The Hidden Costs of Offshore App Development

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The complete price tag for offshoring app development is summed up by the cliché, “You get what you pay for” and that’s not much. Here’s how one small business wasted resources and money.

Company X needed a simple mobile application to actively and directly interact with customers. Local app development prices ranged from $2,000 to $250,000. While the low end was fine, they just didn’t want to risk ending up on the high end. So began their offshore frustration.

First, they had to assign a Company X employee to spend all his time discussing the ins and outs of their business with someone in another country. Cultural barriers began right way, delaying even further the time he was away from his main job.

Next came the actual work – which was aesthetically different than what they expected. Many features were obsolete. The look was just off, not at all resembling high functioning apps in the U.S. The foreigner’s solution was to spend more time, and yes more money, getting to know their business better.

Then came the challenge of relaying information to and from the foreign developer. Communication was largely through email and messaging, never face to face and of course, not in person. It is laborious enough to clarify needs with a person in the same area. Across the pond was painfully slow and difficult. The delay due to time zone differences was excruciating.

What began as an attractive $20 per hour developer’s fee ballooned to over $200 per hour when all was said and done. The final, incomplete, flawed result was eventually given to a local developer to fix.

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