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When you set out to build your next custom software project, be it a web app, mobile app or API, cost is and always should be a concern. Custom software projects are almost always accompanied by a substantial amount of development hours to bring them to life, the cost of which can be a hard pill for cash sensitive startups, entrepreneurs and organizations to swallow. So you’ll likely find yourselves faced with the question: do I hire local or outsource overseas?

Today, we’ll be discussing the details of overseas development and why a local software team can often save you in the long run.

Communication, Communication, Communication

In our experience, a project’s success often hinges on successful communication between the client and the development team.

Yes, practical details such as time zones and modes of communication are important (Can you pick up the phone and call the development team? What about a face-to-face meeting? Will your questions be answered in an acceptable amount of time?), but beyond the nuts-and-bolts, it’s important to place value on the ability for your development team to truly understand your project. Do they understand what you are asking to be built? Does the team understand your overall strategy for the app? Are they able to push back and offer alternative solutions or advice during technical challenges?

Building a custom app is rarely a cut-and-dry project and quality communication as your big idea is being brought to life can make all the difference.

Total Cost, not Hourly Rate

It almost goes without saying but is still important to mention here that when considering the dollars and cents of the development team you hire, think about what the total cost will be, not the hourly rate.

An hourly rate of $150+ for an experienced local developer may seem like a lot when compared to an overseas developer charging one-third of that (or even less), but take the time to consider the value that can be provided during that hour. An experienced local developer may work more efficiently and avoid many more pitfalls than a potentially inexperienced overseas developer. In the end, you may find yourself coming out even or ahead by staying local.

Quality of Work

Building a web app or mobile app is no easy task. Besides the strategy of the app itself, you’re also juggling marketing, revenue models, operations and more. The last thing you want to worry about is the quality of the work you’re paying for.

At Oak City Labs we know the value of quality assurance, continuous integration and automation, which shows in our final product. Whether you’re working with a team based locally or overseas, it’s incredibly important that you feel confident in the quality of the work being produced. When your app has its public launch in the app store and you see hundreds and thousands of downloads that first day, you won’t want to find out at that time that the quality is far less than you expected.

As you are evaluating the quality of any software team (local or offshore), consider the following questions:

  • How often is the software team going to provide beta releases so you can review and test? How soon during the development phase will you see these?
  • Who on the development team will you be talking to during the project? Will you be able to speak with the developer working on your project? Does the team provide regular status updates or weekly reports reviewing progress?
  • Will you have access to the code base (even if you aren’t technical) should your relationship go awry?
  • What is the software team’s experience with the release process? Have they successfully released projects to the App Store, Google Play Store, etc.? Do they have a tried and true method they follow for QA, bug fixes and releases?
  • What is their philosophy on building products from scratch vs. using existing third party libraries?

If you’re looking to get started on developing your custom app idea and need help navigating the pros and cons of working with a software team locally vs. overseas, we’d love nothing more than to chat with you further!