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How Much Does It Cost to Outsource Software Development

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Outsourcing software development is so common that it’s projected to be a $425 billion US market by 2026. [1] Companies of varying sizes are signing up to relinquish their software programming responsibilities, and there are so many reasons why they do it. From the cost-saving benefits – which are why 70% of businesses choose to outsource [2] – to the flexibility and access to leading industry experts it provides, outsourcing software development has evolved from a trend born out of the COVID-19 era into a viable business strategy.

However, one of the main questions that many companies have to tackle is ‘How much does it cost to outsource software development?’ Who controls these rates, and what factors influence them? These questions are layered, and this comprehensive guide aims to dissect them, starting with the different software development outsourcing models


Types of Software Development Outsourcing

Software development outsourcing can be done in various ways. Each has its unique characteristics, use cases, advantages, disadvantages, and price points. Here’s what they entail:

1. Onshore Outsourcing

Onshore outsourcing involves hiring a software development company or professionals within the same country. This model is often chosen for projects that require high levels of collaboration, an in-depth understanding of local markets, or compliance with specific regulatory standards.


The main advantage of onshore outsourcing is the elimination of language and significant cultural barriers, making communication and collaboration more straightforward. It ensures a better alignment with local market needs and regulatory compliance. There's also a higher level of control over the project, as face-to-face meetings are more feasible.


The primary challenge of onshore outsourcing is cost, as it generally involves higher expenses compared to offshore or nearshore outsourcing. Finding the right talent within the country can also prove difficult, especially for highly specialised skills.

2. Offshore Outsourcing

Offshore outsourcing involves hiring software development services from a provider in a different country, usually with a significant time zone difference. For example, companies in high-wage countries often outsource to regions where labour costs are lower, such as Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe.


The primary advantage of this model is its cost-effectiveness. Companies can often get the same level of service for a fraction of the price. Additionally, it offers access to a global talent pool, enabling businesses to find specialised skills that may be scarce or expensive in their home country. It also allows companies to scale their operations quickly and efficiently.


Challenges include cultural and language barriers, which can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications. Time zone differences can further impact collaboration and deadlines. Quality control can be another issue, as varying standards and practices may affect the final product. Intellectual property security is also a concern, as different countries have different laws and levels of enforcement.

3. Nearshore Outsourcing

Nearshore development outsourcing refers to delegating software development tasks to companies in neighbouring, close geographical regions, often within the same or similar time zones. For example, a company based in the United States might outsource its software development to a firm in Mexico or Canada. 


The main advantage of nearshore outsourcing is the ease of collaboration, thanks to fewer time zone differences. This leads to better communication and more efficient project management. Cultural similarities can also play a significant role in smoother interactions and understanding. 


While nearshore outsourcing mitigates some of the challenges of offshore outsourcing, it can still present issues such as slight cultural differences and potential quality concerns. Costs may also be higher compared to offshore outsourcing. 

4. Hybrid Outsourcing

Hybrid outsourcing combines elements of onshore, nearshore, and offshore models. For instance, a company might have a local project management team but outsource the development work to an offshore location. This model aims to balance cost, quality, and collaboration.


Hybrid outsourcing allows companies to leverage the cost benefits of offshore development while maintaining some level of local control and communication. It offers flexibility in scaling the team and adapting to different project needs.


Managing a hybrid team can be complex, requiring strong coordination and communication skills. Balancing the different aspects of the project across various locations can also be challenging.


Cost of Outsourcing Software Development: Influencing Factors

Besides the chosen type of software development, several factors influence the cost of outsourcing. Understanding these factors is crucial for businesses to estimate budgets accurately and make informed decisions when selecting an outsourcing partner. 

Project Complexity and Scope

Size and Intricacy

The scale and intricacy of a project are primary cost drivers. Complex applications with multiple features, high user interactivity, and sophisticated back-end operations generally require more development hours, leading to higher costs. Here’s an overview of the rates. 

  • Small-Scale Projects: These usually involve a basic app or web development with standard features. The costs can range from $16,000 to $32,000. [3]
  • Medium-complexity Projects: These are more complex, possibly including custom design, more sophisticated features, or light integration with external systems. The costs for medium-scale projects can be between $32,000 and $48,000. [3].
  • Large-Scale Projects: These projects are highly complex, involving advanced customisations, extensive database work, complex integrations, or high-end security features. The costs can easily exceed $72,000 [3] and can reach upwards of $100,000 or more for large enterprise systems, intricate mobile applications (like those requiring advanced AI or data analytics), or extensive web platforms.

Customisation Needs

Projects that demand highly customised solutions, as opposed to using off-the-shelf components, tend to be more expensive. Here’s what to expect: 

  • Standard Solutions: For projects that utilise off-the-shelf components or platforms (like WordPress for websites), the cost is generally lower. These projects might only need customisation in terms of design or minor functionalities.
  • Custom Development: Custom-built solutions, especially those requiring unique functionalities tailored for specific business processes, are significantly more expensive. For instance, developing a custom CRM system or a specialised booking system for a large business can substantially increase costs, sometimes by as much as 50% to 100%, compared to using a standard solution with modifications.

Geographic Location of the Outsourcing Partner

Regional Economic Variations

This is where the type of software development outsourcing comes in, as labour costs vary widely across the globe. Here are the present software development outsourcing rates for various regions. 

  • Eastern Europe: Eastern Europe, with countries like Ukraine, Poland, and Romania, has emerged as a hub for software development outsourcing. The region boasts a blend of technical expertise, moderate pricing, and cultural compatibility with Western markets. Developers in Eastern Europe typically charge between $30 to $50 per hour. [4] 
  • Asia: This region, particularly India and the Philippines, is known for offering the most cost-effective outsourcing solutions. Rates can vary widely, starting as low as $10 per hour in some areas and going up to $40 per hour for more experienced developers. [5] However, while cost savings are significant, time zone differences and cultural barriers might pose challenges.
  • Latin America: With countries like Brazil and Argentina, Latin America offers a favourable time zone for North American businesses. Hourly rates here range from $30 to $96. [6] The region is known for its growing tech talent and cultural affinity with the US, making it a viable option for nearshoring.
  • Western Europe and North America: Western Europe (UK, Germany) and North America (USA, Canada) represent the higher end of the spectrum in terms of cost. Rates in these regions typically range from $50 to over $100 per hour. [6] While this is significantly higher than in other areas, companies benefit from advanced expertise, innovative approaches, and minimal cultural and time zone differences.

Development Team’s Expertise and Experience

Professional Competence

The skill level and experience of the development team are crucial. Seasoned developers with a proven track record in similar projects can command higher rates. Still, their expertise often translates into more efficient and effective development, potentially reducing the total project cost.

  • Junior Developers: Typically have less experience and are suitable for simpler tasks. In the US, the hourly rates for junior developers can range from $35 to $42. [7]
  • Mid-Level Developers: Possess a moderate level of experience and are capable of handling more complex tasks with some supervision. A project requiring mid-level expertise could cost between $20,000 and $75,000.
  • Senior Developers: Highly experienced and able to tackle complex projects and problem-solving with little to no supervision. Hourly rates for senior developers can be between $61 to $78 or more. [8] For high-complexity projects, this could mean a total cost ranging from $75,000 to $200,000 or higher.

Specialised Skills

Projects requiring specific or niche technical skills (like AI, blockchain, or IoT) can be more expensive. These skills are often in high demand but limited supply, increasing the cost of hiring specialists. In addition to this, professionals skilled in the latest technologies (like Kotlin for Android development or Swift for iOS) may have higher rates due to the demand and recency of the technology.

Development Approach and Methodology

The development approach and methodology adopted by a team dictate how the project is planned, executed, and managed, directly impacting the efficiency, timeline, and, ultimately, the cost.

Methodology Choice

Choosing methodologies like Agile, Waterfall, or DevOps can influence costs. 




Iterative and flexible, emphasising collaboration and customer feedback. Higher initial costs with potential long-term savings.


Linear and sequential with distinct phases. Lower initial estimates, but late changes can significantly increase costs.


Focuses on collaboration and automation. Higher upfront costs, but improved efficiency can reduce long-term costs.


Agile framework with fixed-length iterations. May increase cost due to regular meetings, but allows for better budget control.


Focuses on minimising waste and maximising value. Cost-efficient through waste reduction but requires high expertise.

Project Duration and Time Constraints

Project duration and time constraints can also have a major impact, with different project timelines incurring varying costs.

Timeframe Factors

Urgent projects with tight deadlines may incur additional costs due to the need for more resources or overtime work. For instance, a mobile app typically costing $50,000 over six months could rise to $70,000+ if required in three months. Conversely, standard to longer-term projects might benefit from phased planning and resource optimisation, potentially reducing costs over time. 

Technology Stack and Integration Complexity

The selected programming languages, frameworks, and tools can have different licensing costs, developer availability, and associated learning curves, all influencing the overall expense. 

Technology Type

Cost Implications 

Standard Technologies (PHP, JavaScript, Python)

Wide availability of developers reduces costs.

Advanced Technologies (Kotlin, React Native)

Specialised skill set required, increasing costs.

Open-source Technologies

Using open-source technologies can significantly reduce costs due to the absence of licensing fees.

Proprietary Technologies

Using proprietary technologies or software can add significant costs to the project, depending on licensing terms.

Integration Complexity

Integrating the new software with existing systems, especially legacy systems, can add complexity and increase costs due to the need for specialised skills and potential compatibility issues.

Communication and Collaboration Tools

Tool and Software Licences

Premium tools or specialised software licences are additional factors to consider. Moreover, if there’s a need for additional training or an adaptation period for the tools used, this can also be a factor in the overall expense calculation.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Basic Communication Tools like Email, Skype, or Zoom typically add little to no extra cost to the project budget.
  • Advanced Project Management Tools such as Jira, Asana, or Microsoft Teams can moderately increase costs, potentially adding about $1,000 to $5,000 to $50,000 per project.
  • Custom Collaboration Solutions significantly raise costs, potentially increasing a project's budget by 10-20%.
  • Integration with Existing Systems for seamless workflow can vary widely, potentially increasing the cost of the project by 5-10%. 
  • Security and Compliance Tools are critical for data protection. This, for example, can set you back an additional $2,500 to $5,000 on a $50,000 per project.

Testing and Development Support

Testing Requirements

Rigorous testing protocols, including unit, integration, system, and user acceptance testing, require time and resources, impacting the budget. Furthermore, automated testing might save time in the long run, but it requires an upfront investment. On the other hand, manual testing, while initially less expensive, can be more costly due to the intensive labour involved, especially for large projects. 

Ongoing Support

Continuous maintenance and support services, like bug fixes, updates, and handling new user requirements, are often billed separately and can add to the total cost over time. In addition to this, the potential for future upgrades and expansion also needs to be considered, such as the scalability and adaptability of the software.


Choose Deazy for Cost-Efficient Software Development Outsourcing

Deazy is the premier choice for cost-efficient software development outsourcing, offering a comprehensive solution tailored to meet the needs of medium and large businesses, enterprises, VC-backed scale-ups, and agencies. 

Our platform is designed to streamline the outsourcing process, enabling clients to accelerate their digital roadmaps by providing access to highly vetted, flexible developers. Unlike competitors who rely on individual freelancers, Deazy focuses on assembling high-performance dev squads that integrate seamlessly with your team, whether augmenting in-house capabilities or operating independently.

Here’s what you get with Deazy:

Streamlined Selection Process

We expedite the vetting, matching, and onboarding of developers, ensuring you get the right team for your project quickly and efficiently.

Reduced Administrative Burden

Our services are crafted to minimise operational and financial risks, offering a simplified project management experience that cuts down on administrative overhead.

Proactive Problem Solving

With direct contracts, we guarantee a commitment to your project's success, proactively addressing any issues by adjusting team composition at no extra cost.

Essentially, Deazy’s approach saves costs and elevates project outcomes, making it the ideal partner for delivering your digital roadmap with precision and efficiency. So, what are you waiting for? Contact Deazy today!



In conclusion, answering the question ‘How much does it cost to outsource software development?’ requires a deep dive into the many factors that influence this cost. From the type of outsourcing to the dev team’s expertise, down to legal and compliance, it is apparent that for software development outsourcing costs, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. 

Each project is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits, considering the specific requirements, challenges, and goals. Businesses must approach outsourcing with a comprehensive understanding of these variables to make informed decisions that align with their strategic objectives and budget constraints. Ultimately, successful outsourcing relies on balancing cost with quality, efficiency, and long-term project sustainability.



What country is the cheapest to outsource software development?

The cost of outsourcing software development can vary widely, but countries like India, Ukraine, and the Philippines are often cited as among the most cost-effective options. These countries offer a combination of low labour costs and a high level of technical expertise, making them popular choices.

How much does a software development project cost?

The cost of a software development project can vary significantly based on factors like complexity, scope, technology stack, and geographical location of the development team. Small projects might start from as low as $5,000 to $10,000, while more complex applications can exceed $100,000 or even reach into the millions for large-scale enterprise systems.