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How to Make an App Like Uber: Features and Tech Components [2020]

30 min read
How to Make an App Like Uber: Features and Tech Components [2020]

In 2019, 111 million people used Uber on a monthly basis.

The ridesharing market has witnessed a huge surge in the last few years. Uber is the most vivid example of a taxi-hailing company that turned into a multi-billion business. In 2019 alone, the company’s global net revenue amounted to 14.1 billion U.S dollars. The company is working in countries all over the world.

Countries Where Uber is Possible

Thus, many are interested in knowing how to make an app like Uber and bring it to success.

In this article, we are going to review the following topics:

  • the processes behind Uber’s work
  • features to include in Uber-like app development
  • business models for apps similar to Uber
  • technology stack to create an app like Uber
  • cost to build an app like Uber
  • how to make an app like Uber step-by-step
  • best approaches to making money with your Uber

Let’s find out how to create an app like Uber from technical and business sides.

How does the Uber App Work?

Uber App Work Flow

Uber is an application with a worldwide presence. Before moving to technical details, let’s investigate the logic behind Uber’s work.

Who developed the app for Uber?

Uber started from a simple application that was developed by Garrett Camp together with a few of his friends, including Travis Kalanick, how than became the CEO of the company, Ryan Graves (Head of Operations) Oscar Salazar (Advisor), and Conrad Whelan (Engineering Manager).

At first, the app was launched for iOS in 2010. Only in the first six months, the number of users reached to 6,000. The app accomplished 20,000 rides.

Uber made a great investment into self-promotion and marketing, by sponsoring different events and taking guests to their homes in San Francisco.

Today, Uber is available for both Android and iOS all over the world. The company managed to bypass a lot of its competitors. In January 2019, people in New York took 462,113 Uber rides per day. The number of taxi rides was 271,135 and 149,142 rides served Lyft, one of the main competitors of Uber.

Uber doesn’t have its own fleet. Instead, the app connects drivers with passengers. The whole work of Uber can be divided into 5 distinctive steps:

  • Step 1. A passenger makes a request for a car in the Uber app with a pre-set destination. The application shows the ride’s fare, which can vary based on the service and the type of Uber app.
  • Step 2. Ride verification. Passengers confirm the pickup location.
  • Step 3. Uber matches that ride with the nearest available driver. The driver can either accept or decline the request. In case when a ride is rejected, the app redirects the request to another driver.
  • Step 4. Payment is made automatically after a ride is completed. The money is written off a payment account or card the user has previously added to the app. Uber supports credit and debit cards, PayPal, Android and Apple Pay, etc. Users can agree to the standard driver’s tip or change it.
  • Step 5. Rating is an integral part of the Uber app. Passengers rate drivers, and drivers rate passengers. This way, Uber provides the best experience for both types of users.

As you can see, Uber services two types of users: passengers and drivers.

Uber calculates the price of the ride based on its duration and distance. If a drive is less than 11 mph (18km/h), the ride is charged per minute. If a car is moving faster, the app charges passengers per mile covered.

Below you can see the cost of traveling by Uber for 6.2 miles (10 km) in different cities around the globe.

Uber Services Cost Around the Globe

To better understand how to make an app like Uber, let’s see the main features for passengers and drivers.

Passenger features:

  • select a destination on an interactive map
  • quote for the fare
  • wait for the ride confirmation from the nearest driver
  • track the driver’s movements
  • card-not-present payment for a ride
  • rating of a driver and provided riding experience

Driver features:

  • accept passenger’s request for a ride
  • get instructions on how to get to the passenger
  • receive revenue from each trip and rate passengers

Also, there is an admin panel for regional offices that control all the rides processed with the Uber app.

How to Make an App Like Uber: Features

Before you create an app like Uber, you need to understand which components form its basis.

Uber like app development involved the creation of three major parts:

  • app for passengers
  • app for drivers
  • admin panel

Let’s find out what it takes to build Uber app and which basic and flagship features you need to include.

Features for Riders in Uber Like App Development

Features of Uber Like App Development for Riders

Below you can see the main basic features for creating a ride share app.

  • User signup & sing in – implementation of these features by allowing to sign up and sign in with email, phone number, social media. The most popular type of signup functionality is with the help of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular social media networks. Their implementation allows users to save time, as they don’t need to manually type in all the data.
  • Car booking – this is the main among basic features to create an app like Uber. This feature is usually implemented in a way, showing users an interactive map with the ability to provide their exact address, specify the pickup location, choose the type of car, etc.
  • Fare calculation – passengers should have the ability to check the price of ride beforehand. The price usually depends on different factors, making this feature quite difficult to implement from the back-end perspective.
  • Driver tracking – if you are wondering how to make an app like Uber that users will love, this feature is your answer. Passengers should have the ability to track the movement of their car and see time estimation before arrival.
  • Payment – implement multiple payment options, including payments with credit and debit cards, services like PayPal, Android, and Apple Pay, and don’t forget to allow passengers to use cash to pay for a ride.
  • Push notifications – these are a powerful tool to keep users informed on the ride request status, time of car arrival, driver, and other details.
    Messaging – the ability for direct communication between a driver and a passenger within an app.
  • Driver rating & review – you should also implement the feature allowing to rate each riding experience and driver to provide passengers with the best experience.
  • Customer Support – this feature must be a part of the development. If your customers encounter any problems with payments, registration, etc., they should have the ability to connect with someone who can help them.
  • Travel History – it is a nice-to-have feature for your app, allowing users to view their rides history, payments, etc.

As aside from basic features, you can add some additional ones. Let’s see how to start an app like Uber with a more advanced set of features.

  • Pickup location – this feature allows you to automatically find a driver based on a passenger’s location. Passengers don’t have to type in the address manually.
  • Ride cancellation – this is another feature that Uber has. It allows to cancel a ride for free, but only for 5 minutes after placing a request. If a user thinks a little longer, they need to pay a fee of $5-$10 for each canceled ride.
  • Split payment – when passengers travel in a group, they should have an ability to split the fare.
  • Interactive map – users can track all available taxi cars on the app in real life.
  • Ride for later – this feature allows to book a ride in advance so that a taxi car will pick them up at a preselected time.
  • Book for others – allow passengers to book rides for friends and relatives without changing their account.
  • Gamification and Discounts – these features are great for user retention. Provide them with discounts based on mileage, offer coupons, etc.
  • Voice input – increase the accessibility of your Uber like app by integrating the recognition of voice commands.
  • Waiting list – at peak hours, when there are not enough free cars, passengers can add their request to the waiting list.
  • Panic button – this feature allows passengers to feel safe while traveling with your solution.
  • Preferred driver – ability to hire your regular driver if they are working at the moment

Features for Drivers to Create an App Like Uber

How to Make an App Like Uber for Drivers

Let’s find out how to make an app like Uber from the perspective of creating features for drivers. Here is a list of basic features to provide.

  • Driver verification – verification of drivers should be performed from the administrative panel, as it requires the verification of a driving license, vehicle insurance, documents on a car, etc.
  • Trip alert – this feature notifies drivers when a new trip request is placed with the ability to accept or decline it. The alert includes information about passenger’s location, review, route, etc.
  • Push notifications – these can be used to notify about any changes in route, pickup location, request status, etc.
  • Navigation and route optimization – allows for drivers to get to the pick-up location faster, using the integration of Apple or Google Maps.
  • Revenue reports – this feature provides information about drivers’ revenue, allowing them to look up statistics on daily or monthly earnings.
  • Messaging – allows for direct communication between a driver and a passenger within your taxi app like Uber.

Aside from basic features, uber like app development can also include some advanced features.

  • Passengers Destinations – the ability for drivers to select a ride only with preferred destinations.
  • Quest earnings – the ability for drivers to earn more by successfully completing a predefined number of trips.
  • Waiting time – if the time of wait for a driver is longer than 5 minutes, passengers are charged additionally.
  • Heat maps – drivers can plan their routes and move to locations where with high passenger density.
  • Forward dispatch – ability to accept another trip while performing a current ride.

Admin Panel for an App Like Uber

As was already mentioned, apps like Uber usually consists of different parts, one of them being an admin panel. That’s why you should create an app like Uber with an admin panel that will be a control center for admins to manage customers, drivers, orders, payments, reviews, etc.

Usually, taxi appls include the following features for the admin panel:

  • Passenger and driver management
  • Feedback and reviews management
  • Locations and fares management
  • Taxi booking management
  • Payment management
  • Notifications management
  • Best routes management
  • Passenger and user support
  • Promotions and discounts creation and management
  • Integration with multiple analytics tools (possible integration with Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning for better in-app analytics)

How to Make an App Like Uber: Business Models

Uber like app development should have an end goal – making money with your application. Before you start creating your Uber-like application, you need to decide on the business model and revenue streams.

Many taxi companies are afraid of Uber and its ability to cut prices for rides. When the company enters a new market, not all local players manage to survive. Such profitability of Uber is possible thanks to a dynamic pricing model. The price for each ride is calculated based on the following factors:

  • Base fare – basic fee for Uber services based on the Uber car type and area
  • Cost per mile
  • Cost per minute – cost is calculated based on data from GPS sensors
  • Booking fee (also known as safe ride fee) – a minimal fee that is written off at the moment of ride booking

You can choose one of the above business models or combine a few of them just like Uber. Depending on your decision, you can monetize an Uber-like app in the following ways:

  • Commission from drivers for each ride or generated revenue
  • Trip fares from passengers
  • Penalties for ride cancellation

How much does the Uber app make?

Uber takes a 25% commission from each ride. In 2018, Uber was a leading name on the ride-hailing market with a company value of 72 billion U.S. dollars.

Global Net Uber Revenue

Tech Stack for Uber Like App Development

In this part of the article, you are going to find out how to make an app like Uber from a technical point of view. As Uber has already opened its API to the public, you can use it to create an app like Uber. Otherwise, there is an overview of all the technical integrations that you might need during Uber like app development.

The main technology of an app like Uber is the extensive use of geolocation. Other important features include push notifications, integration of payment gateways, and route building.

Here is an overview of all technological integration that will help you create an app like Uber.

 

iOS

Android

Navigation and Geolocation

MapKit
Corelocation

Google Maps
Google Location Services API

Push notifications

Apple Push Notifications Service (APN)
Twilio
Nexto
Plivo
Sinch

Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM)
Twilio
Nexto
Plivo
Sinch

Integration of payment gateways

Stripe
PayPal
BrainTree
Apple Pay

Stripe
PayPal
BrainTree
Google Pay

Aside from integrations, the development requires you to choose other technologies and programming languages. You can use the Swift and Kotlin programming languages for iOS and Android development accordingly. As for the app’s backend, you can use a number of languages, including Python, Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Node.js, etc.

Below, you can see a simple version of the app’s backend.

How does Uber App Work: Back-End Architecture

How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App Like Uber?

Cost to build an app like Uber depends on a number of factors. Usually, the process of developing such a taxi application consists of the following stages:

  • Business analysis
  • UX/UI design
  • Back-end development
  • iOS and Android development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Project management

The budget covering these expenses don’t include the needed money for marketing and other business costs that do not directly correlate with the development process.

Take a look at the very approximate estimation of all features that you might need to implement and the time needed for their development to create an app like Uber.

Passenger App

iOS or Android 

Wireframes (UX)

50-110

Mockups (UI)

50-100

Registration

40-80

Geolocation

40-120

Use of location data

25-150

Payments

80-100

Ride cost estimation

40-50

Push notifications

80-120

Sync across devices

65-200

Review and rating

50-150

Rides history

80-100

Book a ride for others

200-270

Split a fare

120-150

Testing and QA

160-300

Total hours

1080-2000

 

Driver App

iOS or Android

Wireframes (UX)

50-70

Mockups (UI)

50-80

Registration

40-120

Booking

40-150

Status

50-80

Rides history

40-80

Total hours

270-580

Aside from app development, you will need to create an admin panel for app management. The development of this part will take 260-360 hours depending on its functionality. This cost will cover the following features:

  • Registration and login
  • Admin management
  • Driver management
  • User management
  • Payment management
  • Promotion management
  • Review management
  • Dashboard

https://appinventiv.com/blog/uber-statistics/ – interesting statistics on uber drivers, their income, and uber in general

So, how much does an app like uber cost?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, one of the most important ones being the location to which you decide to outsource Uber like app development. In the USA, the average cost of app development services is about $100/hour. If you decide to outsource app development there, the cost to create an app like Uber will be the following:

  • Passenger app: $109,080 – $200,000
  • Driver app: $27,000 – $58,000
  • Admin panel: $26,000 – $36,000
  • Total cost: $163,000 – $249,000

If you decide to outsource Uber app development to a more favorable region, like Western Europe with an hourly rate of $50, you will have to pay a lot less:

  • Passenger app: $54,000 – $100,000
  • Driver app: $13,500 – $29,000
  • Admin panel: $13,000 – $18,000
  • Total cost: $81,000 – $147,000

How we calculate the cost of app development?

If you want to know how we calculate the cost of app development, check the article How Much Does It Cost to Build an App? (2020 Cost Calculation). You will get an overview of all the processes that constitute app development and how the cost of each stage is calculated.

Main Cost Drivers for Taxi Apps Like Uber

There are a lot of factors that can influence the development process. Let’s take a look at some of them to better understand how to calculate the final cost of your application.

  • Features

As was already mentioned, the cost to create an app like Uber depends on the number of complexity of Uber app features. This is the main expenditure pattern, as such applications rely heavily on the complex backend. The more features you want to implement, the higher will be the cost. However, you can always start with a minimum set of features and add additional ones with future app iterations.

  • Company type

Are you a startup or a full-fledged taxi-hailing company? The answer predefines how to make an app like Uber. In the first scenario, you have a lot more flexibility as you will develop your application along with your business. If you have an already developed company, you will need to create an app that will accomplish your business operations, which, in turn, can significantly spike Uber app development costs.

  • Number of platforms

When discovering how to make an app like Uber, you need to decide how many apps you are going to launch. You can start with a single app for iOS and Android that will help you test your idea and continue by adding the support of the other platform. It is also possible to develop two applications alongside each other to cover a larger part of your target audience.

  • Technology

You can create an app like Uber with different technologies. Today, you can either build a hybrid app (one that will work on both Android and iOS) or a native application (works on either Android or iOS). While the development of a hybrid app might seem like a more cost-saving alternative to app development, it is far less advantageous as hybrid apps don’t offer great user experience and don’t allow creating apps that heavily rely on a device’s hardware. That’s how to make an app like Uber and give it the best chance for success.

Addevice’s Experience in Uber like app development

We talk about how to make an app like Uber not from a theoretical knowledge but from our own experience. Our company has successfully created an application for an existing taxi company. The main goal of our cooperation with GpsGamma was to create a fuel monitoring system. Today, the over 5,500 cars are using the system and their number continues to grow.

Addevice started the development process from the analysis of competitors. The system is a complex solution consisting of two mobile apps and web admin panel.

Based on the collected data, we created the design for iOS and Android applications, and created a complex backend. The system is hosted on Amazon Web Services and have protocols that allow it to collect data from around 150 types of IoT devices.

The project was successfully delivered to the market. We continue our cooperation with clients, providing ongoing development and support.

Create an App like Uber: Step-by-Step Process

To sum up everything said above, take a look at the step-by-step guide explaining how to make an app like Uber from the idea to its successful launch and promotion. Here is a quick overview of all the stages that you should undergo:

  1. Market research – conduct market research, identify main competitors and create an app like Uber that will be unlike any other competitors. The main recipe for success is to develop a unique solution and not a copycat of an already successful solution like Uber, Lyft, or other alternatives.
  2. Audience research – identify your core audience, their pains, and how you can solve them with your application.
  3. UX/UI design – create the best UX and UI that will make the use of your application easy for customers and drivers based on the previously collected data.
  4. Monetization strategy – that’s not enough to know how to make an app like Uber. You need to decide how you will make money with your application and create a comprehensive monetization strategy.
  5. Find Uber app development company – decide to which region you are going to outsource app development, choose the best company on the market paying close attention to the portfolio, successfully delivered projects, number of years on the market, communication processes, etc.
  6. Create the first product version – when deciding how to make an app like Uber, start with basic features to launch your application to the market faster. Go with a single version or develop an iOS and Android applications alongside.
  7. Test and get customer feedback – launch your app to the market, gather customer feedback, and analyze in-app user behavior with such solutions like Mixpanel, Appsee, etc., conduct surveys and ask for feedback.
  8. Plan for improvements – analyze the collected data and use it to improve your Uber like app with further iterations.
  9. Ongoing development and support – to keep your application up to date with the market demand and requirements.
  10. Marketing strategy – start marketing activities even before you launch your app and continue it after the app launch. This is an ongoing process that should aim to help you get new users and retain existing ones.

Do you want to create an app like Uber?

Feel free to get in touch with our team. We’ll be glad to help you decide how to make an app like Uber and launch it to the market with minimal time and financial resources. Our experts will provide you with an initial project timeline and development cost.

Contact us for a free consultation

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Frequently Asked Questions:

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

The price of Uber like app development is about $150,000-$250,000. As such applications are complex ones relying on a lot of backend processes and consisting of three parts for drivers, customers, and admins, the cost and timeline may vary greatly depending on the number of features, their complexity, number of versions, location to which you outsource and vendors you work with.

How to save money on Uber like app development?

It’s possible to create an app like Uber and save money by choosing a vendor from a favorable outsourcing region. If you decide to work with a company from Europe (like Addevice), you will have to pay $40/hour on average, thus reducing the price of app development to $100,000-$150,000.

What are the Main parts of apps like Uber?

Taxi apps like Uber consist of three parts:

  • app for drivers
  • app for customers
  • admin panel for app managers

Thus, when creating a ride share app, you will need to create all these three parts of the application.

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