Off the shelf software vs custom software: what is best choice for your business

Have you ever been trying to decide whether to use off-the-shelf or custom software? It’s an important decision and the one which can have a considerable impact on the way your business performs. Today, we will give you the comparision to off the shelf software with custom software in order to know what is the best choice for your business.


But before you’re ready to pick between off-the-shelf and custom software, you first need to understand each one.

What is Off-the-Shelf software?

An off-the-shelf type of software is usually of generic type, or off the package kind of software. It is mass-produced and is introduced to reach a wide variety of businesses and individual consumers. It is often recommended for startup companies because since it is a ready-made product. 

About Custom Software

Custom software offers tailored-cut software, which means this type of software can specifically consider your business requirements, demands, and needs. It is often used by large established and developing companies.

Also read: Software development outsourcing: Why you should opt for your projects?



Off the shelf software: pros and cons


  • The most significant benefit of off-the-shelf software is that it typically costs much less money than custom software, which is time-consuming and resource-intensive to develop.
  • It is typically used by higher numbers of people. It means that there’s usually a community around it. This means that you can share tips and tricks with other users.
  • As a rule, it tends to have the best documentation because it only has to be created once, and then it can be supplied to all users.
  • Because many people are already using the software, you won’t have to worry about bugs and other issues as they should have already been ironed out.
  • You can read reviews of any given off-the-shelf software from existing users before your business commits to signing up for a plan.


  • In the long run, you may find that this may not fit well your business especially if you are at the growth stage. Other needs and demands from software may arise and this could be a problem.
  • It is not easy to modify or customize an off-the-shelf software to what you truly need. As it has limited capabilities for modification simply because it is not built for it.
  • Being available to a broader audience can result in being available to potential competitors of your business. They can affect your marketing strategy and development.
  • Compatibility issues are more likely to surface since applications may be hard to integrate with ready-made software.

Custom Software


  • The long-range of possibilities and options to modify and customize it is almost endless. You can get what you truly want and require this kind of software. As it can easily be adjusted depending on your company development.
  • It provides ownership which means you don’t need to pay extra for license fees.
  • It offers scalability in order to accommodate the current demands and requirements of your business while preempting your future needs as a company.


  • The most obvious downside of picking custom software is that it’s usually much more expensive. It can be a problem if you’re working on a budget.
  • Custom software also takes longer to get up and running because it needs to be created before you can start using it. Off-the-shelf software is usually ready for you to pick it up and start moving straight away.
  • Custom software doesn’t always have the best documentation. And indeed you may even have to pay extra if you want any documentation at all. Creating documentation takes time, and time is money.
  • Sometimes custom software builds can sacrifice visual appeal and ease of use in exchange for pure functionality. It typically has a lot more thought behind the user journey.
  • Custom software developers will occasionally require you to agree to an ongoing retainer with guaranteed work in the future. With that said, this can also be useful because it means you have pledged support.


Are you clear about all the information above? If you are seeking the best software outsourcing company, we will suggest ArrowHiTech JSC. ArrowHitech has become one of the superior IT outsourcing Vietnam companies. We are experienced professionals in the field of  ECommerce, Web/mobile apps, CMS website development as well as Salesforce and Software Consultant & Development.

ArrowHiTech services

So, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us now