Developing a mobile app is a big step for any business, no matter the size. However, it is extra important for small businesses or startups because they have more relying on it and more to gain from it.
A mobile app can make all the difference with a small business, in terms of generating more sales or improving the brand’s recognition in the market. When you develop your own app, it means taking the business to the next level in the game. Why does it matter so much? Everyone, people of all ages, get almost everything done on their phones today. Whether your target is a CEO, college student, or a busy housewife, their phone is significant in their daily routines.
Statistics show that by the end of 2020, mobile app revenues will reach 189 billion and it’s only on the rise. Offering the customer the product or service through an app on their phone not only increases customer engagement but the convenience is a boost that helps the customer purchase your product easier. Now that we know what a mobile app can do for your business, what’s next? You know you want to develop an app but you’re no developer or IT expert, so do you hire in-house developers or do you outsource the app development?
In-House Developers Or Outsourcing Development?
Many business owners believe that hiring developers to get the job done will save them more money than hiring a mobile app development company. However, this is not the case. In fact, hiring developers can cost more than outsourcing development.
Pros Of In-House Development
YOUR business’s project: When you hire in-house developers or designers, you’ll be bringing them into your business. Communication and team collaboration will be efficient and easier. Project management will be achieved and you’ll be on top of everything.
Control over your app: Since your employees are the ones developing the app, you’ll easily be able to address your concerns, requirements, and any changes needed to them. You’ll be able to supervise the project yourself and make sure it gets done the way you want.
Gain from their knowledge: Experienced developers and designers can train other IT employees and carry on their knowledge throughout the rest of the business. This way, if any maintenance or fixes are needed afterward, it can easily be done by any IT developer.
Cons Of In-House Development
Lack of experience: Your IT department may know a huge deal when it comes to the web but that doesn’t necessarily mean the same for mobile development. Since mobile app development is relatively new, finding someone competent or someone that can do it all isn’t easy. They wouldn’t have the required experience to develop a polished app which means more time is needed to get it done efficiently.
Higher cost: At first, hiring in-house developers may seem like a logical decision but getting the resources to hire a whole team of developers, designers, and engineers will be difficult. Not only because you’ll need to go through an intensive hiring process but to initiate the development process, it will require a specific skill set and tools and the final stages and testing will also consume time and cost. Starting something from scratch is harder than hiring experts to get it done and give you a polished app ready to launch.
Amateur-level app: Hiring experienced mobile developers isn’t cheap, so even if you hire one and train other developers, it will never be done on a global scale or a professional level, dimming the chances of turning your business into an enterprise. A poor app representation will only reflect badly on your business.
Outsourcing App Development
Outsourcing app development can mean many things; it can be developed by freelancers, small app development agencies, or big, experienced development agencies. The options are many and that is what makes it more reliable than in-house developers. Now, freelancers can be risky but it is worth considering if you have the right funds for it. You can find multiple freelancers on reputable platforms like freelancer.com or upwork.com.
What to remember when looking for freelancers?
- Cheapest doesn’t mean the best, offshore developers may be great for their low cost, however; you’ll also get minimum technical standards and skills.
- Experienced freelancers will cost more than in-house development. Hiring grade-A freelancers is expensive, it is difficult to find a jack of all trades so you’ll need to contract individual freelancers for development and design, each charging an average of $125 per hour. This will quickly exhaust your funds if you’re not careful.
- Freelancers come with the risk of poor communication and results. Not being able to easily reach out to a freelancer whenever needed can cause misunderstandings and mistakes.
What About App Development Ggencies?
The best thing about development agencies is that they come in all forms and sizes. There are big agencies like Appster or Zco that target big corporations, these agencies, of course, come at a very high rate and are usually not the best option for small-medium sized businesses. Then there are agencies on a smaller scale like Softxpert that tend to your special needs as a business and help you grow.
Pros Of App Development Agencies
Experts on the job: Opting your app development to an agency means you’ll get a group of talented experts varying from developers, UX & UI designers, project managers, and engineers that have experience in app development projects and can depict the app you have in mind.
Up-to-date with innovative technologies: Development agencies are highly equipped with the right tools and skills to develop apps on a higher scale. Any new updates, tools, or tricks, they will be the first to know of.
Guaranteed Efficiency: You can trust development agencies to give you quick results and great quality. They will have answers to all your questions, update you on app progress, and imply your brand customizations on your app. A skilled agency will care for all the small details in regards to technical development, UX and UI design, and functionality.
Same cost, better services: You can find a highly skilled development agency at a better rate than paying hourly/ monthly salaries to a whole in-house team. So you’ll be getting better quality at a lower or similar rate.
Cons Of App Development Agencies
Expense alert: Even though development agencies are your safest and best option when developing an app, they can be the most expensive option. Large development agencies can charge up to $200 – $300 an hour, given the number of months it takes to develop an app, it can overtop in-house hires. If you have a tight budget in mind, it’s best to look for smaller scaled agencies and get an estimate from them ahead of time.
Offshore Agencies: The same concept that applies to offshore freelancers applies to agencies, they may be the least expensive option but you need to be sure they’re god enough, check previous apps they’ve developed and make sure they’re experienced in your specific business. Also, different time zones can lead to miscommunication which will only make it harder for you to explain your ideas and follow up on work progress. You have to be aware of both time zones and work around it.
How To Outsource Your Mobile App Development
There are three points to consider when making the decision of developing a mobile app. Having a clear idea of what you want will make it easier for developers to meet your requirements and see the full picture.
Step One: What type of app do you want?
Now that you’ve established your business needs an app, what type of app? You need to define your app’s goals and objectives, what you need out of it. Will your app need third-party integration? Will it need a geolocation feature like Uber? A chatting feature like Facebook?
Figure out all the basic and advanced features you want in your app so the agency can easily give you an estimate of cost to build an app.
Step Two: What type of platform are you using?
Developing an app for Android’s Google Play is different from developing one for Apple’s App Store. Building an app for both platforms is expensive and is something startups avoid in the beginning. Do your research and find out what type of users your target audience is, is your target the US? If so, start with an Apple app. Is your market based in Asia or Europe? Then pick Android because it has more users there than Apple.
Even though both platforms may seem similar in cost at first, Android development costs more than iOS development because it is required to accommodate multiple devices & screen sizes. This is why businesses usually start with an iOS app then expand to Android users.
Step Three: What to focus on when looking for an agency?
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when looking for an agency. For starters, make sure they’re actually good at what they do. Your target is to find a qualified agency at a good rate that won’t drain your resources.
- Ask questions, don’t be shy! Communication is key when working on a project, don’t hesitate to look at previous apps they’ve designed, ask about their skills, follow up on any updates or ideas. See how fast it takes them to reply and keep you posted, can they be trusted?
- Confirm they have the expertise and experience required to take on this challenge, give them a clear idea of your requirements and be sure they can deliver.
- Get a free quote of what your app will approx. cost so you would know exactly what you’re getting into.
- Request a plan outline of execution and the milestones of your project.
Building a mobile app is not an easy process; it is time consuming and costs a lot. But with the right agency, you can be walked through the whole process, watch it come to life, and in the end, present a polished mobile app to your customers.