Should You Hire an In-House Developer or Outsource?

Mario Hachem, Contributor, Sep 01 2016

Many entrepreneurs praise the merits of outsourcing development work, while others have sworn off due to horrible experiences. At TEDMOB we always try to give our clients the best solution to whether they should outsource development or hire a developer for their team? In fact we always face this debate with our own projects, if we are overloaded with projects. Hiring an in-house developer versus outsourcing— it’s an eternal debate.

In-house Pros:

Homegrown: Always having control over how application is designed/structured. You will have control of "Clients" demands staying in the same office. If something is off, the advantage is turnaround time in understanding the situation and fixing is very alternatingly low.

Control over coding standards and quality: Since you will be developing it in house, chances are you'll be maintaining it too. So this way you can decide what's best from a maintenance standpoint

Cheaper: This is relative in the sense that if you already have staff and they aren't overloaded, they may be able to work on it within their same salary bounds.

 In-house Cons:

 If website development/maintenance is not part of the core capability of the organization it could be a huge burden on the developing staff to get it right. They may lack the enthusiasm/fervor to get it done. It could drain their motivation and you could land up with a sub optimal product.

Outsourcing Pros:

Done by somebody else: Decreases coding/development burden on the developing staff. 

Make sure to outsource to a company that has a portfolio of developing at least 50 apps, for example TEDMOB has referrals and an impressive background of developing over 200 apps.

Taking into consideration that the outsourcer has huge experience: in app performance; in app hosting; flexibility and how dynamically you can grow.

Without forgetting the security factor of your whole project; the experience that a company like TEDMOB or any other can share in that direction.

Another factor to the Pros of outsourcing to a company is their experience and knowhow in monetization strategy. No matter how big your dream is or your dream team they will not be able to have the business sense to make money; there will always be a lacking in the know how to monetize the app; what is the best method to make money. Here comes the PROs at TEDMOB where we have a specialized team and strategy to launch and make your app create revenue.

Outsourcing to a company that understands how to get the job done and creating a Stickiness factor for your app (how to make users come back often to your app), etc. These Pros are something to consider and usually cannot be found if you hire In-house developers!

There is a profound amount of perks with having a project manager, user experience, product designer, multiple developers, assurance testing, and an account manager at your disposal. 

Outsourcing Cons:

A major con overlooked when outsourcing are "costs of communication". In fact it may even outweigh the cost of the outsourcing itself! Since the outsourced team isn't in the company, there are huge costs of communication and synchronization of understanding the requirements. It's not like "here's what we want, bring it back to us in 3 months". Online communication, video chats, differing time zones (if at all) low throughput/turnaround in case of requirement fixes/updates. All this gets expensive pretty quickly

Difficult to assert control over coding/maintenance standards - unless you are a high paying client who "knows the rules of outsourcing" this can be a bit hard to get as per your desires.

Little to no control over how the application is internally designed - this may be true if the outsourced teams are doing an end-to-end job. You could do the design and hand it off to them for coding but that doesn't work all that great either (since design changes/flaws need to be constantly approved with someone in your office.)

So when considering whether to outsource or not one should look at the economics - what are the costs involved. Especially the "hidden" costs of communication. TEDMOB suggests sitting down with the developing staff and asking them about this. That could save you a lot time/effort/money and is relatively easy to learn for maintenance. 

Most of the time, one person simply isn’t going to get your project done. The general rule of thumb is that if you plan to invest more than $20,000 in your project, you don’t need a developer; you need a dream team. 

If nothing works, tossing a coin is always an alternative ;)  

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