero interest in your project.

Keep your NDA watertight

It’s up to you if you want to get an NDA signed for your project or not. But it is advisable to keep yourself on the safer side if and when anything goes out of your hands.

And one more thing, your job is not done yet by just getting signed the NDA. You need to make sure that you should always be in a position of enforcing the NDA if anything goes wrong. Because with the overseas outsourcing of development it is not practical to go abroad and enforce the NDA there when your overseas developers breach the agreement. That’s one more reason to prefer the nearshore developers over the offshore ones.

- Download our NDA template for App / Web / SaaS development

Have a PM (Project Manager) on your side if you are not a tech-savvy person

There’s also a good chance you are outsourcing the development for your mobile app or startup because you are not a tech guy who knows nothing about coding and only wants to see the end product. If that is the case, I would prefer you hire a ‘Project Manager’ who occasionally audits the code and keep an eye on your outsourced development team.

But it is wise to have a technical co-founder especially if you are a non-techy entrepreneur. BTW, we do have a team of senior developers who have built a number of startups from the ground up while being behind the curtains. You can also have them on your side as an On-Demand CTO for your startup or business project.

Know what you want from your app

You might be thinking that you already know what you want from your app. But that’s just the functionality that you are considering which is just one-fourth of the overall app architecture.

Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself before looking for development outsourcing.

  • What are the main points and core ideas of your app?
  • What are your goals for the app?
  • What exact features and functions do you want out of your app?
  • Have you prepared some UI/UX sketches ready to convey what you have in mind?
  • What do you want to achieve, an MVP or full-featured app?
  • What platform do you want to build the app for - iOS or Android app development or both?
  • What budget do you have in mind for the development of the app?
  • What are your maintenance plans?

Best app outsourcing companies

Finding good agencies for mobile app development outsourcing is not going to be a cakewalk for you. You need to be able to rule out the bad ones from the great ones. Here are some of the traits of best mobile app development companies-

Broad technical experience - Great developers know and are comfortable with more than one technology. Since they are into programming long enough, they know what specific technologies are required to build an application like yours.

Collaborative development methodology - Good developers always want to keep things transparent. That's why they adopt agile development methodology for collaborative work which makes the work process transparent and clear throughout the team and client.

Debugging Skills - Good ones know the way out when things don’t work out. Coding is just a part of their overall job. When errors arise, going to the root of the problem and resolving it, is what makes them a good developer.

Willingness to put more and the best version - Good programmers are not only responsible for building what you dictate them but also putting their invaluable technical advice is what you should expect from them. They have all the five senses as you have and so must put their views and points on what is right for your app and what is not.

How to reduce the cost of outsourced mobile app development

The best thing you could do to reduce the cost of your app development is to avoid those cheap $20/hour developers. Yes, you’ve read it right, you will save money by avoiding cheap developers. Let me explain it a bit more extensively.

Suppose you hired an experienced team of developers at $100/hour and they took 80 hours to complete the project using their vast codebase assets, skills, and experience. While on the other hand, a $20/hour team ends up costing you 500 hours for the very same project. Why? Because they make errors, lack of skill set, no codebase availability. So, in the end, the $100/hour team cost overall $8000 while the inexperienced “cheap” $20/hour team cost $10,000 for the app development project.

So the best favour that you could do to reduce the cost of development is by avoiding the “Cheap” development options.

I hope you enjoyed the article. If you want to have a quick estimate of your mobile app development, our senior developers are here to assist you, just fill the contact form and we will get back to you. :)

Leave a Comment