Looking for guidance on the right way to outsource web development? Attract Group has been in the outsourcing industry for over 10 years, delivering first-rate web and mobile apps. Our experience equips us to offer adequate advice on how to outsource web development services.
Boost the overall chances of project success by acquiring this informed advice.
Let’s get started:
Types of Outsourcing
Outsourcing may be distinguished based on the task or process, leading to categories such as manufacturing, process, operational, and IT outsourcing.
With the ability to collaborate remotely, location-based classifications have sprung up, resulting in on-shore, off-shore, and near-shore types.
The company obtains development services by contract from an outside supplier in the same country. An example is when Microsoft works with its US Gold Partners. This model promises huge advantages, such as same time zones, easier face-to-face meetings, cultural compatibility, and intuitive communication.But it can also suffer from drawbacks. Domestic outsourcing in developed countries may mean paying more. Some local markets suffer from huge skill gaps in IT.
“Nearshore” is a term that refers to outsourcing services to a nearby country. It has several advantages: shared time zones, reduced travel times, better cultural fit, and cost savings. But it can have some challenges. Cost savings are not applicable in all regions — for instance, US companies outsourcing to Canada.
Offshore outsourcing refers to hiring a company situated in a foreign country a considerable distance away — for instance, Amazon US hiring developers from Eastern Europe. Cost reduction largely drives the decision to outsource to offshore destinations. But there are other advantages to gain. It opens access to international talent and specialized expertise abundant in some regions. For instance, South Korea has a reputation for advanced robotics, while China is reputed for its data scientists.
Companies must decide on the type of outsourcing. The choice can boil down to these key points as summarized by the table:
|Legal and taxes||Same||Similar||Different|
|Development costs||Higher||Same or lower||Lowest|
|Geopolitical & trade risks||Low||Medium||Higher|
|Time zone Alignment||Same||Similar Small difference||Different|
|Cultural fit||Compatible||Medium||Same or low compatibility|
|Intellectual property and contract enforcement||Enforceable||Enforceable||Enforceable|
|Language congruity||Excellent match||Same or small difference||Medium|
Why Outsource Website Development
Outsourcing web development means delegating part or all the work that goes into building a website or web app. The tasks revolve around planning, design, coding, launch, and maintenance.
Here are unique reasons to outsource web development:
- Cost saving
One of the biggest reasons companies outsource is to reduce development costs. For instance, while the rates to hire a web development company in the US may be high, clients can experience significant cost-saving benefits in Eastern Europe markets.
- Less time to market
It can take a lot of time to individually assemble the expertise you need to develop a highly functional and attractive website that will impress your customer base. Outsourcing IT companies may provide all the technical and creative resources in one place. They can get started immediately, following an optimized timeline that fits your target time-to-market. The experience garnered from working on multiple web development projects allows them to avoid pitfalls that can delay the development process.
- Unlimited talent pool
Outsourcing can bring in specialized tech talent to address an in-house skill deficit. For instance, a company can hire an outsourcing partner to help with web server software management, creating dynamic web apps, and implementing blockchain technologies.
- Easier to scale
Outsourcing partners can quickly put together small teams to work on less involving projects or assemble larger teams to take on large, complicated development tasks—requiring rare skill sets. Agencies can also expand the size of the core development team or scale back the resources if some features are simplified. The ease of making changes helps with optimizing the budget spent. If a project is too big for one agency to handle or successfully deliver within the allocated time, it’s easier to bring more partners on board.
- Reduce risks and stress
Outsourcing mitigates the risks of hiring an in-house team or individual freelancer. For instance, bringing new employees on board comes with a lot of stress because the organization may not know if they have hired the right person until the real work gets underway.Freelancers may suddenly become unavailable if a better opportunity arises, get sick, or have family emergencies. Companies can further reduce risks because outsourcing companies may be easier to vet and have reputations to uphold.
- Allows you to focus on project goals
At times, doing everything in-house can seem sensible and cheaper. But it can distract from the core business objectives. Outsourcing frees up vital human resources. For instance, rather than hiring a web developer, the HR resources may be focused on hiring new front-line employees who directly contribute to the bottom line.
Challenges of Outsourcing Website Development
Outsourcing web development comes with a peculiar set of challenges. But it’s essential to have the proper perspective, viewing challenges as potential win-win opportunities.
Let’s consider challenges unique to website development and potential solutions:
- Less control over the development process
One of the main challenges associated with outsourcing is the loss of managerial control. Typically, the development company may retain full control of the developers they hire and their experience level, development processes, timelines, tech-stack selection, testing, etc.
Solution: Choose a company that has a well-established process of communication with the client and resolves issues related to the development process. Make sure that their goals and values are best aligned with your organization. Clearly communicate expectations and rigorously review submissions.
- Lack of transparency
The lack of transparency stems from the reluctance to share information for reasons such as fearing to admit mistakes or revealing the real status of the project.It can cause outsourcing relationships to degrade as it erodes trust. Lack of transparency can also result in communication barriers, false reporting, and misunderstanding.An outsourcing partner should communicate openly and honestly—without withholding any information.
Solution: Find an outsourcing partner willing to disclose the development actions they take and explain the reasons why.
It’s recommended to work with a developer that adopts the transparent scrum and agile development process. This approach emphasizes interactions between individuals and customer collaboration with a focus on producing working software and adaptability to change.
Additionally, ask if the company has internal systems that allow the client to see what is currently in progress and the status of tasks.
- Remote collaboration challenges
Collaborating remotely without in-person interactions and in different time zones introduces new challenges in outsourcing projects. It can create problems with tracking task completion, sharing information, and communicating expectations. Remote working challenges can also exist if the customer has their own developers, designers, product managers, or other outsourcing contractors that need to collaborate with new teams.
Solution: Good outsourcing partners adapt their processes to the client in various ways, ranging from software selection to changing the work schedule of some employees. So, ask your potential partner how they plan to overcome remote collaboration challenges.
- Communication issues
Communication problems may arise even where teams share a similar language. For instance, different pronunciations, vocabulary use, or syntax can impact comprehension. Cultural expectations and even poor tool selection can get in the way of proper communication.
Solution: Choose a company with team members with a good knowledge of your language. Set communication guidelines and protocols to bring everyone on the same page. Pair video conferencing with written communication and maintain an open-door policy.
- Risk of revealing confidential information
The problem can stem from partners intentionally or unintentionally revealing confidential information. Breaches can happen at different levels, for instance, employees sharing the source code without authorization or project managers revealing trade secrets.
Solution: Choose a company that already has good reviews and is not in its first year on the market. Stipulate all the conditions for data protection in the contract and ask individual team members to sign the NDA.
Outsourcing vs. In-House Website Development
Let’s compare the pros and cons of hiring in-house versus outsourcing web development services:
|Outsourcing pros||In-house pros|
|Cheaper depending on the outsourcing location||Better communication flow|
|Can scale easily with demand||Full control over the project and team|
|Accelerated time-to-market||Individually selected experts|
|Easier access to quality assurance, business analytics, and project management||Greater knowledge of the company culture and goals|
Now, here are the cons of both approaches contrasted:
|Outsourcing Cons||In-house development cons|
|Harder to collaborate because of language or time-zone differences||It may be cost-prohibitive|
|Reduced control over managerial decisions||Slower to hire and bring more people onboard|
|More prone to confidential and security challenges||A small team may be slower|
|Not all costs may be disclosed in the contract||May lack key competencies that may affect project outcomes|
Tips to Find Outsourcing Web Development Agency
Implementing the following tips to find an outsourcing web development agency will foremost prevent misunderstanding. It will ensure that you find a reliable web development company from a region recognized for offering quality services. You can screen companies better and ensure an alignment of goals.
- Find out about the development methodology
Development methodology refers to the organizational approach used by outsourcing partners to develop a website. Agile development is one of the better-known development methodologies. Its biggest benefits include predictable outsourcing web development costs, stakeholder engagement, and transparency.
SCRUM, an approach in agile development, is also popular in website development projects. It advocates five phases for effective project management that include initiation, planning, implementation, review, and releasing.
Another development methodology that you may come across is the waterfall method. Because each subsequent step must wrap up before the other begins, it’s criticized for making changes difficult and not fully engaging the client.
Which is the best? SCRUM agile development is a good choice, and many PMs are competent with it. But research the potential benefits and cons of each development methodology adopted by an agency.
- Review the agency’s reputation
There are various techniques to use to evaluate web development outsourcing companies.
- Perform a media analysis focusing on what has been written about the agency (awards, events, innovations, favorable press mentions, etc.)
- Contact their current or former clients
- Check what has been said about them on social networks
- Evaluate reviews from third-party platforms such as Clutch, Goodfirms, or Google Reviews.
- Check the team who will work on the project
The outsourcing agency should be transparent about the people working on the project. They can provide team profiles, listing the person’s accreditations, experiences, interests, and past contributions. It’s helpful to request an in-person visit or video call with the project’s core team. This fosters greater accountability and transparency.
- Review a contract and NDA
The first step in reviewing a contract is to ensure that the expectations and goals are clear. Next is to focus on the most critical clauses, checking if important aspects of the deal have been properly documented. Take note of the major milestones and deliverables. There should be no hidden costs, and the contract should also have provisions for remedies.
Protecting your business with a binding nondisclosure agreement is critical when you outsource website development. It keeps the other party from revealing confidential information about your company and enforces ownership of the source code.
- Avoid miscommunication and set clear goals
Miscommunication is an apparent risk when you outsource web development. While everyone may speak a common language such as English, certain terms or phrases may have different interpretations or intents. Prioritize the use of simple and straightforward language. Follow up any voice communications with written requests. Don’t trust your intuition, but ask clarifying questions. Set clear goals that are realistic and achievable within a certain time frame. Requirements should be specific and highly detailed but easily understood.
Where to Find a Web Development Agency
We’ve shared pointers on how to choose outsourcing companies, but where can you actually find company profiles and speak to representatives?
We have collected sites that are trustworthy and offer good leads, taking into account your requirements and capabilities:
Clutch is one of the leading destinations for business-to-business ratings and reviews. It gives potential clients actionable information and insights to make the best hiring choice.
Searchers can find companies based on the region and category. Each profile contains a summary, where the company shares its experience, industry mentions, and specialized abilities. The profile provides the company’s focus areas, client portfolio, reviews, and business entity verification information.
So, clutch gives you everything in one place and it’s easy to shortlist potential providers. At a fee, Clutch’s team can handpick companies to create shortlists based on the client’s needs and budget.
The Manifest is a how-to and business news website powered by Clutch. It shares and analyzes practical business advice.
It’s also useful for vendor research as it compiles ranking lists such as “Top 100 big data companies of 2022 or Top 100 development companies.”
The lists provide great recommendations based on merits, allowing businesses to pick the best in class.
Upwork is a freelance site where clients can hire individual freelancers and agencies. It focuses on all digital services, from content creation to website development.
The platform is easy to use with great project management tools. For instance, clients can set fixed-price milestones and release money in escrow after certain deliverables have been fulfilled.
As the most popular freelancing platform on the web, there’s no shortage of expertise, ranging from beginners to experts.
GoodFirms specializes in the research and reviews of software and IT companies.
Using the site is quite easy and intuitive. You can find companies based on the service or software categories. Company profiles also show the focus areas, past projects, and unbiased & verified reviews.
As it’s relatively new and not as popular as Clutch, the number of listings for web development companies is still small.
Design professionals post their creative work on Dribbble. And the web design section is particularly popular.
It’s where design teams showcase their work using images and case studies that explain a little bit more about what went into the design process.
Connecting with freelancers and companies is easy. Just click the “Hire Us” button to message vendors.
Dribbble is particularly simple and fun to use. Plus, it brings the top design talent into one place.
It doubles as a creative network used by creatives to showcase their work. Professionals across different disciplines can participate for free with no restrictions on the number of projects they can upload.
Searching for projects is intuitive. You can search based on categories or creative tools used. The Behance team curates the most outstanding projects.
Steps to Outsource Website Development
Now, let’s briefly talk about the web development outsourcing process, and the steps to take to ensure project success:
- Clarify your business goals and project requirements:
You should start with a proper description of the project. The description goes into the main problem the website addresses, its goals, and overall objectives. Clarify the functions for the planned website and how they tie into the core business tasks. If the website will generate its own revenue, start evaluating potential monetization strategies: selling ad placements, hosting sponsored content, offering paid memberships, etc.
- Find potential web outsourcing vendors:
To find potential vendors, start by collecting a list of partner companies based on the project requirements. Once you have a series of names to consider, contact the vendors and ask about their development methodologies, requirements, experience, conditions, or past projects.It’s also important to know the potential costs by requesting quotes from the vendors. Once all this information is available, you can proceed to the next step.
- Conduct the vendor verification process:
Vendor verification is simply a process of confirming that the potential company under consideration is competent, reliable, and trustworthy. It protects the company from fraudulent vendors, unpleasant surprises, and exposure to legal risks. Minimize headaches by having a scorecard that you can score each company against. The main areas to check include:
- Do they meet the requirements? (Size, company age, expertise, location, and team composition).
- Do they have experience working with your niche? (See their examples and portfolios)
- Are their prices reasonable? (Get a clear and custom quote on how much it may cost to outsource website development)
- Does the company have a sufficient number of reviews and customers?
- Have they been on the market for a significant time?
- Do you have a complete understanding of their processes and contract requirements?
- Do you feel comfortable communicating with them?
- Select a web development outsourcing company:
Based on how each company performs as per the critical metrics, choose the best company to take on the project. The selection workflow should include:
- A call to initiate the communication.
- Personal interview or in-person visit — where needed.
- Discussion of all project requirements, deliverables, goals, and styles.
- Discussion of payments: Specify the methods of releasing milestones, and escrows. Agree on the procedure for payment.
- Reviewing the contract offer to ensure all the points of discussion have been estimated and covered.
- Meeting or holding a video call with the core project team.
- Signing all necessary contracts and NDAs.
- Start and monitor the development process:
The project will start, and the team may hold a kick-off meeting with all stakeholders present. It can take a couple of business days before the team sends initial sketches, prototypes, or wireframes.
We recommend working with the Scrum methodology to receive a small increment of results every 1-4 weeks. Prioritize the quick review of progress updates and work done.
How Much Does It Cost to Outsource Web Development?
Several factors determine the outsourcing website development cost, including:
- Hourly rates: The rates in developed markets such as the US may be relatively high, and it can cost as much as $200 per hour. Emerging offshoring locations in Eastern Europe and Asia may have lower rates, up to $50 per hour.
- Complexity and volume of functionality: Building a complex website will take more time. On-page design, back-end features, navigation, or integrations can increase the complexity.
- Technologies used for development: Less popular technologies with a limited talent pool and resources can result in paying higher development costs. It’s better to use common technologies selected based on the project requirements.
- The number of specialists working on the project: Costs may increase based on the specialists working on the project, for instance, copywriters, designers, project managers, developers, marketers, or ads specialists.
You can use the Attract Group website cost calculator to see how much the project may cost.
You can also find out the cost to make an NFT marketplace.
We’ve touched on many important aspects of how to outsource website development, including agency selection, verification, and hiring process.
The article highlighted the benefits of outsourcing web development services: Cost-friendly, scalability, and agility. You have also discovered places to find reviews for outsourcing services (Clutch, Upwork, and Goodfirms) and sites that can help with web design selection (Dribbble and Behance).
If you’re looking for a partner who meets all the important criteria, consider Attract Group. We’re focused on becoming a long-term web development outsourcing partner and will grow with your business. That’s because we provide a wide range of other services: UI design, cloud development, and MVP development services.
Get in touch with our team today.