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No, We Don’t Outsource Abroad. Here’s Why…

No, We Don’t Outsource Abroad. Here’s Why…

At Big Fish, we develop custom software (mobile apps) for our clients. Every week we receive calls and emails from overseas app development shops wanting us to outsource our projects to their teams.

In other words – hire developers in other countries because the cost of living and therefore, the cost of labor, is less than in the United States.

And it’s not just about the hourly rate. These companies are pitching on the sheer availability of mobile app developers.

Talented, experienced iOS and Android developers are hard to come by in the United States, and overseas companies know it. They offer a “resource” that is in short supply and high demand. And, they offer it for less than we ever could in the United States.

On one hand, I see why the appeal is there…on the other hand, I am absolutely not interested.

But, that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when I was curious.

I looked into this whole idea of hiring (some) developers from the seemingly unlimited pool of talent that other countries boast. I talked to people I know who work with overseas developers, as well as some of the firms they work with. I read countless online articles and reports.

There are many arguments for and against hiring overseas developers. I won’t spend time talking about quality, because with enough time, you can find shoddy work, as well as brilliant work, anywhere.

For some straightforward tasks, outsourcing offshore may make sense, just not for us. We discovered that delivering the value, innovation, and flawless functionality that our clients want and deserve requires many things that can’t be provided by outsourced developers.

Here’s why we don’t outsource our projects abroad, or for that matter at home:

1. Mobile App Development is Our Core Competency

We specialize in developing mobile applications for our clients. It’s not one in a long list of things we do, it’s what we do. If we were to phone up an agency in India and funnel the work to them…well, you may as well hire that company directly.

If your company is hiring us to develop for you it means you see the value in working with a North American team. And so do we. 🙂

2. We Value Connection

Whether I’m hiring someone to join the Big Fish team as a developer, or hiring a lawyer or CPA firm…I value a personal one-to-one connection with the people I work with.

If you’re our corporate lawyer or accountant, I don’t want to talk to a call center, a different person each time I call, or a junior account manager who doesn’t know what’s going on. I want to talk to the people who have their hands in the work.

The thought of outsourcing a position on our team as important and critical as a mobile app developer is down right scary. I’m tempted to use the phrase “farming out” here, because that’s what it would feel like.

The Big Fish team works for Big Fish, not for Big Fish through another third party company.

3. We Value Choosing Who is On Our Team

Big Fish developers have at least five years of professional software development experience. We interview, screen and get to know our team members before we hire them.

If we outsourced our work to another company our ability to screen and get to know each other would be quite limited. Who the heck would be developing for us anyway?

4. It’s the Little Things, like English

Sharing the same native language as our team is important to us. Communication is critical when you’re creating, and building, something together.

Code documentation is also important. If we hire someone who speaks great ‘Java’ or “Objective-C’, but little English…it becomes difficult to expect code that is well commented, in English.

5. We Value Real-Time Communication

Some would say that a 12 hour time zone difference has advantages. We wrap up here in Florida around 5:30pm…send our requirements to our overseas team…they work while we sleep.

But wait, what if they arrive at the office and have questions about our requirements?…and what if they can’t proceed without answers or further input from us. Another 12 hours will pass before we can respond to them…but by that time they may be clocked out for the day. Tack on another 12 hours and hope we’ve clarified things.

Unless they are working through the night in order to match an American time zone, or we work into the night in order to keep the communication lines open, delays will ensue.

6. We Value Our Systems & Processes

We’ve learned a lot during our years in business and are constantly reviewing and tweaking our process to provide the best experience possible for our clients. This includes delivering code that follows best practice standards, works right and is done on time.

As a team, it’s important that we’re all on the same page and in agreement regarding expectations, code standards and so on. If I hire another company’s developers, that dynamic changes. It becomes difficult, if not frustrating, to enforce our standards, systems and way of doing things.


At Big Fish, our developers are all based in the United States, where we have our headquarters, as well as Canada, where our company was initially founded. We speak your language, and we get technology AND business.

Are you looking for a team to bring your mobile application to life? Let’s talk!

Sara @ Big Fish

Sara @ Big Fish

Sara MacQueen is the Founder and President of Big Fish - we turn revolutionary ideas into reality through custom software design and development. Sara was named one of "25 Mobile Women to Watch" and has been interviewed by local and national media for her expertise in mobile technology and business. When she's not working, Sara enjoys hiking and cooking meals from scratch with ingredients found at farmers markets.

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