App development outsourcing: how to make it work

August 8th 2023

Mobile apps are more popular than ever - and app development outsourcing is a vital way to make the most of the business opportunity.

The market for mobile apps, and the wider industry of low-code application platforms (LCAPs) continues to grow. Gartner expects it to reach a global value of more than $12 billion by 2024. Furthermore, the use of these apps by the general public is becoming increasingly widespread: for example, 2023 is expected to be the year that app-based digital wallets are used for more than 50% of payments for the very first time.

But what does this mean in practice for you? In this blog, we’ll take a close look at app development outsourcing: why you should outsource app development and the reasons behind this, how to outsource your app development and how much it may cost.

Some software development companies offer expertise in specific areas and identifying which one is best for your needs can be tricky. This is why we’ve put together this guide on how to choose a software development company and get the perfect partner for your next development projects.


Why should you outsource app development ?

With nearly two million iOS apps available through the Apple Store, and close to three million Android apps in the Google Play Store, you can start to gauge the speed at which mobile apps are being developed. Those numbers are increasing every day as new business ideas and innovations come to the fore.

First-mover advantage is critical with mobile apps. If somebody gets their idea to market first and builds a strong user base, then it can be incredibly difficult to come along later and compete against them. This makes speedy, high-quality development essential, but many organisations don’t have the capability to expedite app development in-house. This is where the support of app development companies comes in.

7 Reasons to outsource mobile app development

Turning to app development outsourcing isn’t just beneficial from a practical standpoint. As you’ll see here, it can have a positive effect right across your organisation:

1. Faster time-to-market:

The world of mobile apps changes so quickly that getting new products out a few weeks or even days earlier can make a big difference; the sudden release of Threads by Meta is an excellent example of this. Bringing in a dedicated team of mobile developers can speed up the development process. This can be achieved either through increasing the number of people working on an app idea, and or enabling 24/7 development across different time zones.

2. Stronger focus on core business tasks:

When you’re trying to get a new app idea into the marketplace, the app development process can take up vast amounts of time across a business. If it consumes too much in-house resource, then your workforce may not have enough time to keep enough of a focus on the things that keep your core business running. Delegating your workload through app development outsourcing can help you keep the right balance between core tasks and new projects.

3. Improved cost efficiency of development:

Working with an outsourcing team means you can move workloads into other parts of the world, where hiring high-quality Android and iOS developers can be much more cost-effective. Additionally, you can avoid the large cost of hiring and training full-time mobile developers, who will command high salaries and may be inefficient if you don’t have work for them all the time.

4. Easier access to expertise and skills:

There are so many app development companies around the world that you’re bound to find one that has the specific skills and expertise you’re looking for. Whether you need support with a specific coding language, or an app development team that understands the ins and outs of your business, you can access knowledge that complements your in-house team.

5. Greater flexibility and scalability: 

Using app development companies opens up a world of opportunities to build flexibility into your projects. For example, you could partner with an outsourcing team that adheres to a flexible methodology for software development such as Scrum or Agile. You also have the ability to scale the number of mobile developers you need up and down, as your business needs and project requirements change.

6. Ongoing support and maintenance: 

All good app development partners won’t just be providing the technical services of an outsourcing team. They will also be giving you long-term business support in related areas, including (and not necessarily limited to) market research, technical maintenance, marketing and even business analytics. That way, your partnership remains productive and fruitful all the way to go-live and beyond.

7. Better security:

Whereas app development outsourcing was considered a security compromise in times gone by, things have changed significantly. Outsourcing businesses have taken great strides in complying with increasingly strong data protection and cyber security regulations, both locally and globally. Combined with a rigorous approach to storing source codes, and adhering to Non-Disclosure Agreements, means that intellectual property and app ideas can stay secure and confidential throughout.

How to outsource app development: 6 steps 

Every app development outsourcing project and partnership is different, but the process of starting and maintaining a good partnership generally remains the same. When you begin your search for an outsourcing team, we recommend following these six steps:

1. Define project requirements:

It’s vital that you have a clear and detailed understanding of your app ideas before you start looking for app development companies. If you can communicate your objectives, plans and timeframes to prospective partners, then they will be best-placed to advise on solutions and workflows.

2. Choose an outsourcing model:

Start your search for an outsourcing team by deciding which outsourcing model is best for you. If your priority is saving budget or enabling round-the-clock app development, then offshoring to another part of the world will likely be your best option. However, if a close cultural or time zone fit is more important, then you should look at onshoring or nearshoring instead.

3. Identify the right app development companies for you:

The next step is to create a shortlist of potential outsourcing partners, based on their skills, expertise, pricing and other key factors. This is also the point where you should conduct due diligence on the app development companies in question, searching for case studies and independent reviews that verify their credentials.

16_9 - how to outsource app development-6 steps

4. Evaluate and select an outsourcing team: 

Based on all the information you’ve gathered in the three points above, you can appoint an app development outsourcing partner and work out the right payment model for your needs. This could be fixed-price, where your project is completed end-to-end at a pre-defined cost, or ‘time-and-materials’, where you’re charged an hourly rate and presented with an overall bill at the end. Read this quick blog on "How to choose a software development company in 2023".

5. Establish project management:

With the deal in place, you can determine how your relationship with the outsourcing team is going to work in practice. This includes the setting of particular workflows, collaboration between outsourcing developers and your own mobile developers, and how progress will be measured and reported on. All of these considerations should be aligned to your overall objectives, and overseen by a project manager.

6. Ensure support and maintenance post-launch:

As mentioned in the benefits above, appropriate support mechanisms and related services should be established and put in place for the launch itself and beyond. That way, the same expertise that helped with app development can also be on hand to maintain and improve it once it’s live with users.

How much does it cost to outsource app development?

There is no simple answer to how cost effective app development outsourcing can be. According to Global Trade Mag, developing an app idea can cost anywhere between $30,000 and $300,000, depending on the complexity of the work involved.

A good way to work out your likely costs is to answer the following questions:

1. What is the type of app you want to develop?
2. How quickly do you need to get it to market?
3. Do you need access to an outsourcing team with highly specialised skills?
4. How much support do you need, not only during development, but during and after the launch?
5. How much UX or UI design work is needed?
6. Where is your chosen app development company based?

This last point is especially important, as the hourly rate charged by mobile developers varies significantly from one region to another. For example, top-quality developers in Ukraine, Romania and a number of other countries in Eastern Europe may charge as little as $25 per developer per hour. At the other end of the scale, you may have to pay up to $200 per developer per hour for specialist mobile developers in the United States, and they won’t necessarily have any greater skills or expertise.

At Ciklum, we have a global workforce of more than 4000 experts, so whatever your app idea, we can put together an outsourcing team that will perfectly complement your ambitions. To find out more about our app development outsourcing services, get in touch with us here. 


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