How to Make an App Like Uber: Updated Guide
How to make an app like Uber? Any taxi booking app development, in the majority of cases, involves building an app like Uber, doesn’t it? Especially with regard to using their business processes and strategy as a basis.
You have most likely heard the term “uberisation,” derived from a taxi-hailing app Uber. The company became a real success by reflecting existing user behavior regarding efficient and economical transportation. After operating for 12 years, still today, Uber is the dominant ride-sharing app and is available in 10,000 cities in 71 countries across the globe.
Despite competition from similar taxi booking apps, the company is still a key player. Among other apps like Uber are Lyft, Bolt, Curb, Gett, Grab (for Southeast Asia), DiDi (for Brazil, Mexico, and Asian countries), Ola Cabs (OLΛ) invented in India, Didi Chuxing used in China, and others.
As of 2022, Uber earned $31.8 billion, meaning an 82% rise compared to the previous year. Half of the revenue came from ride hailings, and the service covers 68% of the US market. As a result, the app significantly recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.
The following article examines how to make an app like Uber and how other apps and digital services may benefit from the Uber business model, namely the sharing economy.
The agenda for the article is as follows:
- Business strategy on how to make an app like Uber
- Passenger app, driver app, and admin panel functionality to build an app like Uber
- Tech stack & unique aspects for the apps like Uber
- Revenue streams established for taxi booking apps
- How much does Uber cost to create?
- Step-by-step process to make an app like Uber
The core intention is not to build an Uber clone, but rather another successful web & mobile app project.
How Does the Uber App Work?
Before we get more technical on how to make an app like Uber, let's take a brief look at its app operations.
The first prototype of the Uber with basic features was created by Garrett Camp, a few of his friends, and Travis Kalanick, who was invited as an experienced advisor. Officially, the Uber mobile app was launched in 2010 on iOS. It is impressive to know that within the first six months the app reached 6,000 users and completed 20,000 rides.
Initially, Uber engaged both riders and drivers with the help of sponsoring and hosting tech events, and trial rides across San Francisco. The city is well-known for its tech community and takes each chance to make life more convenient.
This on-demand service for riding has a free application available on iOS and Android platforms for connecting riders and passengers 24/7. Just imagine, these days, Uber employs 3.9 million drivers to serve more than 75 million clients globally in over 65 countries.
Each trip request is directed to Uber drivers who use their personal vehicles. The closest car can reach you within a few minutes, while parties are aware of each others’ location.
The Uber app includes 5 sub-steps which are important to clarify from the customer perspective.
So, to get a better understanding when asking - how to make an app like Uber, let's first examine the app functioning:
- Step 1. Creation of a trip request with the end destination. The user can observe the upfront pricing of a trip’s fare, which is also based on vehicle type among Uber categories.
- Step 2. Verification of the trip. User confirms the data and the pickup location.
- Step 3. Matching up with the nearby available driver. On their end, a driver can accept or decline a request.
- Step 4. Payment process is done automatically in-app after the ride is complete. Beforehand, the user adds a credit or debit card, PayPal account, ties Android or Apple Pay, etc. User may also change the default tip for the taxi service.
- Step 5. Rating is requested after each taxi ride and is a core component of Uber app business logic.
As well, in order to serve different customer needs, the Uber app service has diverged into the following categories:
- UberX - the most cost-efficient option
- UberSELECT - a more high-end service compared with UberX
- UberBlack - a more premium ride for up to 4 persons
- UberXL - a cost-efficient option for a group of 6 persons
- UberSuv - a more luxury option compared to UberXL
- UberLux - the most luxurious Uber transportation service
- UberPool - the ride-sharing app to split the ride cost with other travelers
- UberASSIST & WAV - a car service developed for people with limited physical mobility
Uber calculates the ride fares by combining time and distance indicators. If the vehicle is driving less than 11 mph (18km/h), the rider is charged per minute. If the car is moving faster, then the charge is per mile.
The price for Uber taxi service app includes a base fare based on the location. Here, you may check out the Uber fare calculator. Also, the rider is notified by the trip alert and has up to 5 minutes to decide to cancel the ride or change the pick up location; otherwise, the Uber app charges a fee of $5-$10.
Want to launch a taxi service and create an Uber-like application?
Feel free to get in touch where we can provide you with a free consultation from a business and technical perspective. We will answer all the questions about the software development process as well as estimate your Uber-like app concept.
How to Make an App Like Uber: Step-by-Step Process
Before we proceed with the technical details and functionality to create an app like Uber, we want to clarify the process of project concept creation and implementation.
The list of points to help you prepare to create an app like Uber successfully, includes:
- Create a business model based on the market demand for your kind of Uber-like application.
- Analyze the demographics and define your key target audience - based on their needs, create your Uber-like service.
- Define the USP (Unique Selling Points) of your Uber-like app and exactly why it is necessary to build a service similar to Uber.
- Determine the basic features the app requires and platforms of the future application.
- Hire mobile app developers with vast experience and capabilities.
Always learn from user feedback and make necessary adjustments along the way, as Uber-like app development is a long-term engagement and liability
An offshore software development company like MLSDev could be a highly cost-efficient option for help with an Uber-like project. Our team has grand expertise in creating on-demand economy services and complex app development.
The MLSDev team helped the Gopuff project grow from the initial idea to over 400+ micro-fulfillment centers in 650+ U.S. cities and with 7,000+ workers. This on-demand delivery service is still expanding to new locations and is growing its user base daily, while our team helps to support these objectives.
How to Make an App Like Uber: Functionality
In order to make an app like Uber, or a similar taxi booking app, it is important to understand the major components and technology stack of the whole system. Any taxi service relies on the development of two distinct apps with unlike functionality that are interconnected with the help of an admin panel.
A great idea would also be to develop a taxi app booking service as a simple website - landing page. This would help collect interested users and driver requests for participation in the platform.
Now, let's discover what features are essential to building an Uber-like app for each part of the service.
Passenger Features in Apps Like Uber
These are the core features to create an app like Uber for the customer application:
- Registration - possible via email, Facebook, phone number with verification. The most widespread implementation of this feature is via social media.
- Taxi Booking - refers to the feature represented on the screen for entering the address, selection of car type, and set pickup location.
- Fare Calculator - the customer can check the price for a ride beforehand. This feature is a complex one to implement on the backend side of the system.
- Driver Tracking - feature to observe the driver’s movement to make updates during or after the journey.
- Payment - multiple payment variants may be implemented; cashless - in-app payment via credit cards, services like PayPal, or simply in cash.
- Push Notifications - vital element for informing; keeps passenger up-to-date with trip request status, driver arrival time, driver and car details, etc.
- Messaging - ability to contact the driver from the app.
- Driver Rating & Review - corresponds to the service evaluation (driver, vehicle, trip, etc.).
- Travel History - shows details from previous rides and transactions.
- Customer Support
Some advanced features that can be included in subsequent versions of app development are as follows:
- Pickup Location - this allows passengers to find a driver based on their current location automatically.
- Ride Cancellation - offer ride cancellation within a predetermined period of time.
- Split Payment - a few fellow travelers can split the costs for a ride.
- Interactive Map - feature provides possibility to observe all the taxi cabs on the map in real time.
- Later Ride - allows passengers to book a trip in advance at a selected time.
- Book for Other - allows passengers to book instead for another traveler (friend, relative) from their own account.
- Gamification & Discounts - these can include: stars, badges, offers, coupons or codes, etc. to increase customer acquisition and boost retention rate.
- Voice Recognition - allows the use of voice commands for taxi app.
- Waiting List - during peak hours, users are able to add their request to a waiting list.
- Panic Button - to make the ride more secure for passengers, the “panic” button should be implemented.
Driver Functionality in Apps Like Uber
Some of Uber-like driver’s app features may duplicate those of the passenger’s version - log in, notifications, messaging, reviews, and support.
So, want to learn how to make an app like Uber for a driver? The complete feature-list in a driver’s taxi app development includes:
- Driver Profile & Status - verification process of a driver should be done from the administrator side of things (license, vehicle insurance etc). Status will inform as to the availability of a driver.
- Trip Alert - ability to receive trip orders to accept or deny, including information regarding passenger’s location, route, travel history.
- Push Notifications - used for alerts, booking information (location, route, payment etc.), trip changes, and completion.
- Navigation & Route Optimization - offer the best trip route using Google Maps.
- Driver Delivery Reports - provides statistical information regarding trips and earnings on a daily/ monthly basis.
- Messaging - texting or calling to a passenger from the app.
Advanced features in a taxi booking app like Uber are:
- Driver Destinations - ability for a driver to select a ride with a preferred destination.
- Quest Earnings - driver is able to earn more by completing the pre-defined number of trips.
- Waiting Time - in the event of a trip cancellation or wait time of more than 5 minutes, the passenger is charged additional costs on top of the base fare.
- Heat Maps - can be compared with a demand perspective on a map so that a driver can plan his schedule and move to the location with a higher passenger ratio.
- Forward Dispatch - allows driver to accept another trip request while completing the current ride.
Admin Panel for Taxi Booking Apps Like Uber
In order to organize and control all of the driver's processes, as well as keep track of customer satisfaction, a central control point is required. In this way, a web-based admin panel should be developed to manage customer, drivers, orders, locations, payments, payouts, and other business processes in an app like Uber.
Thus, the high-level set of functions within an admin platform for Uber-like service includes:
- Locations & Fares Management
- Driver & User Management
- Booking Management
- Vehicle Management
- Review Driver’s Orders & Payoffs
- Check Ratings & Reviews
- Notifications Management
- System Content Management & FAQ
- Promotions & Discounts Management
- Driver & User Support
- Integration with Google Analytics
Technologies Used to Build an App Like Uber
Want to know how to make an app like Uber, technically? In this part of the article, the key technologies are described for taxi booking app building.
The key technology that is used in a taxi booking app is Geolocation. Any Uber-like app would be tied heavily to mapping technologies and navigations, namely:
- Identification of a device’s location using CoreLocation framework for iOS; Android uses Google's location APIs.
- Providing directions to the driver with the help of MapKit for iOS, which gives navigation from point A to point B. Android OS uses Google Maps Android API.
- Integration of maps - Google maps are integrated in the iOS and Android app versions. As an alternative, the Uber taxi booking app may purchase services from other mapping software teams.
2. Push Notification & Messaging
Another vital technical element to consider is Push Notification & Messaging within the app. The communication within apps like Uber goes all the way from the request being sent by the passenger, its acceptance by a driver, ride cancellation, etc.
Twilio telecommunication provider is a good option to use for text messages in app development process. In order to equip an app with push notifications on iOS, use Apple Push Notifications Service; and for Android apps, Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) should be used.
SMS notifications are as important to integrate as push notifications since the latter can sometimes be unreceived; they won’t work if the device is offline or unavailable. By using SMS warnings, the user is informed whether the message was successful or not.
3. Payment Gateway Integration
Payment Gateway Integration is a crucial functionality to be implemented in apps like Uber. To avoid human-error, Uber-like apps should employ a pay-off process via a payment card. To proceed with payment integration, it is necessary to comply with certain requirements and country policies for handling this data securely. For reference, the PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) exists within the US.
As a tool to implement payment functionality, it is possible to use Braintree (as with the Uber taxi app), or Stripe, which is used by its main competitive taxi app service in the USA - Lyft.
4. Schedule a Ride in Advance
This feature is rather complex and implies a delayed job. Uber introduced this feature not long ago and it could become an interesting USP within your first Uber-like app version.
This feature could use a library like Sidekiq in Rails or similar analogues for other platforms. Thus, the task is created, “order a taxi on Tuesday at 10 am at a particular address,” and at this specific time the taxi service will receive the request. This allows the end-user to properly plan their trips.
5. Ride Cost Estimation
This feature allows the customer to find out the total cost of a trip in advance. This algorithm can be built by capable engineers. In theory, the process to calculate the total cost is as follows:
Initial cost of car delivery + (cost of 1 km x difference) x driver availability factor
In addition, you can include the factor of the Uber car model, which influences the final service fare.
6. Book a Ride for Others
This feature is generally quite simple to implement once you want to make an app like Uber. In your profile, you can add a user as your family member and order a taxi on his/her behalf. Then, this person will receive a notification (e.g., SMS) with the taxi booking details.
The next table represents possible software integration to build an app like Uber on iOS & Android platforms:
|Geolocation & Navigation||- CoreLocation framework
- MapKit framework
- iOS Bluetooth beacon and Wi-Fi functionality
|- Google Location Services API
- Google Maps Android API
|Push Notifications & Management||- Apple Push Notifications Service (APN)
- Twilio, Nexmo, Plivo, Sinch
|- Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM)
- Twilio, Nexto, Plivo, Sinch
|Payment Gateway Integration||- Braintree, Stripe
- PayPal’s SDK
- Apple Pay
|- Braintree, Stripe
- PayPal’s SDK
- Google Wallet
And how one makes an app like Uber in terms of mobile app development services? The next are a few advice of app`s technical implementation.
The best technical way to proceed with Uber-like software is to develop it natively. Thus, separately for iOS and Android platforms.
Want to understand the difference between native vs. hybrid app?
For more information regarding the benefits of native Uber-like app development, check out the following detailed article
Native App Development vs. Hybrid and Web App Building
It is possible to build your custom app idea on a more lucrative platform - let's say iOS (based on the market research), and then convert the Uber app to Android.
Taxi app developers would apply Swift and Kotlin programming languages for iOS and Android apps correspondingly. As for the system’s backend, taxi app developers like MLSDev highly recommend using Ruby-on-Rails framework.
The following diagram illustrates the high-level outlook on the Uber system architecture.
How to Make an App Like Uber: Recommendations
So - how to make an app like Uber and make this type of app successful. Logically, just creating an Uber clone app is a bad tactic that will not necessarily lead to a greater fortune.
For starters, consider your initial intentions on whether you want to build a taxi app similar to Uber or use its business model and develop an on-demand project. One option could be to develop a taxi-hailing app for local taxi drivers. For that, you would likely need to partner with taxi services or individual drivers.
Additionally, Uber has actually opened its API. Thus, it is possible to apply this API in different niches and industries.
An Uber-like app can be created for services like:
- Beauty industry (e.g on-demand beauty services)
- Healthcare services
- Transportation services
- Local food & grocery delivery
- Delivery service for online retailers
- On-demand cleaning or home service
Aside from smooth technical implementation, it is really vital to consider how to make an app like Uber to be user-friendly and attractive. This is where the UX/UI Design comes into force. The general recommendations regarding the design within apps like Uber include:
- User-friendly experience
- Intuitive app flow within the app’s taxi booking process
- Attractive graphics and visual elements
How can you improve your app development process?
Check out the following article describing all of the ins and outs of creating successful apps:
How to Make Your App Successful. A Detailed Step-by-Step Guide.
Revenue Streams in Uber-like Apps
You should definitely think about building a revenue model embedded within your Uber-like app development beforehand. As you may know, Uber does not have its own car park; instead, the company utilizes drivers with their own vehicles.
Basically, profit comes from rides while the Uber ride calculator combines one or more criteria like:
- Base fare - a flat fee for Uber service depending on the Uber car type and area
- Cost per mile
- Cost per minute - costs derived from the GPS indication
- Booking fee (or safe rides fee) - a fee that covers some operational costs
It is worth mentioning that the Uber app uses a dynamic pricing model, which received some critics at first. This model is based on surge pricing that correlates with the current traffic situation, driver availability, holiday seasons, etc. This kind of pricing is popular among other services like Airbnb, hotel booking services, and those who have a limited supply, since many users are eager to pay extra to get the service.
Monetization within an Uber-like app can be as follows:
- Commission from drivers
- Trip fares from passengers
- Charges from trip cancellation
Are you interested in how much the Uber app makes?
Uber takes a 25% commission per ride. Unexpectedly, on average, Uber earns only $0.19 from each ride since the other part covers expenses on the business.
How Much Does the Uber App Cost?
A final key question - how much does the Uber app cost? Any software development is a complex process and the cost to make an app like Uber can vary based on the following factors:
- Number & complexity of features
- Design aspects
- Number of platforms and operating system details
- Technology preferences
- Development team capabilities, location, & rates
The following services would add to the Uber-like app development cost:
- Back-end development
- Web development (admin panel)
- Native app development (iOS & Android)
- Native app interface (UX/UI Design)
- Project management
- Quality assurance
- Business analysis (Functional Specification)
Last but not least, do not forget about the budget allocated for marketing and promotional purposes, as well as other indirect business costs.
Want to know a rough budget for app creation?
For more extended information explaining each of these elements (rates, taxi app developer’s location, etc.) and reasoning behind the actual project’s cost, check out the article:
How Much Does it Cost to Make an App?
To sum everything up, here is an approximate estimate in hours for basic features you might want to implement when creating an app like Uber.
|Review and rating||32-48||56||80|
And how to make an app like Uber not only great technically but also with a maximum business potential?
This is when the business analysis service comes into force. The service helps to create a Uber-like app concept with the greatest potential outcome based on a market and competitor analysis. Further, a Business analyst together with a System architect prepares a functional specification document featuring the necessary functionality to create an app like Uber.
One more important stage of Uber-like app development is UX/UI design. Uber app design will also consist of two parts: one for an Uber driver and one for a passenger.
Design for a Passenger app
- Wireframes (UX) - 64-80 hours
- Mockups (UI) - 48-64 hours for iOS; 32-48 hours for Android (provided that iOS will be the first platform worked on)
Design for a Driver app
- Wireframes (UX) - 40-56 hours
- Mockups (UI) - 48-64 hours for iOS; 32-48 hours for Android
Don’t forget the Admin Panel, which is necessary for proper system interaction and functioning. The basic version of an app like Uber includes the following functionality for an admin panel:
- Admin profile (super admin that can add other admins)
- Driver management (booking history, payment history, and profiles)
- Passenger management (booking history, payment history, and profiles)
- Fare rates management
The development of this sort of admin panel takes around 240 hours.
So, how much does it cost to develop an app like Uber? The cost to build the app depends highly on the hourly rate applied for the software development services. These rates may even range from $10 in India to $100 in some parts in Western Europe or the USA.
It would be interesting to compare the price you would have to pay in the USA with the cost you would instead bear with Ukrainian software development teams; the difference in expenses could be quite substantial. A very beneficial fact in this situation is that there will be no difference in the quality, if one chooses an experienced offshore software development team.
If you compare the price you would have to pay in the USA with the cost you would instead bear with Ukrainian software development teams; the difference in expenses could be quite substantial. A very beneficial fact in this situation is that there will be no difference in the quality, if one chooses an experienced offshore software development team.
The Uber app development cost, for a basic-version consisting of a passenger app, a driver app, and an admin panel for a single platform (iOS or Android), ranges from ~$70,000 to $100,000 at an hourly rate of $40 (average development rate in Ukraine). If you are interested in a more complex and feature-rich product, the cost may range from $300,000 to $ 500,000, or even higher.
Note that the provided calculation is rough and cost does not include business analysis, project management, time dedicated to team communication and planning meetings, and quality assurance service. Further, the final cost will differ depending on many factors mentioned earlier, as well as the chosen Uber taxi app developer. So, it is a good idea to consult regarding your Uber-like project with an experienced software development company.
Regarding the development time span, this again all depends on the app’s complexity, involvement, and cooperation among all the parties working on the taxi application. In order to develop a simpler version of an Uber-like app, a software development team would need approximately 5-7 months.
So, how to make an app like Uber in a way your business would flourish? The bottom line is to establish an efficient and successful project rather than blindly copy the Uber app functionality.
Want to build an app like Uber?
Our team will help you build your own Uber app starting from defining a business strategy and applying technological innovation. Just send us your request regarding Uber-like app development.