outsourcing business models

A Complete Guide to Evaluating Business Models for Outsourcing

According to Outsourcing Statistics (2023), the cloud enables 90% of companies to embrace outsourcing, reaching a wider pool of professionals. Understanding the diverse outsourcing business models becomes paramount as businesses seek to capitalize on this transformative strategy. Whether considering any type of outsourcing, selecting the most suitable approach is critical to achieving organizational success. This article delves into common outsourcing business models, providing valuable insights to help make informed decisions.

Location-based Outsourcing Business Models

Outsourcing business models can be categorized based on geographical location, impacting costs, cultural alignment, and communication.


In this model, a third-party service provider is hired to work on the client’s property, enabling in-person communication and close cooperation. Onsite outsourcing suits projects requiring close cooperation, high security, fast turnaround times, or integration with the customer’s existing team.

Services provided include:

  • Immediate access to the provider’s expertise and resources.
  • Enhanced control and visibility over the outsourced activities.
  • Better alignment with the client’s company culture and practices. 

However, Onsite outsourcing typically comes with higher costs due to the proximity of the outsourcing provider, limited scalability and flexibility in resource allocation, and potential challenges in managing cultural differences and work dynamics. It can be a good choice for projects requiring tight collaboration and a fast turnaround time. However, clients might have better options in regions with high labor costs and limited access to top-tier talent.


Hiring a service provider who is located in the same nation as the client is known as onshore outsourcing. It has benefits, including a common language and time zone that make communication and collaboration easier.

Choosing onshore outsourcing allows companies to take advantage of working with external teams within the same country, eliminating language barriers and minimizing time zone differences. The model facilitates smoother communication and collaboration, making it an attractive choice for businesses that prioritize productive interaction and high levels of project engagement.

However, one of the main challenges of onshore outsourcing is the competition for talent within the same local market, which can lead to higher labor costs. In addition, certain specialized skill sets may be more readily available in foreign destinations, potentially limiting access to specific expertise.


Working with an outside service provider in an adjacent or neighboring country is referred to as nearshore outsourcing. It lowers linguistic and cultural barriers, offers comparable time zones for real-time cooperation, and is more affordable than onshore alternatives.

Nearshore outsourcing offers access to a diverse pool of skilled professionals, the potential for better cross-cultural connections, and reduced travel costs for face-to-face meetings. It strikes the right balance between proximity and cost-effectiveness, making it an attractive choice for companies looking for skilled professionals within a convenient geographic reach. This model allows for smoother communication and fosters productive working relationships across borders.

Time zone differences may persist (typically 1-3 hours), requiring effective coordination, and region-specific expertise may be limited compared to outsourcing abroad. Therefore, companies should consider potential time zone differences and the availability of specialized expertise when choosing nearshore outsourcing.


By using a service provider in another nation, offshore outsourcing can frequently result in significant cost savings. Companies may engage qualified personnel at cheap prices thanks to offshore outsourcing, which gives them a cost-effective advantage. Time zone differences can also be advantageous because work can be delivered during the day and finished at night, accelerating the project schedule. 

However, successful offshore outsourcing requires effective communication protocols and cultural sensitivity to minimize potential cultural and language barriers. Companies should also prioritize data security and carefully evaluate the legitimacy of the outsourcing service provider.


A great combination of onshore, nearshore, and offshore, multi-shore outsourcing is a great model to help you complete different aspects of a project or business function. This model offers the flexibility to leverage diverse resources and expertise from other regions, balancing cost-effectiveness while reducing risk by reducing dependence on one location.

Managing multiple teams in different locations requires effective communication and coordination to prevent delays and ensure seamless collaboration. Outsourcing to multinationals comes with the increased complexity of managing multiple suppliers and locations and coordinating teams in different time zones.

Multisource is an attractive option for businesses looking for a balanced and productive approach to resource allocation and risk management with the ability to combine the strengths of onshore, nearshore, and offshore outsourcing.

Recap: Location-based Outsourcing Business Models

Cost EfficiencyGenerally higher due to onsite presence and proximity.Moderate cost efficiency with local rates.Moderate cost efficiency with regional rates.Higher cost efficiency due to lower labor costs.Variable cost efficiency based on resource mix and location.
Talent Pool
Limited by local availability and expertise.Larger pool with country-wide availability.Diverse pool with regional expertise.Global access to skilled professionals.Access to talent from multiple locations.
Cultural Alignments

Potential for easier cultural alignment due to shared location.
Cultural alignment is generally favorable.
May require addressing cultural differences.Potential challenges due to significant cultural differences.Requires effective management of cultural diversity.
Languages & Communication

Smooth communication due to shared language and cultural affinity.
Communication is typically efficient with a shared language and time zone.
Requires multilingual support, but can be facilitated with English proficiency.May require language support and cross-cultural communication.
RequirementsRequires effective multilingual communication and coordination.
Data Security 
Concerns can ensure better data security measures within the client’s premises.
Follows local data security regulations.
Requires careful consideration of data privacy laws in the neighboring country.
Need to address data security regulations in the offshore location.
Multiple locations may have varying data protection requirements.
When to ConsiderFor projects requiring close collaboration and security.
For projects with budget constraints and a need for regional expertise.
For projects that can benefit from cost savings and partial time zone overlap.
For large-scale projects seeking cost optimization and extended work hours.
For complex projects with diverse resource needs and risk diversification.

Relationship-based outsourcing business models

Relationship-based outsourcing models focus on the nature of the relationship between the client and the outsourcing service provider. These models determine how the project is managed, the engagement level, and the responsibility allocation.

Staff Augmentation

The hiring of additional team members or experts from the outsourced service provider to bolster the customer’s workforce is known as staff augmentation. Outsourced personnel work with the internal team, frequently under the client’s direct supervision.

Employee augmentation offers the advantage of rapidly augmenting an existing internal team with specialized talent, effectively addressing skill gaps and project needs. It allows businesses to maintain control of their projects while benefiting from outside expertise. However, this can also be a challenge, especially if they are involved mid-project, and it may be better suited for short-term skills needs or, more specifically, long-term projects. 

Managed team model

In a managed team model, the outsourcing vendor assembles and manages a team of skilled professionals based on customer requirements, taking on a key role in project management and day-to-day operations. 

Projects requiring continual development and adaptation as well as requirements that change over time are well suited for the managed team approach. The advantage of shared accountability is that it guarantees both the client and the outsourced service provider are dedicated to the project’s success. However, since this model does not involve direct collaboration with the client’s internal team, effective communication and project coordination are essential for seamless project progress.

Project-based model

With a contractually agreed-upon scope, product, and deadline, the project-based model entails outsourcing a full project or selected components to an outside service provider. The project-based model enables enterprises to concentrate on their core activities without the need for technical skills by assigning product development and management to an outsourced vendor. As the outsourcing provider handles project management, team composition, and tool selection, businesses have less control over the process.


CriteriaStaff AugmentationManaged Team ModelProject-Based Model
Scope of Work

Specific tasks or projects assigned by the clientProject delivery according tothe client’s requirementsWhole project or designated partsof a project
Project ManagementThe client retains control over project managementThe outsourcing provider manages the team and day-to-day operationsThe outsourcing provider handles project management
FlexibilityHigh flexibility to adjust team sizebased on changing requirements
Moderate flexibility with adjustments based on predefined milestones
Limited flexibility,scope and deliverables are fixed
Risk allocationThe client assumes project-related risks and the performance of staffThe outsourcing provider shares project-related risks and is accountableOutsourcing providers take responsibility for project delivery

Pricing Outsourcing Business Models

Pricing for outsourcing business models is intended to specify payment and project deliverable terms and conditions. These models allow businesses to manage costs effectively while ensuring the successful completion of projects.

Fixed Price (FP) model

In the fixed-price model, the outsourcing provider quotes a fixed price for delivering a specific set of well-defined project requirements. The client and the outsourcing provider agree on a predetermined price, scope of work, and delivery timeline before the project begins. This will be the first choice for clients willing to take risks and urgently needing complete projects, often defined by weeks and months. While the fixed price model provides simplicity and cost control, it may not be suitable for projects with evolving requirements or scope changes, as any modifications could result in additional costs and potential challenges in meeting project objectives. This pricing model best suits more straightforward projects with rigid requirements and well-defined deliverables.

Time and Materials (T&M) model

According to the hourly rates of software developers and the number of hours they put in, the Time and Materials (T&M) model charges for the actual time and materials used on the project. It offers flexibility, allowing adjustments to the process, scope, and requirements, making it suitable for large-scale development projects where conditions may change over time. However, clients should be cautious of potential budget overruns due to project alterations, and transparent billing from the outsourcing partner is essential to avoid surprise costs. The T&M model is preferred for projects with evolving or uncertain requirements, offering adaptability and cost control based on actual work.

How to Choose Between Outsourcing Business Models

Selecting a suitable outsourcing model is crucial for the success of your project and business goals. Each outsourcing model offers distinct advantages and considerations, making the decision process essential.

Project Scope and Complexity

Fixed price or project-based models might be suitable for large, complex projects with well-defined requirements. On the other hand, if your project requires ongoing adjustments or has evolving needs, a time-and-materials model might offer greater flexibility.

Budget and Cost Considerations

Analyze your budget constraints and cost expectations. Fixed price and onshore models might come with higher costs but offer greater control and predictability over expenses. If you aim for cost efficiency without compromising quality, offshore or nearshore models might be viable options.

Required Skillsets and Talent Pool

Evaluate the specific skills and expertise you need for your project. Onsite or staff augmentation models can be advantageous when you require immediate access to specialized skills or closely integrated teams. Offshore or multisource models offer access to a vast talent pool, enabling you to tap into global expertise.

Communication and Time Zone Compatibility

Consider the importance of real-time communication and collaboration. Onshore or nearshore models might be preferred if your project requires frequent meetings and a smooth touch.

Data Security and Compliance

Review the data sensitivity and security requirements of your project. Onsite or onshore models might be preferred when dealing with sensitive data and strict compliance regulations. Ensure that the chosen outsourcing business models align with your data security needs.

Additionally, consider engaging with potential outsourcing providers, discussing your project’s specifics, and seeking their expertise to ensure a successful outsourcing partnership.

How Can DevScount Help?

Making budget- and project-adequate judgments requires knowledge of the various outsourcing business models. Whether you opt for Location-Based Outsourcing Models or explore Relationship-Based, DevScount is here to assist you every step of the way. With our expertise in connecting businesses with top-tier outsourcing providers, we ensure seamless collaborations, cost-effectiveness, and successful project outcomes. Discover the right outsourcing solution for your needs with DevScount’s tailored services and unlock the full potential of your projects.