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How to Make an App like Uber: Process, Features and Cost Checklists

by GK April 03, 2019

A visionary entrepreneur would hardly resist a chance to capitalize on innovative business ideas. Uber’s is one such visionary idea that nailed the ride-sharing market and became the largest taxi chain in the world; without even maintaining a fleet of its own.

There was a time when door-to-door cab service was a luxury and not everyone could afford the radio taxis. They were complicated, unreliable, and barely accessible to the masses. This is where Uber came with an easier, faster, cheaper, and broader alternative. It not only made door-to-door taxi services affordable but also gave lucrative options to the drivers as well.

If the Uber’s success impresses you, and you are looking for the ins and outs of how to start an app like Uber and make money, this article is a must-read. Here, we are going to discuss the ways to build an app like Uber. However, to comprehend the Uber business model better, we will also go through concepts such as –

  • How does Uber work?
  • How to build an app like Uber traditionally?
  • How much it cost to make an app like Uber from scratch? And
  • How to create an app like Uber in tight budget constraints?

Having done with the taxi app development process, we will look into several other adaptations of the Uber business model.

How does Uber work?

Uber simply connects its driver-partners and passengers through a network of mobile apps. The platform made a difference in a period when traditional taxi services were already the kings in the market. Its USP was enough to tackle the traditional cab market and take an online ride-sharing niche by the storm. Uber was not just a new, easier, faster, and comfortable way to book a ride but also an opportunity for the driver-partners to get better at the business.

The on-demand ride-sharing service organizes individual or shared taxi rides for the passengers using a two-sided marketplace business model. We can make a loose comparison of Uber with a shopping mall; a place that aggregates different shops and customers at the same place. Likewise, Uber is a shopping mall for ride-booking services; a place for both passengers and drivers to join with their respective sets of expectations.

The Passengers can-

  • Book rides from their smartphones using the Uber app.
  • Book rides from anywhere, anytime in the serviceable area.
  • Book different vehicles based on their preferences.
  • Book private as well as shared door-to-door rides.
  • Book immediate rides or schedule one for the future.
  • Trace the approaching cab in real-time using GPS tracking.
  • Trace the on-going ride in real-time using GPS tracking.
  • Get estimated fare calculation before booking the cab.
  • Pay for the ride with cash or through digital alternatives.

The Cab Drivers can-

  • Get ride requests in real-time on the Uber Driver app.
  • Accept or reject a ride request.
  • Get paid by the company via regular payouts.
  • Get incentives after completing a certain number of rides.

Here is a graphical representation of the Uber’s workflow to give you a detailed comprehension:

Uber Work flow

How Uber worksUber regulated taxi fares on its platform and introduced discounts, offers, and free rides to attract more customers. Most of all, it gave an app-based ride-booking facility, which was accessible to the customers 24×7. Turns out, the strategy worked just fine and as of today, Uber owns 70-72% of the US ride-sharing market.  

Features and functionalities for Uber-like App development

With the rate at which Uber is expanding and several new entrants joining the market, knowing how to make an app like Uber is not enough anymore. You need a strategic business suite for your local market to building your own Uber app. Depending on the business idea you might have a different set of requirements. However, if you want to create an app like Uber, you need to nail the following fundamental requirements first:

The Key Users

You need to focus on three key Users. You need to focus on features and resources for three critical stakeholders in your app:

  • Passengers
  • Taxi Drivers
  • Admin

The Key Apps

Uber is not a single app. It is an interconnection of three different applications, out of which –two are Mobile Apps and the other one is the Admin’s Web Interface.

Note: I am not considering the web interface for passengers, because we are more into how to make an app like Uber in Android and iOS for the Passengers and the Drivers.

Considering the three key stakeholders, you need the following tech solutions to build your own Uber app suite:

  • Two -Mobile apps for Passengers (Android and iOS)
  • Two -Mobile apps for Taxi drivers (Android and iOS)
  • Web-based Admin Dashboard

Each of these solutions offers a defined set of features and functionalities to manage the corresponding roles of the stakeholders. We have explained the same in the below diagram for better comprehension.

Uber app elementsFeatures for Passenger’s Mobile App

Passenger features in Uber appTo develop a passenger’s app like Uber, you would need to ask your developer to add the following set of features to it:

 
  • Sign up: Sign up as a passenger on the app.
  • Ride Search: Search for a ride in the given geo-location.
  • Dedicated Rides: Book a private ride.
  • Shared Rides: Book a shared-ride with other passengers on the same route.
  • Ride Options: Choose from different types of vehicles available in the geo-location.
  • Pickup Point: Mention the pickup location while booking a ride.
  • Drop Point: Mention the drop point while booking the ride.
  • Estimated Fare: See fare estimation based on the pickup and drop points.
  • Schedule Ride: Book immediately or schedule a ride for later.
  • GPS Tracking: Track approaching cab or ongoing ride in the Map
  • Cab’s Arrival Time: Estimated arrival of cab based on traffic and route distance.
  • Journey Time: Estimated time of the journey based on the based on traffic and distance.
  • Cab Details: Show cab details (Plate, driver’s name, Contact number, etc.) to the passenger.
  • Payment Options: Options to pay for the ride fare in Cash or Digital.
  • Integrated Payment: Digital payment solutions such as PayPal.
  • Ride History: Check rides history with all the details.
  • Rate a Ride: Rate a ride experience.
  • Cancel: Cancel booked ride.
  • Change Pickup/Drop: Change pick-up or drop a point after booking a ride.
  • Customer Support: Contact details and customer service system (email, live chat, phone call).
  • Safety: Panic button in case of an emergency during the ride.
  • Push notifications: Notifications to alert users on the important stuff.
  • Coupons: Options to add coupon codes to get discounts.

Features for Drivers’ Mobile App

The second set of apps is for the drivers, who are an eminent part of any ride-sharing platform. You need to develop equally valuable features for the drivers as well.

 
  • Sign up: Sign up as a driver on the platform.
  • Driver Profile: Update driver profile with personal details.
  • Vehicle Profile: Update Vehicle details.
  • Accept Rides: Accept/decline an immediate/scheduled ride
  • Analytics: Browse earning reports, browse trip histories.
  • GPS Tracking: Locate passenger’s location on the map.
  • GPS Navigation: Navigate on the best route as per traffic and other factors.
  • Preferred Service Locations: Update preferred geo-locations for the rides.
  • Online/Offline Modes: Switch availability as per working hours.
  • Customer support (email, live chat, phone call)

Features for Admin interface

Admin manages the back-end of the platform. This user has unlimited access to all the features and users on the platform. Besides designated admin features, the back-end application is also responsible for communicating with all the other apps (drivers and passengers) in the network. Here is how the Admin interface looks like in a flow diagram. 

  • GUI-based Analytics: Number of Users, Drivers, Active requests, and Details of Revenue.
  • Sub Admin: Add Sub-admins user accounts with access control
  • Verification: Review, Approve or disapprove taxi driver application
  • Terminate: Manually remove an approved taxi driver
  • Ride Variants: Add different ride-types.
  • Fare Rules: 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.
  • Billing: Generate invoice of a ride
  • Payouts: Generate invoice for driver payouts
  • User Management System: drivers, customers, sub-admins.
  • Moderation: Check driver ratings and reviews
  • Filter: Filter user lists based on rating, location, vehicle type, etc.
  • Working hours: Enable/Disable a driver based on allocated working hours.
  • Surge pricing: Set surge charges and rules to apply.
  • Report Abuse: Track and manage abuse reports from drivers and passengers.
  • Coupons and Discounts: Create and release coupon codes to offer discounts.

How does Uber make money: Revenue Model?

Uber’s ride-sharing business is a perfect example of the on-demand service marketplace model. It does not own a fleet of its own but allows people with cars to join the platform as driving partners. Like every on-demand service marketplace, Uber makes money by accepting cash and Digital Payments via following popular channels-

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

Besides that, if you are creating an app like Uber, you can consider one of all of the following factors while billing to the riders:

  • Base fare: A fixed amount to be included in the overall fare.
  • Cost per mile: A variable fare based on the total distance traveled.
  • Cost per minute: A variable fare based on the total traveling time.
  • Surge charge: A dynamic charge that adds up to the base fare in busy and high-demand hours.
  • Safe rides fee: A fixed charge from riders to sponsor back-end activities such as background checks of drivers.

Revenue from Drivers

The revenue generation from drivers works the same as any marketplace. Ubers follows a commission-based model. Drivers pay a percentage cut on the payments they get from customers after completing a ride. The admin receives the payments from the customers and payouts to the drivers after deducting the commissions. They conduct regular payouts to the drivers using on-site digital mediums such as PayPal or wire transfer.

Miscellaneous Revenue

Ubers makes added money from Cancellation fees and Waiting charges from the customers. They add the cancellation charges on the next booking and waiting for charges at the end of the current ride. Uber shares this additional revenue with the drivers as well.

Technology to build an app like Uber

You can build an app like Uber on various tech stacks depending on your proficiency, budget, and requirements. According to stackshare.io, Uber works on the following technology stack, which includes everything from development tool, business tools, and various third-party APIs:

That is for Uber. It is a huge business with massive user-base, employees, and data. Surprisingly, you need not focus on everything at the beginning itself. You can build a basic set of applications from a simple tech stack and later expand to the bigger technologies. We will discuss this in the upcoming section as well.

How much does it cost to develop Uber from Scratch?

Building an app from scratch is a lengthy process and requires an array of resources, tools, hardware, and skills. Every element requires specific resources and experts to execute the implementation. If you are looking for answers on how to make an app like Uber in Android, iOS, and web from scratch, here are the things you should cover in your quest:

Basic skills and experts required for Web Development:

  • Common skills: HTML 5, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, JQuery, Linux etc.
  • Tech Stack: LAMP, MEAN, MERN, Python, etc.
  • APIs: API integration for SMS, email, Push notifications, MAPs, Live Chat, etc.
  • Frameworks: Frameworks for Front-end and Back-end: Laravel, Bootstrap, etc.
  • Image-processing tool: Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, etc.
  • SEO: Meta tags, descriptions, SEO friendly URLs, etc.
  • QA: Testing and documentation
  • Documentation: Technical Writers

Skills and experts required for Mobile Apps:

  • Android: Java and HTML 5
  • iOS: Objective C, Swift
  • Corresponding database for each
  • API integrations for Maps, Push Notifications, SMS, etc.
  • Designing frameworks: Material themes etc.
  • QA: Testing and documentation
  • Documentation: Technical Writers

Generally, it is not possible to acquire all of these skills in a short time. Even if you acquire the same, it will take ages to complete everything to a professional standard. It is the job of a team of experts. Even for a team of experts, it will take a considerable time to develop from scratch.

Alternatively, you can drop the idea to build your Uber app by yourself and consider hiring/outsourcing a team of professionals to do the job. 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- Coders
  • 3- QA engineers
  • 3- Backend Developers
  • 3 Project Managers
  • 3- Android developers
  • 3- iOS developers
  • 3- Marketing experts
  • 3- Technical Writers

Uber clone app development Cost Estimation

Considering the cost of resources, salaries, and cost of APIs, your development cost can rise to insane amounts. I am not even considering the cost of hosting and maintenance. Following is the least estimation of how much it cost to make an app like Uber from scratch.

Let us consider the following scenario:

  • Compensation/hour = $50/hour
  • Total Number of Experts required= 35
  • Daily Working hours = 6 hours
  • Duration of the project= 3 months

Hence,

  • Daily total compensation= 50x6x35 = $10500/Day
  • Monthly total compensation (at 20 days/month) =50x6x35x20 = $210,000/Month
  • Overall development cost for 3 months= $280,000x 3= $630,000.

Note: This estimation does not include the cost of services and APIs from different third-party services like Payment Gateways, Cloud services, SMS API, Push Notifications, and Live Chat, etc.

Wow! This is huge. I wonder how much Uber would have paid to get all the apps and solutions running.

Why Readymade Script is cost-effective?

Software development companies are evolving. Nowadays, they are investing more in research and development of ready-made solutions. Once developed, they sell them to multiple interested clients to recover the cost of development. As a result, they can sell the ready-made scripts for much cheaper prices.

Script cloning is one such business methodology used by the software vendors these days. The vendors apply all investments shown in the above section about “how much it cost to make an app like Uber”. They develop these solutions in-house based on popular business models; that is why the name ‘clone script’.

For example, a readymade solution developed on Netflix’s business model is called as a Netflix Clone script. Likewise, a readymade solution based on the Uber business model is called an Uber clone script.

Are Uber clone scripts any good?

Vendors lead Uber clone app development with the same methodologies applied to build the Uber app suite from scratch. For example, our Gen-x Uber clone has gone through a similar level of research and QA like Uber’s original app.

We know that not everyone can stand the app development cost from scratch. In such a situation, the Uber clone script comes handy and lets you build an app like Uber quickly with affordable capital investments.

Uber clone script offers the quickest and cheapest way to launch your app-based taxi service. Of course, you need comprehensive research and testing of 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.

Hence, yes. Clone scripts are good enough to let you start your business with the lowest investment in terms of time, capital, and resources. You can –

  • Save a huge amount of time.
  • Save a huge amount of money.
  • Save a huge amount of R&D.
  • Launch your business quickly.
  • Customize the source codes.
  • Add new features on demand.
  • Host on your preferred server.

Tips for choosing an Uber clone script

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

  • You need -Two mobile apps for Customers and Drivers
  • You need – A web-based admin Dashboard.
  • You can go for an individual or hybrid mobile applications for Android and iOS.
  • Do not forget to tally the offered features with the ones enumerated above in the article.

We now know how to develop an app like Uber and its cost from scratch in 2019. You just have to trust your business plan and find a clone script that fits your requirements. Just remember that clone apps only reduce the time and cost. You still need to perform high-level research to shape your unique business plan and find a solution that fits in it.

How Uber’s model may change the business world: A Futuristic insight

Uber business model is not just applicable to taxi and ride-sharing services. The concept actively applies to every product or service that one can deliver on-demand. So how to make an app like Uber for other kinds of businesses?

Logically, just creating a replica of Uber is not enough. Take Uber eats for example. Uber eats work on the same business model as Uber ride-sharing. However, there is a difference in the target audience of both sides. There are-

  • Hungry people instead of passengers
  • Delivery boys instead of Cab drivers
  • And additional, Restaurant owners

The fundamental concept of Uber’s business model is “on-demand product or service delivery”, which is still new to many parts of the world. It is futuristic and has the potential to accommodate almost every kind of product or service one can think of.

Take courier delivery for instance. Where normal courier services work in the long-distance serviceable areas, an on-demand courier delivery, based on Uber’s model, can offer a quicker and localized version of the same.

Therefore, it is not about how to build an app like Uber, but more about how to mold the Uber’s business model into other areas of interests. To build the app, you should study your preliminary objectives first-

“Whether you want to build a ride-sharing app like Uber or use its business model to develop an on-demand project for other kinds of services.”

One more example could be developing a ride-sharing app for your local market instead of competing with Uber on a global scale. Simple collaboration with local cab operators in your area can make this business idea a reality.

Uber for x Recommendations

You can apply the same business model and start an array of on-demand business. You might have to tweak the software a little bit, but the core business model and bigger components remain the same. With simple tweaks in an Uber clone script, you can start a business-like –

  • On-demand beauty saloons
  • On-demand Medicine delivery
  • On-demand pick-up trucks
  • On-demand farm supplies
  • On-demand cleaning services
  • On-demand decorations
  • On-demand mechanic
  • On-demand plumbing
  • On-demand cooking gas delivery
  • On-demand fuel delivery
  • On-demand flowers delivery
  • Local food & grocery delivery
  • Same day delivery for online retailers

These were the ins and outs of how to make an app like Uber. However, you might still have some doubts about the process or cost. Anything you want to know about using this business model to start other kinds of businesses, feel free to message us. Let us work together and covert your idea into a successful business. It is our job, and we can help you add value to your idea.

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