Mobile app development outsourcing involves hiring external professionals to develop mobile apps for you. 

This not only lets you access the crème de la crème of tech talent but also offers cost savings and a faster time to market. 

Explore why you need to outsource mobile app development, factors affecting costs, proven steps to make it a success, and more.  

Further Reading:
Explore Eight Reasons Why You Should Nearshore Software Development to Mexico
Check out our Detailed Comparison Between Nearshore and Offshore Outsourcing to help determine the right model for your business.  

This Article Contains:

8 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Outsource Mobile App Development

To maintain a competitive edge in today’s mobile-driven landscape, many businesses are turning to outsourcing for app development. 

Here are eight proven benefits of doing so:

1. Cost Efficiency

Outsourcing allows you to hire experts at a lower cost than hiring an in-house team. For instance, the monthly average salary of a mobile app developer in Mexico is around $1,819 (32,800 MXN), while it’s nearly $7,710 in the US. 

What’s more?

Outsourcing lets you adjust your spending based on how your project scope changes, while in-house teams have fixed costs regardless of their workload. 

Moreover, it eliminates significant expenses like employee training, onboarding, benefits, as well as overheads such as office space and utilities.

2. Hire Top-Notch Experts 

Hiring specialized in-house mobile app developers, such as AI experts, can be costly and challenging due to their scarcity and local competition.

Fortunately, outsourcing offers you access to top-notch tech experts in countries like Mexico. 

Mexico boasts a skilled pool of mobile app developers proficient in development technologies like Flutter and React Native.

3. Faster Time to Market

Trusted outsourcing firms come equipped with seasoned app developers and well-established workflows. This enables them to start projects swiftly, cutting down onboarding, training, and development time.

In the case of nearshoring, working in similar time zones can accelerate software development processes. 

For example, Mexico City is only two hours behind Washington. This proximity allows for swift issue resolution, prompt decision-making, and uninterrupted workflows. 

4. Access to New Markets

Outsourcing allows you to break into new markets without investing in additional infrastructure. 

A locally-based mobile app development company will have a deeper understanding of local culture, customer needs, and market trends.

This insight can be a game-changer, as it allows you to tailor your app to fit the unique preferences of that new market easily.

5. Scalability and Flexibility

Established mobile app development outsourcing companies often use Agile processes like Scrum or Kanban. This makes it easier for your outsourced team to iterate faster, make changes, and manage risks.  

Additionally, outsourcing offers the scalability to adjust your team size as per your mobile app development project demands. 

On the other hand, expanding your in-house team can lead to recruitment and training challenges, while downsizing may result in HR issues like severance packages and legalities.  

6. Better Risk Mitigation and Intellectual Property (IP) Protection

Effective risk mitigation strategies involve vetting the outsourcing team, establishing clear contracts, and implementing rigorous testing. Meanwhile, IP protection policies reduce risks like unauthorized use of your proprietary app concepts, designs, and codes.

Established application development companies like Distillery will have the capability to proactively foresee and employ mitigation strategies on time. 

They will also take all the necessary steps to safeguard your design assets like UI elements, source code, and other intellectual property developed during the project. 

They would also be aware of the IP laws of the countries you outsource to. For instance, most software can’t be patented in Mexico but can be protected under the Federal Copyright Law. You’ll have to register your software in Mexico to protect its IP rights, even if it’s patented in the US. 

All this reduces the likelihood of technical, financial, and operational risks.

7. Quality Assurance and Testing

Outsourcing firms usually have specialized quality assurance teams well-versed in mobile app testing. 

They may tap into diverse testing tools and platforms, such as Android Emulator or JMeter, for thorough testing across multiple devices and operating systems.

Why’s this important?

Regular quality assurance and testing can help you catch defects early in the app development process and ensure your mobile apps meet your specifications and industry standards. 

The result?

Happy customers, reduced costs, and enhanced company reputation.

8. Improved Focus on Core Business Processes

Outsourcing mobile app development services lets your top management focus on other vital processes like customer success, marketing, and R&D. 

For instance, suppose a retail company wants to launch a mobile app to enhance its online shopping experience. 

Instead of diverting its internal team, which is primarily focused on product selection, marketing, and customer service, the company can outsource the application development to a specialized agency. 

This allows the retail company to continue prioritizing its main business operations, like curating products and improving in-store experiences while ensuring the app is developed by experts in that field.

Next, let’s check out the different mobile app development outsourcing models.

3 Geographical Models of Mobile App Development Outsourcing

There are three different ways you can outsource app development. And choosing the suitable geographical model will affect all your critical success factors like cost, communication, and cultural compatibility.

Let’s look at each of them:

1. Nearshore Mobile App Development Outsourcing

Nearshore mobile app development outsourcing allows you to delegate your development projects to a company in a nearby country. 

For instance, a US-based software development company can nearshore its software development services to vendors in neighboring countries like Mexico and Argentina.

This approach offers various advantages, such as overlapping work hours, better collaboration, and cultural and geographical proximity, apart from massive cost savings.

Here’s how much mobile application development can cost in various nearshore countries:

CountryAverage Monthly Salary
Argentina44,100 ARS ($126)
Mexico32,800 MXN ($1,819)
Brazil8,540 BRL ($1,691)
Costa Rica2,280,000 CRC ($4,295) 
Columbia 4,480,000 COP ($1,056)

2. Offshore Mobile App Development Outsourcing

When you outsource mobile application development to experts in a distant country, it’s called offshore outsourcing. 

For example, a US-based mobile app development company can offshore its mobile app development to locations like India or China.

Although there are issues like large time differences and language barriers, companies choose to offshore for cost savings, access to a larger talent pool, and global markets. 

CountryMonthly Average Salary
India 30,900 INR ($371)
China29,000 CNY ($4,038)
Philippines42,800 PHP ($752)
Singapore7,520 SGD ($5,484)
Taiwan132,000 TWD ($4,077)

3. Onshore Mobile App Development Outsourcing

Onshore outsourcing is when you hire a mobile app development team located within the same country. A Washington-based company, for instance, can outsource its mobile application development to companies in the same state or other states like New York.

While it may be more expensive than other models, onshoring offers benefits like easier communication due to shared language and time zones, similar business values, and more. 

You may have to pay anywhere between $44,400 – $145,000 per year for a mobile app developer in the US. 

So, how much does mobile app development outsourcing cost?

Mobile App Development Outsourcing Costs & 6 Factors That Influence Costs

The cost of outsourcing mobile app development varies based on the complexity of the app. In other words, basic apps with fewer features start from around $5,000, while their feature-packed counterparts might cost over $500,000. 

Here are some typical types of apps and their costs (based on app complexity) in the US:

Type of AppCost of Development
Real estate apps$20,000–$30,000
Instant messaging apps$50,000-$130,000
Dating apps $80,000-$200,000
Gaming apps$10,000-$500,000+
Banking/payment apps$40,000-$70,000
Health and fitness apps$50,000-$250,000

Wondering what other factors affect these costs?

Let’s find out.

1. Location

The cost of living significantly influences labor rates across countries. For example, living in Washington, DC, costs approximately 128% more than in Beijing, China.

This likely explains why, in Beijing, you can engage a junior mobile app developer for an average annual salary of 20,700 CNY (around $2,831), whereas in Washington DC, it’s closer to $55,700.  

But that’s not all.

Currency exchange rate shifts can further impact your mobile app development expenses.

Consider this: 

1 Argentine Peso is valued at $0.0029, while 1 Indian Rupee is worth $0.012. As a result, for a US-based mobile app development company, Argentina might be a more cost-effective destination for outsourcing app development.

2. Team Size and Composition

The size of your outsourced team is another factor that impacts your mobile app development costs. 

Your team’s composition also influences costs, as roles like a mobile app developer, project manager, and QA specialist have varying rates. For instance, a QA analyst might earn 37,700 MXN ($2,067) monthly, while a mobile app developer gets around 32,800 MXN ($1,798) in Mexico. 

Moreover, professionals with more experience and advanced expertise typically come with a higher price tag. 

For example, in Argentina, a senior mobile app developer with 10-15 years of experience may cost you nearly 55,500 ARS ($159) per year. Meanwhile, you may have to pay about 25,200 ARS (around $72) for junior developers with 0-2 years of experience.

3. Mobile App Platform and Type of App

Your platform choice influences outsourcing costs — single-platform apps (iOS or Android) typically cost less. 

Additionally, the type and complexity of the app you develop also influence your costs.  

For example, complex mobile games with advanced UI and 3D graphics demand pricier resources such as game engines and assets. On the other hand, simple apps like “to-do list” applications are more affordable thanks to their basic design and functionality.

4. Mobile App Hosting and Security

Mobile app hosting costs depend on storage and data transfer needs, especially related to content and user activity. 

In other words, larger, complex apps require robust hosting like cloud servers, increasing costs. Frequent updates can also drive up hosting costs due to increased data transfer and storage demands.

But that’s not all. 

Factors like security tools, technologies, certifications, and licenses need to be considered, among other development expenses.

5. Quality Assurance and Testing

Quality assurance ensures your app functions as intended, is free from defects, and offers a seamless user experience. 

It also involves testing the app’s usability and security across various devices and operating systems as well as implementing bug fixes and design changes. 

The cost contribution of QA and testing can vary based on the app’s complexity, the testing methodologies employed, and the size of the testing team. To give you perspective, a QA engineer in Mexico earns around $1,642 (30,000 MXN) monthly.  

The cost of app maintenance is estimated to be around 20% of the mobile app development cost.

6. Backend Scalability

A scalable backend (data, server logic, and system integrations) requires additional infrastructure, like servers, databases, and storage – the costs of which need to be taken into account in your mobile app development budget. 

For example, a VPN app’s backend needs to encrypt and route data between multiple data centers.

Now, outsourcing application development is not always going to be smooth sailing.

3 Notable Risks of Outsourcing Mobile App Development

A few drawbacks you should consider when outsourcing to a mobile app development company are:

  • Time zone and cultural differences: In offshore outsourcing, this can cause response delays, impacting decision-making and issue resolution. But this won’t usually affect nearshore outsourcing.
  • Lack of control over the outsourced team: In an offshore outsourcing setup, the team may end up operating independently without being aligned with the company’s objectives. This can lead to miscommunication, quality issues, and costly bug fixes in later project stages.
  • Data security issues: If the outsourcing mobile app development company lacks robust cybersecurity and disaster recovery measures, your data may be at risk from breaches, attacks, or server crashes.

So, how can you mitigate pitfalls and successfully outsource your mobile app development?

7 Proven Steps to Help You Outsource Mobile App Development Successfully

Here are seven pivotal steps to ensure a successful partnership:

1. Define Your Mobile App Requirements

You need to have your mobile app development project scope defined correctly to begin with. Answering these questions will help you out:

  • What challenges does your app aim to solve?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What type of app are you developing, and what features will it include?
  • What type of operating system do you want to use?
  • Will your app need to integrate with other systems or third-party services?
  • How will user data be stored and managed, and what are the security considerations?
  • What sets your app apart from the competition?
  • What is your expected timeline for the app’s development and launch?

2. Estimate Your Budget

Only with a precise budget estimate will you be able to choose the right outsourcing partner, model, location, app features, and team structure. 

How do you do this?

In addition to the factors we mentioned above, consider getting quotes from multiple vendors, referencing industry benchmarks, and consulting with industry experts.

Remember to account for hidden costs, such as third-party services and maintenance, to keep your budget in check. 

3. Find a Reliable Outsourcing Partner with the Right Background and Credentials 

Shortlist a list of credible outsourcing companies with an outstanding track record, industry referrals, and industry associations. Ensure your chosen mobile app development outsourcing partner has a proven track record of successfully completed projects in your industry. 

Assess their expertise in technologies and languages and ensure their team members have relevant certifications, like GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst (GMOB).

4. Set Up a Discovery Call

A discovery call clarifies your project’s vision, objectives, and expectations.

During this conversation, delve into your app’s desired features, technical requirements, budget limitations, timeline expectations, and more. 

Why’s this important?

This allows the outsourced team to determine if they have the required expertise and resources to complete the mobile app development project within your budget.

5. Find the Apt Pricing Model

The pricing model you pick can affect the cost, flexibility, and risk associated with your outsourcing project.

  • Fixed-price model: The outsourcing mobile app development company quotes a fixed price for the entire project. This model best suits projects with a clearly defined scope, and any additional work is billed separately.
  • Time and materials model: The outsourcing company bills you for the actual time spent and materials used, making it ideal for projects where the scope is uncertain or likely to evolve.
  • Dedicated team model: You pay for a dedicated development team of professionals from the outsourcing company to work exclusively on your project. The dedicated development model suits long-term projects. 
  • Hybrid models: Some projects may benefit from a combination of pricing models. For instance, you can use a fixed-price model for the initial development and then switch to a time and materials model for ongoing maintenance and updates.

6. Establish Clear Communication Protocols 

To prevent crucial information from slipping through the cracks, ensure you mutually agree on the use of communication tools.

For example, you could rely on emails for formal communication, project management platforms for progress tracking, and instant messaging for swift queries. 

Additionally, identify key contacts on both sides (project manager and team leader) and set clear expectations for check-ins, such as daily stand-up meetings or weekly status reports.

7. Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

An NDA safeguards the intellectual property (designs, code, and any proprietary information) you share with the outsourcing company. 

Plus, if your mobile app is subject to industry-specific regulations like HIPAA (for healthcare apps) or GDPR (for data privacy), an NDA ensures your outsourcing company complies with such regulations.

It also acts as a legal safety net if there’s a breach, ensuring your IP doesn’t end up in competitors’ hands.

Now you may be thinking:

Isn’t covering all these bases going to be overwhelming?

Not to worry!

With a nearshoring ally like Distillery at your side, you can breeze through these complexities and easily outsource mobile app development processes to a country in Latin America.

Get Top-Notch Nearshore Mobile App Development Services with Distillery

Distillery is an established nearshore software development company. We provide expert tech talent in Latin America, the best technology stacks, and cost-effective software development services for your project requirements.


We offer:

  • Experts in every tech stack: We have extensive software design and development experience in most tech stacks like iOS, Android, Xamarin, and more.
  • Senior tech talent: We offer full-cycle mobile app outsourcing with an expert team, handpicked according to your project requirements.
  • Transparent development process: You’ll have full access and visibility over the team, mobile application development processes, and the technology used. 
  • Scalability and flexibility: We prioritize scalability and flexibility, allowing you to have the optimal team size with precise skills exactly when needed.
  • Manual and automated QA testing: We ensure proactive planning, early testing, and risk management throughout the mobile app development process. 
  • Cost-effective engagement services: You can choose among tailored outsourcing services like staff augmentation, dedicated teams, and software outsourcing.
  • Custom software development: You’ll get end-to-end mobile development services tailored to your business goals and industry demands.
  • Efficient project management: We help reduce costs and manage fluctuations through effective project management.

Ready to Outsource Your Mobile App Development Project?

Outsourcing supercharges your mobile app development, opening doors to global markets and top-tier experts. 

But with nearshoring, you’re not only saving money but also enjoying enhanced communication and convenient time zones. 

So what are you waiting for? Simply Contact Distillery to harness the full potential of cost-effective mobile app development outsourcing.