Freelancer vs. Offshoring - App development strategies revealed – all you need to know from the source with Marc Roset

Vitec GmbH

It's good to be aware of the issues when finding a development partner, such as technology, affordability of certain development frameworks, and the overall wire-frame of the digital product. But what really goes into choosing a partner?

In this interview, our CEO Marc Roset explains all the terms, challenges, hot topics when hiring a software development partner, pros and cons, and what (not) to do when you're ready to take a shot at creating a proper digital solution for your business.

 

What is the difference and what’s better – Freelancing vs. Offshoring

Before considering the choice between freelancing vs. offshoring, you must first address a basic question: Am I looking for an experienced and well-rehearsed team of experts who are knowledgeable in all required areas of software development for my project, or am I looking for a developer who will implement my idea from a developer's perspective.

Most companies, founders, individuals are actually looking for a development partner who brings the missing know-how in software development and not only implements the business idea, but also supports it in the short term as well as in the long term and increases its value.

The problem is that many try to save money in the wrong places. Many try to set up a provisional team for a project by finding individual freelancers and establish the necessary development processes without in-depth knowledge.

The danger of doing so can threaten not only the project, but also businesses. An incorrectly implemented project can lead to a bad image for the company or even legal consequences if certain regulations are not followed.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what is better. In the end, it depends on different factors:

  • Objective of the project
  • Existing know-how
  • Sustainability
  • Quality requirements
  • Risk management

 

Typical issues you face each day on freelance platforms?

More than few customers imagine the development process to be far too simple and believe that a successful and high-quality product is created by simply writing one line of code after another. However, writing code is only one part of the project's success. The interaction of many well-founded processes and competencies plays a role. Many clients who contact us through recognized freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork often struggle a lot with problems beforehand, like:

  • Lack of initial project consulting
  • Poor quality during implementation
  • Language barrier
  • Implementation not according to requirements and ideas
  • No adherence to schedule
  • Poor communication
  • No initiative on the part of the freelancer
  • No contribution of ideas

 

What are the most common problems on freelancer platforms?

Most of the clients on freelancing platforms who need software development support have very little experience in this area themselves. 

Many customers have ideas, document them in a text file, in a presentation or other formats and share them with freelancers.

Very often in the freelance industry, work is done only according to protocol - that is, the customer's concept is implemented according to requirements, without even looking at the customer's idea:

What are potential users of the product? What do these users expect? What do these users know from similar products?

Which important digital standard requirements have to be applied?

Which legal regulations must be observed?

Which cyber security best practices make sense?

Imagine prescribing medicine to themselves without having a medical degree. They may not know these issues and need an IT expert to guide them on this long and digital journey.

Another problem is found in pricing. The market is overflowing with international software development companies advertising prices of $4,000.00 for full native apps including UI/UX development and testing and that's for Android and iOS.

Considering everything that goes into an app development and what makes an app development successful, even medium sized projects (apps with medium complexity and a back-end) quickly come to over 1000 hours. So, should these quotes include all the processes that guarantee a successful product, then these would mean an hourly rate of $4, of which not only the employees, but also the company (building, electricity, tooling, administration, etc. ) must be paid. That sounds very low even for countries with low wage and cost of living levels.

Hourly rates among serious international companies usually start at $20 and end at over $100.

Bottom line, if you still decide to go the cheap way, you have to be aware that you are saving money in places that you as a non-IT expert won't notice immediately, but can have a serious impact on the success of the project. As I said above, a great many processes and competencies contribute to the success of a project.

 

What is actual part of a software development process?

A simple comparison that I always underline to my clients is: When building a machine, you first need an idea, the idea becomes a concept, the concept becomes a CAD design; digital simulations are used to test the design for different stresses, and then the machine has to be built and tested. To ensure that everything is done as planned, it requires a project manager to seamlessly close the gaps and provide the necessary transparency between the individual areas as well as the customer.

In software development, the same processes are simply a must.

  • Idea generation
  • Digital concept creation, taking into account product and market requirements
  • Evaluation through a prototype
  • UI/UX creation
  • Development of the product
    • By using project software development systems such as Jira, Asana, Redmine.
    • Through the use of development tools such as Github, Bitbucket
    • By using QA tools such as LambdaTest, Testsigma.
    • By using appropriate processes to continuously ensure project, quality and schedule requirements are met
  • Final E2E testing
  • Long-term maintenance of the product and enhancement

 

All these processes will require a lot of different experts - developers, designers, testers, project managers. Depending on the project complexity, other skills are needed.

Keeping all the gears running smoothly requires a well-coordinated team and well-founded processes.

So if you want quality to be the result of good project and process management and not just a random effect of code development, you need to plan for these processes and tools in your project budgeting. Especially when it comes to long-term support and development of a project.

Otherwise, you may have to scale back your expectations accordingly.

 

What is happening after the first App release?

Publishing the initial version 1.0 of your app is only the first step of the product cycle. How easy and quality assured the evolution of your digital product, is depends very much on how the project was developed and what best practices of scalability, security, quality assurance were taken during the initial development.

Besides the ongoing costs (like server costs, keeping your app up and running without crashes, OS updates, 3rd party lib customization, etc.), you need to respond to your users' feedback on a daily basis and likewise keep your users happy with new features or functionality. There is hardly a more dynamic market than the app market. 

So, after the first release, you will have a lot of responsibilities in managing your app and you will need long-term support in monitoring (crash frequency, performance, UX vulnerabilities, etc.) your app. What you need is an experienced team to help you keep your app performing at its best on a daily basis. 

Without this portfolio of skills, your app will be removed from the app stores as quickly as it was live on the market.

 

Can outsourcing a project to countries with lower wage levels, such as the Middle and Far East, reduce app development costs?

Yes, in theory this can reduce costs as hourly rates are lower compared to other countries, but you will be confronted with cultural differences, language barriers, different time zones, a different legal system and a very large distance between both companies, which can often lead to critical situations that you as an entrepreneur would not like to be confronted with.

What is also often found in the Far East are smaller outsourcing organizations/agencies that are made up of different freelancers without clear corporate structure and development processes within the company. Due to the high turnover, there is a lot of know-how loss, project postponements and few synergy effects that are otherwise seen in long-term collaboration in agile interdisciplinary teams. Most of these organizations are newly formed and have not yet established processes. As mentioned earlier, in most cases, lower costs lead to the savings in certain parts of the project development process, which leads to greater sacrifices in quality. 

You can buy a random and unbranded smartphone from China for $45 or a branded Apple smartphone from the U.S. for $1200, the difference in quality is not $1100, but certainly 50%.

We as Vitec GmbH have tried to bridge a similar gap between high quality development and very competitive pricing by operating as a European legal company, leading a local project management team and building long standing partnerships with Middle Eastern companies. Through the last decade and many years of intensive qualification of companies and processes, we have reduced all risks and cramps to an absolute minimum for our clients.

We offer local support for European and Middle Eastern countries. We work in several time zones and offer very attractive and fair prices, from which both sides benefit greatly. This ensures that all software development challenges and processes are met with the highest quality and without compromise and at a very attractive hourly rate.

 

What would you recommend to people who are not that technically educated? Non-digitally transformed J?

Savings usually mean fewer project management hours, less consulting, less experience required, etc. If you want to know how to implement your idea while complying with regulatory requirements, security and industry standards, you need a partner who can tell you how to do it right. 

A single freelancer or small business will not have this knowledge and may not be up to all the challenges involved in creating a software development solution. The consequences of not doing so can be harsh: The app may have a poor UX, have quality flaws, have security vulnerabilities that can lead to data theft, or fail to comply with regulatory requirements. Consequently, the digital product may fail, there may be penalties that need to be paid.

It is very important to get informed, get proper advice, and work with a partner to evaluate how to implement the project in the most effective and targeted way before starting a project.

I always say to our customers: It's your own idea. When I started building a digital product with my first idea, I didn't skip on consulting and development to make sure my idea was in the right hands and developed by experts.

A simple fact that is hard to learn is that if you cut corners in the wrong places, you end up with double or triple the cost and would have been significantly cheaper in the end!

If this money is not worth to you, then you are probably not convinced enough of your idea and should most likely skip it to find something more compelling for you.

 

What do you think about this topic? Why not schedule a meeting with us, leave a comment or ask us directly.
We look forward to your opinion.

We are dedicated to our clients' cause and believe that the whole concept of success in creating beautiful digital products is about honest communication, transparent project execution, product-centric approach and successful long-term relationships. 

Since we enjoy connecting with people who share the same interests as we do, we'd like to invite you to a free get-to-know-you meeting with us.

Here, we'll be happy to answer any questions you have about an app development process, as well as if you're in a consideration phase and have questions about your app idea as well as implementation. Whether you're starting a business or are a very well-established digital leader in your industry, we're happy to discuss these thoughts and connect with you. Feel free to comment on this article or contact us directly: info@vitec-visual.de / contact form

Author

Author
Aleksandar Milurovic

Aleksandar is a passionate digital marketeer with 6+ years experience in various industries. He finds the data & numbers are the way to market things, but also that words are the bridge between just a numbers and brand value, purpose and strategy brought to a user. Using the 5 'W' methodology in creating the content, he is adding 'a plus to a minus', creating simple, but informative blogs & case studies about latest trends in tech & digital indsutry.

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