So you’re looking to save money and gain access to world-class talent by outsourcing web projects.

Great choice!

But the next question is – who should you hire? What should you look out for? Which agency offers the best value, offering top-quality work at excellent rates?

Plenty of online marketing agencies outsource web development to third parties – but not all of them do so successfully. Our quick guide to finding a web agency partner for your agency will help you discover why, and make the best choice for your agency in the process. Read on to find out!

Pros of Outsourcing Web Projects

Our data suggest that 43% of marketing agencies outsource web services to third parties. The real number could be higher – agencies don’t broadcast whether they outsource branded products and services – but the statistics on-hand is compelling.

To explain why agencies are increasingly looking to third-party developers, let’s examine the benefits of outsourcing web projects:

  • It Costs Less. Compared to hiring a full-time developer (or an entire in-house development team), a web agency partnership is much more cost-effective. This is especially true for agencies that don’t always have steady work – there’s no need to pay salaries to employees who don’t have websites to build.
  • It’s Scalable. Let’s say you have the good fortune to be overwhelmed with work, and the phone is ringing off the hook. You can’t handle the new workload on your own, and you’re not sure it will last forever. Agency outsourcing can help you handle busy periods on a project-by-project basis.
  • It Saves Time. Unless you represent a major firm with an established HR department, you are probably hiring employees on your own. This takes time, costs money, and involves significant risk. On top of that, hiring mistakes cost time and money on top of that.
  • You Can Get Access to Specialist Experience. Not all outsourcing partners have specialized industry experience, but those that do are in high demand, leveraging their experience to act as both consultants and vendors simultaneously. At the same time, you don’t need to hire an employee with special experience for a single project.

It’s easy to tell that these are valuable assets for any web agency – but do all web development firms offer the same benefits?

The short answer is no.

The truth is that outsourcing web projects to third party agencies and freelancers come with risk – finding the right agency mitigates those risks and generates consistent returns.

Cons to Outsourced Web Development

Small agencies typically face greater risks when it comes to hiring web development agencies to take on their projects. Businesses on tight deadlines can’t afford to have an agency partner take weeks to produce a deliverable that ends up not being up to their standards of quality.

Not every agency has a rosy experience with outsourced web developers. Some of the most common risks include:

  • Inexperienced Freelancers. Sometimes, in an effort to save money, agencies choose to work with people who simply don’t have the experience necessary to deliver on their promises. Top talent charges top dollar in the United States, and many agencies find themselves priced out.
  • Offshore Web Development Company Issues. If your agency gets priced out of hiring top US talent, you will probably begin to look overseas. However, language barriers, cultural misunderstandings, and timezone differences can turn even the simplest of projects into a test of patience.
  • Data Security. Be wary of outsourcing jobs that handle sensitive data, such as payroll and recruitment services. Entrust your data only to organizations with secure connections and network infrastructure.
  • Hidden Costs and Delays. Although the point of outsourcing is cost-effectiveness, hidden fees can pop up over the process of a project. Delayed projects also count, since they cost your company in terms of time and lost reputation.
  • Lack of Customer Focus. Outsourced vendors can overwhelm themselves with projects just as easily as your customers can overwhelm you. A vendor caught in multiple ongoing projects may not be able to focus on your needs as well as it should.

This means you need to be able to check and verify your potential partners before you contact them. Before choosing an agency to outsource your work to, verify their:

  • Competence
  • Work experience
  • Reviews
  • Hourly Rates
  • Customer service quality
  • Revision/Modification policy
  • Location (are they US-based?)
  • Track record in partnership with web agencies similar to yours.

This will give you an idea of how much risk any particular developer represents.

How to Mitigate the Risk of Outsourcing

Most of the risks mentioned above are higher for offshore web developers than for onshore web developers. An offshore web design company may not take as big a hit to its reputation if it fails you, and your ability to recoup damages is severely limited due to international law.

In order to get the best results, you need to focus on onshore outsourcing web projects with a US-based company. But how can you assure world-class results from top talent if US vendors cost so much? The answer is in what we call ComboShore outsourcing – combined onshore/offshore web development.

Onshore vs. Offshore vs. ComboShore Outsourcing


Few things are easier than working with a highly trusted and experienced US-based web developer. However, this convenience comes at a high price – web development salaries in the United States are higher than in most parts of the world, and you’re paying the difference.

Another drawback of onshore outsourcing web projects is scalability. High salaries mean that vendors can’t afford to keep unoccupied workers on the payroll – you might need to combine multiple onshore vendors (at great cost) to complete high-volume projects.

For many agencies, however, consistent quality and the fact that you can walk into the office of a local web developer and discuss project ideas over a cup of coffee is worth the price increase.


Agencies that work with third-party developers in far-off countries like India, China, and Ukraine are outsourcing offshore. While you can’t beat the low prices offshore web development offers, quality is always a concern – even highly skilled developers can make glaring mistakes simply because they aren’t familiar with your culture or your customers’ way of life.

The further away your offshore partner is located, the harder communication becomes. Don’t expect your vendor to respond to data revision requests at 3:00 AM. Also, keep in mind that language barriers can lead to serious misunderstandings on complex projects like web development.

If your budget is very low, however, offshore outsourcing is the way to go.


ComboShore combines the best of the onshore and offshore worlds. This concept – spearheaded by UnlimitedWP uses a US-based headquarters to relay projects and customer feedback to a remote development team. By establishing an offshore team under the leadership and management expertise of a US company, agencies can outsource a wide variety of projects to an entire team of developers for less than the fully-loaded salary of one.

Additionally, US-based management eliminates the risk of cultural or linguistic misunderstandings – your vendor understands your company and your customers. You can schedule a face-to-face meeting with your project manager and layout the most minute details of your project, rest assured that it will be communicated effectively to the rest of the team.

Not only that, but having two offices in two time zones offers non-stop 24-hour productivity. Support and maintenance are always available.

UnlimitedWP pioneers the ComboShore concept by uniting a Boston-based web development headquarters with a full-time staff of world-class web developers based in Ahmedabad, India. We build websites and web applications that deliver extraordinary user experiences – get a quote today!