For many start-ups looking to gain an advantage on their competitors, the question has now become “Do we hire our own developers or outsource the app development somewhere else?” Outsourcing, in this case, means two different things: either hiring a freelancer to work alongside your team or hire an app development company to do the work for you.

We have already explored app development cost in another article and have seen that outsourcing to an app development agency is cost effective, so we don’t need to go more in depth there. Instead, we are taking a look at the world of outsourcing app development to gain a competitive advantage.

To start off, let’s explore the reason why you should consider outsourcing your app development. Then, we will show you four companies who used outsourcing to get a leg up in their industries. Let’s go!

Expertise and Research

Like any outside contractor, app development companies are experts in their fields and have extensive expertise that they bring to the table on every single project. They say that your master something once you have done it for over 10,000 hours. Well, the average app development project can hover around 500-1000 hours, so any company with over 10 projects under their belt is well on their way to being a master.

Along with this, companies who you can outsource app development to are all yours. What we mean by this is that you can delegate tasks you may not have time for to your outside team. App development companies can do thorough analysis and research while you focus on more important company steps like building your brand and finding investors.

The downside to hiring a freelancer is they might only be experienced in a few areas. Where, with an entire team working for you, there will be multiple experts across even more fields. Don’t believe me? Well, ask the experts!



GitHub is to coders and software developers what Facebook is to most people. Founded in 2008, GitHub has grown over the last 9 years to 26 million users and has raised over 350 million dollars in funding. They have made a name for themselves as the place to go for software projects.

What you may not have realized is that their website wasn’t always so prominent. When Chris Wanstrath, PJ Hyett, and Tom Preston-Werner started GitHub, even though they were software developers themselves, they still hired someone else and outsourced their app development to expedite the process. Now, GitHub is valued at over 2 billion dollars.

Budgets, Budgets, Budgets

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As mentioned earlier, a major concern for many start-ups when considering outsourcing their app development is cost. Can this fit into our budget? Are there more affordable options? Is this really worth it? All of these things might be running through your head, but we want you to know that yes, it is worth it.

The average cost of building an app in 2017 ranges from $150,000 all the way to $450,000. Almost 50 percent of that number is just infrastructure and creating a way to make that app. Outsourcing app development brings that cost range way down, closer to $10,000 to $80,000, based on total hours.

Not only is that a significant price difference, but that also means you will have a significantly higher budget to either invest back into the product or use for another business expense. Let’s take a look at another company that saved their budget by hiring an app development company.


Over the last 4 years, Slack has become a household name for most companies across the country. Not only have they revolutionized the way workers communicate within an organization, but they have also broken records left and right with each evaluation. Now, Amazon is in talks to buy Slack from Stewart Butterfield for 9 billion dollars.

However, Slack would not be here today without outside help. Way back in 2013, Butterfield outsourced not only the app development, but the logo and website design to an outside firm. While they were working on the backend side, Butterfield was spreading the gospel of Slack and ensuring that once they were done, they would have something to deliver to their stakeholders.

Companies that outsource app development are able to get a step ahead of the competition all while focusing on their core competencies and building a strong brand. This brings us to our next topic.

Focus on what’s important

Again, not everyone who has an idea for an app has the capability of creating it. But, those same people, often just called “entrepreneurs,” do have what it takes to build and grow a company. By focusing on what is important and leaving the coding to the pros, you are able to get more done, faster.

This is just another benefit of outsourcing app development. Not only does it bring costs down, but it also allows you to turn your attention to what you are best at. Instead of spending all of your time trying to create an app, you can instead create the opportunities in which this app will succeed.

For example, let’s talk about AppSumo.


Noah Kagan founded AppSumo in 2010 when he saw an opportunity in the market for digitally distributed goods. He saw that there was no place online to distribute web apps and he wanted to get there before anyone else had the idea.

By outsourcing a web designer in Pakistan for only $50 to build him a PayPal button, Kagan was able to get the website up and running in less than a week.

Now, 6 years later, that $50 that Kagan used to outsource his development has turned into a company valued at over 2 million dollars. Not only did he save money by outsourcing the development, he also was able to spend the time he would have building the website to actually get out there and start establishing business relationships.

We will never know whether AppSumo would have blossomed the way it did without Kagan spending that $50. But, what we can say is that it was definitely worth it to be first out of the box and that $50 got him there faster, allowing him to focus on what was important to him.


Our final reason to consider outsourcing your app development is the benefit of end-to-end service. End-to-end service means that your team will be with you from the inception of your project until it is completed and you have a deliverable to show shareholders, your company, and the world.

The end-to-end aspect of outsourcing app development is the biggest advantage over other alternatives. For instance, an individual freelancer might work with you on part of a project, but then leave you in the lurch when they get a better paying job. Hiring your own developer fixes this problem, but while they will be with you from the beginning to the end, you lose all of the other advantages of outsourcing like having an expert team and lower costs.

By having a dedicated team, focused on the same goal, working on your project from end-to-end, you will be able to leave everything to them and focus on what is important. Along with that, they will have their own project managers monitoring everything. Their entire job is to ensure that you receive the product you want developed on time. Just another thing you won’t have to worry about.



Skype, another household name, is yet another company that outsourced their app development to gain a competitive advantage. Back when they were first starting out, Niklas Zennström and Dane Janus Friis were trying their best to figure out which direction they wanted to take Skype.

At first, they were not having success. But then, after hiring an app development company in Estonia to build out their platform, Friis and Zennström were able to focus on convincing investors to join them and have enough users to support the app.

They were able to release a public version of their service in summer of 2003. Only 2 years later, they sold their company to Ebay for $2.6 billion and again in 2011 to Microsoft for $8.5 billion. Again, it is not our job to say what would have happened without that outsourced team, but when it comes to using measuring dollars in Bs instead of Ms, that was probably the best way to go.

Final Note

Whether you decide to outsource your app development or do things in house, what’s important to keep in mind is making sure the best people are behind each function of your business. If that means hiring your own developer that you have access to at all times, that’s perfectly fine. If that means doing everything yourself to save money, that works too.

Our point is if you need experts working on your project, designing everything from the start, and seeing it through to completion, you should consider outsourcing your app development to a company equipped to handle what you need.