Offshoring, Outsourcing, Nearshoring, Onshoring: What’s the Difference

Offshoring, Outsourcing, Nearshoring, Onshoring: What’s the Difference

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When a company wants to expand its development team, it's typical to advertise jobs locally, hire recruiters, and interview the top candidates.

A serious lack of developers, paired with rising compensation expectations, has prompted an increasing number of businesses to consider their choices. As a result, models such as "offshoring," "nearshoring," and "outsourcing" are becoming increasingly popular.

The definition


Outsourcing refers to hiring third-party contractors to deliver software on a contract basis. Working with freelancers or suppliers who work with freelancers is often the most cost-effective approach to have work done. However, because there is little control over development, the results can be hit-or-miss, and this is not a long-term plan.


The relocation of your software development to non-metropolitan areas within your own country is known as onshoring.

Consider a city like London, where rent, bills, and salary are all significantly higher than the national average. You can keep the operational costs down by forming a development team in a nearby town instead.


As the name suggests, nearshoring means ‘near’ to home, but not quite. For example, developers in New York are extremely expensive, and there is no simple “onshoring” solution. Good Mexican developers, on the other hand, work in the same time zone as you and at a far lower cost.

Companies who desire constant, real-time cooperation with their in-house workforce can consider nearshoring. A company situated in Paris might consider nearshoring to Ukraine, which is only a few hours away.


Offshoring is when you set creating a separate development team anywhere in the world, with everyone on the team working full-time for your company.

While this creates a time difference, it reduces the dangers associated with hiring short-term contractors. It also allows businesses to hand-pick their developers without regard to geography.

Limitations and merits

Outsourcing: a cost-driven model

Outsourcing is a business approach characterized by reduced costs. It has traditionally been utilized by businesses seeking large cost savings, especially in the short term.

Outsourcing is thought to offer freedom and a lack of commitment. You just pay the team for the work they do for you because they are not permanent employees. If demand declines, no resources are allocated to idle labor. For firms with less predictable capacity, this can be a godsend.

The problems of outsourcing

To begin with, the programmers aren't your employees. They aren't linked to your company, and you won't always be dealing with the developer – only those who organize them. These developers are most likely working on multiple projects for clients all over the world and have no interest in your company or brand's vision.

Low-cost outsourcing frequently results in substandard service. Because these contractors aren't permanent employees, it's risky to entrust them with important or time-sensitive tasks: if they go, you'll be left with nowhere to turn.

Outsourcing will work with your business

The answer is that it depends. Outsourcing can be a lifesaver if you need work done right away and don't have the resources in-house to handle it. When you have a strong, continuing relationship with individual developers you can trust, this works best.

Outsourcing is not the way to go when it comes to ensuring the long-term viability of your development team. The biggest disadvantage is a lack of control: you don't have direct control over the developers, communication might be tough, and they may abandon a project halfway through.

Offshoring: a sustainable solution

An offshore development team is a hand-picked team of engineers who work full time for your company and are based in another country.

And this is the primary difference between outsourcing and offshore. The ideal situation would be for everyone to work in the same office, but this is often prohibitively expensive and impractical. The main difference between outsourcing and in-house hiring is that the office space is far away — which isn't a big deal in 2020 because of covid -19.

Offshoring will work with your business

Offshoring has a number of advantages over recruiting locally. You get top-notch engineers with the specialized talents you require on a permanent basis for around half the price of at-home engineering.

You can scale up rapidly and sustainably with the right outsourcing partner, which is a powerful combination. Offshoring is a proven and powerful approach for firms looking to grow or hire engineers with rare or unique specialities.

Onshoring and nearshoring

Nearshoring is, in truth, just offshore with more restrictions.

The ability to share a time zone is a great benefit. It means that, for the most part, logistical issues are avoided. You're also less likely to have a large cultural divide among your personnel. What firms gain in proximity, however, they frequently lose in talent scarcity.

On the other side, onshoring is only used in the most costly cities in the world. For example, a company in central London might locate its software development staff in a different, less expensive location. While wages and office space may be less expensive in this "secondary" area, organizations will still struggle to find and recruit skilled engineers at a reasonable cost.


  • Offshoring is a long-term solution for establishing a permanent software development team or scaling up an existing one.
  • Outsourcing is a low-cost method of completing short-term or seasonal projects.
  • Nearshoring is a type of offshoring that is a subset of offshoring.
  • Onshoring is a rarely used technique that is comparable to offshore but does not offer the same financial benefits or flexibility.

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