“You get what you pay for” is a cliché for a reason. As consumers and businesses grow more dependent on mobile devices for more than just peer-to-peer communication, companies have been quick to develop mobile applications to actively and directly engage their customers. Smaller businesses that lack serious capital regularly opt to save a buck by sending their development overseas. However, saving money offshoring a mobile app may cost significantly more in the long run.
App development can range anywhere from $2,000-$250,000, which is a variation far too expansive to have any real meaning. All developers are not created equal. Below are some of the risks of outsourcing your mobile app development and some red flags for not being taken advantaged of through foreign developers.
The Risks of Offshoring Mobile App Development
First, any time you are taking part of your business and asking another country to play an integral role in development, you run the risk of cultural barriers. Outsourcing the work to a foreign country means that the technology and cultural standards for aesthetics will be different and frequently outdated, making the appearance off. For this reason, it will take time for them to understand your project, and the learning curve can definitely eat into projected savings.
Another risk is miscommunication. It is hard enough to explain to an experienced person in the same room with you what you want to build. Relying this information to a person thousands of miles away and mostly through electronic communication sets one up for plenty of risk in receiving the product you were seeking. Software development is a highly involved social process with people regularly sharing complex ideas and abstract concepts.
Finally, let’s go back to cost — the main reason most companies outsource in the first place. While an overseas firm may charge you a tempting $20 an hour, how much value are you really getting in that hour? A competent in-house app developer at $100 an hour may well produce more value for you than several junior developers working at $20 an hour overseas.
Offshoring apps also expose you to security and data leaks. A recent report found that companies that go overseas are 31 percent more likely to experience potential data leaks or IP loss. Even with an NDA, you are exposing your valuable assets and precautions such as court settings and litigation come at a high cost.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
Even after understanding the risks, sometimes keeping a project domestic isn’t an option. If you want to outsource your app development, there are some key red flags that they should keep in mind when choosing an overseas firm.
- Cost is too low: $50-$75 an hour is standard to low in terms of what it costs to develop an app. If you are looking at firms offering $10-$20 an hour in services, you can be guaranteed that your final product will lack quality.
- No local contact info: Be conscious of the contact information you are given. Overseas companies will purchase a U.S.-based area code or can use a temporary Skype address to communicate with domestic businesses. This is easily attainable and is used frequently by independent freelancers as an aggressive sales tactic. Once the app has been completed, sometimes these types of contacts are deleted — leaving little to no possibility of follow-up if there are issues. As a safety precaution, gather as much background information on the company as possible and ask for local or office numbers.
- Beware wire transfers: Use a credit card, not a wire transfer. Some overseas firms ask for wire transfer only. A credible company will take a credit card, which offers you more protection in the event of fraud.
Jordan Edelson is the Founder and CEO of Appetizer Mobile LLC, one of the leading mobile application development agencies in NYC. Jordan has created over 150 mobile and digital experiences for major brands all over the world including the NBA, Joe Girardi, Kim Kardashian, Interscope Records, Epic Records, Lady Gaga, Montessorium, 50 Cent and more. Regarded as an expert in the mobile and digital industries, Edelson has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg TV, ABC New and Fox Business among other major media outlets.
Originally published by StartupCollective.