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How to Outsource App or Software Development [Cost Included]

Do you want to outsource software development to save cost? If YES, here is a complete guide on how to outsource App & software development and how much it cost.

App development is not a task you should take lightly as it is not an easy process. For an app to be termed successful, it must perform a useful function, boast of appealing features, and be easy for users to navigate. You may understand these facts but it still doesn’t mean you can achieve it yourself.

If you don’t have much experience in technical design, it’s very advisable to outsource your app development project to a web design firm.

Why Outsource App and Software Development?

Indeed you could employ people on a full-time basis, but this poses a significant risk: You can’t be completely certain that your app will excite users. If it fails, you’ll be stuck with a department that’s of little use to you, and will cost significant money.

This is why it is better to collaborate with professionals who have a track record of delivering quality products to their clients.

Outsourcing your app development won’t come easy too. You need to research extensively, and also determine exactly what your app will offer users. If it resembles other popular apps, elaborate on the similarities and how you plan on differentiating.

When you plan to outsource your app development, it’s very crucial that your goals are made clear to the developers. You should also decide whether or not you want the app to be available on iOS, Android, Windows, etc. early on in the process.

With new technological advancement and the app market being highly competitive, you need to have your app function across multiple platforms. Try to source a development team that has expertise across more than just iOS, and be sure to let them show you how each platform will perform to meet your goals.

Steps to Outsource App and Software Development

Technology changes rapidly these days. Everyone now prefers swift language for iOS app development and Firebase infrastructure for Android app development. But, outsourcing your app development to a company who has experience with implementing new stack can get you additional benefits like solid codebase, which doesn’t require maintenance over long term.

Most of them always follow the IDEA cycle for developing mobile apps. IDEA (identify, design, engineer, and analyse) is the simple pattern that streamlines the development process more effectively. Have it in mind that developers living in cities with high cost of living like New York, San Francisco, and London can’t afford to charge less for their work.

But, this 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. Explained below are the key processes of outsourcing your app development…

1. Understand what you want

This should be the very first step when planning to develop an app, be it in-house app development or you decide to Outsource. But before you decide that outsourcing mobile app development is what you’re looking for, you need to have a detailed definition of the type and function of the mobile application you want.

You need to decide, analyse and know what you want before you start sourcing for developers or you just might have let yourself fail even before starting. It’s very important that you take your time to research similar applications, and note down what you want your app to do:

  • Do you want your app to have social media integration?
  • What are the login features?
  • Are there in-app purchases?
  • Do you want a free (lite) version and a premium version of the app?
  • Do you want the app to be compatible with Google/Android or both?
  • Do you want it to be native or cross-platform (mind that the cost of mobile app development will vary)?

2. Source for an App Developer

App development is a stage to stage process. Understanding what you want will help you know what you desire in a developer. Now you can look for a developer who is skilled in creating the kind of apps you desire.

For example, if you want an app compatible with an iOS system, you have to source a developer with a background in creating iOS compatible mobile applications, or if you want to develop a game, you will look for the top in mobile game developers community.

There are various ways of finding a suitable developer for an app, but the simplest way is to place your ad on a freelancer board like or (formerly where qualified professionals from around the world will bid for your job.

Also note that you can set a price for the project and put up a description of the project together with qualifications you are looking for in a developer. It’s advisable that you state clearly what you want from the developer. Tell them everything about the platform, features to build, and what you expect regarding their skills.

To ensure you aren’t getting a generic copy and paste response to your bid and to ascertain that the bidder has read your entire post and is clear on what you need, somewhere toward the end of the post put a line asking the bidder to do something uncommon when responding.

But no matter the platform or board you use, make sure you read up on the history of the developers enquiring your project. If the profile is not enough or you need more information, by all means, contact the prospective developer and ask questions.

Also do not be fast to hire the first developer that applies. Give your post a few days to a week to get prospective bidders to broaden your search for a qualified app developer.

3. Interview the Bidder before Hiring

It is always better to talk and know the developer before you hire. Use an instant messaging program to discuss the task with the candidate in real time instead of email correspondence. Skype can be used to communicate with mobile app developers interested in working your job.

However, you can also use Google Hangouts, Viber, Facebook, Snapchat, and other popular messaging platforms to conduct developer interviews as well as give project updates and instructions.

A key advantage of using messaging platforms is so that you won’t be waiting around for return emails to your every question. Messaging platforms are real-time options for having a conversation and getting your questions answered instantly.

You can also consider video conferencing, as this feature is available through a number messaging platforms. Through video conferences, you can get to know the developer and pick up on non-obvious but important nuances not available with text conversation.

One of the most important or valuable virtues you should look for in a developer is clear communication. You need a developer who’s easy to understand and understands you easily too. It’s also advisable that you contact or ask for guidance from experts on their experience in outsourcing app development.

If they have testimonials from prior clients or a portfolio, it’ll be very useful to examine those too. You should also seek for a developer who behaves in a responsive manner: if you set up an interview via Skype and the person doesn’t hook up with you on time, it may be a warning sign that the developer has trouble maintaining commitments.

4. Negotiate a deal

Immediately you set your price for a developer who then applies for your job, the bidder may ask for higher rate than what you’ve put in for the initial contract. You shouldn’t dismiss a higher bid just because it wasn’t what you put up for the task.

The developer may actually have a good reason for the higher bid. You need to be open to negotiations, and if a higher price is seems achievable and the developer has all the qualifications you’re looking for, you might want to up the ante a little bit and take this higher bid.

5. Create crucial Milestones

It’s a very good idea that you establish and discuss crucial milestones once you’ve selected a developer. Milestones will be points in the project where specific tasks need to be completed. These milestones can serve as goal posts, so you know where the project stands and so you don’t get nervous if your developer goes quiet for a few days while working on your project.

If you can’t establish milestones, then create a connect calendar, so the developer agrees to get in touch with you on specific dates throughout the project to give you a full update on the project’s status. Also have it in mind that by sticking to a pay as you go system, the money remains motivation for the app developer, and the check-ins and project approval points will give you peace of mind.

An experienced developer might ask you for a project timeline breakdown, or he/she may not. But it is clearly up to you to present the idea of milestones and maintaining project schedule requirements. Don’t forget that if you set your expectations in the beginning, the developer will exactly know what you want and when you want it.

These established milestones or timelines gives you assess to the development builds over the course of time. It also allows you to approve every step of the process. It gives you a chance to test the modules, features, and following the beta stage of development.

Estimated Cost for App Development

The price of outsourcing app development in the united states will vary especially based on location; the cost to build a mobile app may range from $24,000 to $150,000.

If you take complexity and scope into account, then you should consider $22,000 to $60,000 range for a simple app, while a complex app with multiple features would cost from $120,00 to $250,000 to outsource approximately. Consider the following common types of apps and an average cost of app development:

  • Messaging app like WhatsApp – $50,000 to $130,000
  • Dating app like Tinder – $80,000 to $250,000
  • City guide app – $30,000 to $70,000
  • Networking (social) app – $28,000+
  • Banking/payment app – $50,000 to $80,000
  • Taxi booking app like Uber – $25,000 to $120,000

How to Spot a Good App Developer

It’s very important that you work with a developer who understands your vision and gives you the results you seek. You will need to know how to differentiate good guys from bad guys on the initial stages. Some good markers for app developers are as follows.

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills: Timely and grammatically correct replies mean a lot when discussing the scope of the app project via Skype. The person should be able to clearly respond to questions while speaking or writing.
  • A developer with an unquestionable Integrity: Having the needed skills and competence is one thing, integrity and basic code of honour is another. These are, of course, human qualities we are talking about. For example, if your candidate refuses to give out details of his similar project under NDA, you should understand he’s doing the right thing.
  • Responsiveness: You need to look out for responsive candidate, a person who is eager to communicate. If he/she can reply to your requests quickly, despite the time difference, that is a good sign that he/she is a good developer who takes their client’s needs seriously.


Indeed outsourcing app development is a major decision that needs to be shaped by your organizational goals and the requirements of your project. Knowing and clearly stating what these are will help you remove some of the options that don’t fit your needs, early in the process.

One or two things you will want to consider include the amount of risk your organization is willing to take on; your budget for mobile app development; how important it is to customize your solution given the expectations of your customers and your competition in the market; how polished your product needs to be; whether you need a more consultative engagement on top of development, and more.

When you are able to analyze and determine the best route, you can begin researching and narrowing down vendors that tick the right boxes for your app development.