How Much Does it Cost to Outsource App Development (2024)

The benefits of developing outsourcing apps are undeniable. Having an offshore team is a great way to reduce the time and costs of the project. A seasoned software development company can offer a pool of specialists, diverse expertise, and more. Find out below why you should outsource the development of mobile apps in 2024.

Do you ever wonder how high is the cost of app development in 2024? It is actually possible to reduce development costs without losing quality. The solution is simple—software outsourcing companies. This type of solution is often very beneficial for both large enterprises and startups.

To calculate how much it costs to build an app, you can to estimate the number of hours required to develop each feature multiplied by the hourly rate of your developer. Ideally, you add a buffer of about 20% for testing and other issues that might crop up.

The harder part is going to be to understand and determine how much effort (or hourly cost) goes into developing each piece of functionality to build an app.

While the cost to build an app is a very subjective question, there is a simple answer to this in reality, if you consider the above. Below, we've also proposed a few estimates.

Understanding this fundamental concept will help you gauge the cost to build an app. As the hourly rate of the app developer goes up, the time it takes to take them to develop specific features and functions go down, and the quality gets better.

So while it seems counter-intuitive at first, going for an experienced app developer makes more sense in the long-run.

It would be best to push up the budget of your project as high as it can go in your circumstances. Realistically speaking, if you've only got a few hundred dollars to spare, it would probably best to shelf your project for a while until you've saved enough spare cash to push this project forward.

As a bare minimum, we'd estimate a simple mobile app to cost a few thousand dollars, with a more complex mobile app development running into tens of thousands.

smartphone app

Just as a few guidelines:

  1. Simple App with a basic display of information and integration with existing published information (e.g. website): $2000 - $3000
  2. Medium complexity mobile app with its own database, which collects information and interacts with a backend: $5000 - $8000
  3. High complexity app which needs to fully integrate with several backend platforms, with a complex UI, accepting such things as payments and other complex features: $10,000+ 

These estimates are very simplistic and are just guidelines of expectations you need to have. 


Definition of offshore outsourcing

There may be different types of outsourcing for software development. One of the subdivisions is nearshore and offshore. So what does offshore outsourcing actually mean?

It's really simple. The offshore development team consists of skilled developers based in another country or even on a continent (often referred to as foreign outsourcing).

Pros and Cons of Offshore Outsourcing

Let's get started with the pros. What are the benefits of outsourcing mobile app development?


An experienced team of different skills and knowledge

Building an in-house team can take a lot of resources, especially if you're planning to develop a complex app or other product. But if you outsource, you'll get a flexible group of developers, designers and specialists to work for you. If there is a need to change or expand – a development company can easily add new staff to the team without hiring new staff.

Apart from developers, you also get project managers and/or account managers to make sure that everything is on track.

Stack of various technologies

App development companies usually hire specialists in a variety of programming languages, frameworks and systems. Android and iOS developers, hybrid developers, and more. Each of them has its own set of skills, and when they work together – great results are achieved.

Cost and time efficiency

Outsourcing to cheaper countries such as India, where the cost of living is lower, means that you can save a lot of your budget. And time efficiency is linked to the pool of specialists mentioned above. If you have a large team working on your project, you can expect faster progress. 

Time zones may work to your advantage

But that only applies if you're outsourcing from west to east. Also, there shouldn't be too large of a time gap, because then you won't be able to communicate – unless you're outsourced to a company that works 24/7.

But if you live in the United States and are outsourced to India, your problems can be fixed overnight, and you can still catch these developers and PMs during their 8-hour shift.

Now, there are also some cons of outsourcing development.


Delays could happen

Outsourcing companies usually work on multiple projects for many clients at once. This means that they sometimes need to prioritize their tasks, and if there are too many of them, your product may be delayed. The solution is to hire app developers with strong communication and organizational skills. Working according to methodologies such as Agile and Scrum can help prepare the project for any eventuality.

Costs are still high

Hiring freelance developers or using off-the-shelf solutions can be a lot cheaper. But you have to remember that with a development company, you pay for a plethora of specialists – so that decision is definitely worth the extra cost.

Flexibility may not be an option

It depends on what you expect. Of course, freelancers can work for you at night, but are they going to bring much to the table?

Outsourcing to a company means that they only work for a certain amount of time, but that's nothing if you keep in mind that you have the whole team to create your product. And even if they can't be that flexible sometimes, they usually are. 

How will it cost to outsource app development in 2024?

So you probably already know that the development of outsourcing mobile apps has many advantages and only a few remediable drawbacks.

Now, let's talk about the budget.

Is offshore mobile development outsourcing cost-effective? The hourly rate may, of course, depend on a number of factors, including the type of app, the features that we want to include, the complexity of the project, etc.

Outsourcing app development costs can also vary depending on the country we choose to hire a team.

As mentioned in the article, European developers can charge between $20 and $170 per hour (depending on the level of seniority), while in America these prices range from $50 to $200.

No matter what type of app you're going to develop, there'll be a lot of hours to pay for. So even a small difference in hourly rates can matter to your budget.

How much does an app cost in 2024?

Everything depends on this, of course.

But keep in mind that developing mobile apps isn't cheap. Mobile apps can have a lot of functionality. Depending on the number of them, there may be many stages of production and deployment, including testing. App development requires a team of skilled people, which is also part of the cost.

To give you some examples:

  • Simple apps can cost from $5,000 to $10,000.
  • The price of a social media app can be up to $100,000.
  • And even $1,000,000 or more is the cost of a ride-sharing app or other complex apps!

As you can see, prices can vary, but they're pretty high. That's why it's a good decision to outsource mobile app development to offshore countries where digital agencies and development companies charge a lot less. 

How do you choose an offshore mobile app development team?

You now know what costs of development of the app you can expect.

But it can also be problematic to pick the right team. You need a software house that has everything you need under its roof.

Start your research by checking the website and social media of a potential company you would like to hire. That's going to say a lot about their work culture, past projects and their approach.

The portfolio should be your main focus.

Check out what kind of industry you've been working on with the agency you're considering. Are they designing UI and UX, too? Which technologies are they specializing in? Can they build native Android and iOS apps, or can they just code hybrids?

Answering these questions will help you determine if this development team is right for you.

After seeing what's out there, it's time to reach out to the company and talk to them directly.

Before you get in touch with them, prepare yourself. Know what information you need from them, but also be prepared to describe your project so that everything is clear.

Here is a list of potential topics that you should discuss with a development company. You can, of course, expand it, but the following are some basics:

  • Experience in similar projects or within the industry
  • Possibility to prepare a prototype before the coding starts
  • What are the methodologies used for everyday work? (Agile, Scrum?)
  • What tools are used to communicate and how often does the project team communicate with the client?
  • What is their technology stack and their potential?
  • Do they have any testimonials from previous clients?
  • Are they supported by a business partner like Google or Microsoft?
  • Work culture and the principles you need to know about

Ask about the service model and the type of outsourcing they offer.

There are three options to choose from when it comes to service models:

  1. project-based,
  2. dedicated teams and
  3. extended teams.

The first means that the team is primarily responsible for the quality of the product, while the client is responsible for the tasks, the deadline and the budget. The second one places that responsibility on the outsourceing company. And the third implies that only some tasks are outsourced to external developers.

Different Forms of Outsourcing Development of App

  • Staff increase – the employee of the vendor is involved as part of the in-house team.
  • Specialist outsourcing – part of the project or the entire project is dedicated to the service provider.
  • Full custom software development – lots of outsourcing options, leaving the project to the outsourcing company.

What does the process of outsourcing mobile app development look like?

A lot of processes need to happen to build your app. Project management, development process, testing, deployment and subsequent maintenance. But what are the actual steps in building the app with the offshore outsourcing team? Let's just take a look.

1. Finding the appropriate agency

And then they're researching them. As we have mentioned, there are many things to consider when looking for a perfect outsourcing company. They're providing a project manager? How much is it going to cost to build your app? Do they provide maintenance for the app? These and a lot more questions need to be asked.

After you choose the best option, it is time to determine how your communication is going, what the objectives and requirements are, set deadlines and discuss all the details.

2. Preparations

The next step is to determine what needs to be done in order to release the product you have planned. Is this supposed to be an Android app, an iOS app, or a hybrid app? Or maybe a native solution for iOS and Android?

Another thing to talk about is development time. Setting up an approximate timeline is always a good idea. And this can be influenced by the number of functionalities and their complexity. For example, if your app is supposed to have push notifications, it will definitely need more time to code.

3. Build the app

The actual development can now begin. Depending on the project, this includes frontend and backend programming, UI and UX design, and quality assurance. This stage can be divided into smaller steps, so that all parts of the code are bugless and work properly.

4. Implementation

When the app is finally ready to release, that's exactly what happens.

5. Maintenance of the app

There's always something you need to change or fix. Some issues can be identified by users, even though our testing did not show any signs of them. The human factor is always the final test. Also, many projects require further growth, so that there may be an immediate need to start working on the second one after the implementation of version 1.

Usually, development companies offer support to the post-project, so you can ask about your options. 

Should I outsource the development of my app?

If you need a seasoned app development team, you can significantly reduce the overall cost of the project through outsourcing. Choosing the right company with a pool of talented specialists to meet your business needs and goals can be challenging, but we recommend that you try it anyway. Offshore outsourcing to Eastern European countries or Asia (India, Philippines) will be very beneficial if you are looking for lower mobile app development costs without losing the high quality of the product.

At CollectiveRay, we're always looking for the most viable solutions to reduce app development costs. 


About the Author
David Attard
David has been working in or around the online and digital industry for the last 21 years. He has vast experience in the software and web design industries using WordPress, Joomla and niches surrounding them. He has worked with software development agencies, international software companies, local marketing agencies and now is Head of Marketing Operations at Aphex Media - an SEO agency. As a digital consultant, his focus is on helping businesses get a competitive advantage using a combination of their website and digital platforms available today. His blend of technology expertise combined with a strong business acumen brings a competitive edge to his writings.

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