How much does it cost to develop an app like Uber

If you work in transportations, you surely have been marveling at Uber’s unbelievable success. Currently the service is available in 67 countries. Want to take the best of it and create an Uber like app for your own company but have no idea how much does it cost? In this article we shed some light on Uber like app development.

Essential features

In order to determine the price of development app like Uber first we need to specify all the essential features of the app. These are standard features you can’t do without when building app like Uber:

  1. GPS, map and routes drawing
  2. Registration and matching system
  3. Notifications and communication
  4. Payment system
  5. Car and user details
  6. Rating

Let us delve into details here and explain why you absolutely need the abovementioned functions.

GPS, map and routes drawing

Building app like Uber is all about the GPS. It is used for identifying current location of passengers and drivers. Maps and positioning are used for them to easily find each other. For routing and determining the cost of the ride you would need a routing server.

Map and choosing pickup location in Uber

In our UARoads app for road quality monitoring available for Android, iPhone and iPad we rely on OpenStreetMap since it also uses road database maintained by this service. In general, the best choice would be to use maps that are native for the platform. For example, for Android those would be Google Maps.

Registration and matching system

Uber like apps offer several ways of registration for regular users and require phone number from the very beginning. And for drivers the process includes visiting the company in person, as well as supplying scans of their documents.

Registration screen in apps like Uber

We have developed a SocialAuthHelper library that allows you to easily implement registration via social networks.

Matching system is a component that allows passengers to quickly find a ride and drivers to accept ride requests. In order to work properly it needs to take into account the location of a particular driver and passenger, as well as status of the drivers (Busy or Ready to work). After seeing a ride request a driver normally has about 15 seconds to accept it.

While some services allow you to choose the driver yourself from those available, it would complicate the system and make the process of ordering a car longer.

Notifications and communication

Request for sending push-notifications in Uber

There are several ways to notify passengers that their car has arrived, the major of them being sending SMS or push notifications. While using push notifications is cheaper and easier to implement, you might think of using SMS since they are more reliable. Uber and its rival Lyft use SMS which looks like this:

Uber SMS example

A good idea is to include a phone number of your driver into the text as well, in case something goes wrong and passenger can’t find the car that has already arrived. To implement SMS feature you have to work closely with telecommunication provider. Uber uses Twilio but there’re plenty of international providers (Plivo, Nexmo, Sinch, etc.) that offer similar services. You might even choose your local or regional provider.

Some Uber like apps allow you to call the driver by pressing a phone icon next to his or her name:

Call the driver feature in Uber like app

Payment system

Uber like apps normally use cashless systems since they are faster and safer. But you should always think about the needs of your market. For example, in developing countries apps offering Uber like experience often allow users to pay with cash. And Uber itself offers this option for certain regions:

Pay with cash in Uber

Offering more payment options helps you to attract more customers:

  1. Uber supports credit cards, Paypal, American Express points, as well as Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
  2. Lyft supports credit and debit cards, Paypal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
  3. Hailo supports bank cards, as well as Apple Pay.

Paying for a ride in Lyft app

For implementing payment features Uber works with Braintree (A Paypal Company). But there’re also other options out there: WorldPay, Stripe, Payza, etc. For example, for our client KeepSnap we used Payfirma for integrating payment with bank cards. Apart from integration costs you should take into account monthly fee for using one of these services.

Before agreeing on a trip, a user should also see the cost estimate to make his final choice:

Calculating ride cost in Uber

Taxi app developers creating Uber like solution for US market should also remember that an in-app tip feature is quite essential:

Tips in app like Uber

Car and user details

We all prefer to know what (or who) to expect. It gives the sense of safety and reduces anxiety. In terms of your Uber like app it means that information about cars (type, color etc.), drivers and passengers (name and photo) should be provided. For example look at rich driver profiles available in Uber rival Sidecar:

Driver profile in Sidecar app

Users also need to be able to specify how many seats they need and add some additional info for the driver:

Choosing a number of sits in Uber like app Hailo

Rating

While it’s not the most obvious advantage of Uber, rating system is a necessary feature contributing to the service value. After the ride is completed both passengers and drivers are prompted to rate each other. It has two important consequences:

  1. If the driver’s rating slips below certain level, he or she can no longer work with the company. Thus a high level of customer service is maintained.
  2. If the passenger doesn’t respect the drivers and fail to adhere to the rules, it shows in the rating and drivers can choose not to pick him or her up.

Integrating rating system is a way to improve a community of drivers and passengers, that’s why Uber competitors Lyft and Hailo use it too:

Rating system in Hailo and Lyft apps

Final cost

So how much will it cost you to create app like Uber? Development for one platform will take 300–500 hours. Design — about 200 hours. API will cost you $10K, and app for one platform — $10–15K. Of course, these are approximate calculations and the final Uber app development cost will depend on the scale and specifics of the project (such as whether you need an app for carriage company or passenger transportation) and features specified in the technical task.

Studio stfalcon.com has experience in developing solutions for transport industry and will be happy to help you create Android and iOS apps for your company.

About author

Android Developer
Anton used to work in studio game dev team and currently he is developing apps for Android. He is meticulous, enjoys implementing solutions that speed up the development and improve code quality. Uses Java, DataBinding, Retrofit 2.0 and Realm.

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