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How to Make an App Like Uber: Features and Tech Components [2021]

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

In 2019, 111 million people used Uber monthly. In Q4 2020, due to global lockdown and restrictions, the number decreased to 93 million users.

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 2020 alone, the company’s global net revenue amounted to 11.1 billion U.S dollars. The company is working in countries all over the world.

chart created with amCharts | amCharts

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 the technical and business sides.

How does the Uber App Work?

The logic of Uber-like apps is to help you submit a trip request by automatically detecting location. Then the app matches your requests with the closest driver that accepts the request. After finishing the trip, you pay for the ride and may rate it.

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 and Travis Kalanick. At first, the app was launched for iOS in 2010. Only in the first six months, the number of users reached 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 fleet. Instead, the app connects drivers with passengers. The whole work of Uber can be divided into 5 specific 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. The ride is charged per minute if a drive is less than 11 mph (18km/h). 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 how to start with the project planning and idea execution.

Step 1. Carry out extensive market research and create a business model based on market demand.

Step 2. Create the buyer persona and draw a customer journey map.

Step 3. Define the Unique Selling Points of the app and the business objectives.

Step 4. Determine the features’ set.

Step 5. Hire an app development agency.

Step 6. Make necessary updates based on feedback.

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 an 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 rideshare app.

  • User signup & sign in – implementing these features allows users to sign up and sign in with email, phone number, and social media. The most popular 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 type in all the data manually.
  • Car booking – this is the main among basic features to create an app like Uber. This feature is usually implemented to show users an interactive map 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 the 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 wonder 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. 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 to allow the users to rate each riding experience and 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 creating features for drivers. Here is a list of basic components 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 the 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 allow drivers to get to the pick-up location faster, using the integration of Apple or Google Maps.
  • Revenue reports – this feature provides drivers’ revenue information, allowing them to look up daily or monthly earnings statistics.
  • 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 requests 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 consist 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 apps 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 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 Does Uber Make Money? 

In 2018, Uber was a leading name on the ride-hailing market with a company value of 72 billion U.S. dollars. Uber’s business model is based on ride-hailing service generating income from taking a cut of the fares. Aside from online taxi service, Uber has a food order and delivery service and freight shipping as separate business models.

chart created with amCharts | amCharts

What Technology is Behind the Uber App?

In this part of the article, you will 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 create an app like Uber. Otherwise, there is an overview of all the technical integrations you might need during Uber-like app development.

Uber and Uber-like apps are mostly based on JavaScript and Objective-C. For real-time dispatch functionality and systems, the app uses NodeJS and Redis. 

The major 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 several 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?

The cost to build an Uber-like app may range from $57,000 – $114,000 for one or two platforms. The admin panel development cost is calculated separately, starting at $14,350. 

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 doesn’t include the marketing and other business costs not directly correlated with the development process.

Take a look at the Uber-like approximate estimation of all features you might need to implement and the time required 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

Best 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 some factors, including the outsourced app development company. 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 Do 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? 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

The factors influencing the development process and costs are as follows:

  • Features

The cost to create an app like Uber depends on the complexity of Uber app features. 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.

  • Number of platforms

The number of platforms is predefined in the first stages of planning. You can start with a single app either for iOS or Android to validate the idea and then launch the app for the second 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). At the same time, the development of a hybrid app might seem like a more cost-saving alternative to app development.

Addevice’s Experience in Uber like app development

We talk about making an app like Uber not from theoretical knowledge but 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 develop a fuel monitoring system. The agency developed a GPS tracking and fleet management system for GPSGAMMA with over 10.000 units tracked every moment, gaining 50+ enterprise customers and over 250+ business customers’ satisfaction. 

The apps are built from scratch compatible with iOS and Android. The system is hosted on Amazon Web Services and has protocols to collect data from around 150 types of IoT devices. Three functional apps for GPSGAMMA are used simultaneously to track ta unit’s movement through the monitoring system. 

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, follow 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 competitor. 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 to make 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 which region you will 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 iOS and Android applications alongside.

7. Test and get customer feedback – launch your app to the market, gather customer feedback, analyze in-app user behavior with 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 before you launch your app and continue it after the app launch. It 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.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

The cost to build an Uber-like app may range from $57,000 – $114,000 for one or two platforms. The admin panel development cost is calculated separately, starting at $14,350.

How to save money on Uber-like app development?

Developing an Uber-like app requires time and resources. To cut project implementation costs, think of creating MVP to validate the idea, try market response, and then deploy the final version of the product, thus cutting the risks of failure.

What are the main parts of apps like Uber?
  • Simple registration and account editing.
  • Geolocation and routing.
  • Push notifications.
  • Ride cost estimation.
  • Rating system
  • Ride history
  • Customer support.

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