INTechHouse BLOG 27.04.2023 14 min.
Nearshoring vs Offshoring vs Onshoring. What is Better for Your Business?
INTechHouse BLOG 27.04.2023 14 min.

Nearshoring vs Offshoring vs Onshoring. What is Better for Your Business?

Iwona Gugałka Customer Success Expert

As businesses continue to expand and globalize, the need for cost-effective and efficient development models has become increasingly important. Three popular development models that companies often consider are nearshoring, offshoring, and onshoring. In this article, we will explore the differences between these models and help you decide which one is best for your business.

Let’s start our story with onshoring. This cooperation business model was the first one which appeared on the development market when the technologies arise.

What is Onshoring? 

Onshoring, also known as domestic sourcing, involves outsourcing development to a company within the same country. This is typically done to maintain greater control over the development process, reduce risks associated with communication and cultural differences, and support local businesses and communities.

Short Onshoring History

Onshoring, also known as domestic sourcing, has a long history in the United States. It was the primary method of production for most goods in the country until the mid-20th century.

However, the advent of globalization and the rise of offshoring and nearshoring caused a decline in onshoring in the latter half of the 20th century. Companies began to move their manufacturing and production to countries with labour cost reduction and fewer regulations, to increase profits and have a competitive advantage.

This trend continued throughout the 1990s and early 2000s until the Great Recession of 2008 prompted a reevaluation of outsourcing strategies. Many companies began to recognize the benefits of onshoring, such as shorter supply chains, better communication and collaboration, and more control over the quality and consistency of their products in their own country.

In recent years, onshoring has become increasingly popular as companies have faced challenges in offshoring and nearshoring, such as rising labour costs, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical instability. The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the importance of local production and supply chain, further accelerating the trend towards onshoring.

Today, onshoring is seen as a viable alternative to offshoring and nearshoring, particularly for industries like manufacturing, construction, and agriculture. It allows companies to support local economies, provide jobs for domestic workers, and maintain greater control over the production process.

What is Nearshoring?

Nearshoring is a business model where a company outsources work to a neighbouring or nearby country (but the same region), often to take advantage of lower labour costs while still maintaining cultural and linguistic similarities. The goal is to achieve cost savings while minimizing the challenges associated with offshoring, such as cultural and time-zone differences.

Short Nearshoring History

The history of nearshoring can be traced back to the early 1990s, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This agreement created a free trade zone between the three countries, which made it easier for companies to outsource work to Mexico.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as the European Union expanded and the Soviet Union collapsed, nearshoring became more popular in Europe. Companies in Western Europe began outsourcing work to countries in Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Romania, and Ukraine, which offered lower costs and a highly skilled workforce without language barriers and a perfect geographical location.

Today, nearshoring is a popular alternative to offshoring, as it allows companies to benefit from lower labour costs while maintaining closer cultural and linguistic ties to their home country. It is particularly popular in industries such as software development, customer service, and manufacturing, where communication and collaboration are key to success. Some popular nearshoring destinations include Mexico, Canada, Eastern Europe, and South America.

What is Offshoring?

Offshoring is a business model where a company outsources work to a foreign country, often to take advantage of lower labour costs, access to specialized skills, and other factors such as favourable tax policies or regulatory environments. The goal is to achieve cost savings while increasing efficiency and productivity.

Short Offshoring History

The history of offshoring can be traced back to the late 1960s when U.S. manufacturing companies began outsourcing work to Japan, which was emerging as a significant industrial power at the time. This trend continued into the 1970s and 1980s, as U.S. companies began outsourcing work to other countries in Asia, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and China.

In the 1990s and 2000s, offshoring became even more popular, as the internet and advances in communication technology made it easier for companies to outsource work to countries around the world. India became a major destination for offshoring, particularly for call centres and software development, due to its large pool of highly educated and skilled workers who were proficient in English.

Today, offshoring remains a popular option for companies in many industries, such as manufacturing, software development, and customer service. It allows companies to access lower labour costs and specialized skills, while also providing opportunities for economic growth in developing countries. Some popular offshoring destinations include India, China, the Philippines, and WesternEurope. However, it also presents challenges such as cultural and time-zone differences, communication barriers, and geopolitical risks.

Onshore vs. Nearshore vs. Offshore: Key Differences 

Onshore, nearshore, and offshore are three different business models for outsourcing work to external partners. They differ based on the geography of the partner, ease and speed of collaboration, cost, and infrastructure. Here are the key differences:


Onshore outsourcing involves partnering business processes with a company in the same country or nearby town as the client company.

Nearshore outsourcing involves partnering with companies based in a neighbouring or nearby country, often with similar time zones, languages, and cultural values.

Offshore outsourcing involves partnering with a company in a different region or continent, often with significant differences in time zones, languages, and cultural values.

Ease and Speed of Collaboration

Onshore outsourcing provides the easiest and fastest collaboration due to proximity and similar culture, language, and infrastructure.

Nearshore outsourcing also offers relatively easy and fast real-time collaboration but may have slight language, cultural or time-zone differences.

Offshore outsourcing may present challenges in terms of communication, collaboration, and time differences.


Onshore outsourcing generally has the highest cost due to the higher total cost and operational costs in developed countries.

Nearshore outsourcing has a moderate cost due to lower labour and operational costs in neighbouring countries.

Offshore outsourcing has the lowest cost due to significantly lower labour and operational costs in developing countries.


Onshore outsourcing often involves partnering with companies that have access to the same or similar infrastructure, such as reliable internet, power supply, transportation, and logistics.

Nearshore outsourcing may also have access to similar infrastructure, but offshore outsourcing may have limitations in terms of infrastructure and technology.

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Which Outsourcing Option to Choose

Knowing about the different outsourcing options is only the first step; choosing the right outsourcing model for your project depends on your specific needs and requirements.

This decision may involve factors such as your budget, project scope, management and location. When considering offshoring, nearshoring, or onshoring, each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, offshoring and nearshoring may be a good fit if you need cost-effective services or top-tier professional skills in developing countries.

Alternatively, onshoring is recommended if you value in-person collaboration and quick travel. It is also possible to combine outsourcing models, known as multisource or hybrid outsourcing, to optimize costs and find the best talent for your app development needs.

When Multisourcing is the Key

Multisourcing can be the key when outsourcing because it allows you to take advantage of the best aspects of each outsourcing model. For instance, you can hire an onshore team for high-level strategic work that requires in-person collaboration, a nearshore team for design work, and an offshore team for development work. By using multiple outsourcing models, you can optimize your costs, find the best talent where it matters, and ensure a successful outcome for your project. Multisourcing can also offer more flexibility and scalability as you can adjust your outsourcing strategy based on changing project needs.

For example, let’s say your company isbased in central London. You can hire a subject matter expert to optimize operational activities from the UK (Wales) simply because they’re the best onshoring. For hardware design, you can hire an agency in Poland (nearshoring), and then outsource the development work to India (offshoring). Multisourcing enables you to find the best outsourcing approach for each aspect of your production. You can get the best talent where it matters while still optimizing your costs.

If you already have a development partner somewhere overseas, you still can find a perfect nearshore partner. Have you ever heard about great Polish expertise?

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Why Should You Outsource Your Development to Poland? 

Outsourcing your software or hardware development to Poland can offer several advantages. Poland has a highly skilled workforce, with a reputation for producing top-quality software developers. The country has a well-established IT industry and is recognized as a hub for software development in Eastern Europe. Polish developers are known for their technical expertise, problem-solving skills, and ability to deliver high-quality work.

Poland’s location in the heart of Europe is also a plus, as it provides easier access to European and US markets. The country is a member of the European Union, which means it follows the EU laws and regulations that facilitate outsourcing. Additionally, Poland ranks highly in terms of English proficiency, making communication easier. The English proficiency level became even stronger. In 2019 Polish specialists were in 16th place, now they have 13th.

Source: EF

The cost of outsourcing to Poland is relatively low ($30-70 per hour) compared to Western European countries, while still delivering high-quality work.

Source: Clutch, INTechHouse, Djinni, Upwork

There are 89,931 people employed in the Software Development in Poland industry as of 2023. The period from 2021 to 2023 is witnessing a surge in the growth of Polish outsourcing specialists, largely due to the rapid expansion of the tech industry and the increasing demand for high-quality software development services. With a highly skilled and educated workforce, Poland has become a hotspot for businesses looking to outsource their IT projects, and the trend is expected to continue. The country’s favourable time zone, cultural compatibility, and cost-effectiveness are some of the key factors that are driving the growth of its outsourcing market.

Source: IBISWorld

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What about INTechhouse?

INTechHouse is a reliable and experienced software development company based in Poland that provides high-quality outsourcing services to businesses around the world. With a highly skilled and dedicated team of developers, designers, and project managers, INTechHouse delivers customized solutions that meet the specific needs of each client. Their focus on agile methodologies, continuous learning, and innovation ensures that they stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology trends and best practices. With a proven track record of successful projects and satisfied clients, choosing INTechHouse as an outsourcing partner can help businesses accelerate their growth and achieve their goals.

Source: Clutch


There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing between nearshoring, offshoring, and onshoring for your business. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, and the best option will depend on a variety of factors such as project requirements, budget, cultural compatibility, and time zone differences.

Nearshoring is a popular business process for businesses looking to access high-quality talent at a lower cost while maintaining cultural and geographical proximity.

Offshoring can be a cost-effective option for businesses looking to tap into a wider talent pool but may come with challenges related to communication and cultural differences.

Onshoring, while more expensive, can provide businesses with greater control over their projects and closer collaboration with their development teams.

Ultimately, the key to success is to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option and choose the approach that aligns best with your business goals and needs.

Looking to streamline your business operations and reduce costs?

Check out our latest article on nearshoring vs offshoring vs onshoring. Discover the history and trends of each approach and find out which one is the right fit for your business needs. If you want to ask some questions about your business needs, just click!

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