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Mobile Development Outsourcing: A Guide to Get Bespoke Service

SpdLoad prepared an in-depth guide about how to outsource mobile app development

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17 min read

The advocates of in-house development talk about stuff that is essential for app development.

But what they fail to share is that as a founder or a startup owner is;

You can get the same benefits of in-house app development with outsourcing at a lower cost.

Are you looking for application development outsourcing?

It is safe to think that you already have the idea for your application ready.

Kudos to you that you have completed the first part of the development process.

Make sure that you have validated your app idea.

This means that you need to identify the core offerings of your product. And understand the Unique Selling Proposition.

After the idea validation, it is time to start the development process.

There is not one but multiple routes that a founder can take for this process.

But as a startup owner, your motive must be to step into the market as quickly as possible to test the most risked product hypothesis in the real conditions.

Having an in-house development team means spending thousands of dollars on hiring and compliances.

As a new founder, cost efficiency has to be your primary motive.

This is because 29% of startups fail because they run out of cash.

When you outsource mobile app development you need to identify the core aspects of the job.

There is a set of duties and responsibilities in mobile development outsourcing.

Outsourcing does not protect you from those duties.

Application development outsourcing must be done with meticulous planning.

In this article, we will talk about the aspects you must understand before outsourcing the application development works.

23% of the startups do not celebrate their first year anniversary because they did not choose the right team.

The right team is not the one;

  • Which has the lowest charges


  • Which has the highest cost of app development

Rather there are a lot of other variables that you need to take into account to outsource mobile app development

Let’s go through the entire process of outsourcing your mobile development work.

How to Find a Reliable Agency?

We are rooting for an agency because this is a system where you will get access to an entire team at cost-effective prices.

So to find an agency, there are five options.

  • Take Google’s Help
  • Find an Agency from the templated listings
  • Look towards the freelance platforms
  • Leverage the Networking power of LinkedIn
  • Get recommendations

1. Search on Google

What will you search on Google pertaining to application development and outsourcing?

Your initial searches will be the “cost of MVP development” or “how much does it cost to build an app”.

You can also look for “how to develop an app?”.

All these questions will have billions of results on Google SERPs.

But the key is you shouldn’t go beyond the first.

Search for different terms including application development and outsourcing.

Find out how the service providers have listed their;

  • Key features
  • Shares information on the blog as well as their website.

Take a look at how your potential service providers have organized their information.

Not only that, also check out how they have written the information and designed their website.

While searching through the SERPs, have a set of conditions in your mind.

This will help you filter out agencies to outsource mobile app development.

Look for a company that shares the same set of values as you and want to reflect the same in your product.

To outsource mobile app development means you have to find the right organization that resembles your offerings.

You may also need to look at their costs, team composition, past projects.

In other words, vet the potential development agency before application outsourcing.

A start point to find a partner for application development outsourcing is to use Google

2. Look at the Listings

Websites like Clutch, GoodFirms, Manifest, and others have listicles.

Use them to find the best software development agency for outsourcing.

They share the best organizations based on different sets of parameters.

You may find agencies listed on the basis of;

  • Their cost of operation
  • Rankings
  • Number of projects developed and so on.

If needed, change the search variables.

This will help find the right type of agency to outsource your mobile app development work.

Look for the service they offer, past projects, and their expertise.

Application outsourcing requires the founder to resonate with the development team.

You also need to understand their market value in terms of mobile development outsourcing.

For this;

  • Gather social proof by visiting their social media handles
  • Look at the posts they have published along with the reviews and comments
  • Look for reviews on the listing websites and Google
Listings are also good places to find a partner for mobile development outsourcing

3. Search on Freelance Platforms

Freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, and others have a large repository of individual freelancers.

They also have teams who are ready for mobile development work via outsourcing.

However, there is a caveat attached to finding the required personnel for application development or an outsourcing firm from freelancer platforms.

You need to be adept with the concepts of developments yourself before moving ahead with this option.

For instance, you should know about the app design process and cost.

Also, it will be helpful to understand how to find and hire developers with this method.

Knowing these things will make you a better recruiter.

It will also help with outsourcing mobile development work easily. .

And make you good at negotiating the cost of hiring the personnel.

For the full mobile app development outsource process, make sure to read till the end of this guide.

We will talk about everything related to application development outsourcing in the following chapters.

Third option to find a partner for application development outsourcing is to use freelance marketplaces

4. Use LinkedIn to Find the Right People

LinkedIn is a professional social networking channel.

Here, you will find the contact information of a large number of developers and designers.

The best part about this platform is that you won’t have to chase the people, but they will contact you for work.

To outsource your mobile app development world from LinkedIn, follow a few things;

  • Grab attention: While posting your requirements mention mutual connections.
  • Conversational Posting: Make sure that your tone of job post is conversational and not too professional. Talk to people and stay human.
  • Review Profiles: Review the profiles of the people who respond to your job post. Check their LinkedIn profiles to gather social proof.

Once you have a list of potential people, share your ideas with them.

Keep in mind that LinkedIn is a professional network.

So your requirement sharing has to match your narrative.

Use specific data about your idea that you have generated and share whitepapers of the product.

This will give the developers a better idea about the work.

Using LinkedIn isn't easy, but also a good option to find a team to outsource mobile app development

5. Get Recommendations

When you start a startup, your friends, relatives, colleagues, and family become a source of inspiration and consultation.

We want you to use your ties with everyone you know and ask them for recommendations.

Word of mouth is still the most powerful tool of persuasion.

92% of the customers trust their friends and relatives over other media sources.

So, when you are searching for people to outsource mobile app development, ask your network first.

If they have worked with a group of freelancers or an agency before, they will let you know and give an unfiltered review.

These are the five ways to find an agency or freelancers for mobile app development outsourcing.

It is better if you keep your focus on choosing an agency.

This is because an agency is approachable and you will get access to a wide talent pool under one roof.

This reduces management woes and makes communication easier.

Use proven team from recommendations is the most trustful option of mobile development outsourcing

How to Choose a Reliable Agency to Outsource Mobile App Development?

Outsourcing application development can boost your work.

But it is only possible if you get your hands on the right agency for application development outsourcing.

Make sure to vet the potential agencies before you can outsource mobile app development.

We recommend that you look at three things before application development outsourcing.

What to Do Why is it Important?
Potential to Help You Succeed There is no meter that can let you measure an agency’s potential.

But, we want you to leverage your skills as a businessman.

Listen to your gut feeling when it comes to understanding the potential.

You might have heard people say that you should look at the facts.

Or something like data speaks best.

All of these are true and relevant.

But sometimes, our understanding of something via a gut feeling outruns all the data and metrics.

So, we want you to closely observe the potential service provider.

Rank them in terms of helping you create the right product.

To do this, you can take help of two things.

  • Communication
  • Customer Reviews
Communication plays a major role in outsourcing your application development work.

When you talk to the service providers, their communication needs to be legible and clear.

This includes the understanding of the concepts and the tasks needed to complete the work.

Another way is to look at customer reviews.

For this, look at the social proof at the agency’s social media accounts.

You can also check

  • LinkedIn
  • Website
  • Other listing websites like Clutch, Good firms, etc.
Expertise Any outsourcing agency can list out the application development services they provide on their website.

Writing about them is one thing and actually delivering that is different.

You might come across agencies that promise to deliver a food ordering app with proficiency.

But you should not just go with what they have to say.

Another way to look at their expertise is by looking at their case studies.

Case studies help you with two things;

  • Identify the agency’s work experience via past experience.
  • Help you know their ability to deliver the product corresponding to the set of requirements.

Let’s say that you find a case study on the agency’s website where they have made a clone of an app like TikTok.

It would be great to explore the requirements and way developers have worked on it.

Do this before you move forward with outsourcing the application development.

Cost of Development This might be one of the most important aspects to look at for mobile development outsourcing.

When it comes to cost, you need to look at things holistically and not just stick to the price.

Application development outsourcing agencies must be judged on multiple parameters.

  • Expertise
  • Services delivery
  • Potential
  • Team composition
  • Cost

We have kept the cost at last.

Because if all the other variables are good, the cost is justifiable.

The costs of mobile development outsourcing covers:

  • Creating a draft
  • Mockup or Prototype
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deployment

Some agencies might also help you with startup marketing.

This may increase the final cost.

But you won’t have to worry about creating ad campaigns or running complex strategies to promote your product.

The next step in application development outsourcing is understanding the agency’s workflow.

It is true that every agency will have a different workflow.

We have listed down a typical workflow to help you outsource mobile app development.

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How Does the Typical Workflow Look Like?

As a newbie, it is essential to understand the process.

This workflow has helped us successfully deliver projects while keeping in mind the cost of mobile app development.

There are three streams to the mobile app development workflow that every outsource agency must follow.

  • Pre-Development
  • Development
  • Post-Development


Pre-development implies the activities and tasks you must expect your outsourced agency to cover before the development work begins.

We cover three things under this part of the job.

Part of the Job What Do We Do?
Initial Interview This is the part of the job where you must talk to the agency who takes on the task.

The motive is to;

  • Understand their expertise
  • Check the level of communication.

While covering this step, you must also share your perspective and requirements.

Set your expectations straight and then work on judging whether or not the agency can deliver on that.

Ask questions related to;

  • Expertise
  • Past experience
  • Development team
  • Project management practices
  • Designing and implementation
  • Deployment
  • Marketing

The motive is to get an idea of how the potential agency will work when you outsource mobile app development.

Signing an NDA This is one of the biggest mistakes that new founders make while outsourcing the application development.

In a competitive world, the one who has the idea and delivers the product first has more benefits.

A Non-Disclosure Agreement restricts the agency from sharing any sort of information about your product with any other entity.

Violation of the NDA makes the agency liable to pay for any damages.

Rough Estimate Knowing the cost is also important.

This way you can start planning your budget.

The cost to outsource mobile app development depends on the documentation and the design.

Note that, at this stage, everything is on a rough piece of paper.

So the final cost of designing and mobile outsourcing development can change.

You must be prepared to share;

  • Rough documentation
  • Rough UX

The documentation includes;

  • Application idea
  • Requirements
  • Customer preferences
  • Target audience

The rough UX is the idea of the design of the application.

This includes the screens, their layout, button placement, among other things.

Either prepare a rough sketch of the application that you want.

Or ask the outsourcing mobile app development agency for the same.

Pre-development stage is very important for application development outsourcing. Here you can see the deliverables.

The second set of activities in the pre-development phase talks about five major steps of mobile development outsourcing.

  • Detailed Interviews
  • Documentation
  • UX Design
  • Tech Solutions
  • Detailed Estimate
What To Do and Expect? Its Importance
Detailed Interviews The initial interviews were more of an introductory round.

These are the detailed interviews.

You have to ask for everything about the application development outsourcing in detail.

  • Get to the depth of what needs to be done.
  • If possible, get in touch with the development and design team.
  • Talk about everything in detail.
  • Understand how your mobile development outsourcing agency will deliver the work.
  • What sort of technologies they will use.

It will be great to look at four variables for the interview;

  • Professionalism
  • Efficiency
  • Experience
  • Client Well-being

After analyzing the agency on these aspects you can move forward with the other aspects.

Documentation The documentation part includes;

  • Building the drafts
  • Prototypes

Other than this, it also includes the details about the application.

Initially, it will help the developers understand the product.

Later on, the same document with some modifications will be a tool for customer support executives.

Helping them understand how it works and assist customers do the same.

UX Design User Experience is one of the most important parts of mobile development.

Outsourcing your work must be done to an agency that understands its role in application development successfully.

Without effective UX designing the application will not work as per the customer expectations.

So, the outsourcing agency working on your application development must;

  • Understand the role of UX design.
  • Use the right set of tools to ideate and create the designs.
  • Leverage the target platform’s abilities to create better designs.
  • Create interactive and intuitive designs based on customer preferences.
Tech Solutions This is the part where the application development outsourcing agency needs to provide a list of tech stack.

Tech stack implies the planning, designing, and development of technologies or tools required.

Not all development tools are apt to build every type of application.

Depending on your requirements and product, you must ask for the relevant tech stack.

Detailed Estimate If and when all the above-written requirements are good to go, you can ask for a detailed estimate.

This will include listing out the cost and time required to build every part of the application.

A detailed estimate must be provided by the application development outsourcing agency.

Ask the mobile development outsourcing agency to send a complete list of the features.

Ask them to include the hours required to build them.

Segregate list into designing, frontend, backend, DevOps, project management, and business analysis.

Because until this point, no coding has started, you can always switch to another agency if required.

Once you have the list of steps and a detailed estimate, the development begins.

The advanced level of plannin stage defines how development will go on outsource mobile app development



The flexibility of the work scope and revisions is one of the greatest benefits of in-house development.

With outsourcing of application development, most of the companies will have a limit of revisions and feedback rounds.

Any changes in the requirements and constant feedback will increase the cost.

In-house development offers a countless number of tweaks at no extra cost.

That is when you outsource mobile app development, look for the agencies that follow three practices.

Practices To Follow Meaning and Scope 
Agile Management Agile application development means using an iterative approach.

In other words, this is a practice where;

  • Developers build something.
  • They get customer feedback.
  • The changes are taken into account and realized in the product.

Due to an iterative approach, you can build a customer-centric platform.

Constant Communication While developing the application the outsourcing agency must also make an effort to

  • Communicate
  • Share the work
  • Give demos

Not communicating with each other leaves out more scope for inconsistent development.

Furthermore, a mobile app development outsourcing agency which does not communicate is not a good partner.

So, while taking interviews you must fix a schedule for communicating with each other.

Constant Demos This must be a part of your agreement with the mobile app development agency to whom you outsource.

Providing constant demos strengthens agile management practices.

Not only this, while getting demos you can carefully examine the application and suggest changes.


The last part of the workflow is marketing.

Now not all agencies will have a marketing team.

But prefer outsourcing application development to agencies that also outsource digital marketing.

Ok, now that you know how to go about developing an application.

Let’s talk about the cost of development.

How Much Does it Cost to Build an App?

Various factors play a role in knowing the outsourcing of application development costs.

This includes;

  • Business analysis
  • Designing
  • Front-end development
  • Backend development
  • DevOps or testing
  • Project management.

The most common method of application development outsourcing cost is “by the hour.”

Developers and designers charge you for every hour of work put into creating your product.

To understand the cost calculation you need to know the players of your dream team.

  1. UX/ UI Designer
  2. Project Manager
  3. Backend Developer
  4. Frontend Developer
  5. QA Tester

We have also talked about business analysis and marketing in the process.

Plus there is another person that you may require, Chief Technical Officer (CTO).

But, we won’t be listing out the cost of hiring them below.

Here are four case scenarios;

  1. Hire an in-house team
  2. Work with local based agency
  3. Hire freelancers
  4. Outsource mobile app development

Based on the team composition, here is a cost analysis for these four methods, that help you to compare cost-saving of outsourcing development.

Option 1. Hire an In-House Team [To Compare]

The cost to hire a team will depend on the salaries these guys will receive.

Here are estimates from Glassdoor, Salary.com, and PayScale.

  • Designer: $85,227 per year
  • Project Manager: $88,980 per year
  • Backend Developer: $77, 567 per year
  • Frontend Developer: $119, 225 per year
  • QA Tester: $58, 085 per year

These are the average salaries.

The final cost of hiring may depend on the experience and expertise the person brings to the table.

Pros Cons
  • An in-house team is one of the most efficient teams to hire.
  • You will get an unlimited number of iterations and reworks.
  • There won’t be any communication gap.
  • Easy management.
  • The high cost of development.
  • Compliances and regulations must be followed.

Should you choose this, you will be able to develop an amazing product.

But it will come at a high cost. There is our outstaff calculator to help you understand the difference.

And during the initial stages of starting a business, you must work on cost-savings.

Option 2. Hire Local US-based Agency [To Compare]

A US-based agency means that you will get to work with a team situated in your time zone.

The guys in the team will relate to your work, idea, and scope with more confidence.

When you start mobile app development, you will end up paying for an hour’s work.

As the number of hours increases, the cost also climbs.

The per-hour prices of hiring developers and designers in North America have an average of $150 per hour.

So to build your mobile app in the US for a 1000 hour project, you will spend $150,000.

Pros Cons
  • Local agency means there won’t be an issue with communication.
  • You will work with experienced developers.
  • Receive a high-quality product.
  • The high cost of development.
  • Time zone differences can arise.

Should you choose this, the mobile development outsourcing cost will be high.

The quality of the product will be better but you may have to deal with time zone differences.

Option 3. Hire Team of Freelancers

Choosing freelancers from a global talent pool can help you save in terms of cost.

Platforms like Upwork, Toptal, and others have a large repository of developers.

While choosing freelancers to work with you make sure to vet them.

Ask for their experience, GitHub accounts, and previous projects.

The average cost to hire freelance developers and designers falls between $20 to $40 per hour.

This means that you may have to pay between $20,000 to $40,000 for a 1000 hour project.

Pros Cons
  • Low development cost
  • Ability to negotiate the prices
  • Managing freelancers and getting work reports is a daunting task
  • There are a lot of differences in the time zones leading to communication errors.

Should you choose this, be prepared to put in an extended number of hours for management.

Plus, freelancer’s quality of work cannot be verified and not everyone will be able to communicate efficiently.

Option 4. Hire Outsource Agency [A Brief Overview]

Indian Team

As a part of the application development and outsourcing, India is on a leading frontier.

The average hourly price ranges between $18 to $40.

The reason for this low is high competition and lower labor costs.

Pros Cons
  • Low development cost.
  • Easy access to several agencies.
  • Indian agencies are known to provide a low-quality product.
  • There are concerns with project management and communication.

Should you choose this, make sure to run a complete verification of the agency to whom you outsource mobile app development. Also, sign an NDA.

Latin American Team

The LatAm mobile development outsourcing market is relatively new and growing.

This does not mean that the developers and designers here are new.

But the application development outsourcing model is new to them.

That is why they charge between $20 to $55 per hour.

This makes the total cost of app development outsourcing between $20,000 to $55,000 for a 1000 hour long project.

Pros Cons
  • New market means you have the higher ground to negotiate.
  • Developers will be motivated to work and provide quality.
  • These developers may not have a full understanding of the market.
  • Project management and communication issues may arise.

Should you choose this, prep yourself to train the agency or development team to navigate through the process.

You may have to spend more time working than usual.

Ukrainian Team

Ukrainians are avid developers and known across the globe to create great products.

The average cost to hire a team from Ukraine is between $30 to $50.

So, to outsource mobile app development to these guys means you will be between $30,000 to $50,000.

Pros Cons
  • Low cost of outsourcing of application development.
  • They are avid English speakers, so you won’t have communication problems.
  • Experienced agencies have dedicated project managers to take care of your needs and ensure 24/7 contact.
  • A huge number of developers means choosing the right one is a complex task.

Should you choose this, you will get an amazing product at cost-effective prices.

Mobile development outsourcing agencies in Ukraine also have dedicated marketers on their team.

This makes your search for a separate marketing team redundant.

Here you are.

A complete guide on how to outsource mobile app development.

Mobile development outsourcing in a great way to save on costs and your time.

You can devote the extra on your hands to focus on other parts of business development.

We have also listed out different teams and types to choose from along with their costs.

If you want to talk more about your project and how we can help you build an app, look further.

Interested to Find a Reliable Partner

SpdLoad is based out of Ukraine and has been helping founders and business owners build the product of their dreams for years.

We are experts in creating performant applications from scratch.

Right from the business analysis to creating a functional market-ready product and promoting it, we are here for you.

As an example of our expertise, we would ask you to look at one of our works, MyWishApp.

An amazing idea can be molded to build an extraordinary product, MyWishApp is the biggest example of this narrative.

The client asked us to build a complex application with multiple touchpoints and a huge data collection.

A one of its kind application, MyWishApp helping curating gift lists for the user’s family, friends, colleagues, etc.

The challenging technical architecture was beautifully constructed by our team of solution architect, project manager and business analysts.

The designers and developers gave it a shape and a functioning character.

After 2050 hours and 12 people working together, we built an application that is setting new trends in the market.

Our approach for every mobile development outsourcing project makes us a reliable and cost-efficient partner to choose from.

Why Is Our Team Perfect for You?

We've built and launched 40+ MVPs, including investment-raised ones. Check out our portfolio and contact us.

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Posted by

Max Babych

Max Babych

I am CEO of SpdLoad

I launched SpdLoad almost 7 years ago and now it has 20+ successful products in SaaS and Marketplace industry and several own products. I am an expert in Marketing, Lean Methodology and Customer Development approach.

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