For nearly 7 years on the market, Uber has made a revolution in taxi service hitting the records with numbers of people using it. Since smartphones has been occupying people’s lives, providing an easy-to-access, comfortable, cashless, quick, and effective way to hire a cab by just using your mobile phone, simply must have become popular and it still is.
That is why taxi mobile app development seems to be really perspective and profitable business and there is huge demand for it from both passengers and drivers. While Uber is not one of a kind, it is still an excellent role model for those who want to develop a mobile taxi application.
So, let’s take a look at it and define what it takes and how much it costs to develop an app like Uber.
What is Uber
Uber is the most popular mobile taxi application, which serves as an alternative to the traditional cabs. It is present in nearly 450 cities around the world with 40 million monthly riders worldwide, and these numbers are growing all the time. On one side, it provides a great service for the passengers, on the other – it poses a job opportunity for drivers. With its help, you can call a taxi whenever you want by using your smartphone. Via this mobile application, you can arrange car hailing, track your car on the map, and pay for the ride in a cashless way. Uber is available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
How it works
Uber is really easy to use, and the mechanism of its work in general comes down to the following steps
1. A passenger sends a request for the car via the application, which is directed to the driver, whose location is the closest to a passenger;
2. The driver may either accept or deny the offer. In the second case, the request is automatically sent to another driver nearby;
3. When a driver accepts the offer, there is a match and both sides are finally connected. A passenger now can see all the information about the driver and this ride, such as location of the car and estimated arrival time;
4. After the ride comes the payment. Passengers can pay with the card registered in its account or simply in cash.
It is very important to know that Uber includes two kinds of applications – the driver and passenger one. Obviously, they both have quite different feature sets so let’s look at them.
Passenger app features
Registration. First of all, passengers should register and create their accounts. The best option here is when there are different ways of registration possible, such as social media integration (Facebook, etc.) and email address. At this stage, phone number as wells as credit cards connection to account are usually required.
Booking. Then, there comes a screen with passenger’s location data and ability to call a car there. So the application must provide a location selector, enabling adding home and work places.
Fare Calculator. In order to know how much the trip will cost, there must be the opportunity to calculate it. Fare Calculator enables doing it before making an order so that passengers are aware about the exact price of the ride.
Payments. Of course, users have to pay for the ride, so in-app payments feature must be included in the application. The payments are usually done via credit cards; they are withdrawn directly from your card when the ride is over. So it requires integration with the payments system.
Push Notifications. Passengers have to be aware of all information needed for the trip. So when a driver accepts the request, data regarding model of the car, its color, number, and estimated time of arrival (ETA) should be available.
Tracking. It is very important for a mobile taxi application to present the passenger an opportunity to track the cab starting from the time the person ordered it till the end of the trip. So you can stay informed where your car is and when it arrives and plan your time appropriately.
Ratings and reviews. One of the beneficial features of Uber-like apps is ability to rate and put your feedback on the drivers and the ride so that drivers care more about the quality of their service.
Ride history. It’s also preferable to have all the information concerning the previous trips and receipts saved.
Driver app features
Registration. Similarly to the passengers, drivers also should register and get their accounts. However, before they get to work, their profile has to be approved by administrator.
Booking requests. As a passenger applies for a taxi, it’s time for a driver to accept or decline this request, keeping an eye on the trip distance from where driver’s car is located regarding the placement of a passenger.
Status updates. It includes making driver visible or not according to the fact whether he/she is ready to give the rides a well as the updates concerning accepting or refusing requests and arriving to the pickup point.
Navigation. With the help of this feature, driver can see the most convenient and effective route towards the passenger and also get voice instructions concerning the directions.
Booking history. This feature enables having access to all the trips and earnings of a driver, together with the cancelled orders.
Push notifications. Of course, a driver also receives constant notifications about the requests available, his status, etc.
When it comes to costs
In order to estimate the price of the Uber-like app, we should consider the key components of its development and the amount of time they require. What is more, the development hourly rates differ in the regions around the globe. For instance, building an app in North America will cost much more than in the Eastern European countries. Taking the average price of $40/hour for the software development in our region, which is Eastern Europe, let’s estimate how much it will cost to create an app like Uber considering the main parts of its development.
Geo-location & routing
Basically, routing and GPS technology lie in the core of Uber-like apps. They enable recognizing drivers’ and passengers’ current position, identifying the cabs nearby, and showing the best way for the driver to reach the customer’s location. Just clicking on the button allows you to see the map, your position there, and your car moving towards your location. It looks super easy to use but, of course, it is not that easy on the other side, which is development.
When it comes to Uber iOS application, location services are supported by CoreLocation framework to get and keep track of the current position of device’s user. For routing and getting the directions, the MapKit framework is suitable.
In the case of Uber Android app, Google Location Services API are used for implementing geolocation functionality. Meanwhile, Google Maps Android API is applied for building routes and directions.
Setting up the given functionality takes somewhere from 122 to 156 hours for a passenger app and from 90 to 120 hours for a driver app. Taking $40/hour as a development price, geo-location & routing will cost $4,880 – $6,240 for a passenger app and from $3,600 – $4,800 for a driver app.
Uber usually uses cashless system, which is considered to be much more convenient and faster way than the cash one, removing overcharging and problems with giving change, but not everywhere. For instance, in developing countries it is also possible to pay in cash. As it was mentioned before, Uber has a Fare calculator feature for providing its users with estimated cost of the ride. The cost of the ride via Uber depends on 4 main factors, which include base fare, cost per mile, cost per minute, and safe rides fee.
In order to integrate credit card payments into an app, a company should comply with PCI (Payment Card Industry) requirements, which insure safety for users’ financial information. Dealing with some payment gateway company, which already insures PCI compliance, helps a lot here (such as Stripe or Braintree).
For accepting credit card payments, Uber integrates with Braintree, which now belongs to the PayPal group. Moreover, it offers dividing the payment between the passengers if there is more than one. Additionally, Uber uses Card.io service, which allows scanning of credit cards on iOS.
There also many other effective payment gateway providers available except Braintree. For example, there is Stripe, which is used by one of the biggest Uber competitors Lyft. To learn more about the most popular online payment systems available and what they offer, look through our article.
Integrating payment gateway takes quite some time – around 110 – 150 hours and 60 – 80 hours for passenger and driver apps relatively. With the price of $40 per development hour, it will cost $4,400 – $6,000 in the process of creating passenger application and $2,400 – $3,200 for driver app.
Registration and user profiles
Without any doubt, registration in taxi mobile app is a must both for drivers and passengers. In Uber, you can register via Facebook or email. Usually, providing such ways of registration and giving the users an option – email, which everybody has, or social media integration, which nowadays is a popular and very easy to sign up, is the best way to go. User profile requires only essential information that includes a phone number because it will be needed for communication with a driver. However, when it comes to drivers, the process is more complicated. If you want to become an Uber driver, you have to visit the company’s office and give the scan of your documents. Overall, it’s important to have such data as photo, car license plate number, driver license copy, etc. Also, there must be some place for reviewing and rating in order to increase the interest in providing quality services and being more customer-friendly.
Overall, registration and profile settings will take approximately 112 – 130 hours of development for both driver and passenger app. Therefore, taking the price $40/hour it will result in $4,480 – $5,200 for each application.
Communication and notifications
Taxi app like Uber has to offer the communication channels between a passenger and a driver. Apart from providing their numbers for each other, there is a need to use push notifications or SMS messaging for keeping a user updated, when a driver accept the request, cancels it or has approached the pickup point. In this case, Uber uses both methods highlighted above. However, in order to provide your clients with SMS messaging, the contact with a telecommunication provider must be established.
There are many international ones, such as Twilio (works with Uber), Pilvo, Nexmo, etc. For applying push notifications, Uber uses Apple Push Notification Service (APN) for iOS devices and Google Cloud Messaging Service (GCM) for Android ones. One more option of a communication channel between users is creating a messenger for personal communication. However, it takes a lot of time and, since this feature is not necessary, especially from the beginning, there is no point to include it in the initial stage.
Regarding the communication & notifications, it is going to take 70 – 90 hours of development time for both driver and passenger app. Therefore, taking into account the price of $40/hour will lead to $2,800 – $3,600 for each kind of app.
What is more, creating Uber clone application also includes building admin dashboard, which is a web-based tool for viewing and managing drivers and passengers activities. Via the admin panel, you can take a look at all the processes going on within the application functionality, observe logistics issues, manage financial data, collect information for the further analysis, etc.
While developing the admin board with basic functionality takes around 60 – 80 hours, at a price of $40/hour, it will cost ranging from $2,400 – $3,200.
When it comes to the design and UI/UX part, you should make your application easy, comfortable, and attractive to use. It is very important not to overwhelm your app and make it overcomplicated, but simple-to-use and enjoyable. Though, the time spent on design varies depending on the complexity, animations, and interactive details you want to have there.
Ranging design timeline from 120 to 160 hours will make up the total cost $4,800 – $6,400 for accomplishing this part.
Moreover, you will need project management and quality assurance for building your taxi mobile app. Their expenses part in the whole development process will be nearly 10% for the project management and 20% for the quality assurance.
To sum up
Therefore, when summing up all the prices above, creating a Uber-clone app will cost nearly $48,000 – $61,000 for one platform including passenger app, driver app, and admin dashboard. Meanwhile, developing such an app in Western European region may cost somewhere around $100,000 – $120,000 and in North America even more – $150,000 – $180,000.
Nevertheless, you should remember that the estimation given above is approximate as long as the development time, price, and features set of the taxi mobile apps vary due to different factors. Moreover, the final price of your project will depend on the number of platforms, where you want to launch your application (Android, iOS or both) the scale of your business and its specifics, and the exact features you want to see in your future application.
Author: Henrik Pedersen
Sales Director at Exoft