Offshore Mobile Application Development – What Do You Need to Know

Aleksandra Rajczyk

Having a mobile app is becoming a requirement for modern business. No wonder the market for mobile development services gets more competitive every year. That is why a lot of companies look into outsourcing. Is offshore mobile app development a good idea for your project? 

Mobile devices have dethroned personal computers as the main equipment for online activity. Statistically, Internet users in 2011 spent 43 minutes online on desktop and 32 minutes on mobile. The trend has changed drastically: in 2020, it’s 38 and 143 minutes respectfully. This information comes as no surprise since mobile devices are more convenient, portable, and usually a lot cheaper than their desktop counterparts. That is why businesses should not sleep on mobile devices but branch out and develop their own mobile apps. One of the best ways to achieve this is through offshore mobile application development.

What is Offshore Mobile App Development?

Outsourcing is a well-known practice in entrepreneurship. It means that instead of creating an in-house team to take care of one aspect of your business, you reach out to outside agencies and hire them for the job. Outsourcing has a lot of forms: it can be a specialized company, a team, or a single freelancer. You can outsource entire projects or just some minor nuances. Finally, you can outsource to a third-party that is located in the same country as your business or seek a partnership somewhere else. This is where offshore outsourcing comes into play. 

There are a few terms related to outsourcing that may seem confusing but they just define geographical distance:

  • nearshore – the development company is in the same or a very near timezone, like a neighboring country 
  • onshore – the company is in the same country as you are
  • offshore – the company is far away from the country where you run your business

In layman’s terms, offshore outsourcing mobile app development means that you’re hiring a remote mobile app development team located in another country. You don’t hire your own team: instead, you reach to a company and request that their specialists join your project. The whole process is managed through online meetings – a very important factor in times of the global pandemic. Offshore mobile app development companies usually offer a vast variety of services: coding, UX/UI design, building a prototype, testing, maintenance, and many more. Those can be customized to create the best app that fits your budget. 

For more information about the downsides and benefits of hiring an in-house team read our related article:

Offshore Outsourcing: Pros and Cons

The reason why business owners are looking into offshore mobile app development is easy to guess: it’s the price. Lower living costs in countries outside of the USA and UK are a major factor in how much money you’re going to spend on your mobile app development. However, fixating on savings is a rather short-sighted approach that may hurt your business in the long run. Instead of obsessing over every dollar, consider the following pros and cons of offshore mobile application development. 

Advantages of offshore development

Worldwide talent pool

More countries taken into consideration mean more talented people ready to work on your project. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that easy to find real talent, and it’s even harder to make them work for you! 

Access to experts

Some technologies are more popular than others. This means a shortage of experts with narrow-specialization and free time to dedicate to your project. Offshore makes it easier to find exactly who you need.  

Saving time

Outsourcing takes away micromanagement tasks from your shoulders and places them on the outsourcing company. You can focus on other aspects of your business. 

Skipping the HR process

No need for endless interviews and training days – once you pick a development company, everything is taken care of. 

Disadvantages of offshore development

Protection of data and intellectual property 

Your ideas are the most precious things about your business. Always make sure to set NDAs or other confidentiality agreements. Be wary of companies that oppose the idea of signing it. 

Time zone differences

Even though we live in a global village, managing projects in different time zones can cause problems. Unless you want to hold business meetings at 10 PM, make sure that you and the offshore mobile app development company have a flexible working schedule. High risk of delays.

Language barrier

Always make sure to check the English skills of the entire team that’s supposed to work for you not only the management but also the developers. Otherwise, you’re going to run into problems that could’ve been easily avoided.

The cost might still be high

Experts know how much they’re worth. A highly specialized team is an expense you may not be prepared for, especially if you’re a startup or in the early stages of setting up your business.

How to Manage an Offshore Mobile App Development Team?

If you decide to hire an offshore mobile app development team, you don’t have to worry too much about management. You should rely on the Project Manager or Account Executive to get the majority of that work done for you. However, just like in every software development process, it pays off to establish good practices. 

Tips on how to manage your offshore development process:

  • Ask for contact info to the person responsible for your project. Have a talk with them about your preferred channels of communication and set a meeting schedule. Remember that you want someone who isn’t going to sugarcoat anything. 
  • Establish whether you’re taking the agile approach or waterfall – it’s crucial for the outcome.
  • Perform general code audits and testing rounds. 
  • Set realistic deadlines – add 3 more days to what the company suggests to allow some room for changes. 
  • Make space for a two-way discussion. Having a fresh perspective from knowledgeable professionals can get your mobile app to a new level. 

A good mobile app development process requires trust and transparency. Don’t be hesitant to voice your concerns. The more work you put into pre-production, the fewer issues you’re going to suffer along the way. 

Read also: 9 documents that will support your RFP for software development

How to pick an Outsourcing Company? 

It’s hard enough to find a good company in your own country. Isn’t the task to find the best of the best for your mobile app even more tedious when the entire world is open? Fortunately, you overcome the abundance of choice by paying attention to the company’s reputation.

Review the portfolio

Every offshore mobile app development company that has been present on the market for a few years should have more than a few case studies. The most prominent clients should show up on their website. Ask directly if the company has worked on a mobile application similar to yours and request contact info for references. Look up the company on professional review platforms, e.g. and see what their previous clients have to say anonymously. 

Ask about methodologies

Agile, Scrum, waterfall – what is evident to you might not work the same at the outsourcing company.

Check out their social media

Granted, it’s not the best way to get to know a company, but the kind of content they share with the world could help you decide whether they’re a good fit or not. It gives a glimpse of their work culture and principles. 

How Much Does it Cost to Outsource App Development in 2021?

The cost of outsourcing mobile app development varies by company. While it is true that offshore mobile application development is usually a lot more cost-effective than other options, a few things have to be taken into account before coming up with an estimation.

Your cost sheet for offshore mobile app development should include: 

  1. The number of developers and Project Managers involved in the project and their hourly rate.
  2. The size of the project and how many features are going to be developed in the process. 
  3. How many platforms the app is going to encompass (web, mobile, Android, iOS). 
  4. The technological stack.
  5. The type of contract with the development company specifically is it flexible or a fixed price.

To have an idea of what kind of money you’re going to have to invest, discuss your estimation with a few of the mobile app development companies you’re looking into (at the same time, don’t reveal too much about your business – consider NDAs as we have already mentioned in the “cons” section). Compare their offers and pinpoint where they differ and why. Above all, remember that the cheapest option is not always the best one – fixing mistakes made by an inexperienced or incompetent business partner may cost you more than working with the more expensive company from the get-go. 


Offshore mobile application development can significantly lower the cost of creating a mobile app. However, cost efficiency shouldn’t be the priority – the quality of code should come first. Offshore outsourcing refers to a situation where a company is located in a different country than your business. The main cons of offshore outsourcing are the time zone differences and potential language barriers. Getting to know the offshore outsourcing company before engaging in business will show you if these are problems you need to worry about or not. A more pressing issue is the risk of intellectual property violations: always put up NDAs and other relevant contracts to protect your business. The pros seem to be greater than cons: saving not only money but also time, you get access to a larger talent pool and experts that could be hard to find otherwise. You’ll get the most out of the cooperation by applying good practices, like selecting the person you stay in contact with at all times, establishing a working schedule, setting up deadlines, and allowing the experts to speak – if you do, you’ll receive much more than just code

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