Choosing Between In-House Creation and Purchased Mobile App


When starting the journey of developing a mobile app for your MLM, direct sales or affiliate marketing business, you’re faced with a pivotal decision: should you build the app in-house, or opt for a pre-built solution? This choice significantly affects the app’s functionality, how well it aligns with your business objectives, and the cost and timeline of its deployment. We’ll explore both options in-depth to assist you in determining which approach best meets your needs.

Identifying Core Requirements

To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to clearly define your business’s specific needs. This clarity will guide you in choosing between a custom-built app and a pre-built solution. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Problem Analysis: Evaluate whether the app’s features align with the core offerings of your business. Does it support your primary goals, or does it stray from your business model?
  • Review Available Solutions: Examine if there are existing apps that fulfill your needs. If such solutions are available, purchasing may be the most cost-effective and swift route.

Is communications important to your business? Read about the pro’s vs con’s of Push Notifications vs SMS here.

Custom Software Development: Pros and Cons


  • Tailored Functionality: Custom apps are specifically designed to meet your unique needs, ensuring every feature is aligned with your business objectives.
  • Full Ownership of Data: You own all the data and the insights derived from it, which provides a significant competitive advantage.
  • Enhanced Integration and Analytics Capabilities: Custom apps can be integrated more deeply with existing systems and offer more robust analytics to drive business decisions.


  • Longer Development Time: Building an app from scratch takes time, often requiring extensive testing and revisions.
  • Higher Initial Costs: Although potentially more economical in the long run, the upfront investment is substantial.
  • Increased Reliance on Technical Staff: You’ll need a skilled team to develop and maintain the app, increasing your dependency on technical personnel.

SaaS Solutions: Pros and Cons


  • Reduced IT Overhead: Outsourcing the IT infrastructure reduces your company’s burden of managing hardware and software.
  • Quick Deployment: Pre-built apps can be rolled out quickly, allowing you to capitalize on market opportunities faster.
  • Regular Updates: Maintenance and updates are handled by the provider, ensuring the app stays current with the latest technologies and security standards.


  • Limited Customization: While some customization options are available, they are often limited compared to a bespoke development.
  • Recurring Subscription Fees: These can accumulate over time, potentially making the app more expensive in the long run.
  • Potential Data Security Concerns: Storing data externally can pose risks if the provider’s security measures are not robust.

Making the Decision

Consider purchasing when:

  • The software is not core to your business operations: If the app does not drive the primary revenue streams, a less customized solution might suffice.
  • Budget constraints require a cost-effective solution quickly: When financial resources are limited, buying a pre-built app can be more feasible.
  • Rapid deployment is necessary: If the market demands immediate entry or you’re responding to competitive pressures, purchasing an app can give you a significant head start.

Consider building when:

  • Specific functionalities are needed that are not available on the market: If your business needs are highly specialized, a custom app may be the only viable option.
  • The aim is to commercialize the software as part of your business offerings: Creating a unique app could open new revenue streams.
  • Adequate time and resources are available for development: If you can afford the time and investment, building an app can offer long-term benefits.
  • Necessary technical expertise is within reach or can be hired: Having the right skills on hand or the ability to hire experts is crucial for successful development.

No matter the path you decide, creating a seamless experience for the end user is critical, read more here.


Purchasing a mobile app can offer speed and convenience, but developing a custom app provides unique advantages by addressing specific operational needs and potentially delivering a competitive edge. If your envisioned solution serves a unique niche, its development could be a strategic asset.

In your decision-making process, evaluate how each option aligns with your long-term business goals and operational capabilities. Whether you opt to buy or build, the best approach is the one that closely matches your strategic objectives and enhances customer engagement.

Read a case study about how large E-commerce retailer Pink Zebra built a custom app integrated into BigCommerce.