Outsourcing vs. Local Developers: Which Will Actually Cost You More?

When discussing upcoming website, software, and application projects with potential clients, outsourcing comes up frequently. Why shouldn’t it? At first glance, it seems as though outsourcing development overseas would save a ton of money, but we’ve seen the ugly side of outsourcing firsthand. The following outlines the many reasons why outsourcing is rarely a good idea and more times than not, ends up costing the company more than ever anticipated.  We’ll also outline the reasons to hire a development firm, like Ethode, that does every project in-house and NEVER outsources any work.

Labor Arbitrage (or Break-Even Point) Does Not Exist In Software Development.

The developer overseas that charges $30 per hour sounds pretty appealing when the development firm down the road comes in at $200 per hour.

But what are we comparing here? How experienced is the person overseas? How many years have they been honing their craft? How large is their portfolio?

They may know how to get your site up and running, but how long is it going to take to get it done and how well is the code going to be written? Perhaps the $200 an hour developer can get that done in 20 hours, while it takes the $30 an hour developer 100 hours or more.  

Often, a more experienced developer has developed applications similar in scope to your project. This experience means they will require much less time than an amateur, and will be able to more accurately estimate the time required to actually finish the job.

These questions remind us of the old adage: “if you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur”.

Good Communication Is Hard To Find.

Web development requires constant communication from both parties. Developers will have questions throughout the process, and clients will require regular updates. In these situations, which method of communication do you prefer? You could send an email to set up a time to discuss the concern with someone thousands of miles away. Or you could make a phone call to someone close by and get an answer immediately. Or best of all, you could simply walk down the hall to the developer in-house and ask them in person.

This quandary is referred to as the feedback loop - the feedback loop should be as short as possible. If you have to send a message across multiple time zones, by the time the message is received, it is often too late to react. Having developers in-house or in the same time zone allows you to quickly respond to change.

Quality Code Means Less Downtime.

How do you track the quality of a developer overseas? How do you know that what they are writing will work under pressure?

Writing quality code often feels like building a home. Will your home last longer if it is built on a sandy foundation or a rich clay-like soil? Is it best to use a concrete or brick foundation or can it all be built from sticks? You need a solid foundation or your beautiful home will crumble over time and wind up being more costly to fix and maintain in the long-term.

Likewise, a website built on poorly designed code leads to website outages and lost profits. Hiring a local professional to repair poorly written code will ultimately cost much more than if that same professional had written it the right way the first go around.

It is common for overseas firms to display a general portfolio showcasing their best work from their best developers, but who’s to say that you will get THAT developer to work on your project? Here’s the truth: you aren’t getting the developer they showcase because they aren’t the one selling their service at $30 an hour. Your company will be placed with the cheaper, less experienced developer.

Cultural Differences Can Slow Project Productivity.

In the United States, we often fail to remember that not all cultures operate the way we do. Many success stories in America have a direct correlation with our cultural work ethic and pride, as well as an innate need to “do a good job”.

One of our biggest failures is expecting everyone, everywhere to have that same sense of responsibility and work ethic. Many countries have more of a “yes” culture, meaning they will do everything the client asks for even if it is not in the best interest of the client.

At Ethode, we place a premium on honest and frank communication. This means we will let clients know if their project’s requirements are unrealistic or harmful to their own bottom line, and we will provide our clients with the options and solutions.

Aside from the reasons mentioned above, here are some other great reasons to avoid the costly frustration of outsourcing: Outsourcing Exec Urges You To Stop Outsourcing Your Software Development

So, Why Ethode?


    • We are located in the United States. If we are not local to your area, we are more than happy to travel to meet with you on-site as needed.


    • We have a team of EXPERTS in our office! And when I say experts, I mean each one our developers have studied and worked with specific languages extensively. Each developer has years of experience building real, working websites and applications. If it can be imagined, Ethode can build it!


    • Excellent communication is a priority to us! We know that complications are a reality in all major projects, but poor communication masks these issues and causes minor problems to become crises. When both parties clearly communicate, problems remain smaller, more manageable, and ultimately, cheaper.


    • We take great pride in the work we do! You can be sure that your site is going to look amazing and function the way it is meant to.

While we know and understand that we may not always be the lowest-priced option, we know that we can give so much more value to our clients that make our services priceless.

What are you waiting for? Request a quote or set up a meeting to discuss your next project HERE. Whether you are looking to hire a team of experts for a specific project in the short-term or need a developer placed in-house for long-term projects, Ethode is your team!

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