How to Create an App Like Uber: Cost, Features and More
Those who live in large cosmopolitan cities with busy traffic and lack of parking space, refuse to own cars in favor of rideshare services like Uber. High demand for personal car rides makes entrepreneurs think how to make an app like Uber and successfully launch it on local markets or even worldwide.
And, indeed, Uber-like app development seems to be a reasonable move not only for entrepreneurs but transport companies as well. The market of ridesharing apps has never been so full as in the recent years. New apps keep cropping up, heated by Uber and its tremendous success, in the desire to grab a piece of a pie.
The companies that received worldwide recognition are always going to be a role model for the ones who make their first steps to success. So if you want to create app like Uber, it’s important to comprehend the company’s approaches to technology and business processes. For this, I suggest you read on to find out how to create an app like Uber and how much it costs.
Things to Know About Uber-Like App Development
Before we move on forward the topic, I would like to stress on the scale of Uber. It currently operates in 84 countries and over 800 cities providing a 24-hour-per-day on-demand connection between riders and drivers through the Android and iOS app. Both parties are aware of each other’s location and concerns over the car arrival time are no longer topical.
Quite impressive, yeah? Uber has captured a great share of the market with its smooth app-user interaction, great marketing campaigns, and rare error reports.
Based on availability, there is a choice of various levels of Uber service:
- uberX – the most cost-efficient option.
- UberBLACK – classy Uber with chic cars.
- UberSUV – when the size matters.
- UberLUX – the prime service needs no words.
Various options for booking a car in Uber
As you see, this is a large company of the worldwide scale which, furthermore, has divided its core service — ridesharing — into several smaller parts in order to fit different customer needs.
The secret of this trendy car-hailing service is concealed, but let's try to lift the veil a bit.
How Does Uber Work?
If you want to make an app like Uber, you should be aware of how the service works on the customer side. The general app performance can be shown in 5 simple steps:
- Step #1: Request. The customer requests a car instantly or on schedule via the app. Those requests are received by drivers nearby.
- Step #2: Matching. The driver may either accept or reject the ride. If they reject it, the request is sent to another driver.
- Step #3: Ride. The customer tracks the taxi approach and knows the estimated time of arrival.
- Step #4: Payment. The cashless way of payment and the price estimated beforehand make this process smoother for both parties.
- Step #5: Rating. It’s an important component of Uber’s business logic which enhances the service reliability.
How Uber service works
How Many Apps Do You Really Need?
If you’re striving to create your own Uber app (or its counterpart) there is the need for two apps. The original platform consists of the Driver App designed for drivers partnering with the company and the Passenger App meant for ordinary customers who book their rides. Apart from that, the platform should also come with an admin panel that’s capable of managing and monitoring the platform’s work.
Let’s first consider the basic and advanced features you may implement in the app for passengers.
Basic features to build an app like Uber for customers:
- Geolocation and routing.
- Payment integration.
- Registration and personal data management.
- Call or text the driver right from the app.
- Push notifications.
- Ride cost estimation.
- Top-notch UI and UX design.
- Scheduling a ride in advance.
- Booking a ride for others.
- Splitting a fare with companions.
Now, let’s take a look at the basic and advanced features which you can build in the app for drivers.
Basic features to create Uber app for drivers:
- Driver reports.
- Advanced route optimization.
- Personal profile editing.
- 'Active / Inactive' option (active drivers are visible on the map, inactive aren't).
- Calling to a passenger from the app.
- Generating daily / monthly reports of past bookings and earnings.
- Driver destinations.
- Free cancellation within a set period of time.
- Heat maps.
The admin panel is the last but not the least thing you should consider. Admin panels are typically web-based and demand certain efforts on the part of your web development service vendor. It should give you a convenient overview of business processes as well as provide capabilities of managing payrolls and collecting user data.
Revenue Models for an Uber-like App
Depending on the objectives, your revenue model can differ from the Uber's one. This ridesharing platform doesn’t own a fleet of cars and earns its profit acting as a mediator by bringing drivers and passengers together.
There are a couple of revenue models you can consider if you intend to build Uber app clone or its counterpart:
- Charging fees from drivers
- Charging fees from passengers
How to Create an App Like Uber: Cost and Development Insights
How much does it cost to build an app like Uber? As usual, it depends on the functionality you are going to fill your app up with and the complexity you will bring to this functionality.
In this part, I’m going to walk you through the development time of basic and advanced features for the passenger app.
At the end of the article, you can find the approximate cost of building an app like Uber and the companion app Uber Driver. All of them are calculated by our business analysts.
All the calculations you are going to see below are approximate and based on an average price of $50 per hour as for mobile app development services in our region (Eastern Europe, Ukraine). Back-end and mobile development are included in estimations.
Geolocation & Routing
Geolocation is the first basic feature to consider when answering the question of how to develop an app like Uber. In general, GPS technology is used to detect someone’s location. Though services similar to Uber allow their to track the location of the car driver accepted the ride.
Uber’s slogan ‘Get a ride at the tap of a button’ reflects its more than simple and appealing to user control, but it conceals complex processes and architecture behind the scene. In order to know the distance and run the routes, the routing server is needed. So from the moment customers launch the app until they get dropped off, Uber’s routing engines work hard.
Routing and matching mechanisms are a big portion of Uber’s core functionality that ensures a flawless service. So it would be a mistake not to mention these two features when figuring out the Uber app development cost.
Why Should You Integrate Geolocation into an App?
Let’s talk a bit about the technical side of this feature.
When you pin the point on the map where you want the car to pick you up – it’s Google Maps. When you track the real-time car movement – it’s Google Maps. When the driver follows GPS directions – it’s Google Maps again. Routes and directions in an Android version of the app are powered by Google Maps since it’s the most native and easiest way.
So, Maps SDK is a must-have tool that has to be used in your tech stack to make an Android app like Uber. Geolocation API can also be used to get a user’s precise location data.
Talking about an iOS version of the app, location services can be provided by the CoreLocation framework, while the MapKit framework can be applied for the selection of routes and directions. Developers usually apply classes and protocols of CoreLocation framework to set up the delivery of location provided by users’ devices.
Detect user's location
Set pickup location
It’s the next basic feature to think about when you come up with your own strategy of creating an app like Uber. Modern technologies enable straightforward financial transactions between all parties concerned and it’s a benefit for both customers and drivers.
Uber provides its users with a fare calculator that ensures pretty accurate estimation right in the app. Uber fare rates depend on the service you order (uberX, BLACK, SUV) and on the city you are in. To estimate the fare for a ride, Uber uses four main criteria:
- Base fare
- Cost per mile
- Cost per minute
- Safe rides fee
Let’s see how to create Uber app with cashless payments.
The first thing to ensure when you integrate a payment system in your apps is the customer’s financial data safety. If your company strives to store and process credit card data, you need to meet all the nasty requirements that are known as PCI compliance. Once you’re PCI certified it’s time to integrate a cashless payment system into your app.
Another option is to rely on payment gateway providers that ensure fully supported PCI compliance solutions, like Braintree or Stripe. If you select the gateway provider for the Uber-like app, you can draw your attention to the following criteria:
- Payment gateway should be created specifically for mobile devices since many providers use the web view approach (a web browser masked as an app).
- The service should be easy-to-use and ensure quick user data extraction.
These requirements are met by PayPal group, particularly by Braintree payment gateway provider. So Uber uses Braintree for processing their credit card transactions. Original Uber app also uses the card.io platform to scan card numbers by using camera.
One more important point here is to let users link several credit cards with their accounts.
Payment method screen (add cards, scan card by camera, PayPal, cash)
Registration & Profile
Registration and profiles are the next two basic features for building an app like Uber. It’s necessary for at least two reasons: you can keep track of your users base and your user base gets access to the full-fledged service. In terms of Uber-like app development that involves mobile payments – this feature is a must.
If you want to create an app like Uber, you may offer your customers a quick registration via social media or email. The Uber itself provides for registration via Facebook, Google or email and asks for a phone number in addition.
As for the profiles, they may either contain a minimum of functionality (photo, name and car license number) or be sufficiently complete and feature-rich.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to add rating and reviewing system. This move will make a service a little more client-oriented by letting users know if the driver has a low rate (and vice versa). What’s more, the rates of users can help you identify problems with the service quality before they negatively affect your company reputation.
Email + Password + Phone number + Payment details
Facebook + Phone number + Payment details
Communication & Notifications
Communication and notifications are basic features that should be considered to make an app like Uber. Despite the fact that communication in ridesharing apps goes without saying, it’s possible to make it even more convenient. Uber users can call or text their drivers without leaving the app.
An essential part of communication with customers lies in keeping them informed. SMS, email or push notifications can help with it and notify users about important events like order confirmation or car arrival.
The following tools can be used to build Uber app with flexible notifications:
- Apple Push Notification Service (APN) when you build an Uber-like app for Apple devices.
- Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) when you are going to build the app for Android-powered devices.
SMS notifications demand an additional step to be integrated into the app. You have to contact the telecommunication service provider to grant you such possibility. For example, Uber prefers working with Twilio, but there are more options like Plivo, Nexmo or Sinch.
Ride Cost Estimation
It’s also a basic feature that shows customers an approximate cost of the ride before they book it. In order to create your own Uber app with this feature under the hood, your software engineers should build an algorithm estimating the price based on the user’s pickup and drop location.
If you decided to follow the Uber’s model and provide customers with diverse types of cars they can choose from, then you should also consider there are different fares for each type.
Ride cost estimation
Schedule a Ride in Advance
This is an advanced feature that was introduced by Uber a couple of years ago. It allows customers booking a ride beforehand (within a timeframe of 15 minutes to 30 days) and plan their trips more accurately.
Ride scheduling can be a good supplement for the app’s MVP the same as other advanced features that are laid down further in the article. You can add some of them to a feature list and create Uber app with broader functionality.
Schedule a ride
Book a Ride for Other People
The same as the beforehand ride scheduling, booking a ride for others is an advanced feature for Uber-like app development. It implies that a user can book a ride for a relative or friend through their own account.
As soon as the booking is made, the friend or relative receives the ride details via SMS the same as driver.
Book a ride for others
Split a Fare
One more advanced feature that’s worth consideration in case you’re thinking over different strategies on how to build an Uber app. It allows users to split a cost of the ride with companions traveling with them.
Split a fare
As usual, a portion of app development costs falls on design. Ridesharing services are client-oriented and so they have to come with beautiful and easy-to-use UI/UX. Correspondingly, the Uber-like app development cost should involve design expenses.
While a lot of things can be told about what makes a good design, I prefer to minimize this description to two words — simplicity and clarity. You should stick to these two simple principles to make an outstanding design.
Android UI/UX design
iOS UI/UX design
Uber app design
How to Build an App Like Uber for Drivers: Main Features
It’s time to talk about how to build an app like Uber Driver for partners. It’s also a very important part of building business the Uber way. In this section, I’ll include only those features that can be helpful for drivers and effective for business at the same time.
Driver report feature is designed to ensure the safety of both parties: a driver and a passenger. This report is a brief outline covering the driving style of the driver for a certain timeframe (e.g. week or month). If incidents of driving in a careless manner take place and continue to happen, Uber can ban the driver who violates rules.
How to develop an app like Uber for drivers: Clean navigation and route building
Advanced Route Building
If you’re planning to build a serious ridesharing business, then considerable investments into the route building functionality are inevitable. The better routes are optimized, the more efficient your drivers will be. Correspondingly, the level of customer satisfaction tends to rise.
The driver destination feature enhances the overall experience for drivers who partner with the company and so you should consider it before creating an app like Uber. Drivers can pick the preferred location and find passengers who need a ride in that direction. This way, drivers can effectively combine work with their personal affairs.
Free Cancellation Within 2 Minutes
This feature is designed to avoid the loss of time and money that arise when a customer abandons or delays the booked ride. I would say this is a must-have feature for Uber-like app development since it doesn't only minimize risks for drivers but business as well.
How does it work? The first two minutes after the car arrival are free of charge for passengers. If it takes much time for them to get to the car and start the ride, then additional charges are applied. In case passengers have canceled the ride after the set timeframe, they’re obliged to pay a fee which is equal to a base ride fare.
The heat map is another feature that greatly simplifies the work of a driver. With its help, drivers can see the parts of the city with the highest demand for the service, drive there to get more requests and, correspondingly, generate more profit for themselves and your company.
It’s pretty hard to estimate this feature without any project details since its development time is dependent on multiple factors.
How to create Uber-like app for drivers: Heatmap feature
What Factors Influence the Uber App Development Cost?
There’re a few more things that should be taken into account to create your own Uber-like app. Normally, starting relations with our clients, we expect to know their vision on fundamental issues. Apart from the general concept of the app, estimated budget, terms and requirements, we would like our clients to provide us with their business goals to ensure their achievement.
So let’s view what factors can affect the price before getting to the final cost of building an app like Uber.
A set of features you pick to build an app like Uber is the decisive factor of its price. The development cost will range depending on basic and advanced features you would like to implement in the app.
For instance, Uber and Lyft have both begun with MVPs of their services and were gradually scaling up.
Your Company Type
Another truly important factor is the company type. Do you own an established taxi service or want to launch a startup company? In the first case, you may want the mobile application that’s developed with your business processes in mind.
Meanwhile, the creation of a startup company involves building the app alongside the business itself, which provides some flexibility but, typically, the tight budget.
Each type may require a different level of investments.
Which platform to choose? This is an age-old question for many entrepreneurs. However, the answer to it is very simple: if you want your app to be widely used — choose both Android and iOS.
If your budget is tight, which is not an uncommon case, then you may develop an MVP based on either platform depending on your target audience and their preferences.
For example, Uber was launched on iOS first because iPhones were extremely popular in those days having about 80% of the market share (on the US market).
In most cases, it’s more reasonable to develop a native app rather than a hybrid one. The difference between them lies in architecture, programming languages, and many other aspects.
If you are a non-technical founder, it’s a good idea to consult with a competent mobile development service provider before making a final decision on your Uber-like app development approach.
The Final Cost to Develop an App Like Uber
Taking into account all the factors mentioned in the article, the cost to build an app like Uber may range between $57,000 and $114,000 for one or two user apps (iOS and Android) respectively. Additionally, mind the price of admin panel development which may start at $14,000.
Lack some details? There is a more elaborate price breakdown.
Registration & Profile
Ride cost estimation
Book a ride for others
Split a fare
Framework and libraries integration for back-end
Framework and libraries integration for Android / iOS
132h / 123h
$6,600 / $6,150
UI/UX design for Android / iOS
110h / 130h
$5,500 / $6,500
Total for one app (Android or iOS)
Total for two apps (Android and iOS)
The estimation of the driver’s app development cost is a bit more complicated task. That’s because I’ve only talked about the features that can bring value to your ridesharing business and didn't mention any basic functionality as it can vary significantly depending on your goals and company type. However, you can count for 280 hours of development and more.
Finally, the cost to develop Uber app should include expenses on admin panel creation since it’s a must for every application.
Tech Stack and Team
Our analysts have analyzed the functionality given and come up with an approximate set of technologies to use for the similar kind of a project as well as team members needed to successfully deliver it.
- Business Analyst
- Project Manager
- UI/UX designer
- Android / iOS engineer
- Back-end developer
- QA engineer
Technology stack for the Uber-like app:
- Kotlin for Android app
- Swift for iOS app
- Node.js for back-end
- Amazon EC2
- Amazon S3
- PayPal / Stripe
- Elastic email
- Google Maps
- Google Places
- Google Directions
- Facebook SDK
The above-mentioned list of technologies is approximate and may differ depending on your business objectives, app features, platforms, etc.
Projects connected with transportation industry are always as challenging as exciting. Uber-like applications are not an exception. Not so long ago our team had a chance to work on the development of the MoveUp platform. We’re proud to have this P2P ridesharing solution as a part of our portfolio.
The platform was created to connect drivers and riders with diverse needs. So the target audience is as follows:
- People with disabilities
- People with special medical needs
- Regular clients
- Riders with bulky items
The core functionality is pretty familiar to everyone. Users can see all available cars on a map in a real-time mode. Once the order was accepted by a driver, users can see a car’s geolocation on the map.
MoveUp’s order and trip screens
Implementing the filtering system it was decided to shift away from standard algorithms to meet specific requirements of users. The created filtering system suggests drivers according to the user’s in-app preferences. This helps excluding cases of matching a driver having a car that’s not suited for user’s specific needs.
MoveUp’s application menu
To learn more about the platform, you may also visit their website or look at the case study of this project in our portfolio.
Summing up everything listed above, the single-platform application that has nearly the same functionality as Uber app will cost roughly $57,000 at $50 per hour rate. Bear in mind that’s the price for a user-facing application and normally you’d need one more for drivers along with the admin panel to be able to manage that all.
As said, the final cost of your Uber-like app is highly dependant on various factors and your personal preferences. A number of functions and their complexity are negotiable. Use our app cost calculator to find out the cost of other features you’re interested in.
If you need any help in getting closer to your dream, please get in touch with us! Our managers will answer all your questions and provide you with custom project estimation.
Before you leave, you can also watch our video where we compare software development prices in different parts of Europe to help you cut on the development expenses.
The Cost of Software Development in Europe
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