Ultimate Guide on How to Outsource Mobile App Development?

1888 Updated 09.14.2022
Vasyl Polych

Founder & CEO at Northell


Table of contents

Many companies need to develop mobile applications. For example, online stores, taxi services, banks, cinemas, private clinics and other commercial organizations use them to sell goods and services, loyalty programs, automate processes, attract customers, inform, conduct marketing campaigns, and collect information about the target audience.

However, since companies even in the same commercial area have many features and nuances, including fierce competition, mobile applications are developed individually without using standard templates.

It does not make any sense to hire a specialist who would build mobile applications since this is a one-time job. That is why usually, this task is transferred to IT outsourcing. How to outsource app development is the main topic of our new blog post. If lately, you have been wondering how to outsource an app, then you should definitely read this article.

How to outsource mobile app development: General overview

Mobile app development outsourcing is transferring an order to a third-party organization to create a mobile application, taking into consideration the specifics of the customer’s activities.

Today in our article, we will consider the following questions:

  • How is outsourcing different from in-house and freelance teams?
  • What are the main benefits of outsourcing for your company and project?
  • What risks and difficulties can you face during outsourcing?
  • How to outsource app development in 5 easy steps?
  • How to outsource an app and find a good outsourcing team for your project?
  • How to outsource an app and not lose lots of money?

Based on strong expertise in the field of mobile development, our team tried to describe in detail all the questions of interest on the subject of how to outsource app development.

Why is outsourcing app mobile development the best solution for your project?

How to outsource mobile app development and why is it the best solution for your company and project? The choice of cooperation model always depends on the specific project.

But, if you need a quick start, lack technical expertise, and the budget is limited, then outsourcing will be the most profitable solution. This is a rather flexible way of cooperation: you can outsource the implementation of some features or the entire development.

Custom application development allows you to quickly get a working product and not have to hire developers. When working with outsourcing companies, the main thing is finding a worthy contractor. We will talk more about this thing later in the article.

Team outsourcing vs. In-house vs. Freelancers

In order for you to be able to decide exactly which cooperation model to choose for mobile development, we have compiled comparative tables of the pros and cons of 3 models: outsourcing, in-house and freelancers.

Let’s start with outsourcing. Outsourcing attracts many business owners because of its speed, availability, and quality of results. Let’s look at the main benefits and disadvantages of outsourcing.



The in-house team is suitable for those who are planning long-term projects. Let’s look at the main pros and cons of in-house teams.



Freelancing has grown in prominence over the years and is now an essential element of the corporate environment. Is it, nevertheless, advisable to collaborate with freelancers? Are there any potential stumbling hurdles that you are not aware of? Let’s look at the main pros and cons of working with freelancers.



Based on the comparison we made above, we can conclude that outsourcing teams are more attractive for cooperation. An in-house team is also a good option, of course, but only in case you are considering mobile development in the long term, and you have enough funds to maintain such a team.

How to outsource app development: Key advantages

Before we discuss how to outsource app development in detail, let’s look at the main benefits of mobile development outsourcing.

Lower costs

One distinct benefit of outsourcing services is the ability to save money. According to Deloitte’s report, 59 % of businesses seek to outsource IT services to save money. How precisely does this occur?

IT outsourcing is cost-effective since it reduces the need for recruiting and training new employees, which is an expensive process.

Furthermore, while outsourcing, a firm may overlook other expenses and hidden expenditures such as purchasing pricey gear and software, renting office space, paying taxes, etc.

Labor expenses may be significantly lowered since the rates of outsourced service suppliers are often substantially lower because they are based in less expensive IT development locations (Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, for example).

Increased efficiency and capacity

When the work is divided into numerous functional pieces, performance improves, and results are obtained quicker.

That is the essence of outsourcing. You assign certain duties to outside specialists, and those activities are completed concurrently with your main company responsibilities.

Furthermore, owing to the time disparities, an unbroken working schedule is feasible. As a result, mobile development time is reduced.

Access to new skills and resources

Access to a larger pool of skilled specialists and scarce resources has emerged as one of the most important benefits of outsourcing.

It may be tough to find an in-house team member with a certain set of talents at times. It is considerably more challenging to develop such abilities.

As a result, it makes more sense to have an outsourced service provider that can offer you the necessary resources and meet your company’s demands in terms of talents and technology.

High flexibility

Outsourcing assists in the rapid and effective management of IT jobs and workload surges. The greatest part is that you won’t have to waste money on employing and then terminating an in-house employee. This is especially handy when a company needs a certain talent for a short period of time.

Great management

When hiring an outsourcing team, you often get a project manager or even a team of managers who will fully manage the project and the team you hire. You can always be aware of what is happening with your project, at what stage of development it is, what the deadlines are, etc. That is, the control and management of the team and the project will also be handled by an outside person who is fully trained in this.

Increased focus on strategy and core needs

The power of your team might be increased via work outsourcing. It is particularly critical for small to medium-sized businesses lacking a diverse IT resource set.

Instead of overburdening employees with unfamiliar duties, delegating certain chores to specialists is preferable, enabling an in-house team to focus on important business operations.

This outsourcing advantage is particularly beneficial for businesses operating in non-IT industries. If this is the case, companies outsource all IT activities to a single service provider.

Accelerated time to market

Working with an outsourcing team, you can rely on your product reaching the market faster than, for example, working with an in-house team. Firstly, the outsourcing team is interested in this as well as you.

Secondly, a good outsourcing team has the knowledge and skills necessary to quickly bring the product to market. Thirdly, the outsourcing team is interested in completing the project faster and getting paid.

However, here you also need to consider that the result is high quality. How and where to find a good outsourcing team we will discuss later.

How to outsource mobile app development: Challenges & Northell recommendations

Of course, outsourcing, like many other processes and activities, has challenges. We have compiled a list of top challenges and recommendations from our team. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Language & cultural barrier

A common challenge many companies face when hiring outsourcing teams is the cultural and language barrier. This usually happens when companies hire teams from Asia or India.

In these regions, the culture is very different from, for example, European or the culture in the United States. We can say the same about language. Many people in India and Asia do not speak English, so it is complicated to communicate about work and projects.

Northell recommends: When you think about how to outsource an app without language and cultural issues, we recommend hiring teams from Eastern Europe. This region is home to a big number of IT talents. Also, specialists from Eastern European countries know English well, which will allow you to quickly and efficiently conduct a dialogue.

Lack of constant control

This point is not exactly a challenge, but we would say fear. Many companies fear that they will not be able to control the team, and the cooperation will not succeed. However, the right approach is important here.

Northell recommends: In order to avoid this difficulty, we advise you to agree in advance with the team about how, when, and where you will discuss your project. You should also check if the team has a project manager and how you can track the project’s progress.

That is, you will need to correctly plan your communication in order to always be aware of at what stage of development, for example, your mobile application is.

Time zone differences

The time difference directly affects communication with your team and, therefore, the success and speed of your project. Many companies still do not know how to deal with this problem. But we will help you!

Northell recommends: In order for the time difference not to spoil your cooperation with the outsourcing team, we recommend that you, first of all, agree with the team on one “meeting place” (for example, Zoom, Google Meet, etc.), a certain day and a certain time when it will be convenient for both parties. If each of the parties clearly knows these 3 things, then no time difference won’t stop your project from being successful.

Lack of business or domain knowledge

This problem can occur if you choose the wrong team for your project. For example, suppose you need to make a mobile application for a hospital, and the team you hired only developed applications for the financial industry. In that case, you are unlikely to get a good result.

Northell recommends: Before hiring an outsourcing team, we advise you to study the portfolio carefully, find out what areas the team has worked with, what experience the team has in creating applications for the industry in which you work, and so on. We also recommend creating a so-called portrait of your ideal candidate before starting the hiring process. This will help you a lot!

How to outsource mobile app development: What pricing model to choose?

How to outsource app development and not lose a lot of money? Let’s discuss which pricing model is best for cooperation with the outsourcing team.

Time & Material

The time and materials model assumes that you must pay for the number of hours team members spend completing project activities, plus material expenses. Changes to the scope of work, requirements, supplies, and so on are permitted under this kind of outsourcing contract.

It’s almost difficult to predict how long a mobile app development project will take or what the final result will look like during the planning stage. Large-scale projects sometimes need requirements to be modified owing to changing market demands. If the needs change unexpectedly, the time and materials model makes it easy to pivot.

Time & Material

Time & Material


This sort of contract holds a vendor responsible for finishing the job within the budgeted time frame. Fixed-price contracts are ideal for short-term projects with a restricted scope of work and a fixed budget.

Clients prefer this arrangement when pricing, deliverables, and needs can be expected and established in advance.

However, although the cost certainty associated with the fixed-price approach may seem enticing at first, this level of predictability may be taxing. The vendor may be aware of the risk they are taking by charging more for their services than they would under fluid pricing.



Dedicated team

A dedicated team model (DTM) is a team that works remotely on a project to dramatically decrease the time to market a product and optimize the client’s business operations. This kind of team is not an extension of the client’s team but rather a distinct unit with its own structure and management, which means it is less reliant on the customer than teams in other models.

Dedicated team

Dedicated team

If you want to learn more about hiring a dedicated team, read the materials prepared by our team:

How to outsource app development successfully: Top 5 tips from Northell

How to outsource app development right and successfully? Our team has prepared for you 5 steps-tips that will definitely help you with this. Let’s discuss them.

Start with vendor assessment

When you decide to outsource app development, the first step is to do your own research and discover reputable software development agencies to work with. Here are some methods for evaluating a possible partner:

Learn about experience

To choose the correct outsourcing firm, read about its expertise in your field to ensure the vendor can manage the procedures and duties you will outsource.

Even while the portfolio may provide useful insight into the organization’s expertise in many areas, it is often the case that a company is not permitted to reveal all of its projects owing to NDA constraints.

To assess the vendor’s industry knowledge or competence, ask how many projects in your area they’ve completed and how challenging those projects were.

Check the portfolio

Examining a development agency’s portfolio is a fantastic method to learn about the difficulties they have successfully managed in the past and the commercial advantages they have provided to their partners.

You should also look at the software firm’s technologies to see if they have the necessary competence to finish your project.

Read reviews and check the rating

You may find out what various customers have to say about suppliers on review and rating systems like Clutch and determine whether or not to approach them for collaboration.

On such websites, clients frequently submit a lot of crucial facts, such as the project history, the key difficulty, the app development services supplied, and the end outcomes. You may also check the company’s ratings, including software quality rankings, vendor ability to fulfill deadlines, development cost, and other factors.

Choose the most suitable contract

An important point in cooperation with the outsourcing team is the choice of pricing model. We have already described the advantages and disadvantages of the three most common models.

We recommend that you work on the Dedicated Team model. This is the most convenient and popular model at the moment. If you have any questions about this, please get in touch with us. Our team has deep expertise, so we will be happy to help you!

Find time zone overlap to communicate with your team

How to outsource an app and communicate with the team regularly? Be sure to agree with the team about the time and days when you can get in touch and discuss the progress of your project. It is also essential to choose one communication tool for task management. It can be, for example, Jira, ClickUp, Trello and others.

Make the most out of asynchronous communication

However, rather than aiming to get every team member in the same conference room, you should acknowledge that teams have diverse schedules, which is why the usage of various online tools may be useful. Task management systems, emails, and messaging applications are all instances of communication solutions that do not need employees’ physical presence.

Focus on drafting the Request of Proposal

A Request for Proposal is a document generated during the presale process that offers a description of a key business concept for the product. The majority of the time, you are in charge of drafting RFPs. Before creating an RFP, you should ask yourself the following questions:

Analyze your project’s business concept

  • Are there any product alternatives available on the market?
  • Is there anything that distinguishes my product from competitors?
  • What will happen in the industry when the project is completed?

Examine your stakeholders

  • What are each stakeholder’s objectives and expectations?
  • What is their motivation for resolving the issue addressed by the project?
  • What recommendations might you provide to your stakeholders to ensure the project’s success?

Analyze the many options for meeting your company’s requirements

  • What can you do to address current business issues?
  • What outcomes do you anticipate after the project’s completion?

How to outsource app development: Where to find the best team?

How to outsource app development and find the best team for your project? Let’s take a look at the most common places to find a team for mobile app development.

Social networks

You can find a large number of teams and individual developers on social networks. The social network Linkedin is best suited for this activity. There you can find companies that are engaged in mobile app development and their representatives. By going to private messages, you can chat about your project and look at the profiles of companies to evaluate work experience, areas of work, industries with which the company has collaborated, etc.


Ranking sites like Clutch will help you select the best companies and evaluate their portfolio, customer reviews, and overall ranking among other companies. Once again, we remind you that it is vital that the team you will work with has experience working with your industry. Therefore, when evaluating teams and companies, pay attention to this.

Freelance marketplaces

On freelance marketplaces, you can find both beginners and more experienced developers. However, here you will spend a lot of time finding the ideal developer for your project. And if you need a whole team, then you will spend even more time.

How to outsource app development with Northell?

Northell is a top-notch development company that delivers impactful and customized mobile app development services for leading companies across a wide range of industries. We can create mobile applications for the following industries:

Using advanced development methodologies and best practices, our team streamlines the development process and builds the right mobile app development life cycle. Northell ensures excellent performance, compliance with your requirements, clear code and timely outcome.

We create mobile apps user-friendly, pleasant to eye, brand-oriented and scalable. You can find the results of our projects and partner reviews on our Clutch page.

Clutch Mockup

Northell Clutch

Do not pass by if you are currently looking for a qualified outsourcing team for your project. Contact us! Our team is always ready for new exciting projects!

How to outsource app development: Cost & Rates

How to outsource mobile app development profitable and fast? The cost of building a mobile app may be estimated based on the scope of work, the development approach, the technology stack, and the team size chosen.

The following are the average hourly rate for employing different specialists in various parts of the world:



The quality of services differs according to location as well. While US-based startups and organizations hire elite talent, demand remains far greater than supply.

As a result, daring businesses prefer to seek mobile app development services from abroad. The majority of them discover that outsourcing to Eastern Europe provides the finest price/quality ratio.

We have also prepared prices for the most popular tech stacks for creating a mobile application:

  • Kotlin – $45-85+
  • Swift – $50-90+

How to Outsource mobile App Development: Conclusion

How to outsource mobile app development successfully? Today, not a single business can do without information technology: their work directly affects the productivity and profitability of the entire enterprise, but an enterprise can do without an IT department: maintenance of the IT infrastructure, both its systems and as a whole, can be outsourced – external accompaniment.

Mobile app outsourcing is a convenient modern tool that allows companies to become more efficient, optimize their activities, free up resources to develop new areas, and focus on important business processes to achieve their goals.

Once again, we remind you of the main advantages of mobile app outsourcing:

  • Reducing IT infrastructure maintenance costs.
  • Improving the performance and stability of IT systems.
  • Minimization of downtime, and hence the financial losses of the company.
  • Increasing the profitability of the company.
  • Ensure prompt recovery after troubleshooting.
  • Work exclusively with professionals.
  • Transparent reporting system.
  • Reducing the tax base.
  • Increase in investment attractiveness.
  • Reducing the burden of personnel and accounting administration of personnel.
  • Reduced risks and costs.
  • Ability to avoid labor disputes, etc.

We hope that thanks to our article, you can better understand how to outsource mobile app development. Most importantly, remember that it is crucial to find a good team and organize work, communicate, and control the process properly. If you still have any questions on this topic, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team will be happy to answer them!

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