How to Make an App like Uber? A comprehensive Guide

by GK April 03, 2019

A savvy entrepreneur with a futuristic vision never misses a chance to capitalize on innovative business ideas. A similar case was seen with Uber- a ride-sharing taxi business. They nailed the idea of online ride-sharing business with a vision of being considered as one of the largest taxi chains without owning a vehicle of their own.

Before Uber, door-to-door cab service was a luxury and was not afforded by anyone. Moreover, it was more complicated and ambiguous with the radio taxis. Uber offered an easier, faster, cheaper, and broader choices to book door-to-door taxi services.

A number of factors were responsible for taking this company to great heights. In fact, it also suffered great losses initially but continued to march on a futuristic vision. I have written a detailed article about “How does Uber work, and how it became so successful?”. You might want to read that article to get a broader idea of the Uber business model.

Now that you have a decent idea, and I have also given brief information of how Uber works in this article too, let’s get to the point-

How to make an app like Uber?

How much does it cost to make an app of this stature?

We will start from basic comprehension of the business model and business requirements to build an app like Uber.

What was new in Uber’s ride-sharing idea?

How Uber made a difference when traditional taxi businesses were already ruling the sphere? The answer is in Uber’s USPs and the introduction of a new, easier, faster, and comfortable medium to book taxis instead of waving your hand on the roadside.

  • Uber regulated the taxi fares on its platform.
  • It offered real-time GPS tracking for the riders.
  • It introduced discounts, offers, and free rides.
  • It gave an app-based booking with 24×7 availability.
  • It ornamented its primary services with add-on services.

As a result, today Uber has claimed around 70-72 % of the ride-sharing market in the US with another similar competitor Lyft with 30% of the same. If we look at the data 2 years ago, the figure was somewhere of 20% for the Lyft.

We can interpret that, online ride-sharing is a huge market and it has got enough of the opportunities for the new entrants to grow. So let’s forget the app for a little while, and ask yourself-

Is it possible to start an online ride-sharing business today?

Of course yes!

With a massive rate with which Uber is expanding, and a number of new entrants joining the market all over the globe, starting a ride-sharing business are not a tough nut to crack. No doubt, you need to have a perfect business to suit your local market. However, if you ask the cost and technical feasibility, it is possible to build even a much-advanced app than Uber’s with limited investment.

How to build an app like Uber?

Depending on your business idea, you might have a different set of requirements. However, if you have a similar business model like Uber’s in your mind, you need to nail the following requirements first:

Who are the Key Users?

To build an app like Uber, you need to focus on three key Users. In technical terms, when you build an app like Uber, you need to develop the features and resources for three type of actors on the app –

  • Riders
  • Taxi drivers
  • Admin

How many Apps do you need?

Uber is not a single app. It’s an interconnection of three different applications, out of which –two are Mobile apps and one is Admin’s web interface.

Note: I am not considering the web interface for riders here as we are more into mobile apps for customers these days.

Considering the three types of users, you need to develop the following solutions for each of them for a smooth operation:

  • Two mobile apps for users (Android and iOS)
  • Two mobile apps for taxi drivers (Android and iOS)
  • Web-based Admin Dashboard

Each of these solutions will offer the defined set of features and functionalities to manage their corresponding roles.

What are the Revenue channels?

A ride-sharing business is a perfect example of the popular on-demand service marketplace model. Like every on-demand service marketplace, your Uber-like service can make money by accepting both cash and Digital Payments.

You can accept the Digital payments using in following popular channels-

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Net Banking
  • Digital wallets: E.g. PayPal

Revenue from customers-

You can adopt the –Transactional model to generate revenue from the customers. Users will pay fare once billed after completing a ride. Both driver and custom mobile apps will show the bill amount after the ride.

Revenue from Drivers

The revenue generation from drivers works exactly the same as any marketplace. It follows a commission-based model. Drivers will pay a percentage cut to the platform on each ride.

In all this, the admin receives the payments from the customers and makes the payouts to the drivers after deducting the commissions. The payouts may be done weekly or monthly. Admin needs an on-site digital medium like PayPal to make the payouts.

Miscellaneous revenue

A ride-sharing business can make additional money with Cancellation and waiting for charges from the customers. All three touchpoints can be synchronized to calculate the same. For example, cancellation charges can be added to the next rides and Waiting charges to the same ride. Depending on your policies, you may want to share the two additional revenues with your drivers.

Depending on the revenue models, here are the fundamental features that each of the software solutions should have-

Features for customer mobile app

  • Ride search
  • Dedicated riders
  • Shared Rides
  • Premium rides
  • Choose from different rides
  • Mention a pickup point
  • Mention a drop point
  • See the estimated fair
  • Book a selected ride
  • Schedule a ride for later
  • GPS based taxi location tracking.
  • Show cab arrival time
  • Show journey time
  • Show cab details- Number plate, driver’s name, Contact number, etc.
  • Choose payment options: Cash or digital
  • Integrated payment gateways
  • Browse rides history
  • Rate a ride experience
  • Cancel a booked ride
  • Change the pickup/drop location
  • Contact customer support (email, live chat, phone call)

Features for Driver’s Mobile App

  • Accept requests for rides
  • Update driver profile
  • Update vehicle details
  • Browse earning reports
  • Browse trip histories
  • Integrated GPS navigation
  • Update preferred service locations
  • Switch availability online/offline
  • Customer support (email, live chat, phone call)

Features for Admin interface

  • GUI-based business analytics: Number of Users, Drivers, Active ride requests, and Details of Revenue generation.
  • Add Sub-admins with access control
  • Review, Approve or disapprove taxi driver application
  • Manually remove an approved taxi driver
  • Add different ride-types.
  • Set conditions for each ride-type: fare, surge charges, areas, etc.
  • Commission management system: Total revenue, Admin’s commission, driver’s share
  • Multiple Payment channels- Cash, card, digital wallets, etc.
  • Generate invoice of a ride
  • Generate invoice for driver payouts
  • User management system: drivers, customers, sub-admins.
  • Check driver ratings and reviews
  • Filter user’s lists based on rating, location, vehicle type, etc.

How much does it cost to build an app like Uber?

Building an app from scratch is a lengthy process and requires an array of resources, tools, hardware, and skills. If you are considering building it from scratch by yourself alone here are the things you need to cover up:

Skills for website development:

  • Common skills: HTML 5, JavaScript, Database, JQuery, Linux etc.
  • Expertise on any tech Stack: LAMP, MEAN, MERN, Python, etc.
  • API integration for SMS, email, Push notifications, MAPs, Live Chat, etc.
  • Different frameworks for the front end and Back-end development: Laravel, Bootstrap, etc.
  • Any image processing tool: Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, etc.
  • SEO skills: space for Meta tags, descriptions, SEO friendly URLs, etc.
  • Testing skills

Skills for mobile apps:

  • Java and HTML 5 for Android apps
  • Objective C for iOS apps
  • Corresponding database for each
  • API integrations for Maps, notifications, SMS, etc.
  • Designing frameworks: Material themes etc.
  • Testing skills

Generally, it’s not possible to acquire all of these skills in a short time. Even if you acquire the expertise in the Uber tech stack, it will take ages to complete everything to a professional standard.  It’s the job of a whole big team. Even for a team of experts in each field, it will take considerable time to develop from scratch.

So, when you drop the idea to do everything on your own, you may consider hiring a team of following professionals to do the job. You can also outsource this team from a development company. With the following team strength, it may take up to 3 months to come up with all the solutions up and running –

  • 3- UI and UX designer
  • 8-10 -coders
  • 3- Quality Assurance Engineers
  • 3- Backend Developers
  • 3 Project Managers
  • 2-3- software testers
  • 3- Android developers
  • 3- iOS developers
  • 3- Marketing experts

Considering the cost of resources, salary to the experts and cost of APIs, the total cost of such a development can rise to insane amounts. I am not even considering the cost of hosting and maintenance.

Let me show you the breakdown-

  • Let us consider that each professional in the team is charging as low as $50/hour.
  • So, the total number of professionals here are around 35.
  • If each of them are working for 6 hours daily, then total monthly compensations(for 20 days/month) = 50x8x20 = $8,000/expert/month
  • Total monthly compensation for 35 experts = 8000×35 =$280,000

Normally, such projects go at least for 3 months. So you total project cost would come somewhere around $280,000x 3= $840,000.

Note: This estimation does not include API costs for different services.

Wow! That’s huge. I wonder how much Uber would have paid to get all the apps and solutions on track.

Is there any cost-effective way to build an app like Uber?

Of course yes!

It’s in 2019. You don’t have to pay this much to build an app like Uber today. There are many alternative ways to build your app. Script cloning is one of the bests in my opinion. Using this method, you neither need being an expert coder nor spending fortunes on your project.

What is script cloning?

Software development companies are evolving. Most of them have changed their ways from the service sector to the product sector. Nowadays, many software development companies are investing their time, money, and resources to research and develop ready-made solutions as a product. Once developed, they sell them to interested clients.

As these solutions can be re-sold again and again, companies sell them for much cheaper prices. Script-cloning is one such business methodology used by the software vendors. These vendors apply all the approaches and investments shown in the above section and develop the software. They develop these solutions based on a popular business model, that’s why the name clone script is given.

For example, a readymade solution develop on Netflix’s business model is called as a Netflix Clone script, and the same goes for a readymade solution based on the Uber business model – the Uber clone script.

Are clone scripts any good?

Clone scripts are developed using the same methodologies used for developing software from scratch. They go through a similar level of research and QA. Not everyone can afford to develop software from scratch. In such a situation, clone scripts come extremely handy and let an entrepreneur develop a solution- Quickly and with affordable capital investments.

For example, An Uber clone script offers the quickest and cheapest way to launch your app-based taxi service. Of course, you need to conduct comprehensive research and test all the required features in the clone.

You might also have to change some features, add new features, or revamp the complete UI. However, it will not cost you even 10 % of what developing from scratch would cost. So yes! Clone scripts are actually good enough to let you start your business with the lowest investment in time, capital and resources. With an Uber clone script, you can –

  1. Save a huge amount of time.
  2. Save a huge amount of money.
  3. Save a huge amount of R&D.
  4. Launch your business quickly.
  5. Can customize the given codes.
  6. Can add new features on demand.
  7. Can host on your preferred server.

Tips while choosing an Uber clone script

While testing the popular Uber clone scripts in the market, keep the following points in your mind-

  1. You need -Two mobile apps for Customers and Drivers
  2. You need – A web-based admin Dashboard.
  3. You can go for an individual or hybrid mobile applications for Android and iOS.
  4. Don’t forget to tally the offered features with the features enumerated above in the article.

Hence, we can close that it’s not tough to start a ride-sharing business like Uber in 2019. You just have to trust on your business plan and find a clone script or any solution that fits your requirement. Just remember that clone scripts only reduce the time and cost of development. You still need to perform high-level research to build your business model and find a solution that fits it.

A tip before we end- You can start an array of online businesses with the same Uber business model. You can use the on-demand business model of Uber to launch businesses like medicine delivery, on-demand beauty parlors, mechanics on-demand, on-demand cooking gas delivery, on-demand food delivery service, and many more.

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