Best Practices

Offshore, Onshore, Nearshore Software Development: Main Differences

Updated on
December 14, 2023
Table of content

The Indeed survey recently found that 76% of all employers say that lack of talent has negatively impacted business overall. Seems like old hiring approaches are no longer sufficient for the current market sate. In fact, 78% of SMBs and 84% of enterprise employers say they’ve had to change how they hire to compete for talent.

This is where the concepts of offshoring, nearshoring, and onshoring come to a rescue.  But what about the terms offshore, onshore, and nearshore software development? What do you know about them? Except for the primary difference of where they are carried out.

In this article, I'll shed some light on the outsourcing differences that aren't on the surface, such as legal issues, tech proficiency, and give some tips on how to choose efficiently. I'll give you a clear comparison between nearshoring vs. offshoring vs. onshoring and explain why these are not just cost-saving techniques but the key parts of your corporate strategy.

There's a lot to cover, so let's start.

nearshoring vs offshoring vs onshoring guide

Current State of Offshoring, Nearshoring, and Onshoring

The latest Statista report showed that the global IT outsourcing market is expected to have 8.7% growth annually by 2026.

The Global Industry Analysts report says that the global market for IT offshoring is expected to reach $304.6 billion by 2026. The industry started to move upwards from $85.6 billion in 2019.

That's a lot! So outsourcing is on the rise for several reasons:

  • It's a cost-effective way to create technology;
  • It provides access to talents all over the world;
  • It helps to achieve innovations;
  • It lets the company focus on core business goals;
  • It improves product's quality;
  • It simplifies the hiring process.

It all adds up to one thing – outsourcing transforms companies fundamentally and increases their competitiveness. And companies like Alibaba, Basecamp, GitHub, Slack, and Skype are just a few businesses that can credit outsourcing as a considerable aid in their business development.

ultimate guide on outsourcing

Onshoring vs. Offshoring vs. Nearshoring: What’s the Difference?

Today, we can divide outsourcing into 3 main types, depending on the location the work is done: onshoring, nearshoring, and offshoring. Each has its unique aspects, benefits, and drawbacks.

So let's dot the i's and cross the t's on the difference between offshore, onshore, and nearshore development.

Nearshoring vs Offshoring vs Onshoring

What is Onshoring? Pros & Cons

Overview: The first one is onshore development. It's geographically the closest type of collaboration. Imagine that you’re building a startup in Silicon Valley and your partner is also from Silicon Valley, that would be onshoring. 

Pros: The good part of onshoring is the psychological comfort. It takes you no time to meet with a team and discuss how the project is going. Nice, isn't it. 

Second, is culture. No doubt, having a local partner means speaking the same language, living in a similar context and understanding each other at a glance. 

The last onshoring advantage is security. American companies follow American law, and you shouldn't worry about legal issues. But it is always good to get a legal consultation before you do anything.

Cons: Onshoring is pricey. If you're not Google or Peter Thiel, it's unlikely that you can afford onshoring. That's why onshoring is a common practice among tech giants, established companies, or startups with big-name founders. 

The next one is a lack of talent. Skilled developers, designers, product managers rather choose to work for a product company, not a service one. That's how it usually works. So, it'd be challenging to find an onshoring partner with good professionals.

When is onshoring your best choice? If you want to have a partner team within close vicinity, have onsite check-ins in a favorite cafe, pick onshoring. Also, onshoring is an option for people with a big budget.
nearshoring, offshoring, onshoring app development

What is Nearshoring? Pros & Cons

Overview: Ok, you still have your startup in Silicon Valley but you’re hiring a partner from Brazil, that would be nearshoring. Nearshore software development has many advantages at first glance and may seem to be a golden mean but let's dive into it. 

Pros: Nearshore development means that your service provider is located in a country with a similar time zone or one with minimal differences. Nearshore not only benefits communication but also adds up to major cost savings.. The possibility for onsite visits is still there, and compared to onshoring, nearshore software development doesn't have problems with talent shortage.

Cons: Despite the shorter distances in nearshore software development, there is also a concern on culture and language. There’s no 100% guarantee that the nearshoring team will speak English well enough or they will answer you at 7 PM. So make allowances for these two aspects before choosing nearshoring.

When  is nearshoring your best choice: No matter whether we’re building a new company or buying a cookie, we want to save up money. In such a case, nearshore outsourcing suits best. It'll definitely reduce costs, and you'll have your partner close.

Among the companies that use nearshoring are Boeing and Toyota. The aerospace giant outsources its wiring to French multinational company – Safran, the world's third-largest aerospace provider. The Japanese automotive manufacturer nearshored its second production unit to Thailand in 1996. It now has three plants running there. 

If you've decided on nearshore services, make sure that the team is fluent in English. It encourages efficient communication and ensures that money isn't wasted.

Nearshore development is affordable, the price is still high compared to offshoring. That’s why nearshoring is mostly an option for established companies.

What is Offshoring? Pros & Cons

Overview: No matter where you launch a company, an offshore team has the capability to render support. Basically, an offshore team refers to a team located in a different country but is still employed by your company. For example, your in-house team is in the U.S and your partner is from Ukraine.

Everyone knows offshore software development as the most cost-effective technique, but there's more to the virtue of offshoring.

Pros: If you face a choice between hiring a software developer at a cost of $170 an hour in the U.S. and one who costs only $50 in Ukraine, who would you choose? Yes, the first offshoring advantage is cost-efficiency. Offshore development prices can hardly be beaten, and that’s why many companies and startups choose it.

Another advantage is language proficiency and mentality. Professionals from Easter European countries have a good level of English. Above all, we’re hard-workers and have a deep sense of responsibility. That's why we're reliable partners.

On top of that is top-notch tech expertise. Coding is our forte and developers from Eastern Europe have a fundamental knowledge base. We deliver products fast and on time. This can be a reason why about 64% of outsourced offshore technology functions have to do with software application development. 

Cons: Along with benefits, offshore development may lead to at least one of two pitfalls. First, time zone differences. You shift the process to another country, you save up costs, but there may be a significant difference in time zone. In the case of Uptech, we work with clients from the U.S mostly, and our office is in Ukraine, it's 7-10 hours difference. It may seem to be a problem, but we solved it by defining a common communication framework. 

nearshore software development

The second one is also about differences. Geographical distances increase cultural differences. For instance, we in Ukraine are less emotional in work communication and more collectivists than individualists.

When is offshoring your best choice: To sum up, offshoring is the best option for early-stage startups or companies that launch new products and want to save up costs, deliver fast, and power up their tech expertise. 

Offshoring is a good choice for founders who cut their teeth on developing products or launching startups. From my experience, such founders delegate and communicate better, trust more, and know all product development pitfalls. 

nearshore software development

So let’s sum up everything a bit. If we compare nearshoring vs. offshoring vs. onshoring the key diffrences are based on the:

  • Location of the team;
  • Price of the servcies;
  • Accesibility to the talents.
nearshoring vs. offshoring vs. onshoring

Why Uptech Is a Good Offshoring Partner

Every time at the presale meeting with a client, I show these numbers: 

  • 150+ projects completed
  • clients from more than 12 countries worldwide
  • team of more than 60 experienced IT professionals

But people remember feelings, not numbers. That's why I can’t be more proud to say that we landed most of our clients through referrals. This is the sign that we're doing things right and proof of trust for our clients.

I believe that any good relationship takes time and work to cultivate. We at Uptech are focused on building one. That's why we invest a lot in communication, building trust, and transparent relationships. You can check our cases on our website.

Final Word

Today, outsourcing in-house services isn't a luxury or something out-of-reach, it's a reality. Whether it's an early-stage startup or a tech giant, businesses all over the world shift part of their process to third-party providers. Onshoring vs. nearshoring vs. offshoring – you're free to choose the one that suits you and your business better.

In this article, I tried to highlight both sides of the coin to help you make a decision. The key thing here is outsourcing isn't only about cutting costs, it's a corporate strategy. So choose your prospective partner meticulously according to your business and values.

If you consider outsourcing a team, drop us a line. We'll be happy to support your growth and speed up the development.