Dude, I Outsourced my iPhone App!

Matthew Campbell, February 10th, 2009

There are three, actually four ways, that an independent solo-preneur may use to get an iPhone app on the App Store:

- design and code it him/herself

- design it and hire a consultant to code it

- design it and partner up with a programmer to code it

- buy someone else’s app

Do It Yourself, Become a Pro or Hire a Pro?

Personally, I took the first approach – because I was broke and I enjoy writing code. However, in the long run – hiring out portions of a coding project or even an entire project is something that will have to be considered to move a project from the smallish time to the big time. Having a solid understanding of the iPhone technology will be a big help in this. For a small business owner who is hoping to hire programmers you will need either a high level understanding of the iPhone or the ability to hire a savvy technology person who has some system analysis or design skills.

Hey, Wanna Partner Up?

As an iPhone developer, you will get requests to partner up or to hire out your iPhone programming skills. As a entrepreneur you have the next great idea but no programming skills and need fantastic talent to make it happen. Doing this is a matter of personal choice – are you the lone wolf or the team player? If you decide to partner, make sure that your partner brings something more than an idea to the table. Either your partner can do half the coding or they can bring something to the table that you cannot do well like: marketing, graphic/audio design, existing mailing list, an existing brand, startup money or a strategic partnership with a big company.

Hungry Big Fish Looking for Tasty Small Fish

If you have deep pockets and are missing either programming talent or ideas you could try to buy someone else’s work. The advantage here is that you will have an idea of how an existing app will perform financially. A possible disadvantage is the flexibility of Apple when it comes to transferring rights of developers to other developers. This is one of the murky areas when dealing with Apple and there is a risk that the deal cannot go through or that the product would need to be re-branded.

What to do?

Of course, this has a lot to do with your business model and what your goals are with this whole enterprise. Have a neat idea and want to give yourself a raise this year to supplement your day job? Might as well learn a few things and put an app or two out. Want to start a business and have some seed money? Outsourcing could jump start your business. Want to be a hired gun – clearly you need too get your skills up and learn how to find clients.

Long Term Plan…

Regardless of your startup plans, you may want to consider learning the skills you need to take advantage of outsourcing. A small group of people can magnify your reach and the quality of your work. Knowing how the iPhone works will help you with this – even if you do not work on every detail yourself.

You Must Check Out this Website:

Making iCombat

- this blog is a candid recount of experiences with outsourcing that the author is having right now. The authors seems to have learned what he needed to about the iPhone SDK and is now working with developers overseas to actually implement the app. I will be following this blog closely.


- this is the site the person above used. Looking at it quickly, I saw quality developers offering $33/hour for their work. There is a range in cost and quality and you may need to overcome some language and cultural differences. But, it is an option.

So, tell me what you think of this?

Would you consider outsourcing, partnering up or coding your own apps?