Startups Explained

Agency vs in-house development: why choose Appolica?

A crucial choice you need to make as a startup founder is to decide on an in-house development team or outsourcing.
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Undoubtedly, being a startup founder comes with making hard choices pretty much all the time. Another crucial choice you need to make is to decide whether having an in-house development team is your thing or you'll benefit more from outsourcing this task to an agency. Is your in-house squad of developers going to sip coffee in a real or virtual conference room while they scroll through some meme page? Or are the agency’s developers going to be these unknown out-of-reach professionals you have no idea about?

We understand both might sound a bit scary. At the beginning of any new project, you will certainly face the question: where do you find experienced professionals and how to organize a team for state-of-the-art software development? This leaves you standing in front of a decision to be made: Should you choose an agency and outsource, or should you build your own software development team? We know how tiresome this choice can be, so let’s outline the biggest advantages of both these options.

Difference between in-house development and outsourcing

In-house development

is where your software developers have all the real perks a company provides along with perhaps the freedom to work from home in their home office uniform a.k.a. pyjamas. Since the team is ”yours” there is a feeling of belonging to a community that helps the developers stay aligned with your goals and vision. You’re always in control and you can micromanage and direct the team the way you want to in order to shape your business and achieve your objectives.


is where your developers can work on your project alongside other projects in a software development agency. Choosing a partner for your outsourcing business is very hard and is a challenge which most companies have to face. Every vendor claims to lead the others in the race. The main problem for most companies is the fact their outsourced developers are possibly juggling many projects at a given time they’re not under direct management and reach. However, we guarantee you that if you chose your agency wisely you won’t face major difficulties. In fact, let’s have a further look at how an agency might be the best choice for you!

Price-wise expertise

Outsourcing price is more reasonable than in-house software development. That’s because you have a global workforce to tap into. This is crucial if you’re entering a niche that requires expertise in which you don’t have any experience.

Typically, outsourced development teams have more experience in different fields. If an unusual problem arises, there is no need to hire new specialists for your in-house IT team. With proper planning, you can reach the same goal with a reasonable budget. And even if it’s nothing unusual but just very niche - you might be able to find subject matter experts that have in-depth, detailed knowledge that your in-house team can’t match.

Saves you money

Agencies are generally more cost-efficient than hiring in-house. And that’s because a dedicated team often operates on a pay-as-you-go scheme. When you hire an in-house developer, you’re paying them a monthly salary even if they’re not doing anything. During lean months or between projects, they can be idle resources that only gobble up your funds without really doing much. With a dedicated team, you only pay for the time spent working on a project. Once the current project is done, you simply end your contract with them.

And while we’re on the cost subject… have you really thought about what an employee costs you? We don’t mean just the salary, we are asking about the true cost of taking on a permanent employee. There are a few additional costs to take into account if you’re looking to take on permanent staff - some are non-negotiable and others are difficult to predict.

  • Employers' NICs extra % of salary
  • Pension extra % of salary
  • Holiday pay
  • Sick pay
  • Maternity/paternity pay
  • Employers liability insurance
  • Equipment costs

Knowledge retention

Agencies are usually very good at documenting their processes so any new additions to the team are up to speed as quickly as possible and all their employees follow the same processes. This also minimises wasted time as these processes have usually been streamlined over time.

So agency teams tend to be incredibly efficient and work together well. And now that we’ve mentioned teams, a development team doesn’t just include developers. There are other roles you’ll need to be filled in, which an agency can provide!

Project manager

The PM ensures all various elements of a project are pulled together and tasks divided amongst developers, designers and other people involved. They keep track of milestones and whether or not they are met at various stages along the way and keep the project on track.

UX/UI designers

A UX designer ensures a product is easy to use and accessible to people. They ‘humanise’ technology by conducting research, determining the information architecture and user flows and creating wireframes and prototypes of the digital product.

The UI designer then takes the wireframe or prototype and creates the final visual representation of the product. This includes layouts, colour schemes, icons and typography. Great visuals make apps enjoyable to use and bridge the gap between functionality and aesthetics. The visual design also helps attract buyers to your product.

QA testers

It’s crucial your software product is tested on different devices and browsers. A professional software tester will follow testing scripts to thoroughly check the app works under different circumstances, and report back any issues to the project manager to have fixed by developers.

Meeting deadlines

Time - the most valuable resource - urges all of us to think quick & ahead of schedule. Beating the clock is second nature for an agency. And it goes without saying that an agency will turn a project around faster than an in-house team. Not only that, in terms of saving time you need to factor in the time to recruit staff and all the other HR and accountancy responsibilities which are stealing from your time left to meet the deadlines and launch your product.

Ideal for long-term projects

When you have long-term projects you need to remember that a dedicated team is assembled specifically to handle an entire project. Therefore, an agency might be just the thing if you have a long-term project (meaning around six months and longer for development time). Assuming you partner up with a good agency, you can count on the team to finish developing your app regardless of how long it takes. This is true even if the project has challenging requirements.

Guaranteed result

Let’s be honest - this is what you came for! When you commission an agency to develop your digital product, you are essentially paying for a very specific result. The agency will outline exactly what you will get and the timescale. Let us be clear - you are not paying for a vague concept! In fact, exactly the opposite - you will receive tangible deliverables, as listed on the agreement you make with the agency.

Are you looking for a reliable tech partner with a dedicated team to build your product? Let's talk business and discuss what you have in mind.

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