Low-Cost Software Development Services: Fact or Fiction?

Sophie Zoria
Mar 31 · 6 min read

Buy nice or buy twice is a fact that everyone learns sooner or later — often in the hard way. However, as the economy evolves, some of the long-standing truths get challenged. Low-cost software development is perhaps the best example, with outsourcing companies from around the world offering high-quality services at a fraction of the price. Of course, there are still many factors at play in the domain of price formation, so here’s all you need to know to choose an excellent low-cost outsourcing service.

Impacts on the Cost of Development

The first step in finding low-cost software and product development services is understanding the factors behind the price formation. Conventional wisdom holds that cost equals quality and, in many cases, this is a good rule of thumb for navigating the market. However, the truth is often more nuanced, so one should take into account all possible aspects to make the right decision.

Technical Considerations

To begin with, the software is not exactly a universal unit of measurement. Different products require different approaches and scope of work. To have a basic idea of how much your order might end up costing, you should consider several factors:

  • Platform(s)
  • UX Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Support

Depending on the target audience and the intended purpose of the app or service, some of these areas might require additional resource allocation. On top of that, setbacks in some areas might demand costly remediation efforts, which will inflate the budget beyond the initial estimates, so make a plan accordingly.

Team Experience

This one is perhaps the most obvious factor aside from the technical complexity of the project — for obvious reasons. The more experienced the developers, the higher the price of their services. In the field of IT, the most widely used scale has three tiers of experts.

  1. Junior: Basic level, sufficient for simple tasks, usually requires support from more experienced team members.
  2. Middle: Proficient enough to work independently and handle complex tasks.
  3. Senior: Considerable experience that allows solving non-trivial problems and providing guidance to junior developers.

Understandably, more experienced developers would have higher payment rates. To be clear, “junior” does not equal “poor quality.” So, if the project is not too sophisticated, finding the right team at the right price is a good way to deliver low-cost development services.

Location

As mentioned above, technical complexity and the level of expertise are more of a rule of thumb than a reliable metric. In fact, it is possible to find a low-cost web and mobile app development that offers services of exceptional quality. Sometimes, the company location is what makes a difference, as developers from different countries will have different salaries.

To an extent, this depends on the standards of living. However, location-based pricing also reflects the general level of specialists in the region. When a new country enters the market, it usually has a rather low threshold simply due to having no reputation. As the number of competitors grows, so do quality standards, followed by prices, which is why low-cost development services in Canada will be more expensive compared to, say, those from Asia. However, this difference reflects the maturity and trustworthiness of the pool from which the experts come from, so this is probably a fair price to pay.

Company Size

The cost of the project also depends on the size of the team. Aside from the number of people that should be paid, larger teams come with a host of additional expenses for management and various overhead costs. However, big companies are usually better prepared to handle extensive long-term projects and will likely have sufficient resources for addressing unaccounted risks and unforeseen challenges.

On the other hand, smaller teams come with their unique advantages. While not as robust, they are usually more flexible and have better-coordinated processes. Besides, small teams don’t suffer as much from miscommunication and can form productive long-term partnerships. In other words, they will be a viable option for projects that can be accomplished with reasonably few resources.

Low-Cost Services Options

Finally, the cost of software development depends heavily on how the work on the project is integrated into the workflow. To boil it down, there are three ways of hiring a dev team:

  • Freelancers
  • Outsourcing companies
  • In-house teams

Each of the options has its strengths and downsides that should be taken into account when staffing your project.

Freelance

This option is somewhat of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is the cheapest and the most readily available. Nowadays, there are dozens of platforms where you can find developers for any task:

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer.com
  • Toptal

While many of these platforms have thoughtful systems that give you a good idea of the quality you will get, it is still essential to note the issue of control. There is always a possibility that the task will not be delivered on time or will not match your expectations. In other words, this is not the best solution if reliability is of concern.

In-House Development

With this model, the developers work closely with the rest of the company, often in the same office. This gives an excellent degree of control and coordination allowing to adjust the direction of the project seamlessly. On the other hand, this is also the most time- and resource-consuming approach as it involves considerable expenses on equipment, salaries and taxes, not to mention the need to integrate their operations with the rest of business processes.

Outsourcing Companies

In a sense, outsourcing companies combine the low cost of freelancers with the managerial excellence of in-house teams. You can still choose from a variety of options, some of which have quite modest price tags while providing high-quality services. At the same time, they usually have well-established management processes and reliable communication channels to coordinate their work with the partners. Simply put, this is a sweet spot between flexibility and availability on the one end and service excellence on the other.

How to Choose a Low-Cost Outstaffing Company

As you’ve probably figured out by now, the cost depends on many factors; here the trick is to decide which are critical for your project’s success and which can be downplayed.

  1. Time: How soon do you need things done and how much are you prepared to pay for missing the deadline?
  2. Expertise: Can your concept be fleshed out relatively easily, or does it require an experienced team?
  3. Control: How much deviation are you willing to tolerate from the original vision without losing quality?
  4. Communication: How much does the success of the product depend on the input from other teams in the organization?
  5. Longevity: Will the software require long-term service or be a one-time project?

In terms of cost, each of the points above has its price tag. It goes without saying that buying nice is better than buying twice, yet you can still save on not paying for what you don’t need.

Outsourcing: Low Cost Meets High Quality

For a while, low cost has been associated with poor quality. However, with the advancements in technology and communication, new business models have emerged that subverted this idea. Outsourcing software development services is perhaps the best example, combining the operational and managerial excellence of in-house teams with the availability of freelance specialists. With a good understanding of the project’s requirements, finding the desired service at the right price is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Analytics Vidhya

Analytics Vidhya is a community of Analytics and Data…

Sign up for Analytics Vidhya News Bytes

By Analytics Vidhya

Latest news from Analytics Vidhya on our Hackathons and some of our best articles! Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Sophie Zoria

Written by

Sophie Zoria is a passioned author covered tech trends, mobile apps, and design.

Analytics Vidhya

Analytics Vidhya is a community of Analytics and Data Science professionals. We are building the next-gen data science ecosystem https://www.analyticsvidhya.com

Sophie Zoria

Written by

Sophie Zoria is a passioned author covered tech trends, mobile apps, and design.

Analytics Vidhya

Analytics Vidhya is a community of Analytics and Data Science professionals. We are building the next-gen data science ecosystem https://www.analyticsvidhya.com

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store