Onshore vs. Offshore: Which Is Better For Your Business?


Scaling up your business comes with tough choices, and the onshore and offshore dilemma sits right at the crossroad. So which should you choose?

You may wonder about the differences between conducting projects in your country versus venturing into another area. In fact, this question involves many issues, such as cost efficiency, talent pool, and market knowledge. 

This article will compare onshore and offshore side by side. Let's read on to make informed choices for your business growth!

What Is Onshoring?

You need a comprehensive understanding of onshore and offshore meaning before trying to figure out the differences between them. So what is onshore and offshore?  

Onshoring refers to outsourcing business processes to companies located within the same country. It involves hiring external companies that operate under the same laws. 

For example, a New York-based business may outsource its software development to an onshore development agency in San Francisco.

The goal of onshoring is to keep business operations within the country. Meanwhile, you can benefit from experts available domestically.

What Is Offshoring?

Offshoring refers to conducting business activities outside of one's own country. Companies choose this method to benefit from tax advantages and cost savings in other countries. 

For example, Vietnam is one of the best countries for outsourcing software development. Hence, an American company may offshore its software development by partnering with an offshore agency in Vietnam. This collaboration enables the company to leverage global resources and expertise to enhance its operations.

Onshore and offshore services are popular these days 

What Is The Difference Between Onshore and Offshore?  

Both offshore and onshore have their advantages and considerations. So check this comparison table first, then we will discuss the differences between these two types of outsourced services.  




Business Operation

Within the home country

Outside the home country


Limited reach

Increased access to global markets

Ease Of Communication 


More challenging 

Access To Resources




Less private 

Greater privacy 

Customer Support


More challenging

Payroll Management

Familiarity with local laws

Potential cost savings but compliance challenges





High cost

Low cost 


Business Operation 

Onshore companies can conduct a significant portion of their business within the country of their registration. They abide by the laws and tax requirements of that jurisdiction.

On the other hand, offshore companies, while registered in one jurisdiction, cannot carry out business operations within that jurisdiction. 


Globalization is an important factor to consider when choosing between onshore and offshore. Offshoring allows your business to expand its presence and interact with overseas markets. Then, you can reach an international audience. This approach also offers chances for local communities in the countries where offshoring occurs. 

For example, when American companies outsource software development to Vietnam, they can explore the Vietnamese market. 

Big corporations, like Apple and Unilever, also choose software outsourcing to increase profitability. Hence, they can compete with local businesses. This strategy helps them penetrate new markets effectively and quickly.

Ease Of Communication 

There are notable differences between offshore and onshore services in terms of communication. In this round, onshoring wins because working with an onshore team is easier. You both will operate in the same time zone and location. 

Meanwhile, offshoring to countries like Thailand and India, where English proficiency is above average, can still pose challenges due to accents.

Miscommunication may occur during workflows. Time zone differences also complicate communication, making it challenging to find meeting times. Moreover, while having a diverse workforce is advantageous, it can result in cultural barriers, hindering offshore development.

Even so, some offshore companies can eliminate these barriers. For example, Saigon Technology, based in Vietnam, has carried out a project for Idealpos, a Point of Sale company in Australia. The client wants to move the management of POS data from local to Cloud.

To help achieve Idealpos' goal, Saigon Technology assembled a team of offshore software developers for this project. They held daily meetings and reviewed every two weeks with the client. The extensive expertise and dedication to excellence helped this company deliver the project successfully. 

Access To Resources 

The next difference between offshore and onshore is the access to resources. The winner of this round goes to offshore companies. 

You can access a wide range of resources in the host jurisdiction by offshoring, such as skilled labor and raw materials. 

For example, in 2012, Vietnam saw the graduation of 55,000 individuals majoring in IT. Out of these graduates, up to 16,500 adapted to employers' requirements in this sector. Hence, Vietnam is an excellent designation for countries like Australia or the UK, which encounter labor shortages. 

Moreover, offshore companies can provide desired business environments and supportive infrastructure that is attractive to foreign companies. 


Privacy also makes the difference between offshore and onshore. Offshore companies often provide more privacy benefits because they can maintain the confidentiality of their beneficial owners' identities. They also have fewer financial reports and auditing obligations.

In contrast, onshore companies have less privacy protection, making them more susceptible to state control.  

Customer Support 

Companies often opt for onshore customer support services because this approach offers access to agencies that share a similar culture and language. This alignment helps facilitate smooth conversations.

Plus, onshore customer support services have call agents who understand the cultural preferences of their customers. Hence, they can give you a more tailored experience, leading to better customer engagement.

In contrast, offshore software development services provide numerous advantages. Offshore development companies located in countries like Vietnam often offer lower labor costs, allowing businesses to access skilled software development services at an affordable price.

Moreover, countries like Vietnam have a large pool of skilled IT professionals, and the government's investment in education and supportive policies create a friendly atmosphere for offshore software development projects. This, in turn, contributes to the availability of a steady talent supply for the software development industry.

Payroll Management

Businesses outsource payroll management to onshore companies due to their familiarity with local employment laws. For example, they may have experience handling overtime pay or minimum wages. 

Furthermore, being in the same countries helps onshore companies promptly respond to any legal adjustments. Onshore payroll providers also employ experts that can efficiently implement necessary changes within your company. 

However, when it comes to taxation, there is a huge difference between onshore and offshore. In fact, onshore entities don't often benefit from preferential taxation options because they run within the tax framework of their home jurisdiction. As a result, they get a higher tax rate.  


The cost difference between onshore and offshore operations can be significant. Often, onshore companies incur higher expenses for developing and maintaining their operations. 

Let's discuss the overhead costs first. You won't notice significant cost benefits if you outsource to the same country. Instead, you have to deal with higher infrastructural costs and few tax advantages. 

Businesses often overcome those problems by finding a provider in a low-cost area of the country. However, if price is your top concern, this solution won't help. 

Meanwhile, offshore companies enjoy advantages such as lower labor costs and reduced taxes, contributing to overall cost savings. 

Take Apple as an example, which delegates 85% of its manufacturing process to Asian countries like Vietnam and China. This method enables the company to venture into new markets and reduce overhead costs related to transportation and import-export activities. 

The rates are different from country to country. For instance, while the Vietnamese software outsourcing rate is $20-40/hour, that figure in China is from $30 to $60 per hour. Hence, you have to check the offshore software development company rates by country carefully.  

Onshore and offshore companies assist your business growth in different ways 

Pros And Cons Of Onshore And Offshore Services

Both offshore and onshore services have pros and cons. So let's see what to expect from them. 


Working in the same country provides several benefits in culture and communication. However, onshore services often come with higher costs and limited access to specialized resources. 


  • Cultural alignment: Onshore services benefit from being in the same region. The similar culture and language allow for easier communication and cultural understanding. 
  • Time zone: Working in the same time zone will simplify scheduling. Real-time collaborations won't be a problem. 
  • Regulatory compliance: Onshore companies are familiar with local laws and regulations. They also follow industry standards that your business adheres to. 


  • Higher costs: Expect higher operational and labor costs when choosing onshore services. They may impact your project expenses. 
  • Limited resources: Onshore companies may face limitations when searching for experts in the field. So if you prioritize global reach, these services won't suit your needs. 
  • Less privacy: Onshore companies typically do not maintain the same level of confidentiality as offshore companies, making details about their operations more accessible to the public.


Offshore services provide cost savings and many other benefits. However, they present challenges related to communication. 


  • Cost savings: Offshore companies typically offer lower labor costs. Thus, you can reduce overall project expenses, especially for labor-intensive tasks. 
  • Access to talent: Offshore services unlock the gates to a vast talent pool. It means you can access specialized expertise that might not be available locally. 
  • Privacy: Offshore companies receive certain non-disclosure advantages, such as keeping the identities of their beneficial owners private. Additionally, they have minimal reporting obligations.
  • Flexibility: Offshore service providers can adapt to various foreign business environments. This adaptability is crucial when businesses work in international markets with diverse cultural, legal, and economic landscapes. 


  • Business operation: Offshore companies cannot operate their business within the jurisdiction where they are registered.
  • Communication barriers: Differences in language, accents, and culture give you a hard time communicating with your partner.
  • Research time: Offshore companies require more time to research the market. The process becomes more complicated due to the cultural difference. 

Consider the pros and cons of each type of service 

Which Should You Choose Between Onshore And Offshore Services?  

Choosing between onshore and offshore companies depends on various factors. So when to choose onshore and when to go for the other?

Onshore services will be better when proximity to your business operations is crucial. If you need face-to-face interactions and quick response times, they can help you. 

Besides, onshore services provide a better understanding of local regulations and cultural norms. Hence, they can assist you in catering to local markets. 

On the other hand, if you want to benefit from lower operational and labor costs, choose offshore services. Offshore companies also give you access to a global talent pool. Their skills and expertise will provide impressive outcomes that grow your business. 

As you can see from our comparison table, offshore companies offer more benefits. Although language and cultural differences may lead to miscommunication, professional agencies these days won't let it happen.

If your business seeks cost-effective software development solutions, offshore providers are ready to drive innovation and achieve your goals. So consider offshore software development to explore how they can upgrade your software to the next level! 

Content Manager

Thanh (Bruce) Pham CEO of Saigon Technology

A Member of Forbes Technology Council

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