Cheaper isn't always better for tech startup development

by Ren Butler on the 10th of March 2015

Just because you can find web developers abroad for a lower price, doesn’t mean it’s a bargain. There’s an increasing number of options available to tech startup founders when it comes to building your first MVP. If you have the time it’s possible to learn to code on your own or take classes. But many startup founders don’t have the time to dedicate to such things. While many successful co-founder teams embody the hacker and the hustler ideal, sometimes that sort of partnership simply isn’t in the cards. So what is a non-technical startup founder to do? It’s all too easy to be drawn in by the seemingly bargain prices of oversees developers. Here’s some things to consider before you start spending your valuable time and money.Image by: André Mouraux used under creative commons license

Cheap isn’t often good. You get what you pay for. So you have to ask yourself, ‘Do I really know what to ask for?’

 We hear from frustrated startup founders on a weekly basis struggling to decide on their next step. They’ve spend their very limited resources on an overseas developer only to end up with a pile of code that doesn’t look or act like what they envisioned. It’s all too easy to fall in love with your idea and fall down the research rabbit hole only to find a hundred reasons supporting your choice to give this thing a go. Next thing you know you’re on ODesk at 3am after drinking a bottle of wine and this idea has legs for running. From that seat, your idea is going to look brilliant, innovative and game-changing. Don’t forget the value of a little perspective. It helps to talk to people who’ve done and seen it all. If you’re still of the mindset that ideas can be ‘stolen’ before they’re even built, then you’re a decade behind the times. Ideas are cheap: solid execution is the key to the startup game.

The irony of that is that by going with cheap developers you’re not necessarily going lean. This often leaves you spending your limited resources getting to a stalemate instead of a pivot point.

If you can’t answer yes to these questions, you’re going to waste money and time outsourcing technical development overseas:

  1. Are you able to build a crystal-clear brief? Do you know without hesitation what programming language your scalable startup should be in and why? Do you know how to ask for what you need in tech language.
  2. Are you able to find the right person? Referrals are gold in this case. Finding an offshore dev team for a steal without any prior knowledge or experience is truly a needle in a haystack scenario.
  3. Are you able to know if things are on track and what to do if they aren’t on time or turning out as they should be? Will you know if things aren’t going to plan or will it only be once you have your site

If you can’t answer yes to these questions, save yourself the hassle and invest in quality local developers to build your tech. Having to get your code fixed within Australia after the initial build makes it even more expensive and time consuming. At BlueChilli we help early stage startups use their limited resources more efficiently developing their startup by providing highly-skilled, yet affordable in-house developers. We offer a valuable alternative to a technical co-founder in the services and support on offer.

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If you’re ready to get serious about your tech development and startup mentorship pitch to us here to see if we can help you along your startup journey. Alternatively, our BlueChilli Melbourne office has ChilliChats every Tuesday afternoon offering casual early stage advice and feedback.