How to Outsource Mobile App Development: Planning and Tips

June 30th, 2021

How to Outsource Mobile App Development: Planning and Tips

Once you decide to launch a new feature or product and make sure it delivers value to your targeted customers, you need to decide what assets and processes you can afford to own and what is better to be outsourced. Most companies can’t deal with everything on their own and that’s ok. The key to success often lies in effective delegation of tasks and prioritization of your business goals.

For example, if you’re a young startup with an app idea, creating your first mobile app can be daunting! It can be equally challenging to allocate resources when your business is growing and now you have two or three more apps in the works. Even enterprises need to outsource certain tasks once in a while, because it saves time and resources.

How to start planning app development

The journey of app development can be long and winding, even though it doesn’t have to be. The key thing at the initial stage is moving forward relying on data – conduct user research to learn what are the major reasons why users want or need a mobile app. You have to form a product vision and define:

  • the app’s mission,
  • the main customer pain points it will resolve,
  • its main target audience,
  • its UVP (unique value proposition).

However, businesses repeat the same mistakes that significantly affect the project’s chance at success. Here are the most common ones:

  • Unclear and undocumented requirements
    Whether you build your app in-house or outsource, you need to come up with clear requirements that are visualized and described.
  • Lack of resources
    Often companies seek external investment first, so it makes sense to start with an MVP version of the app that can be used in presentations and elevator pitches. Attempting to build everything without making sure your budget covers all the stages of the app development is a bad idea.
  • Insufficient time allocated
    Depending on the app features, app projects can stretch from 4 months to 10 months, and beyond. The clearer are your requirements and vision of the end product, the shorter the period of design and development.
  • Lack of managerial skills and knowledge
    This is a serious issue for entrepreneurs without lengthy industry knowledge and help from business consultants. Sometimes the app idea is great, but executing on it takes a lot of skill. Sometimes it’s better to work with those who already led the development projects and can control the processes to maximize efficiency.
  • Wrong technology choice
    This issue is connected to the previous one. If you don’t have experience with programming and developing solutions, it might be difficult to choose the right technology for your app.

Outsourcing: How to choose a development team

If you decided to hire a development team outside of your company, where to start? Outsourcing, unlike insourcing, usually takes less time and is more affordable. Building an in-house team and training it may take several months and can cost a fortune. So it is quite common to hire developers for a specific project in your own country or from another region.

Time zone and location

As a business owner, you know that hiring developers from North America and Western Europe is a viable option, but it is quite expensive. On the other hand, Eastern European and South Asian markets are full of developers with great skill sets and expertise and the prices for their work are lower. For instance, the starting price for a developer in Western Europe is $90-100 per hour while Belarusian or Ukrainian mobile app developers in Eastern Europe charge $35-50 per hour. The rates are influenced by the cost of living and tax laws in each location.

However, you have to be mindful of time zones—if it is critical for you to communicate with the team during your local working hours, try to find a team closer or negotiate for obligatory weekly calls.

Freelance vs App development company

Most mobile app development agencies have a reputation with a verified client base and valid experience. Freelancers are less accountable as they are less reliant on the reputation in the industry. Whether you decide to work with freelancers or a mobile app development company, make sure to sign a contract and mention all the conditions and aspects of collaboration that you deem important.

But where do you look for a reliable development agency? It’s best to do your research and narrow your list down to a few companies you want to contact. It is especially important to focus on online research since meetings in person and tradeshows are difficult to arrange because of the pandemic.

Professional networks and platforms

There are several trustworthy platforms for finding an IT service provider. Make sure to check out Clutch and Accelerance. You can use filters to select the type of service, the location, the platform, etc. If you’re looking only for mobile UX/UI design or redesign, then go to Behance and Dribbble. That’s great news if the company you’re considering is an expert in both development and design. When design and development teams work together, they can save time on iterations and deliver your project more efficiently.


LinkedIn is still a great place to meet your potential partners. Once you have narrowed your selection down to several companies, go to their LinkedIn and see how active they are. Check the relevant blog posts or case studies they post about.

Factors in app development cost

The actual development costs are not the only component of the final project costs. Once you have a clear idea about the app you want to build and its value for potential users, you will have to take into account several factors that will influence your final costs.

Features And Functionality

If you plan for the app to have a great number of cool features, be prepared to embrace the complexity of their implementation. Apps with AI features, with complex navigation, dynamic pricing, multiple user roles and user flows always take more time and demand a significant investment as well. Creating apps similar to Uber, Twitter or Bumble comes with certain challenges.

Cost of Basic Apps

Utility applications with simple functionality usually do not come with a lot of costs. For example, calendars and notes apps have only a few main features and functions.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or POC (Proof of Concept) can also be considered basic apps since they are not complete app versions. This is what companies develop when they need market validation or to pitch the idea to investors to get more investment for further growth. It’s common for startups to create something simple first, then after receiving funding, develop their app to its full potential. The costs in this category may range from $10,000 to $30,000.

Cost of Medium-Complexity Apps

This category usually consists of applications with built-in integrations with payment systems, extensive databases, and more advanced functionality. These apps require to be tested extensively and properly maintained to ensure great performance.

Think of food delivery services or taxi apps. These are customer-facing applications that also need an admin panel app for working with orders. The development fees may be anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000.

Cost of Complex or Custom Apps

Complex custom applications usually have a set of features like increased security, management of underlying data sets, advanced data analysis, as well as advanced integrations. For example, some fitness apps need AI algorithms, some IoT apps require complicated architecture, some social media apps allow sharing live video, upload images, and chatting, etc. The variety and complexity of features certainly makes an app a strong competitor but it also influences the app development cost. In this category, investment starts at $50,000.

Custom Visual Design

If you want a modern, interactive design, you will definitely see higher application costs. Even though it is common to see design solutions out of the box, the growing user demand for outstanding design and user experience suggests that thoughtful custom design is a way to go.

iOS vs Android

As a rule, app development for the iOS platform will cost more than for Android. The iOS operating system places more demands on functionality, implementation, and security. So, it makes sense to either create a hybrid application or focus on one operating system to create a native solution if you are sure that most clients use either iOS or Android. By the way, it’s a good idea to monitor all the latest OS changes, it may help you make a decision. On the other hand, building native apps for both platforms will increase your expenses but will ensure stable performance on each platform.

Final thoughts

The journey towards building a successful mobile app is not easy, but with the right plan and tools it is possible to create something special. When you approach outsourcing the app development, be sure to have a clear idea of the requirements and what your app’s main purpose is.

About the Author

Ein-des-ein is a mobile & web development company that provides a wide range of design and mobile/web app development services. The company focuses on mobile app development and works on a variety of projects for different industries, including fitness & wellness, video streaming and on-demand delivery. Ein-des-ein was founded in 2015 and continues to serve as a trustworthy partner to its clients.

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