How to outsource your mobile app development


According to some estimates, there are approximately 4.77 billion mobile phone users in 2017, and this number is estimated to be increasing by 140-160 million people each year. Even if it’s hard to wrap your head around these numbers, these numbers drive companies to develop apps as airlines companies, retailers (both the ones who have brick-and-mortar shops and the ones which don’t), shipping carriers, bus companies, and more all have their own mobile apps for Android and iOS today.

Employing dozens of developers to build your own Android and/or iOS app is not obligatory, you can have a try and outsource mobile app development services while cutting cost. You think it’s too risky to even try regardless of all the benefits of outsourcing mobile app development? Well, even Slack, GitHub and Skype itself outsourced developing their early products. Yes, there are a lot of tricks on doing it including choosing the best quality/price ratio, as well as making sure that developers you’ve hired won’t get lost when 90% of the project is already finished.

So you don’t know where to start and how to outsource app development? Well, let’s break the whole process of outsourcing mobile app development into four clear steps.

Know Your App

mobile app
Is the app designed for both iOS and Android? Do you want to run the app on OSs other than those two?

Before you rush into searching for companies that provide outsourcing services, you need to know what kind of app you want the developers to build for you. The answer “make me an app for a social network for firemen” is not clear enough. It doesn’t give the future dev team details on key features and capabilities of the app you want. Without those details, they don’t know if they even fit for this task or what of code is needed to make the project come to life, and that would lead to dissatisfaction with the final product and/or the working process for both parties. Also, bear in mind that the app must be unique and custom for users.

So, you need to find answers to several questions before turning to any outsourcing companies:

  • Who do you want your app to be used by?
  • What kind of phone does your target group primarily have – iPhone or an Android phone like Samsung or Meizu?
  • Is the app designed for both iOS and Android? Do you want to run the app on OSs other than those two?
  • Should there be support for social media integration?
  • Are any in-app purchases supposed to be included? What features can be purchased additionally by users?
  • Is the app supposed to be cross-platform or native?

Actually, the list of questions above is far from a final one. It should be continued on and on until you can imagine yourself using this app in perfect detail. Beware that Android app development outsourcing and iOS development outsourcing have their particularities. Also, mind that depending on the answers to those questions the outsource app development cost will differ, sometimes by several times.

Find The Dream Team

mobile app
One important tip: don’t hire solo freelancers. Ever.

Now that you’re clear on what you want to receive as the final product, you can start the hunt for the best dev team out there. This is the most difficult part of the process by far. It is not enough to find the most experienced developers out there or the cheapest ones.

One important tip: don’t hire solo freelancers. Ever. Usually, they are terrible at keeping up with the schedule, and they are very likely to disappear. Besides, if you need several freelance developers, you will spend tons of time and efforts managing their tasks. The best option, proven by tough experience, is to find an IT outsourcing company.

What do you need to pay attention to while looking for an outsourcing app development company that be the best to satisfy your needs?

  • Skills and experience in the relevant fields: If you want the app to be native and support in-app purchases, you should look for companies/developers with experience in developing native apps with in-app purchases, obviously.
  • Location: Mind the time zone and cultural differences as both of the factors can make the working process a living hell (for example, if you have 7-hour difference or you can’t understand what the developers mean when they disagree).
  • Portfolio: Ask the company to provide with a portfolio of relevant finished projects, especially the ones that are already published in the app stores. You can check the usability of those apps yourself and user’s reviews.
  • Reviews: Don’t pay attention to the reviews that are displayed on the IT outsourcing company’s website – ask for contact details of their clients and find out about their experience of working with the company and their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the outcomes.

Don’t hesitate to make the first contact with the company to ask some general questions. If they have nothing to hide, they will gladly provide you with all the necessary info.

Interview The Candidates

mobile apps
One more tip: pay close attention to the way the candidate answers and some non-verbal signs.

Don’t jump to making the decision right after you’ve looked through the portfolio. It is key to know whether the candidate(s) will understand your requirements and the concept of the final product. Besides, sometimes it is necessary to see that the candidates are easy to reason with when it comes to discussing issues or the working process in general.

The best way to make the interview happen when there are thousands of kilometers between people is to appoint a Skype or Facebook call.

One more tip: pay close attention to the way the candidate answers and some non-verbal signs. Besides, if the candidate is late for the interview or isn’t prepared at all, it’s a bright red flag for irresponsibility.

Discuss not only the technological aspects of the project but also the way the communication will be built, possible risks, the price list and the terms of payment.

After all the interviews are done, determine the best quality/price ratio to choose the best dev team out there.

Set Milestones And Determine Communication Channels

mobile apps
Use Slack or Google Hangouts to stay in touch with the dev team.

Milestones are the key points in the project development that can be measured by the results that have to be achieved on a certain date. By discussing and setting the milestones with the developers, you will know the key points in time when you need to check on the dev team and their results.

One more tip: use Trello or at least Google Calendar to put the milestones and share it with a group of people.

Determining communication channels is one more key thing in building the effective working process: use Slack or Google Hangouts to stay in touch with the dev team.


Looks like a tough challenge, doesn’t it? Well, once you’ve done your homework to find the most diligent developers possible, you will gain a lot of benefits from working process that costs less than in-house dev team and needs putting fewer efforts into management. Regardless of whether you are a giant business or you’re looking how to reduce cost for startup projects, outsourcing mobile app development is definitely worth a shot. Yet, don’t forget to control the deadlines and oversee the working process thoroughly.

Last Updated on August 11, 2019.

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