How to Create an App Like Yelp?

04 Oct 2018
10 min

Do you like to travel? If so, it would be great to use modern technologies that assist you in making the journey more enjoyable. Some of these technologies have already become part of our life. For example, apps for searching certain places and services are very popular among tourists. These apps are represented in the market by Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, Zagat etc. But it can be rather difficult for unsophisticated users to find something suitable especially for them. 

Watch our detailed video to the Yelp-like app development process:

How Much Does It Cost To Develop An App Like Yelp?

However, sometimes a user wants to have his own unique app that will assist in locating places for rest and necessary services. First, he needs to realize how to implement it. Then, of course, he faces no less significant issue - the amount of money required for the app development. How much does it take to create Yelp clone app? Let's examine it considering Yelp mobile app as an example. 

What is Yelp app

Yelp app has been developed by the US-based Yelp Inc. company. What does Yelp do? Let's find out it. It allows you to find quickly on the map all establishments you need. And it doesnt matter what you are looking for - whether for the most luxurious city restaurant or for the gas station. Furthermore, you can read reviews and see the rating of every pizzeria, hotel, shop and any other place to choose the best one.


Do you need your own delivery service? We can explain to you how to build it: How To Develop an On-Demand Service App?

Upon the first start, the app detects your location and displays a list of all interesting establishments nearby. Hairdressing salons, shops, markets, cafes - the list is rather long. Not to confuse yourself, you should apply a filter and decide on the category useful for you. Then you can choose priority.

  • Wanna find something as near as possible? -Sort places by distance.
  • Something cheaper or more expensive vice versa? - Sort them by price. 
  • Looking for the most popular hotel? - Sort them by rating. 

It is as simple as it can be!

Yelp categories

Yelp search by categories

When you made your choice, check the more detailed information. Correct address, phone number, working hours - the Yelp business app can provide you with this information. The route to your destination point will be laid on the map. So you can look through visitors reviews and photos. And after visiting the hotel, for example, you can register in the app and post your own comments and reviews there.

Yelp is a very popular mobile app and it gains about 145 millions of unique users per month for today. If you want to know how to create a review website like Yelp, you should consider its business model.

Business models to build an app like Yelp

If you want to know how to build a website like Yelp, you have to understand the market condition and what obstacles you may come across. For the promotion of the Yelp-like app you have to consider the following business models:

  • Determination of the target audience. It depends on the country where you are planning to launch a startup. But main users of the app similar to Yelp can be local dwellers, travelers, businessmen etc. According to Yelp developer, approximately 70% of users are interested more in the Restaurant/Food category than in others. So maybe the app should be targeted on this sector.
  • Determination of the market. Undoubtedly, before starting your own business, you must scrutinize the travel market to understand what competitive apps already exist. 
  • ASO strategy. Having developed the mobile app, owners usually add it to app stores whether it be Apple Store or Google Play. But it is necessary to promote it to involve as many potential users as possible. That is why you must pay the rapt attention to App Store Optimization. It is very important.

Do you want to know how to conduct correct and competent optimization? You can learn it from our article: App Store Optimization in Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

  • Key values. If your app is just one among others, why shall it be interesting for users? So it would be better to integrate something new. For example, your travel app will provide users with delivery services or it will allow them to make reservations.
  • Main costs. Involvement of new clients, new technologies, and new content - all of this requires investments. So if you are going to create something new in the app world, you shouldnt forget about serious costs that you may have to bear.

How does Yelp make money?

Yelp monetization strategy includes:

  • 1. Local advertising. Local business owners pay you for adding their advertisements to your app. What's more, you can provide users with some paid services like ad removal from their profile. Any person interested will be able to upgrade his or her profile for a certain amount of money.
  • 2. Affiliations. For example, restaurant owners can promote their restaurants by paying you a fixed fee on a monthly basis. Thus, these restaurants will appear in the top of the list during the search.
  • 3. Additional tools. If we draw our attention to Yelp, it has quite pleasing tool dubbed SeatMe. This feature makes it possible for restaurants and cafes to manage their table reservations. Of course, owners of these establishments pay for using this tool.
  • 4. Discounts and deals. It is self-explanatory. Users can find impressive discounts and deals for some services that are available only in your app. Therefore, both users and service providers are in the pocket. You gain money per every deal. That is one of the ways how Yelp makes money.

It's not enough to know how to make an app like Yelp if you want to succeed. Monetization is a vital part for any online product which helps it stay afloat. Above, we've listed the ways how to make money on the Yelp-like app of your own. They are based on the monetization strategy of the original Yelp platform. 

Main Yelp-like app features that should be integrated

A number of features in your future app may vary depending on your demands and costs. But each app has its minimal features it cannot operate without. Furthermore, the minimum viable product allows you to get the feedback from the first users. If it is really crowd-pleasing, it makes sense to integrate more features.

So in our case, Yelp clone app should have the following main features:

  • Activity stream. What is this? It is the central component of many corporate social media platforms. Chronological list of the previous activity, news, notifications, modifications can be displayed in your app.
  • Geolocation-based search. One of the key function of such app. You dont need to point out the city of your residence since geolocation service will do it for you. Saved time - happy clients! 
Our expertise

This feature is widespread in many apps we worked on. One of the last apps you may pay your attention to is Doctoring App. We described the detailed development process in our case study.

Yelp main page

Yelp user profile

  • User profile. All your reviews and photos are storing here, besides, you can browse all the places visited by your friends. Meanwhile, you can add to favorites all places you liked.
  • Reviews and ratings. Despite the fact this feature may seem ordinary and common, it is exactly what draws (or discourages) potential clients. So it is also one of the main Yelp features.
Review in the Yelp

Yelp review form

Additional possible features for applications like Yelp

But if you want to build a really powerful and multipurpose Yelp clone app, you must add some functions like:

  • Social sign-in. Everything is clear here. A user-friendly feature that makes it possible to register via social media and find the required dining place within several seconds.
Social sign in

using social media

Our expertise

People dont like to waste their time for long registration procedure. So the way to register via social media is very popular. This feature has been integrated into many apps developed by our company. The last ones are AGE in days and L!VE. AGE in days app can count your age in days, not in figures. L!VE allows you to share live stream videos with your friends.

  • Reservation. Very handy function. You can make a table reservation in the certain restaurant directly from your app.
  • Pictures and video uploading. That means users can share photos and short videos of certain places to show how they look. 
  • In-app purchases. Users are searching for the hotel in the foreign city and they want to make the booking. But, for example, they need to pay for the booking. That is where in-app button Pay comes in. It makes it possible for users to pay directly from the app. 
Our expertise

Our experience is not limited to the apps for life improvement. Manna for the Morning app is the tutorial for everybody who wants to learn the Bible and improve his or her knowledge in Christianity. This app has Purchase button to buy books in the app. It is available both for Android and iOS operating systems.


What is the integration process of In-App Purchase button into iOS app? Please, read iOS In-app Purchase: From Development To Monetization.

  • Filters integration. Users may not only upload their pictures but also edit them using special filters. This feature can be very captivating.

The feature list can be extended as much as you need it. Our company will help you equip your future app with interesting and attractive functions. The only thing you shouldnt forget about is common sense. It means that features combination must be topical and fascinating and should include aforementioned main Yelp app components.

How much does it cost to build an app like Yelp?

So, how much does Yelp app cost? We reached the main point of the article - the price you need to pay for the app development. Development costs depend on many factors, but we can define an average market price - $50 per hour - for calculation of this hard-working and inspiring process. Ok, let's go!


First, we make our decision on the development platform. iOS or Android? It is worth noting that timescale will vary depending on the app complexity but it is equal both for Android and iOS. The ultimate cost of Yelp clone app can also be different due to features the new app will have. The more functions it gets, the more expensive development will be.


As we already stated, a good interface is more than important. But, for sure, its complexity seriously affects the price. In this way, considering that the average price will be $50 per hour, basic costs for the app designing may include the following for both mobile platforms:

  • User interface design. According to the market price, UI design will take 80-200 hours. Its cost will vary from $4,000 to $10,000.
  • User experience. App for tourists must be easy-to-use so that clients could orientate themselves quickly during app using. So a user-friendly UX design will require 40-140 hours and it will cost you from $2,000 to $7,000.

Estimation of the project is not the quick process. Want to know how we do it? Read: How To Estimate a Project: Cleveroad Experience

Additional features development

The main goal of any app is to draw as many users as possible. It doesn't seem to be a challenge if your app has all appropriate features. But these features undoubtedly will add to the total Yelp app cost. We would like to provide you with our infographics to estimate the cost of app like Yelp development.  


Infographic - How Much does it cost to develop an app like Yelp?

Taking into consideration that the customer may demand additional features to be integrated into the app, the ultimate price may increase. Dont forget that A-class IT developers play the key role in the future success of your app. So to invest your funds in the development of a unique application, you have to find really skillful specialists. Our company is proud of collaboration with the real fans of their work - web and app developers. Our company - your success! Feel free to get in touch with us anytime.

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