Building A Mobile App: Should I Go Onshore Or Offshore?

With more than 3.1 million Android & iOS applications available in both Google Play and Apple App Store, one cannot question on the popularity and utility of the mobile apps in this era. In fact, our lives revolve around smartphone apps, let me put this through with a few examples.

When we feel like chatting with a friend, what we usually do, pick up our cell phone and ping them straight away using WhatsApp, Line, WeChat or any other messaging apps.

If you want to see your one month old baby and beautiful wife while being on an official trip, it’s simple, pick up your phone and have a video call with them via Skype, Hangouts, Facebook messenger and other available applications. If you want to book a cab, you simply take out your phone and book the nearest available one. These examples show that we can’t think of our lives without mobile applications.

Understanding the current need, there are a lot of potential mobile app developers who have stepped into this market to launch their mobile app ideas. While the number of applications available is large, it is important that you serve something really good in front of the users to nail it.

Once you have made up your mind about the concept of your smartphone application, the next step is to determine whether to create the app locally or find an offshore mobile app developer. The decision seems to be complicated as there are a number of factors associated with it. You need to analyze your project in detail and then take the final call. When deciding between onshore or offshore app development solutions, it is critical to define what you need in terms of both product and project. Let us understand some of those few important factors which can help you take that important decision.

  1. Complexity of the project:

You can always break your project in terms of complexity, low, medium and high. High complexity projects are likely to be kept local. A complex project requires proper planning and execution, which is only possible with in-person meetings and communication. It is less hard to communicate a complex or a new idea to someone in the same room, than to the people on the phone or on email in another country.

But if I talk about less complex projects, you can always opt for an offshore app developer, as it would be much easier to make him understand your requirements without the need of communicating frequently.

  1. Different Time Zone:

One of the most important issues that you may face in the case of an offshore project is the difference in time zone. If you have opted for an app developer whose time zone is different from yours, you are probably going to face a lot of issues in communicating with each other. There will always be a time lag between any query raised by you and being answered by your app developer.

World map with time zones
World map with time zones

While with an onshore developer, you are likely not to face such issues, as he/she will be available in the same time zone as you are and hence the communication becomes quite feasible.

  1. Mobile App Cost:

Every individual wishes to reap the maximum benefit in the minimum possible cost. As you know, mobile app cost is one of the root causes of outsourcing any mobile app project. Since labor is cheaper in Asian countries, as compared to the western countries, most of the companies whether big or small prefer to outsource their work these days.

Apps development cost
Mobile application development cost

Other than cost, outsourcing a project can help you to get multi-fold benefits. People in Asian countries are more dedicated towards the work they do and prioritize it before anything else.

While low cost at the beginning may attract you, but it is important to ensure that there are no hidden costs involved with outsourcing.

Cutting cost is important, but not by giving up on the value. Most of the IT companies these days are cutting their costs by compromising with their value. So you must make sure the app developer, you are hiring is not weakening the value of the project.

  1. Quality Control:

One may seem to be ignorant about the quality at the beginning, but once you start driving towards the end of the project, quality becomes the most important factor.

It is vital to make sure that your smartphone app works in the same way you want it. In case of an onshore project, you can always ask your developer to test the application before launching it and rely to the test results as you may be aware about the testing processes. However, in case of offshore app development, you are not fully aware about the testing processes, so you may not be able to trust the results. Hence, make sure that your offshore developer has understood your requirements aptly and is designing the product keeping that in mind.

  1. Innovative Ideas:

A considerable advantage of offshoring an application project is innovation. As people residing in different countries have different sets of mind, they can come up with something new and different.

If you are seeking for something out of the box, then outsourcing your project to the developers outside your country is the best solution. Innovation can work as a success mantra for you, as people these days, often get bored by using the same type of applications.

  1. Duration of the project:

If you are very strict with your deadlines or timelines and want to launch your application quickly in the market, then I would recommend you to keep your project locally. An offshore project is likely to take more time than a local project. Setting up the expectations and receiving the output in time is much easier in local projects as communication is faster and simpler.

While in case of offshore projects, sometimes it becomes impossible to cut off the legs in communications and responses.

  1. Language barrier:

This is one of those issues which you are definitely going to face if you go for an offshore app developer. This could prove to be harmful for you as there is a high probability of miscommunication in such cases. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the person at the other end has understood the things in the same manner as you wanted to interpret it.


Image source: YouTube

Language barriers are an obvious obstacle, but you should also be aware of potential cultural barriers as well. Communication blockades and cultural differences when dealing with an overseas developer can increase your chance of ending up with a poorly designed app.

On the other hand, language can never act as a barrier in case of onshore projects. In fact, it will prove to be an added advantage as you will be able to interact frequently and effectively.

One helpful tip, which can save you from this blast is to keep it documented or communicate through emails, while I understand that written communication may take some time and the person at the receiver’s end may take time to respond, but eventually you will be sure that whatever you have communicated will be executed.

Bottom Line:

At the end, I would like to reiterate that both the options have its pros and cons. While, onshore developers are much more reliable and ensure quality and timeliness. Offshore projects come with a reasonable cost and innovation.The decision simply depends upon the features and requirements of your project.

Published by Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is a founder of Antipull & a Digital Strategist at Nine Hertz, a Mobile app development company anda Marketing - Tech writer. He has expertise in SEO, ASO, CRO,PPC and other parts of Online Marketingfields. He is an enthusiast and love to explore new stuffs.

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  1. There’s also the possibility of using already existing templates, that can be customized. There are a bunch of projects that do that (like

  2. Hey, I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

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